University at Albany’s School of Public Health Names Nova Panebianco As Axelrod Fellowship Winner

Contact: Christine McKnight, 518-442-3091, or John Conway, 402-0281

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Nova  L. Panebianco, who helped organize a post-graduate medical anthropology study project in Mongolia last summer, has been named the 1999-2000 winner of the David Axelrod Fellowship at the University at Albany’s School of Public Health.

She is the fifth winner of the prestigious award, which is the most generous offered at the School of Public Health, and is made possible by private contributions.

“We are delighted to welcome Ms. Panebianco to the School of Public Health and to the distinguished roster of Axelrod Fellows,” said interim Dean John Conway, Ph.D.  “Previous Fellows have made important contributions to the school and we look forward to working with Nova in the coming year.”

The School of Public Health is a unique institution offering students the academic strength of a major research university and real-time, real-life exposure to public health practice, through professors who hold important positions at the Department of Health.   These officials are actively engaged in a wide variety of public health problems, including the current E.coli outbreak and toxic waste emergencies, as well as chronic problems such as teen pregnancy, smoking, AIDS, cancer, and health care quality improvement.

The Axelrod Fellowship won by Panebianco is named for the late State Health Commissioner who served in that post from 1979 to 1991, and was nationally known for his leadership on a wide variety of public health issues.

Panebianco, from Southampton, Long Island, is a Binghamton University graduate who is pursuing a Master’s of Public Health degree, and subsequently plans on attending medical school.  She is interested in international health issues, and in linking the public health emphasis on disease prevention with medical work.  Her study in Mongolia, a vast and sparsely populated nation with extremely limited access to health care services, focused on the Mongolian equivalent of stress, and its relationship to the onset of disease.  As an undergraduate, she also participated in anthropology field research in Nepal.

The Axelrod award is among the most generous offered for master’s degree candidates; it consists of a $12,000 stipend and full tuition scholarship for the first year of what is normally a two-year study program.  Second-year public health students working on master's degrees are often funded in their internships.

The Axelrod Fellowship was established in 1995, with funds raised specifically to honor the former commissioner’s record of service and public health innovation.  Dr. Axelrod, a native of Great Barrington, MA, graduated from Harvard Medical College and was a virology researcher at the National Institutes of Health before coming to Albany to establish a new laboratory division in the Health Department.

The School of Public Health, was founded in 1985 through the efforts of Dr. Axelrod and then University President Vincent O’Leary to take advantage of the proximity of the nation's premier state health department, with its world renowned Wadsworth Center laboratories, and the University at Albany, a nationally recognized public research university.

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