In Memoriam: Dr. Tim Edgar
The Department of Communication sadly learned recently of the untimely death of Timothy Edgar. A former faculty member in the Department of Speech Communication at the University of Maryland, Dr. Edgar was admired over many years for his breadth of scholarship, talents as a mentor/educator, and dedication to the developing discipline of Health Communication. As a recent obituary for Dr. Edgar noted: "Over his 30 year career Timothy Edgar has developed an international reputation as a scholar, practitioner and educator in health communication. After completing his Ph.D. at Purdue University, he was hired on the faculty of the Department of Speech Communication at the University of Maryland. There he developed a research program devoted to communication issues related to HIV/AIDS, then an emergent public health threat. During that time, he published numerous journal articles and book chapters on the topic and co-edited a book titled AIDS: A Communication Perspective. Edgar's work on AIDS received wide recognition in the public health community.
In 1993, Dr. Edgar elected to leave academia for the 'practice world' and worked for nine years as a Senior Study Director at Westat in Maryland, directing numerous health communication evaluation studies, several under contract for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Among his many accomplishments at Westat was leading the team that created CDCynergy, which is the health communication tool used at CDC and around the globe for the development, implementation, and evaluation of health communication initiatives. He also led the evaluation team for the CDC's VERB(tm) campaign on physical activity, one of the largest health communication campaigns ever conducted in the U.S. Since returning to higher education, Dr. Edgar has retained his focus on practice through several consultancies for public health clients including a HIV/AIDS-related project for the Environment and Health Group, health communications-related work for state health departments in Massachusetts and Vermont, and as a survey consultant for the Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics.
Dr. Edgar was hit in a bad car accident while he was in India doing public health work with an organization called Unite for Sight--helping bring better sight to people in remote villages. A celebration of life will be held in Boston, and details for that will be found on his caring bridge page (under timedgar) and on his facebook page when details are available. A professional tribute will also be included in the upcoming ICA conference in San Diego.