Alumni Newsletter - May 2015
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A Message From The Dean

As we conclude our 10th Anniversary year, I am particularly pleased to celebrate this special milestone with our alumni. Indeed, you have been responsible for creating the foundation upon which this institution has been built.
We are tremendously proud of our alumni and we are always excited to hear about the paths your careers have taken since completing your graduate education here at Georgia State. It is our great privilege to help equip you to do the meaningful work of public health, and provide you with the foundation by which you all are working to improve the lives of millions.
We are honored to celebrate your successes with you.
I sincerely hope you will continue to be actively involved in shaping the School for generations to come. So, please tell us about your accomplishments, join us for an event, volunteer your time and please consider supporting the School through your own personal philanthropy.
Thank you for being at the heart of our first incredible decade. I look forward to everything that the next ten years will bring for the School of Public Health at Georgia State University.

Spring 2015 Commencement

It is a point of pride that the School is capping 10 years of public health education with our largest number of graduates yet.

The spring convocation ceremony on May 9 celebrated more than 55 Master of Public Health graduates and one new PhD, Dr. Francis Annor, a chronic disease epidemiologist at the Georgia Department of Public Health. Dr. Annor, whose dissertation was "Psychosocial and Oxidative Stress and Health of Adults," is the School's fourth PhD graduate.

Click here to see a gallery of photos from Saturday’s event:

And read about some of our inspiring new alumni here:

Alumni Updates

  • Kristen Nichols Heitman (MPH, '13) and Melissa Cyril (MPH, '13) were selected as finalists for the prestigious Presidential Management Fellows program.
  • Jane Palmier (MPH, ‘11), a PhD student at the School, was named as an ASPPH/CDC Allan Rosenfield Global Health Fellow. She is among a cohort selected to focus on HIV surveillance.
  • Brian D. Carter (MPH, ‘10) was the lead author of an important research paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine, “Smoking and Mortality -- Beyond Established Causes.” which was featured in an editorial in the New York Times and other global media.
Have your own good news to share? Click here to submit a Class Note.

Alumni Events - Mark Your Calendar

GSU at CDC Alumni Networking Social Join us for a fun, casual evening with your fellow Panther and public health alumni.
Date: Sept. 10, 2015
Time: 5-7 p.m.
Place: Marlow’s Tavern @ Emory Point
Please RSVP

Other School of Public Health Events:

  • May 14: The Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science presents "Emerging Tobacco Products: Implications for Pregnant Women and Children." Details:
  • May 19: "Consider the Conversation," a documentary and Q&A about end-of-ilfe issues. Details: 

Click here for more School of Public Health events.

Alumni Board Holds Inaugural Meeting

From left: Ichhya Pant (MPH ’12); Courtney Jones, (MPH ’10); Brandon Talley, (MPH ’10), Chair; Justin Davis, (MPH ’12); Lindsay Gressard, (MPH ’12); Meg Watson, (MPH ’06); Aimee Ahmed, staff liaison.

The School’s new Alumni Board held its inaugural meeting May 1st. This group will lead our efforts to provide varied and meaningful engagement opportunities for alumni, and to connect you as resources for the continued growth and development of the School of Public Health.

If you would like to serve as an alumni volunteer in any capacity, or have ideas or questions for the Alumni Board, please contact Aimee Ahmed, director of development, at

Show Your SPH Pride!

We are proud to announce that we have opened a virtual Lands End store where alumni and friends can purchase a wide variety of clothing and other items with the School of Public Health logo. The link is:

New Scholarship Established

Health education researcher Dr. Lawrence W. Green has established a scholarship at the School of Public Health at Georgia State University to honor his wife, Dr. Judith Ottoson, a respected public health researcher and popular teacher at Georgia State and other institutions. The annual scholarship, funded by the couple’s pledge of $27,000, will be granted starting in fall 2015 to a student who demonstrates financial need and an interest in pursuing program evaluation and a desire to understand how programs make a difference. Read more:
The scholarship was announced at the 2015 Kreuter Katz Lecture in Health Equity. If you missed the talk by Dr. James Marks of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, you can watch it at the School's YouTube channel:

Job Hunting? Use Our Career Services

Our graduates are invited to use the School’s career services, which include one-on-one counseling, resume review, mock interviews and more. Click here to schedule an appointment and here to download the Career Handbook.

Get Involved - Become a Preceptor

Our MPH students are required to complete a practicum experience as part of their degree requirements. If you have a project or program that could serve as a practicum, we’d love to hear from you. Here are some basics.
Ideal practicum sites are those that offer:
  • Field experiences that are commensurate with the MPH concentrations (Biostatistics, Environmental Health, Epidemiology, Health Promotion and Behavior, and Health Management and Policy)
  • Well-defined activities that enable students to apply academic theory in practical situations
  • Engagement of experienced preceptors or practicum supervisors
  • A work environment, including work space, conducive to successful performance
Effective preceptors are those who:
  • Have experience in public health, health care or a related discipline
  • Are engaged in work that fulfills the requirements of the practicum
  • Are able to spend time with the student and provide periodic feedback, guidance, and advice to the student through formal evaluations and meetings
If you’d like to learn more about becoming a preceptor or how to set up a practicum at your workplace, please contact Jessica Pratt at

School Milestones

We have surpassed our external research funding totals for the entire previous fiscal year! During the 2014 fiscal year, we brought in $11.71 million dollars, which was 88% higher than our previous highest amount. So far this year, we have brought in more than $12 million and still have one more fiscal quarter to add to our record-setting total.
Our most recent research grants and contracts reflect our commitment to doing work that makes a difference in Georgia and beyond:

●      Annie E. Casey Foundation Awards Grant For Home Visitation Research
●      State Funds Child Abuse Helpline Housed At Georgia State

Faculty Milestones

Dr. Rodney Lyn, Assistant Professor of Health Management & Policy, has been promoted to associate professor with tenure. He will continue to serve as the School's Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
Dr. Shannon Self-Brown has been promoted to full professor of Health Promotion & Behavior with tenure. She is now the permanent Director of Doctoral Programs.
Dr. Laura F. Salazar, associate professor of Health Promotion & Behavior, has published a new textbook, "Research Methods in Health Promotion, 2nd Edition."

Dean Michael Eriksen is the lead author of the new edition of the Tobacco Atlas. The companion website provides a free electronic version of the book. The website also allows public health practitioners, policymakers, advocates and journalists to interact with data about the global tobacco industry and the negative effects it has on health, the environment, economic development and social justice. Read more:
Georgia State University’s Sustainability Office and Bike Committee, with leadership from John Steward, Program Manager and Director for Environmental Health, were recognized recently with a Blinkie Award from the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition for work to promote cycling and healthy lifestyles in metro Atlanta. The committee included public health students and alumni Sarah Braunstein, Michael Lunney, Ginny Kincaid and Lauren Conboy.

Stay Connected! Share Your News!

You have several ways to keep up with news from the School of Public Health during the school year. Here are some options:
  And we want to hear from you. If you have a grant, award or other good news to share with the university community or the wider world, please email the School of Public Health communications team at
Want to suggest an item for the next Faculty & Staff e-newsletter? Click here.
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