Carolina sends associate professor of epidemiology to Chile on Fulbright Scholarship

November 22, 2006
Two University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill faculty – an epidemiologist studying adverse birth outcomes and a scholar of American cultural engagement with Islam – have been named 2006-2007 Fulbright Scholars.

Photograph of Dr. Jay Kaufman

Photograph of Dr. Jay Kaufman

Dr. Jay Kaufman and Dr. Timothy Marr will travel to Chile and Cyprus, respectively, to lecture and conduct research, the Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES), which manages the Fulbright Scholars program, announced recently. Six professors from abroad will come to UNC as part of the same program.

Kaufman, associate professor of epidemiology in UNC’s School of Public Health, will lecture on social epidemiology of birth outcomes and advanced epidemiologic methods at the University of Chile in Santiago, with which the School of Public Health has a long-standing relationship. His five-month stint begins in March.

In North Carolina, Kaufman studies health disparities. In Chile he will conduct similar research, linking census data about social conditions to adverse birth events, such as early delivery and low-birth weight babies.

“Chile has pretty good prenatal care,” Kaufman said, “but they have a big disparity in adverse events between kids in the minority indigenous population and the majority white population. It makes a nice comparison to North Carolina, where 8 percent of whites and about 16 percent of African Americans deliver preterm.”

Marr, associate professor of American studies in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences, travels to Cyprus in January to spend six months on the island, which is divided between Greek and Turkish political control.

Marr will help develop American studies programs at the University of Cyprus in Nicosia, on the Greek side, and at Eastern Mediterranean University in Famagusta, on the Turkish side; he will also teach in Cyprus.

“Cyprus is at an important phase right now, where the Greek part of the island is part of the European Union and the Turkish part, and Turkey, are not part of the EU,” said Marr, whose book, “The Cultural Roots of American Islamicism” was published in June. The Fulbright allows him to explore the intercultural dynamics of the island while advancing a curriculum, at the universities’ requests, that examines American culture from various perspectives.

Marr and Kaufman bring the total number of UNC Fulbright scholars to 50 since 1990-1991, the latest year for which the CIES has access to its record, the organization said. This year, the program will send about 800 U.S. faculty and professionals overseas, and will bring a similar number of international scholars to the United States. Scholars are selected on the bases of academic or professional achievement and demonstrated leadership in their fields.

The six scholars visiting UNC this year from abroad will conduct research and lecture on topics ranging from cancer therapy for children to medieval Indian history and sufism. They are:

  • Dr. Bernardo Hernandez Prado, director of reproductive health, National Institute of Public Health, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico;
  • Dr. Meenakshi Khanna, reader and associate professor, department of history, Indraprastha College for Women, Delhi, India;
  • Dr. Ranjita Mohanty, program manager, Society for Participatory Research in Asia, New Delhi, India;
  • Dr. Nan Yang, professor, department of history, Central University for Nationalities, Beijing, China;
  • Dr. Chao-Hsing Yeh, professor, school of nursing, Chang Gung University, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan; and
  • Dr. Brigita Zepa, professor, department of sociology, University of Latvia, Riga, Latvia.

Established in 1946 under federal legislation introduced by the late Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the program’s purpose is to build mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the rest of the world. The U.S. Department of State sponsors the program, with additional funding provided by the participating governments and host institutions in the United States and abroad.

Among prominent Fulbright Scholar alumni are the late Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman, who died earlier this month; Alan Leshner, chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Rita Dove.


News Services contacts: L.J. Toler, (919) 962-8589,, or Clinton Colmenares, (919) 843-1991,

School of Public Health contact: Ramona DuBose, (919) 966-7467,