IHDPS Adjunct Fellows
Sylvia Brandt, PhD, MS
Sylvia Brandt is a Research Professor in the School of Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She holds degrees in economics (B.A., Oberlin College; M.S., University of California, Berkeley) and agricultural and resource economics (Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley).
Her primary research interests include valuation of chronic illnesses, measurement
of disparities in health outcomes and methodologies for evaluating health interventions. Her work expands on traditional economic models to include factors such as exposure to environmental triggers, disparities in asthma treatment, and diversity of preferences among affected populations. Dr. Brandt specializes in developing surveys on risk perceptions and health behaviors to improve models of household behaviors. Dr. Brandt’s research has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, US Environmental Protection Agency, Centers for Disease and Control, South Coast Air Quality Management District, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and National Fund for Science and Technology (Chile).
Her research on childhood asthma has been published in journals such as the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Pediatrics, Environmental Health Perspectives, Value in Health, American Journal of Public Health, Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, Science of the Total Environment, Health Education and Behavior, and Preventative Medicine Reports. Her co-authored paper, "Costs of childhood asthma due to traffic-pollution in two California communities," was named as one of the 20 most important publications of 2012 funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Science. Brandt has served on the US Environmental Protection Agency's Science Advisory Committee for Environmental Economics as well as on the Science Advisory Committee for the cost-benefit review of the Clean Air Act.
David Chin, PhD
David Chin is an Assistant Professor of Health Promotion and Policy in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Dr. Chin’s research focuses on health care quality measurement to inform national health policy, health care systems, and clinical practice. He completed his doctorate in epidemiology at the University of California, Davis and a postdoctoral fellowship in the Quality, Safety, and Comparative Effectiveness Research Training Program, in the Center for Health Policy and Research at the UC Davis Health System.
Most recently, Dr. Chin has focused on the development of data science and computational methods – natural language processing, quantum computing machine learning algorithms, and health informatics – to quantify social determinants of health and reduce health disparities. His research interests also include hospital and physician performance measures, patient safety, and the impact of public reporting on health outcomes.
Elizabeth Evans, PhD, MA
Liz Evans is an Assistant Professor of Health Promotion and Policy in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Dr. Evans researches how health care systems and public policies can better promote health and wellness among individuals with opioid and other substance use disorders, mental health conditions, and infectious diseases. She completed her doctorate in public health at the University of California Los Angeles and a health services research and development postdoctoral fellowship at the Veterans Affairs Center for the Study of Healthcare Innovation, Implementation, and Policy.
Most recently, Dr. Evans has focused on the behavioral health of women, investigating the addiction health services utilization and long-term mortality outcomes of women treated for opioid use disorders, gender differences in the health effects of childhood adversity, and the comparative effectiveness of gender sensitive behavioral health care for pregnant and parenting women. Much of her research has originated from community-partnered multisite longitudinal cohort study designs and mining of linked administrative data provided by health care delivery systems, social services institutions, and criminal justice sources. Currently, she is Principal Investigator of a mixed methods study of gender differences in use and outcomes of complementary and integrative healthcare by military veterans with chronic musculoskeletal pain. She is also leading a study to adapt narrative medicine methods for women with opioid use disorders to improve medication assisted treatment utilization and strengthen community integration.
Liana Fraenkel, MD, MPH
Liana Fraenkel, after a 20-year career at Yale University, is now the Director of Patient Centered Population Health Research at the Berkshire Health Systems and remains Adjunct Professor of Medicine at Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Fraenkel’s research program has focused on improving our understanding both physician and patient decision-making and on developing methods to improve the quality of decision making for patients faced with complex decisions involving multiple options. She has conducted numerous studies incorporating qualitative and quantitative methodologies that evaluate patient attitudes towards drug toxicity, physician and patient treatment preferences, and the contextual influences on risk perceptions. She has also developed several novel methods of communicating risk information and engaging patients in shared decision making with decision support tools. She is now focused on building a population health research program to address some of the most pressing health problems in the region. Dr. Fraenkel was funded by a K24 Mentoring award and has mentored trainees across a broad range of patient-oriented research projects. In 2009, Dr. Fraenkel received the Henry Kunkel Young Investigator Award from the ACR.
Sarah L. Goff, MD, PhD
Sarah Goff is a board-certified pediatrician and internist, and an Associate Professor at University of Massachusetts Medical School-Baystate. She is a graduate of the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program at Yale, the 2011 recipient of the Tufts University School of Medicine KL-2 Mentored Career Development Award, and a K23 Career Development Award from
Her research interests include maternal-child health care quality and safety with a particular interest in public reporting of quality measures. Additional interests include qualitative methodology, palliative care research, impact of health care delivery systems on patient outcomes, and how communication impacts health outcomes.
Samuel Headley, PhD, FACSM, ACSM-RCEP
Sam Headley is a professor in the Exercise Science & Athletic Training Department at Springfield College. He is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and an ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist. He is also a former president of the Clinical Exercise Physiology Association (CEPA) and the current Program Director of the Exercise Physiology program at Springfield College. The Clinical Exercise Physiology program at Springfield College is one of the few CAAHEP accredited clinical exercise physiology programs in the country. Dr. Headley’s research interest include the effects of lifestyle interventions (i.e., diet and exercise training) in persons with chronic kidney disease and the effect of exercise training on blood pressure in persons with hypertension, with a special interest in hypertension in Black individuals.
Rachele Hendricks-Sturrup, DHSc, MSc, MA
Rachele Hendricks-Sturrup is a mixed-methods researcher and implementation scientist seeking to identify and address issues and challenges at the forefront of precision medicine and policy. Her current work involves 1) examining stakeholder concerns about employer-sponsored wellness programs as they relate to the Genetic Information and Nondiscrimination Act and 2) guiding the successful implementation of evidence-based guidelines for genetic testing into clinical practice to address some of the nation’s most pressing health disparities and leading causes of mortality. She
is a 2018-2019 Thomas O. Pyle Fellowship awardee at the Harvard Pilgrim Health
Care Institute, Department of Population Medicine, PRecisiOn Medicine Translational Research (PROMoTeR) Center. Dr. Hendricks-Sturrup received her undergraduate degree in biology from Chicago State University, Master of Science degree in pharmacology and toxicology from Michigan State University, and Master of Art degree in legal studies from University of Illinois. Additionally, she holds a Doctor of Health Science degree from Nova Southeastern University.
Cristina Huebner Torres, PhD, MA
Cristina Huebner Torres is a community-based social epidemiologist and healthcare leader. She is a long-time research and public health collaborator with academic, clinical, and community partners. She is the Vice President of Research and Population Health at Caring Health Center. She is a Steering Committee member and Affiliated Researcher with the University of Massachusetts-Amherst’s School of Public Health and Health Sciences (SPHHS) Center for Community Health Equity Research (CCHER). Cristina is also Vice Chair of the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts and Policy Council member of the Massachusetts Public Health Association.
Her research examines the social determinants of chronic disease prevention and management and population health. She has expertise in community-responsive, mixed method research and public health practice that informs sustainable interventions and policy to promote health equity among ethnically diverse community health center patients. She was ethnographer (2007-2011) and Site PI (2014-2018) on two NIH R01 studies at Caring Health Center that examined health literacy, medication adherence, and cultural health differences among patients with chronic disease. She is currently leading a research project that links Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) screening data, including self-reported stress and community health worker assignment, with clinical and claims data from five community health centers to examine the relationship and etiology of SDoH, disease control, hospital utilization and cost.
Kathleen Mazor, EdD
Kathy Mazor is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and Associate Director of the Meyers Primary Care Institute. An experienced researcher, a major focus of her work has been understanding patients' perspectives on health and healthcare. Her research on patients' perceptions of care has helped to amplify the voices of patients and their family members, and has provided important insights into what matters most to patients. She has led and collaborated on numerous studies investigating the impact of various strategies for communicating with patients about sensitive and complex health-related topics.
She is a nationally recognized leader in health literacy where she has drawn attention to the need to focus on how patient understanding spoken health information as well as written information. Trained in psychometrics, she has developed numerous instruments for assessing knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and experiences of patients and providers. Her current research interests include physician-patient communication, patient-perceived breakdowns in care, health literacy, disclosure of medical errors, and decision-making.
Brian Nathanson, PhD
Brian Nathanson is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of OptiStatim, LLC, a consulting firm specializing in mathematical modeling in health care for both commercial and academic clients. He has a doctorate in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. In 2013, he achieved diplomate status in the Society for Health Systems. His research interests are in benchmarking, applying operations research methods to clinical health care problems, and econometrics. A majority of his recent projects have focused on critical care or emergency medicine, with an emphasis on sepsis. He is also very active in the Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers and INFORMS.
Christian Salmon, PhD, MS
Christian Salmon is Chair of the Department of Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management at Western New England University, where he has been faculty since 2012. His primary area of teaching and research interests focus on population exposures to health and safety risks, be it from a public health or occupational health and safety perspective. Towards this, Christian has found the Center for Global Health, Engineering, and Innovations-CZ [a 501(c)3] a Center through which funding for research projects can be sought and results deployed. Some examples of his work include developing a cassava-based alternative to commercial ultrasound gel for use in developing nations wherein costs of gel impacts quality of care, and establishing baseline exposure of commercial fishers’ to environmental hazards onboard commercial fishing vessels, including diesel fumes, exhaust soot, water quality, noise, VOCs, and other exposures. These interests can be summarizes as ‘lowering risk to the individual by raising awareness in the population.” While at Western New England University, Christian has been instrumental in launching the Western New England FIRST Robotics Initiative in an effort to raise awareness of the possibilities of a STEM education for traditionally underserved populations in the Western Mass regions. Prior to Western New England University, Christian was a 20+ year Alaskan Commercial Fisherman working out of Cordova, Alaska, during which time he worked on his undergraduate in civil engineering at University of Alaska Fairbanks, and his master's and doctorate in risk and safety at George Washington University. Christian is a certified Project Management Professional, Risk Management Professional, and an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Outreach Trainer for General Industry.
Natalia G. Shcherbakova, PhD
Natalia Shcherbakova is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Pharmaceutical and Administrative Sciences at Western New England University College of Pharmacy. She is also a health services researcher with a local health plan, Health New England. Her research interests include pharmacoeconomics and health outcomes studies, managed care program evaluation, as well as assessment of the impact of mobile technology and social media on health care and education.