IU School of Public Health-Bloomington (SPH-B) is pleased to announce that Debby Herbenick, Ph.D. in the Department of Applied Health Science is one of four IU faculty members campus-wide to be named Provost Professor for 2023, and the sole recipient of the Tracy M. Sonneborn Award. Herbenick is currently the Director for Center of Sexual Health Promotion and is an IU alumnus.
Dr. Herbenick is only the fourth member of the SPH-B faculty (which includes Dean David B. Allison) to receive the Provost Professor title since its inception in 1995, and she will carry this title for the length of her career at IU. Dr. Herbenick was nominated for this by Dean Allison and received supporting recommendations from J. Dennis Fortenberry, M.D., Indiana University School of Medicine, Lucia F. O’Sullivan, Ph.D., University of New Brunswick, and Sari M. van Anders, Ph.D., Queen’s University.
"I feel incredibly honored," says Dr. Herbenick. "These honors reflect successes of many longstanding collaborations with colleagues at Indiana University and beyond as well as the thoughtful contributions from undergraduate and graduate student research assistants. Both awards will provide meaningful support for our team’s research and especially projects led by graduate students."
The Provost Professor Award historically honors faculty members that have received local, national, and international distinction in both teaching and their research. It provides an annual award of $5,000 for three years and a $5,000 grant to be used on a project of their choice that demonstrates “ways in which teaching and research are mutually reinforcing”; according to the Award website. The Tracy M. Sonneborn Award is given to a faculty member who displays exemplary work in both teaching and research. Dr. Herbenick will receive $3,500 cash prize as well as $1,000 for supporting the research or creative activity of one or more students.
According to Applied Health Science Department Chair Dr. Eric Walsh-Buhi, Dr. Herbenick has been researching how people experience their bodies and sexual lives for the last 20 years and is the Principal Investigator (PI) of the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB) that has been ongoing nationwide since 2008. Dr. Herbenick was also recently elected to serve as the 51st President of the International Academy of Sex Research.
"Dr. Herbenick has exhibited a tremendous and unparalleled impact in their scholarly work, advancing our knowledge of human sexuality, human sexual behavior, and sexual health, primarily in the United States,” shares Walsh-Buhi. “For the past decade, for example, Dr. Herbenick has led or co-led most of the nation’s U.S. nationally representative surveys that assess diverse sexual health behaviors in the general population."
Walsh-Buhi continues, "The NSSHB has had eight waves of data collection – all of which have been privately supported until last year, when Dr. Herbenick’s research team was honored with an R01 to lead the next wave of the NSSHB. In sum, Dr. Herbenick is a trailblazer in the field of sex research, and Indiana University is fortunate to have their name associated with the Provost Professor Award."
Dr. Herbenick also thanks Dean Allison for the nomination for the Provost Professor Award, as well as to Drs. Fortenberry, O’Sullivan and van Anders for their letters of support. "I appreciate all of the time and care that went into the committee’s review as well," says Dr. Herbenick.