Dr. Elaine Anderson, Dr. Robyn Zeiger and Dean Boris Lushniak

Dr. Elaine Anderson, Dr. Robyn Zeiger and Dean Boris Lushniak at the 2019 SPH faculty and staff assembly where Dr. Zeiger received the Gloria S. Friedgen School Spirit Award.

May 15, 2019

On Friday, May 10, faculty, staff and SPH leaders convened for the spring assembly where faculty and staff were honored for their outstanding service and commitment to the school.

Dr. Typhanye Dyer, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Doris Sands Excellence in Teaching Award
Presented to a faculty member who has been evaluated by the department chair, peers and students as being an excellent teacher in his/her area of expertise.

Starting with an enrollment of 18 in the spring of 2016 and currently boasting a class size of 225 students, the undergraduate epidemiology for public health practice course is one of the SPH’s most popular classes. This growth has been bolstered by Dr. Typhanye Dyer’s commitment to student-centered teaching, individualization, approachability and effectiveness in conveying epidemiologic concepts. Her excellence and efficiency in teaching promotes student success and has resulted in several students from other departments deciding to pursue an advanced degree in epidemiology.

Dr. Dylan Roby, Health Policy and Management

George F. Kramer Practitioner of the Year Award
Presented to a faculty member who has been recognized for doing an outstanding job of putting theory into practice (application of knowledge in a practical setting).

Dr. Dylan Roby actively supports the translation of evidence to policy and practice by disseminating his policy and program evaluation work. He contributes to policy debates by providing policy-relevant research findings to policy-makers and by teaching students about the realities of translating data and evidence to policy. His work modeling the impacts of health reform has been recognized nationally and he is often asked to review reports for other microsimulation modelers such as RAND’s Health Compare Model. 

Dr. Neil Sehgal, Health Policy and Management

Jerry P. Wrenn Outstanding Service Award
Presented to a faculty member who has demonstrated outstanding service in general and specifically to the University community. Special attention is given to noteworthy advising at both the Undergraduate and Graduate levels and is our highest award for service to students.

Dr. Neil Sehgal provides outstanding service to the school, our students and the university. Among his contributions, Dr. Sehgal was instrumental in launching the Gold Public Health Innovation Award. Now successfully in its second year, the award contributes to a culture of innovation at SPH and elevates the ideas of our students. Dr. Sehgal has also dedicated himself to advising students of all levels and is known for his open door policy and appreciation for coffee. Dr. Sehgal serves as a faculty representative to the SPH alumni association, co-faculty advisor to the Health Services Administration Student Association, advisor to the HLSA case competition teams and serves on the SPH diversity committee. Within the university, he serves on the University Senate and is an ambassador for SPH by serving on the Future of Information Alliance Brainstorming Board, the UMD Banneker/Key Scholarship selection committee and the UMD research and technology working group.

Dr. Jennifer Roberts, Kinesiology

Muriel R. Sloan Communitarian Award
Presented to a faculty member who has made a significant contribution through outreach programs to the State of Maryland and surrounding communities. Special emphasis is given to programs designed to assist the public school systems in achieving their overall mission of educating and graduating students.

Dr. Jennifer Roberts blends the pursuit of scholarship with research to advance the health and wellbeing of Maryland communities through physical activity. She partners with organizations such as the UMD Health Center and UMD Recreation and Wellness and studies the relationship between the built environment and physical activity levels, obesity rates and public health outcomes. Also, she was recently selected as a Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health JPB Environmental Health Fellow and recently launched a long-term investigation into Maryland’s purple line light rail to assess active transportation behaviors and physical activity among residents of various racial and ethnic populations.

Dr. Quynh Nguyen, Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Research and Development Award
Presented to a faculty member who has been recognized for doing an outstanding job in research and/or development.

Dr. Quynh Nguyen has made tremendous contributions to SPH, brought considerable attention to our school and has provided much-needed evidence to improve the lives of Marylanders. Among her accomplishments are her significant contributions to research and sustained grant support. She boasts seven awarded NIH grants—four as the principal investigator, 30 publications—7 published since joining UMD in 2017, 19 invited talks and 14 refereed presentations at local and international levels. Dr. Nguyen has been featured in media sources such as CNN, the New York Times and NPR. She is an alumna of the Vice President’s Clinical and Translational Research Scholars Program, has published her findings in top journals and has been invited by prestigious institutes both nationally and internationally. Her work has received a high-volume of citations and her teaching has received high praise from students and faculty peers. More importantly, she has provided our students with ample research opportunities to bolster their academic and personal growth.

Dr. Amy Sapkota, Applied Environmental Health

Leda Amick Wilson Mentoring Award
Established in 2003 to honor a former FMSC faculty member who was an advocate for undergraduate students and mentoring their progress toward the completion of their degree requirements. Presented to a faculty member who has done an outstanding job of mentoring students in the department or college.

Dr. Amy Sapkota is an exceptional mentor having mentored 24 individual undergraduate students, a 13 person student gemstone team and a fire research team of 22 students. She has served as committee chair for 10 MPH and seven Ph.D. student committees and is a committee member for another ten masters students. Her commitment to mentoring goes beyond the individual student and the SPH. Most recently, she was the lead principal investigator in securing a UMD Global STEWARDS training grant, a prestigious $3 million five year award from the National Science Foundation. Under her leadership, the research traineeship program will provide funding for 60 doctoral students from across the campus as they engage in professional development training to enhance their future careers.

Ms. Minda Polser, Office of the Dean

Viki Annand Staff Excellence Award
Established in 2009 in honor of a former Assistant Dean. Presented to a staff member who has demonstrated superior service and ongoing contributions to a department and/or the School. Special emphasis is given to outstanding achievement and performance, personal interaction, and initiative and creativity.

Although Ms. Minda Polser works humbly, she keeps the wheels of the school moving forward. She is a team player, a pleasure to work with and supports staff and faculty with often complex and thankless tasks. She has made school-wide contributions, works positively and consistently exceeds the expectations of her position.

Polly Schurer, Kinesiology

Staff Teamwork and Community-Builder Award
Established in 2015 to recognize a staff member who works effectively to advance a department, unit, and/or the SPH through teamwork, collaboration, and cooperation. S/he shares knowledge and helps others to achieve job-related goals, inspires others to work successfully as a team, contributes to group problem-solving, and supports an inclusive community that respects and embraces differences.

Polly Schurer wears many hats in the Department of Kinesiology serving both undergrad and graduate students in addition to helping with faculty affairs. She is critical to the undergraduate kinesiology program—one of the largest on campus and spends hours guiding students on their academic and career paths with a keen mind, sound advice and a genuinely cheery and nurturing attitude. She is also the coordinator of graduate studies serving as the right hand of the director and the glue that holds the program together. She is the MVP of the kinesiology team and epitomizes the spirit of this award.

Research Administration Team:

Dawn Schettino, Office of the Dean
Lew Schwartz, Office of the Dean
Rose Hoffman, Office of the Dean

Although the demands on this team are high, they can work professionally and with a calm and efficient demeanor. They work routinely on deadline dependent tasks that are highly variable due to differing funding agency requirements, grant/contract specifications and requirements of the individuals that they serve. Their work is highly personal and at times requires accommodations. Deadlines for about 17 percent of their proposal submissions coincide with university and personal year-end holidays necessitating additional work during these periods. Nonetheless, this team provides exemplary service through their person-centered service, professional approach, commitment to excellence, attention to detail, dedication to quality control and careful adherence to ever-changing policies.

Dr. Robyn Zeiger, Family Science

Gloria S. Friedgen School Spirit Award
Established in 2014 in honor of an alumnus and first Coordinator for Alumni and Outreach. Presented to a SPH faculty, staff, or student who has demonstrated outstanding performance and consistent dedication, initiative, motivation, positive attitude, and customer service to those they support and with whom they interact.

Dr. Robyn Zeiger has worked tirelessly as a leader and educator at UMD and the state of Maryland to secure equal rights for LGBT individuals and families. She has been a UMD student since 1968 and a UMD lecturer since 1978. She has impacted thousands of students at SPH since her start as a Department of Family Science lecturer in 1980. She has been an advocate for crisis intervention, violence prevention and other issues impacting individuals, couples and families in the LGBTQ community. In all that Dr. Zeiger has done on campus, she brings compassion, understanding and enthusiasm to create an inclusive community. Her lifetime of work has energized the SPH and has helped to build an educational and work environment that is supportive of all students, faculty and staff and rich in diversity.