Alumni News | February 2015
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Message From The Dean 

Greetings, alumni and friends of the School of Public Health.

I hope that 2015 has been good to you so far. I’m happy to report that the School has made great strides over the past semester.

In December, we graduated our first PhDs in our 10 years of educating graduate students. We’ve also received a sizeable grant from Pfizer Inc that will allow us to expand efforts to recuce smoking in China, the world’s No. 1 country for tobacco production and consumption. We’ve received significant funding to address major public health problems in our home state of Georgia, including youth mental health and autism spectrum disorders.

And we’re in the midst of planning for a move that will consolidate most of the School in the Urban Life building during Fall semester, a move that will mark the first time in our history that the School has not been scattered among 6 or 7 buildings across the Georgia State campus.

It’s hard to overstate how excited I am at the certainty of stronger collaboration among faculty and staff that will come with this move. Our new location will put the School of Public Health in closer proximity to our colleagues in the Byrdine F. Lewis School of Nursing and Health Professions and the university’s new
Institute for Biomedical Sciences, creating new opportunities to work with their faculty on interdisciplinary projects.

In many ways, the move we are planning for later this year is symbolic of our School, a place where important work is happening, and where we’re always looking for opportunities to grow and to better serve the public health community.


Open to all alumni and friends of the School

The Tobacco Control Act and the FDA’s Regulation

The School’s Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science invites you to attend The Tobacco Control Act and the FDA's Regulation: How Science Informs Policy, presented by Micah Berman, JD and assistant professor at Ohio State University. This presentation will explore how researchers can align their research agenda with the FDA’s legal and regulatory authority.

Date: Feb. 5, 2015
Time2:30 – 3:30 pm
PlaceUniversity Center, Room 485

Conversations on Cities Urban Crime


Dr. Volkan Topalli, a professor at Georgia State’s Department of Criminal Justice & Criminology, will lead a discussion of urban crime, including the implications for public health. His talk is part of the Conversation on Cities at Georgia State, a series of informal presentations on current and future projects related to urban issues.

Date: February 17, 2015
Time11:00 am – 12:15 pm
Place: 25 Park Place, Conference Room 12

School of Public Health Day at the Basketball Arena


Join your fellow alumni, faculty, staff, students, and friends of the School of Public Health for a fun day at the Georgia State University Sports Arena. Alumni and friends can purchase discounted tickets good for both games for $8.

Date: February 21, 2015
TimeNoon – 4 pm
PlaceGeorgia State University Sports Arena
Discount Promo Code: HEALTH15
Buy Tickets

Strategic Plan Town Hall


During our our 10th anniversary year, the School of Public Health is revisiting our mission and vision statements as we develop a strategic plan for the next 10 years and beyond. We welcome your input.

Date: Feb. 24, 2015
Time10-11:30 am
Place: 25 Park Place, Conference Room 12



New Alumni Homepage

We have launched a new Alumni page on our website to make it easier for you to stay in touch with the School and your fellow graduates.

If you visit the page at, you’ll find:

  • Alumni profiles,

  • Links to help you connect to our social media channels, and

  • A link to make it easy for you to share information about your personal and professional accomplishments.

Please check it out!

New Alumni Board

The School has established its first Alumni Board to create a group of alumni leaders dedicated to strengthening relationships between the School of Public Health and its alumni. This group provides direction on alumni programming and encourages alumni engagement with the School. The Alumni Board is critical to the success of the School as it grows and builds its student body, faculty, programs and degree offerings. Be on the lookout for activities and events sponsored by the Alumni Board throughout the year. If you would like to find out more about the Alumni Board, please contact Aimee Ahmed, director of development, at

Get Involved – Mentor Students

We want to invite you to return to Georgia State to help guide current public health students as they prepare for their careers. The Office of Academic Assistance & Career Services is looking for alumni to serve as panelists or guest speakers for some of their events this semester. Contact Jessica Pratt for more information.

Alumni  Survey

We want to hear how we can better serve our graduates. Please take a few minutes to respond to a quick, three-question survey. Your feedback will help us develop better Alumni services in the future. Click here for the survey.

Job Hunting? – Sign Up For Job Leads

Our weekly Career & Practicum Opportunities e-newsletter is a great source of information about job openings. Click here to sign up.


As a School, we are proud to share the fact that we are currently at $10.45 million in external funding for the fiscal year, in excess of our goal of $9.578 million.

Here’s an overview of recent grants and contracts that have helped us achieve success in this area as we advance our research and service to public health:




Our First PhDs

The university hooded our School’s first class of three PhD graduates in December. They are:

  • Kristina Theis, whose dissertation was “Arthritis Impact on Employment Participation among U.S. Adults: A Population-Based Perspective.” Theis is a chronic disease epidemiologist in the Arthritis Program at the CDC.

  • Kate Shaw, whose dissertation was “Chronic disease and county economic status: Does it matter where you live?” Shaw, a statistician in the CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, is temporarily assigned to lead a data management team based in Atlanta as part of the agency’s Ebola response.

  • Ban Majeed, whose dissertation was titled “Electronic Cigarettes: Associated Beliefs and Reasons for Use among U.S. Adults.” She is now a postdoctoral research fellow with the School’s Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science.

    Read more about their work here


Preventing Child Abuse

Prevent Child Abuse (PCA) Georgia has received its official plaque and announcement that it is a Chartered Chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America. PCA Georgia provides statewide direction to prevent child abuse and neglect, promote healthy children, and develop strong families through its prevention network, public awareness, prevention programs, and advocacy. It is housed within the School’s Center for Healthy Development.


Five new faculty members have joined the School in recent months, enhancing our expertise in mathematical modeling, air pollution, tobacco control, autism and health management and policy. We are proud to introduce:

Dr. Gerardo Chowell, an expert in mathematical modeling of the spread of infectious diseases, who joins us as an Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Chowell comes from Arizona State University, where he was associate professor of mathematical epidemiology and Director of the Center for Global Health. His work on the transmission dynamics and control of Ebola virus disease has gotten widespread attention from academics and the news media. Read more...

Dr. Roby Greenwald, an air pollution researcher, joined the faculty as an assistant professor in the Division of Environmental Health. Greenwald had been a research assistant professor at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health since 2009. Much of his work involves the development of unique sampling systems for assessing exposure to air pollution in special microenvironments such as inside vehicles while commuting. Read more...

Dr. Lillie Huddleston, joined the school as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Health Promotion and Behavior in the Center for Leadership in Disability. She was previously an Assistant Professor of Human Genetics at the School of Medicine at Emory University. Huddleston will serve as the lead evaluator for the Autism Plan for Georgia Implementation Grant and will help lead a new pilot project for enhanced in-home services for infants and young children with autism spectrum disorders. Read more...

Dr. Terry Pechacek joined the faculty as a professor of health management and policy where he will serve as the interim Division Director. Dr. Pechacek had been deputy director for research translation in the Office on Smoking and Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) since 2012. Read more...

Dr. Ashli Owen-Smith, who came to the School from Kaiser Permanente, is an Assistant Professor for Health Management & Policy. Owen-Smith worked as an assistant investigator at the Atlanta office of Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research since November 2013. She has also held research and faculty positions with Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health and Agnes Scott’s Department of Public Health. Read more...


Dr. Christina Hemphill Fuller, assistant professor of Environmental Health, has been named as a JPB Environmental Health Fellow by the Harvard School of Public Health. The new fellowship program is designed to provide a multidisciplinary training experience to junior faculty, with a focus on research into how the social and physical environment interact to influence health, especially in disadvantaged communities. Read more...

Dr. Betty Lai has been awarded a National Science Foundation fellowship for research related to the impact of disasters. The program, Enabling the Next Generation of Hazards and Disasters Researchers, is a competitive fellowship designed to foster development of junior faculty. Lai has also been recognized recently with an Early Career Award from the American Psychological Association and the Mary Fran Myers Scholarship from the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado. Read more...

How to Stay Connected

You have several ways to keep up with news from the School of Public Health. Here are some options:
And we want to hear from you. If you have a new job or other work-related milestone to share with the alumni community or the wider world, please email the School of Public Health communications team at
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