SPHHS welcomes new faculty for 2017-18

Top row (from left): Laura Attanasio, Laura Balzer.
Bottom row (from left): David Chin, Elizabeth Evans
and Jin Kim-Mozeleski.

September 27, 2017

The School of Public Health and Health Sciences welcomes five new full-time tenure track faculty members into its ranks this academic year. New faculty hires for 2017-2018 include Laura Balzer in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, and Laura Attanasio, David Chin, Elizabeth Evans and Jin Kim-Mozeleski in the Department of Health Promotion and Policy.

Laura Attanasio joins the SPHHS as an Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management. Laura completed her PhD at the University of Minnesota. Her research addresses issues of quality and equity in women’s reproductive healthcare, drawing on theory and conceptual frameworks from health services research and sociology. Her current work focuses on understanding how the patient-provider relationship shapes decision making and procedure use in maternity care.

Laura Balzer joins the SPHHS as an Assistant Professor of Biostatistics. She earned her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley and completed her post-doctoral studies at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Laura is a methodologist with substantive interests in global health, community-based participatory research, and social determinants of health. Her particular areas of expertise are Causal Inference and Machine Learning. These disciplines are integral to developing, evaluating, and implementing data-driven solutions in Public Health. Laura is also passionate about teaching introductory and advanced causal and statistical methods. Jointly with Dr. Maya Petersen, she was awarded the 2014 ASA’s Causality in Statistics Education Award.

David Chin joins the SPHHS as an Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management. David completed his PhD at the University of California, Davis, where he also served as a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Healthcare Policy and Research. His research focuses on three health services research domains: 1) the development of outcome measures to quantify quality, value, and safety in healthcare; 2) novel statistical and computational approaches for inference from high-dimensional correlated data; 3) health policy innovation. Unified by data-driven quantitative inference, David emphasizes methodology while employing data sets from diverse sources (e.g. electronic health records (EHR), clinical registries, statewide all-payer administrative claims, nationwide private payer, department of defense clinical records) to measure patient outcomes. Some of his ongoing projects include: 1) development of novel instruments to measure Serious Reportable Events occurring in hospitals; 2) the impact of public reporting of Coronary Artery Bypass Graft in California; 3) quantum computing applications for health outcomes and policy.

Elizabeth Evans joins the SPHHS as an Assistant Professor of Community Health Education. Liz completed her PhD at the University of California, Los Angeles. Prior to joining the SPHHS faculty, she served as a postdoctoral research fellow for the Center for the Study of Healthcare Innovation, Implementation and Policy (CSHIIP), Health Services Research and Development (HSR&D), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, in Los Angeles, CA. Liz researches how health care systems and public policies can better promote health and wellness among vulnerable and underserved populations, particularly for individuals at risk for substance use disorders, mental illness, and infectious diseases. Previously, she directed a $25 million portfolio of 33 research studies and evaluation projects, and authored more than 80 publications and reports. Most recently, she investigated the health services utilization and long-term outcomes of patients treated for opioid use disorders; gender differences in the health effects of childhood adversity over the life course; comparative effectiveness of gender sensitive behavioral health care for pregnant and parenting women; and the feasibility of mobile health interventions to reduce infectious disease in global settings. She has experience with both qualitative and quantitative methods, and much of her research has originated from longitudinal study designs (prospective and retrospective) and creating knowledge via mining of linked administrative data provided by health care delivery systems, social services systems, and criminal justice sources. Currently, Liz is Principal Investigator on a pilot study in which she is adapting digital storytelling methods with and for homeless women Veterans to support self-management of substance abuse recovery and thereby improve community integration. She is also Principal Investigator on a mixed methods study of gender differences in use and outcomes of complementary and integrative healthcare by military veterans with chronic musculoskeletal pain.

Jin Kim-Mozeleski joins the SPHHS as an Assistant Professor of Community Health Education. Jin also earned her PhD at the University of California, Davis. Most recently, she served as a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of California, San Francisco. Her research program examines socioeconomic and racial/ethnic disparities in tobacco use and smoking cessation. She is particularly interested in the intersection of food insecurity and smoking, as well as promoting smoking cessation in populations who disproportionately face tobacco-related health problems. Her work draws on a range of social and behavioral science research methodologies (including mixed methods), towards conducting community-based research with implications for policy. A separate area of research examines disparities in mental health treatment access and outcomes for racial/ethnic minorities. She is the Principal Investigator of a National Institute on Drug Abuse funded career development award (K01), Promoting Smoking Cessation among Individuals with Food Insecurity. This research draws on previous work indicating that food insecurity is independently associated with higher smoking prevalence, and that higher smoking prevalence among socioeconomically disadvantaged groups is partly due to the disparity in successful quit attempts.