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Dean’s Pilot Awards

Recipients of the 2020 Dean’s Pilot Innovation Awards have been announced. These awards, ranging in sum from $20,000 to $50,000, go toward supporting full-time junior faculty with projects that are new, highly innovative, currently unpublished and unfunded, and that possess the potential to lead to larger extramural grants. See this list of award recipients here.

Earlier this year, we also awarded five Dean’s Rapid COVID-19 Pilot Grand Awards to provide immediate funding and support to projects that make a significant impact on various aspects of the understanding, treatment, response, and education surrounding this pandemic. Read a description of the projects here.

Synergy Awards

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The Woodruff Health Sciences Center has named the recipients of the latest cycle of the Synergy Awards. All selected projects share a common theme: Advancing research on the new coronavirus. The awards support joint projects among faculty at the schools of medicine and nursing, Winship, Yerkes, and all other units within WHSC. Rollins researchers are included on seven of the 10 selected proposals. Read more about the award recipients here.

Your Fantastic Mind

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The Georgia Public Broadcasting series, Your Fantastic Mind, created in partnership with Emory Brain Health Center, premiered on September 8 with an episode featuring Dean Curran discussing the COVID-19 pandemic and its similarities and differences to the AIDS crisis. Hannah Cooper was a guest during a special two-hour segment on September 28 dedicated to examining the opioid crisis in Georgia. Learn more about the series here.

Rollins Day ON

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On Election Day—Tuesday, November 3—we will have the Rollins Election Day ON for Civic Engagement. Planned by students, faculty, and staff, Rollins Election Day Initiative (REDI) offers ways to get involved. Find more information here or send questions to

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Anne Spaulding

Anne Spaulding (epidemiology) has been selected to receive the 2020 B. Jaye Anno Award of Excellence in Communication. The award is given by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care.

Caitlin Allen, a doctoral student in BSHES, received a highly competitive NIH-NCI F99/K00 award. The award is intended to retain outstanding graduate students recognized for their high potential and strong interest in pursuing careers as independent cancer researchers. The award will facilitate the transition into successful cancer research postdoctoral appointments.


View all Rollins events on the online calendar.

FALL 2020

A tribute to R. Randall Rollins

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Dean Curran

We remain deeply saddened by the passing of R. Randall Rollins. As I’ve said many times before, our school would simply not be where we are today without Randall Rollins. He understood the potential—and the necessity—of our school from its earliest days and invested mightily in our mission. We owe Randall and his family a debt of gratitude for the two buildings that house our school as well as for the third that is under construction. The family has contributed unrestricted endowments, scholarships, and general support.

I regret that Randall will not get to see the opening of our third building, but I feel sure his spirit will be felt in the R. Randall Rollins building. Read more about Randall’s life and legacy here.

Two new chairs

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Robert T. Krafty

Robert T. Krafty has joined Rollins as the chair of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics. Previously he was a tenured faculty member and chair of the biostatistics curriculum at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health. At the University of Pittsburgh, Robert led a federally funded transdisciplinary research group. The group’s work included the development of methods and software for using data from wearable and mobile devices for monitoring and treating depression in older adults and the use of EEG and ECG data collected during sleep to understand how treatments of poor sleep can be used to improve women’s health. Robert replaces John Hanfelt, who has served as interim chair of the department since 2017.

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Usha Ramakrishnan

Usha Ramakrishnan has been named the chair of the Hubert Department of Global Health. Usha has served as interim chair of the department since October 2019, when Carlos del Rio left the post to become executive associate dean for Emory School of Medicine at Grady Health System. Usha has been at Rollins since 1994 and she also serves as director of the new PhD program in Global Health and Development (see item later in this newsletter) and serves on the faculty of the university’s doctoral program in Nutrition and Health Sciences.

Diversity dean

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Joanne McGriff

Joanne McGriff has been selected as the Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. In this newly created role, Joanne will devote 50 percent of her time toward leading diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts at Rollins by supporting a culture of inclusivity and ensuring attention is paid to equity and diversity in the selection of faculty, staff, and students. She will assist RSPH in addressing concerns surfaced by several students regarding implicit bias and fostering a more equitable anti-racist environment.

Joanne will continue as research assistant professor in the Hubert Department of Global Health and as a core faculty member in the Center for Global Safe Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH). Joanne joined Emory in 2012 and has been a member of our faculty since 2015. Her research primarily focuses on WASH-related issues, particularly in health care settings in low-income countries.

Off to a strong start

First day of classes

I want to commend everyone for the amount of time, energy, and effort all of you have devoted over the summer to get ready for our school this semester. Student services, career services, IT, fulfillment services, people in the Dean’s office and others have been working overtime to ensure success this fall. Our faculty went into overdrive, not only preparing online and hybrid classes, but also submitting a record number of grant applications. I could not be prouder of how we have risen to the challenge during this pandemic.

COVID-19 appointments

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Zena Belay,

We have named Zena Belay, an epidemiologist in the School of Medicine, as director of the new Rollins COVID-19 Epidemiology Fellows program. This two-year service and training fellowship is part of the Emory COVID-19 Response Collaborative (ECRC), a partnership between our school and the Georgia Department of Public Health. The program will recruit recent MPH graduates to be placed as entry-level epidemiologists within one of the state’s 18 health districts or at the GDPH. The fellows will be immersed in hands-on applied epidemiology to aid their district’s COVID-19 response, but they’ll also be given additional support and training through the program.

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Erin Cahill

Erin Cahill is our COVID-19 liaison for the school. As such, she is the point of contact and advocate for Rollins faculty, staff, and students seeking university-level COVID-19 resources and support. Individuals can reach out to Erin with any questions or concerns they may have pertaining to COVID-19 resources or processes.

PhD in Global Health and Development


The Hubert Department of Global Health has launched a new PhD program in conjunction with the Laney graduate school. Training faculty include 47 core faculty members and 10 affiliated faculty members who are based at several partner institutions such as The Carter Center and the CDC. The core faculty have primary appointments in schools across Emory, including medicine, nursing, business, law, and the college. This addition brings the number of doctoral programs in our school to seven.

New grants

Aaron Siegler, Population-Based Survey of SARS-CoV-2 Infection and Immune Response, NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, $5.4 million, May 27, 2020 – December 31, 2021

Thomas Clasen, Household Air Pollution and Health: A Multi-Country LPG Intervention Trial, NIH National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, $4.1 million, continuation

Michelle Kegler, Emory Prevention and Research Center, CDC, $3 million, continuation

Carlos del Rio, CFAR at Emory, NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, $2.3 million, continuation

Jeffrey Koplan, Advancing National Public Health Institutes Globally to Strengthen Public H, Health, CDC, $1.9 million, continuation

Jeffrey Koplan, IANPHI - CDC Supplement 2020, CDC, $1.7 million, continuation

Thomas Clasen, Household Air Pollution and Health: a Multi-country LPG Intervention Trial, NIH National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, $1.5 million, supplement

Joellen Schildkraut, Ovarian Cancer Survival in African-American Women, NIH National Cancer Institute, $1.4 million, July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2025

Patrick Sullivan, The UNC/Emory Center for Innovative Technology, UNC Chapel Hill, $1.3 million, June 1, 2020 ¬– May 31, 2021

Aaron Siegler, Making It Last: A Randomized, Controlled Trial of a Home Care System, NIH National Institute of Mental Health, $1.1 million, continuation

Rollins faculty have received many other grants for research and training between May 1, 2020 – September 1, 2020. View the complete list.

Appointments and Promotions

Faculty Promotions
  • Yang Liu, Professor, Environmental Health

  • Zhaohul Qin, Professor, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics

New Faculty

  • Robert Krafty, Professor and Chair, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics

  • Ashley Naimi, Associate Professor, Epidemiology

  • Kristin Nelson, Assistant Professor, Epidemiology

Post Doctoral Fellows

  • Stefan Graw, Environmental Health

  • Yun Hang, Environmental Health

  • Rebecca Jones, Global Health

  • Alysse Kowalski, Global Health

  • Maria Ramirez Luzuriaga, Global Health

  • Jacqueline Rudolph, Epidemiology

  • Dayu Sun, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics

Staff Promotion

    • Maurice Haines, Senior Customer Service Representatives, Fulfillment Services

    • Marxavian Jones, Research Projects Manager, Global Health

    • Shelby Noe, Program Assistant Director, Epidemiology

    New Staff

    • Michelle Fletcher, Public Health Program Associate, Behavioral, Social, Health Education Sciences

    • Daniel Camp, Public Health Program Associate, Global Health

    • Jiandong Chen, Biostatistician, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics

    • Lauren Dempsey, Research Projects Manager, Epidemiology

    • Kamini Doraivelu, Public Health Program Associate, Global Health

    • Courtney Johnson, Biostatistician, Epidemiology

    • Allison Kniola, Public Health Program Associate, Epidemiology

    • Oleksiy Levantsevych, Clinical Research Coordinator II, Epidemiology

    • Zabi Mulwa, Business Analyst I, Career Development

    • Ja’Shondra Pouncy, Public Health Program Associate, Behavioral, Social, Health Education Sciences

    • Radhika Prakash Asrani, Data Analyst, Epidemiology

    • Meagan Stephenson, Public Health Program Associate, Epidemiology

    • Rachel Usher, Project Coordinator, Environmental Health

    • Jiantong Wang, Biostatistician, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics

    • Zhuowei Wang, Biostatistician, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics

    • Alana Zelaya, Public Health Program Associate, Epidemiology

    • Deanna Zhong, Senior Research Administration Coordinator, Behavioral, Social, Health Education Sciences

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