University of Richmond Health Studies Professor Kathryn Jacobsen Receives National Award for Teaching Excellence

May 18, 2023

Pictured above: Kathryn H. Jacobsen accepts award for teaching excellence. Left to right: Dr. Anvar Velji, whose family endowed the award, Jacobsen, and Dr. Keith Martin, executive director of CUGH. Photo courtesy of CUGH.

UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND — Kathryn H. Jacobsen, professor of health studies and William E. Cooper Distinguished University Chair, has received the 2023 Velji Global Health Award for Teaching Excellence.

This award from the Consortium of Universities for Global Health honors a faculty member who is an outstanding teacher and has had a particularly significant impact on the lives of those living in areas where access to health care is lacking. 

Jacobsen, an epidemiologist who joined UR’s faculty in 2021, is an expert in epidemiology, global health, public health, and disease prevention and control. Her research portfolio includes analyses of the global epidemiology of hepatitis A virus, emerging infectious and noncommunicable diseases, adolescent risk behaviors, and other global public health concerns. She has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed scientific articles and is the author of two widely used textbooks.

Jacobsen has also served as an expert adviser to international health agencies, including the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the World Health Organization.

“Kathryn welcomes the opportunity to mentor Richmond student researchers and is a wonderful example of the mentorship opportunities forged on our campus,” said Jenny Cavenaugh, dean of the School of Arts & Sciences. “She is a leading expert in her field, and she is training her students to positively influence global health issues.”

During her first year at UR, Jacobsen and the nine students in her seminar course on global infectious diseases conducted an in-depth study of the neglected tropical disease loiasis, commonly known as African eye worm disease. The final group paper calling for the World Health Organization to add loiasis to the list of prioritized NTDs was published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal.

“Every member of the class contributed to the entire process from choosing which disease to focus on through writing our final paper,” Jacobsen said. “There's no better way for students to learn than through active participation in research that has real-world consequences.”