Top 10 Most Influential Public Health Professors

Public health professors maintain research focuses in a wide variety of subjects, from workplace conditions to adolescent sexuality and from second-hand smoke issues to mosquitoes and malaria epidemiology. In all cases, their work often leads to policy changes that contribute to a sound preventative approach against diseases for many individuals. The following top 10 influential public health professors already have made their marks in collegiate and public environments. Not all have MPH (Master of Public Health) degrees, but their experiences and other degrees have led to their passion for healthy environments.

The following individuals are listed alphabetically by surname.

  1. Dr. AgnewJacqueline Agnew, PhD, MPH is professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and director of the Center for Occupational Safety and Health. The goal of her research is to better understand the relationship between workplace exposures, worker characteristics, and musculoskeletal disorders so that these debilitating and expensive conditions can be prevented. A secondary but related area of research is the development of more specific measures of occupational stress. She has a joint departmental affiliation with the School of Nursing.
  2. Dr. BartleNathalie Bartle, EdD is professor, Department of Community Health and Prevention at Drexel University’s School of Public Health. While serving as a senior research associate at Harvard’s Health Policy, Research and Education Division, Dr. Bartle expanded her research in the areas of child and adolescent health, adolescent sexuality and health policy. Her book, Venus in Blue Jeans: Why Mothers and Daughters Need to Talk About Sex, has received national and international attention and has been published in English, Spanish and Greek. Dr. Bartle has continued her research in adolescent health and sexuality.
  3. Dr. BeckettLaurel A. Beckett, PhD is professor in the Biostatistics Unit, Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of California, Davis. Her current and recent research includes work on Alzheimer’s, AIDS, cancer, hypertension, and pulmonary disease. Dr. Beckett also focuses on statistical methods for longitudinal data, population-based studies, and translational research between basic science and clinical medicine. She developed bootstrap bounds for “safe” doses in risk assessment as well as methods for estimating population prevalence and incidence in non-standard complex survey settings.
  4. Dr. BurgessJeff Burgess MD, MPH is an associate professor and the director of the Community, Environment and Policy Division at The University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health in Tucson, Arizona. Dr. Burgess’ research focuses include firefighter health and safety, reduction of mining-related injuries and exposures, environmental arsenic exposure, respiratory toxicology in smoke inhalation victims and hazardous materials exposures including methamphetamine labs. In 2009 he was awarded $2.3 million for two national research grants to study and prevent injuries among firefighters.
  5. Dr. JacksonRichard Joseph Jackson, MD, MPH is Professor and Chair, Environmental Health Sciences and professor for the Institute of the Environment and Urban Planning as the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Jackson’s work led to the establishment of the California Birth Defects Monitoring Program and state and national laws. These helped reduce risk from dangerous pesticides, especially for farm workers and children. He also served 15 years at the CDC where he established the National Asthma Epidemiology and Control Program [PDF] and advanced the childhood lead poisoning prevention program. Dr. Jackson co-authored Urban Sprawl and Public Health, a 2004 book from Island Press.
  6. Dr. JonasSteven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS, Professor of Preventive Medicine, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, and professor, Graduate Program in Public Health, Stony Brook University, received the 2010 Distinguished Alumni Award in June from the Yale School of Public Health. Dr. Jonas, a prolific author and researcher in health policy analysis, preventive medicine and public health, and personal health and wellness, began his academic career more than 40 years ago. He currently is working on book project development in recreational drug-use policy, multi-sport racing, recreational skiing, health promotion/disease prevention in clinical practice, and exercising regularly.
  7. Dr. KittelsonJohn Kittelson, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Biostatistics and Informatics at the Colorado School of Public Health, has been appointed to a three-year term on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee. Kittelson was appointed to the FDA panel based upon his research on group sequential methods for the design and monitoring of clinical trials. Currently, he is director of the Colorado Biostatistics Consortium at the University of Colorado Denver and the director of the Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design program of the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute.
  8. Dr. NestleMarion Nestle, PhD, MPH is Paulette Goddard Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University, which she chaired from 1988-2003. From 1986-88, she was senior nutrition policy advisor in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and managing editor of the 1988 Surgeon General’s Report on Nutrition and Health. Her research examines scientific, economic, and social influences on food choice. She is the author of three prize-winning books: Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health, Safe Food: The Politics of Food Safety, and What to Eat.
  9. Dr. SametJonathan Samet , MD, MS is professor and Flora L. Thornton Chair in the Department of Preventative Medicine, Keck School of Medicine and director for the Institute for Global Health at the University of Southern California. He is a leading authority on the health effects of smoking and air pollution, has worked actively to promote tobacco control worldwide, and has addressed some of the most critical issues in environmental epidemiology, particularly in relation to air pollution. One of Dr. Samet’s current research projects include a global study on exposures of women and children to secondhand tobacco smoke.
  10. Dr. YanGuiyun Yan, PhD is professor of public health at the University of California, Irvine, with a joint appointment in the Ecology & Evolutionary Biology School of Biological Sciences. His research interest focuses on population biology of mosquitoes and malaria epidemiology in Africa and Southeast Asia. This past summer, UC Irvine announced that Dr. Yan lead will groundbreaking malaria field research in impoverished reaches of China, Myanmar and Thailand, thanks to new federal funding. Dr. Yan will collaborate with Penn State principal investigator Liwang Cui.
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