Herring presented with APHA’s distinguished Spiegelman Award

October 31, 2012
Dr. Amy Herring

Dr. Amy Herring

Amy Herring, ScD, professor of biostatistics at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, has received the prestigious Mortimer Spiegelman Award from the American Public Health Association’s (APHA) statistics section. Herring was recognized Oct. 30 at APHA’s 140th annual meeting and exposition in San Francisco.

The award is named for Mortimer Spiegelman (1901-1969), a demographer, actuary and statistician who made landmark contributions to the field when he used 1960 census data to develop statistics about the prevalence of health issues and diseases. Among the topics he examined were accidents and homicides, infectious diseases, cardiovascular disease, mental disorders and suicide, cancer, oral health and others.

Presented annually since 1970 to an outstanding public health statistician under age 40, the award is meant to honor the recipient’s and Spiegelman’s achievements, encourage young statisticians to have greater involvement in public health issues, and increase awareness in the academic statistical community about the APHA and, specifically, its statistics section.

Previous winners of the award from the UNC biostatistics department include Professor Gary Koch, PhD, and Danyu Lin, PhD, Gillings Distinguished Professor.

“I am thrilled that Dr. Herring has received this distinguished award,” said Michael Kosorok, PhD, professor and chair of the biostatistics department. “This is the top honor for a biostatistician under the age of 40, and Amy is truly an outstanding researcher and leader in the field and very deserving of this recognition. We are extremely fortunate to have her in the Department of Biostatistics.”

Herring received her doctoral degree from Harvard University in 2000 and joined the UNC biostatistics faculty that same year. In 2006, she became a fellow at UNC’s Carolina Population Center.

Her many honors include election as a fellow of the American Statistical Association (2010) and as president of the International Biometric Society – Eastern North American Region (2010-2012). She received the School’s McGavran Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2010.

“As someone who ‘grew up’ professionally from the assistant professor level [at UNC], I am particularly grateful for the support of my colleagues in biostatistics and throughout the public health school,” Herring said. “Specifically, much of the credit should go to Dr. Joe Ibrahim for advising me as a dissertation student, to Drs. Ed Davis and Larry Kupper for taking a chance on me as a junior faculty member, and to Dr. David Savitz for inviting me to collaborate on the Pregnancy, Infection and Nutrition (PIN) study [a prospective cohort study of preterm birth in central North Carolina].”

Herring claims it as a great honor to win an award memorializing Spiegelman because, she said, quoting an obituary written by Dr. Edward Lew in the June 1969 American Statistician, “[Dr. Spiegelman] will long be remembered for his solid scholarship and keen insights that earned him a national and international reputation. In addition to outstanding intellectual abilities, he had the even rarer qualities of sound business sense, absolute integrity and innate kindliness. He was an ornament to his profession and a warmhearted friend to many in all walks of life.”

Many might say that of Herring.



UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: David Pesci, director of communications.