Subsite Page Title

Staff

Main page content

Kathy Buek, PhD, MPH
Research Data Analyst

Kalup Cuellar
Project Support Specialist

Nagla Elerian, MS
Director of Population Health Strategic Initiatives

Jon Gibson, MS CS
Data Architect and Developer

Em (Mohamad) Karimifar, MFA
Graphic Designer

Sheila Kuschke
Senior Administrative Associate

David Lakey, MD
Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs

Dorothy Mandell, PhD
Associate Professor

Haruna Miyakado, MS
Research Data Analyst

Eileen Nehme, PhD
Assistant Professor

Molly O'Neil, MS
Data Analyst

Daniel Oppenheimer, MFA
Director of Population Health Communication

Divya Patel, PhD
Associate Professor

Natalie Poulous, PhD
Research Associate

Sarah Presti, MS
Outreach Education Coordinator

Kirkland Schuessler, MPH
Project Manager

 

DAVID LAKEY, MD

Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Chief Medical Officer
The University of Texas System
Senior Adviser to the President, UT Health Science Center at Tyler

David Lakey is Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Chief Medical Officer for The University of Texas System. He is also Senior Adviser to the President at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler. He previously served on federal public health advisory committees for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Defense Health Board. Currently he serves on the March of Dimes Board of Trustees and the Trust for America’s Health Board of Directors.

Dr. Lakey served as Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services from January 2007 to February 2015. As Commissioner, Dr. Lakey led one of the state’s largest agencies with a staff of 12,000 and an annual budget of $3.3 billion and oversaw programs such as disease prevention and disaster preparedness, family and community health services, environmental and consumer safety, regulatory programs and mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment programs. During his tenure as Commissioner, Dr. Lakey served as president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) in 2011‐2012, and received several national awards including the AMCHP President’s Award, the March of Dimes President’s Public Health Leadership Award, and the Arthur T. McCormack Award. 

He earned a Bachelor of Science in chemistry, graduating with high honors from Rose‐Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana, and received his medical degree with honors from Indiana University School of Medicine. Dr. Lakey was a resident in internal medicine and pediatric medicine and completed a fellowship in adult and pediatric infectious disease at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

 

 

NAGLA ELERIAN, MS

Director of Population Health Strategic Initiatives
University of Texas System
Email: 
nelerian@utsystem.edu

Nagla Elerian is the Director of Population Health Strategic Initiatives at the Office of Health Affairs at UT System.  Prior to joining the UT System, Nagla was the Director of the Center for Health Statistics at the Department of State Health Services. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Zoology and a Master of Science in Health Statistics with a minor in Geography.  She has 25 years of work experience in public health, health statistics and program management.  Nagla worked in the areas of maternal and child health, birth defects, mental health and substance abuse, Medicaid managed care, and healthcare quality.  In 1995, Nagla established the first electronic Birth Defects registry in Texas. In 1998, she established an evaluation program for Medicaid managed care where she initiated many improvements to the Medicaid managed care data and reporting.  In 2000, she joined the NorthSTAR program where she initiated many reporting mechanisms to allow the use and sharing of data for program improvements.  In 2007, Nagla joined the Decision Support unit at the Mental Health and Substance Abuse, where she developed through a multi-stakeholder collaboration the risk assessment tools to allow the state to evaluate and manage mental health centers and substance abuse providers using financial, access, quality and outcome indicators.  She provided information and recommendations to the Texas Resiliency Disease Management workgroup for migration of the mental health assessment tool and worked with various stakeholders as she developed the algorithms for placement of eligible children into mental health services using the newly adopted Children and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS). 

 

KATHY BUEK, PHD, MPH

Research Data Analyst
UT Tyler Health Science Center
Affiliate of The University of Texas System
Email: kbuek@utsystem.edu

Dr. Buek has been conducting research in health and education sectors both in the US and internationally for over 15 years. She joined Population Health in 2018 after completing her PhD in Human Development at the University of Pennsylvania, where her training focused on early childhood development and quantitative methods. She also holds an MPH from the George Washington University and a BA in Psychology from Davidson College. Dr. Buek has designed and implemented experimental and quasi-experimental evaluation studies measuring program impacts on child health, schooling, nutrition, and household income. At Population Health, her work focuses on understanding health care providers' perspectives and the health system factors that support family- and child-centered care of children from conception through early childhood.  She works on multiple projects aimed at ensuring parents with social or mental health challenges receive appropriate support to provide a safe and nurturing environment for their young children. 

 

KALUP CUELLAR

Project Support Specialist
UT Tyler Health Science Center
Affiliate of The University of Texas System
Email: kcuellar@utsystem.edu

Kalup Cuellar joined UT System population health as a Project Support Specialist in June 2021. He worked previously as a Senior Administrative Specialist with Ottobock Healthcare and a Test Administrator for Pearson Professional Center. He is working on a degree in electronics and advanced technologies at Austin Community College. Kalup spends most of his time fixing stuff, and has achieved a success rate of about 40/60. If you're in the building, he's always up for a chat.

JON GIBSON, MS CS

Data Architect and Developer
UT Tyler Health Science Center
Affiliate of The University of Texas System
Email:
jgibson@utsystem.edu

Jon Gibson joined Population Health in 2016 in the role of Data Architect and Developer to support research needs with incoming and generated data as well as any IT system needs the group might have.  He also serves as the Population Health Information Security Administrator.  Jon earned a  BA in History as well as a BS and MS in Computer Science from The University of Texas at Austin.  Prior to Population Health, Jon spent seven years as a Software Developer/Software Engineer with the University of Texas Libraries helping develop large data repositories for digital collections such as the Guatemalan National Police Archive (ahpn.lib.utexas.edu) and the Latin American Digital Initiative (ladi.lib.utexas.edu) containing millions of objects and their associated metadata.  He has over 20 years of experience in IT in a variety of areas including user support, technical training, network administration, server support and SQL and web development.

 

EM KARIMIFAR, MFA

Graphic Designer
UT Tyler Health Science Center
Affiliate of The University of Texas System
Email:
mkarimifar@utsystem.edu

Mohamad "Em" Karimifar received his MFA in design from The University of Texas at Austin. His design practice spans both 2D and 3D design, including the fields of interaction design, typography, architectural design, and instructional design. As a part of his works with Population Health team, he develops websites and redesigns the user experience with the Population Heath's digital media outlets.

 

SHEILA KUSCHKE

Senior Administrative Associate
University of Texas System
Email: 
skuschke@utsystem.edu
Phone: 512-499-4529

Sheila Kuschke is the Senior Administrative Assistant at the Office of Health Affairs at UT System. Prior to joining UT System, Sheila was the Executive Assistant to the Commissioner of the Department of State Health Services. She has over 30 years of high level administrative experience at the state and federal levels as well as with non-profit and for-profit organizations.

 

DOROTHY MANDELL, PHD

Associate Professor
Texas Collaborative for Healthy Mothers and Babies
Safe Babies Research Initiative
UT Tyler Health Science Center
Affiliate of The University of Texas System
Email: dmandell@utsystem.edu

Dr. Mandell received her PhD from the University of Washington, Seattle in Developmental Psychology and her BA from The University of Texas at Austin. She also served as a post-doctoral fellow at the Wake Forest School of Medicine and the University of Amsterdam. Her research has spanned multiple topics in maternal and child health including understanding long-term effects of a variety of perinatal and post-natal insults and intergenerational transfer of traits. She has also conducted analyses and research on a variety of public health topics, including work that has supported the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force, Healthy Texas Babies, and the strategic plan to align prevention resources between the Department of Family Protective Services and the Department of State Health Services in Texas. She served as the primary investigator for the Texas Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) and is currently a research consultant for Texas PRAMS. She is currently an Associate Professor at UT Health Science Center at Tyler and supports the Texas Collaborative for Healthy Mothers and Babies and is the Primary Investigator for the Safe Babies project in Population Health.

 

Haruna Miyakado, MS

Research Data Analyst
UT Tyler Health Science Center
Affiliate of the University of Texas System
Email: hmiyakado@utsystem.edu

Haruna Miyakado joined the UT System Population Health team in July 2021 as a Research Data Analyst. Previously, she was a lead epidemiologist in the Office of Injury Prevention at Texas Department of State Health Services in Austin, TX. She has over 8 years of experience in public health data-related work both in local and state health departments. She received her Master of Science in Medical Geography with a minor in Epidemiology/Biostatistics from the University of North Texas in 2013. She also presented her research at numerous conferences, published papers on peer-reviewed journals, and served as a peer reviewer of journals.

 

EILEEN NEHME, PHD

Program Director, Texas Health Improvement Network
Assistant Professor for Population Health
UT Tyler Health Science Center
Affiliate of the University of Texas System
Email:
enehme@utsystem.edu

Eileen Nehme holds an MPH in health behavior/health education from the University of Michigan and PhD in epidemiology from UT Health Science Center in Houston, Austin Campus. Between degrees, she worked in violence and injury prevention and healthy youth development in local government and non-profit organizations. Her current work focuses on creating environments and policies that support health, diffusion and implementation science, and cross-sector collaboration. In her role with UT System Population Health she serves as the program director for the Texas Health Improvement Network. Dr. Nehme also serves as an adjunct associate professor at the UT School of Nursing, and has taught both undergraduate and graduate-level courses in epidemiology and population health.

 

MOLLY O'NEIL, MS

Data Analyst
UT Tyler Health Science Center
Affiliate of the University of Texas System
Email:
moneil@utsystem.edu

Molly O’Neil earned her MS in Epidemiology at The University of Texas School of Public Health and her BS in Biology at The University of Texas in Austin. Her research interests focus in spatial epidemiology and understanding disparities in access to care in Texas.  She joined Population Health to assist with geospatial and visualization projects, including community health indicator mapping. She currently works as a data analyst with the Safe Babies initiative, which includes multiple projects investigating and informing prevention efforts aimed at improving infant health, safety, and wellbeing.

 

DANIEL OPPENHEIMER, MFA

Director of Population Health Communication
UT Tyler Health Science Center
Affiliate of the University of Texas System
Email:
doppenheimer@utsystem.edu
Phone: (512) 852-3269

Daniel Oppenheimer joined population health in 2016 to oversee communications. He received his MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University, and is the author of Exit Right: The People Who Left the Left and Reshaped the American Century (Simon & Schuster 2016). Before coming over to UT System he was Director of Strategic Communications for the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health at The University of Texas at Austin. As a freelance writer and short documentary filmmaker, his articles and videos have been featured in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Tablet Magazine, the History News Network, and Salon.com. Dan oversees the communications track of the Population Health Scholars program.

 

DIVYA PATEL, PHD

Associate Professor
Texas Collaborative for Healthy Mothers and Babies
UT Tyler Health Science Center
Affiliate of the University of Texas System
email: 
dpatel@utsystem.edu

Divya Patel joined the Texas Collaborative for Healthy Mothers and Babies (TCHMB) in November 2015 as Assistant Professor.  She is an epidemiologist (Ph.D., 2003, University of Michigan) with a broad interest in women’s health research.  Previously, she served on the faculty in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Michigan (2004-2010) and in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at Yale University (2010-2012).  She received a 5-year career development award from the National Cancer Institute for her research focused on the prevention and early detection of human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated cancers in women.  She has also worked at the Texas Department of State Health Services and at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on population-level maternal and child health projects.  Dr. Patel holds an adjunct position at the University of Texas School of Public Health at Houston - Austin Regional Campus, has taught several graduate-level courses in Epidemiology, and has provided research mentorship to students ranging from undergraduates to medical residents and fellows.

 

NATALIE POULOS, PHD

Postdoctoral Research Associate Senior
UT Tyler Health Science Center
Affiliate of the University of Texas System
email: npoulos@utsystem.edu

Natalie Poulos received her PHD in Health Behavior and Health Education (2015), MS in Health Education (2012), and BS in Nutritional Sciences (2008) from the University of Texas at Austin.  She is also a Registered Dietitian.  Her research focus on the food environment of youth, family and community nutrition, and nutrition behavior change.  Natalie also has over 4 years of experience teaching undergraduate and graduate-level courses in nutrition and dietetics at the University of Texas at Austin.  She is currently the Postdoctoral Research Associate Senior working on Safe Babies in the Office of Population Health.

Sarah Presti, MS

Outreach Education Coordinator
Texas Collaborative for Healthy Mothers and Babies
UT Tyler Health Science Center
Affiliate of the University of Texas System
email: spresti@utsystem.edu

Sarah Presti joined the UT System Population Health team in 2020 as the Outreach Education Coordinator. Sarah is an occupational therapist whose career experience has focused on pediatrics. In 2018 she achieved her certification in Autism Movement Therapy.  Sarah received both her BS in Occupational Science and MS in Occupational Therapy from Keuka College in Upstate NY. Most recently, Sarah was the Training Director for a non profit in Austin, serving individuals with disabilities. 

 

Kirkland Schuessler

Project Manager
Texas Collaborative for Healthy Mothers and Babies
UT Tyler Health Science Center
Affiliate of the University of Texas System
email: kschuessler@utsystem.edu

Kirkland Schuessler received a Bachelor of Science in health promotion and disease prevention from the University of Southern California and received her MPH in health promotion and health education from the UT Health Science Center in Houston, Austin campus. In 2020, Kirkland joined the UT System Population Health team as a research associate for the Postpartum Access to Healthcare project (PATH).