|Kacey Ernst, PhD|
Kacey Ernst, assistant professor of Epidemiology in the University of Arizona's Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, was named 2013 Woman of the Year during the "40 Under 40" awards ceremony on Oct. 2.
"The College of Public Health is extremely proud of Kacey and all that she has accomplished," said Lynn Gerald, associate dean for research at the college and was one of Ernst's nominators for the "40 Under 40" honor. "She is an excellent scholar and teacher and provides extensive service to our local, national and international community."
Ernst is an infectious disease epidemiologist whose work focuses on understanding the factors associated with the emergence and re-emergence of infectious diseases such as malaria and dengue, and vaccine-preventable diseases. Much of her work also examines human and environmental influences that affect the transmission of diseases.
Ernst's research focuses on controlling the spread of malaria in Africa. Specifically, she looks at why some residents in Kenya choose not to use bed nets sprayed with insecticide – a common strategy for malaria prevention. Her other research focuses on dengue prevention in the Southwest and Florida.
In addition to national and international research, Ernst supports research in the local community as well. She partners with health departments, including the Arizona Health Services Department, to examine issues related to vaccine-preventable diseases and why an increasing number of parents choose to exempt their children from school entry vaccination requirements.
To date, Ernst has earned more than $3 million in research grants from the National Institutes of Health to fund her research.
Ernst's selection as Woman of the Year was not revealed until the awards ceremony. The annual awards are co-sponsored by the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Arizona Daily Star.
Read more about Ernst in the Arizona Daily Star.