In memoriam: Natalie Freeman

In memoriam

Natalie Freeman, Ph.D.

In November the college lost a valued researcher, passionate child health advocate and dear friend. Natalie Freeman, Ph.D., an associate professor in the department of environmental and global health, passed away following a long illness.

Dr. Freeman established the college’s environmental health program in 2004 and eventually served as interim chair when the program was developed into the stand-alone department of environmental and global health. In her research, Dr. Freeman focused on children’s environmental health issues, including identifying and measuring toxins in their home environments, particularly pesticides, metals or contaminants that trigger asthma. She played a key role in Florida and UF’s involvement in the National Children’s Health Study, an unprecedented national study designed to improve the health of America’s children. Dr. Freeman was also interested in community-based outreach and education and helped produce a book for parents and teachers on minimizing children’s environmental risks and a video on dust reduction methods for families.

A native of New Jersey, Dr. Freeman received a doctorate in psychobiology from the Institute of Animal Behavior at Rutgers University and a Master of Public Health from the University of Medicine and Dentistry, New Jersey – Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, where she served as an adjunct professor for many years before joining the UF faculty.

“Throughout her illness Natalie showed remarkable resilience,” said PHHP Dean Michael G. Perri. “She carried on with her teaching and research as long as she could read and write and she continued to make important contributions to the college. Her grace and dignity taught us all about how to face death in a straightforward way and to make the most of the time allotted to us. She will be greatly missed.”