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University of Iowa News Release

May 9, 2003

UI College Of Public Health Honors Outstanding Alumni

The University of Iowa College of Public Health has selected three exceptional alumni to receive the inaugural College of Public Health Outstanding Alumni Awards. The awards recognize alumni for outstanding accomplishments, exceptional promise for future success, and strong interest and commitment to the college's mission, vision and goals.

The awards honor "up-and-coming" graduates as well as prominent alumni who have been in their field of practice more than 10 years. The Outstanding Alumni Awards will be presented at the College of Public Health's annual honors dinner May 16.

"The establishment of these awards enables us to recognize the many impressive achievements of our alumni," said Lawrence Prybil, Ph.D., College of Public Health associate dean for external relations. "We are fortunate to have many graduates who are leaders in the public health community."

The winners of the 2003 College of Public Health Outstanding Alumni Awards are:

-- Richard C. Breon, president and chief executive officer, Spectrum Health, Grand Rapids, Mich. Breon earned a master's degree in hospital and health administration in 1980 and has held numerous health care executive positions over more than 20 years in the field. Throughout his career, he has been active in teaching and mentoring health management students. Breon also served as president of the UI Department of Health Management and Policy's Alumni Board during 2001-02, and led the department's successful 50th Anniversary Campaign.

-- James D. Leeper, chairman, department of community and rural medicine, University of Alabama School of Medicine, Tuscaloosa, Ala. Leeper earned a master's degree in biostatistics in 1974 and a Ph.D. in biostatistics in 1977. He was awarded the American Public Health Association's Statistics Section Award in 1994, and the University of Alabama recognized him with an Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award in 1995. Leeper was a charter member of the UI College of Public Health's Board of Advisors. He completed his term on the board in December 2002.

-- Susan L. Slager, research associate, Division of Biostatistics, department of health sciences research, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Slager earned a master's degree in biostatistics in 1994 and a Ph.D. in biostatistics in 1999. During 1997-99, she was a predoctoral fellow with the National Institute of Mental Health. She held a postdoctoral research fellowship at Columbia University from 1999-2000, followed by a second postdoctoral fellowship in 2000-01 at the Mayo Clinic. In 2002, Slager was awarded a National Institutes of Health Career Development Award for her work on statistical genetics methods for cancer gene studies.

Nominations for the 2004 Outstanding Alumni Awards are currently being accepted from all faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the College of Public Health. Nomination materials are available online at Forms must be postmarked no later than Dec. 1, 2003.

STORY SOURCE: The University of Iowa College of Public Health Office of Communications, 4257 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242.

CONTACT: Debra Venzke, 319-335-9647,

PHOTOS: Portraits of the Outstanding Alumni Award winners are available by contacting Debra Venzke at 319-335-9647 or