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Smith appointed to lead GRU Institute of Public and Preventive Health

By   /   October 3, 2013  /   Comments

Special to the Journal

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Dr. Selina Smith, Deputy Director of the Morehouse School of Medicine Cancer Research Program, has been named Director of the Georgia Regents University Institute of Public and Preventive Health.

When she joins GRU Oct. 7, she will also serve as a Professor in the Medical College of Georgia Department of Family Medicine, and as a member of the Cancer Center’s Population Science Program.

“I look forward to welcoming Selina to GRU. Her 20-plus years of experience in public health research will be a tremendous asset as we move forward in our mission to improve the health of Georgia by reducing health disparities and preventing injury and illness,” said Dr. Mark Hamrick, GRU Senior Vice President for Research. “I am also grateful for Dr. Bill Strong’s interim leadership of the Institute over this past year.”

Smith’s areas of interest include translational research, community-based participatory research, health disparities research, cancer epidemiology, and cancer control and prevention. She is the principal investigator on more than $9 million in current grants from the National Cancer Institute, with major projects ranging from identifying the best way to use evidence-based intervention to promote colorectal screening in African-Americans, to assessing the lifestyle modification needs and experiences of African-American breast cancer survivors.

“As a research university, with the only public academic health center in the state, GRU has a unique responsibility to develop and promote clinical services and biomedical research based on the health needs of the people of Georgia,” Smith said. “I am excited about the opportunity to help lead those efforts.”

In addition to her role in the Morehouse School of Medicine Cancer Research Program, Smith also serves as a Professor of Community Health and Preventive Medicine. She previously worked as a Research Associate Professor and Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology & Public Health at the University of Miami School of Medicine.

She has worked and consulted for various organizations, including the Joint Center for Political & Economic Studies, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Atlanta-based Minority Health Professions Foundation; served as a Nutritional Epidemiologist at the national offices of the American Cancer Society; and directed Morehouse School of Medicine’s scientific research as part of the NCI-funded National Black Leadership on Cancer.

Smith is a member of the Healthy People 2020 Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being Workgroup, the American Association of Cancer Research, the Epidemiology Section of the American Public Health Association, and the Omicron Nu Honor Society. She has served as a grant reviewer for the Department of Defense, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institutes of Health. She is a member of the National Cancer Institute’s Region 3 BMap/GMap Executive Committee.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in food and nutrition from Florida State University; a master’s degree in nutrition from Florida International University; and a Ph.D. in human nutrition and food from Howard University. She completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in nutritional epidemiology at the Georgetown University School of Medicine. She also holds a Master of Divinity Degree from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology and completed a postgraduate fellowship there, focusing on “Health, Wholeness & Healing in the Black Church.”

The GRU Institute of Public and Preventive Health was founded in 2012. Over time, the research and service initiatives of the Institute will cover all five core competency areas of public health and preventive health: health management and administration, epidemiology, behavioral health and health education, environmental and occupational health and biostatistics.”’

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