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September 18, 2009

David Celentano Named Charles Armstrong Chair and Professor of Epidemiology

David Celentano

David Celentano, ScD, MHS, has been named the inaugural Charles Armstrong Chair and Professor of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Celentano has served as interim chair of the department since September 2008 and was selected to lead the department following an international search.

The endowed Charles Armstrong Chair was established by Mary Emma Armstrong in memory of her parents Dr. and Mrs. Charles Armstrong. Charles Armstrong was a colleague of Wade Hampton Frost, the first chair of the Department of Epidemiology.

“David Celentano is an internationally recognized scholar known for his seminal contributions to the epidemiology and prevention of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections,” said Michael J. Klag, MD, MPH, dean of the Bloomberg School of Public Health. “He is also a decisive administrator and gifted teacher, which makes him the perfect choice for the Charles Armstrong Chair and Professor of Epidemiology. I am also grateful to Mary Emma Armstrong for her generosity and commitment to public health in endowing this chair.”

Celentano came to the School of Public Health as a student in 1973. He went on to earn an MHS degree in 1975 and ScD degree in 1977 after conducting his dissertation research with the renowned epidemiologist George Comstock. He joined the faculty in 1978.

In addition to his duties as chair, Celentano also holds joint appointments in the Bloomberg School’s departments of International Health and Health, Society and Behavior, as well as an appointment with the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

His research integrates behavioral science theory and research with epidemiology, in the study of behavioral and social epidemiology. While originally trained in a chronic disease paradigm (alcoholism and cancer control), he began his research in HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the early 1980s. Celentano worked on some of the major cohort studies (ALIVE, MACS) in HIV epidemiology, and also conducted intervention research in the U.S. for heterosexual men and women, injection drug users and young men who have sex with men.

Celentano turned to international research in 1990, when he began a long-term collaboration with Chiang Mai University in northern Thailand. He has worked on and directed numerous HIV/AIDS and STD epidemiological investigations and preventive interventions. He and his collaborators have clearly demonstrated that a behavioral intervention with young men (military conscripts) leads to a 7-fold reduction in incidents of STDs and a halving of the HIV incidence rate. In addition, he documented the increased risk of HIV infection associated with STDs and alcohol use. More recently, his research group has been conducting a prospective study of hormonal contraception in relation to HIV seroconversion, a study with significant family planning policy and health implications. Currently, he is the principal investigator of four NIH-supported studies in Thailand, focusing on interventions to influence the association between opiate use, methamphetamine use and other drugs on HIV. The focus of these interventions is to harness indigenous peer networks for risk reduction.

In 2006, he was awarded an honorary PhD in health sciences from Chiang Mai University in Thailand, which was presented by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.

Public Affairs media contact for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Tim Parsons at 410-955-7619 or tmparson@jhsph.edu.