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UNMC College of Public Health makes two key appointments

Childhood obesity expert named department chairman; local public health administrator appointed associate dean

The University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health has appointed a new associate dean and a new department chairman.



The appointments were announced by Ayman El-Mohandes, M.B.B.Ch., M.D., M.P.H., dean of the UNMC College of Public Health.

Alice Schumaker, Ph.D., has been named associate dean for academic affairs, while Terry Huang Ph.D., was selected chairman of the department of health promotion, social and behavioral health.

As associate dean, Dr. Schumaker will oversee the academic programs for the master’s and doctoral programs as well as the certificate of public health programs. She was the founding faculty member of the master’s of public health program at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and UNMC. She recently won an Excellence in Teaching Award from the college.

"Our college is rapidly expanding and it is important to build new programs, new courses and hire new faculty for these endeavors," Dr. Schumaker said.

In addition to overseeing new technologies and the student information system, Dr. Schumaker plans to:

  • Expand concentrations in the master of public health programs;
  • Expand certificate of public health programs domestically and internationally; and
  • Increase the number of dual degrees offered by the college.

“Alice brings a wealth of expertise to her new role,” Dr. El-Mohandes said. “In a few short months, she has become an academic leader in the college. She has greatly contributed to its growth and re-accreditation, and I look forward to her continued partnership.”

Dr. Huang joined UNMC from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where he was director of the obesity research strategic core at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

He also served as one of five senior advisors on obesity science and policy at the NIH and as a member of the White House Committee on Childhood Obesity, which launched a childhood obesity campaign earlier this year. He continues to advise the NIH on strategic obesity initiatives and partnerships.

“Dr. Huang brings tremendous experience not only in his area of expertise but also as a public health professional,” Dr. El-Mohandes said. “He will no doubt raise the level of focus on solutions to prevent disease and improve health outcomes.”

Dr. Huang’s areas of expertise include:

  • Science and policy of pediatric obesity;
  • Systems science in public health;
  • International and cross-cultural health;
  • Body composition and metabolic health; and
  • Dietary patterns and obesity.

“We have to make healthy lifestyles the easy default in everyday life. That’s the only way to have a strategy that is long-term and effective in combating obesity,” Dr. Huang said. “I’m very interested in the interactions between biological, social, economic and environmental factors and how they impact the health of individuals and populations.”

As the state’s only academic health science center, UNMC is on the leading edge of health care. Breakthroughs are possible because hard-working researchers, educators and clinicians are resolved to work together to fuel discovery. UNMC’s extramural research support now exceeds $100 million, resulting in the creation of 3,600 jobs in Nebraska. UNMC’s academic excellence is shown through its award-winning programs, and its educational programs are responsible for training more health professionals practicing in Nebraska than any other institution. Through its commitment to education, research, patient care and outreach, UNMC and its hospital partner, The Nebraska Medical Center, have established themselves as one of the country's leading health care centers. UNMC's physician practice group, UNMC Physicians, includes 550 physicians in 50 specialties and subspecialties who practice primarily in The Nebraska Medical Center. For more information, go to UNMC’s Web site at www.unmc.edu.

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