FIU Stempel College ranked No. 15 for NIH funding among public schools of public health

The impressive number represents a jump up from the previous year.

FIU’s Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work continues its upward trajectory and now ranks No. 15 in the nation—and No. 2 in Florida— among public schools of public health for research awards granted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), according to the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research’s latest rankings. The school ranks No. 25 overall.

Since 2018, Stempel College has consistently increased its NIH research funding, rising a spot in Blue Ridge’s annual rankings each year. In Fiscal Year 2022, Stempel College’s faculty brought in a total of $21.3 million in funding, the majority of which came from NIH.

“To see us continue to rise in Blue Ridge’s rankings is truly remarkable, but not surprising,” said Tomás R. Guilarte, dean of Stempel College. “We are a young college that’s powered by dedicated faculty and staff who are relentlessly pursuing funding to boost research opportunities and student training to make a lasting impact on the health of communities near and far.”

NIH funding is helping principal investigators advance research in a variety of areas at Stempel College, including, but not limited to:

  • Brain research. Stempel College researchers like Jason Richardson, professor of environmental health sciences and associate dean of research, and Kim Tieu, professor of environmental health sciences, are exploring environmental causes of neurological disease and identifying potential therapies to treat diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
  • COVID-19 testing and vaccination. Stempel College researchers are helping to improve the health of vulnerable communities. Marianna Baum, distinguished professor of dietetics and nutrition, in collaboration with FIU’s Neighborhood HELP, is conducting community-based research to understand the barriers to COVID-19 testing and future vaccinations in minority communities.
  • Health disparities. Making sure underserved communities don’t slip through the cracks is what inspires researchers at FIU’s Research Center in a Minority Institution (FIU-RCMI). Led by Eric F. Wagner, principal investigator and professor of social work, and 25 FIU faculty, the FIU-RCMI is working to advance health disparities research and provide training and mentorship opportunities for post-doctoral fellows and early-career investigators.
  • Impact of e-cigarette use. The use of e-cigarettes by young people in the United States has increased to epidemic levels. Wasim Maziak, professor of epidemiology, is investigating the effects of menthol, nicotine reduction, and health warning labels on e-cigarette users with a focus on dependence, exposure to toxicants and clinical outcomes.
  • Women and opioid use disorder. In the past decade, opioid-related overdoses among women have risen. Melissa Ward, assistant professor of epidemiology, is developing a novel program that connects women with opioid use disorder to vital resources like medications, mental health care and social services.

Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research’s rankings review NIH funding received by institutions, departments and investigators. Each year, the institute releases its public health school rankings based on NIH research funding received per principal investigator in the federal fiscal year.

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