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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

UNC Epidemiologist Recognized by American Heart Association for Excellence in Research

Dr. Christy Avery, assistant professor of epidemiology at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, has received the American Heart Association’s Sandra A. Daugherty Award for Excellence in Cardiovascular Disease or Hypertension Epidemiology.


[Photo: Dr. Christy Avery (second from right) poses with a plaque recognizing her innovative epidemiology research. Photo by AHA/Todd Buchanan (© 2015)]

Dr. Avery accepted the award on March 5 at the Association’s annual Epidemiology and Prevention/Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions, held in Baltimore. She attended the event with Dr. Gerardo Heiss, Kenan Distinguished Professor of epidemiology at Gillings, who was also recognized at the awards ceremony for his exceptional mentorship.

The Sandra A. Daugherty Award was established to recognize excellence in research by early-career investigators. In Dr. Avery’s case, the award acknowledged her work on weight gain during youth among U.S. minority populations.

“We found that African-Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, and American Indians were more likely to transition to overweight and obesity at earlier ages when compared to European-Americans,” explained Dr. Avery. “These disparities in weight transitions at early ages warrant public health action, given the difficulties of re-attaining normal body weight once classified as overweight or obese as well as the spectrum of chronic diseases associated with overweight and obesity.”

Dr. Avery’s research was highlighted in an article published in the U.S. News & World Report on March 5. While her findings must be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal, they stand to have a high impact on the field of public health.

“We are very proud of Dr. Avery for her recent award from the AHA recognizing her innovative research,” said Dr. Andrew Olshan, Barbara S. Hulka Distinguished Professor and chair of the Gillings School’s department of epidemiology. “The Sandra A. Daugherty Award is especially notable as a competitive award to a junior investigator, which confirms Dr. Avery’s stellar work at this early stage and portends an exceptional career path ahead.”

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