Distinguished Achievement Award

Each year the Rollins School of Public Health presents an award to an alumnus/a who has made an outstanding contribution in the field of public health. Given in recognition of a lifetime of career achievement, recipients exemplify dedication to the public health ideals of promoting health and preventing disease.

Dr. Jodie Guest 92PH 99G

2021-2022 Recipient

Jodie Guest

Conferred in appreciation of a lifetime of career achievement, recipients of the Distinguished Achievement Award exemplify dedication to the public health ideals of promoting health and preventing disease. For 30 years Dr. Jodie Guest has served Emory, the state of Georgia, and communities around the globe as a thought-leader, pioneering researcher, and community champion. While her professional accomplishments are both exceptional and numerous, it is the life-changing contributions she has made as a renowned epidemiologist and her devotion to the improvement of health for all people that speak volumes about the far-reaching impact she has had on the field.

Similar to participants of the Iditarod, “The Last Great Race” and one of the most complicated sporting events in the world, Dr. Guest, who has served for over a decade as a race volunteer and as the 2021 and 2022 Iditarod COVID-19 Czar, brings the same passion, collaborative spirit, and tenacity to her numerous professional positions, leadership roles, and community engagement activities. In a recent interview for Faces of the Iditarod, she remarked, “What I know for sure in life is that when we work together, things are better.” One has only to look at Dr. Guest’s extraordinary credentials, accolades, affiliations, and activities to discern that excellence is her norm, teaching and uplifting students her gift, and bringing people together to address health disparities is her calling.

Since 2015, Dr. Guest has served as a Professor of Epidemiology and Vice Chair of the Department of Epidemiology in the Rollins School of Public Health (RSPH) and as a Professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at Emory University’s School of Medicine (SOM). In addition, she is an instructor for the CDC’s Epidemiology Intelligence Service program and is the Associate Program Director for the Emory PA Program, Director of the PA/MPH dual degree program, and Co-Director of Emory’s Woodruff Health Sciences Center Office of Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice. Likewise, Dr. Guest is the co-founder of the HIV Atlanta VA Cohort Study (HAVACS) and previously, from 1999-2015, while an associate professor at both RSPH and SOM, she held the position of Director of HIV Research at the Atlanta VA Medical Center.

A natural to be tapped as a Faculty Advisor and Focus Area Lead for the Emory COVID-19 Response Collaborative (ECRC), Dr. Guest directs the ECRC outbreak response activities and has been instrumental in bringing COVID-19 testing, education, and healthcare outreach to underserved communities. When not teaching epidemiology to RSPH students, Dr. Guest spends much of her time organizing pop-up COVID-19 testing events across Georgia to address the systemic inequities that have placed excess risk with some of the most vulnerable populations, such as rural agricultural communities. Likewise, Dr. Guest is also leading a team of Emory graduate student volunteers to host several monthly canvassing and pop-up vaccination and testing events where homeless people in Atlanta are likely to be, providing life-saving services for these individuals and families. Since the pandemic began, Dr. Guest has been a regular contributor to national media on the pandemic and is the host of Emory's weekly COVID-19 Facebook live updates.

Amongst her numerous honors, many of Dr. Guest’s awards were initiated by the students she has taught, advised, and/or mentored, in addition to recognition by her peers for her outstanding contributions to the field. Included are the: 2020 and 2022 Rollins Student Government Association Professor of the Year; 2021 Emory's Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award; Department of Epidemiology’s 2020 Excellence in Teaching Award; 2019 School of Medicine’s Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion Award; 2014 Faculty of Excellence Award, Emory University School of Medicine; 2011 Crystal Apple Award for Excellence in Professional School Education, Emory University; and the 2002 Dean's Teaching Award (Golden Apple Award), Emory University School of Medicine.

Dr. Guest’s investment in and impact on the areas of health disparities and outcomes, HIV/AIDs prevention, infectious disease, preparedness and response, rural health, social determinants of health, social epidemiology, vaccines, and public health leadership cannot be overstated. Nor can her enthusiasm for enhancing the student experience and commitment to creating an inclusive environment. Her generous gifts of time, expertise, and talent to our school as a teacher, researcher, mentor, advisor, spokesperson, alumni board member, and donor have been vital in making RSPH what it is today.

In her opening remarks as Chair of the 2019 National LGBTQ Health Conference held at Emory, Dr. Guest noted that she is “a very proud Emory alum and am beyond thrilled that my university has embraced the work each of you are doing to promote an inclusive world where there is equity in all our communities.”

Dr. Guest has demonstrated a lifetime of career achievement and dedication to the ideals of public health. Through the research she conducts, the students she teaches, and the public health professionals she inspires, her impact on public health reaches far beyond her daily work. Her commitment to the advancement of public health, her passion for teaching and mentorship, her conviction to change live and save lives, and dedication to service have earned her the honor of being recognized as our 2021-2022 Rollins School of Public Health Distinguished Achievement Award recipient.

Criteria for Selection

  1. The individual shall be a recent graduate of Rollins and will have made an outstanding contribution to public health at a community, state, national, or international level.
  2. The contribution(s) should have been made subsequent to receiving a degree from Rollins.

Nomination Procedure

Please complete our Award Nomination Form

All nominations are confidential and will be considered for three years, unless otherwise indicated by the nominee. If needed, the committee will contact the nominee to update the application.

For more information, please contact:

Michelle James
Senior Director, Alumni & Constituent Relations
Rollins School of Public Health
1518 Clifton Road, NE
Atlanta, GA 30322
Tel: (404) 727-4740
Fax: (404) 727-9853
Email: sphalumni@emory.edu