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Panelist Bio


Elizabeth T. H. (Terry) Fontham, MPH, DrPH
Dean of LSU Health Sciences Center School of Public Health

Dr. Fontham is the first Dean of Louisiana State University School of Public Health and is Professor of Epidemiology as well as Professor of Pathology in the LSU School of Medicine. A graduate of Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Dr. Fontham has been on the faculty in the LSU Health Sciences Center since 1980 and was Chairman of the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine prior to the establishment of the School of Public Health. She is Associate Director of the Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center and is Senior Consultant Epidemiologist to the Louisiana Office of Public Health.

Dr. Fontham's major area of research is cancer epidemiology with a focus on the etiology of tobacco- and diet-related cancers. She has made significant contributions in establishing the risk of lung cancer associated with involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke. She was an author of the first U.S. case-control study of lung cancer reporting an increased risk of lung cancer in nonsmokers passively exposed to tobacco. Subsequently she led the largest study of lung cancer in nonsmoking women, a U.S. multi-center study that provided critical information on the association between passive smoking and lung cancer risk. Dr. Fontham has also published extensively on premalignant lesions leading to gastric cancer, modifiable factors associated with progression, and chemoprevention of this cancer.

Dr. Fontham has served as a member of the NCI Board of Scientific Counselors. She was Treasurer and member of the Board of Directors of the American College of Epidemiology of which she is a Fellow. She was a member of the inaugural Editorial Board of Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, Chairman of the Scientific Editorial Board of the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries and has been a co-author of both the Surgeon Generals Report and International Agency for Cancer Research Carcinogenesis Monograph series. She is recipient of the C.L. Brown Award for Leadership Excellence in Tobacco Prevention, the Leadership and Distinguished Service Award of the American College of Epidemiology, and the Pfizer Award for Excellence in Research, Education and Patient Care.

Dr. Fontham is a long time active volunteer in the American Cancer Society at the local, division and national levels. She has served as President of the Greater New Orleans Unit Board, Chairman of the Board of the Mid-South Division, and is a member of the ACS National Board of Directors and National Assembly. She is currently 2nd Vice President of the National Board of Directors. She was a member of the ACS Cancer Action Network Board of Directors and has served on many ACS committees. She currently chairs the national Research and Medical Affairs Committee. Other current committee/workgroup memberships include Reduction of Cancer Incidence and Mortality Committee, Advocacy and Public Policy Committee, Research Advisory Workgroup, and International Affairs Advisory Committee. She is a recipient of the ACS Capitol Dome Award and the St. George Medal as well as Life Saver Awards from both her unit and division.

Dr. Fontham and her husband Mike live in New Orleans LA and are the parents of Jack and Michelle and three grandchildren.

Current Topic


12/14 - Decoding Common Core (Encore Presentation)

What do Louisiana educators, parents and students think about Common Core?

Special Presentation


Breaking Away:  A Louisiana Public Square Special Presentation

Would the breakaway City of St. George quash Baton Rouge’s school desegregation progress?

Coming Soon!


01/15 - Louisiana After Ferguson

Who is policing the police in Louisiana?

Recent Topics


11/14 - Destination: Graduation

How is Louisiana addressing its dropout problem?


10/14 - Louisiana’s Congressional Priorities

What should Louisiana’s Congressional priorities be?


09/14 - Varsity, Inc.: The Business of College Sports

How big a business is college sports in Louisiana?


08/14 - Down the Road: Our Transportation Future

What should the state’s transportation priorities be?

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