Epidemiologist Will Speak At JCC


Epidemiologist and educator John Vena will present “Mysteries & Magic of Epidemiology and Public Health” at noon on March 18 at Jamestown Community College’s Jamestown Campus.

The presentation, part of the Lenna Endowed Visiting Professorship program, is free and open to the public and will be held in the Weeks Reception Hall on the second floor of Sheldon Center.

Vena will also present “The Pivotal Legacy of Public Health in Western New York: A Call to Action” at 7 p.m. on March 16 in St. Bonaventure’s Reilly Center.

Vena, a 1975 graduate of St. Bonaventure, earned a Ph.D. in epidemiology at the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1980. He joined the faculty at SUNY Buffalo in 1981 as an assistant professor in the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine and was named a full professor in 1994.

While at SUNY Buffalo, Vena served in several leadership roles, including director of the Research Program in Environmental and Occupational Health, director of the Environment and Society Institute, and associate chair of the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine.

In 2003, Vena joined the University of South Carolina’s Norman J. Arnold
School of Public Health as professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. He remained in that role until 2008, when he was recruited to the University of Georgia College of Public Health as UGA Foundation Professor in Public Health, Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Scholar, and head of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. He also served as program director for Cancer Epidemiology, Prevention, and Control at the Georgia Cancer Center.

Vena was appointed professor and founding chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina in

A fellow of the American College of Epidemiology and the American Epidemiological Society, Vena’s areas of research expertise include cancer epidemiology, community-based research, environmental health, epidemiology, occupational health, and reproductive and developmental health.

Throughout his 40-year career in environmental epidemiology and graduate training, Vena has been a leader in providing the formal mechanisms for structured interdisciplinary graduate training programs and junior faculty mentoring.

Vena is the principal investigator of the New York State Angler Cohort Study, which is investigating the association between past and current consumption of contaminated fish from Lake Ontario and the short- and long-term health effects.

Vena’s current grant activities focus on environmental influences on children’s health; environmental determinants of cancer; chronic kidney disease and systemic lupus erythematosus; physical activity, stroke, and cognitive function; stress and cardio-metabolic disease in police; long-term lung health after exposure to chlorine gas; and the health effects of persistent organic pollutants.

The Lenna Endowed Visiting Professorship, established in 1990, is funded through gifts from the late Betty S. Lenna Fairbank and Reginald A. Lenna of Jamestown. It is designed to bring scholars of stature in their field to St. Bonaventure University and JCC for public lectures.