SPH faculty & students make the news


Published: December 10, 2009

Dr. Richard Kurz, dean of the School of Public Health at the University of North Texas Health Science Center Fort Worth (UNTHSC), was recently quoted in the Dallas Business Journal on a new release by the Commonwealth Fund, showing that Texas had risen two spots in its national healthcare rating.

Dr. Eric Johnson, professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology, was recently noted in Reuters Health News for his research on the relationship between cancer and poultry workers. The study was also covered by other news outlets, including Ottawa Citizen online, The Leader Post, Yahoo! News, Canada.com and LifeScript. Another aspect of his research, dealing with non-cancers in the same population, titled “Mortality in the Baltimore union poultry cohort: non-malignant diseases,” was published in the International Archives of Occupational & Environmental Health.

Dr. Elena Bastida, associate dean for research and chair, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, was named a Public Health Hero by Research!America and was recognized as a “national expert in Hispanic health issues” in honor of Public Health Thank You Day on November 23, 2009.

Dr. Martha Felini, epidemiology professor, and her husband, police sergeant Louis Felini, were honored with a Special Recognition Award for their “courageous work with those trying to better themselves following a life of substance abuse and prostitution” at the recent 2009 Prism Awards ceremony, hosted by Mental Health America of Greater Dallas. Dr. Felini also received commendation from Dallas County Commissioner Maurine Dickey for her research associated with this intelligence gathering and prostitution diversion program of the Dallas Police Department, the only program of its kind that takes diversion initiatives directly to the streets, attracting international attention for its success. Dr. Felini also served as a presenter at the recent National Prostitute Diversion Conference, highlighting this program.

Dr. Lori Fischbach, assistant professor of epidemiology, was quoted in an October 14, 2009, Drug Industry Daily article, “Critics Take Issue with FDA Draft Guidance on Ulcer Drugs.”

For the third year in a row, students collaborating with Dr. Fischbach have won top awards at the American College of Epidemiology (ACE) Conference. DrPH graduate student Tabatha Offutt-Powell won second place for Best Student Poster at this year’s fall meeting. In 2008, UNTHSC DrPH student Rohit Ojha was awarded first place by unanimous decision.

Dr. Fernando Wilson, assistant professor, Health Management and Policy, and Dr. Jim Stimpson, assistant professor, Social and Behavioral Sciences, published an article with Dr. Peter Hilsenrath on “Gasoline Prices and Their Relationship to Rising Motorcycle Fatalities, 1990-2007” in the October 2009 issue of the American Journal of Public Health. As gas prices rise in down economic times, more people switch to motorcycles, the study shows, and the number of people dying in motorcycle accidents increases. In follow-up to the article, Dr. Wilson was interviewed by Reuters and KDAF-TV Channel 33 Dallas.

Dr. José Pagán, professor and chair, Health Management and Policy, recently published co-authored papers on “Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Awareness of Genetic Testing for Cancer Risk,” American Journal of Preventive Medicine, December 2009; “Material Resources and Population Health: Disadvantages in Health Care, Housing, and Food Among Adults Over 50 Years of Age,” American Journal of Public Health, November 2009; and “Context matters: Where would you be the least worse off in the US if you were uninsured?,” Health Policy, January 2010.