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Dr. Vena is a Professor and Founding Chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina.
A fellow of the American College of Epidemiology and the American Epidemiological Society, Dr. Vena’s areas of research expertise include cancer epidemiology, community-based research, environmental health, epidemiology, occupational health, and reproductive and developmental health. He serves as a member of the American Public Health Association, the Society for Epidemiologic Research and the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology. He served as President of the Council of Epidemiology Chairs in the American College of Epidemiology from 2012-15. Dr.
Vena serves on the Editorial Board for Spatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology, and has served as a reviewer for numerous journals.
Dr. Vena has 35 years of experience in epidemiology and community–based participatory research (CBPR) dating back to involvement at Love Canal in NY in 1980. From 1999-2003 he was Director of the Environment & Society Institute (1999-2003) at the University of Buffalo which coordinated CBPR research and coordinated translation of research to community-based action. As PI or co-Investigator on several previous CDC and NIH-funded grants, he laid the groundwork for CBPR in Western NY and in South Carolina where several CBPR NIH funded projects are still underway. He has been serving as co-investigator of two CBPR projects in Graniteville, SC under the direction of Dr. Svendsen, and is PI of a recent brownfield health grant from ATSDR: Rebuilding the Graniteville, SC Community through Health Communication and Promotion, and Public Health Tracking. He also has collaborated on the environmental epidemiology component for the Environmental Determinants of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) Among African Americans in Coastal Carolina and Georgia Study directed by Dr. Diane Kamen.
Dr. Vena currently serves on the South Carolina Clinical and Translational Research Institute (SCTR) Workforce Development & Training Committee (WDTC). He contributes to the forum for campus-wide training harmonization, identification of workforce needs and gap analyses, catalyst for streamlining resources and tools across multiple training programs, and facilitating knowledge transfer across the CTSA consortium. He currently serves on the Public Health Curriculum Task Force in the College of Medicine and is coordinating all the new curriculum development in the Department of Public Health Sciences including three new MPH degree programs that started in August 2015. He also is PI of the Local Performance Site (South Carolina) for the Region IV Public Health Training Center, a five year grant for workforce training.
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