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  A meaningful journey
New faculty appointments
Generating rewards for safer water
Foege honored for humaitarian efforts

A meaningful journey

When Michael Johns spoke briefly at the Rollins School of Public Health (RSPH) last spring, he had two titles in mind: "Better Late Than Never" or "My Grandchildren Are Counting on You."
     Some of Johns' grandchildren were present as he received the 2006 Charles R. Hatcher Jr., M.D., Award for Public Health. Established by the RSPH in 1996, the award honors faculty members of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center (WHSC), who, through their lifetime of work, exemplify excellence in public health. The award is named in honor of Hatcher, former vice president for health affairs and director of the WHSC and the first recipient of the award. The RSPH was established as a school during Hatcher's tenure as vice president.
     "Dr. Johns is the only current administrator to get this award," noted James Curran, dean of the RSPH. "It means a lot to be selected by the faculty and presented with this award for your public health achievements."
     Johns (pictured below behind his grandsons) noted that the Hatcher award acknowledged an important journey for him, personally and professionally. As a child during the 1940s, Johns never gave a thought to something called "public health." Yet he grew up enjoying the benefits of clean water, an effective sewer system, vaccinations, iodized salt, good nutrition, and lots of exercise (playing until dark). As a medical student, he adhered to the medical model of dealing with patients one at a time. His view of medicine changed over time as his view of public health broadened. "I began to look at the world in a whole new way," said Johns, who served as dean of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine before joining the WHSC as executive vice president for health affairs and CEO in 1996. Since then, he has contributed to public health's increasingly broad influence.
     During his tenure at Emory, Johns has led the most extensive facilities improvement plan in its history. Highlights include new buildings and facilities for biomedical research, a new nursing school building, a new vaccine center, a new comprehensive cancer center, a new pediatrics center, and the redevelopment of Emory Crawford Long Hospital in midtown Atlanta. Currently, a new medical education building is under construction, and planning is under way for a second building for the RSPH. The buildings are part of Johns' strategy to position the WHSC as one of the nation's preeminent academic health centers.
     Last spring, the future of the world weighed on Johns' mind after the christening of his fourth grandchild. "What's the world going to be like when he grows up?" Johns wondered aloud as he ticked off a list of concerns: pandemic flu, adequate food, safe water, war, and the environment.
     But he worries less when he thinks of how RSPH faculty and students are working to change the world for the better. "I smile because I know you are working to help our children and grandchildren live a safer life than we have."


New faculty appointments

The Rollins School of Public Health (RSPH) began the academic year with several new faculty members on board.
     Jerome Abramson, research assistant professor of epidemiology, served as an assistant professor in Emory's School of Medicine before joining the RSPH. Abramson's research focuses on cardiovascular disease, especially in the areas of oxidative stress and inflammation as risk factors for hypertension and cardiovascular disease; the impact of depression and other psychological factors on cardiovascular disease; and chronic kidney disease as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. With support from the NIH and the American Heart Association, Abramson has conducted studies resulting in journal articles on cardiovascular disease and prevention, including the epidemiology and control of anemia, novel oxidative stress markers and C-reactive protein, sex differences in recovery from coronary bypass surgery, and depression and risk of heart disease.
     Monique Hennink, Rollins Associate Professor of Global Health, has been a lecturer and senior research fellow at the University of Southampton since 1997. She has conducted field research in Indonesia, Myanmar, Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Australia, and the United Kingdom, supported with funding from British, Nepalese, and U.S. agencies and foundations. She has taught courses in demography, research methods, fertility, and reproductive health. Her book, International Focus Group Research: A Handbook for the Health and Social Sciences, will be published by Cambridge University Press.
     Assistant professor of biostatistics Brent Johnson comes to Emory from a National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences postdoctoral fellowship in biostatistics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His program of research includes statistical methods. Examples include dealing with potentially confounding variables in semiparametric regression analysis in longitudinal studies and variable selection in semiparametric accelerated failure time model with statistical applications in toxicology and nutrition studies. His articles have appeared in the leading biostatistical methodology journals Biometrika and Biometrics.
     Frances McCarty is a research assistant professor of behavioral sciences and health education. McCarty has been collaborating with RSPH faculty as a staff member on several research projects and, more recently, taught courses on research methods for the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education. She has co-written more than 20 journals articles on studies of diet and obesity, HIV transmission and adherence to drug regimens, epilepsy, research subject recruitment, and early education program evaluation.
     Venkat Narayan, Ruth and O.C. Hubert Professor of Global Health, holds a joint appointment in the Department of Epidemiology and Emory's Goizueta Business School. He has taught courses on chronic disease epidemiology and prevention at Aberdeen University and as an adjunct faculty member at RSPH. Since 1996, Narayan served as chief of the diabetes epidemiology section and senior research adviser with the Division of Diabetes Translation at the CDC, where he led the world's largest diabetes outcomes cohort study and a multicenter study of childhood diabetes. As a senior research fellow at the NIH, he worked with the renowned Pima Indian cohort study of diabetes and led the first lifestyle intervention study in this Native American population. He has served on the editorial board of several journals, including Annals of Internal Medicine and Clinical Diabetes.
     Anne Spaulding joined the RSPH as research assistant professor of epidemiology after several years of practice regarding infectious diseases in prison populations. She has served as medical program director for the Rhode Island Department of Corrections; medical officer in HIV, STD, and TB prevention at the CDC; and associate medical director for Georgia Correctional HealthCare. Her journal articles have focused on HIV and hepatitis B and C and their management in prison populations.
     Lisa Tedesco, professor of behavioral sciences and health education, also serves as vice president and dean of Emory's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She was recruited from the University of Michigan, where she served as the associate dean in the School of Dentistry, interim provost, executive vice president for academic affairs, and secretary of the university. She has extensive teaching experience in the health applications of behavioral sciences relating to dental services.
     Michael Windle, Rollins Professor and chair of the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, comes to Emory from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). While at UAB, he served as professor of psychology, director of the Center for Advancement of Youth Health, director of the Comprehensive Violence Center, and professor of pediatrics. The NIH, CDC, and other agencies funded his research on adolescent health, particularly on consumption of alcohol, violent behavior, and depression. At the center of his research program is a longitudinal study tracking mental health and related health risk behaviors of children through adolescence and adulthood. Windle is the author of three books—Children of Alcoholics: Critical Perspectives (Guilford Press, 1990), The Science of Prevention: Methodological Advances from Alcohol and Substance Abuse Research (American Psychological Association, 1997), and Alcohol Use Among Adolescents (Sage, 1999). He has served on the editorial board of leading journals in his field, including Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, Health Psychology, and Developmental Psychology.
     Tianwei Yu, assistant professor of biostatistics, has studied biochemistry and molecular biology in the United States and in China. His research involves the application of statistical methods to biological investigations, focusing on expression array/SNP array data analysis, biological sequence analysis, alternative splicing, transcriptional regulation, and sample size estimation for microarray studies. He taught introductory statistics and courses in bioinformatics and genomics at UCLA. He will support the Woodruff Health Sciences Center regarding bioinformatics and statistical collaborations in biological research.


Generating rewards for safe water

For 40% of the world's population, the lack of adequate sanitation remains a primary health concern for communities with limited resources to address the problem.

     Christine Moe, associate professor in the Hubert Department of Global Health, and her colleagues strive to assist nations with new ideas for sanitation through the Center for Global Safe Water (CGSW).
     The World Bank's Development Marketplace recently recognized her project in Bolivia and another CGSW project in Kenya as winners of the 2006 Global Competition. This
grant program funds 30 winners around the world who share $5 million for innovative, small-scale projects that can generate income for local businesses to increase knowledge about and access to clean water and improved sanitation.
     The Bolivia project also won the World Bank Infrastructure Award. The recipient is selected based
on voting by World Bank infrastructure staff.
     Moe's project will assess sanitation behaviors and attitudes in Bolivian communities to identify key "selling" points that relate to household latrine usage.
     "The people there are more concerned with safety, privacy, and dignity than with health concerns," she says. "But as quality of life goes up, we want it to lead to that."
     Moe and research coordinator Robert Dreibelbis, 05MPH, are collaborating with the Georgia Institute of Technology to build solar latrines that will use heat generated from the sun to kill pathogens in excreta. Tech's experts will help implement this safer and healthier latrine system, allowing residents to maintain a suitable sanitation system, Moe says.
     Access to safe sanitation facilities is among the most effective ways to reduce diarrhea morbidity and mortality, which in Bolivia is among the highest in the Western Hemisphere. So far, efforts to increase sanitation coverage have been slow, with households expected to adopt a single, one-size-fits-all technology that does not accommodate every household's needs, budgets, or demands.
     "With the implementation of these latrines, we stimulate a money-making business that supplies dry sanitation that is aesthetically acceptable and easy to maintain," Moe says.
     Moe is working with the Fundacion Sumaj Huasi Para la Vivienda Saludable in Bolivia and the CDC, and the information gathered in her assessments will help create acceptable, affordable, and effective latrine options and generate demand for sanitation services in local communities. Small businesses will be established to train workers in latrine construction, sanitation promotion, and marketing of waste-based fertilizers.
     The Bolivia project looks to develop "home depots for sanitation," offering lots of latrine models at different prices. Moe's team estimates that 200 families will adopt the new sanitation method over two years.
     The second winning World Bank marketplace proposal builds on the existing Rotary Safe Water Project in Kenya's Nyanza Province. The goal is to decrease water-related illnesses and generate income for rural women, who are members of HIV/AIDS self-help groups, through the sale of affordable household water treatment and safe storage products. Partners in this effort include the CGSW, the Rotary Club of Atlanta, and the CDC.
     Their project aims to mobilize 700 women's groups to teach other women about the approaches they can use for safe water, establish 1,500 vendors to distribute 25,000 affordable water treatment products per month, and give 200,000 people a safe water solution.
     Currently, about 75% of Nyanza's population rely on unsafe water sources to meet their daily needs; use of this unsafe water causes diarrhea that claims the lives of many young children and AIDS victims. Poor roads make delivery of preventive household water treatment and safe storage products difficult, and many women in these communities live on less than 50 cents a day. By implementing the Kenya project, these products can treat up to 1,000 liters of water for two months at a time and be distributed at a cost of 26 cents each.
     Trish Anderson, 04MPH, CGSW project coordinator in Nyanza Province; Richard Rheingans of the CGSW at the RSPH; and Rob Quick of the CDC lead the Kenya project.
     Donors to the 2006 Development Marketplace include the Global Environment Facility, the International Finance Corporation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Global Village Energy Project, and the Atlanta Rotary.—Jennifer Williams


Foege honored for humanitarian efforts

The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases has named William Foege as the 2007 recipient of the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Award for Humanitarian Contributions to the Health of Humankind. Foege is Presidential Distinguished Scholar and professor emeritus in the Hubert Department of Global Health. He is also a fellow with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Global Health Program.
     Foege's lifelong commitment to improving worldwide public health and his courageous public health leadership in the areas of child survival and development and injury prevention are credited with saving millions of lives and vastly improving the quality of life for millions of others, particularly in developing countries.
     The Carter Humanitarian Award honors individuals for such efforts. The award is named for President and Mrs. Carter, who have worked tirelessly to improve quality of life for people worldwide.
     Foege joins a distinguished group of past award recipients, including Bill and Melinda Gates, Ted Turner, General Colin Powell, former President Bill Clinton, Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, former CDC director David Satcher, and the Carters, among others.
     In 2002, the Gates Foundation established the William H. Foege Fellowships in Global Health at the Rollins School of Public Health (RSPH) in honor of Foege's career and achievements. Supported by a $5 million endowment, the program brings four Foege Fellows from developing countries each year to study at Emory, where they develop
partnerships with mentors at the CDC, The Carter Center, the Task Force for Child Survival and Developement, and CARE USA.
     As director of the CDC from 1977 to 1983, Foege was recognized for a humanitarian vision that all people, regardless of economic status, nationality, or age, should live long and healthy lives. Early in his career, he worked as a medical missionary in Eastern Nigeria, where he developed a surveillance and containment strategy that changed the worldwide approach to smallpox vaccination. This strategy eventually led to the disease's eradication in the 1970s under Foege's leadership as director of the CDC's Smallpox Eradication Program.
     Foege later served as the first executive director of the Task Force for Child Survival and Development, which helped raise general immunization levels of the world's children from 20% to 80% in just six years and created a successful program to overcome river blindness.
     Prior to joining the RSPH in 1997, Foege served The Carter Center as executive director, fellow for health policy, and executive director of Global 2000, which dramatically improved farming practices, increased agricultural yields in developing countries, and embarked on eradication of Guinea worm.
     Foege is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Mary Woodard Lasker Award for Public Service in Support of Medical Research and Health Sciences in 2001. The award, often referred to as "America's Nobel," recognized Foege for public health leadership and his pivotal role in eradicating smallpox and preventing river blindness.



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