Alumnus Jenkins presented with APHA’s Lilienfield Award for teaching excellence

December 22, 2009
Dr. Bill Jenkins

Dr. Bill Jenkins

Bill Jenkins, PhD, MPH, has received the American Public Health Association’s 2009 Abraham Lilienfield Award, which recognizes excellence in the teaching of epidemiology during the course of a career. An alumnus of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, Jenkins is professor of public health sciences at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga., and associate director of the college’s Research Center on Health Disparities.

He accepted the award on Nov. 9 at a meeting of APHA’s epidemiology section.

Jenkins obtained a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Morehouse College and holds a master’s degree in biostatistics from Georgetown University. He received Master of Public Health and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in epidemiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed postdoctoral work in biostatistics at Harvard University School of Public Health.

For two decades he served as supervisory epidemiologist in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHSTP) and managed NCHSPT’s Minority Health Activities Program. He also managed the Participant Health Benefits Program, which assures medical services to survivors of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study.

The Tuskegee Study, conducted from 1932 to 1972 by the U.S. Public Health Service, recruited 399 African-American sharecroppers with syphilis as part of a study designed to understand how the disease progressed and whether available treatments were more toxic than untreated disease. When penicillin became the effective treatment of choice in the mid-1940s, study participants were denied the treatment so researchers could continue to follow the course of untreated disease. The study’s ethical shortcomings resulted in changes in federal law to require greater patient protections, including informed consent regarding participation in medical studies.

Jenkins, as chief of the Research and Evaluation Statistics Section in the Division of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) Prevention and as manager of the National Minority Organizations HIV Prevention Program, served as an expert on minority issues in disease transmission.

At Morehouse College School of Medicine in 1992, Jenkins worked to develop the first Master of Public Health Program as a means of promoting the teaching of epidemiology. He continues to instruct Morehouse’s medical, graduate and undergraduate students in biostatistics, epidemiology and public health and consults on the development of public health programs at institutions in the Atlanta University Center and other historically black colleges and universities.

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UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: Ramona DuBose, director of communications, (919) 966-7467 or ramona_dubose@unc.edu.