Yeatts wins 2020 ASPPH award for excellence in teaching

January 28, 2020

Karin Yeatts

Dr. Karin Yeatts

Karin Yeatts, PhD, associate professor of epidemiology at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, has been selected by the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) as the 2020 recipient of the Teaching Excellence Award.

The ASPPH Teaching Excellence Award recognizes graduate public health faculty who demonstrate excellence in teaching, research and mentorship. For more than 25 years, Yeatts has demonstrated a commitment to innovative scholarship and leadership at the Gillings School.

Yeatts’ courses range from undergraduate introductory public health to graduate-level introductory epidemiology, with a consistent focus on collaboration and experiential learning in the classroom. Her research explores the public health impact of climate change and air pollution, and she has been highlighted as a leader in the field of research on air quality. She has won numerous teaching awards, including the Edward G. McGavran Award for Excellence in Teaching, the UNC Student Undergraduate Teaching and Staff Award and the Gillings Teaching Innovation Award.

Yeatts was an integral part of creating the core sequence for the Gillings School’s Master of Public Health (MPH) degree, a residential and online program that draws on contemporary teaching approaches to address real-world public health problems and produce students who are more fully prepared to tackle today’s health care challenges. She also played a primary role in developing and implementing the applied epidemiology concentration for the Gillings MPH.

In addition, Yeatts teaches introductory epidemiology to students across the United States and abroad through a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in epidemiology, which was developed in 2013 with her input. It is one of only two epidemiology MOOCs in the world, with more than 8,500 students completing it to-date.

“Karin’s excellence in teaching was instrumental in establishing the applied epidemiology concentration, enrolling the first cohort of 13 students for the Fall 2019 semester,” said Til Stürmer, MD, PhD, MPH, Nancy A. Dreyer Distinguished Professor and chair of epidemiology. “In addition to winning the 2019 Teaching Innovation Award of the Department of Epidemiology and the 2019 Edward G. McGavran Award for Excellence in Teaching of the Gillings School of Global Public Health, this national recognition of Karin’s teaching excellence is really fantastic news.”

“Dr. Karin Yeatts is an exceptional teacher and mentor to our students at Gillings,” said Laura Linnan, ScD, senior associate dean of academic affairs and professor of health behavior. “She has consistently excellent course evaluations, and students regard her as someone who takes care to learn their names and find ways to respond to them on an individual basis. Her faculty colleagues have witnessed her dedication to the integrated MPH Core. She takes the time to sit in on other Core classes so she can understand how to best advocate for continuous improvement. She routinely gives of her time and considerable teaching talents to enhance the work of TAs, faculty and colleagues in ways that benefit student success. Dr. Yeatts richly deserves this recognition, and the entire Gillings School community is thrilled that she has won this award.”

Yeatts will be honored at the 2020 ASPPH Annual Meeting in Arlington, Virginia and will receive the award at a luncheon on Mar. 19.

Contact the Gillings School of Global Public Health communications team at

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