EOH Chair Delivers American College of Epidemiology’s Presidential Address

EOH Professor and Chair Melissa Perry, who has served as the president of the American College of Epidemiology for the last year, delivered the Presidential Address at the organization’s annual meeting in Atlanta.

Her speech’s title was “What Have You Done for Epidemiology Lately? The Role of Epidemiologists in Funding Biomedical Education and Research.”  She made a strong case for why epidemiologists and other public health scientists should use their expertise to influence the public’s perception of science and help guide lawmakers who make funding decisions. 

DrPH Student Francesca Branch, who works in Perry’s lab, deemed the EOH chair’s talk “a very well executed address on the state of epidemiology and a call to action to protect the future of the field.”  Post-doctoral Scientist Tiffany Stallings added that the speech was “very thought provoking.”  Stallings observed that the address helped her “realize the difference we can make not only through our research in improving the population's health, but also realize we have the ability to shape the world of research.” 

“It’s an important message,” agreed Assistant Professor Kate Applebaum.  “As researchers, we are trained to communicate the importance of our research and its public health impact to other researchers. However, we need to improve how we communicate that same message to lawmakers and the general public so that they recognize the importance of supporting research funding.”

While at the conference, Branch presented a poster on a portion of her dissertation research, "Urinary Heavy Metals and Associations with Body Mass Index and Waist Circumference Among Adolescents and Adults: NHANES 2011-2012."  Stallings presented a poster of research she is pursuing with Applebaum, “Medical Visits among Nicaraguan Sugarcane Workers: Uncommon UTI Diagnoses and Subclinical Findings.”  Post-doctoral Scientist Deepika Shrestha also presented a poster on a project with Applebaum, “Increased risk of renal cell carcinoma following exposure to metalworking fluids among autoworkers.” 

Shrestha said that she found the meeting to be very informative.  She was particularly enthusiastic about the ACE conference’s speed networking session.  “It provided a great opportunity to ask questions related to public health and get feedback and advice. I also liked the Poster in my Pocket concept where I can go through the posters virtually,” she said. 

Perry’s speech was recorded and will be available on the American College of Epidemiology website.