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New Faculty

Milken Institute SPH recently announced four new decanal positions that will ensure graduate and undergraduate programs align with the school’s strategic plan as well as university-wide initiatives to develop and foster distinctive and prominent programs.

Associate Dean of MPH Programs

Since arriving at Milken Institute SPH in 2010, Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health George Gray, PhD, MS, has been a great supporter of the school’s MPH program. He recently helped with the overhaul of the school’s core curriculum to enhance the education of the next generation of public health practitioners, and as the newly named Associate Dean for MPH Programs, Gray will work to ensure the program’s continued quality and effectiveness.

“George will provide the leadership and coordination that will continue to propel Milken Institute SPH upward in the rankings by providing the best MPH education in the nation,” says Dean Goldman. Gray will serve as the senior academic leader of all online and residential MPH programs.
In addition to his commitment to the MPH program, Gray has dedicated much time and expertise to the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, serving as the program adviser of the department’s DrPH program and leading the development of the newly approved PhD in environmental health.

Prior to joining Milken Institute SPH, Gray served as assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Research and Development and as the science adviser to the EPA administrator. Prior to that, he was with the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, where his scholarship focused on the application of risk analytic tools to public health problems, ranging from mad cow disease to pesticides in food to the risks and benefits of fish consumption.

Associate Dean for Applied Public Health

No stranger to Milken Institute SPH, Eugene Migliaccio, DrPH, MPH, who has taught at the school as an adjunct professor since 1995, was named associate dean for applied public health and global health professor this past August.

In this role, Migliaccio will coordinate with academic leadership and departmental practicum coordinators to represent Milken Institute SPH among local, state and national health leaders, developing opportunities for applied public health training, scholarship and experiences for members of our community. “Dr. Migliaccio will provide the visionary leadership, as well as effective management, that will enhance the visibility and prominence of all of our professional education programs and the goals and objectives of the school’s strategic plan,” says Dean Goldman.

Before his appointment, Migliaccio retired from a decades-long career in public service in which he has served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) and in the U.S. Air Force Medical Service Corps. He also served as executive director for Community Care Delivery Operations with the Veterans Health Administration, as director of the U.S. Health and Human Services Federal Occupational Health Service, as director of Immigration Health Services, and as chief of staff for the Office of the Surgeon General, where he worked on a transformation of the organization and on health priorities for the nation, including prevention, preparedness, and health disparities. Migliaccio has received numerous PHS, military and private-sector awards. He also received a Proclamation from the Mayor of Houston for his assistance with coordinating the federal health care response to over 200,000 Hurricane Katrina evacuees in the city.

Associate Dean for PhD and MS Studies

In August, Prevention and Community Health Professor Lorien Abroms, ScD, MA, was announced as the Associate Dean for PhD and MS Studies, a new role that will lead a systematic process to make Milken Institute SPH a global leader in PhD and MS education for public health. Working in coordination with Senior Associate Dean for Research Adnan Hyder as well as PhD and MS program leaders, Abroms will ensure the school’s graduate programs align with university-wide efforts to develop distinctive and distinguished graduate studies as well as focus on high- impact doctoral education.

Abroms is a behavioral scientist with expertise in applying communication technology to design scalable programs aimed at tobacco cessation. She is founder of the GW mHealth Collaborative and has been co-director of the MeTRIC center, a partnership of DC-based experts in tobacco control. During the last year, she served as interim associate center director for population science and policy at the GW Cancer Center.

Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Programs

To help support the expansion, planning and coordination across the school’s three undergraduate programs, Sara Wilensky, JD, will serve as Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Programs. Wilensky previously served in the role in an interim capacity as well as special services faculty for undergraduate faculty. As assistant dean, Wilkensky will work closely with school leadership and key program faculty and stakeholders, as
well as the Office of Student Services, to ensure quality and effective efforts around enrollment management and retention for the BS programs in public health, nutrition science, and exercise science.

During the upcoming year, Wilensky will specifically focus on the growth and development of the school’s undergraduate programs in the context of GW-wide efforts to improve the quality of undergraduate education, including science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. Wilensky has a long tenure at GW, having arrived in 2002 as a faculty member in the Department of Health Policy and Management. She currently teaches undergraduate and graduate public health programs with a focus on financing, access and health care needs for the medically underserved, emphasizing issues relating to Medicaid.

Prior to joining Milken Institute SPH, Wilensky worked at the Children’s Defense Fund, as a fellow at Plan de Salud del V alle Community Health Center in Colorado, as a clerk for a federal judge, and as an attorney.

Assistant Dean of Student Services

Heather Renault, who served as director of admissions at Milken Institute SPH since 2016, was named assistant dean of student services in December. Working with students is her passion, says Renault, who has 20 years of experience working in enrollment management with a focus on recruiting and retention.

“Some believe admissions is just about welcoming students to the school, but to me it is about helping students reach their full potential, make the most of their educational experience, graduate and become leaders in their field,” says Renault. In this new role, Renault is working to unite the school’s student body, including on-campus students, online students and undergraduate students. “I want to connect with students to understand their needs and goals,” she says. “Together we will build and implement co-curricular activities to promote diversity and inclusion, enhance lessons in the classroom, and deepen relationships among students, faculty and leadership.”

Master Teaching Academy Supports Faculty in the Classroom

Seven Milken Institute SPH faculty participated in the Master Teaching Academy Fellowship program this past year to help further their pedagogical skills. The annual program supports new, innovative and game-changing teaching projects designed to solve specific pedagogical issues that fellows have observed in their own courses. Proposed projects are designed to improve, modernize, and/or expand public health teaching practices.

“The Master Teaching Academy Fellowship program has allowed me to explore a new educational initiative to bring hands-on genomic research to
the classroom,” says Epidemiology and Biostatistics Assistant Professor Marcos Pérez-Losada, a 2018-2019 fellow. “Their support to new faculty like me has been instrumental.” Fellows receive both financial support and one-on-one mentorship provided by a member of the school’s Academy of Master Teachers. These fellowships are intended to challenge faculty to identify specific issues that they have encountered in the teaching and learning process and over the course of the fellowship, develop skills and innovate solutions aimed at solving those issues. Fellows also attend seminars and workshops on the latest pedagogical tools to improve and innovate teaching and learning.

The 2018-2019 teaching fellows and their projects included:

Do Students Learn More From Their Mistakes? Comparing Student Performance and Student Preference in an Error-Free Versus an Error-Full SAS Programming Environment , presented by Biostatistics Associate Professors Heather Hoffman and Angelo Elmi.

Developing Online, Interactive Case Studies for Introductory Epidemiology students, presented by Epidemiology and Biostatistics Teaching Assistant Professor Scott Quinlan.

Undergraduate Public Health Learning is not a Spectator Sport: Integrating Active Learning Techniques in the Classroom, presented by Health Policy and Management Adjunct Professor J. Zoe Beckerman.

Testing the ‘Grandma Hypothesis’: Using Microbiome Research to Teach Hands-On Genomics, presented by Epidemiology and Biostatistics Assistant Professor Marcos Pérez-Losad.

Developing Problem-Based Learning Modules for Undergraduate Environmental H ealth Curriculum, presented by Environmental and Occupational Health Associate Professor Matias Attene Ramos and Environmental and Occupational Health Assistant Professor Amanda Northcross.

New Faculty

Matthew Barberio, PhD
Assistant Professor of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences

Carla Berg, PhD, MBA
Professor of Prevention and Community Health & Assistant Director of GW Cancer Center

Robert Bonar, DrHA
Gordon A. Friesen Professor of Healthcare Administration & Director of Master of Health Administration program

Nicole Butera, PhD
Assistant Research Professor of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics

Alokananda Ghosh, MD, PhD
Assistant Research Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Sally Lahm, PhD
Assistant Research Professor of Global Health

Kyle Levers, PhD
Assistant Professor of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences

Patricia MacTaggart, MBA
Teaching Instructor in Health Policy and Management & Program Director of HealthInformatics@GW

Ali Moghtaderi, PhD
Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management

Nino Paichadze, MD, MPH
Assistant Research Professor of Global Health

Gholamali Rahnavard, PhD
Assistant Professor of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics

Diane Uschner, PhD
Assistant Research Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

New Emeriti Faculty

James Cawley, PA-C, MPH
Professor Emeritus of Prevention and Community Health

Caroline Sparks, PhD
Associate Emeritus Professor of Prevention and Community Health

Faculty & Student Tweets

Lynn Goldman @drlynngoldman • July 19, 2019
via @NYTimes: This is a major setback for children’s health protection & shows complete disregard of the science and the law by @EPA … a clear message to the world that a US pesticide registration is no longer an assurance of safety. #banchloropyrifo
Dean Lynn R. Goldman
Adnan Hyder @ahyder1 • June 11, 2019
Excited to be @pahowho for launch of #RoadSafety regional report! Glad to represent @GWpublichealth here with @NPaichadze to showcase our support of @WHO efforts & our partnership
Senior Associate Dean for Research and Global Health Professor Adnan Hyder
Ami Zota @amizota • February 10, 2019
NY Times’ Editorial Board makes the case for cosmetic safety reform AND they reference our work on the disproportionate impacts of beauty product chemicals on women of color. #environmentalinjusticeofbeauty
Environmental and Occupational Health Assistant Professor Ami Zota
David Michaels @drdavidmichaels • June 10, 2019
The damage currently being done to our system of public health protections is enormous. Let’s start a national conversation about how not just to repair but to rebuild & re-imagine this system to be more effective. @AMJPublicHealth
Environmental and Occupational Health and Epidemiology Professor David Michaels
Uriyoán Colón-Ramos @uricora • May 2, 2019
Yikes! Junk food companies arguing that sugar content in whole fruit = added sugar content in their empty calories products.
Global Health and Exercise and Nutrition Sciences Associate Professor Uriyoán Colón-Ramos
Wendy Ellis @wendyruns • April 14, 2019
It’s all coming together… as @ResilNation networks and partners from around the country come together today in #DC for Building Community Resilience Week!
Building Community Resilience Project Director Wendy Ellis
Susan Anenberg @SusanAnenberg • April 18, 2019
Ploy Achakulwisut and I did a podcast with @GWpublichealth. I talk about how my kids will be living with the repercussions of our failure to act on climate change. @_aploy talks about the importance of scientists communicating outside the ivory tower
Environmental and Occupational Health and Global Health Associate Professor Susan Anenberg

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