Dr. Hana Osman joined the USF College of Public Health in 1997 as an eager and curious doctoral student, brand new to the field of public health. Since gaining her doctorate in 2001, she has remained a part of COPH. Now, she is joining her husband, Everett Dameron, in retirement on August 31.
Her professional background and educational training in social work fed her interest in the field of medical ethics. Then at a conference on the same topic, she ran into COPH’s Dr. Kay Perrin, her long-time friend, who is currently the assistant dean of undergraduate students. Perrin persuaded her to pursue a PhD in public health.
“This coincidental meeting changed my career trajectory from social work to public health,” Osman said.
As an associate professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Osman has taught public health ethics to more than 1,000 students. She also has served as director of the Sunshine Education & Research Center Continuing Education Program, a USF COPH center promoting graduate training and research in occupational health and safety. Her other accomplishments include participation in the USF and Jaeb Center IRBs, as well as ethics committees at Tampa General, Bayfront Health, and LifePath Hospice.
Osman earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology and psychology from the University of Rochester in New York, then her master’s of science degree in social work from the University of Missouri in Columbia. She and Everett Dameron, now her husband of many years, moved from Columbia to Tampa in 1974, where both pursued careers in social work.
“Everett retired in 2016, so I had to catch up with him. I couldn’t let him have all the fun of retirement without me!” she said.
Osman said her career and training in social work provided a complementary framework to public health.
“One of the most attractive features of the discipline of public health is its diversity and its multi and inter-disciplinary approach to the people’s health,” she said. “Whether you are a veterinarian, an indoor air quality professional, a social scientist or an ethicist, there is a place for you in public health. That’s the uniqueness of public health.”
She earned her doctorate in 2001 from the COPH and started work as an assistant professor in the Department of Aging and Mental Health at the Florida Mental Health Institute at USF. There she conducted aging research and taught at Honors College students until she transferred to the COPH in 2003.
“My proudest professional achievement is teaching young students the value of personal ethics in their careers and in their private lives,” she said.
She said she hopes her students will remember her as the professor telling them to ‘Always do the right thing, no matter the consequences.’
“The students at the COPH are the rewards of our efforts,” she said. “The undergraduate, as well as the master’s and doctoral students, make this college what it is. Each one of these students has had a positive and unforgettable effect on me.”
She said she will miss her students, colleagues and friends at the USF COPH.
In her retirement, Osman said she expects to take part in more of her hobbies: travel, tennis, exercise, skiing, body building and SCUBA diving. She said she and her husband look forward to exploring new adventures together.
“I do not see retirement from USF Health and COPH as the end of any of my relationships. I see retirement as a redirected focus rather than an end in and of itself,” she said. “The next chapter remains to be written.”
“This is my Oscar night!” Osman said to a crowd of colleagues from across the university, former students and community partners who gathered in the COPH atrium on Friday, August 25. Attendees joined members of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health to celebrate Osman’s new title in life—retiree!
The occasion garnered lots of laughs, hugs and tears, especially when it was time for Osman to address the crowd. Unable to speak at first, her husband Everett Dameron highlighted the early years of her career in social work and public health.
When she regained her composure, Osman focused her words on those who matter the most at the end of the day—the people.
“Many people are here today and many are not here, but all have contributed to my professional growth and longevity at USF,” Osman said.
The list of thank-yous was long, but bears repeating:
“Thank you Dr. Perrin for all your support throughout the years.
Thank you Dr. Marion Becker, one of my professors and a very good friend, for introducing me to Dr. Larry Schonfeld who hired me for my first faculty position at FMHI after I earned my doctorate.
Thank you Dr. Hammad for recommending me to Dr. Stuart Brooks.
Thank you Dr. Bernard for your flexibility to allow me to pursue teaching ethics to all students as part of my assignment in the EOH Department.
Thank you Dean Petersen for leading the way and for creating a teaching career path at the COPH.
Thank you Dr. Aurora Sanchez-Anguiano for convincing me to apply for promotion!
Thank you Bob Nesbit and the OTI staff for supporting the CE program and ME – particularly 10 years ago!”
Staff kudos included shout-outs to Michael Spiegel, Melinda Tyler, Mary Johnson, Michael Haywood, Cedric Cato and Stephen Johnson for “the best support services in and outside the classroom,” Osman said. “Thank you Sandhya Srinivasan for all the support and for hiring the best people in the business to support our online teaching. The ETA staff and all the business office staff are beyond reproach!”
“The staff of the College of Public Health is just the best!” Osman said.
Osman ended her remarks, just like she started—in tears.
“Thank you Cathy [Silva] for the last eight years that you’ve been with us here at COPH.”
Osman shared that in this time Silva had a son and she earned two masters degrees, “all while keeping meticulous records of all the data that she has analyzed for the continuing education program of the ERC. She will continue to perform her duties and many of mine after I leave.”
“I’m sure I’ve left out many friends and colleagues, but any omission is certainly unintended. So without further delay, please have a glass of wine and enjoy the delicious hors d’oeuvres,” Osman said.
Story by Anna Mayor and Natalie Preston, USF College of Public Health