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Expert in migration, population health to join KU as foundation professor

Mon, 03/30/2015

LAWRENCE — A world-class demographer whose work illuminates how migration has an effect on human health will join the University of Kansas as a Foundation Distinguished Professor.

Victor Agadjanian, who has been an E.E. Guillot International Distinguished Professor at the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics at Arizona State University, will join KU in the fall. Agadjanian is one of five Foundation Distinguished Professors to be announced this year and one of 12 overall.

Agadjanian is founding director of ASU’s Center for Population Dynamics, which studies a variety of issues related to human demography with a particular focus on migration and immigration, family dynamics and population health. Agadjanian’s research centers on demographic aspects of social change in sub-Saharan Africa, the former Soviet Union and Latin America. His research, funded by various agencies, touches upon diverse themes such as causes and consequences of migration, reproduction and reproductive control, HIV/AIDS prevention, gender relations and religious practices.  

“We’re delighted to welcome Dr. Victor Agadjanian to the Sociology Department at KU,” said David Smith, professor and chair of the department. “Dr. Agadjanian is a leading figure in the cross-cultural study of health and population, conducting important research on the vulnerability of women and families to HIV infection and other health challenges in regions of active population movement, particularly in Eurasia and sub-Saharan Africa. Victor Agadjanian’s presence will greatly enrich the KU community, and, as a foundation professor, he will be an outstanding ambassador for KU.”

He is a prolific researcher and has written more than 70 publications that have appeared in over 20 journals. He was chair of the National Institutes of Health Advisory Committee on Priorities for Behavioral and Social Research on HIV. From 2008 to 2012 he served as a standing member on the NIH review panel on Social and Behavioral Consequences of HIV/AIDS. He has served on a number of other NIH review panels since 2004 and served as the chair of the Alan Guttmacher Institute’s Institutional Review Board since 2009.

“Professor Agadjanian will bring innovative perspectives to KU and provide fresh appreciation of the risks experienced by populations on the move,” said Jeffrey S. Vitter, provost and executive vice chancellor. “Victor’s capabilities and range of knowledge open new avenues of discovery for students and faculty from a variety of fields across campus. His expertise also will enhance two of KU’s strategic initiatives: promoting well-being and building communities.”

In his new role at KU, Agadjanian will co-lead the creation of a new center focusing on migration and immigration studies. 

He has been on the faculty at Arizona State since 1996 and has been a visiting professor and scholar at a number of international institutions, including Yerevan State University, Armenia; Eduardo Mondlane University, Mozambique; Institut National d’Études Démographiques, France; and La Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, France.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in African studies and Swahili from Moscow State University, Russia, a master’s degree in sociology and applied demography and a doctorate in sociology from the University of Southern California.

KU’s Foundation Distinguished Professor initiative is a unique partnership between the university and the state of Kansas to attract eminent faculty members to support one of the university’s four strategic initiative themes. In his role as one of 12 foundation professors, Agadjanian will play a leadership role in advancing two of KU’s strategic initiative themes: Building Communities, Expanding Opportunities; and Promoting Well-Being, Finding Cures. He also will be involved in furthering KU’s growing expertise in the sphere of migration, immigration, diaspora and human trafficking.



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