Wheeler awarded UNC’s Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement

October 3, 2017

Dr. Stephanie Wheeler

Dr. Stephanie Wheeler

Stephanie Wheeler, PhD,  associate professor of health policy and management at UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public, has been awarded UNC’s Philip and Ruth Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement by Young Faculty.

Wheeler and three other awardees were recognized at the Sept. 8 meeting of the UNC-Chapel Hill Faculty Council.

An alumnus of the Gillings School, Wheeler joined its faculty in 2010. Since then, her research has focused upon the use of mathematical modeling and systems thinking to address complex health services and policy questions. She examines links between “big data” and analytics, and studies cancer care quality and outcomes, health disparities, social epidemiology, medical decision making and reproductive health.

“I have mentored and collaborated with many talented and successful junior investigators during my 38 years as a faculty member,” said Morris Weinberger, PhD, Vergil N. Slee Distinguished Professor of Healthcare Quality Management and chair of the Gillings School’s Department of Health Policy and Management. “Dr. Wheeler’s record to date is the single most accomplished of them at this stage of their careers. Her strong passion for conducting policy-relevant public health research to reduce disparities among patients with cancer is palpable. Her research has spanned the cancer care continuum from screening to treatment and survivorship. Moreover, her research will be transformative as she moves beyond simply documenting problems in health care to developing evidence-based, pragmatic interventions that providers, decision makers, and policy makers can use to make a difference in patients’ lives.”

Wheeler continues a long tradition of Hettleman Prize winners at the Gillings School. Wizdom Powell, PhD, former faculty member and now adjunct associate professor of health policy and management, and Jason Surratt, PhD, associate professor of environmental sciences and engineering, won in 2015. In 2014, Mark Holmes, PhD, associate professor of health policy and management, was an awardee. Noel Brewer, PhD, professor of health behavior, was a 2011 recipient. Others won in prior years.

“I feel incredibly honored and humbled to be among those selected for the Hettleman Prize,” Wheeler said. “It is a testament, not to my own successes, but rather to the unparalleled mentorship and outstanding intellectual and material support I’ve received at Carolina over the years, both as a student and as a faculty member. There is truly no better place to grow an academic career in public health.”

Other 2017 Hettleman Prize winners are Mara Buchbinder, PhD, associate professor of social medicine, and Spencer Smith, PhD, associate professor of cell biology and physiology, both in the UNC School of Medicine; and James Cahoon, PhD, associate professor of chemistry in the UNC College of Arts and Sciences.

The award, which includes a $5,000 stipend, was established in 1986 by the late Phillip Hettleman, a New York investment banker and member of the UNC class of 1921, to recognize the achievements of outstanding junior tenure-track faculty or recently tenured faculty. A stipulation of the award is that the recipients will deliver a lecture during the academic year.

As a student at Carolina, Hettleman was business manager of The Daily Tar Heel when Thomas Wolfe was editor. In 1946, Hettleman bought a portrait of the then-famous author, and for years it hung in his office in New York City. One of his earliest gifts to the University, the portrait hangs in the Wolfe Room of Wilson Library’s North Carolina Collection.

Hettleman died in 1986.


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