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Rollins Alumni Association Awards

New award created to honor service to the school
Story Photo

L to R: Matthew Biggerstaff 06MPH, Martha Alexander 86MPH, Dean James Curran, Jonathan H. Mermin 98MPH, and Nancy Hunt 87MPH Photography by Bryan Meltz

Dennis Jarvis 88MPH Dennis Jarvis 88MPH  

Outstanding Leadership Award

The Rollins Alumni Association marked Rollins’ 40th anniversary as a program and 25th as a school by creating a new award to honor leaders who have consistently inspired others through their dedication and commitment to the school. The inaugural Outstanding Leadership Award was presented to Martha Alexander PhD 86MPH, Nancy Hunt 87MPH, and Dennis Jarvis 88MPH, who have provided consistent leadership and meaningful service to the school for more than 20 years. Beginning as members of the task force to develop an alumni association, they were founding members of the eight-member Rollins Alumni Association Board and served as the first three presidents. Their accomplishments included the foundation of the Rollins mentoring program, networking events to connect alumni, and the first open houses for prospective students. Collectively, they have attended hundreds of Rollins events, mentored dozens of students, lent their expertise on innumerable panels and committees, and led the effort to establish the Kathleen R. Miner Scholarship for Public Health Excellence.

Distinguished Achievement Award

Jonathan H. Mermin MD 98MPH (epidemiology) is director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention at the CDC. He spent a decade working with the CDC in Africa before returning to Atlanta headquarters in 2009. With African and CDC colleagues, he developed a standard, evidence-based, basic care package for people with HIV in Africa, co-led the implementation of the first U.S. government-funded program that provided antiretroviral therapy to people with HIV outside the United States, and, in both Kenya and Uganda, helped develop a fellowship program, modeled after the Epidemic Intelligence Service, to train leaders in HIV prevention and care. In Atlanta, Mermin has focused the CDC’s efforts toward “high-impact prevention.” This approach uses proven interventions and policies to ensure that resources are going to the most cost-effective, scalable activities—ultimately, maximizing decreases in incidence of infection, morbidity, mortality, and health disparities.

Matthew Lee Girvin Award

Matthew S. Biggerstaff 01Ox 03C 06MPH (global environmental health) currently serves on the Epidemiologic Research and Support Team in the Influenza Division of the CDC. In 2006, immediately following graduation, Biggerstaff joined the CDC in the Enteric Diseases Epidemiology Branch, where he played key roles in significant foodborne disease outbreak investigations, including a multistate outbreak of E. coli infections that led to one of the largest recalls of ground beef in the U.S. Moving to the Influenza Division in 2009, Biggerstaff was detailed as a deputy of the Epidemiology Team during the H1N1 influenza pandemic. During his tenure in flu, Biggerstaff has become a recognized expert in the use of digital surveillance data and forecasting methodology to complement traditional surveillance methods. He co-developed the Pandemic Severity Assessment Framework, an original and innovative tool to assess the severity of influenza pandemics in the U.S. Biggerstaff is a past president of the Rollins Alumni Board. He currently serves on the Rollins Career Services’ Community Advisory Board and the Emory Alumni Board, where he is a member of the Executive Board and chair of the Student to Alumni Committee.

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