Message from your Alumni Association

Dear Fellow Alumni,

We are privileged to serve as your new alumni representatives, acting as liaisons among you, the Department of Epidemiology and the alumni association. It has been a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with various members of our beloved department once again. In our new roles, we will continue to work on the various established alumni activities as well as advocate for your interests. We welcome any suggestions and feedback from you as we assume these responsibilities.

Currently, we are in the selection process of awarding the 2012 H.A. Tyroler Distinguished Alumni award to one of our fellow alumni who has had a tremendous impact on the field of epidemiology. The selection committee is reviewing a great set of nominated candidates. The award will be presented during the department’s annual seminar series this fall, when we also will present the alumni-association-sponsored Kaplan Student Publication Award to a deserving student.

The alumni association also is planning the annual reception for current students, faculty members, alumni and other partners at the Society for Epidemiologic Research (SER) meeting, to be held on June 20, in Boston at Via Matta. The reception is directly related to the association’s core mission of reaching out to alumni and partners to increase awareness among students, faculty members and the School.

There are two notable Schoolwide updates. First, the university has completed its census of all alumni, and all public health students now have access to the UNC Public Health Alumni Online database ( Secondly, the Gillings School of Global Public Health is gearing up for its 75th anniversary celebration in 2015. The Alumni Association’s governing board is working with the School’s Public Health Foundation to increase alumni engagement in these anniversary activities. There will be more communication on these efforts in the near future.

On a personal note, we are greatly saddened by the untimely passing of our beloved teacher, mentor and close friend, Dr. Robert Millikan. Bob was a brilliant researcher, a gifted educator who gave heartfelt praise to his students, a passionate advocate for breast cancer patients, a talented violinist and a humanitarian, among many other things. We miss his wise counsel, encouraging voice, sharp wit and compassionate soul tremendously. May you rest in peace, our dearest gentle friend.

Thank you for the wonderful opportunity to represent you.


Vani Vannappagari (MPH, 2001; PhD, 2005)
Sumitra Shantakumar (PhD, 2006)



Sumitra Shantakumar (left) and Vani Vannappagari