Public Health Faculty

Primary Faculty

 

Nancy Burke

Professor and Chair, Public Health
School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Arts
Email: nburke2@ucmerced.edu
Website: Healthequityresearch.weebly.com
 
Dr. Burke’s research program spans two primary areas: 1) cancer and health disparities in the United States and 2) chronic disease management in the context of global health. Her research in safety-net oncology clinics and community-based organizations providing support for poNor and immigrant cancer survivors explores the ways in which understanding structural vulnerability (e.g. physical-emotional suffering resulting from class-based economic exploitation and cultural, gender, and racialized discrimination) may address the concerns of biomedicine and also extend its reach and efficacy by bringing the broader social, cultural, and economic challenges of vulnerable populations into focus. As such, this research addresses the key concern of how to infuse health interventions with local, social, and cultural relevance in order to improve efficacy and support sustainability. Since 2009 Dr. Burke has conducted collaborative research on chronic disease self-management with colleagues at the Universidad de Ciencias Médicas, Facultad Girón in Havana, Cuba. This has resulted in several chronic disease workshops and the development of curriculum and an area of expertise focused on obesity and overweight, the first of its kind on the island.
 

Paul Brown

Professor of Public Health
Director, Health Sciences Research Institute
School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Arts
Location: SSM Bldg., Rm 361B
Email: pbrown3@ucmerced.edu
Phone: (209)-228-2251
Web site: Paul Brown lab
Dr. Brown is a Health Economist/Health Services researcher. His research interests include a number of areas relevant to health services research and public health. Much of his work evaluates the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of interventions aimed at improving health for vulnerable populations, including people who have suffered a traumatic brain injury or stroke, the frail elderly, and disabled members of the community. Other research uses discrete choice experiments to examine patient preferences and health care decision making. He works closely with health care providers and funders, including local health departments (LHDs) and regional healthcare providers. His work tends to involve multidisciplinary teams, and he has collaborations with research teams at a number of universities, including the Auckland University of Technology, the National University of Colombia in Bogota, the University of North Carolina, the University of San Francisco at Fresno, and the University of Auckland.
 

Miriam Barlow

Associate Professor, Molecular & Cell Biology
School of Natural Sciences
Email: mbarlow@ucmerced.edu
Phone: (209) 228-4174
Web site: Miriam Barlow Lab
 
Dr. Barlow's research focuses on evolution of bacteria; predicting the evolution of antibiotic resistance; and testing evolutionary theory.
 

Linda Cameron

Professor, Health Psychology
School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Arts
Email:  lcameron@ucmerced.edu
Phone: (209)-228-2252
Web site: Linda Cameron lab
 
Dr. Cameron's research focuses on developing health communications and psychosocial interventions for individuals who have or are at risk for illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. This research takes a self-regulation perspective by evaluation the cognitive and emotional processes influencing health behaviors and illness experiences. She focuses on both theoretical and applied aspects of issues in order to address the parallel goals of developing theoretically-based interventions and refining psychological theory. Her research has included the development and evaluation of psychosocial support programs for women with breast cancer, therapeutic writing techniques for stress management, and exercise therapy as an aid for smoking cessation. In her health communications research risk, she is exploring the impact of visual images and animations on responses to risk communications such as graphic warning labels for tobacco products and information about genetic testing for disease susceptibility.

 

Ricardo Cisneros

Assistant Professor, Public Health
School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Arts
Email:  rcisneros@ucmerced.edu
Website
 
Ricardo Cisneros is assistant Professor of Environmental Public Health. As an environmental scientist with specialization in environmental public health and exposure science, he conducts research that recognizes the interdependence of ecological and human health with special interests Air Pollution Research and exposure assessment. He has conducted several environmental research studies, including determining the impacts of forest fires on air quality.  He was also the first scientist to determine the current PM2.5 background in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and mountain communities in the area. The findings of his research have being used to stimulate policy suggestions and changes by non-profit groups as well as government agencies (both state and federal). He is considered an authority when it comes to the topic of Forest Fires and air quality impacts.
 

Karina Diaz Rios

Cooperative Extension Specialist in Nutrition
Division of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Email:  kdiazrios@ucmerced.edu
 
Dr. Díaz Rios is a Registered Dietitian with expertise in community nutrition and nutrition education. Her current research focuses on the development, adaptation, and evaluation of theory-based, culturally sensitive approaches to nutrition education and interventions to prevent diet-related diseases and disparities among Latino families and communities.

 

Jeff Gilger

Professor, Psychology

School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Arts
 

 
 
 
 
 

Sidra Goldman-Mellor

Assistant Professor, Public Health
School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Arts
Phone: 209-228-2498
Website: Home Page
 
Dr. Goldman-Mellor is a psychiatric epidemiologist whose research interests focus on understanding the social determinants of depression and suicidal behavior; the complex links between psychological problems, violence, and poor physical health; and the etiology of mental health disparities. Much of her current work examines these questions in adolescent populations, but she has a broad interest in the lifecourse epidemiology of psychological disorder and suicidal behavior. She has expertise in using complex longitudinal cohort data, and has worked with international cohort databases as well as survey and healthcare data from California.
 

Mariaelena Gonzalez

Assistant Professor, Public Health
School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Arts
Email:  mgonzalez82@ucmerced.edu
Phone: (209)-228-2232
Web site: Mariaelena Gonzalez lab
Download CV (PDF)
 
Her current research focuses on health disparities, including oral health disparities, and the ways in which social and environmental factors affect health risk behaviors. Dr. Gonzalez’s research areas include tobacco control, and understanding the unexpected risks and benefits of tobacco control policies, as well as the linkages between tobacco use and other risk behaviors.  Dr. Gonzalez also studies the ways in which health behaviors differ between first, second, and third generation Latinos.
Dr. Gonzalez’s previous research has examined scientific and medical occupational pipelines, the passage of smokefree laws in the United States, as well as the passage of smokefree laws in the Netherlands.

 

Sandie Ha, UC Merced Public HealthSandie Ha

Assistant Professor, Public Health
School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Arts
Email: sha55@ucmerced.edu
Phone: 209-228-3615
Website: http://faculty.ucmerced.edu/sandieha
 
Dr. Ha’s research focuses on studying how various environmental exposures (e.g., air pollution, extreme temperature, pesticides) affect pregnancy and perinatal health outcomes including but not limited to gestational complications, stillbirth, preterm birth, and birth defects. She’s also interested in investigating how exposures during windows of developmental plasticity (e.g. pregnancy and early life) influences the risk of neurodevelopment in early childhood. Her other research interests include cardiovascular complications, asthma, cancer, and health disparity.
 

Andrea Joyce

Assistant Professor, Public Health 
Email:  ajoyce2@ucmerced.edu
Phone:  (209)-228-2381
Website: http://faculty.ucmerced.edu/ajoyce2
 
Dr. Joyce's research interests include: Biological Control, IPM, Vector Ecology, and Population Genetics. 
 
 

Denise Payan, UC Merced Public HealthDenise Payán

Assistant Professor, Public Health 
School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Arts 
Email:  dpayan@ucmerced.edu
Phone:  (209)-228-3618
Website:   https://ddpayan.com/
 
Dr. Payán is a health policy researcher whose research interests include examining the health policymaking process; evaluating interventions to address obesity and nutrition-related health disparities; and understanding how policy impacts health behavior. Her research on the role and behavior of advocacy coalitions in California’s state health policymaking process explores the types of strategies employed by interest groups to either enact policy change or retain the status quo. Dr. Payán also has experience conducting process and impact evaluations and has previously contributed to community-based participatory research projects implemented in a variety of settings, including schools, faith-based organizations, safety net clinics, and academic medical centers. She is currently collaborating with researchers at the RAND Corporation to explore food insecurity vulnerability and health outcomes among people living with HIV in the Dominican Republic.
 

Dr. Susana RamirezA. Susana Ramirez, MPH, PhD

Assistant Professor, Public Health 
School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Arts 
Email: sramirez37@ucmerced.edu
 

Dr. Ramírez is a social scientist whose research at the intersection of communication science, public health, and Latino health focuses on communication in the service of social justice and health equity. Dr. Ramírez employs mixed methods to understand the multiple levels of communication influence on health behaviors and to reduce health disparities among Latino populations across the acculturation spectrum. Her published research has examined the development and effectiveness of culturally tailored messages for bicultural Latina populations, knowledge and beliefs about cancer risk factors, and health information seeking behaviors. Currently funded research examines the feasibility of using mobile phones for tailored behavior change communications, examining the rural health information environment, understanding barriers to health care decision-making, multilevel communication strategies to create a culture of health in a diverse community, and community-based participatory research to prevent obesity in rural Latino families.
 

 

Kurt Schnier

Professor, Economics
School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Arts
 

Kurt Schnier is a Professor of Economics in the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts (SSHA). His research focuses on policy analysis in the fields of health and resources economics. His research in health economics focuses on the response of physicians and hospitals to current and impending regulations that impact the provision of health care. More specifically, he has researched discharge decision making in the presence of the health care quality metrics developed by CMS, the efficient utilization of organs for transplantation, the application of behavioral economic principals to organ donation and the impact of the National Living Donor Assistance Center on living organ donation. His resource economics research focuses on facilitating the development of efficient marine resource policy and determining how agents respond to current and prospective policy changes.
 

Anna Song

Associate Professor, Health Psychology
School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Arts
Email: asong5@ucmerced.edu
Phone: (209)-228-4591
Web site: Anna Song lab
 
Anna Song is an assistant professor of Psychological Sciences in the School of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts (SSHA) at the University of California, Merced. Her area of speciality is health psychology and psychological epidemiology. Specifically, her research focuses on psychosocial factors that influence adolescent and young adult risk behavior decision-making. Risk behaviors that are of interest to Dr. Song include a) smoking initiation, progression, and cessation, b) sex initiation, c) gambling, and d) unhealthy eating patterns. She is also interested in adolescents' and young adults' beliefs about risks, benefits, and future consequences associated with behaviors, as well as cultural factors that might explain and reduce health disparities. In this regard, she is currently involved in research to help improve methods used to identify and explain health disparities.

 

Jan Wallander

Professor, Health Psychology
School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Arts
Email:  jwallander@ucmerced.edu
Phone: (209)-228-4028
Web site: Jan Wallander lab
 
Dr. Wallander's research focuses on health psychology and developmental psychopathology, including interactions between behavior and health in children and adolescents; effects of chronic disease or disability on quality of life in childhood; and behavioral interventions to improve health and quality of life in children and adolescents
 

Deborah Wiebe

Professor, Health Psychology
School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Arts
Email: dwiebe@ucmerced.edu
Phone: (209)-228-4614
Web site: Deborah Wiebe lab
 

 

 

Stephen Wooding

Assistant Professor, Public Health
Email:  swooding@ucmerced.edu
Web site: Stephen Wooding's Lab