ACE 2016 Election Biographical Sketches and Candidate Statements

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ACE President-Elect 
Vote for one (1) of (2) two
Russell S. Kirby | Pauline Mendola


Russell S. Kirby, PhD, MS, FACE is Distinguished University Professor and Marrell Endowed Chair in the Department of Community and Family Health, College of Public Health, University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida. Dr. Kirby is a Fellow of the College, and has served on the Board of Directors since 2014. Dr. Kirby chairs the ACE Finance Committee, and also is the chair of the 2016 Epidemiology Congress of the Americas.

Dr. Kirby is a perinatal and pediatric epidemiologist with training in the social sciences (PhD in geography) and epidemiology (MS in preventive medicine-epidemiology) completed at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Kirby has extensive experience in epidemiology, from the public health practice, academic medicine, and academic public health perspectives, and was named a Fellow of ACE in 1996. He has more than 250 peer-reviewed publications, experience in organizational leadership having served as president of the Society for Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiologic Research, the National Birth Defects Prevention Network, and the Association of Teachers of Maternal and Child Health and serves as an editorial board member for seven journals, including Annals of Epidemiology, Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, and Public Health Reports. Dr. Kirby leads the USF Birth Defects Surveillance Program, with funding from the Florida Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the March of Dimes Foundation, and participates in an NIH-funded project developing methods for dealing spatial uncertainty and missingness in disease mapping.

Statement: While there are numerous professional organizations within the discipline of epidemiology, the American College of Epidemiology is the sole U.S.-based organization focusing explicitly on the health and scientific integrity of the discipline itself. ACE has been and should continue to be a loud voice for career development and mentorship of young professionals in our field, and at the forefront of national policy conversations concerning the practice of epidemiology, the science of population health and the health of the public. ACE also accords membership to scientists who meet professional criteria, and has in recent years created a new membership category for Associate Members. ACE must continue these roles, while also ensuring its relevance to the scientific community of epidemiologists. We must embrace and support diversity within our profession and our membership, strengthen training opportunities at the undergraduate, graduate, pre- and post-doctoral levels, support academic epidemiology programs in a time of transition in public health education, and provide a home for academic leaders in our field. As president, I will work to ensure ACE’s place at the table in relevant national policy discussions, strive to grow and retain our membership, support the development of the next generation of epidemiologists, and ensure the financial stability of our organization not only for the present, but into the foreseeable future.

Pauline Mendola, PhD, FACE is an Investigator in the Epidemiology Branch, Division of Intramural Population Health Research at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. She is a Fellow of the College and was elected to the Board of Directors (2010-13). She won the ACE Student Prize Paper Award in 1994 and has been active in the College ever since. She served on the Communications and Public Relations Committee (1995-98), Membership Committee (2000-04; chair 2002-3), Mentoring Committee (2006-2009), Scientific Program Host Committee (2013-14) where she organized the first Poster Tour and an invited plenary session, and currently serves on the Awards Committee (2014-17). Dr. Mendola also received a special mentoring award from ACE in 2006 after her students won the ACE Student Prize two years in a row (Kwok, 2004; Gilboa, 2005).

Dr. Mendola earned a PhD in Epidemiology and Community Health from the University at Buffalo. She has held academic appointments at the University at Buffalo, and has adjunct faculty appointments at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Maryland. Her research focuses on environmental factors that impact reproductive health, particularly pregnancy outcomes. Before joining the NIH Intramural Program, she was a health scientist and Branch Chief, US Environmental Protection Agency (1997-2007) and Chief of the Infant, Child and Women’s Health Statistics Branch at the National Center for Health Statistics (2007-2011).

Statement: With more than 20 years of involvement in the College, I have seen a lot of changes in the membership and focus of the College over time. The increase in diversity among our members and the whole-hearted inclusion of our Associate Members into leadership roles in the College have been significant success stories. Also notable is the continued, active participation of epidemiologists from industry, government and academia. The ACE has always been the epidemiologist’s home for leadership regarding professional practice, educational competencies, training, and policy development. The educational opportunities we offer are stellar and our awards are among the most prestigious in the field. Yet with all the amazing and important work we do, our membership is declining. A recent survey, conducted by the Membership and Career Mentoring Committees, will help us identify the features of the College that are most important to our current members and suggest strategies to strengthen our outreach and build our membership base. We need to do everything we can to encourage Associate Members to transition to active Members and to promote our Members to Fellows as their careers progress. I think we can build on our successes, reach out to practicing epidemiologists in multiple venues and actively pursue strategies to increase our meeting attendance and strengthen our membership.

It is truly an honor to be nominated. If elected I will use my experience working within ACE and with other scientific organizations to raise awareness of the College, advance our mission and enhance the significant role ACE plays in furthering the contemporary practice and future of epidemiology.


Board of Directors
Fellow Nominees
Vote for three (3) of six (6)
Michael B. Cook | Marcella Devoto | Michele R. Forman | Maurizio Macaluso | Eduardo J. Simoes | Jennifer L. St. Sauver


Michael B. Cook, PhD, FACE, is a Tenure-track Investigator of epidemiology in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute.

Dr. Cook earned his BSc in Genetics at the University of Nottingham, England, and, subsequently, a PhD in Epidemiology at the University of Leeds, England. Dr. Cook joined the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute as a Postdoctoral Fellow in 2007 before becoming a Research Fellow in 2008. He was promoted to the position of Tenure-track Investigator in 2011. Dr. Cook’s research interests include the epidemiology of esophageal adenocarcinoma—specifically, sex differences and the effects of obesity in the natural history of this disease—as well as the etiology and prognostic biomarkers of prostate cancer.

Statement: Since moving to the US in 2007, I have been a member of the College and I have recently sought and attained promotion to Fellow. During that time, I have served six years on the Publications Committee, the last three of which I have served as Chair. This service to the College has coincided with the development of the Strategic Plan which we have enacted at the committee level. The Strategic Plan has guided a fresh perspective of our activities and workstreams, leading to enhanced and reinvigorated approaches. Specifically, as Chair of the Publications Committee, I have overseen and contributed significantly to: 1) enriched strategies for identifying solicitations from the College for publication in our official journal, Annals of Epidemiology; 2) developed a plan to reinvigorate and expand the scope of the From the College section of the journal; 3) enhanced cross-committee communication with the Publications Committee and Annals of Epidemiology; 4) initiated workstream SOPs and focused on succession planning for the long-term success of the committee and the College. This experience has provided me with diverse perspectives of the College as well as a working knowledge of current and ongoing activities that are crucial to our mission. I now wish to apply this experience to serve at the Board level. I believe we need to further illuminate the distinct mission of the College in the discipline of epidemiology to help attract and retain a diverse membership. I am an advocate of methodologically rigorous science that has the ability to improve public health and reduce health disparities. These principles will be central in my service should I be elected to the Board.

Marcella Devoto, PhD, MSc, FACEM, is Professor of Pediatrics and Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. A fellow of the College since 2007, she is a member of the International Genetic Epidemiology Society, the International Epidemiological Association, the American Society of Human Genetics, and the European Society of Human Genetics, where she served on the Board of Directors in 1994-1999 and the Scientific Program Committee in 1998-2002.

After training in Statistics and Demography at the University of Bologna, Italy, and Applied Statistics at the University of Oxford, UK, she did post-graduate training in Genetic Epidemiology at Columbia University and at Rockefeller University in New York. In 2000 she became Head of the Genetic Epidemiology Research Laboratory at the Nemours Children’s Clinic in Wilmington, DE, before moving to Penn and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in 2006. Her research focuses on understanding genetic predisposition to complex pediatric disorders, and she has contributed more than 160 publications. She was Section Editor of the European Journal of Human Genetics and Editor-in-Chief of Human Heredity. Since 2013, she chairs the Organizing Committee of the Symposium on Genomics, Epidemiology, and Statistics in Philadelphia. She has recently been nominated to the Infectious, Reproductive, Asthma, and Pulmonary Conditions Study Section of the Population Sciences and Epidemiology IRG. Her expertise in genetic epidemiology has been sought by numerous international funding agencies including the Wellcome Trust and the UK’s Medical Research Council. In addition to teaching courses in genetic epidemiology at Penn and academic institutions in Europe and Asia, she co-directs the Genetics Concentration of the Master of Science in Clinical Epidemiology and chairs the PhD Program in Epidemiology at Penn.

Statement: I am honored and excited to present my candidacy to the ACE Board of Directors. We are witnessing an incredible expansion of opportunities for population science. Powerful technologies allow us to collect an unprecedented amount of information on multiple levels that will inform us about the determinants of health and disease. Genomics and other “omics” fields hold exciting promise for a precision medicine approach to prevention and treatment. But in this time of “big data” research, it is imperative that scientific studies are conducted using the rigorous methodological approaches that characterize our discipline. I believe that our College serves a fundamental role in ensuring that new approaches to prevention and treatment endorsed by our members are based on rigorous and scientifically sound research. ACE is unique in that its constituency includes a large variety of professional profiles and specializations working in health agencies, hospitals, industry, and academic institutions, and for this reason it can have a tremendous influence on medicine and biomedical research. Each of us has a role in affirming the importance of epidemiology and population science within our specialties, and in particular, if elected to the ACE Board of Directors, I would like to work in identifying ways to strengthen the influence of our association in the scientific community at-large, increase our visibility, and improve cross-disciplinary communication with relevant scientific organizations.

Michele R. Forman, Ph.D., is the David Bruton Centennial Professor of Nutritional Science and The Population Research Center of The University of Texas at Austin. She holds a MSPH and Ph.D. in Epidemiology and a MA in Nutritional Anthropology, all from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

She began a four decade-long research career examining maternal and child health with a special focus on pregnancy outcomes in disadvantaged populations and conducts field epidemiology research across the globe. Her emphasis is on early life exposures and chronic disease risk as well as the role of nutrition in growth and health across the life course. As her research foci shifted from low birth-weight to chronic disease, the stillpoint of her compass remained fixed; she examines the developmental origins of disease. Her career spanned affiliations with the federal government – the CDC and Intramural Programs of NICHD and NCI; as well as academic appointments at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health and at the UT MD Anderson Cancer Center. She has been on a number of editorial boards (e.g. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention and American Journal of Clinical Nutrition) and advisory boards (e.g. Board of the Gillings School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina; Sister Study-NIEHS; Legacy Study-Columbia School of Public Health). She chaired the Interagency Breast Cancer and The Environment Coordinating Committee, for the Secretary, DHHS, and the Directors of NIH, NCI and NIEHS in response to Congressional Legislation.

Statement: As an ACE member for decades, I am honored to be nominated for the ACE Board of Directors. As a member of the Policy Committee for the past two years, I spearheaded a new entity--the Policy Briefs page in the Annals due to an increasing awareness through the internet and other informational genre about controversial health issues that require rapid communication with clear articulation and a forum to reach consensus in a timely manner. For example: The advent of the Zika virus has implications for family planning policies that should include input from maternal and child health and infectious disease epidemiologists; but where do we discuss policy issues? Other examples include: refugee health in the U.S.; the basis for school schedules in light of sleep and physical activity effects on school performance and health in children; and the role of food insecurity in health and development. With the policy brief, one can envision the development of steps that lead to policy or overt actions that formulate policy. Further the policy brief will generate more visibility for the Annals by virtue of the novelty, the stage to articulate feedback in order to address policy issues and draw more readers/members to the ACE. If elected to the Board, my action-oriented approach would focus on: increasing membership in the ACE through mechanisms like the policy briefs; generating greater synergy between scientists who work in animal models and epidemiologists to accelerate research; and enhancing mentorship through ACE for alternate career models in the age of increasing challenges to funding research.

Maurizio Macaluso, PhD, is Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine, Director of the Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and Director of the Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design (BERD) Core of the UC Center for Clinical and Translational Science and Training (CCTST).

He has an M.D. degree (1979) and diploma in Hygiene and Preventive Medicine (1982) from the University of Palermo, Italy, and a Doctor of Public Health degree in Epidemiology (1991) from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Before joining Cincinnati Children’s, he held positions at the National Tumor Institute in Milan (1980-1986), at the UAB School of Public Health (1986-2000), and at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, GA (2000-2011), where he served as Chief of the Women’s Health and Fertility Branch. Maurizio has 35 years of experience in epidemiologic research, covering methods, cancer epidemiology, occupational epidemiology, sexual and reproductive health, efficacy and safety of technologies that affect human fertility, child health and surveillance systems, and has published over 200 papers. He has led numerous research projects sponsored by the federal government and nongovernmental organizations, has extensive teaching experience and has mentored graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and junior faculty. He is a Fellow of the American College of Epidemiology (ACE) since 1997, has served on the ACE Publications Committee, on the ACE Annual Meeting Program Committee, and is Associate Editor of the Annals of Epidemiology.

Statement: I would be honored to serve on the ACE Board of Directors. I was inducted as a Fellow nearly 20 years ago, and ACE has been the most consistent home for my professional identity. I have pursued with passion the rigorous application of the scientific method in epidemiologic studies and clinical trials in multiple subject-matter areas. The interdisciplinary nature of my work has provided me with stimulating methodologic challenges and a broad perspective on the impact that epidemiology can have on human health. During the past five years I have led the largest biostatistics and epidemiology unit devoted to pediatric research in the USA, and the BERD unit of the UC CCTST. This experience has reinforced my appreciation for the core principles that distinguish epidemiology, and consolidated my view of the leadership role that epidemiologists should have in modern team science. The advent of “data sciences” requires that we make a conscientious effort to understand the nature of the problems arising from “big data,” work with biostatisticians and bioinformaticians, and develop a shared language. The new generation of epidemiologists will face novel, fascinating levels of complexity in the organization of the scientific research team, of the research hypotheses they will have to entertain, and of the data they will have to analyze. As I consider serving on the ACE Board of Directors, I feel both a sense of great responsibility and sincere passion because I would love to see ACE continue to be for new epidemiologists the professional home it has been for me.

Eduardo J. Simoes, MD, MSc, MPH, FACE, is professor of epidemiology and chair of the Department of Health Management and Informatics of the University of Missouri School of Medicine.

Dr. Simoes’ interests span from epidemiological applications to public health planning and policy making, prevention effectiveness and informatics. He is the author of 7 book chapters, 110 peer-reviewed articles, over 20 public health reports, and he serves on numerous editorial boards. He has been awarded nominations for scientific work for the CDC-ATDSDR Charles C. Shepard Science Awards (1996 & 2002) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Alice Hamilton Award (2002). He is the recipient of the Award for CDC Global Health Achievement Group for superior accomplishment in supporting the Field Epidemiology Training Program and substantial public health impact in Brazil (1999). Dr. Simoes is a Fellow of ACE since 2012.

Statement: I am honored to be nominated to serve as a member of the ACE Board of Directors. If elected, I would draw from my experience in epidemiology as a medical officer in the public health services of Recife (Brazil), state epidemiologist with Missouri’s public health service, director of the Prevention Research Centers Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and academician at Saint Louis University and the University of Missouri to address four areas of expertise and leadership for ACE.

First, there is a need to explore innovative and practical epidemiological approaches to improve population health. Research on social determinants of health combined with expanded interest in population health demand the incorporation into epidemiological practice of new methodologies (e.g., Natural policy experiments.) capturing these concepts. .

Second, advances in informatics and analytics methods have transformed the health field in the past 20 years. Nevertheless, epidemiology training across academic programs has mainly remained unchanged in the past 50 years. The ACE should lead a discussion on the development of appropriate epidemiological frameworks guiding the application of these new methods in the current training and mentoring of new epidemiologists.

Third, policy formulation and planning of practical interventions grounded in epidemiological evidence resulted in the best advances in health promotion and disease prevention over the past century. The engagement of the epidemiologist in policy making and planning of population health programs deserves a more informed discussion about scientific limitations, ethical conduct and philosophical orientation of epidemiological practice. This discussion can impact future advances in disease prevention and health promotion.

Finally, credentialing and promotion of epidemiologists can be more inclusive of the public health work force and ACE’s partnership with public health organizations (governmental and non-governmental) could be enhanced and expanded. At the same time, ACE advocacy should provide critical support for retaining existing and creating new professional paths for an epidemiology career in public health practice, stemming the past 20 years’ downward trend in state-funded positions.

I intend to work closely with other Board members and the committees to focus on enhancing ACE’s work on sponsoring scientific activities, and advocating for and promoting the practice of epidemiology.

Jennifer L. St. Sauver, PhD, MPH, is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology in the Mayo Clinic Department of Health Sciences Research and the Associate Scientific Director of the Population Health Science Research Program in the Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery.

Dr. St. Sauver received a B.S. degree in Biology from the University of Minnesota in 1992. She then completed her M.P.H. and Ph.D. degrees in Epidemiology in 1996 and 1999 respectively at the University of Michigan. Dr. St. Sauver joined Mayo Clinic in 1999, and has served as an epidemiologic methodologist, with a specific focus on the rigorous design and conduct of observational research. She has adapted this expertise to address research questions in a wide range of medical fields. She has authored over 130 original manuscripts, and is currently the Co-Principal Investigator of the Rochester Epidemiology Project (NIA, AG034676), an epidemiologic research infrastructure that has supported over 2,400 publications since its inception in 1966. She is also a Fellow of the College, and has served as a member of the Awards Committee since 2013.

Statement: It would be a privilege to serve on the Board of the American College of Epidemiology. As an epidemiologic methodologist, I work with a wide range of colleagues, ranging from clinicians to bioinformaticians, and I have seen first-hand how our unique training in study design, rigorous study conduct, and accurate interpretation of study results are absolutely essential to improve health policy and clinical care. Our annual meetings highlight how epidemiology contributes to areas as diverse as understanding how to use ”Big Data” to improve population health to determining whether the incidence of a specific condition is increasing in a local population. If elected to the Board, I will work to support the Board’s continuing emphasis on recognizing and promoting excellence in epidemiology and enhancing the translation of epidemiology into policy in health agencies, hospitals, and research institutions. Thank you for considering me as a possible member for ACE’s Board of Directors.


Board of Directors
Member Nominees
Vote for one (1) of three (2)
Melinda C. Aldrich | Rohit P. Ojha


Melinda C. Aldrich, MPH, PhD is an Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center where she conducts cancer and genetic epidemiology research.

Dr. Aldrich holds an MPH in Epidemiology/Biostatistics and PhD in Epidemiology from the University of California, Berkeley. She is currently faculty in the Department of Thoracic Surgery and Division of Epidemiology at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Aldrich has an established research program focused on identifying genetic and environmental risk factors for lung cancer, with an emphasis on understanding racial/ethnic differences in disease. Dr. Aldrich has been an active member with ACE for 10 years. Her service with ACE began when she was elected to be the second Associate Member to serve on the Board of Directors from 2006-2007. As an Associate Member, she took an active role in the Program Committee for the North American Congress of Epidemiology. Since then she has been involved with ACE on the Membership Committee (holding the positions of Secretary, Vice Chair, and Chair) and now serves on the ACE Policy Committee. Dr. Aldrich is also now serving as the ACE Representative on the Board of the International Joint Policy Committee of the Societies of Epidemiology (IJPC-SE). Dr. Aldrich’s experiences with the Policy Committee and the IJPC-SE allow her to advocate for enhancing the translation of epidemiology into policy.

Statement: My experience for the last decade with ACE has been immensely valuable, providing me with insight at multiple levels within the College. Having started with ACE as an Associate Member on the Board of Directors and then continuing as a Member on the Membership and Policy Committees has provided me with first-hand experience necessary for serving on the Board of Directors. My current position as Board Member on the International Joint Policy Committee gives me the global policy lens through which I will bring my experience and insight to the ACE Board of Directors. As a Board member, it will be my role to help promote the College and build our membership with unique perspectives and diversity. Only with a robust membership of diverse perspectives will we engage others and make advancements for our profession. I will also bring to the Board my policy perspective and experience that is deeply rooted within the College.

Rohit P. Ojha, DrPH, is the Director of the Research Institute at JPS Health Network in Fort Worth, TX and an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the University of North Texas Health Science Center School of Public Health.

He received a doctoral degree in epidemiology from the University of North Texas Health Science Center School of Public Health and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in biostatistics at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Cancer Center. His research interests include causal and prediction modeling, bias assessment, and evidence synthesis. Dr. Ojha joined the American College of Epidemiology (ACE) in 2007 as an Associate Member, and served on the Associate Member Leadership Committee between 2010 and 2012. He was promoted to Member in 2012, and has served on the Awards Committee since 2012.

Statement: I am honored to be a candidate for a position on the ACE Board of Directors and would be delighted to serve the organization if elected. I have been involved with ACE for nearly a decade, beginning when I was a doctoral student. This experience provides me with a unique perspective about the opportunities and benefits that ACE offers to individuals at various stages of their careers. In my experience, ACE thrives when individuals from diverse academic backgrounds, employment settings, and stages of their careers have opportunities for interaction and involvement in the organization. One of my interests would thus be to facilitate opportunities for activity and interaction among members. In addition, I believe that ACE should continue to find ways to distinguish itself from other epidemiology and public health organizations but also find opportunities to collaborate with other organizations to achieve common goals.