Centers, Labs & Initiatives

NYU’s College of Global Public Health houses many dynamic centers, labs, initiatives and programs where you can immerse yourself in the public health topics that matter most to you – and to the world. Each is unique, offering mentorship, collaboration with faculty and a chance to hone your skills in innovative, action-based learning settings. Research and projects from GPH's centers, labs and initiatives can lead to many outcomes from new publications to policy change.



Center for Drug Use and HIV Research (CDUHR)

Faculty Facilitator: Danielle Ompad, PhD, Deputy Director

The Center for Drug Use and HIV Research (CDUHR) is an interdisciplinary research center that focuses on public health issues related to HIV, hepatitis C, and drug use. There are four institutions affiliated with CDUHR: New York University; Mount Sinai Health System; NDRI, Inc.; and John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY.

The mission of CDUHR is to end the HIV and HCV epidemics in drug using populations and their communities by conducting transdisciplinary research and disseminating its findings to inform programmatic, policy, and grassroots initiatives at the local, state, national and global levels.

CDUHR accomplishes this mission by contributing to knowledge about HIV and HCV epidemics; developing, implementing and evaluating interventions that have an impact on them; disseminating findings through multiple venues to inform evidence-based practices and policies; and training new researchers across scientific disciplines.

Center for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies

Faculty Facilitators: Dr. Farzana Kapadia, PhD, MPH, Co-Director

The Center for Health, Identity, Behavior & Prevention Studies (CHIBPS) advances research and knowledge to improve the lives of those affected with or by HIV, substance abuse and mental health burden through the rigorous application of social science and public health research paradigms.

The team at CHIBPS envisions, develops, and enacts research with and for the communities we study. CHIBPS is a leading HIV, substance abuse, and mental health, behavior research center that is focused on the wellbeing of all people, including sexual, racial, ethnic and cultural minorities and other marginalized populations.

CHIBPS trains the future generation of behavioral and public health researchers and works with community partners to conduct research that resides on the hyphen between theory and practice.


Academic-Community Collaborative to Engage Stakeholders (ACCESS)

Principal Investigator: Beverly-Xaviera Watkins, MD, PhD

The ACCESS Lab is dedicated to developing innovative methods for engaging diverse, hard-to reach, socio-economically disadvantaged, underrepresented vulnerable populations in public health research.

We partner with community-based organizations (CBOs) that serve predominately African-American, Hispanic, Latino, Asian-American, and Native American residents in five local medically underserved communities in the tri-state area. Lab members work closely with stakeholders including local leaders and elected officials to collaboratively shape and implement community-based interventions designed to share health information and get local residents more involved in health screening, treatment and research initiatives. ACCESS lab members help to build the capacity of local residents to make informed health decisions, and increase trust in CGPH research.

We are currently seeking to add 6 members to our lab for a total of 10 members. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis beginning in September.

To apply, please submit your CV; an academic writing sample (no more than 4 pages, can be partial); and a cover letter describing your interests and relevant experience to

Claims Data Lab

Facilitators: José A. Pagán, PhD and Milliman Claim Data Experts

Milliman, a New York based global consulting firm and the New York University College of Global Public Health have joined forces to create a unique research opportunity for future public health professionals. Milliman deploys extensive health insurance (including Medicare and Medicaid) enrollment and claims databases to answer real world population health questions for public and private clients across the healthcare industry.

Starting in fall 2017, the “Claims Data Lab” will be introduced to students through three introductory sessions, giving students the opportunity to join the lab in January 2018. The lab’s objective is to answer population health question using health claims data in a variety of useful ways. Session topics include: understanding claims data and why public health professionals are interested, accessing and leveraging claims data, and an interactive component that introduces example research questions and audience questions. Students will have the opportunity to engage into the use of claims data through hands-on mentored experience.

The Claims Data lab provides a foundation for professional development and experiential learning. During the spring 2018 semester Milliman’s claims data experts will present a claims data analysis technical session every two weeks, with an added recorded component for lab members that are unable to attend in person. Experts encourage a collaborative environment and all session include a questions portion to engage students.Lab students who demonstrate commitment and talent during fall 2017 and spring 2018 may be granted access to Milliman claims data and/or invited to perform their practicum on-site at Milliman’s midtown Manhattan office.

Electronic Media Patient Education Initiative (EMPEI) Internship

Lab Facilitators: Stephen P. Wall, Joseph Ravenell and Patricio Castillo

EMPEI is a section of the Consortium for Research and Evaluation of Advanced Technologies in Education. EMPEI is located at the NYU School of Medicine, with faculty partners at the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and the CUNY Graduate Center.

Research Assistants are needed for studies examining the impact of multimedia education methods designed to inform patients, in culturally sensitive ways, about their medical problems and risk for illness. Research Assistants will gain research experience, develop data collection and analysis skills, co-author manuscripts and conference presentations, and more.

If interested please contact Patricio Castillo, EMPEI lab manager at

EMPOWER Lab (Women Survivors of Sexual Trauma)

Faculty Facilitator: Dr. Veronica Ades, MD, MPH

The EMPOWER (Engage/Motivate/Protect/Organize/self Worth/Educate/Respect) Clinic was founded in February 2013 and is one of the few clinics nationwide designed to meet the gynecologic, medical, and mental health needs of survivors of sex trafficking and sexual violence. The EMPOWER Lab was developed to work in conjunction with the EMPOWER Clinic and is a student and faculty research group which explores topics like reproductive health needs within vulnerable populations, gender empowerment, sexual and gender-based violence, maternal morbidity and mortality, and other global women’s health issues.

The current lab is comprised of undergraduate, graduate public health and medical students with a variety of personal and academic backgrounds who collaborate on teams to conduct research and advocacy on the various lab projects under Dr. Ades’ mentorship and supervision.

Ghedin Lab

Lab Facilitator: Elodie Ghedin, PhD, MS,

Ghedin Lab focuses on defining genomic characteristics of human parasites and other pathogens. Our research is multidisciplinary and draws upon the tools of genomics, molecular virology, and computational biology. Projects include the study of influenza virus evolution and emergence, the analysis of the microbiome and mycobiome (fungal microbiota) associated with the pathogenesis of lung obstruction and emphysema in HIV patients, and the characterization of endosymbiotic interactions between filarial worms and Wolbachia.

The research focus in the Ghedin laboratory is on defining genomic characteristics of human parasites and other pathogens. Our research is multidisciplinary and draws upon the tools of genomics, molecular virology, and computational biology. Our projects include the study of influenza virus evolution and emergence, the analysis of the microbiome and mycobiome (fungal microbiota) associated with the pathogenesis of lung obstruction and emphysema in HIV patients, and the characterization of endosymbiotic interactions between filarial worms and Wolbachia.

View a selection of our published research on thepublications page.

HealthRight Student Lab

Faculty Facilitator: Peter Navario, PhD (Economics), MPH

HealthRight International is a global health and human rights organization that partners with NYU’s CGPH with the aim of building lasting access to health for excluded communities, employing a human rights-based approach and working closely with community partners to improve local capacity and advance the inclusivity of health systems. HealthRight interns assist Dr. Navario and the program directors with all tasks associated with developing and implementing programs, including identifying grant opportunities, drafting and submitting new grant proposals, reporting on current grants, collecting and analyzing data, promoting HealthRight’s mission and achievements, advocating for the rights of marginalized communities, and assisting with special projects.

Measurement, Learning, & Evaluation Lab

Principal Investigator: Melody S. Goodman, PhD

Measurement, Learning, & Evaluation (MLE) lab director Melody Goodman and the multidisciplinary team members are committed to developing, implementing, and evaluating specific solutions to address measurement gaps in research and practice to address health disparities. As a biostatistician and health disparities methodologist, Dr. Goodman challenges her team members to work collaboratively with community health stakeholders to address pressing issues affecting the health of minority and medically underserved communities. The MLE lab conducts mixed-methods (qualitative/quantitative) community-engaged research focused on rigorous measurement, engages in scientific learning using data-driven approaches, and implements comprehensive (formative, summative, impact) evaluation.

MLE has two primary research tracks: 1) an applied methods track with an emphasis on survey research and a strong focus on measurement/measure development, and (2) a community-engaged research track with a focus on enhancing the infrastructure for community-engaged research through academic-community collaborations and through the development, implementation, and evaluation of community-engaged research projects and programs to reduce health disparities. In addition, MLE conducts collaborative work to support research teams/community-academic partnerships with study design, survey instrument development, data management, statistical analysis, and program/project evaluation.

mHealth Lab

Faculty Facilitator: Tom Kirchner, PhD, MS

NYU mHealth is a research group within the NYU College of Global Public Health. NYU mHealth works to leverage the power of cellphones to collect data about neighborhoods and experiences, including exposure to different risk and protective factors such as tobacco point-of-sale. Furthermore, the team also works  to understand health behaviors as they occur within residents’ day-to-day routine. This data and analysis are used to understand decision-making about the pros and cons of certain behaviors, attitudes about the built environment, and ultimately the way outcomes are affected by the neighborhoods in which people live or spend a substantial amount of their time.

The NYU mHealth group is comprised of a transdisciplinary, highly collaborative team that includes experts in applied public health research, geographic information systems, mobile data collection, and computationally intensive (“big”) data analytics, among other topics.  Members of the lab are working with a wide range of datasets from open platforms, as well as geolocation mobility data, ecological momentary assessment (EMA) data, and very large photographic imagery data from street-level collection systems and smart wearable cameras. 

In the Lab, researchers and students apply mHealth tools to explore geospatial systems, technology, research, and community advocacy. Students at all levels are encouraged to contact us about opportunities, as well as check out the student-led NYU Youthmappers club. NYU mHealth is accepting doctoral students for the Fall of 2018.  

Visit the mHealth website

NYU Music and Social Change Lab

Lab Facilitator: Carlos Chirinos, Director, (MA Anthropology, MMus Ethnomusicology, PhD Development Studies candidate) with CGPH Advisor, Julia Cartwright

From the influential work of John Lennon to promote global peace to the active role of Bono in advocating against poverty in the developing world, music artists have played a critical role in fundraising and mobilizing communities for social change.

The NYU Music and Social Change Lab is a hub to investigate, create and incubate social enterprises, technologies and sustainable music businesses that promote economic development and social change

The MSCLab supports innovative ideas that use MUSIC to address some of the world’s most pressing issues to foster and incubate innovative music projects to promote, advocate, and raise awareness about social issues, working with NYU students, faculty and a Global network of non-profit and private organizations.

Population Health Innovation Lab

Faculty Facilitator: Andrew Goodman, MD, PhD

The Population Health Innovation Lab is a new effort at the College of Global Public Health to promote the widespread implementation of effective but underutilized policies, practices and programs to improve health, prevent disease, and reduce health inequities.

This domestic-oriented project aims to promote a broader understanding of the public health approach to improving the health of populations in the U.S. and assist the growing number of organizations interested in applying population health approaches to improving health status, including government, healthcare systems, unions, employers, community organizations and others.

The Lab conducts policy analyses and aims to provide organizations technical assistance and implementation support such as strategic planning, program design, organizational capacity building, communications, and evaluation. Students and faculty will work together in the Lab to develop innovative approaches to help stakeholders achieve their population health goals.

Population Impact, Recovery, and Resilience (PiR2) program

Faculty Facilitator: Dr. David Abramson

The premise underlying Dr. Abramson’s research program - PiR2 - is the application of social science theory and methodology to complex population health issues associated with disaster-related or stressor-related recovery and resiliency.

His Data Lab leverages the power of a number of his disaster studies: the NIH-funded longitudinal Gulf Coast Child and Family Health (G-CAFH) study of Katrina survivors; the Women’s and Their Children’s Health (WaTCH) study, an NIEHS-funded study exploring the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on children’s health in the Gulf Coast region; the Gulf Coast Population Impact Project, a foundation-funded effort exploring the individual and social impact of collective disaster stressors on children and families; and the longitudinal 1,000-household Sandy Child and Family Health Study, a representative population study of the hurricane’s effect on the population of New Jersey.

Public Health Policy Research Lab

Lab Facilitator: Jennifer Pomerantz, JD, MPH

Research initiatives focus on informing policy to support public health. Specific issues we will address include public health policy related to products that cause harm (e.g., tobacco, alcohol, food, firearms), social justice-related public health issues, and creating a living environment that supports public health. Our objective is to provide policymakers and organizations in the U.S. and global community with empirically supported guidance on policies that aim to improve public health.

Reproductive Health and Health Systems (R2HS) Lab

Lab Facilitator: Dr. Laurie Zephyrin

The Reproductive Health and Health Systems (R2HS) Lab is a student and faculty research and policy group which focuses on enhancing systems thinking in reproductive health. The Lab designs, tests, and implements reproductive health innovations across systems, and addresses women’s health and wellness across the life course from a health systems perspective.

The R2HS lab will explore research, policies, and programs to optimize reproductive health and health care delivery for women across health systems. The R2HS Lab will focus on health systems and incorporate needs of special populations such as vulnerable women and women veterans. Dr. Laurie Zephyrin has extensive experience at the health system level nationally and globally and is experienced in translating research into policy and programs and developing innovations, policy and strategies to enhance the health and health care of vulnerable populations

Social Epidemiology and Research in Community Health (SEARCH) Program

Faculty Facilitators: Bernadette Boden-Albala, DrPH, MPH; Nina Parikh, PhD, MPH; and Emily Goldmann, PhD, MPH

Dr. Bernadette Boden-Albala and Dr. Nina Parikh created the Social Epidemiology and Research in Community Health (SEARCH) program that is housed within the Division of Social Epidemiology. SEARCH fosters student-faculty research partnerships and provides students with qualitative, quantitative, and research administrative experience. SEARCH members (undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students) gain valuable research experience, earn letters of recommendations, develop key skills related to data collection and analysis, recruit and assist in clinical trials, assist in creating conference presentations, assist in development and writing manuscripts for publications, and advance independent projects. SEARCH is proud to support a current recipient of the Dean’s Undergraduate Research Fund (DURF), a prestigious NYU scholarship to conduct independent research projects.

Spatial Epidemiology Lab

Faculty Facilitator: Dustin Duncan, ScD

As a Social and Spatial Epidemiologist, Dr. Duncan and members of his Spatial Epidemiology Lab study what makes neighborhoods tick, and how the unique characteristics of built and social environments can impact health in both positive and negative ways locally and globally.

Current studies are taking place in New York City and Paris, France. Dr. Duncan is keen to the role that neighborhoods can have detrimental and sometimes crippling effects on population. As a Social and Spatial Epidemiologist, Dr. Duncan and members of his Spatial Epidemiology Lab study what makes neighborhoods tick, and how the unique characteristics of built and social environments can impact health in both positive and negative ways locally and globally. Current studies are taking place in New York City and Paris, France. Dr. Duncan is keen to the role that neighborhoods can have detrimental and sometimes crippling effects on population health, in the forms of obesity, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, drug abuse and HIV/AIDS.

Technology Enhanced Learning Lab

Faculty Facilitators: Joyce O’Connor, DrPH, MA, RD and Marina Thomas

The Technology-Enhanced Education Lab engages with graduate and undergraduate student interns to work collaboratively with the CGPH Director of Advanced Certificate in Public Health and CGPH’s Instructional Technologists and faculty to develop and adapting courses, programs and research projects to utilize digital resources to support the educational goals of CGPH and NYU. Successful applicants gain practical, real-world public health experience in curriculum development, planning and implementation of pedagogical strategies and hand-on application of instructional resources that utilize contemporary technologies and data sets to enhance teaching and learning; letter of recommendation, potential publications, and recognition for their efforts. Students will work with faculty and staff to develop, and effectively use digital content, tools, or related processes and procedures to help foster a high quality digital educational experience at NYU. They gain hands on experience using NYU’s LMS system (NYU Classes), and become familiar with best practices for applying instructional technologies to curriculum design for global public health.

This includes curriculum development; best practices in student-focused learning methodologies; knowledge of web accessibility; software development; website and graphic design; implementation of educational technology tools; communication and writing skills; enhanced knowledge in epidemiology, biostatistics, health economics, community health and research and data management.

The Chunara Lab

Faculty Facilitator: Rumi Chunara, PhD (Health, Sciences and Technology)

The overarching goal of The Chunara Lab’s research is to improve our knowledge of how and why infectious and noncommunicable diseases spread in populations. In order to do this, we harness data from sources outside traditional healthcare institutions and develop computational methodology for using these observational data sources. Major research methods used include: Information retrieval, spatio-temporal analyses, data mining, machine learning and epidemiological methods for new data sources.

Tobacco Lab

Faculty Facilitators: Cheryl Healton, DrPH, Donna Shelley, MD, MPH, Scott Sherman, MD,MPH, and Michael Weitzman, MD

Students involved with the Tobacco Lab engage in a variety of projects and study multiple aspects of tobacco use, including epidemiology, interventions, and marketing, as well as learn crucial research skills, such as grant writing, literature reviews, and analysis strategies. As this lab has multiple PIs, students have the opportunity to learn about a large range of topics, which the lab facilitates by hosting weekly presentations where PIs or students discuss their research and share their experiences.

Ongoing projects include:

  • Dr. Donna Shelley’s work with NYC Treats Tobacco, where research assistants meet with legislators to discuss the importance of tobacco control
  • Dr. Paul Krebs’ work ranging from grant development, to studying how Twitter and social media platforms spread information about e-cigarettes, to promoting smoking cessation through text messaging
  • Dr. Donna Vallone’s work to study male Asian American smokers, a group underrepresented in research
  • Dr. Michael Weitzman’s work to evaluate the smoking habits and knowledge of alternative tobacco products among dental students, dental hygiene students, and post-graduate dental students at the NYU College of Dentistry.


Applied Global Public Health Initiative

Faculty Facilitator: Chris Dickey, DrPH, MBA

Dr. Dickey developed and leads the Applied Global Public Health Initiative at NYU GPH, which has 20 current members and has resulted in internships with the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and UNICEF for more than 25 PhD, MPH, and undergraduate students. Lab members work on projects like: universal health coverage policy (for WHO); a new data-driven decision support tool (for UNICEF); supply chain and logistics analysis (for the UN Commission on Life Saving Commodities); social network and knowledge management analyses (for UNICEF); public health entrepreneurial ventures; and the development of online public health programs. The lab meets every Friday on campus to troubleshoot roadblocks, exchange ideas, and discuss opportunities.



SocioEconomic Evaluation of Dietary Decisions (SEED) Program

Faculty Facilitator: Dr. Marie Bragg, PhD

As Director of the Socio-Economic Evaluation of Dietary Decisions Program (SeedProgram), Dr. Bragg conducts research on environmental and social factors associated with obesity, food marketing, food policy, and health disparities. According to Dr. Bragg, researchers have demonstrated that food companies create a “health halo” around foods that might otherwise be perceived as unhealthy.

The Seed Program has conducted web-based studies that examine how people react to products based on what information or health claims are placed on the package; how adolescents perceive racially/ethnically-targeted food and non-alcoholic beverage marketing; the effects of food and beverages endorsed by celebrities and athletes; and studies that examine the nutritional quality of food and beverages endorsed by popular music celebrities and athletes. The implications of Dr. Bragg’s research have been used to support public policy such as the Healthy Happy Meals Bill and the Sodium Warning Label.