Biography

I am a medical sociologist on a mission to improve population health, public policy, and health care systems. To date, I have published more than 140 journal articles, book chapters, and reports on the social drivers of health, health policy, and health services research.

One of my current NIH funded projects is studying the etiology of mis- and disinformation among Latino immigrants and the related “chilling effects,” including enrolling in Medicaid and seeking health care, because of government laws or action. Another ongoing NIH project is examining the effects of multiple public health emergencies (hurricanes, earthquakes, covid) on Puerto Rico’s health care system and residents' access to care. A grant from the American Cancer Society will advance the ACS Cancer Action Network’s goal of improving access to care and mitigating the financial hardship of seeking cancer screening by evaluating the combined effects of state paid leave laws and Medicaid expansion on colorectal cancer screening.

I have more than 9 years of academic leadership experience. At the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), I founded the UNMC Center for Health Policy. In my inaugural report to stakeholders, the center had 50 faculty affiliates that represented each college at UNMC and every campus in the University of Nebraska and we also collaborated with 23 organizations on research projects in our first year such as reports, articles, presentations, grants, and contracts including several groups external to the main campus. While leading the UNMC Center for Health Policy, our team published more than 20 policy or technical reports, and as a result of our state policy work, I regularly testified before the state legislature on health policy. At UNMC, I also played a major role in securing $35 million in funding from the City of Omaha for the construction of the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center. We were successful in passing an occupation tax on tobacco retailers given the strong connection between smoking and cancer. 

As Senior Associate Dean for Education at the Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health, I increased enrollment by over 100%, led our school to reaccreditation with the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), launched new educational support activities including a faculty training resource, navigated the pivot to remote instruction during the pandemic, and reorganized support for academic programs and advising to increase quality and efficiency. In addition, I served on the steering committee for the university’s regional re-accreditation (MSCHE) and was lead author for chapter 4 (support of the student experience) of the self-study.

At the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Public Health, I was Associate Dean of Academic and Faculty Affairs for 3 years. My portfolio consisted of supervising the academic departments, oversight of academic and faculty affairs, and academic operations (library, bookstore, human research protection program, public health practice). By extension, I was responsible for the development and quality of 50 faculty members. During my time at CUNY, I led our school to reaccreditation with CEPH and was able to secure a new accreditation for our dietetic internship program by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics. 

Please contact me if you are a interested in collaboration, consultation, or mentoring.

Education

Graduate School
(2004), Sociology

Research Interest

  • Health Policy
  • Health Services Research
  • Medical Sociology

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • Academy Health (2010)
  • American Sociological Association (1998)
  • Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (2019)
  • Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center (2023)
  • National Council on Family Relations (2024)