Deborah J. Aaron (PhD \'94, MPH \'91) GSPH assistant professor of epidemiology and associate professor in the Department of Health and Physical Activity in the School of Education, passed away on Wednesday, April 23, 2008. Ronald LaPorte, PhD, who served as Dr. Aaron\'s thesis advisor and later collaborated with her, said, "I have graduated 39 PhD students, virtually all of whom have been very successful in academia. I would rank her in the top three of the students I have graduated."
Dr. Aaron earned her bachelor of science in health and physical education from Slippery Rock State College in 1978; her master of science in exercise physiology from Slippery Rock University in 1985; her master of public health in epidemiology from GSPH in 1991; her doctor of philosophy in epidemiology from GSPH in 1994; and her master of science in information science from Pitt in 1997.
"Her physical activity work become some the most important in the U.S.," said LaPorte. She also established on of the first lesbian health studies in the world. She published 48 articles in leading journals, and was the principal investigator for 10 grants from the National Institutes of Health, including her University of Pittsburgh Physical Activity Study (PittPAS), a research study begun in 1990 with a group of individuals in the Woodland Hills School District. She compiled nearly 20 years of data in the hope of learning how physical activity and other health behaviors change as people move from adolescence through adulthood.
She also created the Walking Health Bus for the Pitt campus, which encouraged people to be physically active during the workday by creating a regular walking route around campus and through Schenley Park.
A Memorial Service will be held June 13 at 1 p.m. in the Heinz Chapel on the University campus.