Synergy awards

stock illustration of a group winning an award

The Woodruff Health Sciences Center has announced the 11 proposals selected for funding in the third cycle of Synergy Awards. The awards support collaborative projects among faculty at Emory's schools of medicine, nursing, and public health, and all other units in the WHSC. Proposals for the Synergy Awards are required to include faculty members with primary appointments in at least two different schools/units as co-principal investigators. The awards are intended to support new, highly innovative projects that are not yet funded or published.

Ten of the 11 winning proposals included Rollins faculty members. Our Synergy winners are Christine Moe (environmental health, epidemiology, global health) for Defining the Impact of Hospital and Household Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Conditions on Sepsis Outcomes in Normal and Low Birth Weight Neonates in Amhara, Ethiopia; Carla Berg (behavioral science and health education) for Improving Health-Promoting Behaviors in Adolescent Cancer Survivors Using AWAKE: A Feasibility Trial; Robert Breiman (environmental health, global health) for The Emory-Congo Brain Health Initiative: Enhancing Neurological Diagnosis with a Normed and Culturally-Appropriate Neuropsychological Battery; Felipe Lobelo (global health) for Morphometric and Functional Markers as Determinants of Perioperative Risk; Yan V. Sun (epidemiology) for New Hereditary Kidney Cancer Syndrome; Amit J. Shah (epidemiology) for Smartphone-Enabled Supervised Exercise Therapy for the Treatment of Symptomatic Peripheral Arterial Disease; Jorge Vidal (global health) for Dissemination of Macrolide Resistance Elements in Streptococcus Pneumoniae; Yijuan Hu (biostatistics and bioinformatics) for Metagenomic Cartography of the Virome in Transplant Recipients; Gary Miller (environmental health) for A Systematic Analysis of Environmental Toxicants in Cardiomyocytes Derived from Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells; and Lisa Staimez (global health) for Cell-Free DNA Methylation as a Biomarker of Pancreatic Beta-Cell Death in Youth.

Rise in flu deaths

A. Danielle Iuliano (epidemiology) is lead author on a paper published in The Lancet that shows a worldwide increase in annual deaths caused by seasonal flu-related respiratory illnesses. Howard Chang, (biostatistics and bioinformatics) is a collaborator on the paper.

Childhood adversity and cardiovascular disease

Shakira F. Suglia (epidemiology) is lead author on a new scientific statement written on behalf of the American Heart Association (AHA). The statement, which will be printed in the AHA's journal, Circulation, highlights current research linking childhood adversity to cardiovascular disease and the need for increased research in this area.

head shot of Sandra L. Thurman  
Sandra L. Thurman
A Sandra L. Thurman (global health) received the 2017 Ryan White Distinguished Leadership Award. The award recognizes Sandy for decades of work on HIV prevention, care, treatment, and policy. She currently serves as the Chief Strategy Officer in the United States Department of State’s Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Global Health Diplomacy. She has held leadership positions throughout her career, including leading the Office of National AIDS Policy under President Bill Clinton; presidential envoy on HIV/AIDS; senior advisor for strategy and development at the CDC, and as director of both the Interfaith Health Program and the Joseph W. Blount Center for Health and Human Rights at Rollins.

head shot of Robert F. Breiman  
Robert F. Breiman
The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) has elected Robert F. Breiman to its 2017 class of leading health scientists and international members. Rob is director of the Emory Global Health Institute and professor in global health and environmental health. An infectious disease epidemiologist, he has led research programs in a variety of urban and rural surveillance systems, and is former director of the Kenya office of the CDC, its largest overseas field operation.

Dabney Evans (global health) received the 2018 Early Career Public Health Teaching Award from the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH). Dabney is globally recognized for her research, writing, and lectures on health and human rights. She is director of the Center for Humanitarian Emergencies, executive director of the Institute of Human Rights, and interim director of the Institute of Developing Nations. Dabney is the fifth Rollins faculty member to receive this award since 2007.

Jena Black, associate director of academic programs, was selected for Emory’s 2017 Award of Distinction. These award recognizes employees for their contributory excellence to the university’s mission, programs and operations.

Timothy Lash (epidemiology) was selected for the Distinguished Alumni Award from Boston University School of Public Health.

Casey D. Hall 14MPH, doctoral student in behavioral sciences and health education, won the Durfee Goodman Student Paper Award from the Family Violence Prevention Caucus. The award recognizes excellence among students and recent graduates in the field of family violence prevention and research.


March 9: EPI Grand Rounds—Scott McNabb presents "How do we transform public health surveillance from an old, dilapidated house into a new smart home?" 11:50 am – 1:30 pm, Claudia Nance Rollins Room 1000.

March 23: EPI Grand Rounds— Scott McNabb presents "Screening for Critical Congenital Heart Disease." 11:50 am – 1:30 pm, Claudia Nance Rollins Room 1000.

April 9: Donna J. Brogan Lecture in Biostatistics— David Oakes of University of Rochester Medical Center presents "On Some Controversies in Cardiovascular Clinical Trials." 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm, Lawrence P. & Ann Ester Klamon Room

*View all Rollins events on the online calendar.


Strong NIH funding

Dean James W. Curran

This year, Rollins ranked fifth among U.S. schools of public health in NIH funding. In fiscal year 2017, we received 88 awards for a total of $41,658,695 in funding—a 22 percent increase over the previous year, when we had 76 awards for a total of $34,093,420. Funding from all sources, including NIH, totaled $131,678,383 last year. In these increasingly competitive times, I am proud of our team for sustaining our research mission.

John McGowan Jr. retires

head shot of John McGowan Jr  
John McGowan Jr.

John McGowan Jr. has retired from his position as professor of epidemiology after 40-plus years dedicated to public health and medicine. John started his public health career as an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer at the CDC in 1969 before moving on to work as a hospital epidemiologist at Boston City Hospital. He was recruited to work at Grady Memorial Hospital as an infectious diseases physician and hospital epidemiologist—where he worked for 25 years and also directed the clinical microbiology lab—and started teaching classes to Emory MPH students in the early '90s before being recruited to Rollins full time in 1998.

In addition to his work with MPH and MSPH students, John has been instrumental in growing the MD/MPH dual degree program offered through the School of Medicine and Rollins. Prior to John, the program received about one new student every two years. Now, the MD/MPH program receives between nine and 25 students a year.

Over the years, John has received numerous recognitions and awards for his contributions to public health. Among these are: the Thomas F. Sellers Jr. Award for Faculty Role Model and Mentor, the Emory Williams University Award for Distinguished Teaching, the Charles Hatcher Jr. Award for Excellence in Public Health, and his selection as the 2017 Commencement Address speaker. John and his family established the McGowan Family Scholarship Fund, which provides financial assistance for the Rollins costs associated with earning an MD/MPH or a JD/MPH at Emory.

For more about John’s career, go to

A good day’s work


Emory University celebrated its second “All in a Day: 24 Hours of Change” on February 7 – 8. The 24-hour online fundraising challenge is a nonstop day of efforts by Emory schools, centers, departments, and programs to recruit donors to match challenges and unlock bonuses.

Brooks Lyddan led the fundraising effort for Rollins, which netted 342 gifts totaling $47,747, according to a preliminary tally. Rollins won four of the school-based challenges and power hours, tying for the most of any school or unit. In addition, 105 gifts totaling $8,755 were made to the Center for AIDS Research. Final numbers will be available within a few weeks.

Silver anniversary of Women’s and Children’s Center

The Rollins Women’s and Children’s Center celebrated its 25th anniversary with a Silver Symposium on Feb. 19 – 20. The event was kicked off with a reception and keynote address by Barbara Stoll, dean of the McGovern Medical School at University of Texas Health Science Center. Her talk celebrated the accomplishments of the center’s director, Carol J. Rowland Hogue, the Jules and Uldeen Terry Chair in Maternal and Child Health. The next day featured talks by a several of the center’s faculty, collaborators, and former students, including the center’s first PhD graduate, Larissa Huber, and its first post-doctoral fellow, Laurie Gaydos.

The center’s silver anniversary celebration began last April with a talk by Michelle Williams, the dean of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health as part of the Maternal and Child Health Lecture series. It will conclude on May 25 with Carol presenting the National Academy of Medicine Report on abortion as part of Epi grand rounds.

Nutrition PhD program celebrates 25 years

Symposium speakers and program leadership, seated l to r: Usha Ramakrishnan, Nancy Aburto, Ray Martorell, Amy Webb-Girard. Standing l to r: Lisa Tedesco, Dean P. Jones, Heidi Blanck, Holly Symolon, Venkat Narayan, Al Merrill

The PhD program in Nutrition and Health Sciences celebrated its 25th anniversary on February 1 with an evening event that doubled as a recruitment vehicle. Some 125 faculty members, alumni, and potential doctoral students gathered in the Lawrence P. and Ann Estes Klamon Room to celebrate.

Faculty, including adjunct faculty, kicked the session off with a series of TED-style talks on the future of nutrition science. The talks were followed by a student poster session. Finally, attendees were treated to a reception and banquet where inaugural awards were bestowed. The first faculty mentor award was given to—and named for—Reynaldo Martorell, who is one of the founding faculty members of the program. The distinguished alumni award went to Heidi Blanck, who is obesity chief in the CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. The student mentor award was given to Leila Larson, who graduated in 2017. Larson also won the McCormick Award, which is given annually to a student who excels in the program.

Bartlett and Arranz join development team

head shot of sarah barlett  
Sarah Bartlett

The Rollins development and alumni relations team has welcomed two new members. Sarah Bartlett has joined as director of development and Karin Arranz, has come on board as assistant director of development services.

Sarah’s primary focus will be working with faculty to develop and submit proposals to foundations and corporations. Faculty members are encouraged to seek out her expertise.

She comes to Rollins from Georgia Organics, where she led their fundraising efforts. Prior to that post, she was a senior associate director of development at The Carter Center, where her many accomplishments included securing funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, and a multi-million gift from a Nigerian philanthropist. Earlier in her career, Bartlett was a grants and research assistant in CARE’s foundation unit.

Sarah received her master’s degree in public administration with honors from the University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy and is an honors graduate of the University of Florida.

Karin comes to Rollins from Georgia State University, where she served as a development associate. Prior to that post, she served as donor services coordinator for the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra.

Karin received her degree in mass communications from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. She will coordinate operational support for the Rollins development and alumni relations team and manage projects to support fundraising goals.

Fellowship for Health Professions Educators


Educators in the health sciences are invited to apply for the inaugural WHEA Fellowship in Educational Scholarship, a certificate program presented by the Woodruff Health Educators Academy for educators who would like to enhance their education scholarship skills.

This 18-month certificate program, which begins in September, consists of expert-led workshops coupled with a mentored research project to be conducted in the participants' education settings. Early- to mid-career educators from any of the Emory health sciences schools, centers, programs, or practice sites are invited to apply. At least two years of educational experience are preferred, and support of the participant's administrative unit is required. Application deadline is April 1. (Participants will be notified of acceptance by April 15.)

In addition to kickoff and graduation events, the curriculum consists of six monthly four-hour workshops, all on Wednesday afternoons, and monthly project group meetings over a 12-month period.

Important dates:
• Applications due April 1, 2018
• Participants notified April 15, 2018
• Kickoff event: Wednesday September 12, 2018
• Workshops: Wednesdays 1-5 pm: October 10, 2018; November 14, 2018; December 12, 2018;
January 16, 2019; February 13, 2019; March 20 2019
• Project group meetings: Monthly April 2019 – March 2020, time TBD
• Graduation & poster presentation event: March 2020

More information:

New grants

Robert Breiman, Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance (CHAMPS) Network, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, $12 million

Kelli Stidham Hall, The Center for Reproductive Health Research in the Southeast (RISE), Anonymous Foundation, $6.8 million

Thomas Clasen, Household Air Pollution and Health: A Multi-country LPG Intervention Trial, NIH National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, $2 million

Patrick Sullivan, Engaging African American and Latino MSM for HIV Testing and Prevention Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, $850,000

Saad Omer, A Comprehensive Pre-natal Intervention to Increase Vaccine Coverage, NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, $810,000

Karen Levy, Urban Water Systems, Enteric Pathogen Distribution & Gut Microbiome, NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, $790,000

Neel Gandhi, The Role of Casual Contact and Migration in XDR TB Transmission in South Africa, NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, $780,000

Michael Goodman, Pathways to Care and Health Outcomes Among DSD Patients, NIH National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, $690,000

Shakira Suglai, Childhood Adversity and Cardiovascular Health among Puerto Rican Youth, NIH National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, $670,000

Carla Berg, Regulatory Impact on Vape Shops and Young Adults' Use of ENDS, NIH National Cancer Institute, $660,000

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

Appointments and Promotions

Faculty promotions
  • William Caudle, Associate Professor, Environmental Health

  • Howard Chang, Associate Professor, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics

  • Hannah Cooper, Professor, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

  • Yijuan Hu, Associate Professor, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics

  • Kimberly Jacob Arriola, Senior Associate Dean of Academic Affairs

New faculty

  • Antonio Baker, Lecturer, Global Health

  • Xiangqin Cui, Associate Professor, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics

  • Karla Galaviz Arredondo, Assistant Professor, Global Health

  • Yue Guan, Assistant Professor, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

  • Lauren Maxwell, Assistant Professor, Global Health

  • Melissa Smarr, Assistant Professor, Environmental Health

Post Doctoral Fellows

  • Valerie Bauza, Environmental Health

  • Natasha Crooks, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

  • Renuka Fnu, Global Health

  • Wenxin Jiang, Global Health

  • Jinha Lee, Epidemiology

  • Robin McGee, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

  • Heather Reese, Environmental Health

  • Douglas Walker, Environmental Health

  • Akilah Wise, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

Staff Promotions

  • LaMonta Beard, Senior Research Specialist, Global Health

  • Jennifer Black, Program Assistant Director, Dean’s Office

  • Maryann Delea, Lead Public Health Program Associate, Environmental Health

  • Sharon Dorsey, Program Coordinator, Global Health

  • Priya D'Souza, Lead Public Health Program Associate, Environmental Health

  • Jamie Green, Senior Public Health Program Associate, Global Health

  • Megan Higdon, Senior Public Health Program Associate, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

  • Jasper Hood Jr., Research Administrative Coordinator, Global Health

  • Clerra Johnson, Lead Research Specialist, Environmental Health

  • Candace Meadows, Program and Research Manager, Epidemiology

  • Claudia Paez-Ellett, Assistant Dean, Career Services

  • Donte Perkins, Financial Analyst, Global Health Institute

  • Mariana Popa, Post Award II Research Administrator, Research Administration

  • Brittney Romanson, Program Assistant Director, Student Services

  • Christin Root, Program Associate Director, Global Health

  • Lane Vance, Research Projects Manager, Environmental Health

  • Maria Zlotorzynska, Research Projects Associate Director, Epidemiology

New Staff

  • Elizabeth Adam, Data Analyst, Epidemiology

  • Perry Bartsch III, Research Specialist, Environmental Health

  • Allyson Bianchi, Student Academic Services Administrator, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

  • Danielle Broadnax, Public Health Program Associate, Epidemiology

  • Julia Chen, Public Health Program Associate, Global Health Institute

  • Yunyun Chen, Biostatistician, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics

  • Sehar Dadani, Clinical Research Coordinator I, Epidemiology

  • Contessa Davis, Clinical Research Coordinator II, Epidemiology

  • Maurice Haines, Fulfillment Services Representative I, Fulfillment Services

  • Allison Hankus, Lead Research Specialist, Epidemiology

  • Sophie Hartwig, Senior Public Health Program Associate, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

  • Wendi Hicks, Admissions Assistant Director, Student Services

  • Johanna Inglis-Parker, Senior Administrative Assistant, Dean's Office

  • Grace Lee, Senior Public Health Program Associate, Environmental Health

  • Claudia Moya, Public Health Program Associate, Global Health Institute

  • Johanna Pringle, Senior Public Health Program Associate, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

  • Nyree Pugh, IT Procurement and Asset Management Analyst, Information Services

  • Ramona Rai, Data Analyst, Epidemiology

  • Zelda Ray, Education Program Coordinator, Epidemiology

  • Lindsay Ruhlin, Administrative Assistant, Dean’s Office

  • Vasthi Shuler, Phlebotomist II, Epidemiology

  • Katherine Singh, Public Health Program Associate, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

  • Damien Swearing, Research Specialist, Environmental Health

  • Ashaki Williams, Communications Manager, Student Services

  • Ziduo Zheng, Biostatistician, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics

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