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University Impact Report

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Read Emory’s new Impact Report for FY 18, detailing work in five areas: preparing tomorrow’s leaders, discovery, community, caring and healing, and economic impact on Atlanta.

Winners of the Dean’s Pilot and Innovation Awards

The Dean’s Pilot and Innovation Award is aimed at helping junior faculty position their research better to win extramural grants. For the first round, we received 15 proposals from across all departments in the school. A committee chaired by Dana Barr conducted a peer review. Each proposal was reviewed by two independent reviewers and discussed at a full committee meeting. They were and scored using the NIH scale.

With many good proposals, the decision was inevitably difficult, but we are excited to announce the 2019 Dean’s Pilot Awards Winners:

Allison Chamberlain (epidemiology) for Characterizing PrEP Promotion Activities and Needs Among Primary Care Providers in Fulton County, GA;

Benjamin Risk (biostatistics and bioinformatics) for Improving Estimates of Functional Connectivity in the Human Brain;

Dayna Johnson (epidemiology) for the Urban Environment and Circadian Disruptions: Implications for Cardiovascular Health Among African Americans;

Donghai Liang (environmental health) for the Saliva Metabolome in Trafffic-Related Health Study;

Melissa Young (global health) for Pilot Testing of an Innovative Imaging Technology for Assessing Child Body Composition.

Synergy II/Nexus Awards

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Emory University’s Woodruff Health Sciences Center and Office of the Provost have announced the recipients of the Synergy II/Nexus Awards, selecting four proposals out of 16 submitted. These awards expand the scope of the original Synergy Awards and promote cross-disciplinary collaboration and discovery by including scientists from both WHSC and Emory College. The awards are intended to support new, highly innovative projects that are not yet funded or published and that have potential to generate scientific achievements of the highest quality and impact.

Three of the four winning proposals included Rollins faculty members. Our Synergy II/Nexus winners are:

Matthew Freeman (environmental health) with Rachel Patzer (SOM), Eri Saikawa (C), and Lisa M. Thompson (SON) for Building an Interdisciplinary Research Community to Strengthen Capacity and Training for Implementation Science;

Julie Gazmararian (epidemiology, behavioral sciences and health education, health policy and management) and Dayna Johnson (epidemiology) with Amanda Freeman (C), Michelle Lampl (C), and Hillary Rodman (C) for Emory Sleep Consortium;

Uriel Kitron (environmental health, C) with Jessica Fairley (SOM), Thomas Gillespie (C), Colleen Kraft (SOM), Sharon Vanairsdale (SON) for Preparing the U.S. for Climate Change-Induced Infectious Disease Impacts: An Interdisciplinary Research Strategy.

Bowman gives Brogan Lecture

F. DuBoix Bowman

F. DuBois Bowman, dean of the University of Michigan School of Public Health, presented the 14th annual Donna J. Brogan Lecture in Biostatistics to a large audience. DuBois began his academic career at Rollins as an assistant professor of biostatistics in 2000 and went on to become a full professor and the founding director of the Center for Biomedical Imaging Statistics. His talk was titled “Precision Discovery of Neuroimaging Biomarkers for Parkinson’s Disease.” He concluded his remarks by expressing his gratitude to Donna Brogan for her activities over many years in promoting and advancing careers for women in statistics.

image of amy girard left and do mai hoa
Karen Andes

Karen Andes (global health) was selected as a 2018-2019 Governor’s Teaching Fellow. Karen is one of 18 faculty members from institutions of higher education across the state selected through a highly competitive application process for the 2018-2019 cohort, and only the second Emory faculty member to participate in the past 25 years. The Governor's Teaching Fellows Program, an outreach program based at the University of Georgia, was established in 1995 by former Gov. Zell Miller to provide Georgia's higher education faculty with expanded opportunities for developing important teaching skills. Karen also directs the Ventanilla de Salud program at the Mexican Consulate in Atlanta.

Melissa Smarr (environmental health) selected for the Pediatric Research magazine’s Early Career Investigator spotlight for the August issue. Her research article, "Comparison of fetal growth by maternal prenatal acetaminophen use," will appear in the same issue, and she will be featured on the magazine’s podcast.


May 31 – June 1: National LGBTQ Health Conference. This gathering will address the substantial health inequities experienced by Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Transgender and Queer persons. Emory Conference Center Hotel

*View all Rollins events on the online calendar.


Celebrations in Spring


We come into this commencement season on a high note. In the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings, Rollins came in at No. 5 among the nation’s 177 accredited programs and schools of public health. Rollins has placed in the top 10 for more than 15 years—most recently as No. 7. This year marks the first time that accredited programs of public health were included on the list.

On May 13, we graduated 527 MPH and MSPH students, including 25 dual-degree graduates, in our first indoor commencement ceremony. We also awarded 26 PhD degrees. Retiring Executive Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Charles Howard Candler Professor of Public Health Richard Levinson gave the commencement address, in which he encouraged graduates to, "Go raise public health!" Jessica Seiler 19MPH was the student speaker, and she characterized public health as the most optimistic of sciences.

Adia Raichelle Louden 19MPH accepted the James W. Alley Award for service to disadvantaged populations.

The Eugene J. Gangarosa Award for creative solutions in global health was presented to Alana Zelaya Flores 19MPH.

Juan Leon (global health) was recognized with two awards. He received the Thomas F. Sellers Jr. Award for exemplifying the ideals of public health and serving as a role model to colleagues. The award is given to an indiv idual who represents the best qualities of collegiality. Juan was also named Professor of the Year by the Rolling Student Government Association.

The Rollins Student Government Association named Larry Cardwell (campus services) as its Staff Person of the Year.

The Charles C. Shepard Award for best RSPH thesis was presented to Julia Gallini 19MPH. The award is given to the graduating master's student who is deemed by the faculty to have prepared the most scholarly research paper.

Rosa Abraha

Rosa Abraha 19MPH has been selected as the 2019 Emory Graduate Student Leader of the Year. Rosa served as 2018 president of the Rollins Student Government Association and has been an active member of the Emory community throughout her time at Rollins. This award highlights Abraha's dedication to creating an inclusive and welcoming campus environment that makes Rollins student life exceptional.

Aisha Mahmood 20MPH received The Heart of Emory Award, given to students who are active, passionate contributors to the Emory community. Aisha was a member of the Graduate Student Government Association's Diversity, Inclusion, and Student Concerns Committee.

Mitchel Klein (epidemiology) received the inaugural Provost’s Distinguished Teaching Award  for Excellence in Graduate and Professional Education, which is given to one faculty member per school.

The following faculty were honored with Department Awards for Teaching Excellence: Dawn Comeau (behavioral sciences and health education), Kelli Komro (behavioral sciences and health education), Hao Wu (biostatistics and bioinformatics), Kelley Chester (executive MPH), Matthew Gribble (environmental health), Lauren Christiansen-Lindquist (epidemiology), Karen Andes (global health), and Adam Wilk (health policy and management).

A school founder retires

Richard Levinson

We celebrated Richard Levinson’s retirement earlier this month with toasts, slide shows, and a little bit of Sound of Music. Dick is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Public Health and executive associate dean for academic affairs emeritus—and I contend he has been the best academic affairs dean Emory has ever had in any school. Dick helped develop, lead, and grow the school from its very earliest days, and he has guided the promotion and tenure of hundreds of faculty members.

Dick was recruited to Emory’s Department of Sociology as an assistant professor in 1972. He quickly made a name for himself for his innovative teaching, his incomparable work ethic, and his knack for collaboration—among his extracurriculars was involvement with a group that was the precursor to Emory’s Center for Ethics. When faculty from the School of Medicine discussed adding an academic program aimed at training candidates for health planning jobs, he was tapped to help map out a curriculum. In 1975, Dick was among six faculty teaching in the School of Medicine’s Master of Community Health Program, which eventually became our school.

Outside the university, Dick worked on Senator Edward Kennedy’s staff of the U.S. Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee and on Representative John Dingell’s staff on the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee as a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow. He also served as Chief of the Behavioral Epidemiology and Evaluation Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Over the years, Levinson’s overall excellence has been recognized with both the school’s and university’s highest honors including the Thomas F. Sellers Jr. Award, Professor of the Year, University Teacher Scholar, the Crystal Apple Award, and the Thomas Jefferson Award. He has been a beloved and cherished colleague, professor, and friend who has helped shape the path of not only the school, but thousands of the students, staff, and faculty who have come through its doors. In honor of his legacy, our school’s largest and best classroom, CNR 1000, has been renamed in his honor.

Stephens receives Charles R. Hatcher Jr. MD Award

Jon Lewin, David Stephens, and Jim Curran

David S. Stephens has been named the 2019 recipient of the Charles R. Hatcher Jr. Award for Excellence in Public Health. David is the Stephen W. Schwarzmann Distinguished Professor of Medicine, vice president for research of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, and chair of Department of Medicine at Emory School of Medicine. David is also professor of microbiology and immunology at the SOM and professor of epidemiology at Rollins.

Since joining Emory in 1982, David has led the development of very successful programs in infectious diseases and microbial pathogenesis. He has been a major contributor to the creation and development of the NIH-funded Emory Vaccine Center, the Emory Center for AIDS Research, and the Serious Communicable Diseases Unit at Emory.

New grants

Robert Breiman, Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance (CHAMPS) Network, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, $27.7 million, continuation.

Carmen Marsit, HERCULES: Health and Exposome Research Center at Emory 5 Yr - Competitive Renewal, NIH National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, $1.5 million, continuation.

Christine Moe, Assessment of Fecal Exposure Pathways in Low-Income Urban Settings, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, $1.2 million, continuation

Kathryn Yount, Impact Evaluation of Tipping Point, CARE, $940,000, January 14, 2019 – March 1, 2023

Carlos del Rio, Center for AIDS Research, NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, $930,000, supplement

Viola Vaccarino, Sleep Disturbance as a Mechanism for Ischemic Heart Disease in PTSD, NIH National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, $780,000, continuation

Aaron Siegler, Integrating a Combination HIV Prevention Intervention into a Widely-Used Geosocial App for Chinese MSM, NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, $700,000, January 23, 2019 – December 31, 2022

Shakira Suglia, Stress, Epigenetics and Aging, NIH National Institute on Aging, $680,000, continuation

Hannah Cooper, Developing the Evidence Base for Overdose Policies: A Multilevel Analysis of NHBS, NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse, $660,000, continuation

Michele Marcus, Collaborative Research and Action: Empowering an Exposed Community, NIH National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, $620,000, continuation. 

Rollins faculty have received many other grants for research and training between February 1 - May 1 View the complete list.

Appointments and promotions

Faculty promotions
  • Jeb Jones, Assistant Professor, Epidemiology

New faculty

  • Umedjon Ibragimov, Assistant Professor, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

Post doctoral fellows

  • Shuwel Li, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics

Staff promotions

  • Hillary Barton, Research Projects Manager, Epidemiology

  • Laura Donnelly, Programs Senior Associate Director, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

  • Yevgenly Kovalenkov, Pre-Award III Research Administrator, Research Administration

  • Erin Lebow-Skelley, Lead Public Health Program Associate, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

  • Ashley Mastin, Academic Department Administrator, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

  • Elizabeth Pembleton, Programs Associate Director, Epidemiology

  • Jianping Qi, Academic Department Administrator, Epidemiology

  • Ann Lockard Thorne, Senior Public Health Program Associate, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

New staff

    • Chimora Ngozi Amobi, Public Health Program Associate, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

    • Taylor Lee Kennedy, Public Health Program Associate, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

    • Kamaria Dansby, Research Specialist, Epidemiology

    • Diane Johnson-Alexander, Administrative Assistant, Epidemiology

    • Sarah Elias Durry, Public Health Program Associate, Global Health

    • Olivia Manders, Senior Research Administration Coordinator, Global Health

    • Andisheh Nouraee, Communications Director, Global Health Institute

    • Rosemarie Henson Sampson, Operations Senior Director (CHAMPS), Global Health Insitute

    • Tammy Lee Babitz, Post Award III Research Administrator, Research Administration

    • Maleika Huff, Post Award III Research Administrator, Research Administration

    • Aisha Ricketts, Communications Manager, Student Services

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