College of Health and Human Services
George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

CHHS Faculty Tenure Appointments, Recent Promotion, and Tenured Faculty New to CHHS

May 6, 2019

The College of Health and Human Services is pleased to announce that the Board of Visitors conferred tenure for five CHHS faculty.

Jhumka Gupta, global and community health; JoAnn Lee, social work; and Anna Pollack, global and community health were promoted to the rank of associate professor and granted tenure. Lawrence Cheskin, professor and chair of the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies and interim chair of the Department of Global and Community Health, and Rosemary Higgins, associate dean for research, were also conferred tenure as new faculty to CHHS.  Laura Poms, global and community health, was recently promoted to the rank of associate professor.

“Our newly tenured and promoted faculty reflect the value the University and College place on teaching excellence and research of consequence. Congratulations on the caliber of scholarship achieved to date,” says Germaine Louis, Dean, College of Health and Human Services at George Mason University.

About our newly tenured and promoted faculty:

Jhumka Gupta, global and community health

Jhumka Gupta

Gupta is an epidemiologist whose research program applies a social epidemiology framework toward advancing the science of gender-based violence against women and girls (e.g., intimate partner violence, sex trafficking). She investigates the mental and reproductive health implications of gender-based violence, and conducts intervention studies aimed at reducing violence against women, with a primary focus on vulnerable populations within and outside of the United States. Gupta has authored or co-authored more than 50 peer-reviewed publications on these topics. She has received eight research grants, including from the Endometriosis Foundation of America and United States Institute of Peace.  Gupta earned her ScD in Social Epidemiology, with a minor in Gender, Violence, and Human Rights from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, MPH in Community Health from Drexel School of Public Health, and BS in Biology from the University of Maryland College Park.

JoAnn Lee, social work

JoAnn Lee

Lee’s research interests are to improve public systems that intervene in the lives of marginalized individuals including the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Her research activities revolve around three aspects: advancing our understanding of the transition to adulthood (ages 18-34); assessing the impact of child welfare and juvenile justice system intervention on young adult life outcomes; and identifying structural and social contextual factors that contribute to deviance, delinquency, or engagement in criminal behaviors. Lee frames her work within the life course perspective, recognizing the interplay between human agency and larger social contexts throughout an individual’s life. She has authored or co-authored more than 20 peer-reviewed publications. Lee has received three grants, including from National Institute of Justice.

Lee was previously a postdoctoral fellow at Seattle Children's Research Institute where she examined relationships between social contexts and youth deviant behaviors. Her practice experiences include addressing substance use issues among juvenile justice and Asian American youth populations, as well as homeless and marginally housed youth. Lee earned her PhD in Social Welfare from University of Washington, MSSW in Social Work and MPA in Public Administration from Columbia University, and a BA in Psychology from Stanford University.

Anna Pollack, global and community health

Anna Pollack

Pollack is an epidemiologist whose research focuses on the relationship between environmental chemical exposures and fertility, pregnancy, and gynecologic health. She investigates biological mechanisms underlying these processes, such as biomarkers of oxidative stress, inflammation, and endocrine disruption. Pollack’s research is based in the theory of critical windows of exposure, which emphasizes that the timing of chemical exposures can result in permanent changes and also addresses disparities in exposure stemming from environmental and occupational sources. She seeks to apply methods to examine complex mixtures to better understand their impact on women’s reproductive health. She has authored or co-authored more than 30 peer-reviewed publications. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Pollack earned her PhD in epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University, MPH in environmental and occupational health from George Washington University, and BA in biology from Smith College.

Laura Poms, global and community health

Laura Poms

Poms is an occupational health psychologist focusing on how an individual's work environment influences physical and mental health. She is an undergraduate program coordinator and public health and global health minor advisor. Pom’s research interests include employee motivation and work-family balance. She is a faculty fellow in the Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities and Research (OSCAR), which promotes undergraduate research across Mason. Even with a primary focus on teaching, she is the co-author of several publications, including Understanding Epidemiology, now in its second edition, which is one of the only textbooks to focus on teaching epidemiology specifically to undergraduate students. Poms has received two grants including from Health Resources and Services Administration. She was a 2016 College of Health and Human Services Master Teacher Award winner. Poms earned her PhD in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, MPH in Epidemiology, and MA in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from George Mason University, her MA in Public Communication from The American University, and her BA in Psychology from The College of William and Mary.

About our tenured faculty new to CHHS:

Lawrence Cheskin, nutrition and food studies

Lawrence Cheskin

Cheskin is Professor and Chair of the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies, Interim Chair of the Department of Global and Community Health, and Adjunct Professor at Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health, and School of Medicine, with joint appointments in Medicine (GI); International Health (Human Nutrition), Nursing, and Public Health Studies. 

He has dedicated his career to research, education, and program building to enhance people’s diets and combat obesity. He founded the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center, a multidisciplinary clinical research and treatment program.  His work has impacted the problem of obesity through innovative treatment programs, and in community-based participatory research among the underserved in urban areas.  He also developed mHealth tailored to the behavioral characteristics of the recipient to combat obesity.  He is the author of 200 peer-reviewed articles and 7 books. Cheskin received his medical degree from Dartmouth, and postdoctoral training at Yale-New Haven Hospital.  

Rosemary Higgins, office of research

Rosemary HigginsHiggins oversees the Office of Research, supports a culture of research in the college, and links the research of the college to the greater university research enterprise. Prior to coming to Mason, Higgins served as a Medical Officer and the Program Scientist for the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Neonatal Research Network (NRN), a large, multi-investigator, multi-institution network, composed of 15 clinical centers (35 hospitals) and a data coordinating center.  Her research focuses on neonatal and perinatal medicine. Higgins has authored or co-authored more than 200 publications. Higgins earned her MD from Georgetown University and her BS from Siena College.

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