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: 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


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

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

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 College of Global Public Health have joined forces with the NYU College of Global Public Health 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.

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. 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.

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. 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 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

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.

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 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.

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.

Visit the PiR2 website.


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.

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 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.

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.

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.


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.