May — November 2016 Awards and Recognitions
December 1, 2016
Read more at sph.unc.edu/news.
Key to Departments
ESE Environmental Sciences and Engineering
HB Health Behavior
HPM Health Policy and Management
MCH Maternal and Child Health
PHLP Public Health Leadership Program
Barry Popkin, PhD, W.R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of NUTR, received the World Obesity Federation’s 2016 Population Science and Public Health Award and presented a plenary talk at the Federation’s 13th International Congress on Obesity, held in Vancouver, B.C., on May 4.
Wizdom Powell, PhD, associate professor of HB, was awarded a residency at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, in Bellagio, Italy, to further research about gendered health inequities among boys and men of color. She also was one of 21 health-care professionals chosen for the two-year Aspen Institute Health Innovator Fellowship. In September, Powell was named research associate professor of social medicine and associate director of the UNC Department of Social Medicine’s Center for Health Equity Research.
Andrew Olshan, PhD, Barbara Sorenson Hulka Distinguished Professor in Cancer Epidemiology and EPI chair, was elected president of the Society for Epidemiologic Research (SER). SER is the oldest and largest general epidemiology society in North America.
Xianming Tan, PhD, research associate professor of BIOS, received the Statistical Society of Canada’s Canadian Journal of Statistics Award for a paper published online in the journal Oct. 20, 2015.
Mark Sobsey, PhD, Kenan Distinguished Professor of ESE, was awarded the National Water Research Institute’s prestigious Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke Prize for excellence in water research.
Penny Gordon-Larsen, PhD, NUTR professor, was selected to chair the National Institutes of Health’s Kidney, Nutrition, Obesity and Diabetes study section.
Victor Schoenbach, PhD, associate professor of EPI, won the Abraham Lilienfeld Award, given by the American Public Health Association’s epidemiology section, for excellence in teaching epidemiology over the course of a career.
May Chen, MSPH, doctoral student, is one of 22 U.S. students named as Point Foundation Scholars. The Foundation is the largest scholarship-granting organization for LGBTQ students. Chen’s research examines the causes and consequences of interpersonal violence, with a focus on developing prevention programs for vulnerable youth.
Alexandra Lightfoot, EdD, research assistant professor of HB, is one of 10 UNC faculty members selected for the sixth class of Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars. Lightfoot, who uses a community-based participatory research approach to address health inequities in N.C. communities, will use the two-year award to collaborate on research about adolescents and racial inequities.
Mark Holmes, PhD, associate professor and associate chair for research in HPM, was named director of UNC’s Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, one of the oldest and largest academic health services research centers in the U.S.
Barbara Turpin, PhD, professor of ESE, was named ESE chair, effective Sept. 1.
Jianwen Cai, PhD, professor of BIOS, became interim chair of the department in May, as Michael Kosorok, PhD, W.R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor and chair, began a one-year leave to accelerate his research.
Catherine Sullivan, MPH, RD, LDN, was named director of the Gillings School’s Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute in October, succeeding founding director, the late Dr. Miriam Labbok. Sullivan also was elected in July to the board of the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee.
Ding-Geng (Din) Chen, PhD, clinical professor of BIOS at the Gillings School and Wallace H. Kuralt Distinguished Professor in the UNC School of Social Work, was named a fellow of the American Statistical Association. No more than one-third of 1 percent of the ASA membership may be designated as fellows.
Courtney Luecking, NUTR doctoral student, won the North Carolina Dietetics Association’s (NCDA) Emerging Dietetic Leader Award for 2015-2016.
Sixteen students were selected as 2016-2017 recipients of Gillings Merit Scholarships or Gillings Dissertation Awards. They are Herodes Guzman, Audra Reiter, Erin Frey, DVM, and Christina Palazzo (PHLP); Marwa Elnagheeb and Alexandria Sanchez (MCH); Christine Walsh and Blythe Rhodes (HB); Cassandra Johnson, MSPH, Deanne ‘Rose’ Ewald and Yiqing Wang (NUTR); Corinne Wiesner (ESE); Jennifer Stutsman (HPM); Sydney Jones and Rae Anne Martinez (EPI); and Gilson Honvoh (BIOS).
Carolyn Halpern, PhD, professor and chair of MCH, and Brian Pence, PhD, associate professor of EPI, were honored for their teaching and mentorship at the Gillings School’s May 7 commencement. Halpern was presented with the John E. Larsh Award for Mentorship, and Pence received the McGavran Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Eugenia Eng, DrPH, alumna and HB professor, accepted the Edward Kidder Graham Faculty Service Award, which recognizes a faculty member’s outstanding service to the University, state and nation, during University Day ceremonies on Oct. 11. A trailblazer in community-engaged scholarship, Eng refined the innovative lay health adviser intervention model, an approach that builds on the social support function of social networks in communities.
Miriam Harriet Labbok, MD, MPH, IBCLC, staunch crusader for the health of women and infants and longtime advocate for the health benefits of breastfeeding, passed away on Aug. 13 after a courageous battle with cancer. From 2006 to 2016, she was Professor of the Practice of MCH and founding director of the Gillings School’s Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute.
“Miriam was a tireless advocate for women’s, children’s and families’ health – here and the world over,” said Herbert Peterson, MD, W.R. Kenan Distinguished Professor of MCH, and of obstetrics and gynecology in the UNC School of Medicine. “Her commitment to breastfeeding was unsurpassed, as was her devotion to those we serve.”
Harrison C. Spencer, MD, MPH, president and chief executive officer of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health, died Aug. 10, a victim of violence. He was 71.
“Harrison was an ardent champion of public health — and all of us in the profession,” said Barbara K. Rimer, DrPH, dean of the Gillings School. “A highly accomplished physician and epidemiologist who led two schools of public health before taking the leadership role at ASPPH, he navigated the challenges of bringing the schools and programs of public health together — a brilliant move.”
Saye Baawo, MD, MSPH, alumnus and assistant minister for curative services in Liberia’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, died June 17 at age 50, of cancer. Baawo generously offered his time and energy as a mentor in the Gillings Global Gateway®.
Steven Bennett Wing, PhD, activist for environmental justice and advocate for human rights, mentor and friend to many, died Nov. 9, of cancer. He was 64. An associate professor of EPI, he joined the Gillings School faculty in 1985 after completing his doctorate at UNC. His long list of honors reflected the social causes for which he worked so diligently and his devotion to teaching and mentoring students.
“Steve was a hero to many in the Gillings School and the broader world of environmental scientists, advocates, activists, policy makers and community members in N.C. and beyond,” said Andrew Olshan, PhD, Barbara S. Hulka Distinguished Professor and chair of the School’s EPI department. “He will be remembered for his unyielding commitment to social justice and for his kindness and caring nature with everyone.”
Carolina Public Health is a publication of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health. To view previous issues, please visit sph.unc.edu/cph.