CUNY School of Public Health & Health Policy: Expert-led, exemplary outcomes
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CUNY School of Public Health & Health Policy: Expert-led, exemplary outcomes

The CUNY School of Public Health & Health Policy (CUNY SPH) is more than just an educational institution. Offering all students maximum flexibility and affordability, it is an accessible hub of innovation, discovery, and transformation, led by a team of extraordinary experts passionate about advancing the field of public health.

From the Departments of Epidemiology and Biostatistics to Community Health and Social Sciences, these educators are renowned for their expertise and commitment. They are not only excellent at imparting valuable knowledge, but they are also pioneers in their respective fields, pushing the boundaries of knowledge and creating new pathways for change.

CUNY SPH currently ranks #6 out of 129 public schools and programmes of public health in the US according to the latest US News and World Report rankings published April 2023. The rankings are based on votes cast by the academic leaders of all public health schools and programmes around the country. “We are truly proud of this achievement, a direct reflection of the critical role that our faculty, students and alumni play in partnering with government, policymakers, communities, healthcare providers and others to help address the pressing public health issues of our time,” says Dean Ayman El-Mohandes.

Where better to learn from the best to become the best? Whether you’re interested in disease prevention, health promotion, or social justice, choosing CUNY SPH means joining a supportive community of scholars, researchers, and practitioners who will share your passion and vision.

Read on to dive deeper into the world of the CUNY SPH and discover the exceptional expertise of the faculty members who make it all possible.

Professor Diana Romero

In the Department of Community Health and Social Sciences, Professor Diana Romero focuses on research methods, community health, and reproductive and sexual health policy. She also teaches qualitative research methods to doctoral students. Each topic holds a special place in her heart.

Diana Romero. Source: CUNY

“Community health is almost the definition of community,” she says. “It teaches students to work with different sectors, collaborate with other professionals and leverage insights from others with different disciplinary backgrounds. When it comes to the field of reproductive and sexual health, both are constantly changing, and not in a good way. My course on social inequalities, policy and rights is very contemporary. It deals with what happens on a daily basis and equips students with the knowledge needed to engage around advocacy.”

Currently, Romero, her colleagues and her students are exploring abortion care and conducting a large-scale evaluation of a physician advocacy training programme that nurtures better advocates. The study aims to make reproductive healthcare more accessible to those in need. Some of her other recent projects include safety-net health care utilisation among uninsured immigrants in New York City; exploration of the establishment of a wellness and prevention trust in Brooklyn, NY; as well as a qualitative study of East Harlem adolescents and their life goals in the context of personal relationships, risk of pregnancy and STIs.

Distinguished Professor Luisa N. Borrell

Professor Borrell teaches Epidemiologic Methods I to master’s students in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. “The aim of the course is to introduce students to the design and conduct of epidemiologic studies, including causal inference, measurement, major study designs, threats to validity (such as confounding and selection bias), and their application to public health issues,” she explains.

Luisa Borrel. Source: CUNY

Her Epidemiologic Methods III lessons are reserved for students in CUNY SPH’s Doctorate in Epidemiology. These sessions examine individual-level exposure-disease associations using classic study designs and techniques. It also covers the basics of using methods that shift away from identifying individual risk factors for disease causation to the description and analysis of environmental systems that give rise to both exposures and health states.

In the laboratory, Borrell, a social epidemiologist, focuses her research on the role of race/ethnicity, socioeconomic positions, and neighbourhood effects as social determinants of health. “My work on Hispanic/Latino racial identity brings attention to the need for disaggregated analyses by race as Hispanics/Latinos are a heterogeneous group with a mix of European, Native American and African ancestry,” she says. “The reward of my job is mentoring students, especially when they have an ‘aha’ moment.”

Associate Professor Elizabeth Kelvin

Professor Kelvin is an infectious disease epidemiologist interested in global health. “My research has included a randomised controlled trial of [a] treatment for neurocysticercosis infection, a parasitic infection of the brain, which we conducted in Ecuador,” she explains. “I continue to research neurocysticercosis, including advising on a cohort study of patients in Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and Mexico) looking at the cause of first seizures experienced in adulthood.”

Elizabeth Kelvin. Source: CUNY

Her experiences as a researcher never fail to impress her Applied Research: Data Management and Analysis students. This class teaches them to use their Master of Public Health skills to develop an original research question based on a literature review, conduct data cleaning and analysis using real, publicly available data to answer that question and write a manuscript.

If the questions they come up with have yet to be answered, they are encouraged to disseminate their results — outside the classroom. “To date, nine papers have been published, and 10 students have presented their work from class at a conference, including one presentation at the Congreso Iberoamericano de Nutrición in Montevideo, Uruguay, by one of our bilingual students,” says Kelvin.

Associate Professor Pedro Mateu-Gelabert

At CUNY SPH, Dr. Mateu-Gelabert, a sociologist with over 25 years of research experience in New York City and internationally, teaches the Applied Mixed Methods in Community Health Research course. It sees students applying qualitative and quantitative research methods to examine causes and approaches needed to address community health. Throughout, Mateu-Gelabert helps each student develop a research project around a public health topic of interest.

The process trains them to grasp research and evaluation methods that can inform solutions to community health issues; analyse quantitative and qualitative data using computer-based programming and software; and interpret the results of data analysis for public health research, policy or practice. In this, Mateu-Gelabert aims to help his class develop a critical awareness of social and economic inequalities that drive social determinants of health.

Pedro Mateu-Gelabert. Source: CUNY

“I believe teaching is a quintessential part of giving back to the community by mentoring students and training the next generation of community leaders, public health practitioners and researchers,” he says. “I aim to create a multi-directional learning flow where students and teacher learn from each other while new knowledge and understanding are generated. In the classroom (either virtual or physical), my objective is to create a safe learning environment where students can thrive and learn to be passionate about public health research.”

Keen on letting these experts fast-track your journey to a world-changing career? Choose between CUNY SPH’s MPH in Community Health or its MPH in Epidemiology and Biostatistics today.

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