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College of Public Health

Leading Voices Speaker: Caution eroding modern research university

Contact: Brad Lifford

March 25, 2013

JOHNSON CITY Dr. Roberta Ness, a nationally known authority in several fields of medicine and public health, will address the effect that excessive caution can have on innovation in education when she speaks as part of the East Tennessee State University Leading Voices in Public Health Lecture Series on Thursday, March 28.

Ness will speak on "Reimagining Innovation: Caution's Erosion of the Modern Research University" at the Millennium Centre in the second floor ballroom. The event begins at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

The Leading Voices in Public Health series is sponsored by the ETSU College of Public Health. Co-sponsors for Ness' talk are the ETSU Public Health Student Association, the Association of Interprofessional Healthcare Students and the LIFEPATH-Tennessee Public Health Training Center.

The dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Texas, Ness is especially renowned for her research in women's health issues. She has over 300 scientific publications and has authored several books, including "Innovation Generation: How to Produce Creative and Useful Scientific Ideas." Her upcoming book is "Genius Unmasked."

Her ideas on the power of creative thought in higher education have made Ness a popular national speaker. Ness spoke at a TEDx Conference on that topic, expressing concern that the modern university is overly cautious, which limits the productive potential of many involved in higher education.

Ness' writings on the subject include this passage: "The joy of producing surprising improvements in health and prosperity has become outweighed by societal caution. That caution embodies the fear that science might not produce the immediate payoffs that we expect from our investments."

A medical doctor with a master's degree in public health, Ness has received numerous awards and has served as the president of the American College of Epidemiology. She is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science.

For more information or to request special assistance for those with disabilities, call (423) 439-4597 or e-mail . The lecture will be streamed live at

Past speakers in the series, as well as videos of some lectures, can be viewed on the College of Public Health's website at

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