Russell Rothman, MD, MPP

Greetings from the Institute for Medicine and Public Health!

This quarter’s newsletter highlights several exciting developments reflecting our commitment to advancing healthcare excellence and educational activities within the Institute for Medicine and Public Health.  I am delighted to announce the launch of the Program for Health Equity Research (PHER) at the Center for Health Services Research (CHSR). This marks a significant milestone in our dedication to addressing health disparities and advancing health equity.

I would also like to highlight the establishment of the Realizing Accelerated Progress, Investigation, Implementation, and Dissemination in Learning Health Systems (RAPID-LHS) Center at VUMC . This new Center will help to support projects that are health system priorities and designed to rapidly evaluate, disseminate, and implement approaches to improve health care delivery and outcomes.

I am also pleased to highlight the success of the 2024 Population and Public Health Colloquium, which showcased outstanding work from students in IMPH-affiliated degree programs, and to celebrate the exceptional mentorship excellence presented at the 2024 Vanderbilt Translational Research Forum. The contributions of our students and mentors are invaluable in shaping the future of healthcare, and we are grateful for their commitment to guiding and inspiring the next generation of researchers.

Thank you for your dedication and contributions to our shared mission.


Russell Rothman, MD, MPP
Senior Vice President, Population and Public Health
Director, Institute for Medicine and Public Health

Program for Health Equity Research (PHER)

We are excited to announce the launch of the Program for Health Equity Research (PHER) at the Center for Health Services Research (CHSR), Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC). This groundbreaking initiative, led by co-directors Ebele Mary-Anne Umeukeje, MD, MPH, and Velma McBride Murry, MS, PhD, marks a significant milestone in our commitment to advancing health equity and addressing disparities in healthcare.

PHER aims to establish a vibrant community of scholars and collaborators across VUMC dedicated to generating and advancing research that informs and guides innovative solutions in health equity. Supported by the Institute for Medicine and Public Health and the Office of Health Equity, PHER will serve as a catalyst for interdisciplinary collaboration and action-oriented research.

The mission of PHER is to establish a community of scholars and collaborators across VUMC to generate and advance research to inform and guide innovative solutions that move beyond addressing health disparities but that also advance our understanding of what works, for whom, and under what conditions to promote health and health  outcomes. 
By fostering a culture of inquiry, collaboration, and innovation, PHER seeks to drive meaningful change in healthcare delivery and policy, with a focus on reducing inequities and promoting health equity for all.
Stay tuned for updates and opportunities to get involved with PHER as we embark on this transformative journey towards health equity.

Celebrating Mentorship Excellence at the 
2024 Vanderbilt Translational Research Forum

Sunil Kripalani, MD, MSc
Christianne Roumie, MD, MPH
Vanderbilt’s commitment to fostering excellence in mentorship was showcased at the recent Translational Research Forum, where two outstanding individuals were honored for their invaluable contributions.
Sunil Kripalani, MD, MSc was recognized with the prestigious Excellence in Mentoring Translational Scientists Award. His dedication to guiding aspiring researchers and nurturing their talent has been instrumental in shaping the next generation of translational scientists.
Christianne Roumie, MD, MPH was recognized with the Excellence in Mentoring to Independence Award. Her unwavering support and mentorship have empowered countless individuals to embark on their independent research journeys, paving the way for innovative discoveries and breakthroughs.
Jessica Perkins, PhD, MS
VIGH faculty member Jessica Perkins, PhD, MS, assistant professor of Human and Organizational Development at Vanderbilt University Peabody College, was awarded the Early Stage Investigator Lectureby the NIH Office of Disease Prevention for outstanding research contributions to her field and is poised to become a future leader in prevention research. 

Leigh Howard, MD, MPH
Leigh Howard, MD, MPH, was recently promoted to associate professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at VUMC.  


Michael DeBaun, MD, MPH
Michael DeBaun, MD, MPH, professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at VUMC, was awarded the Paragon Award for Research Excellence -Innovative Improvements to Clinical Care or Healthcare Delivery by the Doris Duke Foundation.  


Christianne Roumie, MD, MPH
Peter Embí, MD, MS
Russell Rothman, MD, MPP

VUMC establishes Realizing Accelerated Progress, Investigation, Implementation, and Dissemination in Learning Health Systems (RAPID-LHS) Center

We are thrilled to announce the establishment of the Realizing Accelerated Progress, Investigation, Implementation, and Dissemination in Learning Health Systems (RAPID-LHS) Center at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC). This groundbreaking initiative will be led by principal investigators Christianne Roumie, MD, MPH, Peter Embí, MD, MS, and Russell Rothman, MD, MPP, with additional support provided by the Vanderbilt Institute for Medicine and Public Health, under the direction of Russell Rothman. This collaborative effort aims to advance the field of Learning Health Systems and accelerate progress in healthcare research, implementation, and dissemination.
Mike Ward, MD, PhD, MBA
Sunil Kripalani, MD, MSc
Alan Storrow, MD

VISTA grant to fund hospital-based research training in heart, lung, blood, sleep disorders

Led by principal investigators Mike Ward, MD, PhD, MBA, Sunil Kripalani, MD, MSc, and Alan Storrow, MD, VUMC has been awarded a T32 grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to launch the Vanderbilt Interdisciplinary Hospital-based Systems of Care Research Training Program (VISTA).

The VISTA program will focus on training 2-3 postdoctoral investigators per year in acute heart, lung, or blood disorders within the hospital setting. By emphasizing patient-oriented research and health systems analysis, VISTA aims to equip researchers with the skills and knowledge needed to tackle complex health challenges and drive meaningful change in healthcare delivery.

Bringing Research to Impact for Development, Global Engagement, and Utilization (BRIDGE-U)

The BRIDGE-U: Liberia team recently launched the Evidence-Based Health Policy Certificate program at the University of Liberia College of Health Sciences to strengthen the health system and build capacity. The team hosted 30 leaders and policymakers from the Liberian Ministry of Health and the National Public Health Institute of Liberia.
Follow Marie Martin, PhD, MEd, associate director for Education and Training at VIGH and BRIDGE-U investigator on X for the latest program updates.

VIGH recently published its FY 2023 Annual Report. It showcases new collaborations with international partners and colleagues and highlights the recent work of faculty members and staff. The report also includes scholar profiles, an overview of educational program outcomes, and DEI activities.  
Joseline Haizel-Cobbina, MBChB, MPH
In celebration of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, the U. S. Embassy in Ghana recognized VIGH Program Manager Joseline Haizel-Cobbina, MBChB, MPH, for her leadership and example to women and girls everywhere.   
The 2024 Population and Public Health Colloquium, hosted by the Vanderbilt Institute for Medicine and Public Health and the Vanderbilt MPH Program provided an exceptional platform for students to showcase their research and engage with an audience of over 100 Vanderbilt faculty members, students, colleagues, and professionals in population and public health. This diverse gathering included representatives from prominent organizations such as the Tennessee Department of Health, TennCare, the Tennessee Health Care Campaign, and various community-based organizations.

Our students seized the opportunity to present their posters, sharing insights and findings from their research projects with enthusiasm and expertise. Their presentations not only demonstrated the depth of their knowledge but also highlighted the innovative approaches and solutions they are developing to address pressing public health challenges.

The Colloquium served as a valuable forum for networking, collaboration, and knowledge exchange, fostering meaningful interactions between students and professionals across academia, government, and the community. 

We extend our sincere appreciation to all who participated in making the Colloquium a resounding success. View photos (photo credit: Terry Wyatt)  and the full list of presenters and abstracts.
In addition to the poster presentations, four students were selected to give oral presentations.
Anjola-Oluwa Ajayi, M.B.B.S., Master of Public Health (MPH) candidate, Global Health Track: “Informing Tennessee’s Maternal HealthStrategic Plan”
Dennis Lee, PhD candidate in Health Policy: “The Role of Clinician Peer Networks in Buprenorphine Adoption”
Genevieve Delano, Master of Public Health (MPH) candidate, Epidemiology Track: “Perinatal HealthDashboard for Maternal and Child Health in Tennessee”
David Xiao, M.D., Master of Public Health (MPH) candidate, Health Policy Track: “Centering Community Voices to Identify ProtectiveStrategies for Rural Hospitals”
We extend our heartfelt congratulations to all of our students for their outstanding contributions to the Colloquium.
Charu Balamurugan, Medicine, Health, and Society student
Lohitha Basa, MHS student
Valerie Gunchick, Epidemiology PhD student 
Lili Liu, Epidemiology PhD student
Cong Wang, Epidemiology PhD student  
Fangcheng (Fred) Yuan, Epidemiology PhD student   
Emmaline Keesee, Health Policy PhD student
Dennis Lee, Health Policy PhD student
Anjola Ajayi, MPH Global Health track
Tevin Mathew, MPH Global Health track
Gianna Ferrara, MPH Epi track, Global Health topic
Current PHD Student Accomplishments
Emma Achola is a PhD student in the Department of Health Policy 
Kun-Woo Kim is a PhD student in the Department of Health Policy 
Emma Achola (Health Policy) and Kun-Woo Kim (Health Policy) were selected to participate in the Workshop on Contextual Data Resources for Understanding the Role of the Exposome in Aging. This event is sponsored by the USC/UCLA Center on Biodemography and Population Health and will take place at the University of Southern California on March 11th and 12th. 
Nathaniel Tran, PhD Candidate, Department of Health Policy 
Nathaniel Tran (Health Policy) received the Vanderbilt University Edward Ferguson Jr. Graduate Award. This honor provides scholarship awards to support graduate students at the Graduate School who demonstrate excellence in research. Nathaniel is mentored by Drs. Gilbert Gonzales and Tara McKay.


Upcoming Proposal and Dissertation Defenses
Dissertation Defense: Cong Wang
February 23rd, 2:00PM, 6th Floor Board Room and Zoom
“Accelerated aging among breast cancer survivors.”
Zoom Meeting:

QE Proposal Defense: Rob Besaw
February 28th, 2:30-3:30PM, Grand Conference Room and Zoom
“Examining Value-based Care and Outcomes for Older Adults with Cancer”
Zoom Meeting

Dissertation Defense: Nathaniel Tran
March 4th, 2:30PM, 1250 Conference Room and Zoom
“Multi-level Determinants of LGBTQ+ Health Across the Life Course”

Zoom Meeting

 QE Proposal Defense: Emma Achola
March 19th, 2:30-3:30PM, 1250 Conference Room and Zoom
“The Role of Networks and Serious Illness in Medicare Advantage Disenrollment.”
Zoom Meeting

Valentine's Day Trivia Brings Together Graduate Students in Health Programs

Love was in the air as students from the Epidemiology, Health Policy, and Public Health graduate degree programs came together to celebrate Valentine's Day with a fun-filled trivia event.
Co-hosted by the three graduate programs, the Valentine's Day Trivia provided an opportunity for students to unwind, socialize, and test their knowledge on a variety of Valentine's Day-themed questions.
The event was open to all graduate and professional students in health-related degree programs, fostering a sense of community and camaraderie among students with a shared passion for improving public health and healthcare policy.

Stay tuned for more exciting events and opportunities to come together as a community in the future!
The Vanderbilt MPH Program is proud to welcome Assistant Secretary Loyce Pace, M.P.H., to Vanderbilt University as the presenter of the annual David Satcher Lecture!
For over ten years, the David Satcher Public Health Scholars Program has provided tuition support to Vanderbilt MPH students from under-represented backgrounds and honors David Satcher, M.D., Ph.D.'s, commitment to eliminate health disparities for racial and ethnic minorities and individuals from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
The David Satcher Lecture is presented as part of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Flexner Deans' Lecture Series.

Vanderbilt Institute for Medicine and Public Health
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
2525 West End Ave | Suite 1200 | Nashville, TN 37203

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