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University of Iowa News Release


June 29, 2009

College of Public Health honors Chaloner for community engagement

Kathryn Chaloner, Ph.D., professor and head of the Department of Biostatistics in the University of Iowa College of Public Health, has received the college'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. 

"For a number of years, the College of Public Health has made strengthening and enhancing its diversity program a priority," said Stephen Ummel, chair of the College of Public Health Board of Advisors. "Dr. Chaloner has undertaken impressive initiatives to ensure continued growth in the number and diversity of graduate students enrolled in the college. This award acknowledges her committed and enthusiastic leadership to ensure that the college's diversity programs are an integral part of a broader culture--a culture that is welcoming of people from all backgrounds."

Chaloner is chair of the College of Public Health Diversity Committee, an advisory body to the collegiate administration. Among the committee's charges are to identify and disseminate effective practices for recruitment and retention of minority students, faculty and staff; improve resources to promote diversity, including scholarships and financial aid for underrepresented students; develop outreach to minority communities and strengthen relationships with minority-serving institutions; and assess and identify strategies to improve the climate for diversity across the college.

Chaloner played a key role in founding the Biostatistics Summer Initiative, a seven-week program that provides biostatistical training and applied research opportunities for underrepresented minority students. The program is offered by the UI Department of Biostatistics in conjunction with the National Alliance for Doctoral Studies in the Mathematical Sciences. 

The first cohort of four Biostatistics Summer Initiative students completed their training in 2008. One of those students is now a doctoral student enrolled in the biostatistics program--the first African American Ph.D. candidate in the department's history. Six students are enrolled in the 2009 summer program. 

As another avenue of strengthening ties with underrepresented students, the Department of Biostatistics, together with the alliance, is hosting StatFest in September 2009 when underrepresented students will come to Iowa City to learn about careers and graduate studies in statistics and other mathematical sciences (

"We are delighted to acknowledge the engagement component of these important efforts to recruit and support well-qualified minority students, and thank Dr. Chaloner for her service to the college and the community," Ummel said.

Chaloner is a mentor for the National Alliance for Doctoral Studies in the Mathematical Sciences, a consortium whose goals include encouraging underrepresented minority undergraduates to pursue graduate degrees in the mathematical sciences and providing them with the preparation and support to do so.

Phillip Kutzko, UI professor of mathematics, leads the alliance. Chaloner's research interests include using Bayesian decision theory and Bayesian statistics for the design of experiments and clinical trials. She collaborates on research in HIV/AIDS studies and in clinical studies of islet transplants in people with Type I diabetes. She is an elected fellow for the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Statistical Association.

The 2009 award for Faculty Achievement in Community Engagement was presented June 18 at the College of Public Health Board of Advisors meeting.

PHOTOS/CAPTIONS: Photos of Kathryn Chaloner can be found at: For a high-resolution photo, contact Daniel McMillan, 319-335-6835.

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

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