March 29, 2023 | Erin Bluvas, email@example.com
The Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) has named James Hébert (pictured far right above), Health Sciences Distinguished Professor of Epidemiology, as the 2023 recipient of their Research Excellence Award. Designed to recognize faculty who have devoted their careers to investigating public health issues, the Research Excellence Award is bestowed on one faculty member selected from a pool of nominations submitted by ASPPH members, CEPH-accredited schools or programs of public health.
“For more than 45 years, Dr. Hébert has been on the vanguard of innovation in public health research, ” says Anthony Alberg, chair for the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. “He has earned a stellar reputation as an accomplished, productive and impactful public health scholar, whose work consistently demonstrates his passion for populations that are disproportionately affected by social, economic, environmental, nutritional and health-related inequalities.”
Hébert’s public health career began when he received his master’s degree (environmental health) from the University of Washington’s School of Public Health and then his Sc.D. in Nutritional Epidemiology at Harvard University’s TH Chan School of Public Health. He joined the Arnold School in 1999 as the chair of the epidemiology and biostatistics department and founded the Cancer Prevention and Control Program in 2003.
For more than 45 years, Dr. Hébert has been on the vanguard of innovation in public health research. He has earned a stellar reputation as an accomplished, productive and impactful public health scholar, whose work consistently demonstrates his passion for populations that are disproportionately affected by social, economic, environmental, nutritional and health-related inequalities.
One of the most highly-cited (27K+ and counting) researchers in the world, Hébert has over 900 peer-reviewed publications to his name and has led or co-led more than 50 federal grants, amounting to more than $93 million. Much of this work has led or related to his development of the Dietary Inflammatory Index (DII®), which quantifies the effect of 45 food parameters (foods, nutrients and other components such as polyphenols) on inflammation.
In diverse contexts around the world (63 countries on every continent except Antarctica), Hébert and his colleagues have studied the application of the DII and its effectiveness in identifying the dietary impacts of certain foods on chronic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune conditions, and mental health. As the founding director of Connecting Health Innovations LLC, Hébert and his partners transform these lessons (and his three inventions – two based on the DII and one on a method to detect aggressive prostate cancer) into tools and products designed to improve clinical and public health outcomes.
In addition to the Excellence Research Award, Hébert has received many honors over the course of his career. These include the Breakthrough Leadership in Research Award, Fulbright-Nehru Senior Research Fellowship and USC Board of Trustees Professorship. He has been named a highly cited research (top one percent in the field) by Clarivate Analytics and is a member of the National Institutes of Health Nutrition Research Task Force Thought Leaders Panel.