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February 23, 2005

Faculty Fellows Named to Center for Excellence in Environmental Public Health Tracking

Four faculty members--Frank Curriero, PhD, Janet DiPietro, PhD, Francesca Dominici, PhD, and Norma Kanarek, PhD, MPH--were named fellows of the Center for Excellence in Environmental Public Health Tracking at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The fellows, along with co-investigators Thomas Burke, PhD, MPH, Mary Fox, PhD, MPH, Eliseo Guallar, MD, DrPH, and Beth Resnick, MPH, form the Center’s multidisciplinary practice and research team. They specialize in spatial statistics, environmental epidemiology, cancer surveillance, the design and evaluation of developmental outcome measures and risk and policy analysis.

This team’s work focuses on strengthening the environmental public health workforce, researching the links between health effects and environmental exposures and supporting the growing national tracking network. The Center’s faculty develop new approaches for analysis of tracking data and are committed to working with state and local public health practitioners.

New Faculty Fellows
Frank Curriero, PhD
Dr. Curriero, an assistant scientist in the Department of Biostatistics, focuses his research on spatial statistics and geographic information system (GIS) applications in public health. Dr. Curriero works to keep the GIS component and the spatial methods linked together, providing a more complete operating framework suited for applications in environmental health and communication with scientists from these areas. He has applied his expertise to the analysis of geographic variations in prostate cancer, the effects of air pollution and temperature on mortality and the relationship between precipitation and waterborne disease outbreaks.

Janet DiPietro, PhD
Dr. DiPietro, a professor in the Department of Population and Family Health Sciences, is a developmental psychologist who focuses her research on methods for assessing risk in infants and young children and the value of using these assessment methods to predict outcomes. Dr. DiPietro explores relationships in early infancy and the neonatal period, as well as in full-term and preterm infants. Her current research program, ongoing for the last 10 years, extends this interest to the human fetus. She has developed computerized assessment methods of measuring fetal neurobehavior.

Francesca Dominici, PhD
Dr. Dominici, an associate professor in the Department of Biostatistics, is interested in  developing statistical models for national public health surveillance. More specifically, Dr. Dominici is interested in developing biostatistical tools for integrated analyses of spatio-temporal data on exposure, health outcomes and potential confounders. Such models are needed for addressing the health effects of a broad class of environmental agents that vary over time and across geographical regions.

Norma Kanarek, PhD, MPH
Dr. Kanarek, an associate professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, is an epidemiologist. While senior scientist at the Public Health Foundation (PHF) of Washington, D.C., she participated in the design and development of the Community Health Status Indicators Project--an effort that has produced a community health profile for every U.S. county. Along with the Centers for Disease Control and PHF, she is working to update these community profiles and make them available once again to local planners, officials, community advocates and academics. She is also integrating epidemiologic strategies and etiologic information about cancer with statistical tools to assess local excesses of disease or other poor outcomes

Current Faculty
Thomas Burke, PhD, MPH
Dr. Burke, a professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management, is director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Excellence in Environmental Public Health Tracking, as well as the Center for Excellence in Environmental Health Practice. He also co-directs the Johns Hopkins Risk Sciences and Public Policy Institute. His research interests include the development of new approaches to environmental health surveillance and the application of health risk assessment to public policy. He was the principal investigator for the Pew Environmental Health Commission, which established the framework for a national approach to environmental public health tracking.

Mary Fox, PhD, MPH
Dr. Fox, a research scientist with the Department of Health Policy and Management, is the research director of the Center for Excellence in Environmental Public Health Tracking. She is interested in risk assessment as a part of environmental health policy making, particularly approaches to cumulative risk assessment and the application of probabilistic methods.

Eliseo Guallar, MD, DrPH
Dr. Guallar, an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology, focuses his work on the epidemiology and prevention of cardiovascular diseases, with special emphasis on environmental exposures, such as heavy metals. He is particularly interested in the roles of mercury, arsenic, lead and cadmium in the development of cardiovascular disease. His methodological interests include determining threshold effects in epidemiological studies and applying statistical methods to epidemiological problems.

Beth A. Resnick, MPH
Ms. Resnick, a research associate in the Department of Health Policy and Management, is also the associate director of both the Center for Excellence in Environmental Health Practice and the Center for Environmental Public Health Tracking. Her research interests include assessing and improving the environmental public health infrastructure, enhancing knowledge of potential connections between environment and health and developing effective environmental public health policies. -- Mary Fox, PhD, MPH

Public Affairs media contacts for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Kenna Lowe or Tim Parsons at 410-955-6878 or