USC Board of Trustees honors Dr. James Hébert

May 23, 2012

Dr. James Hébert, director of the S.C. Statewide Cancer Prevention and Control Program at the Arnold School, is the recipient of the 2012 Carolina Trustee Professorship in the area of Public Health, Engineering, Medical Sciences, and Sciences. The award is given annually by the University of South Carolina Board of Trustees to a tenured, full professor who demonstrates a record of teaching excellence, as well as a record of outstanding performance in research and in public service and outreach activities.

An article about the Carolina Trustee Professorships appears in the May 24 issue of USC Times.

Hébert, named a USC Health Sciences Distinguished Professor in 2006, said he was honored to receive the prestigious professorship. "Often when good news arrives in the wake of persistent, well-directed effort it is aimed at a single person – as though what was accomplished had been due to the agency of that person alone.

"While I am delighted to receive this award, I do so on behalf of all Cancer Prevention and Control Program (CPCP) members who have built one of the most remarkably successful and relevant programs in the nation over the nine years we have existed."

In 2009, the CPCP was one of only 10 Cancer Prevention and Control Research Centers (CPCRN) in the nation to be funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). In 2010, the CPCP was among 23 universities that won funding for a Community Networks Program Center from the National Cancer Institute [the South Carolina Cancer Disparities Community Network (SCCDCN-II)].

"USC is only one of five universities in the nation to have both of these prestigious network centers and the only one not in the top 10 in biomedical research funding in the nation. I am proud of our achievement and know that you are, too," said Hébert, a professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, where he was chair from 1999 to 2002.

"I could not have imagined a more satisfying or fun life. Each day, I look forward to stimulating interactions with people whom I have the honor to mentor and the many supporters we have among USC faculty and administrators," he said. "The world that I inhabit provides a strong web of creativity, competence, commitment, caring and support. As an example of our commitment and competence we have made great strides in bringing USC into collaborations with other universities and research institutes around the world."

Since 2001, Hébert has published 153 papers in peer-reviewed journals with 333 different individuals from 111 different institutions.

"These efforts have usually involved one or more other individuals from USC, represent work that crosses numerous disciplinary boundaries, and involves the institutions in intellectual and technology transfers that will benefit the Arnold School of Public Health and University of South Carolina in materially important ways," he said.

"I am especially proud of our ability to create a 'web of collegiality and mentoring' that has resulted in many current and former protégés being part of these collaborations," Hébert said.

"When I see the faces of the people with whom I interact daily, I know that they enjoy the work as much as I do. Our environment is caring – and with help from my 'chains of command' in the USC and Arnold School of Public Health administration, supportive," he said.

"As for creativity, it is at the top of my list. With a strong foundation of competence, commitment, caring and support, I don't just tolerate going to the edge intellectually, I encourage jumping right over it. People know that our remarkable achievements don't just come from thinking 'outside the box' – for us there is no box at all."

Hébert, who earned a bachelor's degree from Boston University, earned a master's degree from the University of Washington and a doctoral degree from Harvard University. A member of Delta Omega, Hébert is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. He was named Eminent Scientist of the Year in 2004 from the World Science Forum and has twice received Fulbright Senior Research Fellowships. He also received the Research Award from the S.C. Cancer Alliance in 2007. His research interests have received international acclaim, and he was named among the Leading Scientists of the World in 2005.

He is a professor of community medicine and epidemiology at the USC School of Medicine and also serves on the epidemiology faculty at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. He is a Fellow of the American College of Epidemiology and a member of the Nutrition Society (London).

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