College of Public Health Outstanding Alumni Awards
James Cerhan, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair, Division of Epidemiology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. Cerhan earned a UI doctoral degree in epidemiology in 1991. He is recognized for his research in cancer etiology and prevention, cancer prognosis and survivorship, and molecular and genetic epidemiology. In addition to authoring or co-authoring more than 200 peer-reviewed publications and serving as principal or co-investigator on numerous grants, he is highly regarded as a teacher and mentor. Cerhan maintains ties to the UI by serving as an adjunct professor in the Department of Epidemiology and collaborating on research with colleagues in the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the UI and the State Health Registry of Iowa.
Vickie Shavers, Ph.D., epidemiologist/project officer in the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences at the National Cancer Institute. Known for her leadership in health disparities and equity research, Shavers earned a Master of Science degree in 1993 and a doctoral degree in 1999 in epidemiology from the UI. Her work focuses on cancer prevention and control, particularly as they relate to racial and ethnic disparities in receipt of health services, cancer incidence, treatment and outcomes, behavioral risks, insurance status, health care access, and quality of health care. Shavers also has been involved in numerous activities aimed at training and developing the careers of minority researchers.
Shannon D. Putnam, head of the Bacterial Diseases Program, Naval Medical Research Unit No. 2, Jakarta, Indonesia. Putnam earned a Ph.D. in epidemiology in 1999 and currently is a commander in the microbiology community of the Medical Service Corps, U.S. Navy. Regarded as a leader in international infectious disease epidemiology, including avian influenza, Putnam is noted for his scholarly research, public health service and laboratory leadership. He frequently serves on committees guiding international policy or training for infectious diseases. He maintains ties to the College of Public Health by mentoring graduate students and collaborating on multinational infectious disease epidemiologic studies.
Jessica Davila, assistant professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Davila earned a master of science degree in epidemiology in 1998 and a Ph.D. in epidemiology in 2001. An active researcher, she has authored 23 peer-reviewed manuscripts and has served as principal or co-investigator on several research grants focused on cancer prognosis and cancer care delivery. In both 2002 and 2003, Davila earned a Best Overall Poster Award from the American College of Epidemiology. She serves on numerous journal editorial boards.
Brian Chih-Hung Chiu, assistant professor, Department of Preventive Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL. He earned a Ph.D. in preventive medicine in 1997, studying in an area which is now the Department of Epidemiology. Chiu is an expert in the area of non-Hodgkin lymphoma with an interest in diet and lifestyle factors. At Northwestern, he also is a co-investigator on a breast cancer SPORE grant and he serves as co-chair of the Diet and Lifestyle subgroup of the International Consortium of Lymphoma Epidemiology Investigators.
MaryFran Sowers, professor, Department of Epidemiology, University of Michigan School of Public Health. Sowers also has appointments with the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan. Sowers earned a Ph.D. in preventive medicine in 1984, studying in an area which is now the Department of Epidemiology. An international expert in bone health, her research has contributed greatly to understanding bone development, maintenance and loss around menopause. Her work in metabolism, inflammation and osteoarthritis biomarkers is widely recognized. Sowers is a consultant to the National Arthritis Foundation and the Federal Trade Commission. She is director of the Center of Integrated Approach to Complex Diseases and was recently appointed the John G. Searle Professor of Public Health at the University of Michigan.
Gregory L. Burke, professor and chair, Department of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest University Health Sciences, N.C. Burke earned an M.D. in 1981 and an M.S. in Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology in 1983. A widely recognized leader in the study of cardiovascular disease, Burke has participated in many of the largest national multi-center epidemiologic studies and clinical trials. Currently, he is the National Chair of the Council on Epidemiology and Prevention, a member of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute Board of Extramural Advisors, and chair of many national NIH committees.
Charles F. Lynch, professor, Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa. Lynch earned an M.D. from the College of Medicine and an M.S. from the Department of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health in 1979. He also earned a Ph.D. in Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health in 1984. He completed his residency in pathology in 1986 and was appointed assistant professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine in 1988. Since 1990 Lynch has been the principal investigator of the National Cancer Institute’s prestigious Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program in Iowa. He has received numerous awards for teaching and research.
Ronald K. Ross, professor and chairman, Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine and USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, Calif. Ross received an M.D. from the College of Medicine and an M.S. from the Department of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health in 1975. During his tenure at the University of Southern California, he has established a reputation as an internationally recognized cancer epidemiologist. His research on the development of prostate cancer has led to intervention strategies for prevention and has helped distinguish the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center as a premier cancer center in the U.S. He maintains ties to The University of Iowa as a member of the College of Public Health External Advisory Committee and as a member of the External Advisory Committee to the University of Iowa’s Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center.