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Alina Schnake-Mahl Awarded K01 to Study Social and Policy Determinants of COVID-19 and Influenza Disparities

March 9, 2022

Alina Schnake-Mahl, ScD, MPH, a newly appointed assistant research professor in Health Management and Policy and the Urban Health Collaborative, has been awarded a 5-year $637,000, K01 from the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to study the social and policy determinants of COVID-19 and influenza disparities.

The goal of this study is to examine COVID-19 and influenza disease burden in the United States and the substantial disparities of both diseases. Over 878,000 people have been hospitalized for COVID-19 over the last year, and between 140,000 to 710,000 people are hospitalized for flu annually. Studies have found wide disparities in COVID-19 and influenza, but gaps remain with respect to the interactions between the social determinants of these disparities. This project. uses descriptive, non-experimental, and agent based-modeling to examine the determinants of disparities and effects of policy exposures on disparities. Findings will advance our understanding of the social and policy drivers of infectious disease disparities and inform policies and interventions that can mitigate disparities in infectious disease.

This study will draw on the expertise of several investigators at the UHC and Dornsife School of Public Health, who will mentor Dr. Schnake-Mahl. These include Dean Ana Diez Roux, MD, PhD, MPH, Usama Bilal, MD, PhD, MPH, and Neal Goldstein PhD, MBI, who will provide mentorship in social epidemiology, systems approaches, and infectious disease epidemiology. Jonathan Purtle, DrPH, MPH, MSc, an associate professor at the NYU School of Global Public Health and formerly Dornsife, Elizabeth Stuart, PhD, of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Mark Lipsitch, DPhil, from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, will provide additional mentorship and advising in policy analysis, causal inference, and infectious disease modeling.