Health education researcher Dr. Lawrence W. Green has established a scholarship at the School of Public Health at Georgia State University to honor his wife, Dr. Judith Ottoson, a respected public health researcher and popular teacher at Georgia State and other institutions.
The Judith Ottoson Scholarship was announced March 26 during the annual Kreuter Katz Lecture in Health Equity.
“I see Atlanta and Georgia State at the real crossroads of public health not only nationally but internationally,” said Dr. Ottoson, who taught health policy analysis and program evaluation at Georgia State in the late 1990s and early 2000s. “I think of this scholarship as ‘piling on,’ in a positive way, by joining our friends and colleagues in contributing to the growth of public health education at Georgia State.”
The annual scholarship, funded by the couple’s pledge of $27,000, will be granted starting in fall 2015 to a student who demonstrates financial need and an interest in pursuing program evaluation and a desire to understand how programs make a difference.
“I think the bottom line for me is wanting to support a student of public health who asks the question ‘are we making a difference’ and pursues the skills to know how to answer it,” Dr. Ottoson said.
When possible, the scholarship will be granted to an immigrant or child of an immigrant who has become a naturalized citizen or permanent resident. Ottoson noted her parents were first-generation immigrants who did not have the same opportunity to attend college, which they provided for her.
Drs. Green and Ottoson have strong ties to Georgia State and the public health community in Atlanta. Dr. Green worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in roles that included serving as a Distinguished Fellow/Visiting Scientist in the Office on Smoking and Health, and as founding director of the World Health Organization-CDC Collaborating Center on Global Tobacco Control. Ottoson was on the faculty of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. Her research collaboration with CDC and leadership in starting the Atlanta-area Evaluation Association helped foster a public health focus at Georgia State. Her final role at the university was serving on the faculty committee when the School of Public Health was first established as an Institute.
Green, a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the School of Medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, said he established the scholarship to honor his wife’s work “because I knew she wouldn’t do it herself, in her own name, and it had to be done.”
Dr. Michael Eriksen, dean of the School of Public Health at Georgia State, has worked with Green and Ottoson at the CDC, at Georgia State, and at other academic and government institutions.
“This generous gift will provide deserving students at Georgia State the opportunity to fulfill their career ambitions in Atlanta, the public health capitol of the world,” he said.
Dr. Ottoson is now a lecturer in the Department of Health Education at San Francisco State University with a primary focus on program and policy evaluation. She and her husband are the co-authors of the text “Community and Population Health.”