Program Leadership

Pipelines into Quantitative Aging Research Summer Program
Program Director/ Principal Investigator

Dr. Rebecca Betensky, Professor and Chair of Biostatistics

For over 25 years Dr. Betensky has been deeply committed to increasing and strengthening diversity within academia, and in particular, within Biostatistics and quantitative Public Health. While at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH) from 1994-2018, she created and led several programs for students and faculty, including a successful pipeline summer program for undergraduates from underrepresented backgrounds, now over 25 years old. She was PI of both the NIGMS Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity (IMSD) R25 grant at HSPH and a T35 grant from NIEHS that supported the department’s summer program. In 2010, the American Mathematical Society recognized Harvard’s program with its Mathematics Programs that Make a Difference Award, its annual award for programs that do an “outstanding job of bringing more individuals from underrepresented minority groups into the mathematical sciences … through replicable methods.” In 2013, Dr. Betensky was awarded a T36 grant from NIGMS that supported expanded diversity efforts, including the Summer Program, a small post-Baccalaureate program for students who are entering graduate programs in Biostatistics or related fields, and an annual visiting faculty program to forge connections and collaborations with faculty from quantitative fields from minority serving institutions.   Since arriving at NYU, she applied for, and received Graduate Program Group designation from the National Math Alliance, a URM serving organization.

Dr. Betensky has always played an active role in research training and formal teaching. She was director of a training grant (T32 NS048005), originally awarded by NINDS in 2004 and renewed through 2019, titled “Training in Neurostatistics and Neuroepidemiology.” She has advised over 35 doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows in Biostatistics, as well as clinician scientist trainees on K12, K08, K23 and KL2 grants. She is currently a faculty mentor on a T32 at NYU: Postdoctoral Research Training in Neurodegenerative Disorders and the Aging Brain (Wisniewski, Scharfman).

With respect to aging research, from 2002-2017 Dr. Betensky was Director of Statistics for the Harvard NeuroDiscovery Center, which involved collaborations in neurological diseases and neuroscience, much of which intersected with diseases in aging populations. Dr. Betensky was the Director of the Data and Statistics Core for the NIA funded Massachusetts Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (P50 grant) from 2007-2018, and since 2009 has been the Co-director of the Statistics Core for the NIA funded Program Project “Impact of Amyloid and Tau on the Aging Brain” (P01, PI’s Sperling and Johnson). Dr. Betensky is Co-investigator of the Data and Statistics Core and Co-director of the Research Education Core for  the  NYU Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (P30).  She is a Fellow of the NYU Aging Incubator, which is a university-wide initiative to convene faculty and students from across the University from all disciplines who are involved in the study of aging and its impacts.

Program Coordinator

Vardia L. Duterville , MA

Vardia Duterville is responsible for all administrative aspects of the PQAR summer program, including maintaining applicant and participant files as well as tracking students after completion of the program. She handles advertising and recruitment, application organization and reviews, admissions and manages the onboarding process for students once they arrive on the NYU campus. Throughout the PQAR summer program, she coordinates and schedules the seminar series, RCR sessions, networking lunches, and field trips; and assists in identifying graduate student research projects and social mentors. Additionally, she handles all logistics associated with the summer programs’ annual symposium. In her day-to-day task, Ms. Duterville assists in required grant reporting and fund raising efforts in collaboration with GPH’s Development Office, as well as participant follow-up in collaboration with Dr. Linda Weiss, the program evaluator. Ms. Duterville, herself an Afro-Caribbean New Yorker, received her MA from Columbia University’s Institute for Research in African American Studies and her research and professional experiences are focused on the identity and cultural practices of Afro-Caribbean New Yorkers.

Student Assistant
  • To be named
External Advisory Board
  • Dr. Emma K Benn, DrPH Associate Professor of Population Health Science and Policy at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Dr. DeJuran Richardson, Professor and Chair of Mathematics and Computer Science at Lake Forest College
  • Dr. Brisa N. Sanchez, Dornsife Endowed Professor of Biostatistics at Drexel University
  • Dr. Gary Yu, Associate Research Scientist Adjunct Associate Professor at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing
Internal Advisory Board
  • Dr. Karyn Faber, Director of Undergraduate Experiential Learning/ Clinical Assistant Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Dr. Melody Goodman, Associate Dean for Research/ Associate Professor of Biostatistics
  • Dr. Girardin Jean-Louis, Professor, Department of Population Health/ Professor, Department of Psychiatry
  • Dr. Bei Wu, Dean's Professor in Global Health / Director, Global Health & Aging Research/ Director for Research, Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing/ Affiliated Professor, Ashman Department of Periodontology & Implant Dentistry
Program Evaluator

Dr. Linda Weiss, Director of the Center for Evaluation and Applied Research

The evaluation will be directed and conducted by Linda Weiss, PhD, with the assistance of Alexandra Kamler, MPH and Foram Jasani, MPH BDS. Dr. Linda Weiss is Director of the Center for Evaluation and Applied Research (CEAR) at The New York Academy of Medicine (the Academy) and has more than 20 years of experience working with a broad range of not-for-profit, governmental, academic, and philanthropic organizations to investigate and assess initiatives focused on health and well-being. She has expertise in mixed methods public health research and evaluations that include primary data (e.g., surveys, qualitative interviews, focus groups) and secondary data (e.g., data from program records), evaluation training and technical assistance, and disseminating results through presentations, publicly available reports, and peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Weiss has developed, implemented, and advised on a large number of evaluations. These include evaluations focused on educational interventions, for example: (1) evaluation of a training program for masters level social work students to promote aging-focused careers, which included surveys at baseline, at graduation, and 18 months post-graduation, as well as site visits and interviews at participating social work schools; (2) evaluation of a post-doctoral fellowship program focused on developing population health scientists, which examined career trajectories 5-10 years after program completion; and (3) and an ongoing evaluation of a program offering mentoring and support to Latino college students interested in health careers. Dr. Weiss will oversee the design and development of the evaluation protocol, including data collection instruments, and will oversee the data collection, analysis and reporting process. She will present findings at the annual meetings of the advisory board.

Contact Us 

If you have any questions about the program, please contact the program coordinator at

The Pipelines into Quantitative Aging Research (PQAR) Summer Program is funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) grant R25AG06793101.