Florida State University

College of Social Sciences & Public Policy

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CDPH Director earns Fulbright Fellowship

Published: June 17, 2022

BY: MARK BLACKWELL THOMAS, UNIVERSITY COMMUNICATIONS; COSSPP COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

College of Social Sciences and Public Policy professor Carl Schmertmann, Ph.D., has earned a prestigious Fulbright Scholar Fellowship that will take his research abroad in the coming year. 

Dr. Carl Schmertmann is the William J. Serow Professor of Economics and the Director of FSU’s Center for Demography and Population Health.

“Dr. Schmertmann is a shining example of our innovative researchers in the college,” Dean Tim Chapin said. “While we will miss him during his year abroad, we look forward to the knowledge and discoveries he will bring back to the Center for Demography and Population Health, our college, and the university overall.”

Dr. Schmertmann is heading to Belo Horizonte, a city in northeastern Brazil, where he will collaborate with researchers at the Federal University of Minas Gerais. His work will tackle problems in Brazil’s life-expectancy estimates. 

Brazil’s unreliable life-expectancy rates influence health care, he said.

“It’s important to accurately estimate health and mortality because that’s how medical funding gets targeted,” Dr. Schmertmann said. “Expectancy estimates help identify places that the government would want to prioritize.”

He added, “It’s a great place to get this work done. There’s a really good Ph.D. program and training program at the place I’m going that attracts people from other Latin American and African countries. So I’ll have the opportunity to meet a broader set of up-and-coming demographers.”  

Dr. Schmertmann’s ties to Brazil run deep. He met his wife on a student trip there and completed his post-doctorate work at Federal University of Minas Gerais. He has been back to the country several times since. 

He said he hopes FSU will benefit from his Fulbright. 

“I am excited to try to build more ties to FSU demography and to the institution in general and attract students and possibly future post doctorates to FSU,” he said. “That’s an important part of this work; it helps plug FSU into a bigger network, and that’s good.”