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Featured Graduates

  • Hawa O. Abu

    Hawa O. Abu, MD, MPH, PhD

    2019 Graduate

    Prior Education: MD, University of Ibadan, Nigeria; MPH, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

    Research Interests: Understanding the role of social-cultural factors (religiosity, spirituality, cultural beliefs) on cardiovascular health outcomes; improving healthcare access; addressing health disparities and immigrant health challenges

    Mentors: Catarina Kiefe PhD MD and Robert Goldberg PhD

    Dissertation: Religiosity and Patient Activation and Health Outcomes among Hospital Survivors of an Acute Coronary Syndrome

    Post Graduation: Dr. Abu is a Post-Doctoral Associate in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School

  • Matthew Alcusky

    Matthew Alcusky, PharmD, PhD

    2019 Graduate

    Prior Education: PharmD and MS from the University of Rhode Island

    Research Interests:  Pharmacoepidemiology, health services research, health policy, pharmacoeconomics

    Mentor: Kate Lapane

    Dissertation: Anticoagulant Use, Safety, and Effectiveness for Ischemic Stroke Prevention in Nursing Home Residents with Atrial Fibrillation

    Post Graduation: Dr. Alcusky is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Epidemiology, Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts Medical School.

  • Daniel Amante

    Daniel Amante, PhD

    2016 Graduate

    Prior Education: BA, Biological Psychology, College of the Holy Cross; MPH, Boston University School of Public Health

    Research Interests: Patient-facing technologies, implementation science, and disease management

    Mentor: David Harlan, MD

    Dissertation: Evaluating Acceptability, Feasibility and Efficacy of a Diabetes Care Support Program Facilitated by Cellular-Enabled Glucose Meters

    Post Graduation: Dr. Amante is Program Director in the Division of Health Informatics and Implementation Science, Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts Medical School

  • Ganga Bey

    Ganga Bey, PhD, MPH

    2019 Graduate

    Prior Education: BA, Anthropology, Princeton University; MPH Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

    Research Interests: Racial and gender chronic disease disparities; identity-based stress and health; social justice and health

    Mentor: Sharina Person, PhD and Catarina Kiefe, MD, PhD

    Dissertation: Gendered Race, Interpersonal Discrimination, and Cardiovascular Disease Disparities: Application of the Emerging Identity Pathology Model

    Post Graduation: Dr. Bey is now a postdoctoral fellow on an NHLBI CVD Epidemiology training grant in the Gillings School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina Chapel 

  • Maira Castañeda-Avila

    Maira Castañeda-Avila, PhD

    2021 Graduate

    Prior Education: BS in Cellular and Molecular Biology, Universidad Ana G. Mendez Cupey Campus, Puerto Rico; MS in Epidemiology, University of Puerto Rico Medical Science Campus

    Research Interests: Investigating individual, socio-cultural, and health services factors that might influence the burden of cancer, with a particular interest in cancer prevention and control among Hispanic populations in the United States.

    Mentors: Mara Epstein, ScD

    Dissertation: The Role of a Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance Diagnosis in Healthcare Utilization

    Post Graduation: Dr. Castaneda-Avila is a Post-Doctoral Associate in the Department of Population and Qualitative Health Science, University of Massachusetts Medical School 

  • Han-Yang Chen

    Han-Yang Chen, PhD

    2015 Graduate

    Prior Education: BA in Economics, National Taiwan University, MS in Information Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, MS in Population Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison

    Research Interests: Cardiovascular disease epidemiology

    Mentor: Robert Goldberg, PhD

    Dissertation: Hospital Treatment Practices, 30-Day Hospital Readmissions, and Long-Term Prognosis in Patients Hospitalized with Acute Myocardial Infarction: A Dissertation

    Post Graduation: Dr. Chen is an Assistant Professor (Research) at UTHealth.

  • Yong Chen

    Yong Chen, PhD

    2011 Graduate

    Prior Education: MD, Shanghai Jiao Tong University; MS, Johns Hopkins University

    Research Interests: Study design and patient safety

    Mentor: Becky Briesacher, PhD

    Dissertation: Comparative Effectiveness of Alendronate and Risedronate on the Risk of Non-Vertebral Fractures in Older Women: An Instrumental Variables Approach

    Post Graduation: Dr. Chen is an Epidemiologist and Senior Scientist at Merck Corporation

  • Yendelela Cuffee

    Yendelela Cuffee, PhD

    2012 Graduate

    Prior Education: BS in Biology, Hampton University; MPH, New York Medical College

    Research Interests: Health disparities and international health

    Mentor: Jeroan Allison, MD, MScEpi

    Dissertation: "Exploring the Psychosocial and Behavioral Determinants of Medication Adherence Among African Americans with Hypertension"

    Post Graduation:Dr. Cuffee is an Assistant Professor at Penn State College of Medicine

  • Carol Curtin

    Carol Curtin, PhD

    2015 Graduate

    Prior Education: BA in Sociology and Psychology, Trinity College and an MSW in Casework and Groupwork, Boston University School of Social Work

    Research Interests: The identification of unique modifiable risk factors for obesity in children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and the development of targeted and tailored interventions to address their needs.

    Mentor: Eric Mick ScD

    Dissertation: Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Screen Time, Physical Activity, and Diet Quality

    Post Graduation: Associate Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center at UMass Medical School. Within the Shriver Center, Dr. Curtin is the Director of the University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) and the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) programs, and a Co-Director of the Healthy Weight Research Network (HWRN).

    Dr. Curtin is currently an Associate Professor of Family Medicine & Community Health and Psychiatry and is a faculty member in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at UMass Medical School. She is also a Lecturer in Pediatrics at the Tufts University School of Medicine and a faculty member at the Moakley Center for Public Administration at Suffolk University.

  • Eric Ding

    Eric Ding, PhD

    2021 Graduate

    Prior education: BS, University of California, San Diego; MS, University of California, San Diego

    Research interests: Wearable health technologies, system usability, physiologic signal processing

    Mentor: David McManus, MD, MSc

    Dissertation: Feasibility of Smartwatch-based Atrial Fibrillation Detection Among Older Adults After Stroke

    Post graduation: Eric will resume his medical training as part of the UMMS MD-PhD program

  • Hongliu Ding

    Hongliu Ding, PhD

    2008 Graduate

    Prior Education: MD, Anhui Medical University of China; MPH, Shanghai Medical University

    Research Interests: Quantitative risk analysis and risk reduction interventions, clinical drug trials

    Mentor: Terry Field, PhD

    Dissertation: Bone Health and Coronary Heart Disease in Postmenopausal Women with Breast Cancer Treated with Tamoxifen

    Post Graduation: Dr. Ding holds joint appointments as a Commissioner's Fellow at the US Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and an epidemiologist at National Center for Food Safety and Technology, Division of Food Processing Science and Technology

  • Nathaniel Erskine

    Nathaniel Erskine, MD, PhD

    Prior Education: BA in Chemistry with High Honors - Swarthmore College (Swarthmore, PA); MD – University of Massachusetts Medical School (Worcester, MA)

    Research Interests: Cardiovascular disease epidemiology, clinical outcomes research, health disparities

    Mentor: Catarina Kiefe PhD MD, Robert Goldberg PhD

    Dissertation: Barriers to Healthcare Access and Patient Outcomes after a Hospitalization for an Acute Coronary Syndrome and other Acute Conditions

    Post Graduation: Dr. Erskine continues his clinical training as a resident physician in the Department of Anesthesiology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC.

  • Barbara Gandek

    Barbara Gandek, PhD

    2014 Graduate

    Prior Education: BA in Economics, Swarthmore College; MS in Health Policy and Management, Harvard School of Public Health

    Research Interests: patient-reported outcomes measurement

    Mentor: John Ware, PhD
    Dissertation: "Psychometric Evaluation of Joint-Specific Patient-Reported Outcome Measures Before and After Total Knee Replacement"
    Post Graduation: Dr. Gandek is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Director of Research at John Ware Research Group

  • Lauren Gellar

    Lauren Gellar, PhD

    2011 Graduate

    Prior Education: AS in Culinary Arts & BS in Clinical Nutrition, Johnson and Wales; MS in Nutrition and Public Health & Med in Community Nutrition, Columbia University

    Thesis Advisor: Lori Pbert, PhD

    Dissertation: The Effect of Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load on Glucose Control, Lipid Profiles and Anthropometrics among Low-Income Latinos with Type 2 Diabetes

    Post Graduation: Dr. Gellar is a tenure-track assistant professor position in Public Health Nutrition at the University of Tennessee

  • Alexandra Hajduk

    Alexandra Hajduk, PhD

    2014 Graduate

    Prior Education: BS in Health Sciences, Northeastern University; MPH, University of Connecticut

    Research Interests: epidemiological methods and cognition in aging

    Mentor: Jane Saczynski, PhD
    Dissertation: "Cognitive Status and Initiation of Lifestyle Changes Following Acute Coronary Syndrome"
    Post Graduation: Dr. Hajduk is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Training Program in Geriatric Clinical Epidemiology & Aging-Related Research at the Yale University School of Medicine

  • Aimee Kroll-Desrosiers

    Aimee Kroll-Desrosiers, PhD

    2019 Graduate

    Prior Education: BA, Cultural Anthropology, Mount Holyoke College; MS, Epidemiology, University of Massachusetts Amherst

    Research Interests: Perinatal mental health; care coordination; mechanisms of effective care pathways for perinatal depression; qualitative and quantitative mixed methodology

    Mentor: Kristin Mattocks, PhD, MPH

    Dissertation: Understanding the Experience and Evaluating the Occurrence of Depression in a Sample of Pregnant Veterans

    Post Graduation: Dr. Kroll-Desrosiers has accepted a position as a Research Health Scientist with the VA Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System

  • Lisa Lines

    Lisa Lines, PhD

    2014 Graduate

    Prior Education: BS in Technical Communications (Biomedical Sciences Concentration), Northeastern University; MPH, UMass Amherst

    Research Interests: health services and outcomes research

    Mentor: Arlene Ash, PhD
    Dissertation: "Outpatient Emergency Department Utilization: Measurement and Prediction"
    Post Graduation: Dr. Lines is a Health Services Researcher, RTI International and Instructor, Population and Quantitative Health Sciences, UMMS

  • Shao-Hsien Liu

    Shao-Hsien Liu, PhD

    2017 Graduate

    Prior Education: BS in Physical Therapy, National Yang Ming University, MPH in Health Policy Management, Emory University

    Research Interests: Musculoskeletal epidemiology, pharmacoepidemiology, and epidemiologic methods

    Mentor: Kate Lapane, PhD

    Dissertation: Impact of Intra-Articular Injection Use on Patient-Reported Outcomes Among Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis

    Post Graduation: Dr. Liu is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences at University of Massachusetts Medical School.

  • Andrea Lopez-Cepero

    Andrea Lopez-Cepero, PhD, MHSN

    Prior Education: BS, Molecular Biology, University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras campus; MHSN, University of Puerto Rico-Medical Sciences campus

    Research Interests: nutrition, stress and Latino health disparities

    Mentor: Milagros Rosal, PhD

    Dissertation: Physiological and psychological stressors associated with glucose metabolism in the Boston Puerto Rican Health Study

    Post Graduation: Dr. Lopez-Cepero is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Nutrition Department at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

  • Tanya Lord

    Tanya Lord, PhD

    2011 Graduate

    Prior Education: BS in Special Education, Boston University; MPH, University of New Hampshire

    Research Interests: Patient safety improvement and medical error prevention

    Mentor: Roger Luckmann, MD, MPH

    Dissertation: Early Detection and Treatment of Acute Clinical Decline in Hospitalized Patients: An Observational Study of ICU Transfers and an Assessment of the Effectiveness of a Rapid Response Program

    Post Graduation: Dr. Lord holds joint appointments as a Patient Safety Consultant at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and a Patient Engagement Consultant at the Foundation for Healthy Communities New Hampshire

  • Grace Masters

    Grace Masters, PhD

    2021 Graduate

    Prior Education: BS in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Neurobiology & Behavior, Cornell University

    Research Interests: Mental health services research, including increasing access to care for those with mood and psychotic disorders

    Mentor: Nancy Byatt, DO, MS, MBA

    Dissertation: Bipolar Disorder in the Perinatal Period: Understanding Gaps in Care to Improve Access and Patient Outcomes

    Post Graduation: Grace will resume her medical training as part of the UMMS MD-PhD program

  • Camilla Pimentel

    Camilla Pimentel, PhD

    2015 Graduate

    Prior Education: AB in Community Health, Brown University and MPH in Sociomedical Sciences - Aging and Public Health, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

    Research Interests: long-term care, cancer-related symptom management among older adults, person-centered care, pharmacoepidemiology

    Mentor: Kate Lapane, PhD

    Dissertation: Use of Opioids for Pain Management in Nursing Homes

    Post Graduation: Dr. Pimentel is a postdoctoral fellow in the Prevention and Control of Cancer: Training in Implementation Science (PRACCTIS) program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She is based at the Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research (CHOIR) at the Bedford VA Medical Center.

  • Hilary Placzek

    Hilary Placzek, PhD

    2012 Graduate

    Prior Education: BA Colgate University, MPH (International Health) Boston University School of Public Health

    Research Interests: Improving healthcare, policy

    Dissertation: A Population-Based Epidemiological Description of Socio-Demographic Characteristics and Predictors of Severity Among Hospitalized H1N1 Cases in Massachusetts

    Post Graduation: Dr. Placzek is a Senior Analyst in health outcomes for WellPoint, Blue Cross Blue Shield Division of Clinical Research

  • Alan Rathbun

    Alan Rathbun, PhD

    2014 Graduate

    Prior Education: BS (Magna Cum Laude) in Biology, Rider University; MPH, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) School of Public Health

    Research Interests: mental health in the context of chronic physical disease

    Mentor: George Reed, PhD
    Dissertation: "Depression in Rheumatoid Arthritis and an Estimation of the Bi-Directional Association of Depression and Disease Burden"
    Post Graduation: Dr. Rathbun is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Epidemiology of Aging Training Program at the University of Maryland School Medicine

  • Apurv Soni

    Apurv Soni, PhD

    Prior Education: BA, Biology with specialization in Neurobiology

    Research Interests: Global health; health disparities research; mobile technology; healthcare access and delivery; Public policy analysis; Maternal and child health; Noncommunicable diseases

    Mentor: Jeroan Allison, MD, MScEpi

    Dissertation: Trends, Predictors, and Consequences of child undernutrition in India

    Post Graduation: Apurv will resume his medical training as part of the UMMS MD-PhD program

  • Christine Ulbricht

    Christine Ulbricht, PhD

    2015 graduate

    Prior Education: BA in Psychology, University of Maryland College Park; MPH in Epidemiology, University of Maryland College Park

    Research Interests: Psychiatric epidemiology

    Mentor: Kate Lapane, PhD

    Dissertation: Latent Variable Approaches for Understanding Heterogeneity in Depression: A Dissertation

    Post Graduation: Dr. Ulbricht is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Medical School

  • W.W. Sanouri Ursprung

    W.W. Sanouri Ursprung, PhD

    2013 Graduate

    Prior Education: BS in International Studies with a concentration in Biochemistry, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

    Research Interests: addiction, health disparities, policy driven research, advocacy, and the dissemination of relevant translational research abroad

    Mentor: Joseph DiFranza, MD
    Dissertation: "Developing Three New Pathophysiologically Based Measures of Nicotine Dependence: A Dissertation"
    Post Graduation: Dr. Ursprung is a Deputy Director in the Office of Statistics and Evaluation at the Bureau of Community Health and Prevention, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Boston, MA

  • Mollie Wood

    Mollie Wood, PhD

    2015 Graduate

    Prior Education: BA in Zoology, Miami University, and an MPH in Epidemiology, Boston University

    Research Interests: Reproductive and perinatal epidemiology, pharmacoepidemiology, treatment of chronic illnesses during pregnancy, neurodevelopmental disorders of children, and causal inference and epidemiologic methods

    Mentor: Jean Frazier, MD
    Dissertation: Causal Inference Methods for Assessing Neurodevelopment in Children Following Prenatal Exposure to Triptan Medications
    Post Graduation: Dr. Wood has completed her post-doctoral fellowship with the University of Oslo and now is doing a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard University.

  • Rui Xiao

    Rui Xiao, PhD

    2015 Graduate
    Prior Education: Degree in clinical medicine from Jilin University, China; MPH in Epidemiology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst
    Research Interests: nutritional epidemiology and women’s health with a focus on psychosocial and behavioral factors leading to weight management during pregnancy and postpartum
    Mentor: Molly Waring, PhD
    Dissertation: Diet Quality And Evening Snacking In Relation To Sleep Duration And Quality Among Women With Young Children
    Post Graduation: Dr. Xiao is a Senior Epidemiologist at IQVIA

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of CPHR Graduates


Brown University

Harvard Medical School

Mercer University School of Medicine

New York University Langone Medical Center

Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Viet Nam

University of Massachusetts Medical School

University of Oregon Medical School

University of Tennessee

Yale School of Medicine


Biogen Idec

HealthCore, Inc.



Department of Veterans Affairs

Food and Drug Administrations

Massachusetts Department of Public Health

North Carolina Center for Health Statistics

Non-profit/ Advocacy

Foundation for Healthy Communities New Hampshire