Carolina Sending Two Faculty Abroad on Fulbright Scholarships

Two UNC faculty members – an epidemiologist studying adverse birth outcomes and a scholar of American cultural engagement with Islam – have been named 2006-07 Fulbright Scholars.

Jay Kaufman, an associate professor of epidemiology in UNC’s School of Public Health, will travel to Chile and Timothy Marr, an associate professor of American studies, will go to Cyprus to lecture and conduct research. The announcement was made by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, which manages the Fulbright Scholars program. Six professors from abroad will come to UNC as part of the program.

Kaufman will lecture on social epidemiology of birth outcomes and advanced epidemiologic methods at the University of Chile in Santiago, with which UNC’s school has a long-standing relationship. His five-month stint begins in March.

In North Carolina, Kaufman studies health disparities. In Chile, he will conduct similar research, linking census data about social conditions to adverse birth events, such as early delivery and low-birth weight babies.

“Chile has pretty good prenatal care,” Kaufman said, “but they have a big disparity in adverse events between kids in the minority indigenous population and the majority white population. It makes a nice comparison to North Carolina, where 8 percent of whites and about 16 percent of African-Americans deliver preterm.”

Marr goes to Cyprus in January to spend six months on the island, which is divided between Greek and Turkish political control. He plans to help develop American studies programs at the University of Cyprus in Nicosia, on the Greek side, and at Eastern Mediterranean University in Famagusta, on the Turkish side; he also will teach in Cyprus.

“Cyprus is at an important phase right now, where the Greek part of the island is part of the European Union and the Turkish part, and Turkey, are not part of the EU,” said Marr, whose book, “The Cultural Roots of American Islamicism,” was published in June. The Fulbright allows him to explore the intercultural dynamics of the island while advancing a curriculum, at the universities’ requests, that examines American culture from various perspectives.

Marr and Kaufman bring the total number of UNC Fulbright scholars to 50 since 1990-91, the latest year for which the CIES has access to its record, the organization said. This year, the program will send about 800 U.S. faculty and professionals overseas and will bring a similar number of international scholars to the United States. Scholars are selected on the bases of academic or professional achievement and demonstrated leadership in their fields. The six scholars visiting UNC this year from abroad will conduct research and lecture on topics ranging from cancer therapy for children to medieval Indian history and Sufism.

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