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UM Public Health Programs Welcome First Epidemiologist to Faculty

Staff Report

University of Mississippi

Victoria Zigmont

The School of Applied Sciences at the University of Mississippi has hired Victoria Zigmont as its first epidemiologist in its public health and health sciences programs.

Zigmont joins the UM Department of Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management from the Department of Public Health at Southern Connecticut State University, where she focused her research on chronic disease prevention, food insecurity and epidemiology methods. She earned her Ph.D. in Public Health with a concentration in epidemiology and a minor in biostatistics from Ohio State University.

“Since my time at Ohio State, I have been both teaching epidemiology and working with large health systems to apply epidemiology methods to improve patient outcomes,” Zigmont said. “Epidemiology includes things like predicting the spread of COVID-19, as is popular now, and how changes in lifestyle or medicines can help to prevent the development of diabetes.

“I bring both a strong research base, experience in teaching and practical experience applying epidemiology to the program. The practical experience within a health system allows me to provide examples that help to make epidemiology come alive for students.”

Zigmont works as a clinical data scientist consultant for the Department of Data Science for OhioHealth, where she served as clinical database informatist from 2014 to 2016. She has published 21 peer-reviewed publications and has received numerous awards for excellence in teaching and research.

“I integrate research into all my teaching, as that is my primary interest,” she said. “If you take a class with me, don’t be surprised if we are talking about research even if the class is about a subject matter, such as environmental health.”

Zigmont was inspired to join the faculty at Ole Miss because of its reputation for excellence in research and educational experiences for students.

“The University of Mississippi provides both an opportunity to do high-quality research and teach in the new Master of Public Health program,” she said. “Growing the public health programs at UM will not only help our students, but also the community in Mississippi as a whole.”

Allison Ford-Wade, associate dean of community engagement and professor of public health, said she is excited to have Zigmont join the school. Zigmont possesses strong leadership capabilities, enthusiasm for working with students and knowledge in the field of epidemiology that will enhance the school’s undergraduate and graduate programs in public health, she said.

“She was a great hire to help us build and grow our public health and health sciences program and our Master of Public Health program,” Ford-Wade said. “Dr. Zigmont’s background will be ideal for students interested in medical, dental, nursing or other pre-professional programs and then her passion for chronic disease prevention will enhance our community health program.” 

For more information about programs in public health, visit https://hesrm.olemiss.edu/phhs/.

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