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Class Notes


JEROME D. BERMAN, 48M, 89MPH, received the annual Carl Aven Cup Award from the Medical Association of Atlanta in February 2002. The association’s most prestigious honor, this award recognizes an Atlanta doctor for outstanding community service that reflects credit on all Atlanta physicians.

Dr. Berman was an Emory resident in pediatrics at Grady Hospital from 1949-1951. He served in the US Army Medical Corps from 1951-1953, after which he started a private pediatrics practice in Sandy Springs (Atlanta), which he continued until going blind in 1982.

Having lost vision in one eye, Dr. Berman became completely blind in his “good” eye after an accident during cataract surgery. He turned his loss of sight to the good, however, by helping blind children. In 1985 he established a new program at Atlanta’s Center for the Visually Impaired, now known nationally as BEGIN.

BEGIN became the most outstanding comprehensive early-intervention program for visually impaired preschoolers in the southeastern United States. The program has served more than 1,000 severely visually impaired infants and toddlers since its start in 1985. Dr. Berman since served as its volunteer medical consultant.

Only after his retirement from medical practice did Dr. Berman have the time to pursue studies in public health––a lifelong interest. He started his MPH in the fall of 1985 and remembers, “It was a challenge, for me and for the faculty. Most students would finish in about a year and a half, but it took me much longer, because of all the reading involved,” he says. “But both the faculty and the other students were so helpful and accommodating.” He became the first blind person to receive a master’s degree from RSPH.

In 1996 Dr. Berman carried the Olympic torch on the day prior to the start of Atlanta’s Olympic Games. He continues to work as a volunteer for state programs for special needs children and for people with all kinds of disabilities.

BORN: OSCAR E TARRAGO, 89MPH, MD, and his wife, Laura Johnson Tarrago, 89MPT, of Atlanta, announce the birth of a son, Benjamin Bruce, on May 9, 2002. The couple also has a five-year-old daughter, Sophia. In 2002, Dr. Tarrango received the Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award from the Department of Health and Human Services for activities during the anthrax investigation at the Senate Building.


SUZANNE SMITH, 91MPH, is acting director of CDC/PHPPO. She has served as the chief of the Health Care and Aging Studies Branch, Division of Adult and Community Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion since 1997. She came to CDC in 1983 as an EIS officer and has served in a variety of scientific and program leadership roles, working with health care systems, chronic disease control programs, and injury prevention. Her major interests are health promotion and disease prevention among older adults, prevention in organized health care systems, preventive services and programs for women, and national surveillance of behavioral risk factors.

BORN: SABRINA WHITFIELD BURDEN, 92MPH, and her husband, Ronald, of Conyers, Ga., announce the birth of a son, Andrew, on June 3, 2001.

PATRICIA A. THOMAS, 93MPH, is a health scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

MARRIED: TRACY BIDWELL MCMILLAN, 94MPH, married Greg McMillan, of Dickson, Tenn., in March 1999. The couple live in Encinitas, Calif. Tracy is completing her PhD in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of California (Irvine) this summer. “Greg and I have two wonderful cats named EB and Jo-Jo and just recently adopted a sweet dog named Navajo,” she writes.

MARRIED: WENDY KAPLAN-NICKEL, 94MPH, married William Joseph Nickel, on May 25, 2002, in Parsippany, N.J. Among the bride’s wedding party were two RSPH alumni, TRACY SHAPIRO DOUCHY and CORINNE LEMAL DANIELSON After a honeymoon in Bali, the couple returned to Philadelphia, where Wendy is director of patient satisfaction for Albert Einstein Healthcare Network. She is responsible for improving the quality of care delivered to patients in a large integrated health care system. The groom is an actuarial consultant with Towers Perrin, also in Philadelphia.

MAHSEEYAHU BEN SALASSI, 95MPH, has been appointed as a program administrator for the Baltimore chapter of the Injury Free Coalition for Kids, a hospital-led, community-oriented pediatric injury prevention program based at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. Previously, he was manager of community health at Hughes Spalding Children’s Hospital in Atlanta and program director of Project Excellence, a community-based youth substance use and violence prevention program at the RSPH.

ERIC J. BAILEY, 96MPH, has published a book entitled African American Alternative Medicine ––Using Alternative Medicine to Prevent and Control Chronic Disease (Greenwood Publishing, 2002). The work focuses on the African-American health belief system and documented treatment strategies. It includes a cultural-historical view of alternative medicine’s use within the African-American community.

REGINA R. WHITFIELD, 96MPH, is a third-year medical student at Rush Medical College in Chicago. She is a 2002-2003 recipient of the Selected Professions Fellowship sponsored by the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation, the largest source of funding exclusively for graduate women in the world. In addition, she has received a Resources for the Education of Adults Organizational Scholarship, given by a consortium of academic institutions, businesses, and individuals whose mission is to present educational opportunities to adult learners in the metropolitan Chicago area. In 2002, she received the Bristol-Myers Squibb Research Fellowship in Academic Medicine from National Medical Fellowships, Inc., culminating with her presentation at the organization’s annual research symposium in March.

KATHERINE PARK WOOD, 96MPH, and husband Matt Wood announce the births of two children: Tappan Park Wood on April 15, 2000, and Mia Sun Hee Wood on Aug. 13, 2001.

BETHANY BENNETT, 97MPH, is an independent educational consultant with Usborne Books at Home and School.

BORN: To LORI NASCIMENTO, 97MPH, and Amarildo Nascimento: a daughter, Marina Delaine Miller Nascimento, on March 3, 2003. As Lori points out in a recent letter, “Yes, that’s 3/3/03––a good number according to Andi and Chinese tradition.”

ELIZABETH PRESTON-HSU, 97MPH, started her first year of medical school in 2002, at Rush Medical College in Chicago. Her husband, CHRISTOPHER HSU, 97MPH, is finishing his PhD in virology and his first year of medical school, both at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. “We look forward to studying and working in the same town very soon,” Chris says. He recently received the Paul Doby Award from the University of Illinois for excellent research in infectious disease.

MARRIED: MERISA ARANAS, 98MPH, and Ryan Hodges Pasternak on April 6, 2002. The Pasternaks live in Timonium, Md.

MELISSA BERKOWITZ, 98MPH, has been admitted into the Omicon Delta Kappa Honor Society at Emory. ODK recognizes student, faculty, staff, and alumni leadership. Membership is based on character, scholarship, participation in student activities, and service to the university. Melissa has served on the RSPH Alumni Board of Governors for three years, has run the alumni mentoring program/networking nights for MPH students, and has a 4.0 GPA.

MARRIED: CHRISTINE RENEE BURGESS KOST, 98MPH, MD, and Ryan Kost on May 4, 2002, in San Antonio. She received her MD from the University of Texas Health Science Center in May 2002. The couple currently lives in Atlanta, where Christine is a resident in pathology at Emory University Hospital. Last year was a busy one for NILES C. FRIEDMAN, 98MPH. Currently associate director with the Advisory Board Company in Washington, D.C., Friedman relocated to the D.C. area in mid-2002 to work for Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. “I focused on improving engagement processes, knowledge management projects, and extranet strategy and deployment for countries in western Europe and the Asia-Pacific region,” he says. Friedman also got engaged to Marian Krebs in Dublin, Ireland, in 2003. They married on March 22 in Chicago.

MICHELLE MACDONALD, 98MPH, of Ypsilanti, Mich., recently received the Seiji Horvichi Memorial Award from the Michigan Jaycees. MacDonald was in charge of raising over $35,000 for the Junior Chamber Family AIDS Network in 2002.

MARRIED: BRADLEY MAJETTE and GRAHAM FOX, both 98MPH, on May 18, 2002 in Fairfax, Va. RSPH 1998 and 1999 alumni in attendance were: DAVID BULLOCK, BRIAN SAY, MELISSA FORSTER, MINAL PATEL, JENNIFER LUDOVIC, ALEXANDRA HEESTAND, ANGIE MCGOWWAN, KRISTIN VILLANI HEDSTROM, ALLISA GOLSON, HEATHER CHRISTIAN, and SERENA FOONG. Majette and Fox both work as project managers in Atlanta, Majette at Earthlink, Inc. and Fox at the Emory Clinic. They reside in Decatur.

JENNIFER PHILLIPS DAVIDS, 99MPH, 99G, of Croton, N.Y., recently received the Grinspoon-Steinhardt Award for Excellence in Jewish Education. This award recognizes, honors, and supports outstanding educators in a variety of Jewish education settings. “My award was for my work as director of special education at Congregation Kol Ami in White Plains, N.Y. Few parttime religious schools are able to meet the needs of all of their students, but I am truly proud of the work I have done with special needs students over the past three years,” says Dr. Davids. She also works fulltime at the Solomon Schechter School of Westchester and in the summer teaches a course on Judaism and sexuality.


AMY C. COMPTON GILBERT, 00MPH, is employed by US Oncology.

JENNY A. HIGGINS, 00Fellow, Center for the Study of Health Culture, and Society, has received a Woodrow Wilson/ Johnson & Johnson Women’s Health Dissertation Grant from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation for her research, “The Pleasure Deficit: The Role of Desire in Contraceptive Use.”

SHANA SAPPINGTON, 01MPH, is associate administrator for the JFK Medical Center in Atlantis, Fla.

MARRIED: KAROLINA HELLMUTH SCHABSES, 01MPH, and Marc P. Schabses, on Sept. 21, 2002, in St. Louis, Mo. As a research scientist for the N.Y. State Department of Health, Karolina currently is working on studies in environmental and occupational epidemiology, such as the health effects on communities of those inadvertently exposed to industrial chemicals. She also helped develop a chemical terrorism preparedness and response card for the state.

PHILIP W. DOWNS, 02MPH, is a senior program officer at The Carter Center of Emory University.

Faculty Death

J. VIRGIL PEAVY, age 64, of Tucker, Ga., died February 28, 2003, of a rare blood disorder. Peavy spent 32 years at the CDC in Atlanta, teaching epidemiology and biostatistics to health professionals nationally and internationally, including those in Australia, France, Germany, Romania, Russia, and Saudi Arabia.

Prior to his retirement in 1999, Peavy served as Senior Training Consultant of the Public Health Practice Program Office at the CDC. He was also a member of Emory’s adjunct faculty since the inception of the Master’s in Community Health Program in the School of Medicine in 1975.

“He was a much-admired long-time adjunct faculty member,” says RSPH Executive Associate Dean Richard M. Levinson. “After his retirement from the CDC, he continued to teach for us, as needed. We will miss him.”

Peavy developed unique statistical handouts that were widely used in health departments and in international and university settings. He trained more than 25,000 state and local health professionals in epidemiology and biostatistics.

Quoted in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, CDC Director of Epidemiology Stephen Thacker said of Dr. Peavy: “Virgil was the ‘Mister Chips’ of the CDC. His homey style and corny jokes calmed students’ trepidation about math courses that some of them dreaded.”

He was the first recipient of CDC’s Virgil Peavy Award, which honors master teachers, and he also received the first Philip S. Brachman Award Distinguished Friend of the EIS, Honorary Member of EIS, and the William C. Watson Medal of Excellence.

Peavy’s wife of 40 years, Cornelia (Connie), is a volunteer at The Carter Center. Other survivors include their sons Jimmy, Jeff, and John; three sisters; one brother; and seven grandchildren.

Alumni Deaths

CAROLYN “LYNDY” WILSON-BURROWS, 86MPH, age 48, died on September 24, 2002, in Jacksonville, Ill. Her death, according to husband Wayne R. Burrows, 86M, was due to an aggressive form of breast cancer.

Originally from South Carolina, the couple and their three children had been living in Illinois since 1998. “Shortly before she became disabled, she was running two local health departments,” writes Wayne Burrows. “She also remained very active in organizations at the state and national level, devoted to public health.”

Lyndy Wilson-Burrows was born in Camden, S.C., and earned her BA in 1976 from the College of Charleston in Charleston. She was active in public health in South Carolina, especially rural health, perinatal health, and prevention of child abuse and neglect, as well as community service and church activities.

In a letter to the RSPH, Wayne Burrows remembered when his wife was working on her master’s at Emory and he was an Gyn/OB resident, primarily located at Grady Hospital. At the time, their eldest child, Chris, was in elementary school. (Chris graduates from college this May.) Lyndy was working fulltime, attending classes, and studying, and Wayne was working parttime, in addition to his residency. “It was a crazy schedule, but Lyndy loved the school, and we supported her all the way,” Wayne writes.

EDGAR ABELARDO ULLOA, 02MPH, age 38, passed away unexpectedly in Austin, Tex., on September 14, 2002. The cause of death was pulmonary thrombosis, due to complications of diabetes mellitus.

Before coming to Emory, Ulloa was graduated from Woodward Academy in Atlanta and earned his BS in biology from Tulane University in New Orleans. He served three years on the Board of Emory Crawford Long Hospital Auxillary as voluntary chairman of Red Cross blood drives.

He held a fellowship, working with research publications at the CDC before moving to Austin with his wife, Jacqueline. Ulloa had begun the University of Texas doctorate degree program of toxicology, specializing in cancer research.

Ulloa is survived by his wife, Jacqueline Porter Ulloa; his mother, Leora Payne Ulloa, of Atlanta; his brother, Arthur Carlos Ulloa, currently of New York City; and his sister, JANELLA ULLOA RAYMOND, 01MPH.

A memorial service was held at Emory’s Cannon Chapel on September 21, 2002. Flags at the University of Texas were flown at half-mast that day.

Spring 2003 Issue | Dean's Message | In Brief | The Legacy of Childhood Nutrition
Strong Partners | This News Could Save Your Life | An idea, of SORTS
Rollins School of Public Health

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