Population health research is focus of Delta Omega Lecture, which features scholar Dr. Ana Diez Roux
March 12, 2012
Internationally known epidemiologist Dr. Ana Diez Roux will be the featured guest speaker for the Delta Omega Lecture of the Arnold School of Public Health at noon on Friday, March 16.
The event, which will be held in the Gressette Room of Harper College on the University of South Carolina's historic Horseshoe, is free and open to the University community and the public.
The title of the program is "Transcending Impasses in Population Health Research: Can Complex Systems Help?"
Diez Roux recently has been named chair of the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Michigan's School of Public health and, pending the approval of the university's regents, will assume the position on April 1.
Population health research is undergoing changes, said Diez Roux, who serves as director of the Center for Social Epidemiology and Population Health in the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan.
"Over time, population health research has become much more interested in figuring out ways to integrate factors at various levels of organization, from society to genes," she said. "It has become apparent that integrating factors across levels and also putting together social and biological processes is crucial.
"Another feature has been increasing recognition that policies that people don't usually think of as health related may have important policy implications because they affect the system in various, sometimes unpredictable ways."
Diez Roux said her talk would examine the ways in which "systems thinking may help us move beyond perplexing questions in health disparities research by helping us think about old problems in new ways and by providing analytical approaches which can be used to complement the tools that we usually use."
Dr. Martin Philbert, dean of the University of Michigan's School of Public Health, said, "Dr. Diez Roux is a highly regarded social epidemiologist who has made significant contributions to the areas of teaching, research, and service.
"She has developed a strong interdisciplinary and collaborative research program that has attracted national and international attention and has been responsible for helping to shape the field of social epidemiology and the social determinants of health," he said. "Dr. Diez Roux is a distinguished scholar with great commitment to the department and knowledge of the field."
Dr. Robert McKeown, chair of the Arnold School's Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, said, "Ana Diez Roux's writing on public health has been among the most significant and influential of her generation."
A research professor in the Survey Research Center in the Institute for Social Research, Diez Roux also is director of the Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholars Program at the University of Michigan.
She is considered an international leader in the investigation of the social determinants of health, the application of multilevel analysis in health research, and the study of neighborhood health effects. Her research areas include social epidemiology and health disparities, environmental health effects, urban health, psychosocial factors in health, and cardiovascular disease epidemiology.
Recent areas of work include social environment-gene interactions and the use of complex systems approaches in population health. Her research and other scholarly programs are supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Diez Roux has an impressive background in medicine and public health. She earned her medical degree from the University of Buenos Aires and was chief resident of general pediatrics at the Ricardo Gutierrez Children's Hospital. Before joining the faculty at the University of Michigan, Diez Roux was an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and an assistant professor of medicine in the Department of Medicine at Columbia's College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Diez Roux serves on numerous review and advisory committees and was awarded the Wade Hampton Frost Award for her contributions to public health by the American Public Health Association. She was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2009.
She earned a master's degree in public health and a doctorate in health policy from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health.