Weber, Aelion to be honored at Foard Lecture

April 8, 2014

Prestigious awards established at the Gillings School to honor outstanding alumni and faculty members will be presented on April 10 to C. Marjorie Aelion, PhD, and David Weber, MD. The presentation will precede the 46th annual Fred T. Foard Jr. Memorial Lecture, delivered this year by drinking water expert and advocate Gregory Allgood, PhD.

The Harriet Hylton Barr Distinguished Alumni Award

Dr. Marjorie Aelion

Dr. Marjorie Aelion

Marj Aelion, PhD, dean of the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at The University of Massachusetts at Amherst, will receive the Harriet Hylton Barr Distinguished Alumni Award.

Having had a long and productive career in environmental health sciences and environmental justice research, Aelion has focused during the last decade upon the study of heavy metals in residential soils, primarily arsenic, lead and mercury, and their potential associations with negative outcomes in children.

Her nominators for the Barr Award praised Aelion’s “broad and considerable accomplishments,” particularly citing her leadership and service. She has participated in public health initiatives in Vietnam and Cuba and has received numerous teaching and research awards, including a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator award.

She worked with University of Massachusetts faculty members to develop the Springfield Holyoke Health Alliance for Research and Engagement, a collaborative effort between the public health school in Amherst and the communities of Springfield and Holyoke to address health and wellness issues. Her service to professional societies, including the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health, has been extensive.

“Dr. Aelion has served as a successful educator, has been a productive public health dean, and has shown dedication to the health of the people of her state,” said nominator Lucinda Sonnenberg, PhD, director of the Millar Wilson Laboratory for Chemical Research at Jacksonville University (Fla.). “Like Ms. Barr, Dr. Aelion is an unassuming but stalwart influence of the highest caliber, exercising her abilities with humor, compassion and charm.”

Aelion earned a Master of Science in Civil Engineering degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1983 and a doctorate in environmental sciences and engineering from UNC’s public health school in 1988. Prior to her position at University of Massachusetts, she was professor of environmental health sciences and associate dean for research at The University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health.

Established in 1975, the Harriet Hylton Barr Award recognizes the achievements of alumni and their contributions to public health. The award carries the name of its 1980 recipient, the late Harriet Hylton Barr, to honor her contributions to the field. The Barr Award recognizes leadership, experimentation, collaboration and innovation with the profession, impact within the practice arena and outstanding service beyond the requirements of the recipient’s employment.

Bernard G. Greenberg Alumni Endowment Award for Excellence

Dr. David Weber

Dr. David Weber

David Weber, MD, professor of epidemiology at the Gillings School, is the 2014 Greenberg awardee.

Weber, who has served on the UNC faculty since 1985, is also professor of medicine and pediatrics in the UNC School of Medicine and associate chief medical officer at UNC Health Care.

While praising his knowledge and skills as an administrator, teacher and researcher, his nominators also included references to his dedication, generosity, collaborative skills and good citizenship in the university and community. An expert in hospital epidemiology, he is a strong advocate of vaccines to reduce incidence of infections in health-care personnel. His guidance also has helped UNC Health Care to reduce dramatically health-care-associated patient infections.

He has been called upon to be the public face of public health, often providing information and guidance through the news media. From the 2001 anthrax attacks, to the outbreak of SARS on the UNC campus in 2003, through every season of influenza, his clear and calm explanations have helped to center the discussion.

“Dr. Weber provides extensive services to the state of North Carolina and to national agencies in [areas including] new and emerging diseases and child care center infections,” said nominator William L. Roper, MD, MPH, Stuart Bondurant Distinguished Professor, dean of the medical school and chief executive officer of the UNC Health Care system. “The populations he reaches and benefits are diverse, and he is a staunch advocate for and protector of all.”

“In short,” said nominator Arnold Kaluzny, PhD, professor emeritus of health policy and management at the Gillings School, “David’s many contributions over the years and his ability to transcend disciplinary boundaries speak to the very essence of public health.”

Weber received a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of California at San Diego and a Master of Public Health in epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health.

The Greenberg Award, established in 1986 by the School’s Alumni Association, honors Dr. Bernard G. Greenberg, founder and chair of the biostatistics department (1949-1972) and dean of the UNC public health school (1972-1982). The award is given annually to an outstanding full-time faculty member for excellence in teaching, research and service.

For more information about the 2014 Foard Lecture, “Saving Lives with Clean Water,” by School alumnus Dr. Gregory Allgood, please visit

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