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University of Iowa News Release


April 23, 2008

College of Public Health honors Lynch for community engagement

Charles F. Lynch, M.D., Ph.D., University of Iowa professor of epidemiology, has received the UI College of Public Health's award for faculty achievement in community engagement.

The award, conferred annually by the College of Public Health Board of Advisors, recognizes a faculty member for application of theory, research and practice to address public health challenges at the community level.

"The faculty of the College of Public Health, as a whole, provide a tremendous range and quality of service across multiple disciplines," said Stephen Ummel, chair of the College of Public Health Board of Advisors. "Chuck Lynch embodies the faculty's spirit of service not only in his leadership of several high-profile projects addressing cancer and rural health in Iowa, but through his readiness to share his expertise with communities and public health professionals. It is a pleasure to be able to recognize his efforts with this well-deserved award."

Lynch has made significant research contributions in bladder cancer diagnosis, lymphoma etiology, and risk of cancer related to environmental exposures. As medical director of the State Health Registry of Iowa, he oversees a statewide staff that conducts cancer surveillance in Iowa and reports data to the National Cancer Institute. The Iowa Cancer Registry, established in 1973, is recognized as one of the world's best for its quality, completeness and timeliness of data and outstanding research contributions. The registry is well known in Iowa for its case-cluster investigations and its annual report summarizing the state's cancer experience.

Lynch also directs the Iowa field station participating in the Agricultural Health Study, a long-term study of agricultural exposures and chronic diseases, especially cancer, among farmers and their families and among commercial pesticide applicators. Nearly 60,000 Iowans are enrolled in this study.

"The most important aspect of Dr. Lynch's research is the service impact of these studies on the health of Iowans and rural populations," said James Torner, Ph.D., UI professor and head of epidemiology, in his nomination letter.

At the state level, Lynch has helped to develop guidelines for the cancer chapter of the "Healthy Iowans 2010 Report," the state's "road map" for improving the health of Iowans. He also participated in the development of the Iowa Consortium for Comprehensive Cancer Control.

A native Iowan, Lynch is a graduate of the UI Carver College of Medicine, earning M.S., M.D., and Ph.D. degrees. He completed a residency in pathology in 1986, was appointed as assistant professor of preventive medicine and environmental health in 1988, then rose through the ranks to professor in 1998. He has published nearly 200 peer-reviewed articles and more than 65 scholarly publications such as books, chapters and monographs.

Torner said Lynch embraced the concept of academic service to the community through leadership, clinical practice and educational outreach.

"Dr. Lynch has brought the message of cancer to the community with his many talks and presentations throughout the state," Torner wrote. "He has personalized his presentations to the local community to convey the importance of cancer and to highlight aspects of cancer risk, prevention, control and treatment."

In a supporting letter, Charles Platz, M.D., UI professor emeritus of pathology, observed that Lynch's teaching efforts extend beyond the public health and medical students enrolled in his classes to reach the broader community.

"He has been involved over many years in interacting with community, county and state medical societies, as well as nursing, histology, cytology, and tumor registrars' organizations, and local hospital oncology programs, having made over 150 presentations to various groups," Platz said.

The 2008 award for Faculty Achievement in Community Engagement was presented at the College of Public Health Board of Advisors meeting April 22.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa College of Public Health Office of Communications, 4257 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242

MEDIA CONTACT: Daniel McMillan, 319-335-6835,