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Inaugural Back of the Envelope Awards fund creative health research
Date:12/12/2008

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. Can a succinct idea written on the back of an envelope have the spark of research genius? Certainly, said UAB School of Public Health (SOPH) Dean Max Michael, M.D., talking about the origins of the inaugural Back of the Envelope Awards, a seed money grant project for health research. The awards are funded out of the school's own budget.

"It seemed like an interesting way to allow people to be creative, identify them and give some of them an opportunity to play with an idea," Michael said.

After inviting SOPH faculty to submit ideas literally on the back of a standard letter envelope 19 researchers responded by the late October deadline. Winners were chosen for creativity, innovation and other factors.

The four 2008 winners are: David Becker, Ph.D., assistant professor in the SOPH Department of Health Care Organization and Policy; Rui Feng, Ph.D., assistant professor in the SOPH Department of Biostatistics; Claudiu Lungu, Ph.D., assistant professor in the SOPH Department of Environmental Health Sciences; Sadeep Shrestha, Ph.D., assistant professor in the SOPH Department of Epidemiology.

The award includes seed money based upon the number of months each researcher plans to devote to the project and how much laboratory time, biosamples and other equipment they need, Michael said.

Winning projects:

  • Becker will examine the health insurance and pension benefits of Major League Baseball players to see if differences in coverage translate to differences in long-term health status. Specifically, he will compare and contrast the health and longevity of those who played before and after dramatic changes in benefits borne from a 1981 players' strike agreement. The work holds relevance to an ongoing debate about health care reform, Becker said.

  • Feng will work to create statistical models that better show how combinations of or repeating gene variations can help predict a perso
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Contact: Troy Goodman
tdgoodman@uab.edu
205-934-8938
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Source:Eurekalert  

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