Meet Dr. Kesha Baptiste-Roberts, esteemed adjunct faculty epidemiologist

By Sally CrockerHSC School of Public Health's Dr. Kesha Baptiste-Roberts

Kesha Baptiste-Roberts, PhD, MPH, has taught as an adjunct faculty member for the HSC School of Public Health (SPH) since 2014, and last fall she was presented with an outstanding national honor that adds to her considerable portfolio of academic and career achievements.

Dr. Baptiste-Roberts, who teaches courses in Epidemiology for the SPH, was honored with the Abraham Lilienfeld Award from the Epidemiology Section of the American Public Health Association (APHA) at the group’s annual fall conference in Denver.

This award recognizes excellence in the teaching of epidemiology during the course of a career. In bestowing this honor, the APHA Epidemiology Section noted that Dr. Baptiste-Roberts’ work “has contributed greatly to our field and is held in high regard by students and professional epidemiologists who have, in turn, made worthwhile contributions to the field of public health.”

Abraham Lilienfeld, MD, MPH, is known as a hero of public health. His work was so extensive during his lifetime that he has been called the “father of contemporary chronic disease epidemiology.” The knowledge he contributed to areas of cancer, cerebrovascular disease, digestive diseases and birth defects has been recognized as what could be the summation of many lifetimes of work. He also was a major contributor to the Surgeon General’s report that established tobacco smoking as a serious threat to health. Additionally, he is remembered for his vibrant and enlightening teaching style.

“We are so pleased to congratulate Dr. Baptiste-Roberts on this outstanding career achievement, and we are honored that she is one of our longtime, well-respected epidemiology faculty members,” said Dr. Tracey Barnett, SPH Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Chair of the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology. “Her level of achievement and experience lends greatly to our students’ experience and their enrichment in the field.”

Throughout a lengthy career, Dr. Baptiste-Roberts’ work has focused on diabetes, women’s health, epidemiology, maternal-child health and public health.

She holds a PhD in Epidemiology, with a Certificate in Maternal and Child Health, and an MPH in Community Health-Epidemiology.

“Epidemiology is such an exciting field. I enjoy teaching it because it is the science of public health and provides the scientific evidence base for programs and policies impacting society,” Dr. Baptiste-Roberts said.

“However,” she noted, “there is also an art to it. There is also drama and suspense as one functions as a ‘disease detective’ to solve public health problems.” 

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