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Faculty Grants and Announcements

Drexel University's Dornsife School of Public Health has experienced an extraordinary increase in our research engagement over the past few years. Our research continues to inspire change in urban and global health policy and practice.

"We strive to link our research to our policy and practice mission in a way that is valuable for practice but that also promotes creativity, innovation and the intellectual thrill of research itself," said Ana V. Diez Roux, MD, PhD, MPH, Dean and Distinguished University Professor of Epidemiology.

Drexel University was awarded the highest research activity ranking,"R1 Doctoral University — Very High Research Activity," by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions in 2019. “The Carnegie designation is a welcome affirmation by independent reviewers of the growth of Drexel research and its impact on society,” said Drexel President John Fry.

Learn more about Faculty Research Interests by topic.

Select Grants, Announcements, and Accolades

Jennifer Taylor

11/15/21: Jennifer Taylor, PhD, Director of the Center for Firefighter Injury Research and Safety Trends (FIRST) at the Dornsife School of Public Health, and Chief Richard Marinucci, Executive Director of the Fire Department Safety Officers Association (FDSOA), received a $1.5 million grant to continue collaboration on firefighter safety projects designed to measurably change firefighter behavior and decision-making.

Sandra Bloom headshot

11/05/21: Sandra Bloom, MD, an associate professor and senior associate at the Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice at the Dornsife School of Public Health, was featured in a November article in Generocity about Philadelphia-area leaders whose work makes a difference. The piece recognizes Bloom’s commitment to trauma-informed care.

Shiriki Kumanyika

11/01/21: Shiriki Kumanyika, PhD, a research professor in the department of Community Health and Prevention at the Dornsife School of Public Health, was awarded The Obesity Society’s (TOS) Presidential Medal of Distinction for her excellence and national leadership in equity-focused obesity policies, implementation research and public health obesity efforts. The award was presented by Dr. Catherine Kotz, President of TOS, at the Obesity Week 2021 conference.

Reneé H. Moore headshot

10/11/21: Reneé H. Moore, PhD, research professor, director of the Biostatistics Scientific Collaboration Center (BSC), and director of diversity, equity and inclusion for the department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Dornsife School of Public Health, was recognized for her service on the COVID-19 trials Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) as one of the public health heroes. An article titled “Data and Safety Monitoring of COVID-19 Vaccine Clinical Trials“ was published in the Journal of Infectious Disease in May 2021 about this service.

Sharrelle Barber headshot

10/19/21: Sharrelle Barber, ScD, MPH, assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics and director of the Ubuntu Center on Racism, Global Movements and Population Health Equity at the Dornsife School of Public Health, was was appointed to The Lancet International Advisory Board for GRacE, their Group for Racial Equity.

Ana Diez Roux headshot

10/15/21: Dean Ana Diez Roux, MD, PhD, MPH, has been appointed Chair of the Observational Studies Monitoring Board (ORMB) for the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) REsearching COVID to Enhance Recovery (RECOVER) initiative. The RECOVER initiative will build a national study population of diverse research volunteers and support large-scale studies on the long-term effects of COVID-19.

James Stimpson headshot

10/08/21: Jim Stimpson, PhD, professor of health management and senior associate dean for education, was accepted to the U.S. State Department's Fulbright Specialist Program, which offers U.S. academics and professionals the opportunity to complete a two- to six-week project at host institutions around the globe.

Leslie McClure headshot

10/06/21: Leslie McClure, PhD, Dornsife professor and chair of epidemiology and biostatistics, was elected president of the Eastern North American Region of the International Biometric Society. The International Biometric Society promotes the development and application of statistical and mathematical theory and methods in the biosciences.

Brisa N. Sánchez

10/04/21: The Drexel Urban Health Collaborative was awarded $1.2 million to establish a training program for cardiovascular disease risk research in Central America. The training program, led by Brisa Sánchez, PhD, Dornsife Endowed Professor of Biostatistics in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and Ana V. Diez Roux, MD, PhD, MPH, Dean of the Dornsife School of Public Health and Director, Urban Health Collaborative, received the 5-year grant from the National Institutes of Health and the Fogarty International Center.

9/30/21: The Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice received a $1,927,538 five-year grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) to supplement its Healing Hurt People program as part of their National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative, which increases access to trauma-focused treatment and services systems for children and families who experience traumatic events.

Ana Diez Roux headshot

9/24/21: At the sixth annual celebration of America’s Hispanic Heritage, the 2021 AL DÍA Archetypes event, Dean Ana Diez Roux, MD, PhD, MPH, was among 10 outstanding Hispanic professionals to receive the 2021 Ambassador Manuel Torres Award. Dean Diez Roux was the honoree in the health category and was recognized for "her work on neighborhood health effects, [which] has been highly influential in the policy debate on population health and its determinants."

Brent Langellier headshot

9/7/21: The National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) awarded $2.2M to a team of researchers led by Brent Langellier, PhD, MA, assistant professor of health management and policy at Dornsife, to study the factors that produce racial/ethnic and income disparities in healthy diets across Philadelphia neighborhoods. The team will examine the economic consequences of the pandemic, recent changes in key federal policies, and collaborate with stakeholders to assess promising policies that could be used to reduce diet disparities.

Amy Carroll-Scott headshot

9/01/21: Dornsife's Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice received a $1,579,649 four-year grant from the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) to add an experiential training component to our Community Health Worker/Certified Peer Specialist Training Academy. This experiential component will allow trainees to receive supported on-the-job experience to supplement their classroom experience. This grant will also allow for an evaluation of the training academy led by Amy Carroll-Scott, PhD, MPH.

Leslie McClure headshot

8/26/21: Leslie McClure, PhD, Dornsife professor and chair of epidemiology and biostatistics, is co-leading a study at Drexel that aims to identify how race and gender barriers affect mid-career faculty women. Learn more about the study at Clearing Pathways for Women Faculty.

Scarlett Bellamy

8/9/21: Scarlett Bellamy, ScD, professor and associate dean for diversity, inclusion and faculty development, was awarded the 2021 Lagakos Distinguished Alumni Award from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Department of Biostatistics for her leadership in "research, education, service, and outreach." Bellamy will give a virtual lecture hosted by Harvard Chan's biostatistics department on October 14, 2021.

Jonathan Purtle headshot

7/29/21: Results from a COVID project led by Jonathan Purtle, DrPH, MPH, MSc, associate professor of health management and policy at Dornsife, titled “Impacts of COVID-19 on Mental Health Safety Net Services for Youths: A National Survey of Agency Officials” were published in Psychiatric Services. The study presents results from their survey of 159 mental health agency officials from 46 states about their experiences meeting the mental health needs of youth during the pandemic which was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.

Loni Tabb headshot

7/01/21: The American Statistical Association's Biometrics and Mental Health Statistics sections awarded Loni Philip Tabb, PhD, associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Dornsife, with the 2021 Annie T. Randall Innovator Award. The award honors Black female statistician Annie T. Randall and recognizes statistical innovators.

7/01/21: The Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice received a $425,000 grant from Philadelphia Works to provide two coed cohorts of its Community Health Worker/Certified Peer Specialist Training Academy, which prepares young people for careers in health and social services fields.

6/28/21: The Society for Epidemiologic Research presented Dean Ana Diez Roux, MD, PhD, MPH, with their Kenneth Rothman Career Accomplishment Award at their annual conference held virtually. Diez Roux's plenary address focused on her work to expand epidemiology beyond the individual to encompass social systems and the broader environmental factors so critical to health.

Sharrelle Barber

6/17/21: The City Council of Philadelphia honored and congratulated Sharrelle Barber, ScD, MPH, assistant professor at Dornsife, for her appointment as Director of The Ubuntu Center on Racism, Global Movements and Population Health Equity at Dornsife with a resolution. "Dr. Barber has committed to using her scholarship to make the invisible, visible; mobilize data for action; and contribute to the transnational dialogue around racism and health inequities," states the resolution.

6/16/21: Leslie McClure, PhD, professor and chair of the department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and associate dean for faculty affairs at Dornsife, was awarded $274,000 by the University of Vermont’s Association of University Centers on Disabilities to study risk factors and the burden of COVID-19 related thrombosis and/or bleeding complications.

Michael LeVasseur headshot

6/16/21: Michael LeVasseur, PhD, MPH, assistant teaching professor in the department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Michael Donnelly, MSc, a data scientist, were awarded by the Office of New York State Governor for co-founding for their commitment to providing accurate, scientific information to policymakers about the pandemic.

Alexis Roth

6/16/21: Alexis Roth, PhD, MPH, associate professor in the department of Community Health and Prevention at Dornsife, was awarded an NIH R01 grant for 4.9 million to conduct a randomized control trial to assess HIV prevention interventions over the next 5 years.

Ann Carroll Klassen

6/16/21: Ann Klassen, PhD, professor in the department of Community Health and Prevention, and Hee-Soon Juon, MSN, PhD, of Thomas Jefferson University, were awarded a 4-year National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases R01 grant to study the bio-psycho-social drivers of disparities in liver disease progression among Korean Americans with Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection.

Jana A. Hirsch

6/8/21: Jana Hirsch, PhD, MES, assistant research professor at the Urban Health Collaborative (UHC), was recently awarded a 5-year, $4,358,351 R01 National Institute on Aging (NIA) grant for the project, “Contribution of Longitudinal Neighborhood Determinants to Cognitive Health and Dementia Disparities within a Multi-Ethnic Cohort.”

6/8/21: A new report created by the State Epidemiological Outcomes Workgroup (SEOW) that includes Philip Massey, PhD, MPH, associate professor of community health and prevention at Dorsnife and SEOW chair, was released by the PA Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs. This report found that Pennsylvania youth who identify with multiple groups across race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality may be at higher risk for substance use.

Brisa N. Sánchez

4/22/21: Brisa N. Sánchez, PhD, Dornsife Endowed Professor of Biostatistics, was appointed to the Census Bureau's National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations.

4/19/21: Jana Hirsch, PhD, MES, assistant research professor at the Urban Health Collaborative at Dornsife, helped compile data for a new report outlining growing disparities in Pennsylvania for AARP. 

Ayden Scheim

4/07/21: Ayden Scheim, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Dornsife, received recognition as a Schulich Medicine & Dentistry Alumni of Distinction 2021. "Scheim has established himself as one of the world’s top experts in the field of transgender health," said the Schulich School.

Jonathan Purtle

3/26/21: New research “Public Opinion About Adverse Childhood Experiences: Social Stigma, Attribution of Blame, and Government Intervention” led by Jonathan Purtle, DrPH, MPH, MSc, associate professor of health management and policy at Dornsife, provided insights on perceptions surrounding childhood trauma. 

3/15/21: Ayden Scheim, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Dornsife, was awarded $423,000 by the National Institute of Mental Health to study “Gendered Situated Vulnerabilities and Mental Health among Transgender Men in India.”

3/01/21: The Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice received a $299,972 two-year grant from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency to establish a Community Outreach Team (COT). COT will embed clinical and peer staff in four youth-serving community-based organizations to engage and provide therapeutic services to young victims of trauma and provide referrals to Healing Hurt People when appropriate.

Sharrelle Barber

2/19/21: The research of Sharrelle Barber, ScD, MPH, was featured in this month's issue of The Lancet. Read the article, Sharrelle Barber: At the Intersection of Place, Race, and Health.

2/15/21: Ann Carroll Klassen, PhD, professor in the department of Community Health and Prevention, had the article Formative Research to Address Vaccine Hesitancy in Tajikistan published in the March 2021 issue of Vaccine.

Ana Diez RouxUsama Bilal

2/02/21: Urban Health Collaborative Director and Dornsife Dean Ana Diez Roux, MD, PhD, MPH and Assistant Professor Usama Bilal, MD, PhD, MPH, have been awarded a one year, $250,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to track equity issues in COVID-19 testing and vaccination.

The study will focus on building on the Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC) COVID-19 Health Inequities in Cities Dashboard to characterize the availability and inequalities of COVID-19 testing, characterize policies that cities have implemented to reduce these inequities, and evaluate the effects of these policies. 

Scarlett Bellamy

2/01/21: In celebration of Black History Month, Scarlett Bellamy, ScD, associate dean for diversity, inclusion, and faculty development & professor at Dornsife, was recognized by The American Statistical Association for making tremendous contributions to the field of statistics.

 Suruchi Sood

1/27/21: Suruchi Sood, PhD, associate professor in the department of Community Health and Prevention, continues her work with the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), the largest global initiative to accelerate the abandonment of this harmful traditional practice and advance the rights, health and well-being of women and girls. Programme members released a new publication “Participatory Research Toolkit for Social Norms Measurement.” The toolkit is a culmination of almost two decades of social and behavior change communication research and practice collaborations from around the world and is intended to address social-norms change.

Harrison Quick

1/14/21: Harrison Quick, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics, led a team of researchers at Dornsife to explore the utility of spatial Bayesian models to improve the precision of small area estimates used by the County Health Rankings. The published results lay the foundation for the use of modeled estimates in the Rankings, which uses modeled estimates for measures like premature death. Funding was provided by County Health Rankings & Roadmaps (CHR&R) in 2019.

Alex Ezeh

1/15/21: Alex Ezeh, PhD, professor of Global Health in the department of Community Health and Prevention at Dornsife, will serve on the United Nation’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ High Level Advisory Board (HLAB) on Economic and Social Affairs. Ezeh will join 19 fellow board members to build on the accomplishments of the first HLAB. Over the next two years, they will continue to strengthen the United Nation’s thought leadership on sustainable development and to reinforce its impact at the forefront of sustainable development policy at global, regional, and local levels.


Shiriki Kumanyika

11/09/20: Shiriki Kumanyika, PhD, was awarded funding through Drexel's Rapid Response Research & Development Fund. The project will investigate Drexel University’s response to racial inequities, police brutality and other social injustices experienced by Black people across the country, through the perceptions of students in the Drexel community. This research will be used to inform a model and best practice for developing transformative antiracism strategies that can be institutionally accountable and sustained. Global Engagement’s Director of Global Health Programs and the Dornsife Global Development Scholars Program Idris Robinson, MPH, will serve as manager.

Alex Quistberg

10/7/20: Urban Health Collaborative Professor Alex Quistberg Awarded $690,000 K01 Award From NIH. Alex Quistberg, PhD, MPH, got an award for the Built Environment, Pedestrian Injuries and Deep Learning (BEPIDL) study, which will focus on developing neighborhood built environment indicators and examining their association with pedestrian safety in Bogota, Colombia.

Mariana LazoAna Martinez-Donate

10/1/20: Mariana Lazo, MD, PhD, ScM, associate research professor, and Ana Martinez-Donate, PhD, professor, both in the department of Community Health and Prevention, received COVID-19 supplement funding from an existing $275K R21 from NICHD grant.

The new additional budget of $250K will provide COVID-19 specific training to our cohort of Latino community leaders so they can support other community members with COVID-19 risk reduction, access to testing, and treatment. They will also be evaluating the impact of peer-driven intervention, as well as the Latino Health Collective and the website led by this research group.

Caroline Voyles

10/1/20: Caroline Voyles, MPH, and Randall Sell, ScD, were awarded funding for “Investigating Sexual Minorities’ Navigation of Participation and Disclosure Decisions in Athletic Spaces,” $4,778, NIRSA Foundation, 10/1/2020 – 12/31/2022.

9/30/20: Tran Huynh, PhD, MPH, CIH; Amy Carroll-Scott, PhD, MPH; and Lucy Robinson, PhD, were awarded funding for “A feasibility study to develop a multilevel occupational health intervention program for nail salon employees and owners,” $234,996, NIOSH, 9/30/2020-9/29/2022, 1R21OH011740-01.

Alex Ortega

9/29/20: Professor Ortega Awarded $2.7 Million R01 Award From NIH. Alex Ortega, PhD, was awarded an NIH grant to study access to healthcare for Latino youth in mixed status families in California. Researchers that will address four specific goals in the context of families’ citizenship and documentation status compositions.

9/15/20: Seth Welles, PhD, ScD; Neal Goldstein, PhD, MBI; Alexis Roth, PhD, MPH; Ayden Scheim, PhD, and Zsofia Szep, MD, were awarded funding for “A Cross-Sectional Survey of PrEP Awareness, Barriers and Facilitators for PrEP Uptake, and the Impact of Dosing Mechanisms on Willingness to Take PrEP among MSM Indicated for PrEP Use in Philadelphia,” $236,554.89, Marck Sharp and Dohme Corp., 9/15/2020 – 3/15/2022.

Usama Bilal

9/1/20: Usama Bilal, PhD, MPH, MD; Neal Goldstein, PhD; and Mariana Lazo Elizondo, MD, PhD, ScM, were awarded funding for “The Health Consequences of Urban Scaling,” $377,709, NIH, 3DP5OD026429-03S1. The project proposes to uncover variability, trends, and predictors of inequities in COVID-19 among Hispanics.

Sharrelle Barber

9/1/20: Professor Barber Awarded $2.2 Million R01 Award From NIH. Sharrelle Barber, ScD, MPH, will lead a research team that will examine how changing neighborhoods influence hypertension and diabetes control. Understanding these associations is critical for the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease risk factors in African Americans and the reduction of racial health inequalities.

8/31/20: Drexel Researchers Receive Funding for Racial Equity Projects - Just over $100,000 was awarded to 22 faculty and professional staff through Drexel's Rapid Response Research & Development Fund.

8/25/20: HRSA Names Dornsife a Maternal and Child Health Public Health Catalyst Program Grant Recipient - Dornsife received funding to expand maternal and child health education.

Tran Huynh

8/1/20: Tran Huynh, PhD, MPH, CIH, was awarded funding for “Occupational safety and health technical assistance,” $36,637.18, NIOSH, 8/1/2020 – 7/31/2021, 20IPA2014104.

7/31/20: Philip Massey, PhD, MPH, and Michael Yudell, PhD, MPH, were awarded funding for “Hashtag HPV: Engaging parents through social media to increase HPV vaccination,” $100,000, NCI. Read a related story, Social Leveraging, in the Dornsife SPH Magazine.

 Irene Headen

7/26/20: Irene Headen, PhD, MS, was awarded funding for “System Science Approaches to Understand Neighborhood Opportunity and Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Maternal Morbidity,” $664,704, NIMHD, 7/26/2020-2/28/2025, 1K01MD015291-01.

7/7/20: Alexis Roth, PhD, MPH, and Ayden Scheim, PhD, were awarded funding for “Comparing Treatment Outcomes for Opioid Use Disorder Before and After the COVID-19 Outbreak in Philadelphia: A Natural Experiment,” $32,400, Fordham University (NIDA), 7/7/2020-3/31/2021.

Scarlett Bellamy

7/1/20: Scarlett Bellamy, ScD, was awarded funding for “Strengthening Suicide Prevention Efforts for Women Veterans through the Veterans Crisis Line,” $129,423, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 7/1/2020 – 11/30/2022.

 Suruchi Sood

6/29/20: Suruchi Sood, PhD, was awarded funding for “C4D Capacity Building on Changing Social Norms Supporting Child Marriage,” $50,120, UNICEF, 6/29/2020-1/31/2021.

6/1/20: Sharrelle Barber, ScD, MPH, was awarded funding for “Racism, Residential Segregation and COVID-19 in Philadelphia: Mobilizing Data for Action During the Pandemic,” $10,000, Community Initiatives/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 6/1/2020-9/30/2020. This project will examine residential segregation as a fundamental driver of the COVID-19 pandemic in urban settings. It will combine descriptive spatial data analyses and digital storytelling to examine the links between structural racism, residential segregation and COVID-19 pandemic in the city of Philadelphia. Ultimately, this project seeks to shape the narrative around emerging racial inequalities and mobilize data for action with a focus on both short-term and long-term policy solutions.

6/1/20: Meera Harhay, MD; Ann Klassen, PhD; Lucy Robinson, PhD; and Brandy-Joe Milliron, PhD, were awarded funding for “Identifying Health and High-Risk Weight Loss Phenotypes to Optimize Obesity Management in End Stage Kidney Disease,” $1,421,103, NIDDK, 6/1/2020 – 5/31/2025, 1R01DK124388-01.

5/21/20: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Drexel's Rapid Response Research and Development Fund Awardees

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Visit PubMed for a recent list of Dornsife's peer-reviewed publications.

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Doctoral Student Receives the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award

A doctoral student receives funding for her research addressing barriers to children receiving mental health care.

More Student Research News