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Rochester graduate student named Schwarzman Scholar

Friday, December 7, 2018

University of Rochester graduate student Beixi Li is one of 140 students selected worldwide as a Schwarzman Scholar.

University of Rochester graduate student Beixi Li is one of 140 students selected worldwide as a Schwarzman Scholar. (University of Rochester photo / J. Adam Fenster)

University of Rochester graduate student Beixi Li has been named a 2019-20 Schwarzman Scholar, one of about 140 selected worldwide for this prestigious graduate fellowship. She'll develop leadership skills and professional networks in a one-year master's program at China's elite Tsinghua University in Beijing, beginning next August.

"I'm really excited," the Shanghai, China, native says. "After going through the application process and long interview sessions, it was great to know that everything I did was worth the effort. I'm thrilled to be part of this program."

The international fellowship was established in 2016 with a $100 million donation by philanthropist Stephen Schwarzman, whose goal was to prepare the next generation of global leaders by providing an unparalleled opportunity to gain some understanding of China through an immersive experience. Students pursue a master's degree in global affairs, with concentrations in public policy, economics and business, or international studies. They spend a year in an international community of thinkers, innovators, and leaders in business, politics, and society.

Nearly 2,900 candidates from around the world applied.

Li is currently pursuing a master of public health degree at Rochester's School of Medicine and Dentistry and expects to graduate in May. Her thesis examines the potential impact of maternal dental amalgams (fillings) on offspring neurodevelopment.

As a Schwarzman Scholar, Li intends to concentrate in public policy. She plans a career in preventive medicine, with a focus on children, in the fields of environmental hazards, tobacco control, or infectious diseases.

"The world today is facing various public health issues, like environmental pollution, the Ebola viruses in Africa, the opioid epidemic in the United States, and smoking abuse among teens and adults," Li says. "I've always believed that preventive medicine and public health are the most effective ways to save the lives of millions in the world."

Li is the first Rochester recipient since Jintian (Jay) Li '12 (no relation) was selected to the inaugural class. Suman Kumar '19, a mechanical engineering major from Lalitpur, Nepal, was a Schwarzman Scholar semifinalist and one of around 400 who reached the interview stage of the competition.

"We are delighted and proud to have another Rochester student join the ranks of Schwarzman Scholars and hope that Beixi's selection will inspire more students, including those in graduate and professional degree programs, to consider applying in the future," says Belinda Redden, director of the Fellowships Office.

Li earned her undergraduate degree in preventive medicine from Xiangya School of Medicine at Central South University in Changsha, China, and is a licensed medical doctor in her native country. She began her Rochester graduate study program in fall 2017.

Study: Nursing Homes Increasingly Pushing Patients into Rehab at End-of-Life

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

A new study reveals a growing trend of potentially unnecessary -- and harmful -- high intensity rehabilitation services for residents of nursing homes. The study finds that this trend, which may be driven by a desire to maximize reimbursement rates, is on the rise for patients in the last 30 days of life, indicating that these services may be interfering with appropriate end-of-life care.

"This study raises several concerns and questions regarding the scope and intensity of therapy provided to nursing home residents prior to death," said Helena Temkin-Greener, Ph.D., M.S., with the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) Department of Public Health Sciences and lead author of the study, which appears in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association. "If it is being driven by a failure to recognize that a resident is approaching end-of-life, then it calls for improving the skills of nursing home teams. If it is being driven by financial considerations then regulatory and policy interventions may be necessary."

Read More: Study: Nursing Homes Increasingly Pushing Patients into Rehab at End-of-Life

Drs. Todd Jusko and Edwin van Wijngaarden presented their work at the American College of Epidemiology Annual Meeting in Cincinnati, held September 24-25.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Dr. Jusko gave an invited presentation titled Environmental Toxicants: The New Anti-Vaxxers?" Dr. van Wijngaarden's abstract submission was selected as one of three best abstracts. His presentation was titled "Maternal gestational immune response and autism spectrum disorder phenotypes at 7 years of age in the Seychelles Child Development Study".

Roswell Park and URMC to Create $19 Million Research Program Focused on Flavored Tobacco

Friday, September 21, 2018

Prestigious federal grant funds effort to understand fast-growing but underexplored trend in tobacco use.

Media links are as follows:

Channel 8:;


Read More: Roswell Park and URMC to Create $19 Million Research Program Focused on Flavored Tobacco

PHS researchers present results assessing environmental and health impacts of air quality changes in New York State at national conferences

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Department of Public Health Sciences faculty and staff (David Rich, Philip Hopke, Edwin van Wijngaarden, Ann Dozier, Mauro Masiol, Stefania Squizzato, Kelly Thevenet-Morrison), in collaboration with others from URMC (Sally Thurston, Daniel Croft, Mark Utell, Frederick Ling, Scott Cameron, David Chalupa) and the University at Albany, State University of New York (Shao Lin, Wangjian Zhang) are conducting several studies examining the health effects of ambient air pollution in New York State. Funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, they are examining whether the concentrations and composition of air pollutants emitted from electricity generation and fuel combustion, and changes in them following implementation of air quality policies and economic changes due to a recession, have had measurable health impacts on New York State residents and measurable impacts on ambient air pollution concentrations across the state. From these studies, several URMC faculty and students presented oral presentations (Edwin van Wijngaarden, Meng Wang) and poster presentations (Daniel Croft, Rui Li) at the joint conference of the Internal Society of Exposure Science and the International Society of Environmental Epidemiology in Ottawa Canada from August 26-30, 2018, and the International Aerosol Conference in St. Louis, Missouri from September 2-7, 2018 (Mauro Masiol, Stefania Squizzato).

Congratulations to Edwin van Wijngaarden, PhD

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Dr. Edwin van Wijngaarden has been selected to receive the 2018 Graduate Alumni Award!

The award will be presented to Edwin at the School of Medicine and Dentistry Convocation Ceremony on Thursday, September 6th at 4:00pm in the Class of 1962 Auditorium.

Ann Dozier, RN, PhD, FAAN was recently appointed to the Editorial Board of Preventive Medicine

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Congratulations to Ann Dozier, RN, PhD, FAAN who was recently appointed to the Editorial Board of Preventive Medicine!

University of Rochester Lactation Research Consortium

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Several PHS faculty are members of a newly launched University of Rochester Lactation Research Consortium that brings together researchers from across the translational continuum. Drs. Todd Jusko, Camille Martina and Ann Dozier join faculty collaborators from Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, Environmental Medicine, Pediatrics, Microbiology and Immunology, Neonatology and OB/GYN in this endeavor.

University of Rochester Lactation Research Consortium

Yue Li, PhD Receives NIH R01 Award

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Dr. Yue Li, Professor and Editor in Chief for Health Services and Outcomes Research Methodology, was recently awarded an NIH research grant. This 1.6 million R01 project will use big data and statistical machine learning methods to analyze the violent death data and medical records of patients from the CDC and the CMS, in order to identify the risk and protective factors for suicide deaths among older adults in long-term care settings. Investigators of this project include Yue Li, PhD (MPI); Xueya Cai, PhD (MPI, Biostatistics and Computational Biology @ URMC); Helena Temkin-Greener, PhD (Co-Investigator, Public Health Sciences @ URMC); Yeates Conwell, MD (Co-Investigator; Psychiatry @ URMC); and Sheryl Zimmerman, MSW, PhD (Co-Investigator; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill).

University of Rochester newest member of ASPPH

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

ASPPH welcomes University of Rochester Public Health Program as our newest member. Dr. James Dolan, director of masters programs, will serve as the primary representative to ASPPH.

ASPPH is the voice of accredited academic public health, representing schools and programs accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).

The Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) is a 501c3 membership organization located in Washington, DC.

Read More: University of Rochester newest member of ASPPH

Congratulations 2017-2018 Graduates

Thursday, May 17, 2018

PhD -- EPI

Martina Anto-Ocrah

Adan Becerra

Timmy Li


Lauren Campbell


Marjorie Allan

Ian DeAndrea-Lazarus

Tye Johnson

Valerie Lou

Jesse Mintz

Rachel Weitzner

Zhaomin Xu

Abdullah Al Madani

Delaney Dretto

Carla Justiniano

Elissa Madonia

Kara Rubio

Robyn Williams

Matthew Asare

Jasjot Grewal

Ian Kleckner

Shoshanna Miller

James Thomas

Jillian Wood

MS -- CI

Andrew Bui

Minh-Tu Do

Jessica Stern


Victoria Chalker
Clinical Research Methods

Peter Crane
Health Services Research

Marhiah Montoya
Analytic Epidemiology

Ruth Schneider
Trial-based Clinical Research

Congratulations to Chelsea Katz and Alina Denham!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Congratulations to HSRP PhD students Chelsea Katz and Alina Denham for their awards at the 2018 annual conference of the Upstate Chapters of the American Statistical Association Chelsea received a bronze medal best student research award in theory and methodology. Alina received young scientific leader award.

In Memoriam: Stephen J. Kunitz

Monday, April 9, 2018


Stephen J. Kunitz, M.D., Ph.D., professor emeritus of Public Health Sciences, passed away Thursday, April 5.

Kunitz's affiliation with the University of Rochester spanned over 50 years starting when he first came here as a medical student. He stayed on as an instructor in the Department of Community and Preventive Medicine (now Department of Public Health Sciences), and later on, as a full-time faculty member after completing his doctoral degree in Sociology at Yale University.

Kunitz served as the department's acting chair from 1994 to 1997, retiring as professor emeritus in 2001 after a distinguished and prolific academic career during which he authored many acclaimed books and papers and mentored many graduate students.

His research focused on the relationship between social change and morbidity and mortality. He was particularly interested in the changing disease patterns among American Indians and other indigenous populations, and more broadly, in the sociology of medical knowledge and the history of medicine. His work was driven in part by his great empathy for, and interest in, the American Indian population amongst whom he lived and served as a physician for a number of years after graduating from medical school. His research demonstrated great depth of knowledge, an ability to ask original and interesting questions, and true critical thinking skills. Kunitz continued his rich research agenda well into his retirement.

Kunitz had a profound impact on all who knew him. He was a wonderful mentor to students and young faculty, an exceptional conversationalist, and a great colleague to all. It was always a pleasure to talk with him about any topic. He was a good listener, inquisitive, engaging and interesting, with much to contribute and always ready with a joke and laughter. He left us a legacy of intellectual inquiry, great humility and the aspiration to do better. We will remember him and the twinkle in his eyes for a long time to come. He will be greatly missed by all whose lives he touched.

18th Annual Saward-Berg Honorary Lecture

Friday, April 6, 2018

The Department of Public Health Sciences is pleased to announce that this year's Saward-Berg Honorary Lecture titled "The uses of Hippocratic epidemiology" will be delivered by Albert Hofman, MD, PhD, an internationally recognized scientific leader in the epidemiology of common neurologic and vascular diseases, particularly dementia and stroke. This annual event will be held on Friday, April 6th, 2018, from 10.30-11.50 am in the Helen Wood Hall Auditorium at the University of Rochester School of Nursing. Registration is not required to attend this event. All are welcome to attend!

International Partners in Seychelles Study Gather in Rochester

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

More than three decades of research in the Seychelles have consistently shown that high levels of fish consumption by pregnant mothers do not produce developmental problems in their children. The international team of researchers behind this study, one of the largest and longest population studies of its kind, is meeting this week in Rochester.

The Seychelles Child Development Study has transformed scientists' understanding of the relationship between the consumption of fish rich in nutrients necessary for brain development and the possible harmful effects of mercury also found in fish. The study's findings have global implications -- fish represent the main source of protein for much of the world's population -- and challenge the long-promulgated advice of many organizations that expecting mothers moderate fish consumption during pregnancy.

"This study is a truly international and interdisciplinary collaboration that demonstrates how the combination of rigorous science and a commitment to taking the long view can help us answer important questions related to health, diet, and child development," said Edwin van Wijngaarden, Ph.D., a professor in the University of Rochester Medical Center's (URMC) Department of Public Health Sciences who leads the Seychelles Child Development Study.

The Seychelles, a cluster of islands in the Indian Ocean, has proven to be the ideal location to examine the potential health impact of persistent low-level mercury exposure. The nation's 90,000 residents consume a wide variety of ocean fish at a rate 10 times greater than the populations of the U.S. and Europe. The island nation also possesses universal and free health care and education and is largely free of the industrial development that could serve as a source of pollution.

Read More: International Partners in Seychelles Study Gather in Rochester

Congratulations to Wei Song on having two abstracts accepted to AcademyHealth for oral presentation!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

  • Fewer Falls after Antihypertensive Drug De-Intensification in VHA Community Living Centers.
  • Evaluating the Impact of VHA COACH Program

Congratulations to Huiwen Xu on having an abstract concocted last minute and very well done accepted to AcademyHealth for oral presentation!

  • Impact of States' Medicaid Spending on HCBS and Nursing Home Reimbursement Rates on Successful Discharge of SNF Residents to Community.

Congratulations to Zhiqiu Ye for having one abstract accepted to AcademyHealth for oral presentation and another for poster presentation!

  • Oral presentation: Impact of Hospital Share of Nursing Home-Originating Hospitalizations on 30-Day Risk Adjusted CMS Hospital Readmission Rates.
  • Poster presentation: Do Hospitals Serving Nursing Homes with Better Quality Experience Lower 30-Day Readmission Rates?