SPH names new Associate Deans, announces department updates


Published: January 9, 2017

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Dr. Emily Spence-Almaguer & Dr. Tracey Barnett

As the School of Public Health (SPH) moves into 2017, plans are in the works to strengthen programs, build deeper community partnerships and enhance academic quality. To help support those goals, two new Associate Deans have recently been appointed, and departments within the SPH have been updated, under the direction of two new Chairs.

Dr. Emily Spence-Almaguer has been named to the newly-developed position of Associate Dean for Community Engagement and Health Equity, where she will serve as the primary SPH representative to community organizations and partners interested in or engaged with faculty, staff, students or School infrastructure. She will also establish and monitor School objectives related to faculty and student community service; community-based learning experiences for students, including MPH practice experiences; community-based research and evaluation services; and public health workforce training for the North Texas region, strengthening UNTHSC’s capacity for community-engaged work.

Also joining the SPH Executive Team is Dr. Tracey Barnett, who will serve as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. In this role, she will provide leadership to enhance the quality of academic programs and revise curricula in line with recently updated Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) accreditation criteria.

Dr. Spence-Almaguer has been with the SPH since 2012, as Associate Professor of Behavioral and Community Health and Director, Community Outreach Core, for the Texas Center for Health Disparities.  She has worked extensively in the local community on research and interventions related to intimate partner violence, sexual violence and stalking, and was instrumental in developing a 2013 study on the victimization experiences and health challenges of homeless women in Fort Worth, in partnership with the Tarrant County Homeless Coalition, Salvation Army and other agencies (https://www.unthsc.edu/school-of-public-health/new-study-focuses-on-victimization-of-fort-worth-homeless-women/). She has extensive experience in the development, administration and evaluation of social service programs. Dr. Spence-Almaguer holds a PhD in Social Welfare from Florida International University.

Dr. Barnett joins the SPH from the University of Florida, Gainesville, where she most recently served as Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health and Health Professions and College of Medicine, and as Director, Social and Behavioral Sciences Concentration, for the PhD in Public Health program. She is trained as a medical sociologist and has experience in behavioral/social epidemiology and health services research. Dr. Barnett’s research on tobacco and alternative tobacco use has been supported by the National Cancer Institute, U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the American Cancer Society. She holds a PhD in Medical and Applied Sociology from Western Michigan University and also served a postdoctoral Health Services Research Fellowship through the Rehabilitation Outcomes Research Center/South Georgia Veterans Health System, Florida.

Dr. Sumihiro Suzuki

Dr. Sumihiro Suzuki

Dr. Sumihiro Suzuki has been named as Chair of the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, which will now include the public health biostatics, epidemiology and environmental health programs.

Dr. Scott Walters has been named as Chair for the new Department of Health Behavior and Health Systems, which will encompass health management and policy, behavioral and community health, maternal and child health and public health education programs.

These changes in department structure align with recent Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approval effective January 1, 2017.

Dr. Suzuki has been with the SPH since 2007 and was named Associate Professor in 2014. He served as Interim Chair for Biostatistics and Epidemiology from 2015 to 2016 and has been Program Director for the MPH in Biostatistics and PhD in Biostatistics and Epidemiology since 2014. His research interests include statistical methodology research in the area of sequential analysis, as well as applied research in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and obesity.  Dr. Suzuki received his PhD in Mathematical Sciences with a major in Statistics from the University of Texas at Dallas.

Dr. Scott Walters

Dr. Scott Walters

Dr. Walters joined the SPH in 2011 as Professor of Behavioral and Community Health. His research focuses on the use of motivational interviewing and technology as behavioral health interventions. His current projects involve testing in-person and web-based interventions for increasing judicial probation compliance, technology-assisted health coaching for people in permanent supportive housing, and a screening and intervention program to reduce interpersonal violence. He has served as a standing member of the NIH/NIAAA Epidemiology, Prevention and Treatment review subcommittee. Dr. Walters holds a PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of New Mexico.