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School and Program Updates

School and Program Updates

Texas A&M 2016 Commencement Ceremony

The Texas A&M School of Public Health held its 2016 commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 21 at Rudder Auditorium on the Texas A&M campus.

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The ceremony began at 9:00 am and featured commencement speaker Dr. Ginny Ehrlich, CEO of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Ehrlich also previously directed the childhood obesity prevention portfolio at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and led the Foundation’s efforts to establish a strategic direction for its $500 million investment in ensuring that all children achieve a healthy weight by 2025. Previously, Dr. Ehrlich spent eight years at the Clinton Foundation, where she served as the Founding CEO of the Clinton Health Matters Initiative and the long-time CEO of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

The Distinguished Alumni award was given to Ms. Amy Elizondo, Vice President of Program Services at the National Rural Health Association, who served as alumni speaker for the ceremony as well.

Student awards given during the ceremony included the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Public Service to Dr. Brenda Bustillos; Doctoral Excellence in Research award to Dr. Chinedum Ojinnaka; and Master-level Excellence in Research to Ms. Ashley Shortz. Most outstanding students per department were awarded to Jarius Pulzinski, Ajay Balasubramanyam, Abigail Mulcahy, and Sara Miller.

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Best faculty research papers were announced including at the Assistant Professor level: Dr. Alva Ferdinand, “The impact of texting bans on motor vehicle crash-related hospitalizations,” American Journal of Public Health & Dr. Sam Towne, “Geographic variations in access and utilization of cancer screening services: examining disparities among American Indian and Alaska Native Elders,” International Journal of Health Geography. 

At the Associate Professor level, Dr. Qi Zheng, “A new practical guide to the Luria-Delbrück protocol” published in Mutation Research was recognized. At the Professor level, Dr. Jane Bolin, was recognized for “Rural Healthy People 2020: New Decade, Same Challenges,” in the Journal of Rural Health.

Students participating in this year’s commencement ceremony earned one of five graduate degrees, Master of Public Health, Master of Health Administration, Master of Science in Public Health, Doctor of Public Health or Doctor of Philosophy.