Dr. Joanne Jordan receives Distinguished Service to Rural Life Award

August 01, 2011

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Joanne M. Jordan, MD, MPH, director of the Thurston Arthritis Research Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has received the 2011 Distinguished Service to Rural Life Award from the Rural Sociological Society (RSS).

The purpose of the award is to recognize a person who has made an outstanding contribution to the enhancement of rural life and rural people. For more than 20 years Dr. Jordan, has through her work on the Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project, been dedicated to improving the health of rural North Carolinians. This dedication has been manifested through her research agenda, mentorship of a new generation of clinicians and researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her commitment to eliminating disparities often noted in rural America. The success of the project has been enhanced by Dr. Jordan's decision from the beginning to hire, train and keep staff from the County itself, enhancing her commitment to the project, the county and the project participants.

Charles G. Helmick, MD, of the Centers for Disase Control and Prevention has been a longtime collaborator and advocate for the project. "Dr. Jordan's initial idea to focus on a rural area, her steadfastness in pursuing that idea and keeping it alive for 20 years (and for the foreseeable future), and her commitment to the project by staying close to the county and the staff, all speak to me of an outstanding contribution to the enhancement of rural life and rural people," said Dr. Helmick.

"Dr. Jordan's work and that of her colleagues has really re-defined how we conceptualize musculoskeletal problems in a rural population," said Timothy S. Carey, MD, MPH, Director of the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at UNC. "Dr. Jordan's research is exemplary in the area of translation science and I frequently use it as the model for other researchers to emulate."

Leigh F. Callahan, PhD, Director of the Methodology Core at the UNC Thurston Arthritis Research Center, has worked with Dr. Jordan for 13 years. "What Dr. Jordan has done over the past 20 years - establish a unique model of rural community-based research, further the biologic and genetic knowledge base of osteoarthritis, uncover ethnic and geographic health disparities - few have done over an entire career," said Dr. Callahan.
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A native of New York City, Dr. Jordan received her Bachelor of Arts degree with Distinction in all Subjects from Cornell University in 1977, her medical degree from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1981, and her Master of Public Health degree in Epidemiology from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health in 1991. She received her training in Internal Medicine and sub-specialty training in Rheumatology and Immunology at Duke University Medical Center from 1981 through 1986.

She joined the UNC School of Medicine faculty in the Division of Rheumatology and Immunology in 1987. She currently is the Herman and Louise Smith Distinguished Professor of Medicine in Arthritis, the Chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy, and Immunology, and the Director of the Thurston Arthritis Research Center at UNC. She is also Professor of Orthopaedics in the UNC School of Medicine and Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

University of North Carolina Health Care

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