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University recruits DOE adviser

A former USF professor, previously involved in research into the effects of radiation on Chernobyl victims, has come back to the university to strengthen the College of Public Health.

Heather Stockwell, returning to USF after her 10-year tenure at the U.S. Department of Energy where she served as a science adviser, has been named the new chairwoman for the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. She began her new role on March 4 and takes over the position from Raymond C. Blair, who acted as chairman on an interim basis.

Stockwell said her main task as chairwoman is to build on the overall strength of the department.

“We already have good faculty,” Stockwell said. “We want to expand the faculty and attract good students from within the state, as well as out of state and international students and conduct top-quality research.”

Stockwell said in her new role as chair she is responsible for managing the department, developing and supporting the faculty and some teaching.

Phillip Marty, executive associate dean for the College of Public Health, said the search committee was confident Stockwell’s appointment would be beneficial for the department.

“It’s great to have Dr. Stockwell rejoin our faculty,” Marty said. “We are convinced she will lead the department to new academic and scholarly levels.”

Stockwell said a return to academic life had always been part of her long-term plans.

“I always intended to return to the academic world,” Stockwell said. “I am excited about what has happened in this department – this seemed the ideal time.”

Stockwell performed a number of roles throughout her 10 years at the DOE, including director for science and acting deputy assistant secretary for health studies. She headed several comprehensive programs of epidemiological studies both in the United States and internationally. She also served as the DOE scientific advisor for studies examining the health of Japanese atomic bomb survivors.

During her first stint at USF from 1984 to 1992, Stockwell was a faculty member for the College of Public Health and charter faculty member for the epidemiology and biostatistics department. Stockwell helped develop USF’s epidemiology doctoral program, the first in the state, in 1990.

Stockwell served on several policy committees, including the Advisory Committee to the director of the National Center for Environmental Health, and the Federal Liaison Committee for the National Occupational Research Agenda.

Stockwell said that both USF and the College of Public Health have changed during her long absence.

“The university has grown,” Stockwell said. “The College of Public Health has matured. I am really excited about being back.”