American College of Epidemiology
2007 Election
Biographical Sketches and Candidate Statements

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ACE President-Elect
Vote for One (1)

James J. Collins, Ph.D. is the Epidemiology Director at Dow in Midland, Michigan. He worked previously for the University of Chicago at Argonne National Laboratory, Oakland University, Monsanto, and the Ford Motor Company.

Background: Dr. Collins completed his MS in Sociology at the University of Missouri and his doctoral training in epidemiology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is an Adjunct Research Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh. His research focus for the last 30 years is in occupational and environmental epidemiology.

Dr. Collins has been a Fellow since 1988 and currently serves as the Treasurer of the ACE. He is a member of the Executive Board, the Admissions Committee, and the Finance Committee. He was also on the Communications Committee, Chaired the Finance Committee for 4 years, and served on two Annual Meeting Planning Committees.

Statement: I have enjoyed the diverse backgrounds and perspectives in the College as an epidemiologist who has worked in government, academia, and industry. ACE has represented well the views of epidemiologists of all affiliations. I am proud to be a Fellow in the American College of Epidemiology.

I am especially honored to be nominated for President of ACE. The ACE is an important organization for all of us because it advocates policies and provides resources to promote the science of epidemiology. The promotion of the science by ACE in past has relied almost entirely on the hard work of our members. Recently, however, with increasing membership and an improving financial position, we have been able to provide additional resources such as an improved web site, additional awards for epidemiologic accomplishments, reducing the backlog of pending papers in the journal, and provided more support for meetings and workshops. As the Treasurer and a member of various ACE committees, I see the importance of combining the hard work of our membership with a strong financial position for growing the College.

As the field of epidemiology grows and becomes more diverse, the College must evolve to meet the needs of members. I would focus on growth in two areas. First, I would continue the College’s efforts in expanding membership. We can further grow membership by providing more opportunities and support for our associate members, increase minorities active in the College, maintain the close collaboration with other epidemiology organizations and academic institutions, continue improvements in the journal and the newsletter, and, most importantly, hold on to our current members. Second, I would continue to expand the financial reserves of the College to provide the resources for this growth in membership. We have been very successful in carefully committing the College’s resources to serve our current members and attract new members. I believe the future of the College rests entirely on the energy of our members.

Roberta B. Ness, MD, M.P.H. is Chair, Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health; and Professor of Epidemiology, Medicine, and Obstetrics & Gynecology at the University of Pittsburgh.

Background: Dr. Ness received her MD from Cornell University, her MPH from Columbia University. She earned her black belt in karate in 2005. Dr. Ness has been a member of the ACE Board of Directors since 2004 and Chaired the ACE Policy Committee. Recently, she became the founding Chair of the Joint Policy Committee (JPC) Societies of Epidemiology - the first organization to coordinate joint policy actions among 14 epidemiology societies. The JPC recently completed a national survey of epidemiologists about HIPAA. Dr. Ness is an Associate Editor of the American Journal of Epidemiology, and on the editorial boards of Annals of Epidemiology, and WHO STD Bulletin. She is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and American College of Epidemiology, and a member of the prestigious American Society for Clinical Investigation, Delta Omega Honorary, and the American Epidemiologic Society (AES). She hosts the 2008 meeting of AES. Other honors include a Leadership Award from the Family Health Council and Laureate Award from the American College of Physicians. A frequent advisor to NIH, CDC, AHRQ, Department of Defense, and universities, she has participated in four Institute of Medicine, National Academies reports in the past 2 years. Dr. Ness has been at the forefront of women's health research, being one of the first to propose the research paradigm now termed "gender based biology" in her book entitled, Health and Disease Among Women (Oxford U Press, 1999). In 200 peer-reviewed publications and over 20 federally funded grants, Dr. Ness has explored the epidemiology of hormonal cancers; adverse pregnancy and perinatal outcomes; links between reproductive history and cardiovascular disease; and bacterial sexually transmitted infections.

Statement: ACE has long advocated for policies that promote the science of epidemiology. If elected, I would work to broaden the ACE Policy agenda and make it more proactive. I would steadfastly continue our work to modify the HIPAA Privacy Rule that currently threatens population-based research. Working with the Board, I would roll out a strategy to educate federal leaders and funders, demonstrating the power of epidemiology to impact public health. I would continue to strengthen the policy voice of the Annals of Epidemiology. Finally, I would work with the College to modify the NIH Roadmap Initiative such that it moves beyond "bench to bedside" and focuses on "from bench to population".

The ACE annual meeting is the College's most important venue for highlighting advances in the field. One theme might be cutting-edge strategies such as systems modeling, multilevel data analysis, data mining, informatics, and methods in genomics and proteomics, among others. I would also maximize networking at all levels at the annual meeting by inviting departmental chairs and leveraging their presence to network with faculty, practitioners, and Associate members. 

Board of Directors

Fellow Nominees
Vote for Three (3)

Victor M. Cardenas, M.D., M.P.H., PH.D. is Associate Professor of the Division of Epidemiology and Disease Control, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston-School of Public Health, El Paso, Texas.

Background: Dr. Cardenas earned his MD degree from the National Autonomous University of Mexico in 1979. During his last year at school he worked for a DuPont de Nemours plant in Mexico City in a research program that led him to take his first job at the Ministry of Labor's Division of Occupational Health; there his dreams of becoming an epidemiologist incubated. Cardenas completed a course in Epidemiology of Communicable Diseases at the School of Public Health of Mexico (1981) to join the Division of Epidemiology of Mexico's Ministry of Health where he worked as a field epidemiologist (1982-1987). During his last two years there, he was a trainee of Mexico's Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP), and shared in one of Mexico's greatest public health accomplishments investigating the last outbreak of paralytic poliomyelitis in the country. Afterwards, he became a faculty of the (Mexican) National Institute of Public Health where he conducted planned research, but soon left for Emory University School of Public Health where he completed a Master in Public Health (1990) and a PhD degree in Epidemiology (1995). He served as CDC consultant to the (Colombian) National Institute of Health (1994-1996), where he contributed to establish the Applied Epidemiology Service, the Colombian FETP. Since 1997, he has been a faculty member of the Division of Epidemiology and Disease Control at the University of Texas-School of Public Health at the Regional Campus in El Paso, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2007. Dr. Cardenas's studies the epidemiology of H. pylori -related diseases (atrophic gastritis, stomach cancer, possibly iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia), conditions that have eradication potential. He is a member of APHA, SER, and IEA and served from 1998-2001 as founding Executive Director of Training in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network, a non-governmental organization that supports FETPs around the world.

Statement: I recently became a fellow member of the American College of Epidemiologists, and I am very pleased to be nominated to serve in its Board of Directors. As an ACE board member I would like to contribute to strengthen the role of the College in global health. I strongly believe that the ACE could increase the collaboration with other epidemiologic societies. To my mind, great disparities represent great opportunities for change through targeted public health interventions, and there are plenty of those opportunities around the world and the United States. I believe there should be stronger ties between the membership in academic discipline and epidemiologic practice positions to add and multiply the efforts of our community of epidemiologists. The ACE has come a long way in establishing codes of professional epidemiologic conduct and practice, and could contribute more by interacting with other organizations to reach the strategic goals of enhancing the science and practice of epidemiology. The ACE has an important advocacy role to play for Public Health to the US Congress and other policy makers in the private sector and the international community.

Olivia Carter-Pokras, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Maryland College Park School of Public Health.

Background: Dr. Carter-Pokras is a fellow of the American College of Epidemiology, and member of the Executive Board of the American Public Health Association. Currently vice-chair of the ACE Minority Affairs Committee, Dr. Carter-Pokras earned a PhD in Epidemiology and a MHS in Biostatistics from Johns Hopkins University. She has conducted health disparities research in the Federal government (21+ years) and academia (4+ years). Her research has mainly focused on the intersection of epidemiology and health policy to address minority and Latino health, and children's environmental health. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Maryland College Park, Dr. Carter-Pokras was an Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine where she currently serves as adjunct faculty. The previous Director of the Division of Policy and Data, Office of Minority Health, Department of Health and Human Services; Dr. Carter-Pokras has been recognized by the Surgeon General, Assistant Secretary for Health and Latino Caucus of the American Public Health Association for her career achievements to improve racial and ethnic data and develop national health policy. Dr. Carter-Pokras is the Principal Investigator for a NHLBI cultural competency and health disparities academic award at the University of Maryland. In addition, Dr. Carter-Pokras teaches epidemiologic methods and study design. She is currently conducting health needs assessments of Latinos in Baltimore and Montgomery County in close partnership with local government and community-based organizations.

Statement: I am honored to be nominated to the Board of Directors of the American College of Epidemiology. The American College of Epidemiology has long been recognized as the professional organization dedicated to continued education and advocacy for epidemiologists in their efforts to promote public health. If elected, I would focus on growth in two areas. Based upon my extensive experience in applying epidemiology and health policy to a wide range of health topics, I recognize that it is appropriate that ACE build stronger ties to public health organizations such as the American Public Health Association to facilitate its goals of advocacy for issues pertinent to the field of epidemiology, as well as educational activities. According to the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, 42% of state employed epidemiologists are not academically trained, and chronic shortages in the number of epidemiologists are expected due to retirement, aging, high turnover rates in states, lack of qualifications, and unwillingness to relocate. Developing and maintaining an active membership base of both Fellows and Members representing all aspects of epidemiology, as well as the diversity of our population, is critically important to the future of ACE and the field of epidemiology.

James G. Gurney, Ph.D. is an epidemiologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Michigan.

Background: Dr. Gurney has an extensive background conducting childhood cancer research, first etiologic in nature, and more recently on treatment-related clinical and psychosocial outcomes among long-term survivors. He is involved in national efforts on cancer survivorship with the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study and the Children's Oncology Group. He was the 2001 recipient of the American Brain Tumor Association Award for Excellence in Epidemiology from the Society for Neuro-Oncology and received the Clinical Sciences Scholar Award from the University of Michigan in 2005. Dr. Gurney earned M.S. (1991) and Ph.D. (1994) degrees in epidemiology from the University of Washington in Seattle with training in cancer epidemiology at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. He also has an MSW from the University of Washington and worked for many years as a pediatric social worker before embarking on his career in epidemiology. Currently, Dr. Gurney is a senior faculty member of the Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit at Michigan and he leads the development of clinical health outcomes research teams in the Department of Pediatrics at UM. Dr. Gurney, a Fellow in ACE, has served on the Publications Committee since 2003, including Vice Chair from 2004-2006 and Chair since 2006. Closely related, he is an Associate Editor for the Annals of Epidemiology.

Statement: With great pleasure I look forward to continuing my service to ACE and the epidemiology community if I am elected to the Board of Directors. I was extremely fortunate to receive outstanding education and mentorship during my graduate programs at the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson CRC, and I believe we have a responsibility to return those positive efforts through education, opportunity, and effective mentorship of graduate students and professionals starting their careers in epidemiology. I will work to voice those beliefs and contribute to ACE's mission related to promoting education and mentorship. I will also work to help continue the upward trajectory of our organization's journal, the Annals of Epidemiology.

De-Kun Li, M.D., Ph.D. is a Senior Research Scientist, RS III (corresponding to the academic faculty title of Full Professor) at the Division of Research, Kaiser Foundation Research Institute, Kaiser Permanente. He is currently a member of the ACE Policy Committee as well as an ACE fellow member.

Background: Dr. Li graduated from Shanghai Medical School, Fudan University. He then attained his PhD in epidemiology from the Department of Epidemiology at University of Washington. While he has also conducted research in breast cancer, his main area of research focus in the past 20 years has been the examination of the etiology of adverse pregnancy outcomes including risk factors for miscarriage, preeclampsia, preterm delivery, low birth weight, birth defects, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and subfertility. His research efforts are supported by multiple NIH grants. Many of his research findings including the effect EMF exposure and NSAID use during pregnancy on the risk of miscarriage and pacifier use on the risk of SIDS have been widely reported by domestic and international news media. He is currently conducting several studies examining the effect of endocrine disrupters on the risk of male and female reproductive functions and health, maternal-fetal genetic and immunological interactions on the risk of preterm delivery and preeclampsia, and risk factors for miscarriage. He has been serving as an associate editor for the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Statement: I believe that ACE is, and should serve as, the collective voice of all epidemiologists. While we individually pursue our own scientific goals, as an organization representing the community of epidemiologists, we should voice our collective opinions to provide wisdom and expertise in formulating public health policies and regulations, to ensure scientific integrity in interpreting epidemiological findings, and to provide input in setting up the agenda and direction of the future biomedical and public health research. As a member of the ACE Policy Committee, I have actively participated and even taken a leadership role on several issues that ACE has been instrumental in influencing the opinions of the biomedical community and policymaking bodies. These include ACE statements on the impact of HIPAA on epidemiological research, on how to reform the FDA's policies and procedures on drug safety, on how to improve the NIH peer review system, and on how to enhance the quality of NIH reviewers through training and a transparent selection process. We are starting to see the ACE's positive influences on many of these issues that are moving in the direction that ACE has been advocating. Being on the board of the directors will provide me with a greater opportunity and capacity to serve the needs of our epidemiologists' community.

Edward J. Trapido, Sc.D. is Senior Advisor for International Research, Office of the Director, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS), National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Background: Dr. Trapido is the NCI representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Program of Action for Cancer (PACT). PACT develops, implements, and evaluates education, prevention, screening, and treatment programs in developing countries. He also coordinates international research at DCCPS (covering > 45 countries). Dr. Trapido is the NCI representative to the World Trade Center Late Emergent Diseases Working Group. Until 2006, Dr. Trapido was the Associate Director for the NCI’s Epidemiology and Genetics Research Program (EGRP), managing a comprehensive program of grant-supported research on cancer etiology and prevention. 400 grants ($225 million) were supported, including research in gene discovery, gene-gene/environment interactions, environmental epidemiology, tobacco, occupational exposures, energy balance, medications, infectious diseases, clinical epidemiology, health disparities, and survivorship. EGRP contributes ongoing financial support to ACE; this contribution began under Dr. Trapido’s leadership. 

Previously, Dr. Trapido was Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Miami School of Medicine, where he directed the M.P.H. and Ph.D. programs. Concurrently, he was Associate Director for Cancer Control at the UM Cancer Center. He directed the Cancer Information Service, the Florida Cancer Data System, the Florida Comprehensive Cancer Control Initiative, the Breast Cancer Detection Program, Redes en Accion, and the Tobacco Research/Evaluation Coordinating Center. Dr. Trapido’s research has focused on interventions on HIV, substance abuse, and aging. 

Dr. Trapido planned the ACE 2007 25th Annual Meeting and has Chaired ACE’s Education Committee.

Statement: ACE needs to continue to attract top scholars to epidemiology, support and educate its current members, and provide relevant policy for other stakeholders. First, ACE should continue to provide insight to its members in a diverse range of emerging areas through its meetings, newsletter, and cyber-presence. Second, ACE should address newer topics such as using the semantic Web, research in epigenetics, and working with the major funding organizations/foundations now addressing global health and poverty. In addition to annual meetings, I would like ACE to have a greater web presence. ACE could offer web courses/materials on areas not routinely covered in training, such as dealing with media and giving testimony as an expert witness. Third, I would like ACE to work with peer organizations to develop standards for data items/protocols to enhance data sharing. Fourth, I would like to help ACE take more visible positions on issues which effect epidemiologists. One such issue is how to attribute credit for work on consortial studies to epidemiologists as they face the promotion and tenure process. Fifth, I would like to increase ACE's membership through domestic and global outreach, thus making a renewed commitment to foster the training and mentoring of individuals from under-represented populations. Lastly, I would like to capitalize on the strength of the ACE membership and create a mentoring program.

Qingyi Wei, M.D. Ph.D. is Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. A molecular epidemiologist trained at Johns Hopkins University, he applies epidemiological methods with biomarkers for DNA repair genotypes and phenotypes to the etiological studies of cancers including those of the lung, the head and neck, and the skin to identify biomarkers associated with the etiology of these cancers. Dr. We is also an adjunct professor of epidemiology at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, School of Public Health, Houston, Texas and a faculty member of The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Houston, Texas.

Background: Dr. Wei served as Chairperson of the Education and Science Committee, Molecular Epidemiology Group of American Association of Cancer Research (AACR; 2003-2005) and Chairperson, Subcommittee of Biomarkers of DNA Damage and Repair, Exposure, and Phenotype, the 2007 AACR Program Committee. He is a member of the Environmental Health Sciences Review Committee (EHSRC; 2005-2009), and he served on numerous NIH special review committees, emphasis panels and site visit teams. He also serves on editorial boards of several journals including the Journal of Molecular Medicine (JMM), the journal of Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention (CEBP), and the journal of Molecular and Translational Cancer Epidemiology (MTCE).

Statement: As a member of the Board of Directors, if elected, I will facilitate the promotion of the vision and mission of the American College of Epidemiology. I will actively work with other members of the Board of Directors to achieve the goals and objectives of the College, participate in implementing strategies as planned, and promote the College as a place where professional contribution to epidemiology will be recognized and their professional concerns will be addressed. I will also participate in educational activities of the college and promote good science and the public health.

Member Nominees-1
Vote for One (1)

Ahmed A. Arif, M.D., Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor at Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, Department of Family & Community Medicine. He is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Division of Environmental and Occupational Health at the University of Texas, School of Public Health at Houston. He will be joining the department of Public Health Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte as an Associate Professor of Epidemiology in August 2007.

Background: Dr. Arif completed his Medical degree from University of Karachi, Sind Medical College, Pakistan. He received his M.S. in biology from Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY and Ph.D. in Epidemiology from the University of Texas, School of Public Health at Houston. His research has focused on respiratory diseases epidemiology particularly asthma and occupational asthma. He has received funding from NIA and NIOSH and has served as ad hoc reviewer on NIH and CDC panels. His latest research focused on determining patterns of occupational exposures and their respiratory health effects among domestic and industrial cleaners. Dr. Arif has served as Chair of the abstract review committee of the American College of Epidemiology (ACE) for the last four years and is currently Co-Chair of the Publications committee of ACE.

Statement: It is an honor for being nominated for election to the board of ACE. Public health is a rapidly growing discipline as evident by growing number of programs and schools of public health emerging in the U.S. Since epidemiology is a core discipline of public health, these emerging schools and programs provide us with the opportunity to expand our membership base by encouraging students to participate in ACE activities. This can be achieved by encouraging students to submit abstracts for poster presentations and providing travel funds. The college has some of the world renowned epidemiologists as its fellows/members. Their experience can be utilized to mentor junior ACE members. Lastly, the college should expand its continuing education offerings by utilizing web-based technology. If elected, I would dedicate my efforts in achieving above mentioned goals.

Sunday Clark, M.P.H., ScD. is the Director of Research in the Department of Emergency Medicine at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University Medical Center.

Background: Dr. Clark received her MPH from Boston University School of Public Health and her ScD from Harvard School of Public Health. Her research has focused on respiratory and allergic diseases, particularly asthma and anaphylaxis. She has been a member of ACE since 2001 and serves on the Membership, Admissions, and Communications Committees.

Statement: The American College of Epidemiology's expanding role among public health and epidemiology organizations is helping to shape epidemiology as a specialty. I would be extremely honored to serve on the Board of Directors to help ACE in these efforts. As we move forward with these goals, it has become increasingly clear that our organization's greatest asset is the College membership. As an ACE member, I have had the opportunity to serve on the Membership and Admissions Committees, as well as the Admissions Committee liaison to the Communications Committee. These opportunities have allowed me to help to increase our membership and improve the experiences of our members, which help to advance the goals of the College. If given the opportunity to serve as a Board member, I would work to ensure continued seamless communication between committees and across the membership, so that our voice as an organization can be as powerful as possible. Increasing these efforts will help us to reach the collective goals of our organization and our specialty. I also would work to help create additional opportunities for ACE to collaborate with other public health and epidemiology organizations. Increasing and strengthening our ties with these organizations will only increase our success as we continue to promote epidemiology. In addition, I would work to continue increasing opportunities for the membership to be actively involved in College activities. Active participation of our diverse membership can only serve to strengthen our organization and our specialty.


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