MHA student Marisa Polonsky wins ACHE essay competition

Marisa PolonskyMarisa Polonsky, a second-year Master of Health Administration student in the University of Iowa College of Public Health, earned first place in the Graduate Division of the Richard J. Stull Student Essay Competition in Health Care Management, sponsored by the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). Polonsky will be recognized at the ACHE Congress on Healthcare Leadership in Chicago, Ill., on Wednesday, March 6.

Polonsky will receive $3,000, and transportation and accommodations expenses for two nights paid by ACHE. The Iowa MHA program will receive $1,000 for the first place finish. Her winning essay, “High Reliability Organizations: The Next Frontier in Healthcare Quality and Safety,” will be published in a future issue of ACHE’s Journal of Healthcare Management.

Fethke, Petersen receive Carver Trust Associate Professor Advancement Awards

A portrait of Nathan Fethke of the University of Iowa College of Public Health
Nathan Fethke
portrait of Christine Petersen
Christine Petersen

University of Iowa College of Public Health faculty members Nathan Fethke and Christine Petersen have been selected to receive Carver Trust Associate Professor Advancement Awards. The $5,000 awards are intended to support the advancement of associate professors to full professors.

The awards can be used for a variety of scholarly activities such as advancing innovative research ideas, disseminating research findings, traveling to advance research partnerships, or engaging with new collaborators.

Fethke, associate professor of occupational and environmental health, will use the award to develop and test a prototype of a new, wearable sensor that measures the postures and movements of workers along with location information. The goal is to provide ergonomists with a greater understanding of how a variety of occupational tasks with varying physical demands affect musculoskeletal health. This project will serve as the foundation for further studies.

Petersen, associate professor of epidemiology and director of the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases, will use the award to establish a critical novel field site with Amhara Public Health Institute, the major accredited public health laboratory in Ethiopia. The initial research question for this collaborative site will be to understand how tick borne diseases often found in people living and working in austere settings may augment an epidemic of visceral leishmaniasis in Northeastern Ethiopia.

The awards are funded by the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust, one of the largest private philanthropic foundations in the state of Iowa. The Carver Trust supports biomedical and scientific research, scholarships, and programs addressing the educational and recreational needs of youth.


Hernandez, Ward receive biostatistics scholarships

Graduate students Helin Hernandez (left) and Caitlin Ward (right) with Professor Jake Oleson
Graduate students Helin Hernandez (left) and Caitlin Ward (right) with Professor Jacob Oleson

Department of Biostatistics graduate students Helin Hernandez and Caitlin Ward are the 2018 recipients of the Kathryn M. Chaloner Memorial Scholarship and the Leon F. Burmeister Memorial Scholarship, respectively.

Hernandez will receive her MS in biostatistics this semester and will begin the PhD program in January. She is originally from Van Nuys, Calif.

Ward is from Iowa City, Iowa, and is currently a PhD student. She earned her MS in the spring of 2018.

Jacob Oleson, professor of biostatistics, is the faculty advisor for Hernandez and a co-advisor for Ward.

The Kathryn M. Chaloner Memorial Scholarship was established in honor of Dr. Chaloner’s commitment to diversity and inclusiveness in the field of biostatistics. Chaloner served as professor and head of the University of Iowa Department of Biostatistics for 12 years.

The Leon F. Burmeister Memorial Scholarship was established to support an exceptional graduate student in the Department of Biostatistics, with preference given to students from the state of Iowa. Dr. Burmeister was a professor of biostatistics with a career at the University of Iowa spanning 42 years.

Recipients of Dr. Carol S. Gleich Development Award announced

Congratulations to the recipients of the Dr. Carol S. Gleich Development Award! This award is available to faculty members and graduate students in the College of Public Health to support travel expenses to perform an official function at a national or international meeting.

October 2018 Award Recipients

Name: Toluwani Adekunle, PhD student in Community and Behavioral Health
Meeting: American Public Health Association
Location: San Diego, CA
Dates: November 10-14, 2018
Purpose: Presentation, “Community-based savings groups, domestic violence, and maternal depression: Evidence from Mozambique”

Name: Yuan Huang, Assistant Professor of Biostatistics
Meeting: Eastern North American Region
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Dates: March 23-27, 2019
Purpose: Committee representative of Section on Statistics in Genomics and Genetics of the American Statistical Association

Name: Erin Mobley, PhD student in Health Management and Policy
Meeting: Global Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Congress
Location: Sydney, Australia
Dates: December 4-6, 2018
Purpose: Presentation, “Rurality and Other Factors Affecting Clinical Trial Enrollment for AYAs with Cancer in a U.S. Population-Based Study”

Name: Jim Torner, Professor of Epidemiology
Meeting: American College of Epidemiology
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Dates: September 23-25, 2018
Purpose: Executive Board Member, Membership Committee Member, Fellow

Name: Brad Wright, Associate Professor of Health Management and Policy
Meeting: Society of Academic Emergency Medicine
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Dates: May 14-17, 2019
Purpose: Presentation: “Evidence of Racial, Geographic, and Gender Disparities in Observation Stays”

Name: Gideon Zamba, Professor of Biostatistics
Meeting: African International Conference in Statistics
Location: Asri, Ethiopia
Dates: May 26-29, 2019
Purpose: Invited keynote and plenary speaker: “Recursive Bayesian Approaches to Disease Modeling for the Case of Influenza”

Alumnus Jim Atty recognized as top young health care leader

portrait of Jim AttyCollege of Public Health alumnus Jim Atty, CEO of Waverly Health Center in Waverly, Iowa, was recently named the recipient of the Iowa Hospital Association’s Young Executive Achievement Award.

Atty, a 2009 graduate of the college’s Master of Health Administration program, has led Waverly Health Center since 2014. He is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

In an announcement about the Young Executive Achievement Award, the Iowa Hospital Association noted: “This award was created to recognize up-and-coming health care executives, age 40 or younger, who have made a significant contribution to health care in the state of Iowa. Mr. Atty has ensured steady growth for the hospital, consistent excellence in patient care, and a positive, ‘can-do’ culture among staff. His leadership and involvement have made an already highly-regarded hospital even more visible, connected, and supported within the community. With an exceptional work ethic and consummate professionalism, Mr. Atty is revered at the hospital and in the community as a valued leader who instills both motivation and confidence.”

Snetselaar honored with Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Medallion Award

Portrait of Epidemiology Professor and Associate Provost Linda Snetselaar of the University of Iowa College of Public Health.Linda Snetselaar, PhD, RD, LD, FAND, University of Iowa professor of epidemiology and chair of preventive nutrition education, was one of eight registered dietitian nutritionists presented with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ prestigious 2018 Medallion Awards on Oct. 21 during the Academy’s Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo in Washington, D.C. The awards recognize outstanding service and leadership in the Academy and the nutrition and dietetics profession.

Snetselaar is the director of the Department of Epidemiology’s Nutrition Center at the University of Iowa College of Public Health and editor-in-chief of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is also the University of Iowa associate provost for outreach and engagement.

More information is available on the Academy’s 2018 national honors and award winners.

Lynch, Robertson, and Thorne honored with university awards

Each year, University of Iowa faculty and staff members are honored for their valuable contributions to the university’s core mission of teaching, service, and research. Following are the College of Public Health award recipients in 2018.

Michael J. Brody Award for Faculty Excellence in Service

A portrait of Charles Lynch of the University of Iowa College of Public HealthCharles Lynch

Lynch is professor of epidemiology in the College of Public Health and medical director and principal investigator of the Iowa Cancer Registry, which provides invaluable data to the state and nation, educates Iowans about cancer prevention and early detection, and helps to train future cancer epidemiologists. He has provided extraordinary service to the state and nation through his own groundbreaking research into the association between radon and lung cancer, which has likely saved the lives of many Iowans and others around the world. He is also the longtime Iowa director for the Agricultural Health Study, researching the health, safety, and risk factors associated with farming and pesticide use among more than 58,000 Iowans enrolled in that study. His extensive university service includes acting as chair or vice chair of the Board in Control of Athletics and the Presidential Committee on Athletics, both of which honored him with their Distinguished Service Awards. He received the Regents Award for Faculty Excellence in 2014.

David J. Skorton Award for Staff Excellence in Service

portrait of Gayle RobertsonGayle Robertson

Robertson is research support manager for the State Health Registry of Iowa (SHRI) in the Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health. She is the primary individual responsible for pre- and post-award research administration in the SHRI, where she oversees the multi-year, multi-million dollar Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) contract from the National Cancer Institute (one of the university’s largest federal contracts). Her long-term knowledge and experience have greatly enhanced the SHRI’s ability to develop and provide needed resources, and she has been instrumental in developing strategies to maintain research excellence in the face of declining federal funding. She has also contributed noteworthy service to the college and university as a member of the College of Public Health Staff Council and then university Staff Council, of which she is currently a member of the executive committee.

Board of Regents Award for Faculty Excellence

Peter Thorne

portrait of Peter ThorneThorne is professor in and head of the Department of Occupational and Environmental Health in the College of Public Health, where he also directs the Environmental Health Sciences Research Center. He is associate director of the interdisciplinary Human Toxicology program, a model program for student training and research engagement that he helped establish. An internationally known scholar in the fields of environmental hazards, pulmonary toxicology, and human health risk assessment, he serves on the Board of Environmental Studies and Toxicology for the National Academy of Sciences, and recently served as chair of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board. He has collaborated with many communities concerned about environmental exposures to dangerous chemicals, to evaluate the hazards they face and their associated health impacts. He is an active and sought-after teacher and mentor for students and for junior faculty, helping build careers that shape scientific innovation.

See the full list of award winners in Iowa Now.