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An Exciting Announcement!

Message was originally sent on July 27, 2020 

Dear Parkinson Family,

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Amy Luke, PhD, as Anthony B. Traub Professor and Chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences, effective July 1. Dr. Luke is a tenured professor in Public Health Sciences with a joint appointment in Family Medicine at the Stritch School of Medicine.

She succeeds her mentor, Richard Cooper, MD, who brought her to Loyola University Chicago as the Department’s first, postdoctoral research fellow. While Dr. Cooper is stepping down, he is not stepping away; he will continue to be an ardent advocate for and mentor to public health researchers and pursue his research as Professor Emeritus. We were delighted to celebrate and honor Dr. Cooper last month at a virtual gathering.

Like Dr. Cooper, Dr. Luke embodies Loyola’s commitment to academic and research excellence and lives the Ignatian value of being a person for others.

As a professor, Dr. Luke is well-known for her student-focused approach to pedagogy and real-world relevance. She directs the MD-MPH program. In addition to her Loyola teaching responsibilities, Dr. Luke is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Ibadan Department of Preventive and Social Medicine in Nigeria.

As a researcher, Dr. Luke has built an extensive portfolio. She and Dr. Cooper were among the very first groups in epidemiology to move beyond self-reporting for measurement of physical activity and adiposity. She has been principal investigator on National Institutes of Health (NIH)-sponsored, multi-million dollar, multi-national R01 grants and a collaborator on several other research studies.

As a person for others, Dr. Luke served as a permanent member on two study sections of the NIH Center for Scientific Review and was chair of a third study section. At Loyola, she served on the Provost Search Committee and played a central role in the planning, development, and launch of the Parkinson School. Dr. Luke serves the local Maywood community in multiple ways. She has increased student engagement in the community and was a board member and treasurer of Maywood Fine Arts. She seeks to improve the population health of area communities by using social entrepreneurism to address economic disparities. Dr. Luke is the recipient of Loyola’s Outstanding Community Service and Global Health Award and the Spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award.

As a scholar, teacher, administrator, and person for others, I am confident Dr. Luke will continue to shape and grow not only the Department, but as importantly, Parkinson students and graduates. “I am excited by the growth, development, and opportunities at Parkinson, collaborating within the school as well as across the broader campus, university, and in the community,” said Dr. Luke. “As we confront the COVID-19 pandemic and the needed call for racial justice, I hope that we continue to form our students and graduates, as well as our staff and faculty, to address these and other complexities of our world through technical expertise, personal commitment, and informed by our being persons for and with others,” she said.

Concurrent with this appointment, Dr. Ruth Kafensztok, DrPH, will replace Dr. Luke as Vice Chair, Department of Public Health Sciences. Dr. Kafensztok has extensive expertise in public health practice and statewide public health administrative data and data systems, with a particular focus on injury surveillance systems. She teaches determinants of population health, public health practice and management, and public health preparedness; and, she coordinates the MPH program’s policy and management track, the MSW/MPH dual degree, and the public health certificate program. As part of the Parkinson School community, she co-chairs its Faculty Search Committee.

Dr. David Shoham, PhD, MSPH, will replace Dr. Luke as the new Director of the Institute of Public Health. The Institute is dedicated to educating the next generation of public health leaders and reducing the global burden of preventable disease and decreasing health disparities arising from racial, ethnic, socio-economic, gender, environmental or other factors. Dr. Shoham is trained in cardiovascular and renal epidemiology with a focus on social determinants of health and disease. His current research focuses on social network analysis as well as the social context of bladder health. He teaches epidemiology to Master's students and directs the Parkinson School’s MPH program. Dr. Shoham co-Chairs the Health Advisory Board for the University’s COVID-19 response.

Dr. Holly Kramer, MD, MPH, will lead the new Hines VA-Parkinson Research Working Group. The Working Group will be focused on identifying common research areas and growing cross-institutional research opportunities. Dr. Kramer is a practicing nephrologist and public health researcher with a focus on hypertension and kidney disease. She established the MPH and MS in Clinical Research Methods and Epidemiology degree programs and chairs the Parkinson School Tenure and Promotion Committee.

Please join me in congratulating Drs. Luke, Kafensztok, Shoham, and Kramer on their new leadership positions in the Department of Public Health Sciences!

With gratitude,

Elaine Morrato, DrPH, MPH, CPH
Founding Dean
Parkinson School of Health Sciences and Public Health