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Department of Epidemiology & Health Promotion

Richard Niederman, DMD, Chair

Mission Statement
The mission of the Department of Epidemiology & Health Promotion is to provide the NYU College of Dentistry and NYU as a whole with vibrant, creative, and rigorous academic leadership in education, research, and service within the areas of epidemiology and health promotion. A fundamental component of the Department's mission is to provide excellence in teaching across the broad array of academic disciplines at the pre-doctoral, post-doctoral, and graduate school levels.

Departmental teaching for the DDS curriculum focuses on foundational knowledge and practical application to the practice of dentistry for the following subjects: epidemiology, health promotion, bioethics, biostatistics, skills in assessing the professional literature, and public health issues and policy for the dental practitioner.

Teaching at the Master's level provides a two-year MS program in Clinical Research, as well as contributions to the Global MPH program offered at the university level. The Department also seeks to partner fully with the newly created NYU Global Institute of Public Health as it builds its educational and research programs in global public health. Most recently at the MS level, the Department led the formation of a new, one-year, full-time MS in Evidence-Based Practice degree program, and will participate as a major player in that program once it is launched in 2013 or 2014.

At the PhD level, the Department houses the Postdoctoral Oral Epidemiology Training program, a collaborative program with the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia University, which provides the doctoral degree in epidemiology for dentists interested in academic research careers. Moreover, the Department was created and constituted to undertake and achieve major original research and other scholarly activities, and thus to provide national leadership for, and contributions to, the fields of epidemiology and health promotion.

Brief History
The Department of Epidemiology & Health Promotion was created in June 2000. During the first 13 years of its existence, the Department faculty served as PI or co-PI on new grants totaling more than $55M from a range of national and state agencies. The Department currently houses the following graduate degree programs: the PhD in Epidemiology program, established in 2000 jointly with Columbia University's Department of Epidemiology; both the Certificate and the MS in Clinical Research programs (which began in 2002); and the Oral Health Concentration for the Global MPH (which began in 2006).

The Faculty
There are nine full-time and 10 part-time faculty members in the Department.

Full-time Faculty, alphabetically, include:

Ananda Dasanayake, BDS, MPH, PhD, a Professor with 11 years at NYU.
Director of the MS in Clinical Research Program, and Director, Oral Health Concentration, in the Global MPH program. Dr. Dasanayake teaches extensively in those graduate programs with research interests in periodontal disease and low birth weight, oral cancer, and dental caries in children.

Gene Fisch, MA, MS, PhD, a Professor with seven years at NYU.
A biostatistician in the Biostatistics Unit of the College, within the Department of Epidemiology & Health Promotion. Dr. Fisch primarily provides supporting statistical services to faculty in the College and has research interests in the study of genetics of autism.

Ralph Katz, DMD, MPH, PhD, a Professor with 13 years at NYU.
Dr. Katz leads the Skills in Assessing the Professional Literature (SAPL) curriculum (an Evidence-Based Dentistry [EBD] component) in the DDS curriculum, and teaches in the MS in Clinical Research and the PhD in epidemiology programs; his research interests include oral cancer, geriatrics, and bioethical issues.

Frederick More, DDS, MS, a Professor with 23 years at NYU.
Dr. More leads teaching of the 4-year DDS curriculum in bioethics as well as diversity in health professions and is Chair of IRB at the NYU School of Medicine; his research includes health education research and issues in bioethics.

Douglas Morse, DDS, SM, PhD, an Associate Professor with 12 years at NYU.
Associate Director of the NYU Postdoctoral Oral Epidemiology Training program. Dr. Morse teaches both epidemiology and SAPL in the DDS curriculum as well as in the MS in Clinical Research program and the PhD in epidemiology program; his research focuses on oral cancer epidemiology.

Robert Norman, MS, PhD, an Associate Professor with eight years at NYU.
Chief of the College's Biostatistics Unit within the Department of Epidemiology & Health Program. Dr. Norman teaches biostatistics in our MS in Clinical Research program as well as in the College of Nursing; he has research interests in sleep apnea.

Mary Northridge, PhD, MPH, an Assistant Professor with two and a half years at NYU.
Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Public Health. Dr. Northridge leads the teaching of epidemiology in the DDS curriculum; her research focuses on integrating oral health with general health and promoting health equity.

Walter Psoter, DDS, PhD, an Assistant Professor with 10 years at NYU.
Dr. Psoter teaches 'field research methods' in the Global MPH program and has active research interests in the area of effects of malnutrition on oral health in Haiti, oral cancer prevention practices by dentists in Puerto Rico, and dental caries.

Stefanie Russell, DMD, MPH, PhD, an Associate Professor with 16 years at NYU.
Dr. Russell teaches oral-systemic disease epidemiology and also SAPL in the DDS curriculum as well as a grant critiquing course in the MS in Clinical Research Program; her major research interests are in geriatrics and in women's oral health, especially as related to pregnancy.

Part-Time Faculty

Elise S. Eisenberg, DDS, Senior Director of Dental Informatics, and Mr. Richard McGowan, Dental Biomedical Librarian at the NYU Medical Library, are part-time departmental faculty. Two part-time teaching faculty members are full-time data managers (Ms. Amy Moore and Dr. Bhupindar Brar) in the service-oriented Biostatistics Unit of the College, as are biostatisticians Dr. Mal Janal and Dr. Chuck Cleland. Our Departmental Research Administrator, Ms. Emilie Godfrey, is a nutritionist, teaches part-time and leads the development of the nutrition aspects of our DDS curriculum, and our Departmental Academic Coordinator, Ms. Katherine Reynolds, is a Social Worker who teaches part-time in geriatric dentistry. The remaining part-time faculty are outside consultants, who serve as key contributors to the teaching of the predoctoral Health Promotion curriculum, and to the MS in Clinical Research program.

Curricula Highlights
The NYU College of Dentistry's DDS curriculum sets the national trend in the teaching of epidemiology and health promotion, with a solid series of foundational didactic and preclinical courses. The four-year curriculum in Skills in Assessing the Professional Literature (SAPL) also sets the national standard for the teaching of EBD. Similarly, the Department's MS in Clinical Research program is a unique offering among US dental schools in that we are the only dental school offering an MS in Clinical Research degree. The recent addition of the MS in Evidence-Based Practice, a 1-year full-time program, is the first established in a dental college in the U.S. The Department also houses the Oral Health Concentration within NYU's MPH in Global Health program, and offers a joint DDS-MPH degree opportunity. The PhD in Epidemiology program, run in collaboration with Department of Epidemiology at Columbia University, is now in its 21st year of operation.

History of Departmental Research Activity
The Department has had a major commitment to research and scholarly activities since its inception in June 2000.Over its first 13 years of existence, the Department has received over $55 million in over 20 externally funded grants, most from the NIH, in which Departmental faculty serve as the PI or co-PI of the study. The research portfolio has included: 1) an NIDCR U54 Oral Health Disparities Center, the NYU Oral Cancer RAAHP* Center; 2) four R01 grants from NIH, including: (a) a clinical trial on smoking cessation; (b) a clinical study on the relationship between periodontal disease and pre-term, low birth weight; (c) a study on the relationship between early childhood malnutrition and the development and diseases of the permanent dentition in Haiti; and (d) an integrated social and systems science study toward improving oral health equity for older adults; 3) a major collaborative NIH-grant focused on building a research infrastructure at the University of Puerto Rico's School of Dentistry.

In addition, the Department recently completed four five-year cycles of NIDCR/NIH funding for its NYU Oral Epidemiology T32 NRSA Training Grant, and is now launching a new version of that program, the NYU Global Postdoctoral Oral Epidemiology Training (POETS) program, which will also offer the PhD in epidemiology (again, in collaboration with the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia University), but now focused on international applicants. Finally, several Departmental faculty members serve as research mentors for clinical faculty at NYU, both in the College of Dentistry and in the School of Medicine.

Service by Faculty: Community, University, and Extracurricular Programs
The Departmental faculty involve themselves in a wide variety of community and University activities that vary year-by-year. Departmental faculty run the NYU Spaghetti & Science Society, a monthly student club that meets in an Italian restaurant in Greenwich Village to discuss a scientific article over "a plate of pasta and a glass of wine." In past activities, a faculty member developed and taught a six-week earth sciences module on wind energy versus nuclear energy at the Salk Science School, a NYC magnet science Jr. High School. Another faculty member has served as the program officer for a NYC service to bring geriatric dental services to needy New Yorkers, while another serves on several NYC and New York State health boards.

* Research on Adolescent & Adult Health Promotion