Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology Program Sponsored Assignees

Map of places with MCHEP-supported public health  assignees and fellows

U.S. map showing states with MCHEP Supported Public Health Assignees. There are 18 states with current assignees or fellows, 24 previous assignees or fellows and 12 have never been assigned. The following states contain assignees: CT, DE, IA, IL, LA, MA, NE, NY, NV, OR, TN, WI. The following states contain fellows: AK, GA, IL, MA, ME, MS, OR, TN, VA, WA, WI.

Assignees

See a brief bio below of the assignee and current projects.

Learn how to become an Assignee and a Host Site.

Connecticut – Katharyn (Kasia) Baca, PhD, MPH, MA

Kasia Baca

Kasia Baca, PhD, MPH, MA, joined the Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology (MCHEP) Team in the Division of Reproductive Health, Field Support Branch as a CDC MCH Epidemiology Assignee to the state of Connecticut (CT) in March 2021. As part of her interest in promoting health equity and respectful care in maternal health, Dr. Baca participates and supports the CT Reproductive Justice Alliance through data, evaluation planning, providing advice on methodology, co-creating materials, and assisting in the qualitative work of the Alliance. Additionally, her role is to expand data capacity, develop data products for various audiences, provide technical expertise, perform data analyses and linkages, and support programs and partners through data. She supports and leads evaluation of state programs and building surveillance for various maternal and child health indicators. Dr. Baca’s expertise includes performing data linkages and program evaluations, and various subject areas like respectful care, substance exposed infants, and birth defects.

Delaware – Khaleel Hussaini, PhD, MS, MSW (equiv.)

Khaleel Hussaini

Khaleel S. Hussaini, PhD, MS, MSW (equiv.), is a Maternal and Child Health Epidemiologist (MCH) assigned to the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) as part of the CDC’s MCH Epi Program. His work focuses on health informatics, development of prediction models for clinical decision support, and utility of big data in public health surveillance to improve population health. In Delaware, Dr. Hussaini provides scientific and technical assistance through development of surveillance systems, data linkages, analyses of quantitative and qualitative population health data to support Title V MCH Block Grant, and evaluation of state-funded programs. His broader research agenda focuses on the intersection of substance use and women’s mental health and its impact on child health using a social determinants framework and life-course perspective. His methodological interests relate to quasi-experimental designs for evaluating public health interventions using entropy balancing, propensity scores, interrupted time series, regression discontinuity designs, and regression point-displacement designs. His current work in Delaware focuses on adverse childhood experiences, Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome and its implications on maternal and neonate health.

Illinois – Amanda Bennett, PhD, MPH

Amanda Bennett

Dr. Bennett has been Illinois’ assignee since 2014. She leads a team of state epidemiologists in the analysis, interpretation, and dissemination of data to support evidence-based decision-making for maternal and child health programs and policies. Some of her key projects in Illinois have included: supporting the state’s Maternal Mortality Review Committees, implementing the Levels of Care Assessment Tool (LOCATe) and supporting policy implementation related to maternal/neonatal levels of care, developing methods for monitoring mental health and substance use hospitalizations among women of reproductive age, and monitoring the impact of COVID-19 on maternal and child health outcomes. She provides subject matter expertise to the Illinois Title V program, the Perinatal Advisory Committee, Illinois Medicaid, and the Illinois Perinatal Quality Collaborative. She also mentors epidemiology interns/fellows at the state health department to support workforce development for early career epidemiologists. Her areas of expertise include maternal morbidity and mortality, infant mortality, preterm birth, breastfeeding, risk-appropriate perinatal care, mental health and substance use disorders. She is skilled in data linkage, use of administrative claims data, survey design, and advanced epidemiologic methods.

Iowa – Debra Kane, PhD, RN

Debra Kane

Dr. Kane has been Iowa’s assignee since 2005. She is located in the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services Bureau of Family Health (BFH). Dr. Kane works with both internal and external partners to provide technical assistance, epidemiologic data support, and build epidemiologic capacity in maternal and child health. Internal partners served by Dr. Kane’s work include the Iowa Division of Medicaid, the Statewide Perinatal Team, the Title V Maternal and Child Health Block Grant program, the Title X Family Planning Program, and the Sexual Risk Avoidance Education Program. External partners served by Dr. Kane’s work include University of Iowa researchers and those at the Office of Statewide Clinical Education Programs, counties and local public health agencies, community-based organizations, and Title V Maternal Health agencies. Current key projects include analyses and data support for Iowa’s Title V Culturally Congruent Doula Project for African American/Black Pregnant Women, Iowa’s AIM initiatives, for the Iowa Maternal Quality Care Collaborative hospital accessible website and data dashboard, and the ERASE Maternal Mortality grant project and team lead and data analyst for the ASTHO Risk Appropriate Care Learning Collaborative. In her role, she has worked extensively to complete data linkages, and with data sources that include Medicaid claims data, the Iowa certificate of live birth, and the Iowa Hospital Discharge data file. She has skills in Tableau for data visualization, SAS programming, and data linkages. She also provides mentorship to young career professionals through the CSTE Applied Epidemiology Fellowship Program and University of Iowa’s MPH Applied Practice Experience.

Louisiana – Lyn Kieltyka, PhD, MPH

Lyn Kieltyka

Dr. Kieltyka has been Louisiana’s assignee since 2006. She serves as a senior MCH epidemiologist and subject matter expert to seven MCH epidemiologists and has served as a mentor to six CSTE fellows and more than 30 masters students from Tulane and LSU Schools of Public Health. In addition, Dr. Kieltyka provides guidance and technical expertise on data collection strategies and systems, epidemiologic methods, and program and surveillance system evaluation to more than five state programs within the Office of Public Health. A few key projects she has led or worked closely on include implementation of an evaluation plan for eight Louisiana MCH surveillance systems, modification of Louisiana’s birth certificate to capture medical reasons for deliveries occurring at less than 39 weeks gestation, construction of Louisiana’s Perinatal Quality Collaborative measurement strategies, and adoption of robust data systems for Louisiana’s Pregnancy Associated Mortality Review and Fetal and Infant Mortality Review programs. She also helped guide activities to establish a SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy registry for the state.

Massachusetts – Susan Manning, MD, MPH

Susan Manning

Dr. Manning was Massachusetts’ assignee from 2006-2010. She returned to Massachusetts as its assignee in 2012. She provides subject matter expertise in maternal and child health and health equity and technical assistance in public health surveillance, program evaluation, and quality improvement to state programs. She works with state staff and partners to build epidemiologic capacity in maternal and child health. She leads the team that developed the Massachusetts Racial Equity Data Road Map: Data as a Tool for Ending Structural Racism. Dr. Manning is a certified Lean Six Sigma black belt and a member of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Performance Management/Quality Improvement Council. Dr. Manning also serves as a mentor to junior colleagues, CDC/CSTE Applied Epidemiology Fellows, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service Officers, CDC Public Health Associates, and undergraduate and graduate students from Boston area schools of public health.

Nebraska – Erika Fuchs, PhD, MPH

Erika Fuchs

Dr. Fuchs has been Nebraska’s assignee since 2020. Her major projects include providing substantial technical assistance to Nebraska SET-NET, using Nebraska WIC data to examine trends and health outcomes among participants, analyzing quantitative data from Nebraska PRAMS and vital records, designing and conducting data linkages, and working to enhance the state’s emergency preparedness and response plans related to maternal and child health. Dr. Fuchs provides subject matter and epidemiologic expertise to internal and external partners and to a variety of state committees, including the Maternal Mortality Review Committee, Child Death Review Team, PRAMS Steering Committee, and Lead Poisoning Prevention Advisory Group, among others. In addition, Dr. Fuchs promotes workforce development by providing mentorship and support to students, early career MCH staff, and community partners, including local universities. Dr. Fuchs’s areas of expertise include maternal and child vaccination, infectious disease, preterm birth, lead poisoning prevention, and health equity.

Nevada – Ghasi Phillips-Bell, ScD, MS

Ghasi Phillips

Dr. Phillips-Bell has been an Assignee since 2010, first with Florida for 12 years and now with Nevada. She provides epidemiologic technical assistance, scientific advising, and builds epidemiologic capacity while collaborating with local, state, and federal agencies, national advocacy organizations, and universities to address salient MCH issues at the state-level. Her areas of expertise include preterm birth, infant mortality, safe infant sleep and breastfeeding practices, family planning, preconception health, performance and quality improvement initiatives, and racial and ethnic disparities. Some of her major responsibilities in Nevada entail helping to enhance congenital syphilis surveillance and investigative guidelines and supporting the state’s Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS), a surveillance project of CDC and the state health department that collects population-based data on maternal attitudes and experiences before, during, and shortly after pregnancy.

New York – Blair Berger, PhD, MSPH

Blair Berger

Dr. Berger joined the MCHEP team as the assignee to New York in August 2022. She builds epidemiologic capacity through scientific and technical assistance to internal and external partners on maternal, perinatal, and reproductive health to support MCH programs and policies in New York. Dr. Berger leads surveillance and research activities on statewide trends and inequities in severe maternal morbidity. She also supports a range of New York’s MCH data, evaluation, and quality improvement initiatives, including the Maternal Mortality Review Committee and the New York State Perinatal Quality Collaborative’s projects aimed at improving birth equity, family-centered NICU care, and opioid use disorder during pregnancy. Dr. Berger applies life-course and social determinants frameworks to her subject matter expertise in maternal morbidity and mortality, birth outcomes, and respectful maternity care. She also has methodologic expertise in demographic and mixed-methods research, regression modelling, complex survey analysis, and measurement validation.

Oregon – Suzanne Zane, DVM, MPH

Suzanne Zane

Dr. Zane has been Oregon’s assignee since 2013. She has worked to implement Oregon’s Maternal Mortality Review Committee, serves on the steering committee for Oregon’s Perinatal Quality Collaborative and on the Oregon Public Health Division’s Science and Epidemiology Council, is epidemiologic lead for core public health surveillance systems including the Oregon Birth Anomalies Surveillance System and the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS), and leads design and implementation of the Early Childhood Health in Oregon survey—a follow-up with PRAMS respondents when their child turns 3 years of age. She provides skills in scientific planning of projects, analyses, and programs, and in building epidemiologic capacity within maternal and child health, including mentoring CSTE Applied Epidemiology Fellows and public health doctoral and masters students. Dr. Zane’s areas of expertise include clinical aspects of reproductive health, infectious disease, maternal mortality and morbidity, promotion of data equity, and creating and sustaining partnerships with other state and local agencies, universities, and community partners.

Tennessee – Elizabeth Harvey, PhD, MPH

Headshot of Lizzie Harvey

Dr. Harvey has been Tennessee’s assignee since 2017. She provides technical assistance to the state’s Title V Block Grant, advising on objective and strategy measurement and evaluation. She sits on the Division of Family Health and Wellness’s Health Equity Task Force and leads its Health Equity Data Team. Dr. Harvey works to build maternal and child health data infrastructure across the Tennessee Department of Health, with a focus on linking datasets. She co-leads the state’s COVID-19 pregnancy surveillance and participates in national maternal and child health emergency preparedness and response advisory groups. She works to translate emerging maternal and child health data to action, informing statewide committees, including the Perinatal Advisory Committee and the Tennessee Initiative for Perinatal Quality Care. Dr. Harvey coordinates and leads workforce development opportunities for state epidemiologists working in maternal and child health. She also provides mentorship to young career professionals through the CSTE Applied Epidemiology Fellowship Program and the Title V Internship Program. Dr. Harvey provides technical expertise in workforce development, needs assessment, and program evaluation. She provides subject matter expertise in maternal morbidity and mortality, including COVID-19 in pregnancy.

Wisconsin – Angela Rohan, PhD, MA

Angela Rohan

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 efforts to move data to action. As a Senior MCH Epidemiologist, Dr. Rohan plays a key role in a variety of MCH data and evaluation projects including Maternal Mortality Review, the Wisconsin Perinatal Quality Collaborative (WisPQC), reducing inequities in birth outcomes, and supporting activities to make data more readily available to community partners and members. She is also dedicated to supporting trainees in maternal and child health and applied epidemiology, and she mentors numerous students, interns, and fellows placed at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services each year. Dr. Rohan’s areas of expertise include the perinatal period, fatality reviews, surveillance measures, applied epidemiology, equity in birth outcomes, mentorship, and bridging programmatic and analytic perspectives.