Project Team

Expert Advisors

Laurie Salame

Laurie Salame, JD, is a Senior Lecturer II in the Isenberg School of Management, Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she has been teaching since 2001. Her classes have included Introduction to Hospitality, Hospitality Law, Gaming and Social Policy, and Casino Operations Management. Salame heads up the team conducting patron surveys, is on the community outreach and engagement team, and takes on other administrative and organizational tasks associated with the project.

Prior to teaching, Salame was an attorney at Community Legal Aid (formerly Western Massachusetts Legal Services), where she was a staff attorney, an AmeriCorps Domestic Violence Project attorney, and an Equal Justice Fellow, developing a program doing economic development work with the low-income community. Before that she worked in government at the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance, and held a management job at a Boston law firm. Prior to law school, Salame worked in the hotel industry for 12 years in Las Vegas, San Diego, and Miami, concentrating in rooms management and operations, at gaming and non-gaming properties. She earned her BS in Hotel and Restaurant Management from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and graduated cum laude from Suffolk University Law School, where she was editor of the Suffolk University Law Review.

Project and Data Management

Martha Zorn

Martha Zorn, MS, directs the Data Management Center for the SEIGMA project. Zorn has worked as a biostatistician and data manager in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences, at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst for the past 25 years. During that time, she has worked on numerous research projects, including HIV research, cohort mortality studies, smoking for cancer survivors, diabetes and cystic fibrosis, community based obesity prevention among black women, improving cancer screening in low income housing sites, improving health literacy through the internet, influencing media and the public agenda on cancer and tobacco disparities, and respiratory effectiveness clinical trials. She earned her BS in Mathematics from Earlham College and her MS in Biostatistics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she was elected to the Rho Chapter of the Delta Omega Honor Society.

Valerie Evans

Valerie Evans, MA, MSc, is the Project Manager and biostatistician for the SEIGMA project. Valerie has worked on a variety of projects in both biology and public health including HIV vaccine development, global influenza, and pharmaceutical supply chains. She also was a Peace Corps Public Health Specialist in Guinea, West Africa. Most recently she was the project coordinator of the AMASA project (Accessing Medicines in Africa and South Asia) at the University of Edinburgh. She earned her BA in Biology from Boston University, a Master’s degree in Biology from Harvard University, and a MSc in Public Health Research from the University of Edinburgh.

Vivian Cronk

Vivian Cronk, BA, Mount Holyoke College, Francis Perkins Scholar, is the Grants and Contracts Coordinator providing primary fiscal and administrative support for the gambling research projects in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, currently the Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts (SEIGMA) and Massachusetts Gambling Impact Cohort (MAGIC) studies.  Vivian has over 10 year’s office management and budget experience most recently from work at UMass Amherst. 

Economic Analysis

Economic and Public Policy Research at the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute

The Economic and Public Policy Research group (EPPR) is a part of the UMass Donahue Institute, a public service outreach and economic development unit at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. A leading provider of applied research on strategic economic and public policy issues,  EPPR produces in-depth economic impact and industry studies that help clients build credibility, gain visibility, educate constituents, and plan economic development initiatives. EPPR is known for providing unbiased economic analysis on state-level economic policy issues in Massachusetts and beyond, and has completed a number of industry studies on IT, defense industries, telecommunications, health care, and transportation.

EPPR’s role in the SEIGMA project is to measure and assess the economic and fiscal impacts of gambling facilities at the local, regional, and state level. Our research includes a variety of secondary data measures, including public data sets and direct primary data collection, as well as estimation methods to try to isolate the net economic effects of each gaming site. The introduction and ongoing operations of new gambling facilities impact economic and fiscal conditions including government, finance, business dynamics, and labor market conditions.  EPPR is tracking and quantitatively assessing a wide range of economic and fiscal metrics, collecting and integrating qualitative information, and conducting economic impact modeling analysis to estimate direct and secondary impacts related to the presence of the new gambling facilities.

Data Collection

NORC at the University of Chicago

NORC at the University of Chicago delivers objective data and meaningful analysis to help decision-makers and leading organizations make informed choices and identify new opportunities. Since 1941, NORC has applied sophisticated methods and tools, innovative and cost-effective solutions, and the highest standards of scientific integrity and quality to conduct and advance research on critical issues. Today, NORC expands on this tradition by partnering with government, commercial, and nonprofit clients to create deep insight across a broad range of topics and to disseminate useful knowledge throughout society.

Research Assistant

Álvaro J. Castro Rivadeneira

Álvaro J. Castro Rivadeneira, MD, is a doctoral student in epidemiology at UMass Amherst. He was born and raised in Quito, Ecuador, obtained a BSc in biochemistry at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, and obtained a medical degree at the Univesidad Internacional del Ecuador. Álvaro moved to the United States in 2018 and has worked with the SEIGMA team since 2019.