University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Executive Team

Dr. Rachel Volberg

Dr. Rachel Volberg has been involved in epidemiological research on gambling and problem gambling since 1985 and has directed or consulted on numerous gambling studies throughout the world.  In 1988, Dr. Volberg was the first investigator to receive funding from the (U.S.) National Institutes of Health to study the prevalence of problem gambling in the general population.  Dr. Volberg is currently the Principal Investigator on the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts (SEIGMA) study.  In addition to her work in Massachusetts, Dr. Volberg is working on two projects in Canada to assess the impacts of the introduction of online gambling and to identify best practices in population assessments of problem gambling.  She is also a member of research teams in Australia, New Zealand, and Sweden conducting large-scale longitudinal studies to identify predictors of transitions into and out of gambling and problem gambling.

Dr. Volberg has published extensively, presented at national and international conferences, and testified before legislative committees in states and provinces throughout North America.  She sits on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Gambling Studies, International Gambling Studies and the Journal of Gambling Issues and is a longtime member of the American Sociological Association and the (U.S.) National Council on Problem Gambling.  Dr. Volberg holds appointments at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand.

Dr. Ed Stanek

Dr. Edward Stanek, III is a  biostatistician who has spent the last 28 years in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at UMass Amherst.  Over this period, Dr. Stanek has collaborated with researchers on a wide variety of public health problems, including studying factors affecting growth and development among borderline malnourished children in developing countries, exposure assessment due to contamination of soil and dust in children and adults, seasonal variation in serum cholesterol levels, and many other topics. 

Dr. Stanek’s methodological research and applications is on sampling, mixed models and longitudinal data analysis, he is well versed in the challenges faced in analyzing data that accrue at multiple time points.  As the leader of a research group on finite population mixed models for over past ten years, Dr. Stanek is actively involved in developing methods that incorporate Superpopulation and Bayesian frameworks for inference.  Drawing from this expertise and experience, Dr. Stanek has an interest in the role of statistics in developing inference based on samples of subjects from populations.  This research has direct application in the SEIGMA project, on which he serves as Co-Principal Investigator.  Dr. Stanek has been the Division Director of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, and most recently was the chairperson of the Department of Public Health.

Dr. Robert Williams

Dr. Robert Williams is a professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Lethbridge, in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada and also a Research Coordinator for the Alberta Gambling Research Institute.  Dr. Williams teaches courses on gambling; provides frequent consultation to government, industry, the media, and public interest groups; and regularly gives expert witness testimony on the impacts of gambling. Dr. Williams is a leading authority in the areas of:  prevention of problem gambling; Internet gambling; the socioeconomic impacts of gambling, the proportion of gambling revenue deriving from problem gamblers; the prevalence and nature of gambling in Aboriginal communities; the etiology of problem gambling; and best practices in the population assessment of problem gambling.  He is currently a Co-Principal Investigator on the SEIGMA study.

Daniel Hodge

Daniel Hodge is the Director of Economic and Public Policy Research at the UMass Donahue Institute. Mr. Hodge focuses on assessing local, regional, state, and multi-state economies in terms of economic impacts, competitiveness, target industries, strategic plans, and infrastructure investments. Mr. Hodge’s areas of expertise include: economic development analysis and strategy; economic impact and benefit-cost analysis; transit-oriented development (TOD) market analysis; return on investment (ROI) of sustainability and smart growth initiatives; and transportation planning and trade analysis.

Mr. Hodge’s experience includes being project manager for the Innovation-Based Economic Development Strategy for Holyoke and the Pioneer Valley, a study for the Boston Redevelopment Authority on the Economic and Sustainability Benefits of Boston’s ARRA Investments, and the economic impacts, costs and benefits of transportation investments across the country. Mr. Hodge earned his Master of Arts in Applied Economics and Master of Public Policy from the University of Michigan, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics/Business from Lafayette College.  He currently leads the SEIGMA study’s efforts to understand and analyze the economic and fiscal impacts of casino gambling in Massachusetts.