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Amita Manatunga Named the Donna J. Brogan Professor in Biostatistics

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Amita Manatunga

Amita Manatunga has been named as the inaugural Donna J. Brogan Professor in Biostatistics. This endowed professorship recognizes Amita’s excellence in teaching and research—particularly as it relates to the field of biostatistics—and honors the legacy of Donna Jean Brogan, emerita professor.

This is the first named professorship in the Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics other than the Rollins Professorship, which is designated for the chair of the department.

Aside from recognizing Donna’s illustrious career, this named professorship also serves to commemorate the contributions women have made to biostatistics, a field where women have historically been underrepresented. Donna is hopeful it will also help to attract more exceptional people to the field (particularly women), like Amita.

Amita has dedicated her more than 26-year career to advancing methods and applications of complex data structures to address critical public health problems including mental health, epidemiology, and nuclear medicine. She has published more than 125 peer-reviewed manuscripts, is the senior biostatistician for Georgia Clinical and Translational Science Institute at Emory, and the lead biostatistician for a phase-two clinical trial and another group randomized clinical trial. A true collaborator, Amita has partnered with researchers across the university and helped establish a strong mental health methodology research group within the Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics that currently includes three full professors (all female).

Amita has received numerous awards and honors over the years, including the 2018 Teaching Award from her department, election as a fellow of the American Statistical Association, and her selection as the Center for Women at Emory’s 2020 Award for Mentorship. Most recently, she was recognized as the 2020 Elizabeth L. Scott Award recipient by the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies.

Donna Jean Brogan enjoyed a 33-year career in biostatistics at Emory at both the School of Medicine (1971-1990) and Rollins (1990-2004). She was the first female full professor at Rollins, the first female faculty member in Emory’s statistics/biometry department, the fourth female full professor at Emory’ s School of Medicine, and the first female chair of the Department of Biostatistics. A founder of the Caucus for Women in Statistics, Donna has received numerous accolades for teaching and research, and spent much of her career advocating for the advancement of women in statistics. Though she retired from the university in 2004, she has been actively engaged with Emory ever since through her involvement with the Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics and her generous donations to the school. The annual Donna Jean Brogan Annual Lecture in Biostatistics brings globally renowned biostatisticians to campus. In her spare time, she is a challenge-level square dancer.

Faculty research recognition

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Carmen Marsit

We had our first reception to recognize excellence in Rollins faculty research, organized by Carmen Marsit (associate dean for research). The awards presented follow:

• 2019 Millipub Club (recognizes faculty who have published individual papers that have each garnered more than 1,000 citations) Yan Sun (epidemiology), Michele Marcus (epidemiology), Aryeh Stein (global health), Carmen Marsit (epidemiology), K.M. Venkat Narayan (global health), Reynaldo Martorell (global health)

• 2019 Emory 1% Award (recognizes investigators who have received study section review scores in the top one percentile on a grant proposal): Todd Everson (environmental health)

• 2019 Hubert Department of Global Health Research Excellence Award (recognizes a single article of importance to the field) Monique Hennink

• 2019 Rollins Research Service Award (honors an investigator who has gone above and beyond to improve the research environment at our school): Dana Barr (environmental health)

• 2019 Dean Pilot Awards: Benjamin Risk (biostatistics and bioinformatics), Allison Chamberlain (epidemiology), Donghai Liang (environmental health), Melissa Young (global health), Dayna Johnson (epidemiology)

We also recognized Rollins faculty with joint appointments in the Emory School of Medicine, who received awards for research during the School of Medicine Awards Ceremony in the Fall.

• Millipub Club: Scott Fridkin (epidemiology and global health), Neel Gandhi (epidemiology and global health), Sam Lim (epidemiology)

• Emory 1% Club: Henry Blumberg (global health and epidemiology), Neel Gandhi (epidemiology and global health)

• Mentoring Award: Melissa Kotke (behavioral sciences and health education)

• Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion Award: Jodie Guest (epidemiology)

Research incubator

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Yang Liu and Daniel Rochberg

Yang Liu and Daniel Rochberg (both environmental health) are rolling out a Climate and Health Research Incubator to catalyze support for research on this topic. Building on the foundation laid by Climate@Emory, the incubator will pull together scientists from across the university to address one of the century’s defining challenges.


Felipe Lobelo (global health) was named to the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition’s Science Board. The council is a federal advisory committee supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

Dana Flanders (epidemiology and biostatistics and bioinformatics) received the 2019 Abraham Lilienfeld Award by the Epidemiology Section of the American Public Health Association. The award recognizes excellence in the teaching of epidemiology during the course of a career.

Colleen McBride (behavioral sciences and health education) has been named Winship's associate director for community outreach and engagement. She will oversee Winship’s work in areas such as cancer health disparities, recruitment of underserved populations to clinical trials, cancer prevention and cancer control interventions.

Shakira Suglia (epidemiology) has been elected to the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research. The academy is the honorary senior scientist society for those whose research exists at the interface of behavior and medicine. Election to this society is reserved for those with national and international behavioral medicine research excellence.

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Krystyna Rastorguieva

Krystyna Rastorguieva, a prevention science student in the Executive MPH program, received the 2019 Donald A. Pegg Student Leadership Award by the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. This annual memorial award serves to honor the memory of Donald A. Pegg, an advocate for lifestyle medicine, and is presented to four student leaders each year who are committed to advancing this field.

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Alison Hoover 21MPH

Alison Hoover 21MPH is one of just 40 people worldwide selected for the 2019 cohort of “120 Under 40: The New Generation of Family Planning Leaders.” Led by The Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health with support from Bayer, the awards recognize young leaders working to advance family planning and reproductive health.

Lance Waller (biostatistics and bioinformatics) has been appointed to another three-year term on the National Academies’ Board on Mathematical Science and Analytics. He has also been named as the Chair of the American Statistical Association’s Committee on Funded Research for 2020.

Suprateek Kundu (biostatistics and bioinformatics) received the annual 2019 Young Statistical Scientist award given by the International Indian Statistical Association.

Four biostatistics and bioinformatics PhD students—Teng Fei, Yunchuan Kong, Xin Ma and Bo Wei—won the International Biometric Society Eastern North American Region’s Distinguished Student Paper Awards for the 2020 Spring Meeting.


March 26: The groundbreaking for the R. Randall Rollins Building, Rollins Auditorium, Claudia Nance Rollins Building, 4:00 pm

March 30: Donna J. Brogan Lecture, “Personalized treatment: Sounds heavenly but where on Earth did they find the right guinea pig for me?” Lawrence P. & Ann Estes Klamon Room, Claudia Nance Rollins Building, 4:00 pm (reception immediately following the lecture)

April 14: 2020 Southeastern Regional Conference on Environmental Justice, “Building Sustainable Partnerships of Regional, Vulnerable Communities and Area Colleges/Universities to Address the Challenges of Environmental Injustices and Disparate Health Impacts,” Rollins School of Public Health & Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

*View all Rollins events on the online calendar.


Generosity of the Gangarosas

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Dean Curran

We celebrated the leadership and philanthropy of Eugene Gangarosa and his wife, Rose, with a recent reception to unveil the Gangarosa Department of Environmental Health. Following the Hubert Department of Global Health and the Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, this is the third department within Emory University to be named.

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Unveiling the new department name (l-r): Paige Tolbert, Bill Foege, Jim Curran, Rose Gangarosa, Gene Gangarosa

The impact Gene and Rose have had was evident at the celebration. Family, friends, students, faculty, and two Franciscan priests came to toast the Gangarosas. Attendees included Charles Hatcher, Bill Foege, and President Claire Sterk.

Gene began teaching in Emory’s Master of Community Health Program (the precursor of the MPH program) in 1975 when it was first established by Emory. As director of the MPH program from 1983-1990, he worked to build the MPH program, and paved the way for the founding of Emory’s first new school in 72 years in 1990. Gene continues to teach the occasional class at Rollins in his role as emeritus professor and is actively involved with the Center for Global Safe WASH, which he founded.

During his service in World War II, he worked to rebuild water and sanitation systems in Italy. His interest in medicine and enteric pathogens took him to Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, where his intestinal biopsy studies are credited with the widespread adoption of rehydration therapy, which has dramatically influenced the standard operating procedure for treating cholera and saves approximately 1 million children a year. His various public health roles have included serving as director of the University of Maryland’s Pakistan Medical Research Center, working in various leadership positions at the CDC including leading the Epidemic Intelligence Service, and serving as dean of public health at the American University of Beirut.

The Gangarosas’ many gifts to the Rollins include the school’s first global field experience fund, three endowed distinguished professorships, a scholarship fund, and an unrestricted endowment for the Gangarosa Department of Environmental Health.

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Paige Tolbert

We are currently searching for a new chair for this department, as Paige Tolbert, O. Wayne Rollins Chair in Environmental Health, is retiring on March 2. Paige came to Rollins in 1993, fresh from her postdoc at Harvard. She became interim chair of the department in 2005 and was named chair in 2007.

During her tenure, the department of environmental health has more than tripled in size to 21 faculty members. It established a doctoral program, expanded its masters enrollment and set up state-of-the-art laboratory facilities with the opening of the Claudia Nance Rollins Building. The department also added numerous centers and initiatives, including (but not limited to): the Southeastern Center for Air Pollution and Epidemiology; HERCULES Exposome Research Center; Climate@Emory; the HAPIN multinational cook stove trial; a GEOHealth Hub; and the Center for Children’s Health, the Environment, the Microbiome and Metabolomics (C-CHEM2).

The new chair will build on Paige’s outstanding work, helped in large measure by the astounding generosity of the Gangarosas.

Welcome to a pioneering researcher

Joellen Schildkraut

In January, Joellen Schildkraut joined our faculty as professor of epidemiology. A leader in women’s cancer research, Joellen leads three consortia studying ovarian cancer prevention and outcomes in the U.S. and abroad, including a consortium of research on ovarian cancer in African American women. She is particularly interested in ovarian cancer mortality disparities.

Joellen came to us from the University of Virginia School of Medicine. Please join me in giving her a warm welcome.

Closer to 100&Change


Our entry in the MacArthur Foundation’s 100&Change competition—Destination Zero—has advanced to the Top 100. The competition is for a single $100 million grant to help solve one of the world's most critical social challenges. Destination Zero, led by Venkat Narayan, aims at lowering rates of hypertension and diabetes in India and could ultimately impact 100 million people (or more). Watch a brief video and review the project’s web page to get a sense for the scope and scale of the proposed project.

In addition to remaining in the competition for the top prize, being in the top 100 gains Destination Zero a spot in the Bold Solutions Network, designed to provide an innovative approach to identifying the most effective, enduring solutions aligned with donors’ philanthropic goals and to help top applicants gain visibility and funding from a wide array of funders.

Godfrey Oakley and Vijaya Kancherla are on a team led by Nutrition International that also advanced to the top 100. Their submission is titled “Impacting Generations: The Transformative Power of Large-Scale Food Fortification.” The project proposes to support countries with the highest burden of anemia and birth defects to implement large-scale food fortification with two micronutrients—iron and folic acid.  


Loss of a friend and supporter

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Lawrence P. and Anne Estes Klamon

It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of a dear friend, Lawrence P. Klamon. Larry died on December 27, 2019, at age 82 from a rare blood cancer. He and his wife, Ann Estes Klamon, have been incredibly generous and loyal friends to our school, including serving as chair to our Dean’s Council and leading our fundraising efforts in Campaign Emory. The stunning event space on the eighth floor of the Claudia Nance Rollins Building is named in their honor.

Larry was a lawyer and businessman, working with Fuqua Industries for much of his career, rising to president and CEO. In retirement, he was engaged with numerous civic, educational, and health organizations, including service as president to the Rotary Club of Atlanta and vice chair of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. We will miss Larry and always be grateful for his generosity and friendship.

New grants

Jeffrey Koplan, Advancing National Public Health Institutes Globally to Strengthen Public Health, CDC, $3.8 million, September 30, 2019 – September 29, 2024

Thomas Clasen, Household Air Pollution and Health: A Multi-country LPG Intervention Trial, NIH National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, $2.95 million, continuation

Michelle Kegler, Emory Prevention Research Center, CDC, $1.75 million, September 30, 2019 - September 29, 2024

Patrick Sullivan, The UNC/Emory Center for Innovative Technology, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, $1.4 million, June 1, 2019 – May 31, 2020

Jessica Sales, Implementing Trauma Informed Care in HIV Primary Care in the Southeast, NIH National Institute of Mental Health, $760,000, September 23, 2019 – September 22, 2020

Neel Gandhi, The Role of Casual Contact and Migration in XDR TB Transmission in South Africa, NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, $710,000, continuation

Karen Levy, Gut Microbiome, Enteric Infections and Child Growth Across a Rural Urban Gradient, NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, $680,000, continuation

Kelli Komro, Community Randomized Trial in the Cherokee Nation, NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse, $680,000, September 30, 2019 – August 31, 2020

Shakira Suglia, Social Stress Epigenetics and Cardio-Metabolic Health Among Latinos, NIH National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities, $670,000, continuation

Tene Lewis, Social Stressors and Atherosclerosis in African-American Women with Lupus, NIH National Institute of Arthritis Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, $660,000, continuation

Rollins faculty have received many other grants for research and training between September 1, 2019 – February 1, 2020 View the complete list.

Appointments and Promotions

Faculty Promotions
  • Alvaro Alonso, Professor, Epidemiology

  • Karen Andes, Associate Research Professor, Global Health

  • Cam Escoffery, Professor, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

  • Veronika Fedirko, Associate Professor, Epidemiology

  • Ying Guo, Professor, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics

  • Kelli Hall, Associate Professor, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

  • Carmen Marsit, Associate Dean of Research, Dean’s Office

  • Eric Nehl, Associate Professor, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

  • Tianwei Yu, Professor, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics

New Faculty

  • Anke Huels, Assistant Professor, Epidemiology

  • Ajay Pillarisetti, Assistant Professor, Environmental Health

  • Joellen Schildkraut, Professor, Epidemiology

  • Liuhua Shi, Assistant Professor, Environmental Health

  • Ronald Valdiserri, Professor, Epidemiology

Post Doctoral Fellows

  • Marta Diez Valcarce, Global Health

  • Tamala Gondwe, Epidemiology

  • Alicia Kraay, Epidemiology

  • Jennifer Stowell, Environmental Health

Staff Promotions

  • Elizabeth Adam, Senior Data Analyst, Epidemiology

  • Jennifer Tenley Black, Programs Associate Director, Student Services

  • Cherita Clendinen, Clinical Research Coordinator II, Epidemiology

  • Cameron Van England, Research Projects Associate Director, Epidemiology

  • Megan Fields, Program & Research Manager, Epidemiology

  • Chandni Jaggi, Data Analyst, Epidemiology

  • Elizabeth Bixby Kefeli, Pre-Award Manager, Research Administration

  • Loree Mincey, Clinical Research Coordinator III, Epidemiology

  • Shade Owolabi, Research Project Coordinator Supervisor, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

  • Sarah Ann Piper, Programs Associate Director, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

  • Leah Powell, Research Project Coordinator Supervisor, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

  • Tara Redd, Programs Associate Director, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

  • Keriann Conway Roy, Lead Public Health Program Associate, Global Health Institute

  • Navit Salzberg, Research Projects Associate Director, Global Health Institute

  • Mallory Stasko, Lead Public Health Program Associate, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

  • Meghan Sullivan, Academic Programs Senior Associate Director, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

  • Ariadne Swichtenberg, Academic Programs Senior Associate Director, Environmental Health

  • Ebunoluwa Thorpe, PPre-Award II Research Administrator, Research Administration

  • Ralph Valenzuela Jr., Fulfillment Services Coordinator, Fulfillment Services

  • Deepthi Vijayan, Application Development Analyst IV, Information Services

  • Heqiong Wang, Senior Biostatistician, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics

  • Yuke Wang, Senior Biostatistician, Global Health

  • Taylor Wimbly, Senior Public Health Program Associate, Epidemiology

New Staff

    • Muna Ainashe, Senior Financial Analyst, Global Health Institute

    • Samantha Almozara, Post Award III Research Administrator, Research Administration

    • Nadina Alvarado Rosales, Instruction Content Developer, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

    • Jasmine Barnes, Clinical Research Coordinator I, Epidemiology

    • Noni Afia Bourne, Student Academic Services Administration, Epidemiology

    • Marie Deveaux, Communications Specialist, Global Health Institute

    • Betsy Dewey, Program Coordinator, Global Health Institute

    • Farah Dharamshi, Student Academic Services Administration, Epidemiology

    • Emily Driggers, Clinical Research Coordinator I, Epidemiology

    • Sarah Elkogali, Biostatistician, Epidemiology

    • Malendie Gaines, Clinical Research Coordinator II, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

    • Hannah Higgins, Administrative Assistant, Global Health

    • Sarah Johnson, Program Coordinator, Epidemiology

    • Jazlyn Jones, Secretary, Global Health

    • Dorie Josma, Public Health Program Associate, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

    • Sean Kelly, Research Technical Specialist, Environmental Health

    • Adrian King, Public Health Program Associate, Global Health

    • Tiarra Lewis, Human Resources Division Director, Human Resources

    • Bethany Livingston, Research Project Coordinator Supervisor, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

    • Christiana Mensah, Business Analyst I, Career Development

    • Archna Patel, Public Health Program Associate, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

    • Aaron Prince, Senior Research Interviewer, Epidemiology

    • Courtney Tucker, Pre-Award II Research Administrator, Research Administration

    • Tegveer Uppal, Public Health Program Associate, Global Health

    • Jingchao Zhang, Cloud Solutions Engineer III, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics

    • Amandine Zoonekyndt-Ballart, Project Coordinator, Global Health Institute

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