Community mourns the loss of Bob Bailey, who turned a tragedy into a legacy

January 17, 2019

On a February morning in 1998, tragedy struck the Bailey family and Arizona State University. A van carrying members of the Geography Club and the Friends of Geography group, who were on their way to visit a copper mine in Bagdad, Arizona, experienced a terrible accident resulting in the injury of several students and the death of Matthew Bailey.

Matthew was a senior geography student and active member of the Geography Club through the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, then known as the Department of Geography. Matthew, who lived in Japan for several years, was also minoring in Japanese. Through his travels, he gained a geographer’s insight into Japanese society. Bob Bailey presents the Matthew G. Bailey Scholarship to Yining Tan during the 2018 awards ceremony for the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning. Download Full Image

Matthew may have found himself following in the footsteps of his father, Bob, who held a PhD in geography and whose research is foundational for other geographers. In the 1980s, Bob identified and described ecoregions in the United States. Ecoregions are large areas that have relatively homogenous ecological and geographic conditions. His work continues to inform geographical research nationally and globally.

“Throughout my research career I have used ecoregions in my own analysis,” said Trisalyn Nelson, director of the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning. “I was delighted when I first met Bob and realized that I had been using his work all these years.”

Matthew and Bob both enjoyed the fieldwork aspect of geography and would often work alongside each other. They had plans for research they would conduct following Matthew’s graduation. Sadly, they never had the opportunity to fulfill those plans.

Late ASU student Matthew Bailey

Matthew Bailey was a senior, majoring in geography, at the time of his death.

Following Matthew’s passing, Bob Bailey was instrumental in the creation of the Matthew G. Bailey Scholarship through the ASU Foundation. This scholarship fund helps to support the work of students to help them accomplish the fieldwork that is integral to their work — the fieldwork that was also important to both Matthew and Bob.

On Jan. 14, 2019, Bob Bailey passed away. He was just two months away from celebrating his 80th birthday.

Through Bob’s love of his son Matthew and generous support of the Matthew G. Bailey Scholarship, 50 young geographers have been awarded scholarships to help support their research through fieldwork. Each year, Bob would travel to Tempe from his home in Colorado to attend the school’s annual awards reception to announce the winners of the award created in honor of his son.

“I first met Bob under the worst of circumstances in February of 1998,” said Breandan O hUallachain, professor in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, who was serving as chair of the Department of Geography at the time of Matthew’s passing.  

Bob Bailey (center) presents the Matthew G. Bailey Scholarship to two recipients, Gabriel Leon and Asif Ishtiaque, during the 2017 School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning awards ceremony.

“I don't have words to describe Bob's inspiring response to that tragedy. His immediate and lasting concern for others showed his deep love for his son and respect for so many people who knew Matt and the students who later benefited from the legacy Bob established at ASU.”

Our school’s community of geographers and urban planners, students and faculty, alumni and friends extend our deepest sympathies to the Bailey family on the loss of Bob. We continue to thank and will always remember Bob Bailey for his longstanding, generous support of our students and for his scholarly contributions to the field of geography.

In honor of Bob’s unending support of the Matthew G. Bailey Scholarship, donations to the scholarship account can be made here.

Manager, Marketing and Communication, School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning


New initiative connects scientists to accelerate the pace of health research

January 17, 2019

Various studies estimate how long it takes for health research to go from the lab out into the world where it can do some good, with findings ranging anywhere from 10 to 17 years.

Health professionals universally agree that's way too long. To speed up the process from discovery to practice, many researchers and health practitioners have begun engaging in a different method to tackle health problems called “translational science.” In the translational science model, separate health-related groups combine forces to address a health issue from all sides, which reduces the amount of time it takes a health solution to reach the public. translational science spectrum The graphic represents each stage of research in the translational science spectrum as it goes from basic research to interventions that improve individual and public health. Its iterative structure is not linear; rather, each stage builds upon and informs the others. Source: Download Full Image

To increase understanding of and competence in this form of scientific discovery, the College of Health Solutions is launching a Dissemination and Implementation (D&I) Affinity Network to help those interested in getting better at forming connections, sharing information and implementing research in this faster-paced translational science environment.

This effort launches Jan. 25 with a D&I Affinity Network Kickoff, a half-day seminar for any university faculty or staff member who wants to learn about D&I methodology and how to apply it to their various research and academic areas.

“This training is for scientists at every phase of the translational spectrum — from bench science to policy analysis — who need to improve and speed the dissemination and implementation of new knowledge so that it can be used to benefit population health as soon as possible,” said Scott Leischow, professor and director of translational science at the College of Health Solutions.  

Leischow and the other leaders of the D&I Affinity Network — Rodger Kessler, research professor and director of dissemination and implementation, and Matt Buman, associate professor, both of the College of Health Solutions — secured a grant from the Arizona Biomedical Research Centre to implement a yearlong training program on dissemination and implementation methodology. Part of the  grant will fund four nationally recognized experts in D&I methods, two this spring and two in the fall, to speak on D&I strategies and increase understanding about how this method can accelerate the pace at which research is implemented.

“We want to create a pool of knowledge about D&I and increase the use of D&I methodology to help speed innovation in many areas of health to have a greater impact on our Arizona communities,” Leischow said.

“Dissemination and implementation represents a fundamental shift in the philosophy of science, focusing on rigorous and rapid response to questions that are important to our partners and communities,” Kessler said. “It applies to any health issue or research area. We are creating a flexible framework of people from a broad spectrum of translation, who will learn from each other and achieve more than if each person or system worked on the same problem in isolation. It will serve as the cornerstone to academic and community research at ASU going forward.”

Flexibility is key to the dissemination and implementation process and the affinity network structure, agreed Deborah Williams, clinical assistant professor and manager of the College of Health Solutions Translational Team initiative. Affinity networks also depend on the relationships that happen when scientists collaborate.

“It’s based on, not only the value of the knowledge, but also recognizes that the flow of knowledge is itself a resource,” she said. “So this affinity network is not really a rigid structure. It’s more of a pathway that allows for the accumulation and transfer of knowledge. You have to create a pathway, or knowledge doesn’t go anywhere. This structure is a recognition that the world is more relational than we realize and that those relationships have value.”

This more nimble affinity network system will make it easier to work with community partners as well.

“We hear over and over that the community is eager to connect with ASU experts or researchers, but there’s not always a way to do that,” Williams said. “And sometimes the community is doing things very similarly to what our researchers are doing, so this D&I network will help us build connections to learn from each other better ways to do things and not duplicate efforts.”

Learn more about the Dissemination and Implementation Affinity Network and how to join the kickoff seminar on Jan. 25.

Kelly Krause

Media and communications manager, College of Health Solutions