Cole, Wilcox honored by Society for Epidemiological Research

June 25, 2018

Two epidemiology faculty members at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health were honored recently at the annual meeting of the Society for Epidemiological Research (SER), held in Baltimore June 19-22.

Dr. Stephen Cole

Dr. Stephen Cole

Dr. Allen Wilcox

Dr. Allen Wilcox

Stephen Cole, PhD, professor, received SER’s Excellence in Education Award, and Allen Wilcox, MD, PhD, Gillings School alumnus and adjunct professor, was chosen for the Society’s Kenneth Rothman Career Accomplishment Award.

Cole, who is co-director of the Causal Inference Research Laboratory at the Gillings School, is author of nearly 300 scientific papers, many of which focus upon study designs and analyses that best estimate parameters of central interest to population health scientists, such as risk. He holds a doctorate in epidemiology and biostatistics from the University of South Florida College of Public Health and was a postdoctoral fellow in preventive medicine at Harvard Medical School.

“My mission,” Cole wrote after receiving the award, “is to be courageous and kind, to make better decisions (which requires me to learn) and to improve human life (which drives me to teach).”

Two of his faculty colleagues offered high praise for Cole.

“The SER Excellence in Education Award is both a strong endorsement of Steve’s innovations in the field of epidemiological methods and of his role in shaping the UNC epidemiologic methods curriculum, which is widely recognized as second to none,” said Til Sturmer, MD, PhD, Nancy A. Dreyer Distinguished Professor and chair of the Gillings School’s epidemiology department. “We are so pleased that SER has recognized Steve’s substantial efforts as a scholar, mentor and teacher.”

“Steve has been at the forefront of causal inference methods and their applications, infusing that thinking into all levels of our curriculum,” added Stephanie Engel, PhD, epidemiology professor at the School. “His role in training hundreds of students at UNC, not to mention his prior record of educational excellence at Johns Hopkins, ensures a long-lasting footprint on the methodological fabric of our discipline.”

Wilcox is a reproductive epidemiologist at the National Institute of Environmental Health Studies in Research Triangle Park, N.C. The author of Fertility and Pregnancy: An Epidemiological Perspective, published by Oxford University Press, he is past president of SER, the Society for Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiologic Research, and the American Epidemiological Society. He served for 14 years as editor-in-chief of the journal Epidemiology.

“As president of SER, it was a privilege to bestow this important award on Allen,” said Andrew Olshan, PhD, Barbara S. Hulka Distinguished Professor in Cancer Epidemiology at the Gillings School. “He is a truly outstanding epidemiologist, an internationally recognized scholar who has made extraordinary contributions to the field of epidemiology, and a highly valued adjunct member of our faculty.”

Wilcox earned a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Michigan, a doctorate from the UNC Gillings School and an honorary doctoral degree from the University of Bergen, in Norway.


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