Starting with the appointment of a new director, the Center for Global Health at the University of Georgia College of Public Health is expanding its scope of educational and research programs.
In January 2016, Dr. Christopher Whalen was tapped by Dr. Phillip Williams, Dean of the College of Public Health, to lead the Center initially launched in 2009. Dr. Whalen is the College’s Ernest Corn Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology and is a physician-epidemiologist who has maintained an active research agenda on tuberculosis in Africa since 1990.
The Center, currently focused on building its critical mass of faculty, recruited two new faculty members this year. Juliet Sekandi, MD, DrPH, a graduate of the UGA DrPH program, was hired as an assistant professor in the Center. Dr. Sekandi is already an accomplished scientist who brings to the Center expertise in global health systems, HIV and tuberculosis, and maternal-child health. Dr. Paula Davis-Olwell, a demographer with expertise in public health nutrition and medical anthropology, joined the Center as an instructor, having taught global health for the past 15 years at other universities.
In addition, the Center for Global Health recently received a $500,000 gift from former UGA provost Karen Holbrook to establish the Karen and Jim Holbrook Distinguished Professorship in Global Health. This professorship will build upon existing strengths in global health research in the College and the University and expand international collaborations in the Center.
As for its educational mission, the Center currently offers Certificates in Global Health to both undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Georgia. Both certificate programs provide not only structured coursework in global health, but feature a required experiential learning component that challenges students to engage in global health research with a faculty member, or tackle internships, both foreign and domestic, addressing global health. In addition to certificates, the Center offers an undergraduate minor.
With the growth in faculty and recent expansions in research and coursework, the Center has applied to be renamed as the Global Health Institute. This application has been approved by the University Council and is currently pending final approval by the Board of Regents.