Dr. Robert McKeown, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health, was recently appointed to serve on the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). The 15-member Board advises the directors of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on scientific and technical program goals, objectives, strategies, and priorities pertaining to NCHS.
Through its mission, NCHS provides statistics that guide actions and policies to improve public health. As the principal health statistics agency for the U.S., NCHS delivers accurate, relevant, and timely data. The board provides advice and guidance on epidemiologic and statistical research and activities that encompass a broad range of health issues. This group also recommends new approaches to monitoring and evaluating important public health, health policy, and welfare policy changes. Its activities include overseeing the format, content and storage of vital records (e.g., birth and death certificates).The board also oversees nationally representative health surveys, including surveys on health and nutrition status, health care expenditures and practices.
Dr. McKeown began his public health career with the Arnold School in 1990 as he was wrapping up his doctoral program with the School. He served in various administrative positions throughout his tenure, including associate dean for research and chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and earned awards for teaching, service, research, and alumnus achievements. Outside the university, Dr. McKeown served as the interim director of the Institute for Advancement of Healthcare and president of the American College of Epidemiology.
His research interests have included psychiatric epidemiology, perinatal epidemiology, child and adolescent health and public health ethics with funding by agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health, CDC, and The Duke Endowment. Throughout his career, Dr. McKeown has valued the resources provided by NCHS, incorporating these materials into his research and the classroom. Over time, he developed expertise in accessing and utilizing NCHS resources and even collaborated with the Center on a workshop for applying them in research and coursework.
Despite his retirement, Dr. McKeown has continued working with a project focusing on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children that CDC funded at USC for 10 years. In addition, he is a consultant for two of the four sites (USC and University of Florida, Jacksonville) CDC subsequently funded to conduct broader studies of child and adolescent mental health that were modeled after the ADHD project. For two years, he led a career mentoring program for junior faculty at the Arnold School (2012-14) and College of Social Work (2013-14), and now, of course, will work with NCHS through this Board of Scientific Counselors appointment.