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Professor Barbara Abrams, DrPH, receives SPER Mentoring Award

UC Berkeley School of Public Health professor Barbara Abrams has received a prestigious Mentoring Award from the Society for Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiologic Research (SPER). SPER is an international organization of individuals from a wide variety of disciplines who share a common interest: the epidemiology of pregnancy, infancy, and childhood.

Nominees were evaluated on the basis of their mentoring skills, dedication to mentoring, and attention to advisee technical development.

Abrams was nominated by three mentees who graduated from Berkeley Public Health and whose menteeships span more than 20 years of her career: Suzan Carmichael, professor of pediatrics and neonatology at Stanford School of Medicine, who received her PhD at Berkeley Public Health in 1996; Mahasin Mujahid, PhD, MS, associate professor of epidemiology and Chancellor’s Professor of Public Health at Berkeley Public Health, who Abrams mentored as a faculty member; and Dr. Stephanie Leonard, PhD, instructor of obstetrics & gynecology, maternal fetal medicine at Stanford School of Medicine. Leonard was one of Abrams’s final doctoral students, graduating from  Berkeley Public Health in 2017.

The award was presented at the SPER Annual meeting  in June.

In her mentoring, Abrams—who received her MPH in public health nutrition, an MS in epidemiology, and DrPH from Berkeley Public Health— says she prioritizes integrity, responsibility, inclusivity, patience, and compassion to self and others.

“I am fortunate to have had wonderful mentors during my career, and I have passed on the gifts they gave to me,” she said. “As a mentor myself, I ensure that my mentee has excellent academic and professional skills as they prepare for and then undertake their career. I emphasize teamwork and open my professional network to mentees.”

“Preparing for and then juggling an academic career, with its competing demands of teaching, research and service, is extremely challenging. I often serve as a sounding board when mentees lose confidence in themselves or face difficult choices. I listen. I ask questions,” she said. “And I joyfully celebrate their accomplishments. To me, mentoring is a collaborative activity, based on caring, trust and generosity. It goes both ways, and I am grateful to have received as much or more from my mentees than they have received from me.”