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Speizer Named to RTI International’s 2016-2017 Class of University Scholars

September 23, 2016
Gillings School of Global Public Health

Ilene Speizer, research professor of maternal and child health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health, is one of six scholars selected to spend up to one academic year at RTI International, working on strategic research projects.

The RTI University Scholars Program supports highly talented academics who take scholarly leave from their home institutions to collaborate with RTI researchers.

Speizer will work with Wendee Wechsberg, director of the RTI Global Gender Center. Speizer and Wechsberg share research interests in violence prevention, substance use, couples research, sexual risk and HIV prevention. They plan to pursue a National Institutes of Health grant for health interventions for young women who engage in transactional sex in Pretoria, South Africa.

“I feel honored to be part of this esteemed cohort of RTI University Scholars,” Speizer said. “This is a real opportunity for me to build new collaborations and expand into interesting and diverse areas with colleagues at RTI.”

RTI began hosting University Scholars in the 2014-2015 academic year. Two scholars participated the first year; last year, there were seven scholars.

“The University Scholars Program is an asset to RTI,” said Don Bailey, an RTI Distinguished Fellow and early childhood development researcher. “By inviting talented researchers to work with us, we create new opportunities for both RTI and the many outstanding academic institutions in our area.”

Bailey and other RTI researchers working on newborn screening hosted a 2015-2016 RTI University Scholar, Cynthia Powell, professor of pediatrics and of genetics in the UNC School of Medicine.

“Her time here directly contributed to the success of two major proposals and further solidified an already established working relationship,” Bailey said.

Brian Southwell, director of the Science in the Public Sphere Program in RTI’s Center for Communication Science, will be engaged in one of the collaborative projects in the RTI Scholars program. Southwell is also an adjunct associate professor of health behavior at the Gillings School.

Others selected for the 2016-2017 scholars program include Owen Duckworth, Sylvia Nassar-McMillan and Nagui Rouphail, of North Carolina State University; Rakesh Malhotra, of Fayetteville State University; and Crystal Cene, of UNC School of Medicine.

The program is currently open to faculty members from Duke and all 16 campuses of the University of North Carolina.

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