Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology Program Sponsored Assignees
See a brief bio below of the assignee and his/her current projects
Learn more about how to become an Assignee. See Assignee Application.
Connecticut– Katharyn (Kasia) Baca, PhD, MPH, MA
Kasia Baca, PhD, MPH, MA joined the Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology (MCEHP) Team in the Division of Reproductive Health, Field Support Branch as a CDC MCH Epidemiology Assignee to the state of Connecticut on March 15, 2021. She is working with internal and external partners to increase data capacity and support programs through data. Also, Dr. Baca will be working on Title V Needs Assessment, evaluation of state programs, data linkages, and building surveillance for various maternal and child health indicators.
Delaware – Khaleel Hussaini, PhD
Dr. Hussaini has been Delaware’s assignee since 2016. He will be applying informatics principles to develop a MCH data inventory for the Division of Public Health (DPH) in Delaware and provide scientific and technical assistance on maternal child health, development of surveillance databases, and integration of technologies. This is in addition to his routine analyses of quantitative and qualitative population health data available at DPH to support MCH Block Grant, and other program initiatives and evaluation. Dr. Hussaini will be examining Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) and its implications on maternal and neonate health in the first year and is currently compiling a report on women of child-bearing age to describe the state of the state. He will also be working on initiatives specific to social determinants and life-course especially focusing on mental health of women and its impact on child health.
Florida – Ghasi Phillips-Bell, ScD, MS
Dr. Phillips-Bell has been Florida’s assignee since 2010. She provides epidemiologic technical assistance and scientific advising on selected MCH topics and emerging issues in Florida including family planning, preconception health, life course metrics, oral health, and neonatal abstinence syndrome. One recent accomplishment is her leadership in completing the 2015 Title V MCH Block Grant Needs Assessment in partnership with programmatic staff from the Division of Community Health Promotion at the Florida Department Health. Also, Dr. Phillips-Bell occasionally collaborates with representatives from other programs within the Department of Health as well as CDC and other federal agencies, national advocacy organizations, and local universities to address salient MCH issues in the state.
Illinois – Amanda Bennett, PhD, MPH
Dr. Bennett has been Illinois’ assignee since 2015. Her main focus in Illinois is to improve data infrastructure and strengthen internal epidemiologic capacity. This involves working with internal and external partners to ensure that the Illinois MCH program has access to timely and relevant data sources, facilitating data linkages, supporting state programs with relevant data, and developing the data analysis skills of other staff members. Thus far, Dr. Bennett’s main projects have included: analyzing quantitative and qualitative data for the Title V needs assessment, conducting a study on racial disparities in severe maternal morbidity, and supporting a birth certificate data quality improvement initiative in birthing hospitals. Over the rest of the year, she looks forward to other projects including: conducting a study on psychiatric hospitalizations for women, initiating conversations between IDPH departments about the linkage of vital records to other data systems, and developing measurement strategies for the CoIIN workgroups and Title V performance measures.
Iowa – Debra Kane, PhD, RN
Dr. Kane has been Iowa’s assignee since 2005. She is the data lead for Iowa’s Infant Mortality CoIIN projects. She is the state advisor to the CMS sponsored Data Linkage Training series, launched in partnership with CDC, to develop state analytic capacity to link state Vital Records, Medicaid claims and Title V data to collect and report on relevant Medicaid quality measures. Dr. Kane is a team member with Iowa Medicaid Enterprise and IDPH staff in the CMCS Maternal and Infant Health Initiative – Improving Maternal and Infant Health Outcomes in Medicaid and CHIP. Iowa’s project is to improve access and quality of postpartum care. In collaboration with OPA and CMS, she also develops contraceptive related performance measures. In addition, she is the primary mentor to a CSTE/CDC Applied Epidemiology Fellow.
Louisiana – Lyn Kieltyka, PhD, MPH
Dr. Kieltyka has been Louisiana’s assignee since 2006. She has worked to implement a new data system for maternal mortality review in Louisiana. She sits on the Perinatal Clinical Guidelines Committee in order to provide data on maternal and neonatal outcomes by hospital level of care. Dr. Kieltyka also serve as a subject matter expert and a senior epidemiologist to seven MCH epidemiologists, a CSTE fellow, GSEP intern, and masters students from Tulane and LSU Schools of Public Health.
Massachusetts – Susan Manning, MD, MPH
Dr. Manning was Massachusetts’ assignee from 2006-2010. She returned to Massachusetts as its assignee in 2012. She is Massachusetts Maternal Infant and Early Childhood (MA MIECHV) Data and Evaluation Team Lead. She is part of Massachusetts Infant Mortality Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (CoIIN) Team; Massachusetts Systems Integration Project for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs Management/Executive Team; Massachusetts Title V Maternal and Child Health Block Grant Needs Assessment Leadership Team; and Massachusetts Team for the Immediately Postpartum Long Acting Reversible Contraceptive (LARC) Learning Community. Dr. Manning serves on Massachusetts Research and Data Access Review Team/Institutional Review Board. She is also the mentor for CDC/CSTE assignee (Sarah L. Stone), CDC Public Health Prevention Specialist (Katie Stetler) and incoming EIS Officer (Nick Somerville).
Mississippi – Laurin Kasehagen, PhD, MA
Dr. Kasehagen has been with the Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology Program Team since 2007. In 2020, Dr. Kasehagen became the Assignee / Epidemiologist to Mississippi. She provides subject matter expertise in maternal and child health, technical consultation and epidemiologic and evaluation assistance to state programs and works with state staff to build epidemiologic capacity.
Nebraska – Erika Fuchs, PhD, MPH
Dr. Fuchs has been Nebraska’s assignee since 2020. Her major projects include using Nebraska WIC data to examine trends and health outcomes among participants, analyzing quantitative data from Nebraska PRAMS and vital records, providing technical assistance to Nebraska SET-NET, designing and conducting data linkages, and providing subject matter and epidemiologic expertise to internal and external partners. In addition, Dr. Fuchs provides mentorship to MCH staff and community partners to promote workforce development and epidemiologic capacity.
Oregon – Suzanne Zane, DVM, MPH
Dr. Zane has been Oregon’s assignee since 2013. She lead Oregon’s first-ever surveillance system for birth defects. In collaboration with the state, she brought together public health with many partners in order to best use this information to help understand about birth defects among the children of Oregon, how they are or are not accessing needed health services as they grow to adulthood, and hopefully to add knowledge that can help us to form prevention strategies for birth defects. Dr. Zane also provides MCH subject matter expertise, particularly in maternal health issues, to the Oregon Public Health Division as a whole, as well as serving as a scientific consultant in the Health Division of Oregon as needed.
Tennessee – Elizabeth Harvey, PhD, MPH
Dr. Harvey has been Tennessee’s assignee since 2017. She is helping implement the state’s maternal mortality review committee and data system. She will lead some of the main data analyses for maternal mortality, including investigating deaths due to overdoses. Dr. Harvey will create a standardized report of maternal and child health indicators for the state. In addition, she will establish an applied maternal and child health epidemiology journal club.
Wisconsin – Angela Rohan, PhD, MA
Dr. Rohan has been Wisconsin’s assignee since 2010. She works with state staff and partners to build capacity in Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology in Wisconsin, such as increasing MCH epidemiology staff resources, improving access to timely data, and guiding an assessment and planning effort to improve data coordination. As a Senior MCH Epidemiologist, Dr. Rohan provides data guidance and technical assistance to Wisconsin’s emerging Perinatal Quality Collaborative and Wisconsin’s participating teams in the Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (CoIIN) to Reduce Infant Mortality. Another key current project is focused on validating a method for estimating newborn screening rates for Plain (Amish and Mennonite) births in Wisconsin.
Wyoming – Ashley Busacker, PhD
Dr. Busacker has been Wyoming’s assignee since 2010. Her assignment in Wyoming is primarily focused on strengthening epidemiology capacity, providing technical assistance related to maternal and child health projects, and mentoring MCH epidemiology staff and interns. Current major projects include linkage of the birth file to Medicaid claims data; planning for implementation of the first Fetal Infant Mortality Review Program in Wyoming; and supporting design, and analysis of the Title V Needs Assessment.