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Emory faculty earn national recognition for epidemiologic research
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Rob Spahr
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(From left) Drs. Lauren Christiansen-Lindquist, Sarita Shah, Jodie Guest, Neel Gandhi and Shakira Suglia from the Department of Epidemiology at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health received awards during the Society for Epidemiologic Research's 2023 annual meeting.

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Five faculty members from the Department of Epidemiology at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health recently received national recognition for their excellence in epidemiologic research.

Drs. Lauren Christiansen-Lindquist, Neel Gandhi, Jodie Guest, Sarita Shah and Shakira Suglia earned four of the eight awards presented at the Society for Epidemiologic Research’s annual meeting, which was held in Portland, Oregon, from June 13-16.

The Society for Epidemiologic Research is the oldest and largest general epidemiology society in North America focused on keeping epidemiologists at the vanguard of scientific developments in the study of chronic diseases, infectious diseases and mental health. In addition to the annual meeting, which is typically attended by approximately 1,000 people each year, the society sponsors the American Journal of Epidemiology and Epidemiologic Reviews.

“Especially noteworthy was that the awards [the Emory faculty received] recognized different career stages, different areas of research and excellence in education,” says Timothy L. Lash, DSc, O. Wayne Rollins Distinguished Professor of Epidemiology and chair of the Department of Epidemiology at Rollins. “These awards reflect the depth and breadth of excellence in the department, and so it was truly an inspiration to be there as the awards were presented.”

The following Emory faculty were recognized by the Society for Epidemiologic Research: 

Jodie Guest, PhD, professor and senior vice chair of the Department of Epidemiology

Guest was awarded the 2023 Kenneth Rothman Career Accomplishment Award, which honors an outstanding scholar who has made extraordinary contributions to the field of epidemiology or whose work has had a profound impact on epidemiology. Guest was recognized for her extensive achievements in epidemiologic research and specific expertise in HIV cohorts, clinical trials and emergency preparedness, as well as her research focus on racial, sexual and gender minority populations in HIV care. Guest is also the director of the Emory Farmworker Project, which provides health care to thousands of migrant farmworkers each year, leads Emory’s COVID-19 Outbreak Response Team, and serves as the monkeypox advisor for the City of Atlanta.

Lauren Christiansen-Lindquist,PhD, assistant professor and director of graduate studies for MPH and MSPH programs in the Department of Epidemiology

Christiansen-Lindquist was awarded the 2023 Tom Koepsell & Noel Weiss Excellence in Education Award, which is awarded to an individual who has made substantial contributions to the field of epidemiology through mentoring, training and/or teaching. Christiansen-Lindquist was recognized for her exceptional instruction of epidemiologic methods at the introductory, intermediate, advanced, and doctoral levels, as well as her well-known and unique pedagogical techniques that make complicated concepts more accessible. Christiansen-Lindquist co-authored the textbook Fundamentals of Epidemiology, which is scheduled to be released this fall, and her research interests include stillbirth prevention and improving both stillbirth reporting and the care that families receive around the time of a loss. 

Neel Gandhi, MD, and Sarita Shah, MD, professors in the Department of Epidemiology at Rollins with secondary appointments in Emory’s School of Medicine

Gandhi and Shah were awarded the 2023 Roger Detels Distinguished Researcher in Infectious Disease Award, which recognizes extraordinary contributions to the research field of infectious disease epidemiology. This was the first time this award was presented by the society and Gandi and Shah were nominated as a pair for their extensive work in tuberculosis (TB) prevention and control, especially in the low-resource settings of South Africa. Gandhi has been engaged in clinical research in TB and HIV since 1998 and leads a research team focused on epidemiology, clinical and translational research studies to improve care for TB patients and create new knowledge on the factors that influence transmission and susceptibility to TB, and the emergence of drug resistance. 

Gandhi is also the co-director of the Emory/Georgia Tuberculosis Research Advancement Center. Shah’s research and public health efforts have focused on drug-resistant TB and TB/HIV co-infection in multiple high-burden settings throughout sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Shah is also the co-director of the Clinical & Population Science Core for the Emory/Georgia Tuberculosis Research Advancement Center and part of the leadership team for the Emory COVID-19 Response Collaborative. 

Shakira Suglia, ScD, professor and vice chair in the Department of Epidemiology

Suglia was awarded the 2023 Carol J. Rowland Hogue Award for Outstanding Mid-Career Achievement, which is given to a mid-career scientist who has made an exceptional contribution to the practice of epidemiology. Suglia was recognized for her work in early life traumas and life course epidemiology, especially among LatinX populations. Suglia’s current research examines how stress stemming from multiple social factors impacts cardiometabolic health outcomes. Suglia also leads several studies that seek to understand how social factors affect epigenomic markers that can, in turn, alter cardiometabolic health and other chronic health conditions. This award is named in honor of Rollins’ Professor Emerita of Epidemiology and Jules and Uldeen Terry Professor Emerita of Maternal and Child Health Carol J. Hogue.


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