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Research Faculty


Numerous faculty within the department have a primary interest in research blended with their clinical and teaching responsibilities.

Diane McKee, MD, MS, Professor and Chair of Family Medicine and Community Health joined the department in June of 2019. She previously served as faculty at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine from 1992-2019, where she provided primary care in a community health center, precepted medical students and residents, and regularly served as inpatient attending. In 1996 she joined the Division of Research. In 2000 she completed a two-year Master’s Program in Clinical Research Methods and was chosen for the highly selective Robert Wood Johnson General Physicians’ Faculty Scholar Award. She was founding director of the New York City Research Improvement Networking Group (NYC RING), an urban Practice-Based Research Network (PBRN). NYC RING focuses on coordinating and facilitating a wide range of practice-based research and quality improvement with the goal of informing and improving practice for the urban underserved. She has been an investigator or principal investigator for studies addressing such topics as novel approaches to address obesity in primary care, Hepatitis C screening and treatment, non-pharmacologic approaches for chronic pain, improving access and quality of services for adolescents in primary care, and improving outcomes of chronic disease care. Dr. McKee has particular expertise in health services research, including mixed qualitative and quantitative methods, and stakeholder-engaged research methods. Her interests include: practice-based quality improvement and research; improving quality of primary care, especially for underserved populations; integrative medicine; and mentorship.

Suzanne Mitchell, MD, MS, Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health, is the Director of Research for the department. Dr. Mitchell is an expert in clinical delivery system solutions to improve chronic disease management and care transitions for patients and family caregivers navigating the healthcare system. She is a practicing, board certified palliative and hospice care provider and family physician, health services researcher, and medical educator with expertise in primary care redesign, care transitions and palliative care for underserved populations. Suzanne is a member of the Project RED – Re-Engineered Discharge research team at Boston Medical Center and a key contributor for Project ACHIEVE – a national study of patient and caregiver perspectives on care transitions. Her other current research in care transitions includes a 5-year study of mental health support for patients with acute illness and depressive symptoms using telephonic cognitive behavior therapy to reduce avoidable readmissions (RED-Depression) and the development of a point-of-care screening to assess unmet social needs for patients being discharged from hospital to home (REDDCAT). Dr. Mitchell is also an innovator, studying the use of virtual reality and other pioneering technologies to improve access to patient-centered care and enhance health consumer empowerment. She maintains clinical responsibilities in palliative / hospice care at Care Dimensions Inc. Her informed and practical point-of-view as a researcher, teacher, and clinician makes Dr. Mitchell a sought-after trainer in health communications topics including team-based care, motivational interviewing, cross-cultural care, and shared decision making.

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 divides her time between the Department and the medical school’s Public and Private Health Solutions within Commonwealth Medicine (conducting applied health policy research). Her particular interests include maternal and child heath 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, Scientific Writing, Preventive Medicine/Public Health, facilitating journal clubs, conducting methods-based research workshops, and as the Director of the Senior Scholars Program for 4th year medical students.

Lucy Candib, MD, Professor Emerita of Family Medicine and Community Health, graduated from the first 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 40 years. Within the context of long-term doctor-patient relationships, she put feminist principles to work in a multicultural setting and also focused attention on the concerns of women trainees and practitioners, and lectured widely on the topics of sexual abuse and violence against women. In 2001, she was the first department faculty member to adopt group visit methodology for working with people with diabetes, conducting diabetes group visits in English and Spanish until retiring from clinical care in June, 2016. For many years Dr. Candib offered pro bono medical evaluations for people seeking asylum in the US, and continues to offer and teach this skill to trainees and physicians who recognize this humanitarian need. She is an active member of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, serves as STFM’s representative to the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA) 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 and monitoring implementation initiatives that use a community-engaged approach and that strive to use principles of community-based participatory research. She has provided evaluation assistance to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention supported Center for Excellence in Eliminating Disparities initiative and a Health Resources and Services Administration funded oral health case manager project. Currently, Dr. Cashman serves as evaluator for the Massachusetts statewide Area Health Education Center Network. A common thread in Dr. Cashman’s evaluation research work is her commitment to ensuring that programs aimed at providing health care services to low-income and vulnerable populations reach their goals.

Robin Clark, PhD, Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health, is a core faculty member in the Clinical and Population Health Research doctoral training program. Robin specializes in economic evaluation of health care interventions and policies and has authored more than 95 peer-reviewed articles in that area, primarily related to mental health and substance use disorders. His research has been funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute of Mental Health, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, and by health and human services agencies in all of the New England states. Robin’s current work focuses on family homelessness; the impact of social factors on health, healthcare use, and spending; and opioid addiction, with a particular focus on primary care for Medicaid beneficiaries and other underserved populations. 

Philip Day, PhD, Assistant Professor and Associate Director of Education is an applied ethicist and philosopher whose research focuses on evaluating medical education, investigating ethical issues in primary care practice, and conducting community-based participatory research. Dr. Day has participated and conducted research that spans the breadth of family medicine and primary care practice, from validating family violence screening tools to training residents to respond to in-flight emergencies. His interests include ethical issues in primary care clinical practice, the role of communication in the management of chronic pain, understanding and addressing vaccine hesitancy, and measuring moral injury in healthcare professionals. His work has been awarded by the North American Primary Care Research Group and the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine. He has over 7 years of IRB service and currently serves as a bioethics reviewer for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Human Subjects Review Board. 

Warren J. Ferguson, MD, Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health, is a career community health center physician with an academic career centered on achieving health equity for vulnerable populations. Twenty years ago, he took on the challenge to assist UMass Chan Medical School to develop a comprehensive medical care program for detainees in the state’s prisons, with the program spanning 10 years. As he understood the scope of mass incarceration in the U.S. and the disproportionate impact on Black and Brown communities, Dr. Ferguson engaged academic medicine to foster more research and improved care systems at the intersection of health and the criminal legal system. As the founder of the Academic and Health Policy Conference on Criminal Justice Health, a research conference in its 16th year and the Academic Consortium on Criminal Justice Health, he has helped to address the vexing problems facing incarcerated persons and challenges to health and success following incarceration.  Dr. Ferguson led an implementation science project in two states to adopt evidence-based opioid use disorder practices in state prisons and county jails with both NIH and AHRQ funding. This work was leveraged to develop a strategy for qualitative research in seven jails in Massachusetts as a part of the Baystate JCOIN hub in which Dr. Ferguson serves as a co-investigator. Dr. Ferguson also serves as a co-PI in the Capacity Building Core of the Coordination and Translation Center based at George Mason University. Additionally, he has studied interventions to improve chronic illness outcomes of populations which historically experience health inequities with interventions by community health workers to facilitate healthy behavior changes in communities funded by the National Institute of Minority and Health Disparities and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 

Paula Gardiner, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health, is the Associate Director of Research for the department. She directs the group medical visit program in the Center for Integrated Primary Care. In addition to completing her MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health, she also completed a three-year Clinical Research Fellowship in Complementary and Alternative Medicine Research and Faculty Development at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Gardiner was awarded an NIH K award focusing on Integrative Medicine, technology, and health disparities. Her research concentration is patient-oriented research regarding chronic pain and evidence-based integrative medicine access in low income patients. Current research is focused on the adaptive role of Medical Group Visits combining mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and a medical group visit to support health behavior change and reducing pain and stress. She has had funding from the Patient Center Outcomes Research Institute and the National Institute of Health. Dr. Gardiner is leading the implementation of this medical group visit model nationally and provides training on medical group visits around the United States. She has published over 90 peer-reviewed papers on chronic pain, health disparities technology, dietary supplements, stress, and integrative medicine in underserved patients. 

Jack Gettens, PhD, Assistant Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health is a Research Scientist at the Center for Health Policy and Research. He conducts research on the employment and healthcare of persons with disabilities in addition to research on public health topics. He has expertise in both quasi-experimental and qualitative research methods. Dr. Gettens’ recent work includes a study examining the geographic variation in Social Security disability program participation across the United States and a mixed-method study of the employment-related health insurance needs of working-age persons with disabilities. Dr. Gettens’ public health research focuses on smoking behavior, quit attempts, and the use of tobacco cessation treatments among Massachusetts Medicaid members.

Heather-Lyn Haley, PhD, Assistant Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health, is the program director for community health initiatives within the department and leads the interprofessional Population and Community Health Clerkship for students in our TH Chan School of Medicine and Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing. She has a long history of developing deep relationships within local communities to reduce the negative impacts of the social determinants of health. She serves as a member of the Community Engagement and Anti-Racism subcommittees of the Coalition for a Healthy Greater Worcester, the Anti-stigma subcommittee of the Mayor’s Mental Health Task Force, the Worcester Healthy Baby Collaborative Steering Committee, the Eternal Om Committee to Improve Oversight of Home Birth Midwives, the Health Equity Partnership of North Central MA, and the Worcester Trauma, Resiliency & Racial Equity Training Institute Community of Practice. She directs the consultation service of the cross-campus DRIVE Initiative (Diversity, Representation and Inclusion for Value in Education) and supports the UMass Chan Collaboratory database in partnership with the Office for Community and Government Relations. Her past research includes the use of community-based participatory research methods with the Worcester Refugee Assistance Project to develop shared understanding of the nutrition, exercise, and sleep habits and norms held by refugees resettling in Worcester from Burma, and then further work in partnership with Community Legal Aid of Central MA and the Central West Justice Center to better document the legal needs of local refugees as understood by workers in refugee-serving agencies. Dr. Haley connects learners with external partners to identify and answer the questions that will improve our institutional responses to community-identified needs.

Lee Hargraves, PhD, PhD, Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health, focuses his research on using patient and consumer assessments of health care to improve quality of medical care. He has extensive experience developing and evaluating survey questions, specifically to create patient experience surveys to assess health care quality. Dr Hargraves’ research has contributed to national efforts to document racial and ethnic disparities in health care. His current interests focus on eliminating disparities and promoting equity in health care. 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. Collaborating with the UMass Center for Health Equity Intervention Research, he was co-principal investigator on 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 support patients with hypertension in their efforts to control blood pressure. Dr. Hargraves is a Senior Research Fellow and Director of the Center for Survey Research at UMass Boston, where he works as a survey scientist on the Consumer Assessments of Healthcare Provider & Systems (CAHPS) project. 

Jay Himmelstein, MD, MPH, Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health and Population and Quantitative Health Sciences, is the Chief Health Policy Strategist for Commonwealth Medicine. His professional career in research, policy development, and service is dedicated to improving health care and health outcomes for those served by the public sector with a special emphasis on people with disabilities, leading him to be a nationally recognized physician, educator, and researcher. His most recent work has focused on an independent evaluation of the Massachusetts Medicaid Waiver with emphasis on delivery system improvements and addressing the social determinants of health.

Roger Luckmann, MD, MPH, Professor Emeritus 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 20 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 and has developed a handheld electronic pain diary that he proposes to evaluate in future research efforts. Supported by a contract from the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute he recently collaborated with professional mediators in convening multistakeholder panels that developed clinical practice guidelines on prostate and lung cancer screening for Massachusetts. He continues to collaborate with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Massachusetts Cancer Prevention and Control Network on supporting evidence-based lung and prostate cancer screening throughout the state.

Daniel Mullin, PsyD, MPH is Director of the Center for Integrated Primary Care and an Associate Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. He has conducted research focused on training healthcare providers in Motivational Interviewing. His work has also focused on the integration of primary care and behavioral health services, including the development of the Practice Integration Profile, a measure of the integration of behavioral health and primary care services. Dr. Mullin is a co-investigator on a large pragmatic trial funded by the Patient Centered Research Outcomes Institute entitled Integrating Behavioral Health into Primary Care for Comorbid Behavioral and Medical Problems (IBH-PC).

Ekaterina (Kate) Pivovarova, PhD, Assistant Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health, is a licensed clinical psychologist. Since 2015, Dr. Pivovarova has been on faculty at UMass Chan Medical School. Her primary research interest is improving access to addictions and mental health treatment for individuals with legal involvement. She has received the UMass Center for Clinical and Translation Science Mentored Career Award (KL2) to examine the impact of quality of life and psychosocial variables on treatment retention for individuals with substance use disorders in drug courts. In 2020, she was awarded the NIDA K23 Career Mentoring Award to pilot an implementation strategy to improve collaborations and communication between drug courts and community-based medications for opioid use disorder treatment providers. Dr. Pivovarova serves as the co-Investigator of the NIDA HEAL Massachusetts Justice Community Opioid Initiative Network study examining the implementation of medications for opioid use disorder in jails across Massachusetts. Dr. Pivovarova’s other research interests include empirical investigations of bioethics and psychological assessment. Dr. Pivovarova serves as a co-leader of the UMass Chan K Award Writing Group, is a board member of the Academic Consortium for Criminal Justice Health, and is on the steering committee for the UMass Chan Psychology Group. Dr. Pivovarova is passionate about improving access to services for vulnerable and traditionally disadvantaged communities and educating students, academics, clinicians, and legal professionals about addiction and behavioral health needs and gold standard treatments.

Hugh Silk MD, MPH, Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health, focuses his research on oral health, specifically medical-dental integration in practice and health education. He is a co-founder of the Center for Integration of Primary Care and Oral Health (CIPCOH), a collaborative partnership between the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School, Harvard Medical School, and the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. Dr Silk’s research has contributed to chronicling and improving oral health education in primary care across the various disciplines including family medicine, pediatrics, geriatrics, midwifery, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and more. With colleagues in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health and CIPCOH, he currently is an investigator on a Carequest-funded project entitled 100 Million Mouths Campaign to train and evaluate 50 state oral health education champions. He is the past recipient of the American Association of Public Health Dentistry's Public Service Award.

Sonal Singh MD, MPH, Associate Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health also has a joint appointment in the Department of Medicine, Division of Health Systems Science. He conducts clinical research with a focus on drug safety, evidence synthesis and shared decision making. Dr. Singh has taught at Wake Forest University and Johns Hopkins University and served as a consultant to the World Bank, the World Health Organization International Agency for Research Cancer, the Food and Drug Administration, the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, pharmaceutical sponsors, and research firms. His work has been featured in Science, Journal of the American Medical Association, British Medical Journal, and the Lancet in addition to media outlets such as the NYTIMES, Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. Dr. Singh is also a practicing general internist. With his colleagues in the Division of Health Systems Science, Dr Singh is collaborating on a large health plan based pragmatic trial of mailed educational intervention to promote deprescribing of potentially inappropriate medications among older adults with dementia. He is also co-investigator on a community-based clinical trial to promote vaccine COVID-19 uptake. He recently led a multisponsor academic industry research contract supported by the FDA, Reagan Udall Foundation for the FDA to develop novel tools to evaluate algorithm validation studies for regulatory surveillance. Further testing and validation of the tool is planned over the next academic year.