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B. Frank and Kathleen Polk Assistant Professorship

Bloomberg School of Public Health

Established in 2012 by the Bloomberg School, family, faculty, alumni and friends in honor of Dr. B. Frank Polk

B. FRANK POLK, M.D., Sc.D., was born in San Angelo, Texas. He received his BA from the University of Texas in 1963, his M.D. in 1967 from the Baylor College of Medicine, and his Sc.D. in 1976 from the Harvard University School of Public Health.

A brilliant researcher and compassionate humanitarian, Dr. Polk directed the AIDS outpatient clinic at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he treated hundreds of AIDS patients. Complementing his service at the Hospital, he helped to establish an AIDS hospice at the Joseph Richey House in Baltimore.

Trained in epidemiology and infectious disease, Dr. Polk not only dedicated himself to teaching, but also used innovative, creative approaches to solve clinical problems with epidemiological methods. At the start of the AIDS epidemic, he recognized the need for epidemiological research on what was, at the time, a mysterious disease. He soon became an internationally acclaimed leader in AIDS research. In the 1980s he founded two major cohort studies — the Study to Help the AIDS Research Effort (SHARE) as part of the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS), and the AIDS Link to Intravenous Drug Experience (ALIVE) — both of which were so essential and pioneering that they are still active.

In 1986, Dr. Polk was awarded a Fogarty Center grant that continues to train HIV investigators from around the world. Dr. Polk’s legacy will continue through the B. Frank and Kathleen Polk Assistant Professorship within the Department of Epidemiology. The endowment will support junior faculty within the Department of Epidemiology who show great potential for future contributions to public health.

Held by Javier Cepeda

JAVIER CEPEDA, Ph.D., M.PH., is a professor in the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology. Dr. Cepeda’s current research focuses on opioid use and infection, both in the US and in cross-border studies in Mexico. His research has branched into studies of policing and its impact on HIV transmission, drug policy reform, and drug treatment and prevention in several important cross-border studies, primarily in Tijuana, Mexico. He has also done cost-effectiveness work on opioid agonist therapy and other harm reduction strategies. Dr. Cepeda is also engaged in practice activities that have translated his research findings to inform policy and practice. His work has addressed issues of mass incarceration, drug policy, and HIV/AIDS for the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Caucus on HIV/AIDS, HIV treatment and harm reduction in Eastern Europe and Central Asia sponsored by the International AIDS Society and integration of HIV/TB/HCV in Kazakhstan.

Since his post-doctoral fellowship Dr. Cepeda has been working with data from the ALIVE study, a study started by Frank Polk, focused on understanding the impact of hepatitis C treatment among people who inject drugs.

Prior to his current appointment, Dr. Cepeda was Assistant Professor (Research) in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health, University of California San Diego. He received his Ph.D. in Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases (2015) and an M.PH. also in Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases (2010) from Yale University. Dr. Cepeda completed his post-doctoral training in the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public (2016) and the University of California San Diego (2017).