Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College
Health Policy Scholar Piia Hanson, MSPH, (’10) was recently selected as a Fellow for the Maternal and Child Health Public Health Leadership Institute (MCH PHLI) cohort four. MCH-PHLI is an executive-education training program for mid- and senior-level leaders serving the MCH population.

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Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College
Maria Mejia de Grubb, MD, MPH, (’12) a Medellin, Colombia, native and second-year preventive medicine resident at Meharry, was awarded the Hispanic Leadership Development Scholarship from the United Methodist Committee on Relief in the amount of $2,000.

Health Policy Associate Thomas Luten, MA, (’13) has been elected to serve on the board of directors of Better Health 4Kids (formerly the Centennial Pediatrics Foundation), a Nashville-based nonprofit that works with pediatric offices to provide programs to address health needs of uninsured and underinsured children. Luten serves as co-chair of the admissions committee and assistant professor of dental public health in the School of Dentistry at Meharry Medical College.

Clinical Scholars
Michael Pignone, MD, MPH, (’96) was selected to join the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force in February. Pignone is chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

The Brotherhood Crusade honored Robert Ross, MD, (’88) for his work in medicine and philanthropy with its annual Pioneer of African American Achievement Award. The Los Angeles Sentinel published a short story about Ross’ achievement.

Veterans Affairs Clinical Scholar Gordon Sun, MD, (’11) was awarded a $10,000 Physician Investigator Research Award from The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation. The award is given to enable physicians to explore the merits of a research idea.

Veterans Affairs Clinical Scholar Efrain Talamantes, MD, (’12) was selected for the 2013–2014 Latino Physicians Advisory Committee for the Los Angeles County Medical Association. He will be working on addressing various priority issues: physician shortage, career and practice support, and leadership development.

Arjun Venkatesh, MD, MBA, (’12) received the 2012 American College of Emergency Physicians Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Section’s Resident/Fellow Quality Improvement (QI) Award for his project, “Predictors of Hand Hygiene in the Emergency Department.” The award recognizes graduating residents and fellows for the development and implementation of a QI project that demonstrates meaningful change in their system.

Executive Nurse Fellows
Michael Robert Bleich, PhD, RN, CNAA, FAAN, (’00) was named the dean of the Barnes-Jewish College Goldfarb School of Nursing. Bleich plans to emphasize the recruitment of students underrepresented in the nursing field.

Margaret Grey, DrPH, RN, FAAN, (’99) dean of the Yale School of Nursing, was guest speaker at the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Nursing’s Margaret A. Nelson Lecture. She spoke about the need to educate faculty, staff, students, and the community about prevention, early detection, and management of diabetes and other chronic illnesses.

Marcia Maurer, PhD, RN, (’04) professor and dean of the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Nursing, has been elected to serve on the board of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

Cynda Hylton Rushton, PhD, RN, FAAN, (’06) has been named the inaugural Anne and George L. Bunting Professor in Clinical Ethics in a professorship established by the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing and the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics.

Barbara Wolfe, PhD, APRN, FAAN, (’09) associate dean for research at Boston College’s Connell School of Nursing, will be honored by the Massachusetts Association of Registered Nurses (MARN) at its convention this April. Wolfe will receive the Mary A. Manning Mentoring Award, given annually by MARN to a nurse who has established a record of consistent outreach to nurses in practice or in the pursuit of advanced education.

Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program
Alicia Arbaje, MD, MPH, (’07) appeared on NBC Nightly News (February 20) in a segment about older adults who are helping to maintain their emotional and physical health by moving to university towns and attending classes, lectures, and events.

Health & Society Scholars
Seth Holmes, MD, PhD, (’09) published the book, Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies (University of California Press), an ethnographic account of the everyday lives and suffering of Mexican migrants. Based on five years of research in the field (including berry-picking and traveling with migrants back and forth from Oaxaca up the West Coast), the book reveals how market forces, anti-immigrant sentiment, and racism undermine migrants’ health and health care.

Jennifer Karas Montez, PhD, (’11) was interviewed for a CNN story (February 26) on life expectancy for women. In the story, aired on the program “The Situation Room,” Montez noted that low-educated women, especially those without a high school education, have seen declines in their life expectancy. The program transcript is here (the story is located near the end of the transcript). Montez was also quoted in an Associated Press (AP) story about a study (co-authored by David Kindig, MD, PhD, co-director of the University of Wisconsin site of the Health & Society Scholars) on the declining life span for some women in the United States. The AP story was featured in the Washington Times and on

A mobile health device for those with asthma created by David Van Sickle, PhD, MA, (’06), will be offered by a WellPoint health plan in Florida to its members with asthma. Van Sickle is CEO and co-founder of Asthmapolis, which secured FDA clearance for the device and software last summer. Asthmapolis also has a deal in place with major health care system Dignity Health.

Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research
Investigator Amy Finkelstein, PhD, MPhil, (’03) received Academy Health’s annual “Health Services Research Impact Award” in February, recognizing a study she co-led showing that Medicaid improved the health of previously uninsured, low-income people. The study found that Medicaid recipients are more likely to use health care services, have fewer out-of-pocket expenses and debt, and say they are in better physical and mental health than the uninsured.

New Connections
Healthy Eating Research-New Connections alumna Sara Bleich, PhD, (’09) was promoted to associate professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Md.

Active Living Research-New Connections alumnus Kevin Nadal, PhD, (’10) wrote a book titled, That’s So Gay!: Microaggressions and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community, published by the American Psychological Association.

Nurse Faculty Scholars
Eric Hodges, PhD, APRN, BC, (’09) assistant professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill School of Nursing, has been awarded a grant from the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute for his proposal, “Enhancing Caregiver-Infant Communication to Prevent Obesity.” Hodges will research how teaching American Sign Language to infants enhances a child’s ability to indicate that he or she is hungry or full.

Scholars in Health Policy Research
Jason Barabas, PhD, (’04) was awarded the 2012 Best Paper Award from the Experimental Research Section of the American Political Science Association. Jake Bowers, PhD, (’05) was awarded the 2012 Emerging Scholar Award from the Political Methodology Section of the American Political Science Association.

John Cawley, PhD, (’99) a program alumnus and national advisory committee member, was interviewed for NPR’s Morning Edition piece, “Money Replaces Willpower in Programs Promoting Weight Loss.”

Erika Franklin Fowler, PhD, (’07) was featured in an NPR blog post, “A Review of 2012 Confirms a ‘Pulverizing’ Level of Political Ads,” which reviews the impact of the 3 million plus broadcast and national cable ads in 2012.

Hilary Levey Friedman, PhD, (’09) a sociologist at Harvard University, contributed a blog post to Boston Magazine on January 29, 2013. “Brainy Babies” describes Boston as a growing hub for research into the infant mind. Friedman was also interviewed on the NECN morning show for her pieces, “Hotel Trend: No Kids Allowed” (February 21) and “How Babies Learn” (February 26).

Michael Greenstone, PhD, (’98) authored a blog post featured on the Brookings Institution website. The post, “Not All Cuts Are Created Equal: Why Smart Deficit Reduction Matters,” explores how the design of budget cuts could impact economic growth and living standards in the coming years and beyond.

Rashawn Ray, PhD, (’10) was mentioned in “Improving the Pipeline Into Science for Minorities,” published in Science Careers on February 20, 2013. The article describes how improving mentors’ advising styles could help improve the representation of women and minorities in the science pipeline.

Abigail Saguy, PhD, (’00) wrote an opinion piece, “How ‘Size Profiling’ Harms Overweight Patients,” in the Washington Post. The piece discusses how anti-fat prejudice caused by the obesity epidemic might be a greater health and social issue than the extra pounds people may be carrying.

John Wilkerson, PhD, (’94) co-authored a book, Congress and the Politics of Problem Solving, published by Cambridge University Press. The book shows how a simple premise—voters are willing to hold lawmakers accountable for their collective problem-solving abilities—can produce novel insights into legislative organization, behavior, and output.