SPHHS Welcomes New Faculty for Fall 2020

SPHHS new faculty fall 2020

New tenure-track faculty Kathryn Derose (top left), Sarah Gonzalez-Nahm (top right), 
and (bottom from left) Douglas Martini, Carrie Nobles, and Sarah Roelker.

September 21, 2020

The School of Public Health and Health Sciences welcomed five new tenure-track and six new non tenure-track faculty members into its ranks this academic year.

New tenure-track hires for Fall 2020 include Carrie Nobles (Environmental Health Sciences), Kathryn Derose (Health Promotion and Policy), Douglas Martini and Sarah Roelker (Kinesiology), and Sarah Gonzalez-Nahm (Nutrition). New non-tenure-track faculty members include research assistant professor Evan Ray (Biostatistics and Epidemiology), Communication Disorders lecturers Dana Hoover, Jo Shackelford, and Michael Starr, and Nutrition lecturers Christy Maxwell and Heather Wemhoener.

Learn more about our new tenure-track faculty members:

Kathryn P. Derose joins the Department of Health Promotion and Policy as a full professor. Her research focuses on understanding and addressing health inequalities, with particular expertise regarding social determinants of health, faith-based organizations, community-based participatory research, immigrants' healthcare access, Latino populations, and Latin America. She uses mixed methods (quantitative and qualitative) for intervention design and evaluation and has led multiple NIH-funded studies that developed and/or tested multi-level interventions to address health disparities, such as church-based efforts to reduce HIV-related stigma and promote HIV testing and prevent obesity. Prior to accepting her position at UMass Amherst, she worked for the RAND Corporation as a senior policy researcher. She received her PhD in Health Services from UCLA.

Sarah Gonzalez-Nahm joins the Nutrition department as an assistant professor. She received her PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and most recently served as Assistant Scientist and Deputy Director of the Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is a mixed methods researcher interested in maternal and child nutrition, the social determinants of health, and obesity. She is a systems thinker who believes complex problems, such as obesity and health inequity, require complex solutions. Her long-term research goals are to 1) gain a deeper understanding of the factors that contribute to inequities in nutrition and obesity for families with young children; and (2) contribute to policy and system-level solutions that target obesity and health inequities.

Douglas Martini joins the Department of Kinesiology as an assistant professor following a postdoctoral research position at Oregon Health and Science University. Martini’s research focuses on understanding the effects of central neural dysfunction on motor and cognitive performance due to neurotrauma (concussion) and neurodegenerative disease (Parkinson’s disease). Key aspects of his research involve identifying the underlying neural mechanisms that determine the speed and magnitude at which performance declines. His approach integrates neural activity, biomechanical, and cognitive assessments to determine which neural mechanisms contribute to performance decline. The goal of his research is to improve quality of life for people in the neurotrauma and neurodegenerative disease populations. Martini earned his PhD from the University of Michigan.

Carrie Nobles joins the Department of Environmental Health Sciences as an assistant professor. A UMass Amherst alumna with a PhD in Epidemiology, Nobles most recently worked as a research fellow at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. An environmental and reproductive epidemiologist, Nobles focuses on the impact of exposure to ambient air pollution during preconception and in early pregnancy on reproductive and perinatal health. A strong evidence base suggests that air pollution, likely through mechanisms of inflammation, oxidative stress and vascular dysfunction, increases risk of cardiovascular events and pregnancy complications. Her research centers on understanding how these mechanisms may similarly impact reproductive health during critical windows of exposure including ovulation, spermatogenesis, implantation and vascularization of the placenta. The main goal of her research is to produce policy-relevant findings for the impact of both acute and chronic exposure to ambient air pollution on maternal, paternal and offspring health.

Sarah Roelker joins the Department of Kinesiology as an assistant professor following her postdoctoral work at the University of Texas at Austin and her doctoral studies at Ohio State University. Roelker’s research in the UMass Neuromuscular Biomechanics Laboratory leverages musculoskeletal modeling and simulation techniques to gain insights into the neuromusculoskeletal mechanisms underlying typical and impaired locomotion to identify rehabilitation targets to improve locomotor function and quality of life in individuals with impaired mobility. A primary aim of her research is to identify the biomechanic and neuromuscular mechanisms contributing to impaired dynamic balance in populations with increased fall-risk using a combination of experimental and simulation techniques. The goal of this work is to identify intervention targets to improve dynamic balance and decrease fall-risk, particularly in older adults, individuals with post-stroke hemiparesis, and individuals with Parkinson’s disease.