Russell Rothman, MD, MPP

This quarter’s newsletter highlights ongoing research and educational activities affiliated with the Institute for Medicine and Public Health (IMPH). We continue to help support a wide array of research related to COVID-19, global health, comparative effectiveness research, implementation science, and other areas, and remain committed to addressing challenges that impact individual, family, and population health and well-being.

In this newsletter we celebrate the recent graduations of our MPH and PhD students.  All of our MPH students complete a Practicum, where they embed with an organization doing work related to public health. In addition, all of the MPH students complete a scholarly thesis, which typically becomes a published manuscript. Our Epidemiology PhD students work closely with their mentors to develop robust theses and research projects that advance scholarship related to epidemiology and public health.  

Our graduates have consistently demonstrated a remarkable passion for public health and a strong commitment to making a positive impact on the well-being of communities. Their dedication to advancing knowledge and improving public health outcomes is truly commendable. As noted in the newsletter, many of our alumni from these programs have successful careers that continue to “translate knowledge into better health”. Please join me in congratulating our recent graduates, and consider supporting these valuable educational programs!

Best wishes, 


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

Implementation Research in the Learning Health System Symposium

This year, 93 attendees from over 20 research, clinical, and operational departments gathered to share their experiences in conducting embedded research to transform health care delivery and improve patient outcomes.

Click here to view the full symposium program.
Click here to view slides from the symposium presentations.

Stephen Patrick, MD, MPH, MS

Vanderbilt Child Health Poll: Over 40% of Tennessee Families Are Food Insecure, up From Last Year

“Hunger among Tennessee children is a solvable problem,” said Stephen Patrick, MD, MPH, director of the Vanderbilt Center for Child Health Policy. “The rapid increase in food insecurity among Tennessee families with children should be a call to action for all of us. No child should go hungry in our state.”  
Wesley Self,MD, MPH 
Sean Collins,MD, MSCI 

VUMC-led trial shows two investigational drugs are ineffective for treating severe COVID-19 

A Vanderbilt-led study evaluating two investigational drugs to treat severe COVID-19 demonstrated that neither drug was effective. Read More

Wes Ely, MD, MPH 
Brenda Pun, DNP, RN

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) recognizes Ely and Pun research team 

Drs. Ely and Pun's efforts helped identify delirium as one of the most critical problems facing patients in intensive care units (ICUs) and is linked with increased deaths, prolonged ICU and hospital lengths of stay and significantly higher medical costs.

Christianne Roumie, MD, MPH

Diabetes drugs associated with fewer adverse cardiac events in older veterans: study

“We believe this study is an important contribution to patient care and adds to what we as clinicians know about treating diabetes and heart disease prevention,” said Christianne Roumie, MD, MPH, professor of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Public Health and senior author of the study.

Kristin Archer, PhD, DPT

Clinical trial compares different therapies for spine pain

“This study provides an opportunity for primary care providers to consider a different approach for treating patients with spine pain that includes a brief screening tool and a stratified management approach to rehabilitation referral,” said Kristin Archer, PhD, DPT, director of the Vanderbilt Center for Musculoskeletal Research and primary investigator responsible for overseeing all study procedures at 12 sites.

Consuelo Wilkins, MD, MSCI

New ‘PoRT’ scale rebalances burden of initiating trust in science

The Perceptions of Research Trustworthiness (PoRT), described in an original investigation published in JAMA Network Open, is a groundbreaking tool designed as an ongoing gauge of perception of trust and distrust in biomedical research, said team leader Consuelo Wilkins, MD, MSCI, Senior Vice President and senior associate dean for Health Equity and Inclusive Excellence and professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

VUMC to coordinate national effort to reduce ARDS pneumonia, sepsis 

“Clinical trials for these illnesses during the past two decades have largely failed to identify new effective therapies,” said co-principal investigator Wesley Self, MD, VUMC Senior Vice President for Clinical Research, who assumed the role of VICTR director in July. “We are very hopeful that intense study of the mechanisms of disease over the next several years will lead to breakthroughs that will facilitate better treatments for these serious diseases.”

carlos grijalva
Carlos Grijalva, MD, MPH

New training grant for vaccine-related research in Peru

In partnership with the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (UPCH) and the Instituto de Investigacion Nutricional (IIN), the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health (VIGH) has received $1.2 million for a five-year training grant funded by the Fogarty International Center to establish the Peru-Vanderbilt Prevention through Vaccination Training (PREVENT) program.

The PREVENT program trains researchers and scientists to conduct multidisciplinary vaccine-preventable diseases research, builds training capacity and encourages U.S.-based researchers to engage in vaccine and vaccination-related research in Peru.

VZCARE hosts cancer epidemiology workshop in Zambia

Organized through a collaboration between the University of Zambia and the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health (VIGH), the Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center, and the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC), this workshop trained researchers and educators with advanced cancer epidemiology and knowledge to design and implement cancer epidemiology research in Zambia. The Vanderbilt-Zambia Cancer Research Training Program (VZCARE) supports activities to develop a cadre of researchers and educators equipped with modern knowledge and expertise to lead cancer epidemiology research and training in Zambia and to encourage US-based researchers to engage in cancer research in low- and middle-income countries.

Timothy Sterling, MD

NIH grant supports TB research network in Brazil

The National Institutes of Health has awarded a five-year, $19.5 million grant to Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, to Regional Prospective Observational Research in Tuberculosis International, or RePORT International.

The grant follows the recently announced five-year, $5 million grant to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in support of RePORT Brazil, one of the international consortium’s six regional TB research programs.

Master of Public Health (MPH)  Graduation Reception
Vanderbilt University - School of Medicine

MPH Global Health track student Tevin Mathew (Class of 2024) 

For his practicum, MPH Global Health track student Tevin Mathew (Class of 2024) is working at Primeros Pasos in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala to explore the socioeconomic and sociocultural factors contributing to food purchasing behaviors and dietary preferences among households in this community.

 Layan Ibrahim, MPH, Global Health

Layan Ibrahim, Master of Public Health Class of 2023, was named to the 2023-24 class of Luce Scholars. The Luce Scholars Program is a nationally competitive fellowship program launched by the Henry Luce Foundation to enhance the understanding of Asia among potential leaders in American society. Read More

Josh Woods, MPH Candidate, Health Policy

Vanderbilt MPH student Joshua Woods was selected as a 2023 David A. Winston Health Policy Scholar. Read More

Krystal Tsosie  (Diné/Navajo Nation), PhD, MPH, MA

Vanderbilt Alumnus Tsosie Reflects on Career Journey in Human Biology As Arizona State University’s First Indigenous Geneticist. Read More

Alex Diamond, DO, MPH

Safe Stars sports safety rating system to expand into private schools and community youth organizations, says Vanderbilt MPH alumnus Diamond. Read More

James Antoon, MD, PhD, MPH

Optimizing air filtration systems can reduce exposure to airborne viruses in schools, says Vanderbilt MPH alumnus Antoon.  Read More

Mayur Patel, MD, MPH

Vanderbilt MPH alumnus Patel named Chief of the Division of Acute Care Surgery.  Read More

Congratulations to all of our Epidemiology PhD graduates! 

We are so proud of your many accomplishments. 

Current Student Accomplishments
Charles H. Rhea, MPH, G2

Charles Rhea, G2 Epidemiology PhD student, was selected as a Burroughs Wellcome Trainee Travel Awardee at the Translational Science 2023 meeting. He is mentored by Dr. Yuri van der Heijden.

Simone Herzberg, G2 Epidemiology MD/PhD student
Simone Herzberg, G2 Epidemiology MD/PhD student, was awarded an F31 from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases for her project titled “Investigating Causal Relationships of Diabetes and Obesity on Degenerative Rotator Cuff Tear”. She is mentored by Dr. Ayush Giri.


Epidemiology PhD students, Lin Ammar (Blue Ribbon Winner) and Charlie Rhea (Gold Ribbon  Winner) were recognized at the 2023 Translational Science Meeting for their research posters. 

Epidemiology PhD students, Amanda Howa and Fangcheng Yuan, were awarded the Student Leadership Award. Adoma Manful was awarded the Outstanding Student Research Award. 

Health Policy PhD program launched a student chapter of AcademyHealth 

To enhance the learning and professional development experience for students in health services research and health policy, the Health Policy PhD program launched a student chapter of AcademyHealth. This effort was led by students Emma Nolan (President), Robert Besaw (Vice President), and Khrysta Baig (Secretary/Treasurer). Students interested in learning more about the organization may contact one of the officers.

Khrysta Baig, G4, Health Policy PhD student
Vanderbilt’s Russell G. Hamilton Graduate Leadership Institute awarded Khrysta Baig, G4 Health Policy PhD student, a Professional Development and Training Grant to support her attendance at AcademyHealth’s Health Policy Orientation this fall in Washington, DC. She is mentored by Drs. Melinda Buntin and Stacie Dusetzina.



Congratulations to Xiao-Ou Shu, PhD, for receiving the F. Peter Guengerich Award for mentoring postdoctoral fellows or residents in the research setting.

Congratulations to Peter Rebeiro, PHD, on his R01 from NIDAnews: Harnessing big data to arrest the HIV/HCV/opioid syndemic in the rural and urban South. 

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

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