Bob and Barbara Gold

Robert and Barbara Gold

February 19, 2018

The wait is almost over for SPH students competing for the first annual Gold Award. On March 28, finalists will present their ideas to a panel of three health entrepreneurs and a winner will be chosen.

Assistant Professor Neil Sehgal (HLSA) says the entries he has seen so far have “blown my mind.” 

Dr. Sehgal is the faculty advisor for the Gold Award and has been consulting with students who are working on their contest entries. “I didn’t expect to see entries going in these directions or for them to be this well-developed,” he said. 

Dr. Robert S. Gold (founding dean) and his wife Barbara Gold have given $100,000 to establish the Robert S. and Barbara A. Gold Public Health Innovation Award Endowment. The Gold Award is intended to spark public health innovation, design thinking and solutions in public health. 

It is the first award competition at the University of Maryland given to an individual for a creative solution to a complex public health issue. A panel of three health entrepreneurs and thought leaders will decide which project to fund on an annual basis. Undergraduate and graduate students in the SPH are eligible to apply. The first award will be for approximately $5,000.

“We sit in different corners of public health—from epidemiology to policy to health equity to family science—so seeing how our students approach problems in their particular domain has been really interesting,” Dr. Sehgal said. “Seeing the themes of public health intersect through the lens of technology is inspiring.”

“It’s great that we have this award, but innovation is in the DNA of our school,” he continued. “The School of Public Health has taken an innovative approach from its genesis, to be flexible in solving problems.”

Dr. Sehgal points to the distinctive stamp of Dr. Gold, whose background is in technological innovation in the public health sphere, and who founded the school with “a focus on progressive approaches to solving problems.”

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Robert and Barbara Gold launch public health innovation competition

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Robert S. Gold, Neil Jay Sehgal