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University of Pittsburgh    
2020-2021 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jul 18, 2024
2020-2021 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

GSPH-Epidemiology Areas of Research Emphasis

Areas of Emphasis

Students take a series of core courses in epidemiology and public health, then may choose to enroll in courses in one or several Areas of Emphasis. Faculty in each of these areas have major research and/or community service programs that provide excellent facilities for student research and field training, and some have training grants. Summaries of each area, and their specific details, are provided below.

Faculty members in each of these areas offer major research and/or community service programs that provide excellent facilities for student research and field training. Epidemiology
Applied Public Health Epidemiology
Cancer Epidemiology
Cardiovascular & Diabetes Epidemiology
Clinical Trials & Methods
Environmental Epidemiology
Global Health Epidemiology
Infectious Disease Epidemiology
Injury Prevention Epidemiology
Molecular & Genetic Epidemiology
Obesity & Nutritional Epidemiology
Prevention, Lifestyle & Physical Activity Epidemiology
Psychiatric Epidemiology
Reproductive, Perinatal & Pediatric Epidemiology
Women’s Health Epidemiology



Aging Epidemiology

Faculty Contact: Anne Newman, MD, MPH


Applied Public Health

Applied Public Health Epidemiology

Faculty Contact: Thomas Songer, PhD

  • Areas of focus include: population health status assessment; infectious and chronic disease surveillance and control, maternal and child health epidemiology and environmental health epidemiology.
  • Opportunities include practicum experiences, independent study and other applied projects. An enhanced practicum experience is the Summer Institute in Applied Public Health at the Allegheny Health Department.
  • Faculty members currently working in this area include LuAnn Brink, Marshal MaKristen Mertz, and Thomas Songer.



Cancer Epidemiology

Faculty Contacts: Jian-Min Yuan, MD, PhD

  • An advanced course is offered in cancer epidemiology on topics of surveillance, etiology and prevention.
  • Research focus areas include: breast cancer and hormonal factors; environmental exposures determined by objective biomarkers and gene-environment interaction in the etiology of and susceptibility to cancer, including cancers of the lung, liver, colorectum, urinary bladder, breast, ovary and prostate; molecular epidemiology; cancer screening and related health services; diet as a source of risk and protective factors of cancer; obesity and weight loss for cancer prevention.
  • Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Program Seminar series at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, an National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.
  • Faculty members currently working in this area include: Clareann BunkerJane Cauley, Brenda Diergaarde, Lewis Kuller, Faina LinkovJian-Min Yuan.


Cardiovascular a& Diabetes

Cardiovascular & Diabetes Epidemiology

Faculty Contact: Akira Sekikawa, MD, MPH, PhD


Clinical Trials & Methods

Clinical Trials & Methods

Faculty Contact: Steven Belle, PhD, M.Sc.Hyg. 



Environmental Epidemiology

Faculty Contact: Evelyn Talbott, DrPH, MPH

  • Areas of research include: air pollution and cardiovascular disease outcomes, cancer epidemiology and cancer cluster investigation, ambient air lead and PM2.5 and health effects, childhood autism and personal and environmental risk factors.
  • Graduate student research assistantships for CDC funded projects involving ambient air lead and childhood lead poisoning, childhood autism and the environment , PM2.5 air pollution and cardiopulmonary outcomes.
  • All doctoral trainees conduct an independent study with the requirement to submit three manuscripts for publication. Hands on training in the area of environmental epidemiology with collaborations with over 23 state health departments through CDC environmental public health tracking programs.
  • Faculty members currently working in this area include: Jennifer Adibi, Gary Marsh , Evelyn Talbott, and Ada Youk
  • Additional collaborators from the Department of Biostatistics include: Vincent Arena, and Jeanine Buchanich  and from the Allegheny County Health Department: LuAnn Brink and Kristen Mertz.


Global Health

Global Health Epidemiology

Faculty Contact: Clareann Bunker, PhD


Infectious Disease

Infectious Disease Epidemiology

Faculty Contact: Lee Harrison, MD

  • Areas of research include: epidemiology and molecular epidemiology of serious, vaccine-preventable, drug-resistant and hospital-associated bacterial infections; prevention of HIV infection; infectious diseases surveillance; computational modeling of disease and intervention strategies; use of geotemporal analysis in infectious diseases.
  • Training grants: 1) Dengue and vaccine-preventable and drug-resistant bacterial infections in Brazil and 2) prevention of HIV infection in Brazil, India, and Mozambique.
  • All doctoral trainees conduct an independent study with the requirement to submit three manuscripts for publication. Trainees can choose traditional epidemiology or molecular epidemiology as the basis of their doctoral research.
  • Faculty members currently working in this area include: Steven Belle, Donald Burke, Catherine Haggerty, Lee Harrison, Lawrence Kingsley, Jean Nachega, Willem van Panhuis, and collaborating from the Allegheny Health Department: Kristen Mertz.


Injury Prevention

Injury Prevention Epidemiology

Faculty Contacts: Tom Songer, PhD, MPH, Anthony Fabio, PhD, MPH

  • Applied research in broad areas of unintentional and intentional injury including but not limited to injury from motor vehicle crash, falls, natural disasters, poisoning, head trauma, criminal violence, child maltreatment, domestic violence, and treatment of injury.
  • Emphasis on the application of epidemiologic methods in population and clinical settings to understand key risk and prognostic factors for primary and secondary prevention of injury.
  • Trainees participate in academic training in injury epidemiology and/or injury prevention and control and applied research training on specific injury and violence topics using mentors from multiple disciplines in the fields of epidemiology, statistics, trauma, behavioral sciences, surgery, psychiatry, criminology and others.
  • Faculty members currently working in this area include: Steven Albert, Anthony Fabio, Thomas J. SongerEvelyn TalbottStephen Wisniewski, Mazen Zenati.


Molecular & Genetic

Molecular & Genetic Epidemiology

Faculty Contact: Joseph Zmuda, PhD




Faculty Contact: Caterina Rosano, MD, MPH

  • Focuses on the application of epidemiology methods and cutting-edge neuroimaging methodologies in population and clinical studies to enhance etiological research and evaluation of specific therapies in the disorders of the central nervous system.
  • Targets the interdependent nature of clinical characterization, epidemiological methods and multimodal assessment of disorders of the central nervous system through rigorous academic training and applied research opportunities.
  • Maximizes the potential for applied research training and for successful field placements of the trainees through multidisciplinary mentored work with leaders in the fields of epidemiology, psychiatry, neuroscience, neurology, and others. 
  • Read more about Specialization in Neuroepidemiology
  • Faculty members currently working in this area include: Jane Cauley,  Mary Ganguli, Lewis Kuller, Karen Matthews, Trevor OrchardGale RichardsonCaterina Rosano, Andrea Rosso, Evelyn Talbott.
  • Collaborators from other departments include: Howard Aizenstein (psychiatry), James Becker (psychiatry), Kirk Erickson (psychology), Peter Gianaros (psychiatry), Samay Jain (neurology) Oscar Lopez (neurology), Amy Wagner (psychology).


Obesity & Nutritional

Obesity & Nutritional Epidemiology

Faculty Contact: Lisa Bodnar, PhD


Prevention, Lifestyle, & Physical Activity

Prevention, Lifestyle & Physical Activity Epidemiology

Faculty Contacts: Andrea Kriska, PhD, MS

  • This program involves translating the proven benefits of lifestyle intervention on a broad range of health outcomes including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity. This program encompasses the conceptual and practical foundation needed for such public health translation initiatives. Learning objectives include a thorough understanding of disease prevention, behavioral intervention theory and lifestyle intervention training, along with a critical understanding of the methodological issues in designing and evaluating these efforts. Course work includes formal training and a practicum in which students gain community-based experience administering the lifestyle intervention, which is comprised of weight loss, increased physical activity and healthy eating. 
  • An integral part of this AOE in the Department of Epidemiology is the Diabetes Prevention Support Center (DPSC). The DPSC is comprised of Epidemiology faculty who were originally part of the Diabetes Prevention Program, the national multi-center clinical trial that demonstrated the benefits of lifestyle intervention in preventing a chronic disease. The DPSC serves as the central training center for lifestyle intervention delivery as well as provision of subsequent post-training support. 
  • The Department of Epidemiology is also the home of the Physical Activity Resource Center for Public Health (PARC-PH) which was developed to provide the physical activity assessment information and lifestyle intervention tools necessary to carry out prevention/translation efforts.
  • Faculty members currently working in this area include: Lisa Bodnar, Joyce Bromberger, Lora Burke, Margaret Conroy, Jacqueline Dunbar-Jacob, Nancy Glynn, Wendy King, M. Kaye Kramer, Andrea Kriska, Lewis Kuller, Faina Linkov, Karen Matthews, Kathleen McTigue, Trevor Orchard, Lauren Simkin-SilvermanElizabeth VendittiTiffany Gary-Webb . 



Psychiatric Epidemiology

Faculty Contact: Gale Richardson, PhD

  • The Psychiatric Epidemiology Training Program focuses on the acquisition of epidemiological, biostatistical, and psychiatric concepts and methods, and on their application to research in the field of psychiatric disorders
  • Training is accomplished through course work in epidemiology and biostatistics, and through courses in psychiatric epidemiology that were designed specifically for the PET Program 
  • The training experience includes the opportunity to work on research projects with faculty mentors who are active researchers in psychiatry and epidemiology within the Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH) and the Department of Psychiatry within the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  • Faculty members currently working in this area include: David Brent, Joyce Bromberger, Tammy Chung, Marie Cornelius, Nancy Day, Mary Amanda Dew, John Donovan, Mary Ganguli, Karen Matthews, Margaret McDonald, Kenneth Perkins, Gale Richardson, Stephen Wisniewski.



Reproductive, Perinatal & Pediatric Epidemiology

Faculty Contact: Catherine Haggerty, PhD, MPH

  • Areas of research broadly include: causes of pregnancy complications and adverse outcomes including spontaneous abortion, stillbirth, preterm birth, low birth weight, intrauterine growth restriction, and preeclampsia; obesity and nutrition among pregnant women; fertility and contraception; breastfeeding; and sexually transmitted infections. A major clinical site for collaboration is Magee-Womens Hospital, the obstetrics, gynecologic, and reproductive sciences specialty hospital associated with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Global health research experiences are available through a study of pregnancy being conducted in India.
  • Training program provides concentrated, tailored training on the patterns, risk factors, and interventions that might improve reproductive, perinatal, and pediatric health, as well as women’s health across the lifespan. All trainees will participate in coursework, research field work, and professional development including courses in Reproductive Epidemiology, Epidemiology of Women’s Health, and Pediatric Epidemiology; a  Reproductive, Perinatal and Pediatric Epidemiology Journal Club; a Maternal and Child Health Journal Club; independent research; grant writing; manuscript preparation; and scientific conference presentations.
  • Trainees who engage in community service activities in addition to completing the didactic requirements will be eligible for a Women’s Health Specialization, which honors trainees’ combined interests in women’s health research and community outreach.
  • Faculty members currently working in this area include: Jennifer Adibi, Emma Barinas-Mitchell, Lisa Bodnar, Joyce Bromberger, Clareann H. Bunker, Janet Catov, Jane Cauley, Yona Cloonan, Marie Cornelius, Nancy Day, Samar El Khoudary, Catherine Haggerty, Sheryl Kelsey, Andrea Kriska, Lewis Kuller, Rachel Mackey, Dara Mendez, Evelyn Talbott, Nina Markovic, Karen Matthews, Gale Richardson, James Roberts, Rebecca Thurston.


Women's Health

Women’s Health Epidemiology

Faculty Contact: Jane Cauley, DrPH

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