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Dr. David Dowdy Appointed Inaugural Polk Professor

Dr. DowdyDavid Dowdy, MD, PhD, ScM, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and a GIM joint faculty member, has been chosen as the inaugural holder of the B. Frank and Kathleen Polk Professorship. Dr. Frank Polk was a Professor of Epidemiology and Director of the Infectious Diseases Program who died of a brain tumor in 1988. His widow, Kathleen, worked with the Development Office to establish a professorship in her husband’s name that would serve as a tool for training junior faculty members rather than serve as recognition for senior ones.

Following Mrs. Polk’s death, Dr. Alvaro Munoz and others in the Department of Epidemiology completed that effort, and the professorship is now being initiated. The holder is chosen by a Departmental committee without input from the recipient. The chair is a three-year rotating professorship that can only be held by new Assistant Professors with fewer than three years in rank; the only criteria are promise for the future and established productivity.

Dr. Dowdy’s research combines epidemiology, mathematical modeling, health economics, and operational/implementation research to answer questions related to diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis. His special interest is "translational epidemiology," which he defines as constructing frameworks to help decision-makers use epidemiological data to make decisions that are in the best interests of patients and populations. He is also a practicing general internist. While a medical resident at the University of California-San Francisco, Dr. Dowdy won GIM’s 2010 Diane Becker Housestaff Research Award.

Dr. Dowdy responded to his appointment as the inaugural B. Frank and Kathleen Polk Professor by stating, “Although he was a legendary researcher in the field of epidemiology, Frank Polk's greatest passion was for training the next generation of promising scientists. It's an honor to carry that passion and tradition forward. Even if Frank's shoes are far too big for me to fill on my own, this professorship will enable me to take an important step toward making my career something that Frank would be proud of." The Professorship will be dedicated and Dr. Dowdy installed as its inaugural recipient at a celebration at the Bloomberg School of Public Health on October 15th.

GIM congratulates its most recent family member to be appointed to an endowed Chair!