Heartland Center seeks pilot project applications

The Heartland Center for Occupational Health and Safety, supported by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), announces the availability of funds to support pilot projects. The mission of the Heartland Center is to serve Federal Region VII by providing graduate training, continuing education and outreach in occupational health and safety (OHS).


This pilot mechanism is limited to junior faculty, faculty developing a new research initiative in an OHS area, and research trainees pursuing an MS or PhD degree. Each proposal submitted by a trainee must have a faculty sponsor who will oversee the research.


Two types of projects will be awarded on a competitive basis for the next fiscal year 12/1/17 – 11/30/18:

  • A project that can include student funding with a maximum award of $20,000
  • A project that does not include student funding with a maximum award of $5,000

Awards are contingent upon the continuation of federal funding of the Heartland Center for the next fiscal year. Carry-over of grant funds to the 2018-19 fiscal year is not allowed.


Research projects must be related to one of the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) sector areas (see https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/nora/sectorprograms.html for more info), and pertain to an occupational health or safety issue. The research must be conducted in the United States.

Applications are accepted no later than November 15, 2017 in order to be considered. Applicants will be notified of an award decision by November 30, 2017.

Please see the official request for project proposals for more information: https://www.public-health.uiowa.edu/heartland/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Pilot-Grant-RFA-Fall-2017.pdf

Gilbert to receive leadership award at APHA

A portrait of Paul Gilbert, assistant professor of community and behavioral health at the University of Iowa College of Public Health.Paul Gilbert, assistant professor of community and behavioral health, will be honored Nov. 7 with the Section Leadership Award from the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs (ATOD) Section at the American Public Health Association annual meeting in Atlanta.

The award recognizes an ATOD Section member who has made significant contributions to the Section and the ATOD field.

Congratulations, Paul!

In Memoriam: Professor Emeritus Bill Clarke

A portrait of William Clarke of the University of Iowa College of Public Health.William “Bill” Clarke, professor emeritus of biostatistics in the UI College of Public Health, died Oct. 15, 2017, following a long and courageous battle with cancer. A celebration of Bill’s life was held Oct. 20 in Iowa City.

Bill made major interdisciplinary contributions to improving the use of statistical methods in clinical trial design and analysis and in biomedical research. He earned an MS degree and a PhD degree in statistics from the University of Iowa, and joined the UI faculty in 1975.

In 1989, he co-founded the Clinical Trials Statistical and Data Management Center (CTSDMC), which is today an internationally recognized leader in managing and coordinating randomized multi-center clinical trials. He was associate director for the CTSDMC from 1989-2000 and director from 2000-2010.

“As Bill’s colleague for over a decade, I greatly valued his positivity and optimism, as well as his indomitable spirit,” notes Joe Cavanaugh, professor and head of biostatistics. “He was always among the first to give someone a pat on the back or to provide a word of encouragement. He was the first to compliment an area of strength and the last to criticize an area of weakness.

“Bill recognized that it takes a diverse group of intellects and talents to build a Department of Biostatistics, and that faculty, staff, and students are most likely to excel and contribute when they feel appreciated and valued. This is one of the many reasons why he will always be admired and revered in our department and the CTSDMC.”

“Bill was a wonderful human being and colleague. I had the pleasure of 30 years working alongside of him,” recalls Professor Emeritus Robert “Skip” Woolson, who co-founded the CTSDMC and served as the center’s first director. “He was always kind, empathetic, caring, and concerned for others in every dealing I witnessed. I am overwhelmed by this news, but I know his spirit will have sustained impact and life on the many people and programs he touched.”

Bill authored and co-authored more than 125 peer-reviewed publications. He received the College of Public Health Faculty Research Award in 2001, and was honored with the College of Public Health Faculty Service Award in 2015. In 2011, he received the Board of Regents Award for Faculty Excellence, one of the highest honors that can be bestowed to a University of Iowa faculty member.

The College of Public Health extends its deepest sympathies to Bill’s family and to all who knew and worked with him.

 View the obituary from Lensing Funeral Home.

Alumna Carolyne Bennett puts her skills to work at the CDC

photo of Carolyne Bennett working at her desk at the CDC
Carolyne Bennett working at her desk at the CDC

Carolyne Bennett began attending the University of Iowa in 2015 to pursue a Master in Public Health (MPH) degree in epidemiology and graduated in summer 2017. During her time at the UI, she immersed herself with experiences that helped build her skills and knowledge in infectious diseases, which helped lead to both an internship and a fellowship at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. She recently answered a few questions about her journey.

Q: What drew you to the University of Iowa to complete your studies?

CB: Honestly, my husband’s best friend moved to Iowa City to work for a ministry on campus. They schemed up a plan and convinced me to apply to the MPH program at Iowa and paid for the application fee. My original plan was to head to Tulane University in New Orleans. However, once I started comparing both programs I realized that Iowa was a better fit for zoonotic infectious diseases. I found Dr. Christine Petersen online and knew I wanted to work for her!

Q: You have quite the impressive background in terms of involvement: A lab tech with Dr. Petersen’s lab group, an intern for the CDC’s Parasitic Diseases Branch, and you even were an on-site logistics coordinator for the 2016 Iowa One Health Conference. What motivated you to be involved in so many things?

CB: I got involved in with projects I am passionate about… plus I wanted to get my money’s worth out of the program. These experiences allowed me to grow in knowledge about infectious diseases and how to impact people for the better.

Q: In addition to earning your MPH degree this past summer, you also finished an internship with the CDC in Atlanta. Can you tell me a little about what you did while you were there?

CB: As an intern at the CDC, I worked at the Parasitic Disease Branch working on the surveillance team. My main project included summarizing how state-level public health surveillance for Chagas disease currently is conducted in the United States. In addition to reviewing the information and materials related to Chagas disease surveillance on each state’s website, I conducted brief interviews with each state to understand their rationale for surveillance, how the state responds to reports of Chagas disease, and how the state health department uses or intends to use the collected surveillance data. I also performed disease-specific literature reviews for the CDC One Health office for the One Health Zoonotic Disease Prioritization Workshops. These workshops guide countries to identify which five zoonotic diseases or pathogens in their country are of greatest concern for an action package within the Global Health Security Agenda.

Q: What are your long-term goals for yourself and your career?

CB: My long-term goals have recently changed in the past year. Currently, I am focusing on my efforts to become a better epidemiologist. I am hoping to gain as much wisdom and knowledge from my mentor here at the CDC, Dr. Sue Montgomery, an established veterinarian and epidemiologist. Every disease that we study here, she is fully committed to at all times. I’m hoping to learn how she conducts herself and works with different states. The CDC’s relationship with other states can be very sensitive. I learned a lot of this at Iowa but it was more on an educational level whereas this is more on a career level.

Q: You are now starting a fellowship in Atlanta. What does this fellowship have in store for you and what is the duration of it?

CB: Currently, I am working on the team focused on Cyclospora outbreaks. I am inputting data from all states and looking for related cases. The team is in constant communication with the Food and Drug Administration, which carries a similar goal of finding food vehicles that are the cause of the different outbreaks. My fellowship will end next August. Eventually, I will move on to work on the rat lungworm outbreak in Hawaii.

Q: What would you consider your biggest accomplishment to be so far?

CB: Before deciding to get my MPH, I traveled the world for 11 months doing humanitarian work. I would say that trip allowed me to gain my biggest accomplishments.

Skye Corken is a junior at the University of Iowa majoring in Global Health Studies and earning a Certificate in Writing.

Be Kind: Join in Random Acts of Kindness Week

random acts of kindness bannerThe College of Public Health Student Association (CPHSA) invites you to join the movement of spreading kindness and positivity around the college! The UI CPH Random Acts of Kindness Week runs October 23-27.

A Random Act of Kindness is a simple yet significant gesture that can really make someone’s day. This could mean writing notes of encouragement to students studying hard in the commons. It could be buying coffee for the next person in line. It could be running an errand for a busy friend or writing a sincere thank you note to your professor or advisor. Here are some more examples of acts of kindness you could do: http://www.bradaronson.com/acts-of-kindness/

Whatever gestures you decide to do, be sure to share it with others both in person with a note and on social media using the hashtag #CPHActsOfKindness and @randomacts.org to be a part of National Random Acts of Kindness organization’s mission and movement.

The most important things to remember are to be creative and spread some kindness because it does make a difference!

CPHSA members celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Week by providing free bagels for students
CPHSA members celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Week by providing free bagels for students

Youth groups encourage farmer safety


We Are Phil Faculty and Staff Giving Campaign kicks off on Monday

The UI We Are Phil Faculty and Staff Giving Campaign week kicks off on Monday, Oct. 16.  In recognition of the positive impact philanthropy has on our college and our campus, the CPH We Are Phil Committee has planned a Fun-PHIL-ed Day at CPH for Tuesday, Oct. 17.  Activities will include:

  • Windy Phil welcoming all to CPHB
  • Box Lunch food truck (a 50s-style diner on wheels) outside CPHB from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.  The menu features burgers, hot dogs, grilled cheese, and milkshakes.
  • Delicious We Are Phil cookies available for all
  • The CPH We Are Phil committee at table to answer questions

Faculty and staff are invited to gather in the CPHB atrium anytime from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. to have lunch and socialize.

Cookies will be delivered to these central locations.  Faculty and staff are encouraged to stop by the location nearest them for a We Are Phil treat:

  • CPHB – 11:30 in the atrium
  • UCC – 11:30 in Biostats and Cancer Registry
  • IREH – 12 noon in Room 123

To donate any amount to the We Are Phil campaign, faculty and staff can enter a contribution envelope in one of three standing, locked deposit boxes.  From Oct. 16 through 20, they will be located at: CPHB (in the waiting area of the Dean’s suite), UCC (rotating between Cancer Registry and Biostats), and IREH.  Donations can also be given online.

Thanks to the engagement of so many CPH faculty and staff who support philanthropy at UI, the college is able to offer opportunities and advance education of our students, faculty, and staff.