PhD Alumni Profiles

PhD Alumni Profiles
Alumni profiles are listed alphabetically by last name.

Rajesh Balkrishnan
PhD Class of 1999
Associate Director for Research and Education, University of Michigan Center for Global Health
Associate Professor of Pharmacy and Public Health, University of Michigan

Career Highlights

  • Associate Director for Research and Education, University of Michigan Center for Global Health
  • Associate Professor of Pharmacy and Public Health, University of Michigan

Describe your current position.

My research generally focuses on the application of statistical methodology in examining issues related to effectiveness of medical care delivery (especially pharmaceuticals) and health outcomes / pharmacoeconomics evaluation in chronic disease. I examine diverse topics related to economic evaluation of pharmaceuticals, risk adjustment of health outcomes, quality of primary care, medication and patient safety and patient-centered outcomes evaluation focused health disparities (primarily related to race and socioeconomic status).

A secondary emerging area of research is in the design and analyses of studies of medication use and preventive health services in the global context, and developing database capabilities for doing large population-based studies in low to middle income countries. I am now an integral part of the University of Michigan Center for Global Health activities and am conducting evaluative studies of comparative and non-comparative health systems globally.

Why did you choose UNC and what has it meant to your career?

Great reputation; this would have not been possible without the well-rounded skills I acquired at UNC.

Describe your overall experience at the Gillings School of Global Public Health, with specific examples.

My experience at UNC was outstanding and enjoyable. I think it is a nice relaxed culture that allows for a lot of individually-tailored growth and development.

What opportunities available to you while enrolled at UNC are/were the most valuable in school? Looking back, what opportunities do you wish you’d taken more advantage of?

I think the solid exposure to research methods, experiential training in broad aspects of health policy and global health were all experiences I cherish and have been most useful. Looking back, I wish I would have taken more advantage of the opportunities available at the Sheps Center for Health Services Research in undergoing practical training in health services research and evaluation.

Discuss what you consider to be your greatest achievements in your professional career and why.

Being part of the wonderful faculty at the University of Michigan. This gives me a chance to interact with so many bright minds who are all committed to furthering the quest for knowledge.

What are some words of wisdom for current students in HPM?

Don’t be afraid to chart your own path and think outside the box, and have a good work ethic to achieve one’s dreams.



Cathy Bradley
PhD Class of 1994

Career Highlights
  • Professor and Chair, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU)
  • Professor and Chair, Department of Healthcare Policy and Research, VCU
  • Co-leader, Cancer Prevention and Control, Massey Cancer Center, VCU
  • Professor, Department of Healthcare Policy and Research, VCU
  • Associate Professor, Michigan State University
  • Assistant Professor, Michigan State University

Describe your current position.

I am currently the founding chair of a new department. I am responsible for recruiting new faculty and for establishing a research-oriented culture for the Department. I am also PI of several NIH funded grants and co-leader of Cancer Prevention and Control at the Massey Cancer Center. I have extensively studied labor market outcomes of cancer survivors, documented disparities in cancer treatment between low-income and higher income patients and devised linked administrative data systems for health services research.

What has attending school at the Gillings School of Global Public Health helped you achieve?

I have learned a broad base of knowledge that can be applied across disciplines. The graduate school also helped me to critically think about healthcare problems.

How has UNC impacted your leadership skills?
UNC has given me exposure to many different situations and health problems so that I could work with many different professionals and understand issues that were critical to them.
Why did you choose UNC?
I chose UNC based on its outstanding reputation.
Discuss the culture at the Gillings School of Global Public Health.
The culture was very open and accepting while instilling a sense of excellence and high expectations.

John A. Staley, MSEH, PhD
Doctoral (PhD) Class of 2008

Career Highlights

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management, Kent State University
  • Adjunct Faculty Instructor, Department of Health Policy and Management, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health
  • Health and Safety Consultant, Staley Consulting Services
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, UNC Injury Prevention Research Center

Describe your current position.

My primary appointment is the assistant professor faculty position at Kent State University (KSU).

It is an honor and an exciting opportunity to be on the ground floor creating a new College of Public Health, collaborating with seasoned faculty to design the program and course curricula, with the goal of both educating future public health practitioners and serving the public health needs of Eastern Ohio and beyond. I design new public health courses, focusing primarily on health policy and management, but I also have the amazing opportunity to expand my research agenda that targets adverse health and socio-behavioral outcomes in the emergency response community (e.g. firefighters, EMS, law enforcement, etc.). I collaborate with these occupational groups in Ohio and North Carolina, as well as colleagues from Kent State’s nationally recognized Institute for the Study and Prevention of Violence.


What has attending school at the Gillings School of Global Public Health helped you achieve?

Not to sound cheesy, but my education at the Gillings School of Global Public Health has opened doors to collaborate on applied research and activities that can really impact policy and practice on various levels, resulting in significant changes in the public health of participants I work with. In particular, my mentors and friends from the Department of Health Policy and Management, Department of Health Behavior, and Public Health Leadership have provided invaluable guidance in preparing me for the position I have now- doing real world, applied public health research and community collaboration. People like Jim Porto, Morris Weinberger, Bonnie Rogers, Ned Brooks, Bryan Weiner, Sue Hobbs, Bill Zelman, John Paul and Laura Linnan have had great influence in my life and work. To think that the skills I obtained at UNC may one day help me save the life of one firefighter, who in turn saves the lives of several people, is immensely satisfying.

How has UNC impacted your leadership skills?

My mentors and the professional network that began in the School have provided invaluable guidance in improving my leadership skills. My confidence increased through critical feedback on my research, teaching, presentations, etc. that I can lead fellow public health colleagues in striving to help people in our local communities and the broader population as well. I am confident that my training, education and collective experiences from the Gillings School of Global Public Health have prepared me to lead efforts to tackle the big problems we face in today’s world.

Describe how you balanced school, work, and family commitments during the program.

To be frank, it was difficult. I married the love of my life and had two children during my experience at UNC, and most of my professional achievements here can be connected to great personal achievements, such as a dissertation and career trajectory decision and my marriage, defending my dissertation proposal and the birth of my daughter, and defending my dissertation and the birth of my son. Additionally, my wife pursued her master’s degree in Education at UNC during this time, and is my hero for doing so while working a full time job, raising our daughter, being pregnant with our second child and helping me balance my commitments and listening patiently when I needed to vent. She kept me grounded, all made possible through our mutual faith and trust in God.
Discuss the culture at the Gillings School of Global Public Health.
Certainly multi-cultural and many viewpoints, be it politics, abortion, health insurance for the uninsured, health disparities among the races or any number of public health issues. But the best thing about the culture was the under-riding goal of improving the health of people and changing lives- be it on the local level and helping our neighbors, to the larger global efforts to combat disease such as HIV/AIDS. People really care, and aren’t in it for the money (a public health cliché). They want to change lives and go after the big, hairy, audacious goals that tackle public health problems that others might think unobtainable.

What are your words of wisdom to current students in Health Policy & Management programs?

Your education is not a 100 yard dash. It is a life-long marathon of obtaining wisdom and being in a truly applied field where you can really change people’s lives for the better. Many people complain that they are only one person and cannot make a difference in life. Hogwash. Our students, faculty and staff do it every day in public health.

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Last updated March 27, 2013