New Faculty Bring Diverse Expertise

September 12, 2022

Since last fall, 18 new public health experts have joined the full-time faculty at Columbia Mailman. They bring diverse expertise in areas from mental health to migration and machine learning; human rights to health ethics; racism to resilience, and more.

“It's been wonderful to work with and learn from the diverse, brilliant, collaborative, and humble Mailman faculty who truly are among the best in the world,” says Christian Gloria who joined the Sociomedical Sciences faculty last October.

Paris “AJ” Adkins-Jackson, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Sociomedical Sciences, investigates the role of structural racism on healthy aging for historically marginalized populations like Black and Pacific Islander communities. She examines the role of adverse policing on psychological well-being, cognitive function, and biological aging.

Kayum Ahmed, Assistant Professor of Population and Family Health, leads the Health and Human Rights Certificate. He is affiliated with the Global Health Justice and Governance program. His research interests include human rights, vaccine justice, indigenous knowledge systems, epistemic disobedience, and decolonizing the global health architecture.

Allison Aiello, James S. Jackson Healthy Longevity Professor in Epidemiology (Columbia Aging Center), focuses on identifying the processes by which health inequities in aging emerge across the life course with the ultimate goal of uncovering points of intervention. She directs the Program on Biosocial Aging and Health Equity in the Columbia Aging Center.

Juliana Bol, Assistant Professor of Population and Family Health, works to evaluate the effectiveness, efficiency, and impact of health system strengthening approaches in conflict-affected and fragile settings. Her focus is on understanding humanitarian and developmental aid programs in complex settings.  

Heather Butts, Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management, is the co-founder of H.E.A.L.T.H for Youths, Inc., a nonprofit organization that focuses on college readiness and preparation. The organization partners with 91 programs each year to help more than 5,000 students. Her research focuses on law, mandates, and public health.

Alan A. Cohen, Associate Professor of Environmental Health Sciences (Columbia Aging Center), researches the physiology of aging, complex systems theory, evolutionary biology, and statistical methods. He proposes a complex systems framework of resilience and disequilibrium, with major implications for how we understand and measure health and aging.

Melissa Dupont-Reyes, Assistant Professor of Sociomedical Sciences and Epidemiology, researches health equity in population mental health among young and diverse populations. Her research seeks to understand how early prevention of mental illness stigma may help reduce disparities in care access and utilization across the life course.

Christian T. Gloria, Associate Professor of Sociomedical Sciences, studies the protective and resilience factors that enable people to adapt, grow, and thrive against chronic stress and adversity. His present research is focused on the health and well-being of Filipino communities nationally and internationally.

Sabrina Hermosilla, Assistant Professor of Population and Family Health, applies epidemiologic principles and methods to study social determinants of mental health and psychosocial outcomes in complex global settings. Her research in implementation science focuses on humanitarian and forced migration settings.

Wenpin Hou, Assistant Professor of Biostatistics, focuses on developing statistical machine learning methods to tackle challenges at the intersection of statistics and data science (data in single-cell genomics, epigenomics, and spatial transcriptomics), and mathematical modeling of gene regulatory networks, with the goal of understanding gene regulation.

Molei Liu, Assistant Professor of Biostatistics, focuses on multiple statistical methods, including high dimensional statistics, federated learning, semi-supervised learning, transfer learning, semiparametric method and theory, multiple testing, and model-X inferences. He also works on electronic health record and biobank data analysis.

Zhonghua Liu, Assistant Professor of Biostatistics, has research interests that include statistical genetics/genomics, causal inference, mediation analysis, Mendelian randomization, machine (deep) learning.


Anne “AnnieNigra, Assistant Professor in Environmental Health Sciences, evaluates regulatory policies, characterizes inequities in exposures, develops epidemiological effect estimates, and supports community-directed research and training efforts. Her goal is to reduce racial/ethnic and socioeconomic inequities in environmental exposures.

John R. Pamplin II, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, investigates drivers of racial patterning in major depression, emerging racial trends in adolescent and adult suicide, and the mental and physical health consequences of the hyper-policing of Black and Brown neighborhoods.

Thalia Porteny, Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management, is a health policy scholar and applied ethicist. She aims to better understand the health needs and experiences of vulnerable populations to advance policies for fairer patient treatment, allocation, and access to health resources.

Magda Schaler-Haynes, Professor of Health Policy and Management, is a public health lawyer who focuses on constitutional law and health policy. Her career spans multiple roles in public service at state and federal levels concentrating on reproductive healthcare, health equity, and pandemic response. 

Yoshira “Yoshi” Ornelas Van Horne, Assistant Professor of Environmental Health Sciences, focuses on addressing unequal exposures to harmful contaminants that affect structurally marginalized communities. She is committed to building health equity through community-driven research and is passionate about research translation and communication.

Ami Zota, Associate Professor of Environmental Health Sciences, focuses on social and structural determinants of environmental exposures and their impacts on women’s health, including the disproportionate burden of toxic chemical exposures from beauty and personal care products among women of color as an environmental justice concern.