PHILADELPHIA — Shiriki K. Kumanyika, PhD, MPH, a professor of Epidemiology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and associate dean for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, has been named the new president-elect of the American Public Health Association (APHA).  The election was held at the 2013 APHA Annual Meeting & Exposition in Boston.

Kumanyika, who has been active in the APHA since 1976, will serve as president-elect for a year before stepping up as president in 2014.

“I’m honored to have been chosen to serve as the next president of the APHA,” said Kumanyika. “This role will provide me with outstanding opportunities to contribute to the fulfillment of APHA’s  mission of improving the health of people in the US and globally. I look forward to many stimulating and productive interactions with APHA’s network of state affiliates, as well as with APHA’s many sections, caucuses, other membership units and the outstanding Washington, DC, headquarters staff.”  

APHA has recently reaffirmed the organizations’ core values: community, science and evidence-based decision-making; health equity; prevention and wellness; and making real progress in improving health—values that Kumanyika says really resonate with her own personal mission and vision.

“We are a major force in shaping public health policies and actions, nationally and globally, and are poised to make even greater contributions going forward,” said Kumanyika.

Kumanyika has a unique interdisciplinary background that integrates her training and experience in social work, nutrition, epidemiology and public health to address prevention of obesity and other diet-related chronic diseases and health disparities.

She has chaired the APHA’s Food & Nutrition Section, been a member of the Equal Health Opportunity Committee, Action Board, Joint Policy Committee, Publications Board, and Science Board, and, during 2004-2008, was an elected member, Vice-Chair, and Chair of the Executive Board.

A major theme in her current research is improving equity in food marketing environments of African American communities.  She has served as principal investigator or co-investigator of several multi-center and single-center randomized clinical trials or observational studies related to salt intake, other aspects of dietary intake, or obesity.

Several of her studies have examined ways to promote healthy eating and physical activity in African American children or adults in clinical or community-based settings. In 2002, she formed the African American Collaborative Obesity Research Network to create a community of scholars focused on these issues. She has authored or co-authored more than 300 scientific and professional publications.

Kumanyika was also the founding director of Penn’s university-wide, Master of Public Health program, serving in this role from the program's inception in 2002 until May 2007.

The APHA is a professional organization with 25,000 members around the world and a mission to “protect all Americans and their communities from preventable, serious health threats and strives to assure that community-based health promotion and disease prevention activities and preventive health services are universally accessible in the United States.”

APHA members include policy makers and health officials working at local, state, national, and global levels in both government and the private sector, as well as academic researchers, educators, physicians, nutritionists, health educators, social workers, environmentalists, health planners, and community health workers, and others who provide health related services.

Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $5.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 18 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $373 million awarded in the 2015 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2015, Penn Medicine provided $253.3 million to benefit our community.