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 multiple MCH topics and emerging issues in Florida including family planning, preconception health, life course metrics, neonatal abstinence syndrome, safe sleep, preterm birth, and health equity. One recent accomplishment is her leadership in completing the 2020 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 builds epidemiologic capacity and collaborates with representatives from state and federal agencies, national advocacy organizations, and local universities to address salient MCH issues in Florida.
Illinois – Amanda Bennett, PhD, MPH
Dr. Bennett has been Illinois’ assignee since 2014. She leads a team of state maternal and child health epidemiologists in the analysis, interpretation, and dissemination of data to support evidence-based decision-making. Her work as Illinois’ assignee has included projects related to: maternal morbidity and mortality, infant mortality, preterm birth, risk-appropriate perinatal care, adolescent health, and mental health and substance use disorders. She provides subject matter expertise to partners such as the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (Medicaid), the Illinois Perinatal Quality Collaborative, and the Illinois Perinatal Advisory Committee. She also mentors several epidemiology interns/fellows at the state health department each year as a way of promoting workforce development for early career epidemiologists and expanding the epidemiologic capacity of the state health department.
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 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
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.
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 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. Her role includes scientific planning of projects, analyses, and programs, building epidemiologic capacity within maternal and child health including mentoring CSTE Applied Epidemiology Fellows and public health doctoral and masters students, and creating and sustaining partnerships with other state agencies, local public health, and universities.
Tennessee – Elizabeth Harvey, PhD, MPH
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.
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 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 Wisconsin’s state health assessment process. 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.
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 epidemiologic technical assistance and MCH subject matter expertise, and mentoring epidemiology staff, interns and fellows. Current major projects include providing epidemiology support to the Maternal Mortality Review Team and the WY Perinatal Quality Collaborative, facilitating data linkage projects, and conducting and advising on analyses to support the MCH Block Grant and needs assessment. Dr. Busacker also collaborates with the Eastern Shoshone Tribe, Northern Arapaho Tribe and Wyoming Medicaid to address health equity and other important MCH issues in the state.