Dean Donna Petersen receives USF World’s Lifetime Achievement Award

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In November, USF World—a group that works to promote a global culture at the university—announced its 2019 Global Achievement Award winners at a celebration held during International Education Week.

Dr. Donna Petersen, dean of the USF College of Public Health (COPH), received a Lifetime Achievement Award, one of the group’s highest honors, for her advancement of student study abroad opportunities and her leadership in establishing global collaborative partnerships. She was presented with the award by USF President Steve Currall.

In the last five years alone, over 525 COPH students have studied in more than 60 countries, including India, Australia and Ecuador. Additionally, one of the first collaborative agreements with the prestigious City of Knowledge in Panama, which led to establishing a USF Health office in that country, was signed under Petersen’s leadership.

“Things happening halfway around the world have an impact here,” noted Petersen, who is also a member of a USF working group that received recognition at the event for their combined global efforts. “An infected mosquito is a cargo ship away. Our air and water supplies don’t stop at geo-political borders. It’s important that our curriculum reflect a global perspective, that our students be given every opportunity to have global experiences and that we recruit and attract global scholars and students.”

Petersen was introduced at the awards ceremony by MPH student and Coverdell Fellow Jianca Reid, whose concentration is global health practice. Reid has been to Thailand as a Peace Corps volunteer and will travel to Nepal for her international field experience this summer.

Donna Petersen, ScD, MHS, CPH, center, accepts her Lifetime Achievement Award. Standing with her are, left to right: USF Provost Dr. Ralph Wilcox, MPH student Jianca Reid, USF President Steve Currall and USF World Vice President Dr. Roger Brindley. (Photo courtesy of USF)

“Dean Petersen has helped the college foster a global education by setting up international partnerships and giving students opportunities to travel to places where we can learn about global health in the field and come back and share that with the college,” said Reid, who is also president of the Global Health Student Association. “The opportunities afforded to us globally have been amazing.”

Also recognized at the event with a Certificate of Global Achievement was the COPH’s Dr. Thomas Unnasch, a Distinguished USF Health Professor who has done extensive research on vector-borne diseases, particularly river blindness in Africa and Latin America.

“In public health, we have to think locally and act globally,” said Petersen. “I’m grateful the university has recognized the COPH’s contributions to its global vision.”

Story by Donna Campisano, USF College of Public Health