Westreich, Pence and Powers join epidemiology faculty

Sept. 5, 2013

Dr. Pence

Dr. Pence


The Gillings School’s Department of Epidemiology has recruited three new tenure-track faculty members who specialize in infectiousdiseases. They are Daniel Westreich, PhD (effective May 1), Brian Pence, PhD (effective July 1), and Kim Powers, PhD (effective Sept. 1). All three are alumni of the School.

“These are very significant hires for the department and the Gillings School,” said Andrew Olshan, PhD, professor and chair of epidemiology. “Their presence broadens and deepens our domestic and global research to better understand the transmission of HIV and provide a basis for effective prevention programs.”

Moreover, Olshan said, “all three have strong methodologic skills that are invaluable for their research and for classroom and student training.”

Dr. Powers

Dr. Powers

Dr. Westreich

Dr. Westreich

Westreich earned Master of Science in Public Health and doctoral degrees in 2005 and 2008, respectively, from UNC-Chapel Hill. In 2010, he was appointed assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Duke University and member of Duke’s Global Health Institute. His research, focused on infectious diseases and reproductive health, currently investigates maternal HIV treatment and infant outcomes and the impact of hormonal contraception upon HIV acquisition. He also conducts research on the development of methods for longitudinal data analysis and causal inference in observational data.   

Pence, formerly an associate professor at Duke University, served in Duke’s departments of community and family medicine and pathology and was affiliated with its Global Health Institute. His research focuses upon understanding the impact of mental health and disorders on the health outcomes of people infected with HIV. Specifically, he has pursued two closely related research paths – estimation of the prevalence and behavioral and clinical consequences of mental illness in HIV‐infected individuals, and the application of experimental and advanced observational methods to evaluate the impact of mental health treatment on clinical outcomes among HIV‐infected patients with depression. Pence earned a Master of Public Health from Columbia University in 2001 and a doctorate from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2005.

Powers was a postdoctoral fellow from 2010 to 2013 in the Division of Infectious Diseases in UNC’s School of Medicine and in the Gillings School’s epidemiology department. She was a visiting scholar at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Imperial College, London, a leading research group for modeling of infectious disease transmission.  Her research is focused on the epidemiology of HIV; specifically, she applies mathematical modeling methods to understand patterns and determinants of HIV transmission.  Powers earned both a Master of Science in Public Health (2006) and epidemiology doctorate (2010) at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Olshan said the recruitments would not have been possible without assistance from the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases (IGHID) and from the Center for AIDS Research (CFAR).

“I am thrilled that we have brought these talented young researchers to UNC,” said IGHID director Myron Cohen, MD. “Our institute is committed to increasing the number of global health faculty members on campus, and these terrific new hires will strengthen Carolina’s position as a leader in global health.”

 
Cohen is also professor of epidemiology at the Gillings School, J. Herbert Bate Distinguished Professor of Medicine in the UNC School of Medicine, associate director of CFAR’s administrative core, and associate vice chancellor for medical affairs in the medical school and for global health on the UNC campus.

 
 
Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: David Pesci, director of communications, (919) 962-2600 or dpesci@unc.edu