The Yale School of Public Health last week welcomed 11 new faculty members — four assistant professors and seven associate research scientists.
Representing several departments, the new additions to the School of Public Health have interests ranging from epidemiologic data to the role of stigma on health to the economics of low-income health care.
“Public health has a really interesting role to play in thinking beyond just the health care system,” said Amanda Brewster ’03, one of the new associate research scientists working in the Health Policy and Management Department. She added that in her department, researchers draw connections between what occurs inside and outside the health care system.
Although none of the new faculty are leading their own classes yet, many are conducting research projects and supporting other academic programs at Yale, including the undergraduate Global Health Studies Program and the Global Health Justice Partnership at the Yale Law School.
Katie Wang GRD ’14 has embraced her new role as a professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences by devoting time to two research initiatives, one examining how stigma contributes to the risk of substance abuse among people with depression, and the other investigating how to help women and members of the LGBTQ community grapple with stigma and mental health.
“I really enjoy being a part of the Yale community, especially after coming to the Yale School of Public Health,” Wang said. “I really like the interdisciplinary approach to understanding health disparities and how to utilize social sciences to address [them]. I think it’s a really cool and constructive and socially conscious approach.”
Jacob Wallace, a professor in the Health Policy Department, said he looks forward to providing instruction in his areas of study: health policy and health economics. Wallace has spent his academic career so far researching the impact of managed care on public insurance systems, which the government is increasingly reliant on to deliver Medicaid and Medicare benefits.
Accompanying the four new assistant professors are seven associate research scientists. They represent the Health Policy, Microbial Diseases, Environmental Health, Chronic Diseases and Biostatistics departments. The associate research scientists focus on conducting studies, as opposed to teaching, though some are involved with educating students as well, Brewster said.
Brewster, for example, not only juggles research on management in health care systems, but also supports the “Methods and Ethics in Global Health Research” course, which is offered as part of the Global Health Studies Program. Yale undergraduates can apply to the program starting their sophomore year. Through the class, Brewster helps students with designing and proposing independent research projects.
“My focus is how the organizational configurations and how management systems influence outcomes,” Brewster said. “40 to 90 percent of health is actually attributable to social factors. Knowing that we have a health care system that’s concerned with maximizing the health of the population, I’m really interested in thinking about how health care providers can work with organizations that already exist in communities to provide social services.”
For Brewster, her colleagues and the Yale School of Public Health, encouraging student involvement and the integration of ideas in pursuit of a healthier society is a mission of paramount importance. The new faculty members share a common interest in multidisciplinary thinking, which they believe is an opportunity for students of all backgrounds and passions to engage with the school.
Brewster said she has previously worked with undergraduate researchers and would encourage undergraduates to reach out to faculty.
“Don’t be shy. Email your professors if you have a shared interest or just want to learn about their research,” Wallace said. “Believe it or not, we’re interested in learning about what you’re working on too.”
He added that research at the School of Public Health is interdisciplinary, so there are opportunities for undergraduates who have a range of skills and experiences.
The Yale School of Public offers 11 joint-degree programs.
Ruiyan Wang | firstname.lastname@example.org