UNCG Research

2016-17 Research Excellence Awards

Gupta and Tanner, statistics and public health


Posted on Monday, May 8th, 2017 by Savannah Hutko.

UNCG Research congratulates Dr. Sat Gupta and Dr. Amanda Tanner, our 2016-2017 Research Excellence Award winners.


guptaresearchexcellenceDr. Sat Gupta receives the Senior Research Excellence Award for his scholarship in statistics. Gupta’s primary interest is sampling theory and applications, and he has made significant contributions in this area, particularly around the topics of randomized response techniques (RRT) and ratio and regression estimators. His 2002 paper, which introduced the concept of an optional RRT model, is considered seminal in the field.

RRT is a survey technique designed to collect truthful responses to questions that may be sensitive in nature, by providing respondents with anonymity. Gupta’s statistical models have applications in a variety of areas, particularly public health. He and his colleagues have used optional RRT to estimate rates of stimulant medication misuse, familial sexual abuse, and risky sexual behaviors among college students. In recent years, he has also published a series of ground-breaking papers that unify randomized response techniques with his other area of expertise, ratio and regression estimation techniques.

This year, Gupta became a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, one of the highest professional honors in his field. Fellows are selected for outstanding contributions to statistical science.

In addition to his prolific research accomplishments — including over 120 papers published, many in top tier journals in his field — Gupta has a strong reputation for both service and teaching. In 2014, Gupta received the Outstanding Service Award for the Cause of Statistics in NC from the North Carolina Chapter of the American Statistical Association. He is also known for his dedication to mentoring students and for his collaborative work among his peers.

Over the past five years, Gupta has published fourteen papers with PhD students, three papers with master’s students, and three with undergraduate research students. He has also published with UNCG colleagues in anthropology, biology, nursing, nutrition, and public health and with off-campus researchers at entities such as Cone Health, St. Luke’s in Bethlehem, and Emory University.

Originally from India, Gupta received his BA, MA, and PhD in mathematics from the University of Delhi. He received another PhD, in statistics, from Colorado State University. He has received many awards for his work, including the 2016 Sankhyiki Bhushan Award from the Indian Society of Agricultural Statistics. Gupta also maintains a robust statistical consulting portfolio, and is the founding and current editor of the Journal of Statistical Theory and Practice.

Be on the lookout for an interview with our Senior Research Excellence Award winner in the spring 2018 UNCG Research Magazine. 


TannerresearchexcellenceDr. Amanda Tanner receives the Junior Research Excellence award for her scholarship in public health. Tanner’s work focuses on health disparities, specifically as they relate to sexual and reproductive health outcomes. The associate professor examines the individual, community, and structural context in which behaviors related to health occur, and her work, which is highly applied and collaborative, is strongly rooted in community-engaged scholarship.

Her impact is particularly meaningful to the field of STI (sexually transmitted infection) prevention and treatment and in addressing disparities found in HIV and STI rates among youth.

Tanner has presented at over 60 international, national, and local professional meetings, has over 48 publications, and has consistently published in highly selective, high-impact journals in the field — a level of productivity that is remarkable for a researcher so early her career. She has obtained external funding from federal institutes totaling over $3 million, with current projects funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute of Alcohol and Alcohol Abuse, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Health Resource and Services Administration.

Tanner is well known for her collaborative spirit and mentoring. Seven of her publications and 13 of her presentations are co-authored with students, and she was the recipient of the 2013-2014 UNCG School of Health and Human Sciences Gail H. Hennis Graduate Teaching Award.

Tanner received her BA in psychology and women’s studies from Saint Olaf College and her MPH and PhD in health behavior from Indiana University. She also completed postdoctoral fellowships at the Indiana University School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Be on the lookout for an interview with our Junior Research Excellence Award winner in the fall 2017 UNCG Research Magazine. 


The campus-wide Research Excellence recognition program was established in 1988 on the principle that creating and diffusing knowledge is a formal obligation of the University. Work by awardees contributes in an exemplary fashion to this end. Each year, a scholar at the rank of professor receives the Senior Research Excellence Award and a cash honorarium of $7,500, while a scholar at the rank of assistant or associate professor receives the Junior Research Excellence Award and $4,500.

Awardees are selected based on the importance of their contributions to the field, the originality of their work, the execution of their research, the pattern of their research productivity, and the academic reputation of the journals, publishing houses, exhibitions, and professional presentations in which their work has appeared.

Read more about the UNCG Research Excellence Award here.
For a list of prior recipients, click here.