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A look at some of the news happening at the Fielding School.
DR. KARIN MICHELS JOINED THE FIELDING SCHOOL in July as chair of the Department of Epidemiology. Considered one of the co-founders of epigenetic (non-genetic influences on gene expression) epidemiology, Michels has made seminal contributions to the methods used in this field. Her research, which focuses on women’s health, addresses the role of epigenetics and other factors in the developmental origins of health and disease. In this context, Michels’ research explores the importance of the time period between conception and puberty in the development of breast cancer. Additionally, she has made numerous methodologic contributions to nutritional epidemiology and has explored the importance of a healthy diet for cancer prevention throughout the life course. Prior to joining FSPH, Michels was a member of the faculty at Harvard University.
THE AMERICAN PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION’S 2016 annual meeting in Denver was attended by Fielding School faculty, students, staff, and alumni, many of whom had their work featured. The meeting’s theme was “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Ensuring the Right to Health."
STUDENTS, FACULTY, STAFF AND ALUMNI gathered to celebrate accomplishments of the FSPH community and ring in the new academic year at the fourth annual Fielding Fall Fiesta. Dean Jody Heymann shared news of the more than $49.5 million in grant and contract funding earned by FSPH last year, an increase of nearly 15 percent compared to the previous year. This figure includes funds to support new and continuing training efforts to address cancer; advance leadership and continuing education in nutrition; foster population health advocacy; promote health services research in Los Angeles; mitigate the risks of climate change; strengthen health communication; fight TB, HIV and AIDS; provide training to accelerate poverty reduction and achieve the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals; and improve child and family health. The dean also spoke of more than 140 students receiving fellowship support and funded training opportunities in 2015-16, and of new fellowship and training opportunities for students to come, many of which were made possible by the generosity of both individuals and foundations.
FSPH CAREER SERVICES hosted the school’s first annual Public Health Employer Showcase, designed to introduce students to public health employers in diverse practice areas. The event featured 21 employers and was attended by more than 125 students.
First-year MPH students in the Department of Community Health Sciences attended a daylong trip organized by the department to introduce new students to partner organizations in Los Angeles. Students visited the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, L.A. Kitchen, The Wellness Center and The California Endowment, and heard from key individuals at each organization, including FSPH alumni.
DR. ROGER DETELS, distinguished professor in the Department of Epidemiology, was honored by the Chinese government with a prestigious Chinese Government Friendship Award for training more than 100 students at UCLA and more than 3,300 short-term trainees in China over the last 30 years as part of the Fielding School’s UCLA/Fogarty AIDS International Research and Training Program. The Friendship Award is the highest award bestowed by the Chinese Central Government to honor foreign experts who have made significant contributions to China’s economic and social progress.
DR. ELIZABETH YZQUIERDO has joined the Fielding School as assistant dean for students. Yzquierdo has shown a passion for cultivating a strong health professional workforce throughout her career. She has led pipeline programs, recruitment efforts, and diversity initiatives, and was instrumental in restructuring career-changing post-baccalaureate and health professional advising programs. Yzquierdo’s previous positions include director of student engagement for the College of Science and Engineering at Loyola Marymount University and director of diversity inclusion and outreach at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine.
Ensuring that the Fielding School is accessible and affordable to outstanding students from all communities is one of FSPH’s highest priorities and is fundamental to its excellence. To advance these goals and to continue to expand the financial aid and reach of the school, Michelle Garcia-Navarro has been recruited to fill the newly created position of director of admissions and financial aid. Garcia-Navarro comes to FSPH with extensive experience, including her role as associate director of the Global Access Program at the UCLA Anderson School of Management and, previously, as admissions director for the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s MBA program.
After more than 10 years of distinguished service as director of career services at FSPH, longtime staff member Arlecia Powell-Halley has assumed a new role as director of academic services. Kristy Sherrer has joined the Fielding School in the role of director of career services to empower students with professional skills and a community of support to confidently make thoughtful career decisions. Sherrer previously worked at the UCLA Career Center, where she was integral in building services for graduate students in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) community. Her numerous accomplishments include the initiation of STEM employer and alumni recruitment opportunities specifically for graduate students, which connected more than 500 alumni and employers with thousands of students. Sherrer worked with STEM master’s and PhD candidates through peer learning workshops and career advising, ultimately contributing to a 20 percent increase in master’s student utilization of career counseling and a 70 percent increase among PhD students.