image of buprenorphine

Underprescription of opioid drug

Hannah Cooper (behavioral, social, and health education sciences) is lead author on a paper published in the International Journal of Drug Policy that looks at buprenorphine dispensing behaviors in rural Kentucky. She and her team found that pharmacists in this area are reluctant to prescribe the medication that is used to treat opioid disorders. The authors suggest that any buprenorphine prescription initiatives should incorporate pharmacists in the future and should include policy changes to increase dispensing.

Household air pollution

image of marsit

Several Rollins researchers, in collaboration with schools of medicine at Johns Hopkins University and Colorado State University, are leading the Household Air Pollution Intervention Network (HAPIN) study, a multicountry randomized controlled field trial to assess the impact of cleaner burning cooking stoves on household air pollution and health in four low- and medium-income countries. Researchers involved—all in environmental health unless otherwise noted—include: Thomas Clasen, Dana Boyd Barr, Kyle Steenland, Ajay Pillarisetti, Jiawen Liao, Jeremy Sarnat, Miles A. Kirby, Howard Chang (biostatistics and bioinformatics), Lance Waller (biostatistics and bioinformatics), and P. Barry Ryan.

New scientific search tool

image of logo CoCites
A. Cecile J.W. Janssens

A team led by A. Cecile J.W. Janssens (epidemiology) created an online, citation-based search tool—CoCites—that helps researchers find related articles for scientific literature in PubMed. With CoCites, users don’t enter keywords, they enter or select the title of the article for which they would like to find related content. The tool retrieves these other articles through co-citations. Articles that are frequently cited together with the selected paper appear at the top of the search results. CoCites is currently available as a browser extension for Chrome or Firefox; an extension for Safari will be added next month.


Shivani Patel (global health) has been invited onto the DBT/Wellcome Trust India Alliance Early Career Fellowship Selection Committee. You can learn more about the DBT/Wellcome Trust India Alliance here.

Milkie Vu (behavioral, social, and health education sciences) was named one of this year’s P.E.O. Scholar Award recipients. This merit-based award is granted to women in doctoral programs in the US and Canada who demonstrate scholarly excellence, academic achievement, and worthwhile career goals. In addition, Vu was recently selected as a 2019 winner of the American Psychological Foundation’s Visionary Grant for her project, “An Examination of Multi-level Factors Influencing Vietnamese-American Parents’ HPV Vaccine Uptake for Their Adolescent Children.”


View all Rollins events on the online calendar.


Virtual commencement

photo of DEAN CURRAN  
Dean Curran

We celebrated commencement virtually on May 11, honoring the Class of 2020 via the Internet. I kicked off the ceremony by acknowledging that while the event was virtual, the accomplishments of our students have been very real. Lisa Carlson 93MPH, president of the American Public Health Association and executive director for research programs and operations for the Emory School of Medicine, gave the commencement address, during which she challenged graduates to seek social justice, rely on scientific evidence, and act with compassion. The student speaker this year was Taylor German 20MPH, RSPH Student Government president.

Grace Lenore Morrow 20MPH received the James W. Alley Award for service to disadvantaged populations. .

The Eugene J. Gangarosa Award for creative solutions in global health was presented to Hasna Raisa Zainul 20MPH.

Janet R. Cummings (health policy and management) was given the Thomas F. Sellers, Jr. Award for exemplifying the ideals of public health and serving as a role model to colleagues. .

Monique Hennink (global health) received the Provost’s Distinguished Teaching Award for Excellence in Graduate and Professional Education. .

photo of jodie guest  
Jodie Guest

The Rollins Student Government Association named Jodie Guest (epidemiology) Faculty of the Year and Pam Andrews (Rollins Café/Starbucks) as Staff Member of the Year. .

The Charles C. Shepard Award for best RSPH thesis was presented to Shan Jiang 20MPH. The award is given to the graduating master's student who is deemed by the faculty to have prepared the most scholarly research paper. .

photo of amposta williams  
Joanne Amposta Williams

Joanne Amposta Williams (student engagement) was awarded the Advisor/Mentor of the Year Award, presented by the Office of Student Involvement, Leadership and Transitions. .

The following faculty were honored with Department Awards for Teaching Excellence: Robin E. McGee (MPH program—behavioral, social, and health education sciences), Michelle C. Kegler (PhD program—behavioral, social, and health education sciences), John J. Hanfelt (biostatistics and bioinformatics), Jodie Guest (epidemiology), Michael Caudle (executive MPH), Frederic E. Shaw (health policy and management), Sophia A. Hussen (global health). The award was given to the entire teaching faculty in environmental health. “This was in recognition of the commitment that all of our teaching faculty showed this year to ensure that students had the full benefit of instruction and the extraordinary efforts they made to do so, especially after the closing of campus in the spring,” says Tom Clasen, interim chair of the department. “The monetary award will be donated to an Atlanta food bank serving families whose food security is impacted by the pandemic.

COVID-19 response


Rollins faculty, staff, and students have been actively engaged with the COVID-19 response through engagement with local and state health departments, public health organizations, collaborations, grants, and initiatives. Read a summary of Rollins-led COVID-19 projects currently underway.

Sterk receives Hatcher Award


Claire E. Sterk, president of Emory University, has been named the 2020 recipient of the Charles R. Hatcher Jr. MD Award for Excellence in Public Health. Sterk joined Rollins in 1995, with primary research interests in addiction, mental health, and HIV/AIDS. She went on to serve as the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Public Health, chair of the Department of Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences, and associate dean for research.

In 2005 Sterk became the university as senior vice provost for academic affairs. She went on to serve as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs in 2013. In this role, she oversaw the implementation of the university’s 2005– 2015 strategic plan, achieved reaffirmation of Emory’s accreditation, and spearheaded faculty development.

Sterk became Emory’s first female president in 2016. During her tenure, she guided the annexation of Emory into the city of Atlanta, appointed the university’s first vice provost for diversity and inclusion, and created an ombuds office. The university’s research funding grew to $689 million during her four years, and Emory has been named Atlanta’s largest employer.

She has done a remarkable job during her time at the helm of the university. We are thrilled that, even as she steps down from that post, she will remain with Emory and with Rollins. She is returning to her passion, which is and has always been public health.”

Alonso named Clements Distinguished Professor

photo of alvaro alonso  
Alvaro Alonso

Alvaro Alonso (epidemiology) has been selected as the inaugural Stephen D. Clements, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Cardiovascular Disease Prevention and Research after a competitive national search led by Viola Vaccarino (epidemiology).This endowed chair was established in January 2018 by the O. Wayne Rollins Foundation to honor Stephen D. Clements, Jr., MD, a distinguished Emory cardiologist and longtime friend of the Rollins family, who has dedicated his career to clinical care, prevention, and discovery in cardiovascular disease.

A cardiovascular disease epidemiologist, Alvaro’s research expertise centers around the nutritional, lifestyle, clinical, and genetic determinants of cardiovascular disorders. For the last decade, his work has focused on the epidemiology of cardiac arrhythmias, particularly atrial fibrillation (AF), mostly in the context of large epidemiologic studies, and using large health care claims databases.

Through his work, Alvaro has made significant contributions to the identifications of lifestyles, clinical variables, biomarkers, and genetic factors associated with AF and its outcomes, as well as to the study of the comparative effectiveness of direct oral anticoagulants for the prevention of stroke in patients with AF. Recently, he has taken a major role in multiple analyses evaluating associations of cardiovascular risk factors with cognitive decline and dementia incidence.

New grants

Kevin Ward, Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program, NIH National Cancer Institute, $3 million, continuation

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

Dabney Evans, Sparking Systemic Change, Novo Foundation, $1 million, January 1, 2020 – January 1, 2023

Patrick Sullivan, Parrying the Pitfalls of PrEP: Preventing Premature PrEP Discontinuation and STI's, NIH National Institute of Mental Health, $800,000, April 1, 2020 – March 31, 2025

Viola Vaccarino, Sleep Disturbance as a Mechanism for Ischemic Heart Disease in PTSD, NIH National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, $800,000, continuation

Karen Levy, Urban Water Systems, Enteric Pathogen Distribution & Gut Microbiome, NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, $740,000, continuation

Jessica Sales, An Implementation Science Study of Violence Screening Practices, NIH National Institute of Mental Health, $700,000, April 15, 2020 – February 28, 2025

Shakira Suglia, Stress, Epigenetics and Aging, NIH National Institute on Aging, $670,000, continuation

Aaron Siegler, Integrating a Combination HIV Prevention Intervention into a Widely-Used Geosocial, NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, $650,000, continuation

Hannah Cooper, Developing the Evidence Base for Overdose Policies, NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse, $640,000, continuation

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

Appointments and Promotions

New Faculty
  • Nippie Sarita Shah, Associate Professor, Global Health

  • Sheela Selin Sinharoy, Assistant Professor, Global Health

Post Doctoral Fellows

  • Emily Nancy Peterson, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics

  • Alicia Nicole Mullis Kraay, Epidemiology

Staff Promotions

  • Yeqing Cheng, Applications Development/Analyst IV, Information Services

  • Amelia Grace Conrad, Senior Public Health Program Associate, Environmental Health

  • Brian Christopher Graaf, Projects Director, Epidemiology

  • Keven S. Haynes, Information Technology Senior Manager, Dean’s Office

  • Marxavian Jones, Research Projects Manager, Global Health

  • Kelly A. Jordan, Communications Associate Director, Student Services

  • Catherine Gates Kiefer, Program Assistant Director, Student Services

  • Courtnee Matthews, Administrative Assistant, Epidemiology

  • Ramona P. Rai, Senior Data Analyst, Epidemiology

  • Adrienne F. Schwartz, Associate Director, Research Training Initiatives, Dean’s Office

  • Katherine A. Singh, Program & Research Manager, Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences

  • Britton Tuck, Program & Research Manager, Global Health Institute

  • Ryan Zahn, Research Projects Associate Director, Epidemiology

New Staff

    • Ananya Banerjee Tangara, Research Projects Manager, Epidemiology

    • Christy Brozowski, Program Coordinator, Global Health

    • Syed Zeeshan Haider Bukhari, Post Award III Research Administrator, Research Administration

    • Rachel Whitney Corbett, Education Program Coordinator, Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences

    • Patricia Curtis, Senior Administrative Assistant, Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences

    • Lauren Frances Dempsey, Research Projects Manager, Epidemiology

    • Junelle Arielle Lafayette, Post Award II Research Administrator, Research Administration

    • Andrew Robles, Program Assistant Coordinator, Health Policy and Management

    • Allison Paige Salinger, Public Health Program Associate, Environmental Health

    • Martha Scott Tomlinson, Senior Instructions Content Developer, Epidemiology

emory school of medicine past issues forward this newsletter contact us school of medicine emory university emory school of medicine deans letter emory school of medicine deans letter emory school of medicine deans letter