UTHealth School of Public Health alumna receives presidential honor

Cheryl Broussard, Ph.D.

HOUSTON – (Mar. 10, 2016) – Cheryl Broussard, Ph.D., an alumna of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health, has been selected as a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers.

Broussard is one of 105 researchers named by President Barack Obama to receive the award, the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. The winners will accept their awards at a Washington, D.C. ceremony this spring.

“These early-career scientists are leading the way in our efforts to confront and understand challenges from climate change to our health and wellness,” President Obama said. “We congratulate these accomplished individuals and encourage them to continue to serve as an example of the incredible promise and ingenuity of the American people.”

Broussard is an epidemiologist for the Birth Defects Branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, and lead scientist for the CDC’s Treating for Two: Safer Medication Use in Pregnancy initiative. She joined the CDC in 2007 as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officer. Broussard earned a master’s in health education from The University of Texas at Austin and a Ph.D. in epidemiology from UTHealth School of Public Health.

“My favorite part of my job is working with some of the smartest, coolest people that I know, so being chosen as one among three award recipients from the CDC is the highest honor I could imagine.” Broussard says. “Getting to meet President Obama later this spring to receive my award is like the icing on the cake; I am beyond honored. I owe a very special thanks to my teachers and mentors at UTHealth School of Public Health who guided me along my career path and demonstrated excellence in science, especially Drs. Karen Goodman, Susie Day, and Mary Ann Smith.”

The awards, established by President Clinton in 1996, are coordinated by the Office of Science and Technology Policy within the Executive Office of the President. Awardees are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education or community outreach.

“Cheryl was an exemplary student with tenacity, drive, and high intellect,” says R. Sue Day, M.S., Ph.D., an associate professor of epidemiology at UTHealth School of Public Health. “She has carried these traits into her early career and I am not surprised she was selected for this prestigious award. I am very proud of her.”

— Adapted by Anissa Anderson Orr from a press release issued by The White House Office of the Press Secretary