Top Educators-Pettigrew, Geballe and Shioda-named by Graduating Students at Yale School of Public Health

Three members of the Yale School of Public Health’s academic community, two faculty and a student, are being honored by the graduating class of 2018 for their commitment to advancing the student experience and promoting their achievement.

Professor Melinda Pettigrew, Ph.D. ’99, is this year’s recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award, the school’s highest honor. Students selected Pettigrew for her “knowledge, poise, and points of view on critical public health/infectious disease topics,” as well as for her transparency, honesty, accessibility and ability to facilitate “lively class discussions and critical thinking.

Her class, Principles of Infectious Diseases I, was described “innovative, comprehensive, and a student favorite!” 

“I am honored to receive this award for teaching Principles of Infectious Diseases,” said Pettigrew. “Teaching this class is one of the best parts of my job. I have the opportunity to share my passion for the prevention and control of infectious diseases and I also learn a lot from the students.”

Pettigrew was also honored in April with the Inspiring Yale award, a university-wide event where students select a faculty member from each of the graduate and professional schools for their outstanding work.

In addition to her professorship in the Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases, Pettigrew is the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the School of Public Health and the school’s Title IX coordinator. She is a leader in public health education and is widely recognized for her research on antibiotic resistance and the epidemiology of respiratory tract and hospital-acquired infections. She serves on the Steering Committee of the Antibiotic Resistance Leadership Group.

The Distinguished Student Mentor award was given to Shelley D. Geballe, J.D. ’76, M.P.H. ’95, Assistant Clinical Professor of Public Health. She was lauded for her commitment to students’ success through the individual attention of thoughtful feedback and personalized resources, as well through fairness and accessibility. 

Students also praised Geballe for going “above and beyond other professors at YSPH to convey [her] passion for public health and genuine support for students. “I have never felt as individualized, respected, and cared for during grad school as I did in Shelley's Public Health Law class,” one student wrote.

The Distinguished Student Mentoring Award recognizes the recipient as a leader in shaping the next generation of public health professionals and one who has served as a role model, conveys passion for the discipline, has clear and high expectations, encourages student growth, is sensitive to student concerns and needs, and provides feedback and helps students with extraordinary efforts. 

Teaching this class is one of the best parts of my job. I have the opportunity to share my passion for the prevention and control of infectious diseases and I also learn a lot from the students.

Melinda Pettigrew

Geballe also received the Mentorship award in 2011 and the Distinguished Teaching award in 2017. She was recognized in 2016 with the Inspiring Yale award.

“The commitment and passion the students at YSPH bring to their studies and community work truly inspires me.  I feel so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of their lives at this stage of their professional training,” said Geballe.

Geballe is also a Clinical Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School where she co-teaches a course in legislative advocacy and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Connecticut Voices for Children, a state research and advocacy organization she co-founded in 1995 and led as President until 2008. She practiced civil rights law with the ACLU for more than a decade, representing, among others, Connecticut's foster children in litigation against the state child welfare department, inmates with HIV/AIDS in litigation against the state department of correction, and school children with HIV/AIDS who were being excluded from the New Haven Public Schools.

The Teaching Fellow Award was presented this year to Kayoko Shioda, a Ph.D. student. The award recognizes a doctoral student who demonstrates outstanding performance as a teaching fellow and promise as a future teacher. The honor recognizes the recipient as a leader in shaping the next generation of public health professionals, someone who serves as a role model for students, sets high expectations, gives feedback and helps students in multiple ways. 

Shioda received multiple nominations and was selected because she “truly cares about her students … and explained incredibly difficult concepts in lab in a way that made me understand.” She was also praised for her responsiveness and accessibility to help one-on-one in both Quantitative Methods in Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Introduction to Public Health Surveillance. “Kayoko's enthusiasm is infectious and her excitement about the class topics makes me more excited to learn,” students wrote.

Shioda is studying the population-level impact of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines both in developing and developed countries and is slated to graduate in 2022. She said that she wants to be a researcher in academia who can generate evidence to help control infectious diseases more effectively, in collaboration with hospitals, government, and international organizations. She hopes to be a professor who can inspire and support students through courses and research projects.

“As I truly love and enjoy teaching, this award means so much to me. I am grateful for the students who took the course with me, paid attention, and made significant efforts to understand materials in my lab sections. I also thank YSPH and the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) for providing me with this wonderful opportunity and support to improve my teaching skills. CTL’s peer observation helped me learn how to become a better teaching fellow,” Shioda said. 

In announcing the 2018 award winners, Dean Sten Vermund noted that Pettigrew, Geballe and Shioda have helped to elevate the quality of instruction school wide.

“These immensely talented educators and scientists are preparing our future generation of public health professionals. Their commitment is remarkable and they are inspiring all of us,” Vermund said. “We are so fortunate to have these dedicated and successful teachers and mentors at the Yale School of Public Health.”

The awardees will be recognized at Commencement on May 21 and their names will be added to the awards wall outside Winslow Auditorium.

This article was submitted by Elisabeth Reitman on May 14, 2018.

Related People

Sten H. Vermund

Dean and Anna M.R. Lauder Professor of Public Health

Melinda Pettigrew

Senior Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases)

Shelley Geballe

Assistant Clinical Professor of Public Health