PROVIDENCE, RI - The Brown University School of Public Health (Brown SPH) is welcoming dynamic new leaders who will expand the impact of the School in improving and developing impactful public health research, policy, and practice. The addition of these leading experts and innovators in the fields of health policy, implementation research, global health, and pandemic preparedness, demonstrates the School’s ongoing commitment to addressing the most urgent challenges in national and global public health.
Irene Papanicolas Ph.D. will focus on international comparative analyses to understand how different financial and organizational structures and processes within health systems influence their performance, building out a new effort on Comparative Health Systems. She joins Brown SPH after serving as associate professor of health economics in the Department of Health Policy at the London School of Economics.
Andrew (Andy) Ryan Ph.D. will focus on the effects of changes in U.S. health policy on quality of care, healthcare spending, and value, leading a new effort on Health Policy. He joins Brown SPH after serving as United Healthcare Professor of Healthcare Management at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and director of the Center for Evaluating Health Reform.
Malabika Sarker Ph.D. will focus on implementation science research and experiential learning, and will strengthen the School’s partnerships with other public health institutions in the global south. She joins Brown SPH after serving as professor and associate dean of the Brac James P. Grant School of Public Health in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Craig Spencer M.D., MPH will focus on the historical foundations of public health practice, especially with respect to global health, humanitarian response, and pandemic preparedness. He joins Brown SPH after serving as associate professor of emergency medicine and population and family health at the Columbia University Medical Center and director of Global Health in Emergency Medicine at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
“At the Brown School of Public Health we are taking action and becoming the place where the reinvention of public health in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic is happening,” said Interim Dean of the School of Public Health Ron Aubert. “Our most significant public health challenges demand fresh takes and multidisciplinary approaches. This group of outstanding new faculty is joining a growing team of leaders that are poised to deliver on this promise, and implement Dean Jha’s vision for the future of the School.”
“These accomplished leaders are committed to the University’s mission to address pressing societal issues through exceptional research, teaching and service,” said Brown University provost Richard Locke. “I cannot think of a more important time in history to make public health a priority at Brown and around the world.”
Irene Papanicolas Ph.D. focuses her research and teaching on assessing the performance of health systems, including methods to compare national health systems. She works closely with experts in policy, practice and research to identify cross-country learning. Papanicolas is also a Visiting Scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and serves as Associate Editor of the journal Health Policy.
Coming to Brown SPH from the London School of Economics, she will lead a new effort on Comparative Health Systems that will equip health systems with the knowledge and tools needed to address current and future challenges and improve their performance. She will join the School in September as professor of health services, policy, and practice.
“To protect populations from existing and future global challenges to health, including climate change, pandemics, and economic crises, we need to improve health systems and the collaboration between them. Our work on Comparative Health Systems at Brown will aim to produce evidence on effective and efficient strategies to improve health system performance,” said Papanicolas.
Andrew (Andy) Ryan Ph.D. is coming to Brown from the University of Michigan School of Public Health where he served as director of the Center for Evaluating Health Reform, and co-director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy, and associate director of the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation’s Data and Methods Hub.
A national leader in health policy research and training, Ryan will build out a new effort on Health Policy at Brown SPH focused on the effects of changes in health policy on quality of care, healthcare spending, and value, such as quantitative research to evaluate and improve payment policy in the U.S. He will collaborate across health policy researchers and centers at the university and beyond, and pilot partnerships with other disciplines, such as integrating legal scholarship to advocate for regulatory changes. Ryan will join the School in September as professor of health services, policy, and practice.
“The US health policy landscape is constantly shifting. Timely research has the potential to identify key problems and pose solutions. Building off of the success of Brown’s outstanding faculty, our work will advance rigorous policy research to support needed reforms to U.S. health care,” said Ryan.
Malabika Sarker Ph.D. is coming to Brown from Brac University in Dhaka, Bangladesh. An internationally known expert in public health implementation science research and practice, she founded the Center of Excellence for Science of Implementation and Scale Up at BRAC, and leads implementation science related education, training, research and advocacy. Sarker serves on multiple advisory boards, including Lancet Global Health, Medical Research Council UK, National Institute of Health Research UK, the Evaluation Advisory Committee of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, and she chairs the advisory board of the HRP Alliance for Research Capacity Strengthening.
At Brown SPH, Sarker will focus on implementation science research and teaching, build a partnership platform with other academic institutions and organizations in the global south, and lead new learning initiatives such as creating a structured global public health immersive experiential learning program for MPH and doctoral students. She will join the School in September as professor of the practice of behavioral and social sciences.
“I am excited to be part of this new phase of the Brown public health era. We will foster Implementation Science and build a south-north platform for shared learning to tackle global health threats created by uneven-paced globalization,” said Sarker.
Craig Spencer M.D., MPH will join Brown from the Columbia University Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital where he served as director of Global Health in Emergency Medicine. He has worked on health crises around the globe, including coordinating the Doctors Without Borders national epidemiological response in Guinea during the Ebola outbreak. In 2021, Spencer won an Emmy award for a short film about the medical response to the COVID pandemic in the United States.
At Brown, Dr. Spencer will be focusing on the historical foundations of public health practice, especially with respect to global health, humanitarian response, and pandemic preparedness. Looking through the lens of history—at events as diverse as colonial sleeping sickness campaigns to the global response to COVID-19—his program will bring together learning from public health, historians, anthropologists, and other social scientists to highlight why understanding public health’s past is crucial for guiding its current and future development. Dr. Spencer will join the School in September as associate professor of the practice of health services, policy, and practice.
“I’m honored and ecstatic to be part of the exciting growth at the Brown SPH. I’m especially looking forward to working together with students and faculty throughout the school to explore the foundations of public health policy and using that knowledge to build better health systems for communities all over the world,” said Dr. Spencer.
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