Centers, Labs & Initiatives

NYU’s School 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: Holly Hagan, PhD

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. The are three institutions affiliated with CDUHR: New York University; Mount Sinai Health System; 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.

Visit the CDUHR Website


Attachment and Health Disparities Research Lab

Faculty Facilitator: Stephanie Cook, Assistant Professor of Biostatistics

The Attachment and Health Disparities Lab seeks to understand health disparities observed among young sexual and racial/ethnic minorities through the lens of Dr. Cook’s integrated theory of adult attachment and minority stress. Though current theoretical paradigms of attachment indicate how individuals respond to stress, these theories do not adequately account for the unique impact of social stressors on individual health and well-being, which may be of critical importance in understanding the drivers of health in marginalized populations. The negative social valuation of a marginalized identity—such as a sexual minority identity or a racial minority identity—causes stress in persons with a marginalized social status beyond the level of stress that people generally experience; this excess stress has been named minority stress. However, many theories of minority stress are limited and inadequately delineate the associations between attachment orientation, stress, and subsequent health outcomes.  Making these theoretical and empirical linkages is important for understanding how to address health disparities among disadvantaged individuals who are at heightened risk for experiencing minority stress compared to other individuals (e.g., African-American youth, sexual minority men). Therefore, one of the main objectives of Dr. Cook’s research is to understand the pathways and mechanisms located particularly at the intersection of marginalized identities that link attachment, minority stress, and health among disadvantaged individuals.

Visit the Attachment and Health Disparities Research Lab Webpage

Biostatistics Consulting Lab

The biostatistics consulting lab (also known as GPH-GU 3235 Biostatistical Consulting when offered as a formal course), led by Dr. Rebecca Betensky, is an initiative in which students work to provide statistical support on real-world studies being performed throughout the NYU community, with our predominant partnerships taking place with researchers at the School of Medicine and GPH. In addition to experience working with real data, these partnerships can also lead to co-authorship and summer research opportunities.

For more information on upcoming meetings (or for requesting statistical support on a study), please visit our Consulting Lab page.

Chunara Lab

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

The overarching goal of the Chunara Lab is to develop computational and statistical approaches for acquiring, integrating and using data to improve population-level public health. Considering health from a comprehensive, multi-level perspective means that the data we use comes from both inside and outside the clinic.

To achieve this goal, we make impact in computer science by addressing a range of technical questions inspired by the opportunity of new data sources in health. The main challenge is that the data are unstructured and the relevant features must be identified. Thus we develop computational methods across data mining, natural language processing, and machine learning to generate features and incorporate these into spatio-temporal population-level models to address public health priorities.

Claims Data Lab

NYU FacilitatorJosé A. Pagán, PhD

Industry-Expert Instructors: Pamela Pelizzari, MPH; Tia Goss Sawhney, DrPH; Samantha Tomicki, MPH; Bruce Pyenson, FSA

Corporate Sponsor: Milliman, a global consulting firm, and Teus Health


Health insurance claims data is the most comprehensive source of person-level population health data available today. People with health insurance claims data skills are in-demand in today’s employment market.

Milliman and the New York University School of Global Public Health have joined forces to create a unique learning opportunity for future public health professionals who wish to understand or harness the power of health insurance claims data to answer population health questions. The Claims Data Analysis Lab’s objective is to introduce students to the richness, complexities, and limitations of claims data and how the data may be deployed to answer a variety of population health questions.

During the fall term, the claims data and analysis will be introduced to NYU students through a series of introductory sessions. In the spring term students will work hands-on with claims data to answer a research question via guided instruction.  Students interested in participating in the spring semester portion of the lab must attend the fall sessions. Throughout the year we will invite guests to speak about working with claims data. The experts will encourage a collaborative environment and all sessions will include questions and group discussion.

Fall semester session topics will include: an introduction to claims data, why and how public health professionals use claims data, and obtaining and accessing, and leveraging claims data for population health analyses. We will encourage students to ask questions, including how claims data may be useful for their personal research topics.

In the spring semester lab students will then have the opportunity to explore claims data through hands-on guided experience. Claims data experts will present a claims data analysis technical session every one to two weeks.

About the Instructors: The instructors are current and former Milliman employees, three with public health degrees. They have decades of experience using health insurance claims databases for academic, governmental, non-profit, and for-profit work. Their work has been published in leading healthcare journals and their firms hire MPH’s with health insurance data analysis skills.

About Milliman: Milliman is a global consulting firm that deploys extensive health insurance claims databases to answer real world population health questions for public and private clients across the US healthcare industry.

About Teus Health: Teus Health is a boutique consulting firm that brings clients informative and actionable analyses in the complex, rapidly-changing, and intersecting domains population health and health insurance.

Complex Public Health Disasters (CPHD) Lab

Faculty facilitators:  Robyn Gershon, MHS, DrPH and Alexis Merdjanoff, PhD.

Two facts are clear regarding disaster events: (1) they are increasing in frequency and severity and (2) all large scale disasters are public health disasters. The increased intensity of disasters, coupled with the increased interconnectedness and complexity of critical mass infrastructure, is driving the need for highly skilled emergency managers. In recognition of the demand for public health professionals with advanced training in disaster management, GPH recently launched a new Advanced Certificate in Public Health Disaster Science, Policy and Practice. 

This new Public Health Disasters Lab builds upon the momentum of the new Disaster Certificate Program and leverages the research of two GPH faculty members who are actively conducting public health disaster studies. The aim of the new Lab is to conduct cutting edge and applied research to meet the needs of (1) the public health and health care sector; (2) minimize risk and increase resilience in vulnerable populations, including, disabled, aged, marginalized and minority populations; and (3) improve our public health disasters preparedness capabilities in order to protect essential workers.

Current projects in the CPHD Lab include: Impact of COVID on NYC Transit Workers; Role of American with Disabilities Coordinators (ADA-C) and Offices of Emergency Management (OEM) on emergency management policies and practices for people with disabilities; Impact of multiple complex disaster events (WTC Disaster, Hurricane Sandy, and COVID-19) on disaster survivors; long term impact (across the lifespan) of the WTC attack on survivors, and other studies.   The Lab includes MPH students who are working on thesis projects, applied practice projects or those with interest in gaining experience with publications and presentations.  A new GPH Public Health Disaster Journal and webpage has recently been launched to provide a forum for students interesting in publishing some of their disaster-related work. Opportunities for gaining experience in managing and further developing the new Journal is also available to students affiliated with this new Lab.

Interested students should contact Dr. Robyn Gershon to discuss lab membership.

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.

Feng Lab

Led by Dr. Yang Feng in the Department of Biostatistics at GPH, the Feng Lab seeks to develop and apply machine learning (ML) and big data methods to solve public health problems.  In addition, Feng Lab is interested in high-dimensional data analysis and modeling, network models, nonparametric and semiparametric methods, and bioinformatics.

Feng Lab is actively looking for motivated talents at undergraduate, master and Ph.D. levels. If you are interested, please submit an application here.

Global Action for Urban Health

Faculty Facilitators:Dr. Jo Ivey Boufford and Dr. Alexis Merdjanoff

Urban health is an evolving area of research, education, practice, and policy making. Students are in a strong position to be part of these developing activities to advance the evidence base on research, implementation and evaluation in urban health. The Global Action for Urban Health Lab, co-developed by Dr. Jo Boufford and Dr. Alexis Merdjanoff, provides a space for students both within and outside of GPH to collaborate on various projects around urban health worldwide. The primary goals of this lab are for students: (1) to learn about the role of cities in global health and the role of urban governance in health, including policy approaches both across agencies and in public-private partnerships in the context of the SDGs and UNHabitat’s New Urban Agenda (2) to develop a network of academic programs, faculty, and students across NYU focusing on urban health; (3) to engage with UN agencies and national/ municipal governments, international and domestic NGOs, urban health researchers, practitioners and policy makers worldwide (4) to develop skills for data collection, analysis and project implementation of priority urban health programs from collaborating organizations; and (5) to build on the platform of the International Society for Urban Health as a global network of researchers, educators, practitioners and policy makers committed to improving health and health equity in cities.

The Global Action for Urban Health Lab provides a platform for both individual and team activities with students from different disciplines and areas of interest from GPH and graduate students from across other NYU schools and programs (e.g., Wagner Urban Planning, Rudin Institute, Real Estate Institute, CUSP, Engineering, Marron Institute, Stern, Journalism, Institute for Public Knowledge, Furman Center, Geography, Department of Population Health at Langone, Tisch School of the Arts, etc.).

Projects for the lab will be proposed by faculty advisors and other faculty in partnership with participating local and global organizations, though individual and small groups of students may develop their own proposals. Each project will have a student lead to serve as the point of contact for the faculty advisor and “client” organization. Opportunities to potentially tie lab activities to student thesis projects or Applied Practice Experiences can be discussed with the faculty advisors.

Meetings will be held every two weeks and will be joined by speakers and experts within and outside of NYU at least 6 times per year. The lab is expected to launch Spring 2020. For more information or if you’re interested in joining the lab, please email

Health Economics Learning Lab (HELLab)

Faculty Facilitator:Yesim Tozan, PhD

Under the supervision of Dr. Yesim Tozan, the Health Economics Learning Lab (HELLab) conducts research in the fields of health economics, systems thinking, and decision science to design more equitable and efficient health policies and programs. Our geographic focus is on the tropical and sub-tropical areas of the developing world, which bears a disproportionate share of the global burden of disease. The Lab’s work is directed at costing and cost-effectiveness analyses, and at epidemiological and economic modeling, with the aim of generating actionable evidence for health policy-making. Our multidisciplinary projects provide a platform for Lab members to engage in applied health economics and policy research. The primary focus is on infectious disease prevention and control, with an emphasis on vector-borne diseases, and on improving health and mental health outcomes of vulnerable populations in resource-poor settings.

Dr. Tozan is currently leading a variety of health economic studies in several research projects. Currently, these studies include:

  • a multi-country costing study on dengue, Zika, chikungunya, and malaria to evaluate out-of-pockets costs of travel-acquired infections in international travelers (CHIZIDEMA project)
  • a cost-effectiveness analysis alongside a clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness of an innovative economic empowerment intervention to reduce the risk and incidence of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases in adolescent girls (Suubi4Her project) in southern Uganda
  • a cost-effectiveness analysis alongside a quasi-experimental study to evaluate the effectiveness of a village-based intervention for malaria prevention through mass screening and treatment in poorly accessible areas (DAMAN project) in Odhisha, India and an epidemiologic modeling study to evaluate the impact on malaria transmission dynamics of a mix of commonly used and new interventions towards successful and efficient control of the disease in the same setting
  • a cost-effectiveness analysis alongside a clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness of a combination intervention that adds economic empowerment to traditional HIV risk reduction sessions to reduce the incidence of sexually transmitted infections and HIV among female sex workers (Kyaterekera project) in the greater Masaka region, Uganda
  • a cost-effectiveness analysis alongside a longitudinal experimental study to evaluate the effectiveness of an evidence-based multiple group family strengthening intervention to improve the behavioral outcomes of children (SMART Africa project) in southern Uganda
  • an economic modeling study in the context of a multi-institutional research project aimed at improving global arbovirus risk models to enhance outbreak preparedness and response for Aedes-borne diseases (ARBO-PREVENT project)

Fun fact about Dr. Tozan: She served as a Senior Task Force Associate for the UN Millennium Project’s Task Force on HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis and Access to Essential Medicines.

To get involved in the Health Economics Learning Lab, please email our coordinator Ariadna Capasso (

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 GPH 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.

Interventions to Reduce Disparities in Addictions Research Program (IDEAS Lab)

Principal Investigators:
Omar El Shahawy MD, MPH, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Population Health, Section on Tobacco, Alcohol and Drug Use at NYU Grossman School of Medicine and Assistant Professor at GPH
Erin Rogers DrPH, MPH, Assistant Professor in the Department of Population Health at NYU Grossman School of Medicine

About the Lab:
The IDEAS Lab is based within NYU’s School of Global Public Health (SGPH) and concentrates on areas of study relate to tobacco, alcohol, and drug addiction and corresponding health disparities. Some of our research projects include investigating the impact of e-cigarette marketing strategies’ on youth use, researching e-cigarettes as a harm reduction strategies in smokers diagnosed with alcohol use disorder, opioid use disorder, and people living with HIV/AIDS. These research projects will help inform future tobacco and drug policies and will enhance our understanding of the health disparities experienced by vulnerable populations. 

Our Lab Mission is to create an engaging environment for both graduate and undergraduate students where they can learn quantitative and qualitative research and developing valuable research skills, such as writing and publishing manuscripts, conducting literature reviews, grant writing, and collecting and analyzing data.

Getting Involved:
We are currently recruiting undergraduate and graduate students to become lab members in addition to two leadership positions (below). Please an email to for application details. The lab’s website of the lab is currently being developed on SGPH domain.


Faculty Facilitator/Principal Investigator(s): Dr. Emmanuel Peprah

Implementing Sustainable Evidence-based interventions through Engagement (ISEE) Lab strives to educate, discover, engage, and improve the health of communities in low- and middle-income countries via delivery of evidence-based implementation strategies to achieve optimal health outcomes. Faculty and students in Dr. Peprah's ISEE Lab focus on the following areas:

  1. Advancing the science of implementation via instrument development or adaption
  2. Maternal child health
  3. Sickle cell disease, and non-communicable disease
  4. HIV/AIDS and communicable disease
  5. Global health, genomic medicine, and health equity

We strive to understand the who, why, where, and how interventions are adopted and maintained by certain communities and not others. Because context is important to consider in global health improvement endeavors, approaching interventions with cultural sensitivity and innovation for diverse populations in low resource settings and continuous engagement of key stakeholders is crucial to improving health outcomes and wellbeing. Our research is based on well-studied implementation science principles, theories, frameworks, and measures.

For more information contact Dr. Peprah at

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.

Visit the MLE Website

mHealth Lab

Faculty Facilitator: Tom Kirchner, PhD, MS

NYU mHealth is a research group within the NYU School 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 GPH Nutrition Lab

Co-Led by the Nutritional Epidemiology Faculty: 

Joyce O’Connor, DrPH, MA, RD, Director of Public Health Nutrition
Niyati Parekh, PhD
Andrea Deierlein, PhD, MPH


The Nutrition Lab at the NYU School of Global Public Health is composed of various working groups exploring aspects of nutritional epidemiology, clinical nutrition, nutrition and lifestyle behavior, use of technology to support dietary patterns and food security, and nutrition-related policy implications and initiatives. The primary goals of this lab are for students to...

  1. learn about the role of nutrition in public health and non-communicable diseases; 
  2. develop a network of students, faculty, and programs across New York University and the greater New York City area to better implement and innovate programs to support the community; 
  3. expand and define the methodology of nutrition research through an integrative epidemiologic and social behavioral approach to optimize policy initiatives; and 
  4. collaborate with nutrition researchers and registered dietitians to better understand the role and opportunities of nutrition professionals in developing and delivering nutrition research to the greater population.

The Nutrition Lab will combine the work and expertise of nutrition faculty, doctoral students, and interested MPH and undergraduate combined major students across departments to better engage GPH in research efforts to combat nutrition-related disease outcomes, reduce health disparities among vulnerable populations, and support efforts to better inform policies at the national and international level.

Some examples of current working groups in the Nutrition Lab include:

  • South Asian Health and Research (SAHaRa) group led by Dr. Niyati Parekh with Drs. Ralph DiClemente and Joyce O’Connor
  • Nutrition Literacy and Food Security among College Students research project co-lead by Drs. Andrea Deierlein and Niyati Parekh in collaboration with Dr. Jessica Bihuniak at NYU Steinhardt’s Department of Nutrition and Food Studies 
  • Nutrition Technology group, led by Dr. Joyce O’Connor in collaboration with Dr. Marina Thomatos. 
  • Nutrition and Dietetics Journal Club: Targeted at students interested in the joint MPH/DPD program to become a registered dietitian, Dr. Joyce O’Connor and Bridget Murphy (who are both RDs) co-lead this group for RDs-to-be.

Interested in joining the Nutrition Lab?

Please email Bridget Murphy at for more information

NYU Music and Social Change Lab

Lab Facilitator: Carlos Chirinos, Director, (MA Anthropology, MMus Ethnomusicology, PhD Development Studies candidate) with GPH 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.

Opioids and Police Safety

Faculty Facilitator/Principal Investigator(s): Dr. Janie Simmons

By harmonizing public health and policing initiatives, we aim to remove barriers to productive and life- saving police engagement with PWUO/PWID. This 2-arm pragmatic trial will address the hazards experienced by police when working with illicit opioids and promote strategies that focus both on the safety of law enforcement and evidence- based and best-practices for working with persons at risk of an opioid overdose.

To get involved, please email Dr. Simmons at

Population Health Innovation Lab

Faculty Facilitator: Andrew Goodman, MD, PhD

The Population Health Innovation Lab is a new effort at the School 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.

Public Health Policy Research Lab

Lab Facilitators: Jennifer Pomeranz, JD, MPH, and Diana Silver, PhD, 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.

Researching Inequity in Society Ecologically (RISE)

This lab is conducted under the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

Faculty Facilitator/Principal Investigator(s): Dr. Shabnam Javdani, Dr. Erin Godfrey

The Researching Inequity in Society Ecologically (RISE) Team at NYU is directed by Dr. Shabnam Javdani, Assistant Professor in the Applied Psychology Department. The team’s research and activities serve traditionally marginalized populations, focusing on health and mental health disparities in women and youth who are involved, or at risk of involvement, with the justice system. As such, the RISE Team takes a contextual, multi-level and interdisciplinary approach to systems change and implementing evidence-based practices promoting health and well-being, working closely with community partners to bridge the gap between research and practice. 

For more information, visit the RISE website or email project coordinator Josh Adler at

Section for Global Health at NYU School of Medicine

This lab is conducted under NYU Langone Health.

The Vedanthan research group, led by Rajesh Vedanthan, MD, MPH, at NYU Langone’s Section for Global Health in the Department of Population Health is focused on the improvement of global cardiovascular health with particular focus on low-resource settings. To do this, we bring together various academic disciplines to conduct implementation research and help optimize cardiovascular care delivery. We also work with policymakers and program implementers around the world to improve population health and reduce disease burden across the entire life course.

Ongoing projects include:

  • Bridging Income Generation with Group Integrated Care (BIGPIC): This study utilizes a transdisciplinary implementation research approach to address the challenge of reducing CVD risk in low-resource settings. Our hypothesis is that group medical visits integrated into microfinance groups will be effective and cost-effective in reducing CVD risk among individuals who have or are at increased risk of diabetes in western Kenya and that the key modifiable CVD risk factor to be addressed is blood pressure. We hypothesize that group medical visits and microfinance may each reduce CVD risk, but the integration of group medical visits and microfinance will yield the largest gains. We further hypothesize that changes in social network characteristics may mediate the impact of interventions on the primary outcome and that baseline social network characteristics may moderate the impact of interventions.
  • Strengthening Referral Networks for Management of Hypertension Across the Health System (STRENGTHS): The objective of this study is to utilize the PRECEDE-PROCEED framework, a widely applied planning model, to conduct transdisciplinary, translational implementation research focused on strengthening referral networks for hypertension control in western Kenya. The central hypothesis is that health information technology (HIT) integrated with peer support will be effective and cost-effective in strengthening referral networks, improving blood pressure control, and reducing CVD risk among patients with hypertension in western Kenya. We hypothesize that HIT and peer support will synergistically address barriers to hypertension control at the patient, provider, and health system levels. We further hypothesize that changes in referral network characteristics may mediate the impact of the intervention on the primary outcome and that baseline referral network characteristics may moderate the impact of the intervention.

For more information, visit the website or email program manager Dr. Meredith Hasenoehrl at and research coordinator Julia Dickhaus at

Technology Enhanced Learning Lab

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

The Technology-Enhanced Education Lab engages with graduate and undergraduate student interns to work collaboratively with the GPH Director of Advanced Certificate in Public Health and GPH’s Instructional Technologists and faculty to develop and adapting courses, programs and research projects to utilize digital resources to support the educational goals of GPH 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.

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.

Urban Epidemiology Lab (UEL)

Faculty facilitators:  Danielle Ompad, PhD and Emily Goldmann, PhD, MPH

In 2007, the world achieved a major milestone: 50% of the world’s population was living in urban settings and the proportion of people living in urban settings is expected to increase to 68% by 2050 (United Nations, World Urbanization Prospects: The 2018 Revision.) Given this reality, the Urban Epidemiology Lab (UEL) engages in research that aims to: (1) understand and improve the health of people living in urban settings and (2) help us conceptualize urban settings as “exposures” that may improve or detract from the health of urban dwellers. 

The UEL’s primary focus is on substance use and infectious diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis B and C, and sexually transmitted infections.  The UEL includes doctoral students, MPH students who are working on their thesis with Dr. Ompad, recent NYU GPH graduates, and post-doctoral fellows from New York University training programs. Most UEL members analyze epidemiologic data from one of Dr. Ompad’s studies.  Opportunities exist for collaboration with other students, other NYU faculty, and faculty from outside of NYU.

To be considered for lab membership, individuals should have taken GPH-GU 2450 Intermediate Epidemiology and/or GPH-GU 2353 Regression I: Linear Regression and Modeling or their equivalents.

Xu Quantitative Lab

Faculty Facilitator/Principal Investigator(s): Dr. Shu Xu

The Xu Quantitative lab led by Dr. Shu Xu focuses on the application and evaluation of innovative quantitative methods to social science and public health research. Our mission is to reinvent the public health paradigm by inspiring innovative scholarship, practice and leadership across boundaries.  The primary research track of this lab is (but not limited to) tobacco use and health behavior change using Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) data; and is centered on various aspects of latent growth models, missing data methods, causal inference models, and developing statistical methods for longitudinal data analysis. We work to understand and address the health effects of tobacco use; assess the effects of tobacco use patterns on various health outcomes; tobacco cessation and control strategies; effects of tobacco on various population groups; assess and evaluate the tobacco campaigns and policies.

For more information, please contact Dr. Shu Xu at


Applied Global Public Health Initiative

Faculty Facilitator: Chris Dickey, DrPH, MBA

The Applied Global Public Health Initiative (AGPHI) is a student run, service-based initiative working to create better health circumstances in New York City and beyond through collaborating with outside organizations to find innovative solutions to public health problems. Composed of undergraduate and graduate students, this lab is overseen by Dr. Chris Dickey and focuses on project-based global public health research in partnership with industry sponsors and frequently hosts renowned guest speakers to discuss creative solutions to public health issues around the world. By working with small, up-and-coming NGOs to ministries of health to larger UN agencies, the lab seeks to develop and nurture applicable, thoughtful and practical skills for our future careers. In doing so, we work to expand our understanding of what it means to be public health practitioners. Overarching research initiatives focus on global public health challenges that require an applied approach to problem solving. During our all-lab weekly meetings, we exchange ideas, discuss current events through a global health lens, and share opportunities for growth on our various projects.

Visit the AGPHI webpage to learn more.


Intervention Optimization Initiative

Faculty Facilitator: Linda M. Collins

Intervention optimization is an emerging scientific field.  In this field ideas from behavioral science, engineering, public health, quantitative and qualitative methods, economics, and decision science are integrated to produce innovative approaches for empirical development and optimization of interventions.

All types of interventions can be optimized, including behavioral, biobehavioral, biomedical, social-structural, and educational interventions.

By intervention optimization, we mean the process of arriving at intervention EASE.  Intervention EASE is a strategic balance of Effectiveness, Affordability, Scalability, and Efficiency.  Intervention EASE is usually achieved via an approach called the multiphase optimization strategy (MOST). More information about MOST, including recommended readings and training opportunities, can be found on this website:

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.

Visit the PiR2 website.


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.

South Asian Health and Research (SAHARA) Group

Faculty Director: Dr. Niyati Parekh

The South Asian Health and Research Group (SAHARA) based at the NYU School of Global Health was established in 2019 to expand our knowledge on the health needs of South Asians (both those in NYC and across the country). We are committed to address and reduce South Asian health disparities through research and build capacity through multi-disciplinary collaborations and a focus on student-mentorship to innovate in this field. The overarching goals of SAHARA are:

  • To expand our understanding of and better intervene in the health needs of South Asian populations by developing research that is innovative, interdisciplinary, and impactful
  • To enhance the advocacy of the health needs of South Asian populations through collaboration and communication initiatives
  • To mentor and train the next generation of researchers in the necessary tools and culturally sensitive skill set to meet the health needs of South Asian populations

Visit the SAHARA Group Webpage

Download the Professional Development Brochure