I am pleased to be here today to honor Dr. Robert M. Mayberry as the APHA Epidemiology Sections 2011 recipient of the Abraham Lilienfeld Award.
This prestigious award recognizes excellence in the teaching of epidemiology during the course of one’s career. Preference is given to nominees who teach in the classroom, are engaging lecturers, write clearly in the English language, and whose students have made worthwhile contributions to the improvement of public health.
In my humble opinion and others, Dr. Mayberry has demonstrated all of these attributes throughout his career.
Dr. Mayberry currently serves as the Director of the Biostatistics, Study Design, and the Data Management Core within the Research Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences (R-CENTER) at Morehouse School of Medicine.
He also serves as Professor of Epidemiology within the Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine and Associate Director for two additional programs 1. the Clinical Research Center and Community Engagement and Research.
He formerly served as Director of Health Equity Research, Institute for Health Care Research and Improvement, at Baylor Health Care System (BHCS), Dallas, Texas, in which he led efforts to:
- better understand variations in health care quality by race and ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and other patient characteristics;
- to improve healthcare quality by implementing evidence-based interventions to eliminate inequities in healthcare; and
- integration of scientific findings into clinical decisions and healthcare policy to achieve equitable best care practices.
Other previous appointments included;
- Director of the Program for Healthcare Effectiveness Research, at Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM)
- Assistant Dean of the Graduate School at the University of South Carolina
- Senior Epidemiologist for Minority Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Dr. Mayberry is also active in local, state, and national health services and public health organizations including the Academy Health, the Coalition for Health Services Research, the American Public Health Association, and the Georgia Governor’s Council on Maternal and Infant Health and last but not least he received his doctoral training in Epidemiology from the University of California at Berkeley.
I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Mayberry during my graduate studies in Epidemiology at the University of South Carolina, School of Public Health a number of years ago.
I was a thrilled at the possibility to work with an African American professor on continuing my education. My parents were thrilled as well. My father had grown up in a segregated South Carolina where he was not allowed to attend this University. Both of my parents were proud that I could attend this university and be taught by someone who looked liked us.
Dr. Mayberry made epidemiology understandable and fun. He took interest in knowing his students personally in addition to academically.
Dr. Mayberry has been a mentor to me throughout my career and I want to thank him for the advice and friendship he has given me over the years. I have called on him for advice while working at positions at the local, state and federal levels. We also worked as colleagues at the CDC. When I shared with him details on my latest professional role he was just as excited about my new position in the federal government as I was. To me, this is the definition of excellence.
This nationally noted scientist, scholar, and an opinion leader has focused on an area of public health near and dear to my heart minority health and health disparities research. Dr. Mayberry has published numerous scholarly journal articles such as:
1. Racial and Ethnic Differences in Access to Medical Care (2000),
2. Determinants of Black/White Differences in Colon Cancer Survival (1995)
3. Breast Cancer Risk Factors among Black Women and White Women: Similarities and Differences (1992)
In 1996, Dr. Mayberry was quoted in an article entitled "Why is Discrimination Detrimental to the Health of Blacks." He stated, "Hypertension can be determined by environmental factors. Racism and stress are environmental factors. People who live in cities have more stress than people who live in rural areas." He was one of the several individuals interviewed about a Harvard and Kaiser Foundation Research Institute study that looked at the association between racial discrimnation and unfair treatment with high blood pressure. The study found that blacks get hypertension one third more often than whites, get it earlier in life and suffer more seroius health consequences.
What impressed me, my parents and others about this quote was the fact that it was published in Jet magazine, which is a magazine that was written by Blacks for the Black community and the fact that we finally knew the individual quoted in the magazine personally.
As stated earlier, this prestigious award recognizes excellence in the teaching of epidemiology during the course of one's career with preference given to nominees who teach in the classroom, are engaging lecturers, write clearly in the English language, and whose students have made worthwhile contributions to the improvement of public health and Dr. Mayberry has succeeded on all accounts.
It is with great pleasure that I present the Epidemiology Section's 2011 Abraham Lilienfeld Award to Dr. Robert M. Mayberry.