Remembering Tim Edgar

Tim Edgar: Health Communication Scholar and Devoted Educator

tim edgarTimothy Edgar, PhD, professor of public health and community medicine, died after surgery related to a car accident. He was traveling in India for work with Unite for Sight – an organization supporting eye clinics in remote settings world-wide. In the wake of his untimely death, Dr. Edgar will be remembered at Tufts for his breadth of scholarship, talents as a mentor/educator, and his enduring dedication to the developing discipline of Health Communication.

Tim joined the School of Medicine faculty in 2016 after having a secondary faculty appointment with us for 14 years. Before coming to Tufts full-time, he was on the Emerson College faculty and served as Director of their Masters of Arts in Health Communication, a program that was offered in collaboration with our MS in Health Communication, one of our Public Health and Professional Degree Programs.

Professor Jim Hyde, emeritus faculty at Tufts, recalls how much he enjoyed the partnership…and the partner, “Tim was meticulous and rigorous in his approach to everything he did. No detail was too small. No fact too unimportant to be checked and double-checked. Yet, he was not a pedant, often willing to think ‘outside the box’ in ways that had never occurred to others.” Susan Gallagher, Director of our MS in Health Communication at Tufts and long-time friend will miss his wry sense of humor, love of the arts (fine and culinary), and all things baseball.

Professor Edgar’s devotion to his students and alumni was unparalleled. Ryan Kelly, a current student in our MS in Health Communication program experienced Professor Edgar in the classroom and as a mentor. “As I worked with Professor Edgar on the development of the MS in Global Health Communication program, I was able to witness his tenacious work ethic and commitment to quality. He treated his research with the same dedication he showed for his students… He has inspired me to work just as hard in my future career, to have a finer attention to detail, and to take pride in anything I set out to accomplish, no matter how big or small.”

Tim’s work in the practice world and in academia advanced health communication, particularly within public health. His contributions to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the early 2000’s are used to this day to evaluate the impact and reach of their health communication campaigns. Tim’s efforts to establish the profession elevated communication in public health agencies and community-based organizations, earning him the prestigious Everett Rogers award from the American Public Health Association last November for his lifetime of contributions to health education and health promotion.

Dean of Public Health and Professional Degree Programs Aviva Must offers, “The world of health communication lost a giant as the new year opened; many of us also lost a cherished colleague and consummate friend.”

A celebration of his life will be held in Boston, and details for that will be forthcoming on his Facebook page. A professional tribute will be included in the upcoming International Communication Association conference in San Diego in May.

Home Page Caption: Tim Edgar, with former Tufts and Emerson students as he received the Everett Rogers Award at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting, November 2016.