CPH celebrates faculty, student, staff successes

In celebration of UGA Honors Week and end of the 2020 Spring Semester, the College of Public Health and its various units recognized more than 45 amazing students, nine dedicated faculty members, five remarkable alumni, and a nationally-known health and risk communication expert.

CPH Faculty Excellence Awards

Three faculty members were recognized by the UGA College of Public Health for their exceptional work in service, teaching, and research.

Excellence in Service Award:  Kerstin Emerson, Institute of Gerontology

Kerstin Emerson, a clinical associate professor at the UGA Institute of Gerontology, is a tireless advocate for older adults. She incorporates service into her teaching and works to educate both her students and the public about the dangers of ageism and the importance of social connectedness in older persons. As faculty mentor for the Gerontology Club, she and her students deliver many valuable services to the older adult community, ranging from “Santa for a Senior,” which provides much needed items to older adults in low resource settings, to the annual Memory Walk in support of the Alzheimer’s Association, Georgia Chapter. Emerson serves on numerous task forces and boards, including the UGA Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) Special Interest Group, all of which seek to promote health, well-being, and a sense of community among older adults.

“Dr. Emerson’s service and outreach work and her mentorship in gerontology have created a community more aware of the challenges that older adults face and more deeply committed to making our community a safe and positive space to grow old in,” said Dean Marsha Davis, in an announcement to faculty and staff.

Excellence in Teaching Award: Christina Proctor, Health Promotion & Behavior

Christina Proctor is a clinical assistant professor and undergraduate coordinator in the Department of Health Promotion and Behavior and is highly respected by students and faculty.

Having previously served as her department’s internship coordinator, she had maintained relationships with community partners, and has made sure students have wonderful experiences in experiential learning.

Dr. Proctor teaches classes on human sexuality, substance use, chronic disease and research methods, and uses her own research experience in rural health, risky behaviors in adolescents, and resiliency in vulnerable populations as real-world experience in the classroom setting.

“Her students remark on her kindness, excitement, and passion for public health,” said Dean Davis. “They are drawn to her enthusiasm for teaching and her desire to create a world of equity and inclusion.”

Excellence in Research Award: José Cordero, Epidemiology & Biostatistics

José Cordero is the Patel Distinguished Professor of Public Health and head of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.  Originally trained as a pediatrician, Cordero has dedicated his career to addressing maternal and child health as well as minority health and health disparities. He currently co-directs the Puerto Rico Test site for Exploring Contamination Threats (PROTECT) Center as well as the Center for Research on Early Childhood Exposure and Development (CRECE), both of which examine how exposure to environmental contaminants contributes to the high rate of preterm birth in Puerto Rico. In recent years, this work has expanded to include the impacts of the Zika outbreak and Hurricane Maria.

His honors for distinguished service include the APHA Sedgwick Memorial Medal and the establishment of an award in his name by the Puerto Rico Public Health Trust.

“It is not an overstatement to say that Dr. Cordero’s research is transformative and life-changing, nor can the significance and far-reaching impacts of his research be measured in numbers of grants or manuscripts,” said Dean Davis. “Instead, the impacts of Dr. Cordero’s research are best expressed through the number of lives he has saved, the number of infections he has averted, and the number of young professionals he has mentored who have gone on to assume leadership positions in health care organizations around the world.”

CPH Outstanding Staff Award

Erika Schwabe, senior grant coordinator in the College’s Research Office, has been selected as the 2020 recipient of the College of Public Health Outstanding Staff Award, which recognizes CPH staff members who have made an incredible impact on the College’s students, community and mission.

Since 2015, Schwabe has played a major role in supporting the research mission of the College. She has helped CPH faculty and staff external grant submissions, led research reporting efforts highlighting the College’s external funding achievements, and represented the College in meetings important to improving research infrastructure, all while staying ahead of grant guidelines and reporting requirements.

“For those of you who have worked with Erika, you know just how skillful, knowledgeable, and personable she is and how she always pays meticulous attention to detail,” said Dean Davis.  “Erika has helped our College submit hundreds of external grant applications over the years and every single one of them has been accurate and professional in appearance.  I am confident in saying that Erika is one of the most knowledgeable Grant Coordinators at the University of Georgia.”

Delta Omega Honor Society UGA CPH chapter welcomes 2020 inductees

The Beta Chi Chapter of the Delta Omega Honor Society has announced its newest inductees for 2020. Delta Omega is an honorary public health society whose mission is to promote excellence in contributing to the field of public health and advancing the health of people in every aspect. Each year, the College of Public Health Beta Chi Chapter nominates and inducts a select few faculty, students, and alumni, as well as one honorary inductee.

This year’s honorary inductee is Glen Nowak, professor of advertising and director of the Center for Health and Risk Communication at UGA Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Prior to joining the UGA faculty in 2013, he worked for 14 years at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including six years as director of media relations at CDC and six years as communications director for CDC’s National Immunization Program.

Faculty inductees are Grace Bagwell Adams, Jenay Beer, David DeJoy, Mark Ebell, Lisa Renzi Hammond, and Brittani Harmon.

Alumni inductees are Oluwatoyosi A. Adekeye (DrPH), Arianna Hanchey (MPH), Eric Gillis (PhD), Brian McKay (MPH), and Simon Mutembo (PhD).

Student inductees are Abirami Balajee, Cameron Conner, Mechelle Claridy, Marcus Dumas, Rachel McCardel, Haille Perkins, Valerie Kimbrough, and Luqi Shen.

Complete List of CPH Student Awards Winners for 2020


College-wide Student Awards

Student Inductees in Delta Omega Honor Society (Beta Chi Chapter):
Abirami Balajee
Cameron Conner
Mechelle Claridy
Marcus Dumas
Rachel McCardel
Haille Perkins
Valerie Kimbrough
Luqi Shen

MPH Exceptional Capstone Paper Awards:
Bailey Collete
Nikki Fillingim
Samantha Jackson
Clarissa Keisling
Ugochi Ndolo
Thomas Richey

MPH Exceptional Capstone E-Poster Presentation Awards:
Avery Duncan
Julia Hennig
Samantha Jackson
Grace Marie Smith

Departmental & Institute Student Awards

Environmental Health Science
Rowe Environmental Health Award – Michael “Gino” Burns
Environmental Health Science Scholarship – Jermiya Jackson
John J. Sheuring Award – Amelia Foley
Harold & Mary Barnhart Scholarship – Shea Kelley
The Randy Manning Award – Alan Kim

EHS Student Research Symposium Awards –
1st Place: Katherine Watkins-Greeson
2nd Place: Megan Beaudry
3rd Place: William Norfolk
Undergraduate Research Award: Amelia Foley

Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Ann and Tipton Golias International Travel Award – Cody Dailey
Undergraduate Research Award – Savannah Laux
Academic Excellence Award – Luqi Shen
Service Award – Nichelle Jasper

Health Policy and Management
Outstanding Undergraduate Minors (4.0 GPA) –
Alexandra Chase
Rachel Hatton
Jessica Tallant
Savannah Laux

Outstanding MHA Graduate – Avery Michaels
Outstanding Management Student – Kiran Thapa
Outstanding Policy Student – Nikki Fillingim

Health Promotion and Behavior
Bernard Ramsey Outstanding Major – Cameron Thomas
Undergraduate Recognition Awards –
Jessica Tallant
Marie Benoit
Sammi Fuller
Undergraduate Service Award – Danielle Schaeffer
Outstanding MPH Student – Rachel McCardel
Excellence in Teaching and Service, Graduate – Cameron “Wilson” Conner
Excellence in Research, Graduate – Thais Diaz

Institute for Gerontology
Mary Ann Johnson Aging and Health Graduate Scholarship –
Madeline Eason (Double Dawg MPH in Gerontology)
Jessica Parks (PhD student in Consumer Economics, Graduate Certificate in Gerontology)

University-wide Student Awards

Presidential Award of Excellence:
Baqar Husain (BSEH) was recognized with a UGA Presidential Award of Excellence, which is awarded to undergraduate students in their final year of study who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement, strong extracurricular involvement, and/or service to and involvement in their respective school or college.

Blue Key Honor Society Inductees:
Maria Bowie (DrPH, HPAM)
Mechelle Claridy (PhD Epi)
Brooke Douglas (PhD HPB)
Megan Lott (PhD EHS)
Haille Perkins (PhD HPB)
Cameron Thomas (BSHP)

UGA Top 100 Student Employee Honoree:
Madeline Eason 

Congratulations to all of the College of Public Health award winners for 2020!

Posted on May 7, 2020.