School of Public Health Professor David Jacobs has received the 2017 Mentor of the Year Award from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association Council on Epidemiology and Prevention. The award recognizes exceptional individual and institutional mentoring, and advocacy for cardiovascular epidemiology researchers.
“This particular award is really moving,” says Jacobs. “A bunch of my former students got together and applied for the award, which was then presented to me in front of a ballroom of applauding people at this year’s EPI/Lifestyle conference.”
Jacobs has formally and informally mentored PhD and post-doctoral students over the course of his 43-year career working in epidemiology and statistics. Some of the students were hand-picked by Jacobs himself, while many have found him through word-of-mouth and recommendations by other faculty.
And now his mentoring is seeing a ripple effect. “As an example, I’m going to be working with a student from Japan who is the student of one of my former mentees who studied with me 20 years ago,” says Jacobs.
Jacobs credits his mentoring success to upholding a guiding philosophy that emphasizes developing a great intellectual relationship between a student and an adviser.
“You’re only a good teacher once the student starts teaching you,” says Jacobs. “That kind of mutuality is an important key to successful mentoring.”