2016 Commencement features APHA President, honors maternal and child health alumnus

May 5, 2016

Camara JonesPresident of the American Public Health Association and gifted allegorist Camara Phyllis Jones MD, MPH, PhD will deliver the keynote address at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health Commencement ceremony on May 16, to be held in the Hearst Greek Theatre.

Also a family physician and epidemiologist, Dr. Jones’ work focuses on the impact of racism on the health and wellbeing of the nation. She seeks to broaden the national health debate to include not only universal access to high quality health care but also attention to the social determinants of health (including poverty) and the social determinants of equity (including racism). As a methodologist, she has developed new ways for comparing full distributions of data in order to investigate population-level risk factors and propose population-level interventions. As a teacher, her allegories on “race” and racism illuminate topics that are otherwise difficult for many Americans to understand or discuss.

She is a senior fellow in the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at the Morehouse School of Medicine and a member of the National Board of Public Health Examiners. From 2000 to 2010, she was research director on social determinants of health and equity within the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

2016 awards and honors

Michael LuThe 2016 Alumnus of the Year award—the highest honor the School bestows on its alumni—will be presented to Michael Lu MD, MS, MPH ’92 in recognition of his dedication to maternal and child health research, practice, and policy. Dr. Lu currently serves as MCH Bureau Director of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He leads efforts to improve the physical and mental health, safety and wellbeing of millions of women, infants, children, adolescents, and their families in the United States. Prior to joining HRSA, Dr. Lu was an associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and public health at UCLA, where he led the National Children’s Study and researched racial-ethnic disparities in birth outcomes. Michael Lu is “a creative, dynamic, and inspiring public health leader and truly deserving of this award,” said Professor Barbara Abrams in her letter of nomination. 

Charlotte SmithEach year, alumni nominate a faculty member to receive the Zak Sabry Mentorship Award for mentoring students and encouraging creative faculty-student collaborations. This year the honor goes to Charlotte Smith PhD, a researcher and lecturer in Environmental Health Science and an expert in drinking water quality and public health. “Charlotte is an outstanding mentor and person because she dedicates so much of her time to so many students,” wrote Maneet Kaur MPH ’16 in a letter of nomination. “She is not only a mentor, but also a great facilitator. Charlotte constantly connects her students so we can exchange our experiences and learn from each other.” Kaur also cites Smith’s approachability, professional advice, and service as faculty advisor for many DeCal courses as reasons why she is deserving of the mentorship award.

The winner(s) of the Warren Winkelstein Award—which is given to the most outstanding student completing a PhD in epidemiology, based on the excellence of doctoral dissertation research, teaching, and other contributions—will be announced at the event. In addition, the funds raised by the 2016 Class Campaign will be announced at Commencement. The graduating class hopes to raise $10,000 in gifts in order to thank the School and enhance the educational experience for future students. The money raised this year will be used to provide general funding for all public health students.

The School of Public Health Commencement is open to graduating students and their ticketed guests only.

Related Information:

Dr. Camara Jones Visits UC Berkeley School of Public Health (Photo Gallery)