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Department of Public Health Created Milestone in BRIMR Rankings with Groundbreaking Research Funding Success

The Department of Public Health Sciences (DPHS) at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine ranked in the top ten – for the first time in the department’s history – in funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in federal fiscal year (FFY) 2022.

The Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research (BRIMR) ranked DPHS 8th – up from 11th in FFY 2021, out of 48 public health departments within medical schools nationwide. A total of $16 million was awarded.

This achievement is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the faculty and staff within DPHS. It is a recognition of the department’s innovative research and the impact that it is having on public health. It also highlights the department's exceptional performance and commitment to advancing public health research.

DPHS has a long history of conducting research that has significantly impacted public health. Its research portfolio includes studies on the prevention and treatment of diseases, health disparities, and the social determinants of health.

The department has also been at the forefront of research on the impact of environmental factors on health, including air pollution and climate change. Most recently, the department held its 6th annual Climate and Health Symposium, focusing on the societal and health impacts of climate change.

Dr. Scott Brown, Research Associate Professor, emphasized the department’s research and its BRIMR position. “The high ranking of DPHS speaks to the quality and impact of the scholarly work, teaching, and service by our faculty. Including providing the necessary data to address the 21st century’s climate, environment, occupational, and public health challenges via transdisciplinary training, research, and community outreach.”

He also highlighted some of the ongoing research by faculty. “As frontline witnesses to the environmental and health effects of a changing climate, our faculty and students are generating evidence of the adverse health impacts of extreme weather, algal blooms, sea-level rise, and changing ecologies, with a mission to contribute to amelioration and mitigation.”

The department also conducts real-time environmental surveillance to guide timely interventions to reduce asthma and allergy burdens, as well as timely identification of marine and atmospheric pollutants.

“We are very fortunate to have such caring successful researchers who have dedicated their lives to tackling real public health issues in our backyard, nationally and internationally,” said Margie Jimenez, Assistant Chair of DPHS.

NIH supports research throughout the United States and is the largest supporter of biomedical research globally. The caliber of the research being carried out within the department is well demonstrated by the fact that DPHS has been placed among the top ten highest-funded public health departments in the nation.

The support of a well-structured and essential public health staff was crucial for the department to obtain a top-ten ranking. DPHS  staff provided financial management, direction, regulatory compliance oversight, and communication assistance to the department’s research projects.

By diligently identifying viable funding opportunities, the Grants management team develops strong grant proposals, maintains accurate records of all grants, including tracking financial expenditures, and ensures strict adherence to NIH regulations.

Their efforts greatly contribute to the department's success in obtaining NIH funds and advancing its research priorities while ensuring compliance with all regulatory requirements.

“We are both pleased and proud when a grant application that was worked on tirelessly by both Pre-Award personnel and the PI comes to fruition. We feel that in some small way, we made a contribution toward the success of the application,” said Simone Whitehead, Sr. Manager of the Pre-Award team.

The DPHS Information Technology (IT) team ensures that DPHS's technology infrastructure is up-to-date, dependable, and secure, which is important for conducting research and submitting funding applications. This includes managing and maintaining servers, networks, and storage systems used to support research activities, as well as ensuring that they meet NIH data security and confidentiality regulations.

“IT works diligently to see that all technological demands are addressed, including the acquisition and support of computer software and hardware as well as any additional technological needs,” said Orlando Garcia, Systems Analyst.

The department's research accomplishments are effectively shared by the Marketing and Communications team, who contribute significantly to the department's increased exposure and reputation as well as the development of a unified branding and message strategy.

“The team plays a pivotal role in disseminating information about our cutting-edge research through various communication channels, such as announcements, social media posts, and website updates. The department raises awareness about the innovative research conducted by our esteemed faculty and students, highlighting the impact and significance of their work,” said Garcia, who also oversees the Marketing and Communications team.

The graph below shows a summary of the Public Health PI NIH rankings for FFY22.

Public Health PI Rankings FFY 22
Ranking out of 537 total Public Health PIs
 Total awarded 
Worldwide PI Rankings out of 43,650 total PIs

Jose Szapocznik

No. 8


No. 475

Adam Carrico

No. 32


No. 1856

Mariano Kanamori

No. 50


No. 2,884

Lily Wang

No. 54


No. 3,053

Eric Brown

No. 157


No. 11,796

Scott Brown

No. 159


No. 11,812

Hemant Ishwaran

No. 317


No. 22,929

Dan Feaster

No. 364


No. 30,489

Securing the 8th place in the rankings recognizes the department's researchers and staff, highlighting the importance of investing in public health research. With continued funding, DPHS can push the boundaries of innovation in research, driving impactful improvements in public health outcomes. The department’s research significantly impacts the health and well-being of communities locally, nationally, and globally.

DPHS is thrilled to continue its vital research and looks forward to the future with enthusiasm, driven by the recognition of its achievements and the ongoing support of funding to improve public health outcomes worldwide.

Written by Deycha Torres Hernández
Published on April 20, 2023