Who We Are

Peter Muennig is a Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. His research focuses on eliminating the preventable burden of disease through the optimal mix of actionable medical and non-medical social policies. He is currently directing a center at Columbia University, GRAPH, which seeks to provide local policymakers worldwide with information on how to reduce disease at the lowest cost. Peter has been doing this work since 1999, when he began advising the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Canada, the Chilean government, and the Chinese government regarding which policies might be needed to optimize population health. He has published 100 peer-reviewed articles in the scientific literature, and has written 4 books. His work has appeared on NPR, CNN, MSNBC and multiple times in major print media sources, such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and a 3 part series in Slate.

Howard Friedman Howard Steven Friedman is a data scientist, health economist, and writer. He has decades of experience in the public sector, private sector, and academia. Friedman earned a Masters in Statistics and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University. Friedman took a position as a director at Capital One where he led teams of data scientists, statisticians, analysts, and programmers in various areas of operations and marketing. He later formed private companies that provided consulting services in areas of designing, developing, and modeling data as well as led analytics projects in the public sector. He has authored/co-authored about 100 scientific articles and book chapters in areas of data science, applied statistics, health economics, and politics. His book Measure of a Nation (2012) was named by Jared Diamond as the best book of the year in an interview published in the New York Times. His most recent release, Ultimate Price, has been covered by major media including National Public Radio and the journal Science and is being translated into a number of foreign languages.

William Dow is the Henry J. Kaiser Professor of Health Economics and Chair of the Health Services and Policy Analysis Graduate Group at the University of California, Berkeley. He received his undergraduate training from Cornell University and a PhD in economics at Yale University. His main fields of study are health economics, with a focus on health insurance, international health, and economic demography. Dr. Dow's research analyzes economic aspects of health insurance and health behaviors in the United States, as well as in Western Europe, Mexico, Costa Rica, China, and sub-Saharan Africa. One recent strand of research investigates the role of health policy in shaping mortality trends and patterns, with several papers focusing on the particular role of health insurance in the United States, Costa Rica, and Taiwan. He is Co-PI of the new Costa Rican Healthy Aging Survey (CRELES), a longitudinal effort to study how it is that Costa Rica has achieved life expectancy greater even than that of the United States.

Sanjay Basu is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Stanford University, and an affiliate of the Stanford Center for Poverty and Inequality. He received his undergraduate training from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford before completing his MD and PhD in epidemiology at Yale University. Dr. Basu specializes in the development of computer models that can serve as platforms for understanding how to improve disease prevention programs. He has published more than 60 peer-reviewed articles in leading medical journals and has served as an advisor to UNICEF and the World Health Organization. Dr. Basu's research focuses on effective public health strategies for disease prevention, especially within communities with limited resources. His models help predict unexpected consequences of health policies, so that a program's adverse effects can be anticipated and prevented. Dr. Basu previously worked with Partners in Health, Oxfam International and Nyaya Health (which he co-founded), and brings his experience in global health concerns to his current research studies. His work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, in The New York Times, The Atlantic, and on MSNBC, Fox News and National Public Radio.

Michael Depledge is the Chair of Environment and Human Health at the University of Exeter Medical School. He is also a Visiting Professor at the Department of Zoology, Oxford University and at University College, London. Dr. Depledge was educated at Westfield College, where he gained a First Class Honours degree in Biological Sciences, (1975) and a PhD in the toxicology of marine organisms (1978). He is a former Commissioner of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, and former Chief Scientist of the Environment Agency of England and Wales. Dr. Depledge’s research interests include the impact of climate change on health and wellbeing, the effects of chemical body burdens on human health and the environment, and maximizing communication of scientific information to policymakers and politicians. He is also currently leading Health-Polis, an international consortium on urban environmental health. Dr. Depledge has published more than 380 peer-reviewed scientific papers in leading international journals and books. In recognition of his major scientific contributions to the fields of comparative toxicology and medical toxicology he was awarded a Doctor of Science (DSc) degree by the University of London (1996) and the Poulsson Medal of Honour by the Norwegian Society of Pharmacology and Toxicology (2009).