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National Academy of Medicine elects Emory President Claire E. Sterk

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Holly Korschun

The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) has elected Claire E. Sterk, PhD, to its 2018 class of 75 leading health scientists and 10 international members. Sterk is the 20th president of Emory University and the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Public Health.

Membership in the NAM is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine, recognizing individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievements and commitment to service. Members are elected to the NAM by their peers from among candidates nominated for their accomplishments and contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care and public health. Emory currently has 31 members in the NAM.

Sterk began her role as president on Sept. 1, 2016. A pioneering public health scholar, she has served for the past two decades as a social scientist, academic leader and administrator at Emory. Prior to becoming president, she served as  the university’s provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. At Rollins School of Public Health she served as associate dean for research, chair of the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, and acting and associate director of the Women’s and Children’s Center.

Sterk is a globally renowned thought leader who has deepened our understanding of social and health disparities; addiction and infectious diseases, specifically HIV/AIDS; community engagement; and the importance of mentoring and empowering women leaders. Her scientific leadership includes chairing a section of the American Sociological Association and serving as a member of study sections, task forces and conference committees for the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization. She has been a Rosalynn Carter Fellow in Public Policy and a Fellow in the Society for Applied Anthropology.

She has served on the editorial board, as an editor, or as a reviewer for 15 scientific journals in the fields of sociology, behavioral sciences and anthropology. Her academic publications include three books and more than 125 peer-reviewed articles. Her work is widely cited and has received more than $30 million in external research funding.

Both in her role as president and in her previous role as provost, Sterk has emphasized the choices and responsibilities of research universities and their real-world impact. She is leading efforts at Emory to broaden research across the university and its nine colleges and graduate and professional schools, including enriched opportunities for student research. Emory’s new strategic framework includes a heightened focus on serving both Atlanta and global communities through enhanced research partnerships.

A native of the Netherlands, Sterk earned her PhD in sociology from Erasmus University in Rotterdam and a doctorandus degree in medical anthropology from the University of Utrecht. She completed her undergraduate education at the Free University in Amsterdam.

The National Academy of Medicine, established in 1970 as the Institute of Medicine, is an independent organization of eminent professionals from diverse fields including health and medicine, the natural, social, and behavioral sciences; and beyond. It serves alongside the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering as an advisor to the nation and the international community regarding critical issues in health, medicine and related policy.

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