Two Epidemiology Doctoral Students Win National Academic Awards

Posted on: April 8, 2014 Topics: Epidemiology

Two doctoral students in the Department of Epidemiology at Boston University School of Public Health have earned national recognition from prominent academic societies.

Samantha Parker

Samantha Parker

Samantha Parker won the 2014 Lilienfeld Student Prize, awarded by the Society for Epidemiologic Research (SER) to recognize excellence in student research and to reflect SER’s ongoing commitment to the support and encouragement of students. The prize, named in honor of teacher and scholar Dr. Abraham Lilienfeld, includes travel, meeting expenses, and an honorarium award of $1,000.

Parker graduated with a BS in chemistry from the University of Miami in 2007. In 2009, she earned a MSPH in Environmental Health and Epidemiology from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University.  In 2010, Parker enrolled in the epidemiology doctoral program at BUSPH and is currently working with Dr. Martha Werler on a study of risk factors for spina bifida.

Parker’s research interests include environmental risk factors and birth defects, the inclusion of prenatal diagnosis and pregnancy outcome data to enhance birth defects research, and reproductive history and future reproductive outcomes. She plans to focus her dissertation on reproductive history and the risk of preeclampsia.

According to department records, Parker is the third BUSPH doctoral student to win the award in the past decade. Matthew Fox, now an associate professor of epidemiology, won in 2007; Jaimie Gradus, an assistant professor of psychiatry at BU School of Medicine and an assistant professor of epidemiology at SPH, won in 2009.

Craig Ross

Craig Ross

Craig Ross won the 2014 New Investigators Award from the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine (SAHM), an organization that promotes the development, synthesis, and dissemination of scientific and scholarly knowledge unique to the development and health care needs of adolescents. SAHM established the New Investigator Award to recognize professionals who, through excellence in research, have furthered the Society’s goals.

Ross was a finalist for the New Investigators Award in 2011 and 2012.

Ross’s 30-year career has spanned multiple industries ranging from high technology to financial services to media and advertising. Ross’s primary research interest is adolescent development and risk factors contributing to adolescent behavioral health problems. His dissertation, “Testing Components of a Model of Adolescent Alcohol and Marijuana Initiation” expands upon a collaboration with researchers at the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and Boston Children’s Hospital.

Parker and Ross are both members of the Boston University School of Public Health Training Program in Reproductive, Perinatal, and Pediatric Epidemiology (BURPPE), an NICHD-funded, four-year, pre-doctoral training program in the Department of Epidemiology. In addition to the requirements for doctoral studies in epidemiology, BURPPE trainees follow a curriculum that includes coursework, research projects, clinical experience, and mentoring in one of three content areas — reproductive, perinatal, or pediatric epidemiology.