Core Faculty

Stephen McGarvey, PhD, MPH

Director, International Health Institute
Professor of Epidemiology and Anthropology

Dr. Stephen T. McGarvey is a biological anthropologist who has conducted population health and biological research in low and middle income countries nations for >40 years. His research focuses on issues of human population biology and international health, specifically modernization-related induced socio-economic and behavioral changes, gene by environment interactions on cardiovascular disease risk factors, tropical parasitology and child nutritional status and health, and environmental issues. He leads, and collaborates in, several ongoing projects in the Samoan islands on genetic and nutritional epidemiology of cardiometabolic conditions, behavioral interventions on their risk factors and maternal and child health.

 Galarraga, Omar

Omar Galárraga, PhD

Associate Professor of Health Services, Policy, and Practice

Dr. Omar Galárraga is a health economist who works on applications of health and behavioral economics to improve HIV prevention and treatment outcomes.  His work focuses on three main areas including: 1) how behavioral economic applications such as conditional economic incentives may be best utilized to improve the prevention and treatment of HIV, and other chronic diseases; 2) the health and labor market effects of social health insurance programs; and 3) the economic efficiency (cost-effectiveness) and financing of various treatment and prevention programs. He has several projects in Mexico, Kenya, Ghana and South Africa.

 

Abigail Harrison, PhD, MPH 

 

Associate Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences 
Graduate Program Director, MSc in Global Public Health

 Dr. Abigail Harrison’s research focuses on global HIV prevention and reproductive health among adolescents and young women, with a primary focus on South Africa.   Trained as a social epidemiologist, she conducts interdisciplinary qualitative and mixed methods research on health behaviors and the social context of prevention, as well as behavioral interventions. Current research addresses women's reproductive decision-making and empowerment, the health and social needs of adolescents living with HIV, and the development of HIV prevention interventions for adolescent girls and young women.

Kuo, Caroline

Caroline Kuo, DPhil 

Assistant Dean of Diversity and Inclusion
Associate Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences

Dr. Caroline Kuo is a behavioral and social scientist who focuses on addressing disparities in mental health, sexual and reproductive health, violence, HIV and other infectious diseases among vulnerable populations in low-resource communities. Signature elements of her research include the use of community-engaged approaches to ensure that public health science is developed, tested, and deployed in partnership with children and families, and resilience-oriented intervention approaches. She is committed to building and fostering long-term equitable international partnerships with scientists that have complementary expertise in epidemiology, anthropology, medicine, and economics, and cultivating the scientific talent of public health scientists, practitioners, and policy-makers of diverse backgrounds.

Lurie, Mark

Mark Lurie, PhD 

Associate Professor of Epidemiology

Dr. Mark Lurie is an infectious disease epidemiologist working on HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections, silicosis and tuberculosis in sub-Saharan Africa. He has studied the role of migration in the spread of HIV in South Africa, examined the evidence for concurrency as a major driver of the HIV epidemic, and examined the impact of antiretroviral therapy on HIV epidemic dynamics in sub-Saharan Africa.

Operario, Don

Don Operario, PhD

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs 
Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences

Dr. Don Operario was trained as a social and health psychologist. His research addresses two inter-related areas. The first general area concerns the social psychological determinants of HIV, sexual health, and related health issues (substance use, mental health) in diverse communities, with an emphasis on developing and evaluating theory-based social and behavioral interventions for members of high-risk groups. A second research area concerns the lived experiences associated with social inequality, with an emphasis on understanding the perspectives of disadvantaged group members and addressing associated health and psychosocial disparities.

Pellowski, Jennifer

Jennifer Pellowski, PhD 

Assistant Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences

Dr. Jennifer Pellowski is a social psychologist who focuses on addressing psychosocial and contextual factors that impede engagement in health behaviors. She has a background in behavioral intervention development and evaluation and her research interests include HIV treatment adherence, sexual and reproductive health, and technology-based approaches to data collection and intervention.

  

 

 

 

Leausa Samau Toleafoa Dr. Take Naseri

Adjunct Associate Professor of Epidemiology

Leausa Samau Toleafoa Dr. Take Naseri is the Director General of Health/Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of Health of Samoa.  Dr. Naseri holds a Masters in Public Health (MPH) from the University of Queensland, Australia and a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) from the University of Papua New Guinea.  He started his education in Samoa before furthering his studies in New Zealand and Fiji. 

Dr. Naseri is a registered practicing physician and has served in the Medical Profession for over 25 years in Samoa, American Samoa and in New Zealand in the areas of Anesthesia & ICU, Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases and Population Health.  In 2010 he was appointed at the Samoa Ministry of Health as the Consultant Specialist Physician, Public Health and Assistant Chief Executive Officer. He was instrumental in establishing and developing Samoa's National Disease Surveillance (NDS) and International Health Regulations (IHR) Division within the Ministry in 2012. In 2014 he became the Director General and CEO of the Ministry of Health.  His population health background and distinguished clinical experience with his visionary approach, led to Samoa's implementation of the WHO NCD Package of Essential Non-communicable disease interventions (PEN), which he contextualized in the Samoan way now called PEN Fa’aSAMOA. This was recognized with an award for "Best Proposal" at the Pacific Health Ministers Meeting’s 20th Anniversary Yanuca in Fiji 2014.  He also led Samoa’s first side event on NCDs at the WHO World Health Assembly (WHA) 2014 and the Small Island Developing States (SIDs) Conference, the same year. 

Under Dr Naseri’s guidance, the health sector by September 2017 was the first sector to develop a Disaster Risk Management (DRM) Strategy for Samoa.  The policy not only grounded the mainstreaming of climate change and health instruments across-sector, but also assures the integrating of the IHR 2005 and the Asia Pacific Strategy for Emergencies and Emerging Diseases III (APSED III); into all aspects of the strategy.  Of significance, as the Director General of Health, Dr Naseri since mid-2017 has led the re-organization of the realigned health system; with emphasis now on prevention, research and population health and not just centralized curative care as it has been in the last two decades.  It will place the emphasis to be patient-focused and population health oriented, with the main goal of decentralizing health resources to the communities and grassroots’ levels.

Dr Naseri has collaborated with international academic institutions – Brown University and  Yale University in the United States - researchers and others in Samoa since 2010 in their ongoing public health studies of cardiometabolic disease risk factors.  His leadership since early 2014 has not only allowed growth in collaborative research but focused the research on its operational implications for implementing future interventions.

 

Postdoctoral Research Associates

Angela Bengtson, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Epidemiology

[email protected]