Population Health Welcomes New Faculty Members this Fall

New cohort includes expertise in engineering, epidemiology, clinical informatics, education, and biostatistics

Thursday, October 27 2016

This fall, 2016, the Department of Population Health welcomed 13 new faculty, some from among our ranks and many coming from across the country, and in one case the globe--including Massachusetts, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Hong Kong.

Their research areas include: evaluating population health surveillance tools, developing novel analytic approaches for health and healthcare, prescription drug development, tobacco marketing, the relationship between tobacco use and poverty, clinical informatics, predictive modeling, teaching, childhood stress, neighborhood and obesity, sleep and heart health, using mHealth for weight loss, and the environmental costs of medicine.

We checked in with our new faculty members to learn about their research interests, where they were before coming to NYU School of Medicine and asked them to tell us either what excites them about working in the Department of Population Health or in New York City, or for the truly ambitious: if you could change one thing about health in America, what would it be? Here’s what they told us:

Alison Bateman-House, PhD

Research Assistant Professor in the Division of Medical Ethics

Research interests
I am interested in the interplay between medicine/public health, policy, and ethics. With regard to public health, my primary interest is in government regulation: when it is necessary; when it is an overreach; and how public health and other officials decide to regulate something rather than, say, try to persuade/educate/tax/nudge the populace. With regard to medicine, my primary interest is in clinical trials and drug development: on whom do we test drugs and why; why do people want to be research subjects; and why do we consider some grounds for being a research subject laudable and appropriate (desire to help others, desire to potentially benefit) and others inappropriate (desire for financial compensation).

Where were you before this position?
I came to NYU School of Medicine from Columbia, where I completed my PhD and MPH degrees. Prior to Columbia, I worked as an ethicist at Johns Hopkins and served in the Peace Corps in the Ivory Coast.

What excites you most about working in the Department of Population Health?
The best part of working in the Department is that it is composed of really smart people who are dedicated to their work. I routinely see people working after hours and weekends and happy about it, because everyone knows their research is pragmatic, important, and will help people. That's a great environment to be in, and I am really pleased to be a part of it!

Nan Jiang, PhD

Assistant Professor in the Section on Tobacco, Alcohol, and Drug Use

Research interests
My research focuses on social determinants of tobacco use, tobacco marketing, and public policies. I collect both qualitative and quantitative data to understand people’s perceptions and practice related to tobacco use, particularly electronic cigarette use and waterpipe smoking, and how tobacco marketing and public policies affect people’s behavior. This work allows me to have a better understanding about the target population, and helps identify the potential intervention massages and strategies to address tobacco use.       

Where you were before this position?
I was a research assistant professor at the School of Public Health in the University of Hong Kong, where I managed a trial in China to assess the effect of physicians’ brief smoking cessation advice and a project that to develop an evaluation tool for smoking cessation clinics in the Western Pacific Region. I was also the principal investigator of several projects that aimed to examine electronic cigarette use and waterpipe smoking in China and Hong Kong.         

What excites you most about working in the Department of Population Health?
I am so happy to come back to the States, and am very excited about working in the Department of Population Health. The team is full of inspiration and energy. I see many opportunities here, and I have the feeling that I can accomplish anything that I set out to do.

Devin Mann, MD, MS

Associate Professor and Senior Director of Informatics Innovation in the Division of Healthcare Delivery Science

Research interests
I study how clinical informatics, implementation science and behavior change principles can be harnessed to drive improvements in healthcare delivery and our experience with it.

Where were you before this position?
I was an associate professor in the Department of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, and I was associate chief medical information officer for innovation and population health at Boston Medical Center.

What excites you most about working in New York City?
The energy, people, diversity, food, controlled chaos that lives on its streets. I love them all and they push my work to be more creative, collaborative and fun.

What excites you most about working in the Department of Population Health?
I get excited by the constant interaction of ideas from truly diverse perspectives. The lack of a dogmatic set of rules and hierarchy creates an exciting and unusually free form space for new ideas to be born. It really is a special place.

Narges Razavian, PhD

Assistant (Research) Professor in the Center for Healthcare Innovation and Delivery Science

Research interests
My chief research interests are machine learning and prediction models, deep learning, probabilisitic graphical models, high dimensional structured input/output models, biomarker pattern discovery, early disease detection, treatment response prediction, and personalized medicine.

Where were you before this position?
I was at NYU’s Computer Science Department, in the machine learning group.

What excites you most about working in New York City?
New York City has amazing institutes at the cutting edge of the research in Healthcare in every specialty, including Genomics, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Social Networks, and many, many more exciting areas. Many of these institutes are also part of NYU! My goal and vision is to help solve big healthcare problems, and by nature, this work is interdisciplinary and collaborative. There are very few cities that provide as many exciting collaboration possibilities as New York City. It is also most inspiring every single day to know that in this large city our research can impact so many lives.

Vanessa Rodriguez, EdD

Assistant Professor in Center for Early Child Health and Development

Research interests
My research is centered on expanding our understanding of how teacher socio-emotional cognition develops over the lifespan.

Where you were before this position?
I was a doctoral student in Human Development at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

What excites you most about working in New York City?
I was born, raised and taught in the public schools here for over a decade. Its people, energy and diversity are food for my soul – I pretty much love everything about it.

 

Erin Rogers, DrPH

Assistant Professor in Section on Tobacco, Alcohol, and Drug Use

Research interests
My research focuses on reducing tobacco-related health disparities among people with mental health conditions and people living in poverty.

Where you were before this position?
I’ve been a staff researcher at the VA NY Harbor Healthcare System for the past 10 years and at NYU School of Medicine for 6 years. I’m excited and honored to move into a faculty position in the department.

What excites you most about working in New York City?
New York City is an exciting laboratory for population health research, because it combines a rich tradition and infrastructure of public service with a culture of innovation.

Pasquale Rummo, PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor in the Section on Health Choice, Policy and Evaluation

Research interests
My chief research interests are in understanding how neighborhood factors (e.g., built environment, food prices, nutrition-related policies) shape disparities in diet behaviors and obesity. Much of my work aims to address potential biases in observational studies related to the physical environment and health, with the goal of illuminating new solutions to data and methodological limitations in this area of research.

Where you were before this position?
Prior to NYU I was at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, working with Dr. Penny Gordon-Larsen. I obtained my MPH from NYU in 2009, and I’m happy to be back!

What excites you most about working in New York City?
Working in New York City is exciting because I love public transportation, walking to work, and people-watching.

Azizi Seixas, PhD

Assistant Professor in the Center for Healthful Behavior Change

Research interests
My research broadly focuses on three areas: 1) multilevel determinants of sleep and cardiovascular disease disparities, 2) long-term health consequences of cardiovascular disease (CVD) disparities, and 3) developing adaptive, group-tailored, and personalized behavior modification interventions, with the use of machine learning analytical tools, to improve health and well-being.

Where you were before this position?
I was a postdoctoral fellow at Center for Healthful Behavior Change here at NYU School of Medicine, in the Department of Population Health.

What excites you most about working in the Department of Population Health?
Leadership, faculty and staff are the nicest, most professional and brilliant people I have ever worked with. I also love the fact that faculty are asking big-picture questions about health and well-being.

David St. Jules, PhD, RDN

Research Assistant Professor in the Center for Healthful Behavior Change

Research interests?
I am primarily interested in studying the role of diet in adiposity-based chronic diseases. Currently, my research is focused on: the use of personalized nutrition and mHealth technologies to manage glycemic variability and facilitate weight loss maintenance in patients with impaired glucose tolerance, and the safety and health effects of plant-rich diets and intradialytic feeding in patients with end-stage kidney disease who are on hemodialysis.

Where you were before this position?
Prior to NYU School of Medicine, I was a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where I analyzed the associations of fruit and vegetable subgroups, and their variety with risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis.

What excites you most about working in the Department of Population Health?
I am really excited about the opportunities for collaboration that I’ve had since joining the Department.

Cassandra Thiel, PhD

Assistant Professor in the Division of Healthcare Delivery Science

Research interests
My chief research interest is reducing the environmental footprint of health care and medicine, to make medicine more efficient. To do this, I collect data on resource consumption (materials, energy, money) and quantify the associated emissions using life cycle assessment. Once the emissions of procedure or department have been scoped, we can identify potential interventions to improve environmental sustainability, and then test the effectiveness of the intervention.

Where you were before this position?
Prior to NYU, I was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pittsburgh in the Swanson School of Engineering, where I worked with physicians in obstetrics/gynecology, orthopedics, and ophthalmology to scope emissions in surgery and other medical procedures. Previously, I was a Fulbright-Nehru fellow analyzing cataract surgery at the Aravind Eye Care System in southern India. I am a civil engineer by training, but I find the health care system endlessly fascinating. I am also a (very) small-time photographer.

What excites you most about working in NYC?
What excited me most about working in New York City was the food. There are so many options – at any time of day or night!  But now that I am here, I find myself somewhat paralyzed when it comes to mealtimes. How can I choose?

Lorna Thorpe, PhD

Professor, Director of Division of Epidemiology, and Vice Chair for Strategy & Planning

Research interests

I design and evaluating modern forms of population health surveillance and implement population health surveys, with a particular interest in chronic disease epidemiology. I also test and evaluate strategies to improve chronic disease management, particularly in low-income and immigrant communities.

Where were you before this position?
I was chair of the Epidemiology and Biostatistics Department at the City University of New York’s School of Public Health. Prior to that, I served as deputy commissioner of epidemiology for the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene.

What excites you most about working in New York City?

The city has major public health challenges but also a top notch professional community addressing them.

What excites you most about working in the Department of Population Health? 

I’m excited to be working in a highly collegial environment, but one in which expectations to excel and make an impact are also great.

If you could change one thing about health in America, what would it be? 
I would reduce stress.

Fun facts
I love to cook, read and explore wines.

Andrea Troxel, ScD

Professor and Director of the Division of Biostatistics

Research interests
I work to integrate the development of novel analytic approaches and their application to a wide range of areas in health and health care, with expertise in statistical methods for longitudinal and missing data, and the design and analysis of randomized clinical trials. I have developed novel approaches to pragmatic trials and rapid-cycle innovation, and my collaborative research focus is in oncology and behavioral economics.

Where you were before this position?
I was a faculty member in biostatistics at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health and the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine.

If you could change one thing about health in America, what would it be?
I would eliminate the use of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, in children and adolescents.

Alexandra Ursache, PhD

Assistant Professor in the Center for Early Childhood Health and Development

Research interests
I study the development of self-regulation in children and am interested in the importance of self-regulation for academic and health outcomes. My research primarily focuses on children’s development of executive functions and the pathways by which stress may explain socioeconomic disparities in executive function. My work takes an interdisciplinary and multilevel approach to examine stress (both psychological and physiological) in a variety of contexts including families, schools, and neighborhoods.

Where were you before to this position?
Prior to coming to NYU School of Medicine, I completed a postdoctoral fellowship in neuro-epidemiology at Columbia University. Prior to that I earned my PhD in Developmental Psychology from New York University, an EdM from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and my undergraduate degree from McGill University.

What excites you most about working in the Department of Population Health?
I am excited to collaborate with and learn from others in the department, particularly as my research expands to examine childhood obesity. I look forward to bringing a developmental lens and background in child self-regulation to collaborative efforts to understand these and other important facets of child health and development.