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SPH Austin Faculty Appointed to Endowed Positions
Austin recently became home to innovative advances in public health with the arrival of two prominent researchers in the field of child health — Cheryl Perry, Ph.D. and Steven Kelder, Ph.D.
Perry and Kelder, faculty of The University of Texas School of Public Health Austin Regional Campus, recently received endowed positions at the school. These appointments are just one way of recognizing and fostering academic excellence and providing funds to support the teaching, research and service activities of these distinguished faculty members, according to Guy Parcel, Ph.D., dean of SPH at Houston.
Perry, regional dean of the Austin campus, is now the Rockwell Chair in Society and Health, an endowed faculty position established in 2000 by the Rockwell Fund. Kelder, nationally recognized for his expertise in child obesity prevention, has been named the Beth Toby Grossman Professor in Spirituality and Health. The professorship was named in memory of a student of the School of Public Health.
“We are very pleased to honor Drs. Perry and Kelder with these appointments,” said Parcel. “I am confident that their outstanding work on health promotion for children and youth will bring honor to these positions. I am very grateful to the Rockwell Foundation and the Grossman family and friends for their generous support for these endowed faculty positions and their continued support of the School of Public Health.”
Perry was recruited from the University of Minnesota in 2006 to collaborate with her colleagues to establish the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Advancement of Healthy Living, a part of the Austin regional campus. Perry is considered one of the leading researchers in the country in child and adolescent health promotion.
“I am sincerely honored and appreciate the tremendous opportunity this provides. This endowment isn’t something that I take lightly,” Perry said. “I intend to use these funds to benefit the youth of Texas and beyond.”
Kelder also is nationally known in the field of child health, especially for his role as principal investigator with the CATCH (A Coordinated Approach to Child Health) program. CATCH has been adopted in more than 2,000 Texas elementary schools, influencing about 850,000 children.
“Honored” was the operative word for Kelder as well. “These funds will support my efforts to advance the science of disseminating evidence-based health education for the improvement of child health. The endowment will allow me to create materials, conduct pilot studies, hire graduate students and communicate findings nationally and internationally.”
Susan Tortelero, Ph.D., associate professor and director of the Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research, said Kelder is committed to the dissemination of evidenced-based programs through policy and practice. “The work that he and his colleagues have done is an excellent model for translating science into practice so that important discoveries result in health benefits for the population.”
By Erika Durham Hargrove, for Institutional Advancement