Meet the Scientist: Chinaro KennedyPosted on by
The NCEH/ATSDR “Meet the Scientist” series provides insight into the work of NCEH/ATSDR scientists. The series also aims to give you a sense of the talented people who are working to keep you safe and secure from things in the environment that threaten our nation’s health. Read on to learn more about NCEH/ATSDR’s Chinaro Kennedy, DrPH, MPH, and CDC Senior Health Scientist, who’s in hot pursuit of saving the world.
Dr. Chinaro Kennedy is of dual ethnicity. Her mother is Nigerian and her dad is Jamaican. She is married with two children, and enjoys vacationing and traveling internationally with her family.
Chinaro has the following degrees:
- Bachelors of Arts degree from Colgate University,
- Masters of Public Health degree in infectious disease epidemiology from Yale University, and
- Doctor of Public Health degree in infectious disease epidemiology from Columbia University.
Introduction to the Public Health Field
According to Chinaro, “my passion for public health began during my senior year in college. I had the opportunity to participate in a guinea worm project in Eastern Nigeria while studying abroad.” After she had seen the impact public health education had on preventing further transmission of the parasite among affected rural populations, she was convinced public health was her calling. She hasn’t looked back since.
Working at CDC/ATSDR
How did she end up at CDC/ATSDR? “I had the opportunity to work on a project with a stellar group of CDC staff while working as Chief Epidemiologist for the state of Georgia. While I was very happy with my position with the state, I was even more intrigued with the far-reaching impact that CDC scientists have in the public health arena. I tend to have an I can help save the world personality. I thought, wouldn’t it be great if I, too, can help impact the lives of not only those living in Georgia, but across the nation? Maybe even the world? The rest is history.” To date, she’s been with CDC for about eight years.
In her current position, she has served as a senior health scientist for the past three years as a senior clearance officer. As a senior clearance officer, much of Chinaro’s day-to-work currently revolves around ensuring the accuracy of scientific documents before they are released to the public.
What notable contributions has your work as a Senior Health Scientist contributed to the public health arena?
Snapshot of Journal Publications
Kennedy C, Lordo R, Scalia M, Boehm R, Brown MJ. Primary Prevention of lead poisoning in children: a cross-sectional study to evaluate state specific lead-based paint hazard risk reduction laws in preventing lead poisoning in children. Environ Health 2014.
While Chinaro has made several contributions to public health, she said one notable contribution made during her tenure here at CDC comes to mind. “I participated in a study that examined the impact of lead laws to prevent lead poisoning among children younger than six years old.” At the time of this study, she served as Team Lead in the Healthy Homes Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, and was the principal investigator (she was in this role for five years). The study was entitled “Primary prevention of lead poisoning in children: a cross-sectional study to evaluate state specific lead-based paint risk reduction laws in preventing lead poisoning in children.” The study aimed to determine the extent to which state mandated lead laws helped decrease the number of new cases of elevated blood-lead levels in homes where an index case had been identified. Chinaro said, “In this study, we found the two states that had lead laws were 79% less likely than the states without lead laws to have residential addresses with new cases of lead poisoning among young children. Thousands of children continue to be affected by lead poisoning. As such, having evidence that laws aimed at primary prevention of childhood lead poisoning may help galvanize state and local public health officials, given the importance of these findings.”
Awards and Journal Publications
“I’ve had the opportunity to receive several scientific CDC awards and have published peer reviewed journal articles during my tenure here at CDC.” She was the recipient of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s, NCEH Excellence in Surveillance and Health Monitoring-Domestic-Dec. 2011, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s, NCEH Excellence in Public Health Practice Award-Response-Dec. 2008.