ACE 2018 Election Biographical Sketches and Candidate Statements

The Nominating Committee is pleased to present to the membership the following slate of candidates standing for election to the Board of Directors.  All members are encouraged to exercise their right to vote.

The 2018 Election Cycle will commence on Monday, July 16, 2018 and will conclude on Friday, August 3, 2018.

Please review the biographical sketches and candidate statements below and then complete your ballot.

ACE President-Elect

Vote for one (1) of (2) two candidates:
Diana Bensyl | Michele Forman

Dr. Diana Bensyl serves as the Global Emergency Alert and Response Service (GEARS) Lead in the Emergency Response and Recovery Branch (ERRB) in the Centers for Disease Control’s Division of Global Health Protection (DGHP). GEARS is a functional unit that combines response-purposed detection, alert, and response support activities into a one-stop shop for providing emergency support for all of CDC.


Before joining DGHP, Dr. Bensyl was the lead for Curriculum, Conference, and Student Programs within the Epidemiology Workforce Branch (EWB) of theDivision of Scientific Education and Professional Development. Prior to EWB, Dr. Bensyl served at the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP), where she served as a project officer and led reproductive health surveillance activities for the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Dr. Bensyl began her career at CDC in 1999 as an EIS officer and then staff epidemiologist at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s Field Station in Anchorage, Alaska. Dr. Bensyl received a PhD in Preventive Medicine and Community Health at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas, and holds a master’s degree in Sociology and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Baylor University.


My first annual meeting was as a graduate student and ACE has seen me through my career as a novice to an expert. I feel a loyalty to ACE as I have grown up, so to speak, in ACE. I began as a volunteer with the Education Committee followed by a term as chair and as a board member. I have worked with ACE as part of the Board of Directors for most of the last 15 years. I have served on the Executive Board as Secretary for the last 3 years. Being part of ACE has brought about many collaborations and opportunities for my agency and for me personally. I want others, and the overall field of epidemiology, to benefit from these same opportunities. To do so, we have to highlight how ACE enables connections, highlights areas of concern for epidemiologists, and provides the chance to be an early adapter of new methodologies. We have to ensure a stable membership, but preferably, a growing membership that is reflective of the current workforce. We need to ensure junior epidemiologists are aware of our organization and provide those things that will inspire them to join. Once people join ACE, the professional benefits and personal fulfillment of serving on a committee should be promoted along with future roles as ACE leaders. If I am elected as President, these will be my areas of focus along with ensuring that ACE is in step with other epidemiology societies in promoting the field as a whole and leading the way in improving how we work.


Michele R. Forman, Ph.D., is the Distinguished Professor and Head of the Department of Nutrition Science at Purdue University.  Dr. Forman is a Fellow of the College and has served on the: Board of Directors since 2016; Search Committee for the Editor, Annals of Epidemiology 2017; the selection of a new management company 2017-8; Policy Committee since 2014; Mentoring Committee since 2017, and Program Committee for the 2017 New Orleans Annual Meeting and pre-meeting workshop in Miami 2016.

Dr. Forman is a Nutritional Epidemiologist who received her Bachelors in Biological Anthropology from Rutgers University and the MSPH in Epidemiology, MA and ABD in Nutritional Anthropology, and the Ph.D. in Epidemiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Her 40-year career focuses on early life exposures, growth, and risk for chronic disease across the life course in the U.S. and internationally.  As her research foci shifted from low birth-weight to chronic disease, the stillpoint has remained fixed; she examines the developmental origins of disease.  To the post of president elect of ACE, she brings experience in administration (Director of a School at UT; chair of NIH committees), field research, teaching at the undergraduate and graduate level and service at the NIH Intramural Program, Centers for Disease Control (responsible for the team developing the Behavioral Risk Factors Surveys and Surveillance System), and academic institutions.  


The ACE has the breadth and expertise from molecules to population and policy to address bold questions of the population’s health.  To do so, requires the platform and infrastructure to articulate, assess the evidence base, and develop a strategic plan to address them. My vision is for the ACE to identify bold issues and develop the infrastructure and platform to move forward for example to end global hunger and increase years of optimal growth and health, and at the same time address ethical considerations like making food and health a basic right for all.  I envision the development of a leadership academy to train early and mid- career epidemiologists for posts in government, academia and corporate across the life span.  We are poised to leverage the interdisciplinary nature of our field to develop new paradigms to test a systems-to-systems approach to problems like the nexus of energy-obesity-cancer, of water-food-health and of environmental contaminants-growth-development.  Consideration of re-branding ACE could increase and retain membership and diversity.  These opportunities are in front of the ACE.  As president, I am willing to lead the way to make sure the ACE is at the table on national and international population health issues.  Let me end with a shout out to attend this year’s annual meeting on ‘Epidemiology across the life span to improve health care, inform policy and enhance population health’ in Cincinnati, September 24-28.

Board of Directors

Fellow Nominees

Vote for three (3) of six (6) candidates: 
Germaine Buck Louis | Cathy Critchlow | Jan Eberth  | WayWay Hlaing | Steve Jacobsen | Janice Zgibor


Germaine M. Buck Louis is a Professor and Dean of the College of Health and Human Services, George Mason University and a Fellow of the American College of Epidemiology.

Background: Prior to assuming my current position in October 2017, I was a Senior Investigator and Director of the Division of Intramural Population Health Research at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. As Director, I led the development of NIH’s first intramural research program named in recognition of population health underscoring its importance for the biomedical and behavioral research enterprise. Prior to my public service, I was a tenured professor in the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo, where I developed an academic track in reproductive and perinatal epidemiology. I also received my (under)graduate degrees from the University of Buffalo. My research over the past two decades focuses on the impact of environmental influences on human reproduction and development, particularly from a couple-based research design. Of late, I have expanded my research to address the early origins of fecundity as related to gynecologic/urologic disorders and later onset adult diseases, and the use of computational techniques in the analysis of environmental mixtures and health across the lifespan. I have been active in epidemiologic societies since graduate school having served in various leadership roles on behalf of our profession, including as president of the Society of Perinatal and Pediatric Epidemiologic Research (2001-2002) and the Society for Epidemiologic Research (2013-2014) in addition to serving on the board for the American College of Epidemiology (1995-1998) and the International Society of Environmental Epidemiology (2004-2007). I am the co-editor of the graduate textbook entitled Reproductive and Perinatal Epidemiology, and co-founder of the Summer Institute in Reproductive and Perinatal Epidemiology supported by CIHR and NICHD and held in 2005-2012 to help build a global generation of reproductive and perinatal epidemiologists.

Statement: I am honored to be nominated for the Board of Directors and I look forward to working in support of the College’s mission. I have been a standing member of ACE since 1988, becoming an elected Fellow in 1996. While a member of the College, I have served on the Education Committee (1992-1995), Ethics and Standards of Practice Committee (1993-1998), Communications and Public Relations Committee (1994-1997), and Finance Committee (2003-2004). This period of service coincided with a concerted effort on the part of the College to develop a committee structure to engage its members, to better advocate for the profession and to chart our strategic future. A unique aspect of the College is its commitment to the profession and practicing epidemiologists. I fully support the College’s commitment to academic and practice standards, mentoring and developing future generations for global impact, and the translation of our research into guidance and policy. These roles require attention to emerging issues that might impact the College’s mission and stature, such as the population health initiatives that are being developed by health care systems to deliver care and conduct research. As a board member, I would like to help champion our discipline to a broader audience beyond public health to help grow the College’s stature in working to promote the health and well-being of the many populations we serve.

Cathy Critchlow, MS, PhD, FACE, is Vice President and Head of the Center for Observational Research at Amgen, Inc. and an Affiliate Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Washington.  She earned her bachelor’s degree from Stanford University, and both her master’s degree in biomathematics and her doctorate degree in epidemiology from the University of Washington.  A fellow of the College since 2005, she is also a member of the International Society for Pharmacoepidemiology.

In her current role, Dr. Critchlow leads a function that provides strategic and operational leadership to the design and conduct of epidemiologic research across multiple stakeholders and therapeutic areas. Her group has developed a “Real World Data” (RWD) platform that provides access to HIPAA-compliant health data from over 160 million patients supported by a common data model with visualization and analytic tools based on innovative technologies to generate robust evidence supporting the development of new medicines and surveillance of those medicines following regulatory approval.  Collaborations with academic investigators link the internal RWD platform to external platforms, providing access to additional data within the US, Europe and Asia.  Prior to joining Amgen, Dr. Critchlow was a faculty member in Epidemiology at the University of Washington, where her research focused on infectious disease and reproductive epidemiology.  Dr. Critchlow has served on a number of Advisory Committees for the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control.  Her service to ACE includes previous membership on the Board of Directors and chairmanship of the Communications Committee.

Statement:  During the past 25 years of my professional career as an epidemiologist, first in academia and now in the biotechnology industry, the range of opportunities and the potential impact of our profession on improving health and guiding health policy has never been greater.  The rapid growth in the volume of medical information collected in digital formats and sophistication of analytic methods and data platform technologies has provided us with increasingly powerful tools to inform health care decision-making.  It is imperative that we train epidemiologists to be influential in this evolving landscape and develop leaders who are impactful in helping us fully realize the potential of our profession.  The American College of Epidemiology is critical to this mission.  I am passionate about training and mentoring the next generation of epidemiology practitioners and leaders.  I am enthusiastic about helping our organization navigate the challenges facing us, including growing a diverse and inclusive membership, providing a supportive environment that facilitates career development and affords professional fellowship, and ensuring responsiveness to, and relevance in the evolving research landscape and healthcare ecosystem.  As a Fellow in the American College of Epidemiology, I am honored to present my candidacy to the ACE Board of Directors.

Jan Eberth, MSPH, PhD, FACE is a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of South Carolina and Deputy Director of the South Carolina Rural Health Research Center. Dr. Eberth received her doctoral degree in epidemiology from the University of Texas School of Public Health and a postdoctoral fellowship in health services research from MD Anderson Cancer Center. The focus of her research over the past decade has been on cancer health disparities, particularly understanding the socioeconomic and structural barriers that impede adequate access and utilization to cancer screening and treatment. Dr. Eberth is a leader within the cancer prevention and control community in South Carolina and nationwide, serving as an invited member of the newly formed National Lung Cancer Roundtable, Chair of the Lung Cancer workgroup of the South Carolina Cancer Alliance, and a consultant for the Association of State and Territorial Health Officers (ASTHO) Breast Cancer Disparities Learning Community. She is also an active member of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, a grassroots volunteer organization that advocates for the advancement of cancer research and policy. Dr. Eberth is a Fellow of the American College of Epidemiology and has been active in the college since 2007. She served on the ACE Board of Directors as its Associate Member representative from 2008-2010, Vice-Chair of the Communications Committee from 2010-2013, and as Chair of the Communications Committee from 2014-2016. Currently, she serves as an Associate Editor of the Annals of Epidemiology, the official journal publication of ACE.

Statement: As an active member of ACE since 2007, it is a pleasure to be nominated to serve on the Board of Directors for the next 3 years. Throughout my years working in various leadership roles within the college, I have worked to expand the influence of our organization to the broader public health community and ensure consistent outreach to our members. As Chair of the Communications Committee, I lead the renovation of the ACE website, logo, newsletter and social media presence. Creating and sustaining a vibrant community of scholars takes effort year-round, above and beyond putting on an excellent Annual Meeting. As a member of the ACE Board of Directors, I would encourage the college and associated committee leadership to offer more opportunities for epidemiology education throughout the year, via virtual and in-person regional events, and will continue to voice enthusiasm for enhanced membership benefits to attract more qualified epidemiologists and trainees to join ACE. I will also continue to work with the Communications Committee and Mentoring Committee to ensure we are developing and disseminating training opportunities in line with the needs of our members at all levels, from students looking for methods-oriented workshops to Fellows looking for leadership training.

WayWay M. Hlaing, M.B.B.S., M.S., Ph.D., is an Associate Professor and the Director of the Epidemiology Doctoral Program in the Department of Public Health Sciences (DPHS) at University of Miami (UM), Miller School of Medicine (MSOM).  She is a member and fellow of the American College of Epidemiology (ACE) and currently serves as vice-chair of Ethics Committee.

Background:  Dr. Hlaing holds an M.B.B.S. (Medical Degree) from the Institute of Medicine I, Burma and completed her M.S. in Health Sciences (1992) and PhD in Epidemiology (1998) at Western Illinois University and the University of South Florida, respectively. 

Dr. Hlaing has served as a methodologist or investigator on numerous federal and foundation funded studies relating to chronic diseases.  The central theme of her research is the intersection between chronic disease, risk, and disparities.  In addition to her administrative duties directing the Epidemiology Doctoral Program, Dr.  Hlaing is actively involved in teaching epidemiology methods courses, as well as mentoring doctoral, masters, dual degree (MD-PhD, MD-MPH) students, and junior faculty.  She has received numerous awards for outstanding teaching and graduate program directorship. 

Her selected service contribution specifically to epidemiology includes

(1) ACE: member (since 2000), ACE Planning Committee (2017); Vice-chair of Ethics Committee (2016-present); co-chair of symposia and roundtables (multiple years)

(2) Society of Epidemiologic Research (SER): member (since 1998); member of Education Committee (2012-15)

(3) ACE, SER, and International Epidemiologic Association (IEA): as peer reviewer of abstracts submitted to and as poster judge at annual meetings (multiple years)

(4) National Board of Public Health Examiners (NBPHE): as exam content reviewer and item writer for Certified in Public Health (CPH) Exam for Epidemiology section (multiple years) and

(5) Association of Schools and Programs in Public Health (ASPPH, Epidemiology section): as an expert member in the development of a matrix that aligns "epidemiologist" job task list with competencies.

Statement:  Shortly after I joined ACE, I felt welcomed and included by the seasoned epidemiologists that I joined the Ethics Committee in 2001.  Since then I have served on the Ethics Committee in various capacities (member, chair of sub-committee to review the ACE Code of Ethics, and now vice-chair of the Ethics Committee) continuously.  Yes, I was active even during the mandatory hiatus periods as I believe that ACE existence depends on the volunteer work of its members and it is important to see our work to completion. 

During my 20 years as an epidemiologist, I have learned to appreciate the portability of epidemiologic methods.  Epidemiologists are in excellent position to collaborate with colleagues of diverse disciplines and to educate trainees eager to solve public health problems.  I am especially interested in furthering “educational initiatives” for early and mid-level professionals so that they can be impactful researchers as well as inspirational teachers of epidemiology!

If elected to the Board, I would like to help promote the educational initiatives that integrate epidemiology and ethics.  As such I would like to enhance inter-committee activities (e.g., Education, Ethics Committees and beyond), and promote “longitudinal” ethics training for epidemiologists.  I intend to work synergistically with other Board members and the committees to focus on ACE’s strategic goals with an ultimate goal to promote practice of scientifically sound and ethically optimized epidemiology.

I am humbled and honored to be nominated and considered as a possible member for ACE’s Board of Directors. 

Steven J. Jacobsen, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.E. is the Senior Director of Research for Kaiser Permanente Southern California and is a Core Professor in the Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine. 

Background:  Dr. Jacobsen received his Ph.D. in Public Health Sciences-Epidemiology from the University of Illinois at Chicago and his M.D. and an M.S. in Biostatistics from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. At Kaiser Permanente, Dr. Jacobsen directs the research programs for the Southern California region. He also heads the Department of Research and Evaluation, with over 30 faculty in epidemiology and health service research. Since his appointment at Kaiser Permanente, Dr. Jacobsen has established numerous research cores including a new program in vaccine safety and effectiveness for which he is the site PI for the CDC contract for the Vaccine Safety Datalink and has directed several large-scale, FDA mandated post-licensure safety studies. Prior to joining Kaiser Permanente in 2006, Dr. Jacobsen was Professor and Chair of the Division of Epidemiology in the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota, where he was actively engaged in teaching epidemiology/biostatistics and mentoring graduate students and MD fellows. Dr. Jacobsen is a chronic disease epidemiologist with a long-standing interest in men’s urological health, cardiovascular diseases, developmental disorders and vaccine research. He has served on several editorial boards for peer-reviewed journals and several NIH study sections and advisory panels. He has been a member of the College for more than 25 years and a Fellow since 1997.

Statement: I am honored to have been invited to run as candidate for the Board of Directors for the American College of Epidemiology. In addition to a long tenure in the organization attending and presenting at Annual Meetings, I have pariticipated in a number of mentoring activities, an annual meeting Program Committee, the Awards Committee (since 2011, including vice chair or chair for the past six years) and as an elected member of the Board from 2011-2014.    

As an organization, I am very excited about our role in supporting the discipline of epidemiology that spans the public to private sector, and from etiologic research to policy development.  We, as epidemiologists, have tremendous potential to make important, meaningful contributions to society because of our expertise in the observational methodologies that provide a population-based focus, especially as related to real-world evidence.  I hope that through my position on the Board, I can partner with College committees to help put the College at forefront of discussions of how and when these methodologies should be applied as well as how to prepare our trainees for competing in the current environment.  In addition, I believe we should help set the standards for evidence and decision making in this new paradigm of emphasis on real-world evidence.

Dr. Janice Zgibor is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of South Florida (USF) College of Public Health and holds a secondary appointment at the USF College of Pharmacy. She is also Director of the PhD program in Epidemiology and the DrPH program for the College of Public Health. She received her BS in Pharmacy in 1984, MPH in 1997, and PhD in 1999 in Epidemiology, all from the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to her current position, she was an assistant and associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh.  She has been a practicing epidemiologist for nearly 20 years with a primary focus on diabetes research. Dr. Zgibor has extensive experience in leading initiatives to improve quality of care and outcomes in people with diabetes and pre-diabetes. Dr. Zgibor has more than 100 publications.  Her primary contributions include the development of validated algorithms to distinguish type 1 from type 2 diabetes and risk prediction models for coronary heart disease in type 1 diabetes.  With her pharmacy background, she also has experience in pharmacoepedemiology. Dr. Zgibor has implemented community-based interventions to improve quality of care and outcomes in people with diabetes and recently conducted a cluster-randomized controlled trial to test the effectiveness of nurses implementing pre approved treatment algorithms in community primary care practices. Dr. Zgibor has also served as a co-investigator on several community-based adaptations the Diabetes Prevention Program. Most recently, Dr. Zgibor was a co-investigator on a study called MOVE UP that translated the lifestyle intervention from Look AHEAD Study to be delivered by community health workers. All of her studies focus on reaching disadvantaged populations.  She has taught and developed several courses in Epidemiology over the last 20 years, mentored 20 doctoral students and more than 50 masters students.

Statement: I am delighted to submit my name for consideration for the Board of Directors.  I see the American College of Epidemiology as the primary venue for cutting edge methods and policies as they relate to our field.  My focus has been in translating research to practice using the methodologic rigor of epidemiology.  As the research emphasizes population strategies for prevention and treatment of disease, the implementation of these strategies requires scientific rigor to inform policy.  I am currently serving on the education committee for ACE and hope to continue to bring the importance of applied epidemiologic research to the organization.


Board of Directors
Member Nominees

Vote for one (1) of two (2) candidates:
Bertha Hidalgo | Joe Holbrook


Bertha Hidalgo

Statement: It is with great enthusiasm that I express my interest in the American College of Epidemiology’s Board of Directors position. I have been a member of the College since 2010; time which has afforded me opportunities to critically assess the challenges and opportunities the College has faced and currently faces. In that time, I have served as an Associate Member (2010-2014), served on the Board of Directors (2011-2013), and Member and Chair of the Minority Affairs Committee (member since 2010 and chair since 2014). My participation in these committees also resulted in co-authored publications with other members of the college (PMID: 24875267 and PMID: 28554498).

Since joining the College, I closely monitored the evolution of the Minority Affairs Committee. The goal of the committee is to better understand the role of equity, injustice, disparities, and diversity in the College and in the field of epidemiology. The committee strives and works diligently to ensure efforts are directed to increase diversity of thought and race/ethnicity in the College. I plan to bring that perspective and experience to the Board if afforded the opportunity to serve.

As a candidate for this position, I promise to continue to support the College in its efforts to become the leading epidemiologic organization focused on disseminating evidence-based findings, methods, and approaches for our discipline. As a discipline, we are faced with the opportunity to contribute significantly to the rigorous training of the next generation of epidemiologists, leveraging the knowledge and expertise of established epidemiologists in our College and beyond.

The American College of Epidemiology is in a prime and unique position to brand itself as the leader in not only epidemiologic training, but also to contribute – as it has done successfully in the past – in the advocacy of policies that enhance science, health, and the practice of our discipline. If selected to join the board, I would work with fellow board members to ensure these efforts continue, alongside efforts to develop and maintain excellence and diversity in the field of epidemiology.

Joe Holbrook, PhD, MPH is an epidemiologist in the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Holbrook works in surveillance and children’s mental health, mostly Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Tourette Syndrome. He has been active within ACE since his first semester as a doctoral student in 2008. Three years later he served as the Associate Director and he has since contributed to numerous ACE standing committees and currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Membership Committee. He is a three-time nominee for the Charles C. Shepard CDC Science Award (2015, 2016, 2017). Dr. Holbrook received a master of public health from the University of Michigan School Of Public Health, and a Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina Arnold School Of Public Health

Statement: It would be a privilege to serve on the Board of Directors and I am honored to be nominated. ACE took me in as an Associate Member when I was a doctoral student and since then the College has been what I consider my home organization. We have a unique responsibility as a credentialing body who serves the profession of epidemiology, and the importance of our charge continues to grow as the roles of epidemiologists expand and deepen. If elected to the board, my focus areas would be efforts that maintain and increase membership, activities that help ACE members continue to recognize the value of their membership, and reveal new opportunities that put ACE at the forefront of representing the expanding field and its increasing opportunities. ACE is a special organization and I want to work toward making more Associate Members, Members, and Fellows think of ACE as the organization to which they best identify.