Faculty, Fall 2016 0

New Faculty, Fall 2016

The School of Public Health is fortunate to have several new faculty members in the fold whose research interests run the gamut from behavioral interventions to reduce risk among sexual minorities, to cancer epidemiology data, to alcohol use disorders, to HIV prevention and pharmacoepidemiology. Take a moment to learn how they are working to improve population health.

Assistant Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences (Research)

Mark Celio received his PhD in Clinical Psychology from Binghamton University (SUNY) in 2013. He is currently an Assistant Professor (Research) in the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences. Dr. Celio’s program of research is largely focused on the effects of alcohol on decision making and behavior in sexual situations.

Why this research matters?
Dr. Celio’s program of research focuses on the effects of alcohol on decision making and behavior in sexual situations, particularly among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men. This research will guide the development of new preventative interventions targeting heavy drinking as a means to reduce alcohol-related sexual risk taking and HIV/STI transmission in this high priority yet underserved population.

Assistant Professor of Health Services, Policy and Practice; and Epidemiology

Issa Dahabreh is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Services, Policy and Practice and founding member of the Center for Evidence Synthesis in Health (CESH), at Brown University. He also serves as the associate director of the AHRQ-designated Brown Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC), one of 13 such centers in North America, tasked with conducting comparative effectiveness reviews using evidence synthesis methods. Dr. Dahabreh earned his MD at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in Greece and his Master’s in Clinical and Translational Science at the Sackler School of Biomedical Sciences at Tufts University.

Why this research matters?
This research focuses on the development and evaluation of methods for causal inference using observational data and the synthesis of evidence from experimental and non-experimental studies. The work aims to improve approaches for assessing the comparative effectiveness of interventions, ultimately leading to better clinical and policy decisions.

Assistant Professor of Health Services, Policy and Practice (Research)

Rowen Iskander received his PhD in Health Services Research, Policy, and Administration with a focus on health decision science from the University of Minnesota, Twin-Cities. His research interests lie at the interface of health decision science and mathematical biology where he examines cancer epidemiology data using mechanistic models of carcinogenesis to reverse engineer the biological mechanisms of cancer progression and to identify approaches for more effective cancer control strategies. Currently, Dr. Iskandar is investigating how different assumptions on the timing of cancer cells contribute to how the metastasis process is modeled, which may lead to biased estimates of the benefit of mammography and adjuvant treatment among early stage breast cancer patients. For this purpose, he has developed a multiscale model
that integrates biological data and the observed epidemiological data.

Why this research matters?
This modeling framework can facilitate the inclusion of recent advances in the field of cancer biology along with epidemiological data thereby permitting a more evidence-based and comprehensive evaluation of cancer control strategies.

Investigator, Health Services, Policy and Practice

Julie Lima holds an MPH from Boston University with concentrations in social and behavior sciences and epidemiology/biostatistics and a PhD in sociology with a concentration in population studies from Brown University. Her dissertation focused on differences in the availability of community-based care for late-middle-aged adults with chronic conditions compared to their older counterparts. She transitioned to a faculty position in Brown’s Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research after serving for many years as a senior programmer analyst on studies relating to the quality of care in US nursing homes.

Why this research matters?
Dr. Lima has strong analytic skills and has worked extensively with both survey data and administrative data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Assistant Professor of Behavioral and
Social Sciences (Research)

Mollie Monnig received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of New Mexico. She completed an internship at Harvard Medical School’s McLean Hospital and postdoctoral fellowship at Brown’s Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies. Her research examines the brain’s white matter in alcohol use disorders using magnetic resonance imaging. She has joined the School of Public Health faculty as Assistant Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences (Research) to investigate links between systemic inflammation and neurobiological changes in alcohol use and HIV infection.

Why this research matters?
Dr. Monnig’s research focuses on the role of the brain’s white matter networks in the development and maintenance of alcohol use disorders. She investigates how neurobiology relates to individual differences in impulsivity, risk-taking, health behaviors, and alcohol/drug cue reactivity.

Assistant Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences (Research)

Kristine Marceau earned her PhD in Developmental Psychology from Penn State University. Upon graduation she took a post-doctoral fellowship at CAAS and continued her post-doctoral training in child mental health at Rhode Island Hospital. Dr. Marceau’s research interests include the development of behavior problems and substance use across the lifespan, incorporating the integrated roles of genetics, prenatal risk, neuroendocrine development, and the family environment across childhood and adolescence. She was awarded a K01 career development award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to examine biobehavioral developmental pathways and interactions among these influences for adolescent substance use. She will be conducting this research as a member of the faculty at CAAS until she transitions to an Assistant Professor (tenure-track) position in the Human Development and Family Studies department at Purdue University in January, 2017.

Why this research matters?
The research program of Dr. Marceau, to improve our understanding of how multiple influences work together for the development of adolescent substance abuse, will lead to better targets for prevention efforts by helping to identify the strongest predictors and constructing more specific profiles of risk to determine which individuals are likely to initiate substance abuse early.

Assistant Professor of Health Services, Policy and Practice (Research)

Orestis Panagiotou utilizes three complementary sets of skills; clinical, epidemiological, and methodological, to address urgent questions related to the delivery and implementation of healthcare interventions for screening, prevention, and treatment. He conducts substantive and methodological research in the areas of comparative effectiveness and health services with a particular focus on evidence synthesis, risk prediction, and pharmacoepidemiology. Orestis received his MD at the University of Ioannina School of Medicine in Greece and his PhD in Epidemiology at the same institution. He joined the faculty at Brown after three years with the Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics at the National Cancer Institute.

Why this research matters?
Panagiotou’s research aims to generate and evaluate the evidence on interventions and practices that are effective as well as safe for patients and populations. As such, his research has implications for both clinical practice and healthcare policies.

Investigator, Health Services, Policy and Practice
AHRQ K12 Scholar, Comparative Effectiveness/Patient Centered Outcomes Research

Dr. Springs’ research activities leverage a number of methodologies (e.g. health care policy analysis, health economics, and evidence synthesis) to improve health outcomes in critically ill newborns. She received her PhD in Pharmaceutical Economics and Health Policy in 2016. Her dissertation evaluated economic incentives to stimulate pediatric research and its impact on improved prescribing to newborns. Stacey joined the Center for Evidence-based Medicine in 2014 and recently joined the faculty at Brown to continue her work improving evidence-based practice in neonatology.

Why this research matters?
Dr. Spring’s research aims to level the playing field for the most vulnerable among us – critically ill newborns. Conducting clinical trials in young children is particularly challenging, so there is a paucity of evidence to support pharmaceutical use in newborns. Very few medications used in newborns have been proven safe and effective, despite decades of efforts to stimulate trials. Her research attempts to bridge the evidence gap, but also explores how clinical teams negotiate these gaps absent evidence.

Assistant Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences (Research)

Dr. Jacob J. van den Berg received an MS in Clinical Psychology from Yale University and a PhD in Counseling Psychology from the University of Florida. He completed his pre-doctoral clinical internship at Duke University and his postdoctoral clinical and research training through the Brown University Clinical Psychology Training Consortium. Prior to joining the faculty as Assistant Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences (Research), he served as Assistant Professor of Medicine (Research) at The Warren Alpert Medical School and within the Division of Infectious Diseases at The Miriam Hospital. Dr. van den Berg currently serves as the Director of the Brown University AIDS Program and Manager of the Social and Behavioral Sciences Core of the Providence/Boston Center for AIDS Research (CFAR). In addition, he is an Affiliated Scientist with the Yale University Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (CIRA) and co-leads the New England HIV Implementation Science Network, a joint collaboration between CIRA and CFAR to improve HIV prevention and treatment in small urban areas in New England with a high prevalence of HIV. Dr. van den Berg’s research interest focuses on the development, implementation, and evaluation of community-based behavioral and biomedical health interventions.

Why this research matters?
Dr. van den Berg aims to advance the integration of health informatics (eHealth/mHealth) and bio-behavioral strategies for preventing HIV/STIs and substance abuse among racial/ethnic and sexual minorities. He also conducts research on how to effectively reduce and eventually eliminate health disparities for these groups. As a counseling health psychologist inspired by principles of social justice.

Assistant Professor of Health Services, Policy and Practice (Research)

Tingting Zhang’s academic interests have always focused on patient care; initially with the completion of a Medical Degree, then a PhD in Pharmacoepidemiology at the University of British Columbia, Canada. While pursuing her doctoral degree, she examined the association between asthma drug regimen optimality and health services utilization using linked population-based health claims data. Dr. Zhang’s current research is focused on drug safety/
effectiveness, and health services utilization in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). She is currently a co-PI on a project on the safety and adherence of new oral drugs for MS, which is funded by the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. She has extensive experience in pharmacoepidemiology, observational studies, and statistical analysis.

Why this research matters?
By using population-based clinical and claims data, Dr. Zhang’s research is aimed at providing evidence in a ‘real-world’ setting over extended periods of time. This research is important in addressing patient healthcare needs and facilitating better patient understanding of medication use and healthcare outcomes, and, ultimately, improving quality of life.

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