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Core Faculty and Staff

Esther ChernakEsther Chernak, MD, MPH, FACP

Director, Center for Public Health Readiness and Communication

Dr. Chernak is an Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Health, Dornsife School of Public Health, and the Director of the Center for Public Health Readiness and Communication (CPHRC).

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Tom Hipper, MSPH, MA 

Program Manager, Center for Public Health Readiness and Communication

Tom joined the CPHRC team in March of 2012, and currently serves as the Program Manager. He oversees a number of community-based projects, including the development of a social media message library for a wide-range of disaster scenarios.

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Beth Morris

Graduate Assistant, Center for Public Health Readiness and Communication

Beth began working at the CPHRC in January of 2016 as a Research Assistant. She is currently pursuing her Masters of Public Health degree in Epidemiology at the Dornsife School of Public Health.

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Lan Vande HeiLan Vande Hei

Undergraduate Assistant, Center for Public Health Readiness and Communication

Lan VanDe Hei, a third-year Drexel undergraduate, began interning with the CPHRC team in the summer of 2015.

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Collaborating Faculty

Curtis E. Cummings, MD, MPH

Dr. Cummings is Associate Professor, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health. He is board certified in internal medicine and preventive medicine, and served for 20 years in the U.S. Public Health Service Corps and the U.S. Navy Medical Corps. During his Navy career he designed curricula for preparedness training, and trained over 2,000 people, primarily in the area of radiation emergencies. From 1982 to 1985, Dr. Cummings served as a senior public health physician, in the State of New Jersey Department of Health. He represents Drexel University at the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s State Advisory Committee for Preparedness. 

Arthur L. Frank, MD, PhD

Dr. Frank is a graduate of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the City University of New York and has been an academic physician throughout his career. His research interests include occupational and environmental carcinogens and other toxic hazards, and agricultural safety and health concerns, including agroterrorism. His clinical activities have included setting up field projects in a variety of settings.

Patrick Gurian, PhD

Patrick Gurian is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering. He holds a doctoral degree in Engineering & Public Policy and Civil & Environmental Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. His research interests are in risk assessment and stakeholder engagement. His previous research projects include an assessment of the risk posed by residual surface contamination after a bioterrorism event, the development of interventional strategies to reduce carbon monoxide intoxication risk in northern Mexico, and an evaluation of stakeholder engagement strategies for use by the biosolids land application industry. He has worked as an engineering consultant and as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Republic of Cameroon.

Jennifer A. Kolker, MPH

Jennifer A. Kolker is the Associate Dean for Public Health Practice at the Dornsife School of Public Health. Since 2010, Professor Kolker has directed, in collaboration with the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh, the Pennsylvania Public Health Training Center (PAPHTC), one of 39 HRSA funded Public Health Training Centers, housed at schools of public health throughout the nation. PAPHTC’s mission is to improve Pennsylvania’s public health system by strengthening the technical, scientific, managerial, and leadership competence of the public health workforce, by providing foundational, competency-based training opportunities. Work includes development and delivery of training curriculum, collaboration with regional training entities, and maintaining close contact with regional county health departments, and federal and state government.  PAPHTC is collaborating for the second year with the CPHRC to offer a distance accessible training series for the public health workforce on topics related to preparedness. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Health (MPH) from the University of Michigan with a concentration in Public Health Policy and Administration.

Renee M. Turchi, MD, MPH

Dr. Turchi is a faculty member at the Dornsife School of Public Health and Drexel University College of Medicine. She serves as the Director of the Pennsylvania Medical Home Program (EPIC IC), a statewide quality improvement program for pediatric practices across Pennsylvania. Dr. Turchi is also a Medical Director of Special Programs at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, where she oversees grants and program development and practices. Her research and clinical work around care coordination and children with special health care needs have been presented and published in multiple national forums.

Michael Yudell, PhD, MPH

Dr. Yudell is an Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health and Prevention. He received a PhD and MPH in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Dr. Yudell's work seeks to document historically stigmatized populations, the challenges they face in public health and medicine, and how this history impacts contemporary health challenges.