Keck School of Medicine of USC Associate Dean for Undergraduate, Master’s, and Professional Programs Elahe Nezami, PhD, recently was named the 2019 winner of the Riegelman Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Public Health Education. The Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) gives this national award annually to one faculty member for exceptional efforts engaging and educating undergraduates in public health. The award honors those who have distinguished themselves in areas including the following: use of innovative teaching techniques and technologies, starting or sustaining a new program, forging relationships with practice partners in the community, collaborating with other disciplines, and fostering relationships with graduate programs in public health.

Nezami has led efforts to educate undergraduate students at the Keck School for nearly 25 years. As the director of the bachelor’s programs in Global Health and Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Studies, as well as eight affiliated minor programs, Nezami has brought enthusiasm to her efforts to transform undergraduates into informed and proactive public health advocates. Alumni of the Keck School’s undergraduate programs are prepared to contribute to the health of society and go on to pursue further education to become public health professionals, health care clinicians and health care administrators, among other careers.

Nezami was celebrated at the ASPPH Undergraduate Public Health Summit luncheon and awards ceremony held in Washington, D.C. Reflecting on the event, Nezami said, “I am truly humbled. The award’s namesake, Richard Riegelman, is a nationally renowned leader in public health education and has been working for decades to expand the reach of public health education for the betterment and knowledge of all of society. It is an honor to be recognized for my efforts to grow public and global health curricula for undergraduate students at USC. This award reflects the ingenuity and support for public health that the Keck School has consistently offered, and it is a privilege to continue our work together.”

Eager to encourage and teach the next generation of public health leaders at USC, Nezami looks forward to welcoming the newest cohort of Keck School undergraduates this August.

— Ginny DeFrank