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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 and Occupational 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 

Associate Director, Center for Public Health Readiness and Communication

Tom is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Dornsife School of Public Health, and the Associate Director of the CPHRC.

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Leah Popek, MPH

Project Coordinator, Center for Public Health Readiness and Communication

Leah Popek is a Project Coordinator at the CPHRC and provides research support for the Center's partnership with St. Christopher's Center for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs. She is a graduate of Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health and has a MPH with a concentration in Environmental and Occupational Health. 


Renee Davis, MD, MPH

Research Associate, Center for Public Health Readiness and Communication

Dr. Davis is a research associate at the CPHRC. She is also the director of the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Program at the Dornsife School of Public Health. Dr. Davis serves as both a subject matter expert and liaison between CPHRC and the MCH programs.


Rachel Brown

Research Assistant, Center for Public Health Readiness and Communication

Rachel Brown is an MPH student at the Dornsife School of Public Health. She is working with the CPHRC on risk communication related to COVID-19 for the Drexel University community.


Jennifer Lege-Matsuura

Visiting Fellow, Center for Public Health Readiness and Communication

Jennifer Lege-Matsuura is completing a fellowship in library science and public health emergency preparedness. She is a recipient of a 2019-2020 Sewell Fund award which places experienced librarians and information scientists in health care or research organizations so that both partners gain a better understanding of how information sciences can be effectively applied in health environments.


Collaborating Faculty

Renee M. Turchi, MD, MPH

Renee M. Turchi, MD, MPH 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.

Jessica Caum, MPH

Jessica Caum is Adjunct Faculty at the Dornsife School of Public Health. She is also the Program Manager for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health Bioterrorism and Public Health Preparedness Program. Ms. Caum teaches at the DSPH and serves as a consultant for CPHRC research projects.

Jerry Fagliano, PhD, MPH

Jerry Fagliano, PhD, MPH is an Associate Clinical Professor and the Chair of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health. Before coming to Drexel in September 2015, Dr. Fagliano spent 30 years in public health practice at the New Jersey Department of Health. As the senior environmental/occupational epidemiologist, he managed the Environmental and Occupational Health Surveillance Program, where he oversaw a broad portfolio of responsibilities: surveillance of work-related diseases and injuries; tracking of environmental exposures and related health outcomes; assessment of public health hazards posed by hazardous sites; risk assessments of drinking water contaminants; investigations of disease clusters; and epidemiologic investigations related to air and water pollutants. His most recent research publications include articles on pediatric asthma and air pollutants, legionellosis and drinking water, perfluorinated chemicals and effect biomarkers, and surveillance of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Philip Massey, PhD, MPH

Philip Massey, PhD, MPH is an Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health and Prevention at the Drexel Dornsife School of Public Health in Philadelphia, PA, joining the school in September 2013. His research focuses on public health communication, health literacy, and emerging media technologies, and works both in the U.S. and in sub-Saharan Africa. He is currently exploring how to better use non-traditional public health data sources, such as online search behaviors and social media posts, to inform and strengthen public health research and practice

Jennifer Plumb, DSW/LSW

Jennifer Plumb, DSW/LSW is the Outreach Core Director for the AJ Drexel Autism Institute at Drexel University. Dr. Plumb worked as the Social Worker in the Division of Child Development, Rehabilitation, and Metabolic Disease at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s in the Regional Autism Center from 2003 to 2013. While at the Children’s Hospital she co-facilitated social skills groups, organized parent educational groups and provided ongoing support and resource coordination to families of children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other special health care needs. Dr. Plumb served as faculty in the Leadership Education and Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program and was a member of an interdisciplinary autism diagnostic team and an early autism screening clinic. Jennifer’s research interests include the impact of social support and parental stress on family resilience in families impacted by ASD.