Scholars

  • Saria Hassan

    Instructor of Medicine (General Medicine); Deputy Director, Yale-TCC

    Saria Hassan, MD is an Associate Research Scientist and the Deputy Director of the Yale-Transdisciplinary Collaborative Center for Health Disparities focused on Precision Medicine (Yale-TCC). The Yale-TCC is a collaboration between health, policy, and community leaders in Region II (New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands), Trinidad, and Barbados that looks to reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases in the region. Yale-TCC focuses on the early detection and prevention of diabetes and hypertension. Dr. Hassan spent 4 years working as a primary care physician in community health centers in New Haven, CT. Her experience as a primary care physician working with underserved, minority populations gives her important perspective as she designs research questions and implementation science projects to address questions of disparity, access and equity. Dr. Hassan subsequently spent two years, in collaboration with RTI International, leading an implementation science project that integrated HIV care into an opioid treatment program in Tanzania. This project leadership and research experience gave her critical skills in implementation science methods and project management. Evaluation of this project using the RE-AIM framework was selected as one of the most impactful posters at the recent Implementation Science Conference and presented at the Poster Slam Session. Additionally, she has been a selected fellow of the NHLBI-sponsored Programs to Increase Diversity Among Individual Engaged in health-Related Research (PRIDE), Research in Implementation Science for Equity (RISE) program.

    Dr. Hassan's proposed YSIS research project uses implementation science theories to evaluate the implementation and sustainability of an innovative diabetes prevention intervention tailored to Caribbean-descent minority populations. It applies the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR) to understand contextual factors that influence implementation effectiveness. It develops new mixed methods approaches to associate CFIR qualitative findings with quantitative implementation effectiveness data. Dr. Hassan and her team will also examine what approaches are successful in sustaining lifestyle modification and model the cost implications of these approaches.

  • Kimberly Hieftje

    Research Scientist; Director, play4REAL Lab at Yale, Internal Medicine; Deputy Director, Yale Center for Health & Learning Games; Deputy Director, play2PREVENT Lab at Yale

    Kimberly Hieftje, PhD, is a Research Scientist at the Yale School of Medicine and the Deputy Director of the Yale Center for Health & Learning Games, where faculty focus on the development and evaluation of videogame interventions for health prevention and promotion, behavior change, and education in adolescents and young adults at risk for health disparities. Additionally, Dr. Hieftje is also the Deputy Director of the play2PREVENT Lab and Director of the virtual reality play4REAL Lab at the center. During her time at Yale, she was the Project Director for the NICHD-funded 5-year grant (R01-HD062080) "An Interactive Videogame for HIV Prevention in Early Adolescents", which focused on the development and evaluation of the interactive videogame, PlayForward: Elm City Stories, designed to provide at-risk minority youth the opportunity to acquire and practice skills in order to avoid or reduce their risk behaviors that can lead to HIV. Dr. Hieftje participated in all aspects of game development and evaluation, including iterative qualitative formative work with New Haven youth designing the visual and experiential components of the game, creating intervention manuals (Game Playbooks) ensuring that videogame developers adhered to behavioral science frameworks, and oversight of the randomized clinical trial in 333 minority youth. This tablet-based videogame, and its six "mini games" has served as a platform for the lab in creating other targeted games for areas such as tobacco use prevention. Currently, Dr. Hieftje is the Project Director overseeing the implementation of the tobacco prevention intervention videogame, smokeSCREEN, which has the potential to reach 3 million youth, primarily in school settings, over the next three years through a novel collaboration with CVS Health Foundation. Her long-term goal is to become an independently funded health prevention researcher focusing on the implementation of videogame based health interventions in youth settings.

    Dr. Hieftje's YSIS research project will leverage a funded project, the CVS Health Foundation's large-scale implementation of the tobacco prevention videogame intervention, smokeSCREEN, which has the goal to reach upwards of three million youth over the next three years. This award will allow Dr. Hieftje to collect and analyze qualitative and quantitative data on the implementation of smokeSCREEN, consistent with a Hybrid Effectiveness/Implementation design, from teachers and students with the goal of better understanding the factors associated with successful implementation.

  • Yuan Lu

    Assistant Professor

    Dr. Lu is trained in epidemiology and global health, with particular focus on cardiovascular diseases. She obtained both of her ScD and MSc Degrees in Global Health and Population at the Harvard School of Public Health. Her research interests bridge population health, cardiovascular disease prevention, implementation science, and clinical informatics. Her long-term research goal is to improve outcomes for people with cardiovascular diseases by linking digital data with health information technology to identify opportunities for care improvement and develop interventions to address missed opportunities. As a K12 Yale Scholar in Implementation Science, she is currently working on a project to leverage the electronic health records from the Yale New Haven Hospital System to identify patients with persistent hypertension and design decision supports to improve their care. Over the past few years, she has been working on a number of groundbreaking collaborating projects between Yale University and the Chinese National Center for Cardiovascular Diseases in Beijing. These include the Millions Persons Project that assembles remarkable population health and biomedical resources from 5 million people across China. She has authored over 40 peer-reviewed publications, including first author articles in leading journals such as The Lancet and Circulation, and her work has been cited more than 20,000 times. 

  • Elizabeth Rhodes

    Dr. Elizabeth Rhodes earned her PhD in Nutrition and Health Sciences from Emory University. She also holds an AB in Sociology from Brown University and a SM in Social and Behavioral Sciences from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Rhodes just completed a fellowship at the Centre for Chronic Disease Control in New Delhi under the mentorship of Dorairaj Prabhakaran, MD, DM, MSc and K. M. Venkat Narayan, MD, MSc, MBA. Her research focused on the appropriateness, feasibility, and sustainability of a worksite-based lifestyle intervention to address diabetes in India. Dr. Rhodes is interested in reducing health disparities by developing, testing, implementing and scaling up nutrition interventions and bridging the gap between research and practice. Previously, Ms. Rhodes was an ORISE Fellow in CDC's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity where she managed a national initiative to support early care and education providers in adopting evidence-based practices to prevent early childhood obesity. Dr. Rhodes also has experience conducting research, writing knowledge summaries, and developing case studies to facilitate the translation of knowledge into global policy and practice through her work as a consultant for the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health at WHO and the UN World Food Programme.