Dr. Won Choi, professor and executive director of the KU-MPH Program, was recently honored with the Samuel J. Crumbine Medal, the Kansas Public Health Association’s (KPHA) highest award. The award is given for meritorious service and state, regional, or national recognition related to the improvement of the health of Kansans and the environment of the state.
Dr. Choi has served as executive director of the KU-MPH Program since 2006. Major successes during his tenure include successful re-accreditation of the program, growing diversity in the student body and faculty, and the development of concentrations within the program to meet state workforce needs. As an educator, he constantly provides mentorship to those who are just starting out in the world of academic research by leading them to grant opportunities, sharing feedback to those writing and revising grant applications, making professional connections between researchers, and constantly encouraging faculty as they grow through the ups and down of developing a successful research career. He makes special effort to connect faculty to the state and local health departments here in Kansas to create partnerships between academia and practice, which serves to both improve faculty’s connections to the community and better meet the public health needs of the state.
Dr. Choi is a highly talented epidemiologist and researcher focusing on smoking prevention and cessation among underserved populations. His current NIH research grants include creating a culturally tailored smoking cessation intervention for American Indians, and developing a web-based smoking cessation program for tribal college students.