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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 4, 2007

Forkenbrock retires, Damiano named director of UI Public Policy Center

Peter C. Damiano (photo, left) was recently named director of the University of Iowa Public Policy Center following the retirement of David Forkenbrock, who founded the Center in 1987 and served as its director since that time.

For the past 17 years, Damiano was director of the center's Health Policy Research Program. He also has a joint appointment with the UI College of Dentistry, where he is a professor in the Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry and cares for patients in the Special Care Clinic.

Forkenbrock (photo, right), a nationally recognized transportation researcher, was a prominent faculty member at the University for 30 years. He had a distinguished scholarly career, publishing in many of the top transportation and policy journals. He also served the UI in many capacities including as chair of Urban and Regional Planning, chair of the Faculty Senate budget committee and as head of a campus-wide effort to improve interdisciplinary research. He was a recipient of the UI Brody award for outstanding service contributions to the state. He will continue at the UI as a professor emeritus at the center and in the departments of Urban and Regional Planning and Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Meredith Hay, vice president for research at the UI, noted that under Forkenbrock's guidance, the Public Policy Center grew to be a thriving, interdisciplinary research center that has influenced policy at the local, state and national level through sound academic scholarship.

"We are grateful to David's many years of service and vision for the Public Policy Center," she said. "He was instrumental in its development and brought together researchers from a variety of fields and disciplines to produce research that has had an impact on Iowa and beyond.

"Peter has been one of the most successful investigators in the center and he will be a skilled and experienced leader of this interdisciplinary center."

The Public Policy Center is a freestanding unit in the Office of the Vice President for Research. The center conducts interdisciplinary academic research on public policy issues. Research teams at the center address a number of policy areas including transportation, health care, human factors and vehicle safety, economic development, social equity and environmental quality.

Current research projects at the center include a national evaluation of a mileage-based road user charge, studies about teen driver and vehicle safety, and an evaluation of the Iowa Medicaid managed care programs. Center projects are externally funded through federal agencies including the U.S. Department of Transportation, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau; state agencies including the Iowa Department of Human Services, Iowa Department of Transportation and Iowa Department of Public Health; and foundations including the National Foundation for Facial Reconstruction.

As a health services researcher, Damiano is currently the principal investigator on federal, state and foundation grants totaling over $2 million and has published more than 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts and research monographs. His studies focus on access, quality and costs of health care, especially in the area of maternal and child health. Damiano is currently the lead researcher for a number of studies including a study of the health insurance coverage and health and wellbeing of children in Iowa and a series of studies about the outcomes of care for children and adolescents with cleft lip and/or palate in Iowa, Arkansas and New York.

He has also been active in service to the state. For example, he chaired the State Dental Advisory Council and the Healthy Iowa 2010 Oral Health Committee, co-chaired the Hawk-I Clinical Advisory Council, and currently serves on the Health Data Advisory Council, which is staffing a legislative commission looking at ways to cover the uninsured in Iowa.

Damiano earned his doctor of dental science degree from the UI in 1986. He was a Robert Wood Johnson Dental Health Services Research Scholar and received his master's degree in public health from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1990 and a Bachelor of Science from the UI in 1982. In May 2007 he received the Outstanding Service Award from the Iowa Dental Association.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Public Policy Center, 319-335-6800; George McCrory, University News Services, 319-384-0012,