Numerous faculty within the department have a primary interest in research blended with their clinical and teaching responsibilities. Noted below are the research faculty with administrative responsibilities for the research mission of the department (Linda Weinreb, MD, Carole Upshur, EdD and Judy Savageau, MPH), followed (alphabetically) by research faculty with on-going projects.
Linda Weinreb, MD, Vice Chair for Research and Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health, is a nationally recognized expert on the health needs of homeless families as well as the integration of behavioral health services in primary care, especially for women and disadvantaged populations. Dr. Weinreb has extensive expertise in the development, implementation, and evaluation of service interventions that integrate behavioral health services with primary health care for homeless and low income adults, women and families. Her epidemiologic and intervention studies with homeless populations have helped to define the health needs of homeless mothers and children, impacted state and federal policy, and substantially informed clinical practice, program design, and program replication across the country. Dr. Weinreb also has substantial expertise in approaches to integrate mental health care into primary health care settings, particularly for disadvantaged populations. She has conducted funded research from the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Her current studies include an NIMH-funded study testing and integrated depression and primary care intervention for homeless mothers and a Maternal and Child Health Bureau/HRSA funded study to adapt and test an evidence-based intervention for pregnant women with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Carole Upshur, EdD, Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health and Associate Dean, Graduate School of Biomedical Services, has over 30 years of experience as an evaluation and policy researcher in the areas of education, mental health, disability, and health care. She has conducted funded research from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Agency for Health Care Quality and Research, the Health Services Research Association, and the National Institute of Mental Health in recent years. Most of her current work is focused on managing chronic illness such as depression, diabetes, substance abuse, and chronic pain in primary care. She has expertise in developing training and quality improvement materials for both providers and patients, as well as implementing QI in primary care. She has completed a community study on prevention of behavior problems in young children enrolled in preschool programs and has a large scale implementation grant pending that will study the prevention curriculum in 65 pre-school classrooms in Worcester County. She also serves as an academic partner to the Health Care for the Homeless PBRN which has 35 sites nationally and has recently been funded to conduct a nationally representative epidemiology study of women's alcohol and drug use and co-occuring mental health and health problems among women using Health Care for the Homeless primary care clinics.
Judy Savageau, MPH, Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health, is an epidemiologist and biostatistician with over 25 years of experience in a variety of investigations of community-based, public health issues. She splits her time between the Department and the medical school's Center for Health Policy and Research. Her particular interests include maternal and child health as well as the identification of factors related to the utilization of health care and compliance with preventive health measures. The relationship between these outcomes and the development of programs to improve the quality of medical care are a focus for her research endeavors - especially as they relate to medical education and faculty development efforts. In addition to her research activities, she spends considerable time teaching at the medical school in Epidemiology and Biostatistics, as Co-Director of the Quality Scholars Program, facilitating journal clubs, and as the Director of the Senior Scholars Program for 4th year medical students.
Lucy Candib, MD, Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health, was in the first graduating class of the Worcester Family Practice Residency in 1976 and has been a faculty member practicing, teaching, and conducting research at the Family Health Center of Worcester for over 33 years. Within the context of long-term doctor-patient relationships, she has put feminist principles to work in a multicultural setting. Dr. Candib has also focused attention on the concerns of women trainees and practitioners, and has lectured widely on the topics of sexual abuse and violence against women. The author of numerous articles, Dr. Candib has introduced a feminist critique of medical theory in her book, Medicine and the Family: A Feminist Perspective. In 1995 she won a Fulbright grant to teach family medicine in Ecuador and she continued her involvement with Ecuador as a Fulbright Senior Specialist in 2004. In 2001, she was the first department faculty member to adopt group visit methodology for working with people with diabetes and continues to conduct groups in English and Spanish. In 2010, Dr.Candib, together with co-author and co-editor Sara. G. Shields MD, published their well received book, Woman-Centered Care of Pregnancy and Birth. She is an active member of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine and is on the steering committee of the Wonca Working Party on Women and Family Medicine.
Suzanne Cashman, ScD, Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health and Director of Community Health, is trained as a health services researcher and evaluator. Her evaluation research experience has included assessing the WKKellogg Foundation supported community-oriented primary care national urban demonstration project, as well as a state-supported initiative to develop and evaluate interprofessional health care delivery teams in community health centers. Overall, Dr. Cashman's work has focused on developing applied implementation initiatives that used a community-engaged approach and that strive to use principles of community-based participatory research. Recently, she has provided evaluation assistance to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention supported Center for Excellence in Eliminating Disparities and a Health Resources and Services Administration funded oral health case manager project that provides services to HIV positive patients. Currently, Dr. Cashman serves as evaluator for the Massachusetts statewide Area Health Education Center Network, and as Co-Director for the Community Engagement Section of the school's recently funded Center for Clinical and Translational Science as well as for its Center for Health Equity Intervention Research. In addition, she is a core investigator for the school's Worcester County Prevention Research Center. A common thread in her evaluation research work is Dr. Cashman's commitment to ensuring tnat programs aimed at providing healthcare services to low-income and vulnerable populations reach their goals.
Robin Clark, PhD, Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health, is a core faculty member in the Clinical and Population Health Research doctoral training program and has a secondary appointment in the Department of Quantitative Health Sciences. He serves as a Senior Director of Research and Evaluation and Deputy Director of the Center for Health Policy and Research. Robin specializes in the economic evaluation of health care interventions and policies and has authored more than 75 peer-reviewed articles in that area, primarily related to mental health and substance abuse. His work has been funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute of Mental Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and by health and human service agencies in all of the New England States. He has also co-authored or edited four books. Robin's current work focuses on efforts to manage costs and improve the quality and effectiveness of care of individuals with chronic illness, with a particular focus on Medicaid beneficiaries and other underserved populations. His recent publications include analyses of treatment patterns and costs for severe mental illness and substance use disorders, the link between substance use disorders and quality of care for various chronic health conditions, and the impact of prior authorization on medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction.
Joseph DiFranza, MD, Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health, is an internationally recognized expert on teens and tobacco. Since 1980, Dr. DiFranza has been conducting research on the topic of tobacco. Winning numerous scientific and citizen activist awards for his work, Dr. DiFranza's research covers a range of tobacco-related topics including tobacco addiction, the effects of tobacco advertising, tobacco industry public relations programs, and the effects of environmental tobacco smoke. Dr. DiFranza is widely recognized for his contribution to the efforts to prevent the illegal sale of tobacco to children. He has a significant history of funding from the Massachusetts Tobacco Control Program, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Drug Abuse. With over 110 published papers in peer-reviewed journals, plus countless other writings and presentations, Dr. DiFranza has been recognized as one of the most influential people in the fight against tobacco during the last 25 years.
Mick Godkin, PhD, Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health, Director of the medical school's International Medical Education Program, the Pathway on Serving Vulnerable Populations and Co-Director of the Summer Research Fellowship Program, has a primary research interest in the fields of global health education, cultural competence and advocacy for vulnerable populations. Evaluating the impact of international education on cultural competency, attitudes of medical students related to serving multicultural and underserved populations, and career choices of medical students are among the many research projects of Dr. Godkin. He has also participated and published in the areas of psychosocial aspects of health-related issues, elder abuse, and parenting and adolescent health.
Deborah Gurewich, PhD, Assistant Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health, is a Senior Project Director with the Center for Health Policy and Research. Dr. Gurewich is a health services researcher with over 15 years of experience as an evaluation and policy researcher in areas of primary care, care coordination, and program implementation. She is also a Visiting Scholar at Brandeis University and has conducted funded research from The Commonwealth Fund, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services. Dr. Gurewich's work focuses on organizational behavior and change, especially in service delivery programs. Much of her current work has focused on the cost and quality of care in community health centers (CHCs), including how CHC performance compare to other primary care providers and the operational practices associated with especially high performing CHCs. Methodologically, her research has depended on a combination of qualitative and quantitative techniques, including case studies and survey methodologies. Dr. Gurewich has extensive experience using comparative case studies of organizational decision-making and in the design and management of multi-site data collection efforts.
Heather-Lyn Haley, PhD, Assistant Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health, is the Project Manager for community health initiatives within the department. Her current professional and scholarly interests include community-based participatory research on healthy living habits conducted in partnership with local underserved communities, as well as investigations of the use of student reflection through writing in a variety of contexts, the place of service learning in medical school curricular, and the possibilities for use of oral history techniques to address mental health needs in local communities. She is currentlly leading a series of educational sessions on legal and financial systems navigation with refugees from Burma in collaboration with Common Pathways, the MA Department of Public Health Community Health Network Area coordinating group for Worcester County.
Lee Hargraves, PhD, Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health, focuses his research on patient and consumer assessments of health care to improve quality of medical care. He has extensive experience developing and using survey methods to assess health care quality from patients' perspectives. Dr. Hargraves' research has contributed to national efforts to document racial and ethnic disparities in health care. His current interests focus on treatment of disparities in health care as an opportunity for improving health care quality. With colleagues in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, Dr. Hargraves has developed and tested curricula to teach community health workers to support patients living with chronic conditions. In the new UMass Center for Health Equity Intervention Research, he currently is principal investigator of a study funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities to train and deploy community health workers to use motivational interviewing to suppport patients with hypertension in their efforts to control blood pressure.
Jay Himmelstein, MD, MPH, is a Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health and Chief Health Policy Strategist for UMass Medical School's Center for Health Policy and Research. He also serves as a Senior Fellow in Health Policy for NORC at the University of Chicago where he provides expertise in health information technology and health insurance exchange policy, public sector health delivery system reform, and state-based health care reform implementation. He is currently the Principal Investigator for the $44 million CCIIO-funded New England States Collaborative for Health Insurance Exchange Systems (NESCIES), the Early Innovator Cooperative Agreement for Massachusetts. In this role, Dr. Himmelstein is working in collaboration with the Massachusetts Health Connector and MassHealth to create the technology infrastructure for implementing national health care reform in Massachusetts and other New England States.
Wen-Chieh Lin, PhD, Assistant Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health, is a Senior Project Director in the Center for Health Policy and Research. His research interests include health care delivery, financing, and outcomes for older adults and on economic evaluation of health care policy and programs. He has extensive experience using administrative databases and outcomes assessment data in research and policy evaluation. Dr. Lin recently led a federal grant to investigate the impact of Medicare post-acute care prospective payment systems on services use. He also led the evaluation of a disease managment program focusing on telephone health coaching for Medicaid members with chronic conditions and investigated delayed nursing home admissions among Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries receiving the group adult foster care service. His current work focuses on integrating general medical care and behavioral health services for older adults, Medicaid recipients, and the homeless population.
Roger Luckmann, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health, is a primary care internist with advanced training and experience in health services research and in medical informatics. He has been involved in research on promoting cancer screening for more than 15 years. With support from NIH, CDC and the Komen Foundation, he and his colleagues have focused on the development and evaluation of innovative, computer-assisted telephone counseling programs for promoting breast and colon cancer screening and for supporting informed decision-making on prostate cancer screening. Dr. Luckmann also has an active interest in chronic pain management in primary care. With funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, he has developed a handheld electronic pain diary that he proposes to evaluate in future research efforts. In his capacity as a UMMHC Physician Quality Officer, Dr. Luckmann is working on opening research opportunities in quality and patient safety to medical students, residents and other learners. He recently was awarded a contract from the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute to collaborate with a group of professional mediators on designing and implementing a process for developing clinical practice guidelines on prostate and lung cancer screening in Massachusetts. The guideline panel will involve an innovative mix of patients, primary care providers, insurers, health care managers, and implement a comprehensive care planning and reminder system for primary care patients that would be supported by registry software and dedicated panel managers.
Monika Mitra, PhD, Assistant Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health, is a Research Scientist at the Center for Health Policy and Research. She conducts research focused on health disparities among people with disabilities and the epidemiology of secondary conditions among persons with disabilities. Most recently, she has published on the health issues of women with disabilities during pregnancy and on physical and sexual abuse against men and women with disabilities. Prior to joining UMass, Dr. Mitra worked as a Senior Epidemiologist in the Office on Health and Disabiltity at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
Glenn Pransky, MD, MOccH, Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health and Director of the Center for Disability Research at the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety in Hopkinton, MA, has research interests and expertise focused on understanding the effects of health status and medical treatment on ability to work, identifying effective interventions to support employment in persons with various conditions, and workplace interventions to improve health and work ability, with a focus on the aging workforce. Several of his investigations have evaluated the effectiveness of various treatment approaches for work-related conditions in community settings, through administrative data and clinical trials. He also directs investigations of causes and prevention of work-related conditions in special populations of workers, and is currently working on a study on effectiveness of return to work coordination. Dr. Pransky currently is Chair of the Scientific Section on Work Disability Prevention and Reintegration of the International Commission on Occupational Health, a venue for international exchange of research knowledge in this area.
Barry Saver, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health, is a family physician and health services researcher with a wide range of research interests, focusing on vulnerable populations and organization and financing of health care services. He has conducted research in a variety of areas including access to care and health insurance, racial and ethnic disparities in health care, effects of financial incentives on health care costs, quality, and utilization, use of preventive services, tobacco cessation, childhood asthma, and prescription drug benefits, costs, and utilization. Currently, he is particularly interested in developing and testing interventions that empower patients to take a more active role in managing their health conditions. This includes ongoing projects to improve managment of hypertension using low-cost health information technology and medication management protocols and using patient stories and community health worker outreach and to develop new interventions to help patients make evidence-informed decisions about controversial cancer screening tests. Other current interests include EHR provider usability and improving medication reconciliation and medication adherence.
William Shaw, PhD, Instructor of Family Medicine and Community Health, is a psychologist with research interests in workplace injuries, musculoskeletal rehabilitation, and disability. Dr. Shaw's primary appointment is with the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, Hopkinton, MA, where he is a Principal Scientist in the Center for Disability Research. At the Institute, his research examines risk factors for work disability after injury as well as worksite and clinical interventions for musculoskeletal disorders. Current studies are focused on the experiences of patients with occupational low back pain, workplace factors that can complicate recovery and return-to-work, patient-physician communication of workplace and lifestyle pain concerns, early patient screening and intervention for acute low back pain, and supervisor training programs to improve employer response to workplace injuries. Dr. Shaw's research includes collaboration with a number of employers and occupational health clinics throughout New England to develop improved methods for injury treatment and rehabilitation.