School of Public Health welcomes renowned scholars to faculty

With diverse academic and practice-based backgrounds, a new wave of public health educators at Brown aims for multidisciplinary solutions.

Five outstanding scholars will join the faculty of Brown’s School of Public Health this year, providing a new wave of groundbreaking public health educators with a wealth of knowledge and experience spanning health law and epidemiology, policy, biostatistics, data science and health services. Their expertise will enhance key research hubs, including the School of Public Health’s People, Place & Health Collective, Center for Advancing Health Policy Through Research, Center for Statistical Sciences and Data Science Institute

  • Rebecca A. Hubbard, Ph.D. joins as a professor of biostatistics and data science. She is currently a professor of biostatistics and vice chair for faculty professional development in the Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Corwin Zigler, Ph.D. joins as a professor of biostatistics. He is currently an associate professor of statistics and data sciences at the University of Texas at Austin. 
  • Erin C. Fuse Brown, J.D., MPH joins as a professor of health services, policy, and practice. She now holds the Catherine C. Henson Professorship of Law and serves as the director of the Center for Law, Health & Society at the Georgia State University College of Law. 
  • Roslyn C. Murray, MPP joins as an assistant professor of health services, policy, and practice. She is a graduating doctoral candidate in health policy and economics at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. 
  • Alexandria “Alex” Macmadu, Ph.D.’22, a School of Public Health alumna and vital member of Brown’s People, Place & Health Collective, assumed her new role as assistant professor of epidemiology on January 1.

“We’re delighted to welcome these extraordinary scholars and teachers to the Brown University School of Public Health,” said Ashish K. Jha, the school’s dean. “We are changing the nature of public health education and practice, and these leaders bring a diverse skill set that enriches our academic community and also underscores Brown’s commitment to a collaborative, 21st-century approach to addressing the greatest public health challenges of our time.”

Advancing Data Science

Jha aims to advance key areas of research at Brown, including a multidisciplinary program examining public health and climate change. As talented biostatisticians, Hubbard and Zigler can provide key insights from these emerging datasets. “Rebecca Hubbard and Cory Zigler are leaders in two of the most important and challenging areas of biostatistics at the intersection of data science and public health,” said Joe Hogan, chair of the Department of Biostatistics and Carole and Lawrence Sirovich Professor of Public Health at Brown.

Rebecca A. Hubbard, Ph.D.

Rebecca A. Hubbard pioneers cutting-edge methods to transform data from our interactions with the health care system into powerful insights and improved decision making by clinicians, patients and policymakers. Her research focuses on electronic health records and claims data, crafting novel analytic tools essential for navigating the complexities of real-world data. Her recent work has focused on early identification of patients at high risk for chronic disease, and statistical methods for ensuring the equitable and ethical application of predictive algorithms in clinical care. Professor Hubbard has also received multiple honors for teaching, including the Excellence in Teaching Award from the Master of Science in Health Policy Research Program at the University of Pennsylvania and the Jane M. Glick Graduate Student Teaching Award from the Perelman School of Medicine. She currently serves as co-editor-in-chief of the journal Biostatistics.

“Real-world data from sources such as electronic health records are routinely being used by policymakers and care providers to make decisions about our health care. The need for rigorous and principled methods of analysis has never been greater,” said Hogan. “Rebecca’s research is focused squarely on identifying potential biases and pitfalls, and providing solutions that enable us to make the most effective use of these rich sources of data.”

Corwin Zigler, Ph.D.

Corwin Zigler’s work is driven by a commitment to developing statistical models and methods to illuminate the combined impacts of climate, air pollution and environmental health policy on the health of individuals and populations. He uses a multidisciplinary approach that draws on cutting-edge ideas from Bayesian statistics, policy evaluation and atmospheric modeling. A recent highly publicized project quantified the effects of emissions from coal plants on US mortality. His innovative work in statistical modeling has led to a new understanding of the complex causal mechanisms by which treatments and policies impact health outcomes. He has received numerous awards and honors, including the 2023 Health Policy Statistics Section Mid-Career Achievement Award.

“The links between climate and health are numerous and complex,” Hogan said. “Understanding these links requires synthesizing multiple sources of information such as weather patterns, readings from air pollution monitors and health outcomes from individuals. Cory’s work integrates these data into coherent models that can be used to quantify, for example, the impact of air pollution on disease and mortality.”

“Rebecca and Cory are exceptionally creative and talented scholars,” Hogan concludes. “To bring them both to Brown in the same year is remarkably good fortune.”

Changemakers in Health Policy

Two of the new faculty appointments, Erin C. Fuse Brown and Roslyn C. Murray, will work closely with Brown’s newest research center, the Center for Advancing Health Policy Through Research. Researchers at the center work to understand health care affordability and value in order to translate research into policy change.

Erin Fuse Brown
Erin C. Fuse Brown, J.D., MPH

Erin C. Fuse Brown, with a magna cum laude J.D. from Georgetown Law and an MPH from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, brings a unique blend of legal and public health expertise to Brown University. Her work has influenced health policy at both state and national levels. She has presented to the Federal Trade Commission and consulted with the National Academy for State Health Policy on legal and policy approaches to address issues such as health care consolidation, surprise medical bills, health care price transparency and private equity investment in health care. Her work has earned her the 2017 Patricia T. Morgan Award for Outstanding Scholarship and the American Antitrust Institute’s Best Antitrust and Mergers Article in 2018, among many others.

“Erin is one of the leading health law scholars in our country,” said Andy Ryan, professor of health services, policy, and practice and founding director of Brown’s Center for Advancing Health Policy Through Research. “Her work on regulatory and statutory strategies to address affordability problems in U.S. healthcare has been extremely impactful. Erin's engagement with policymakers and the policymaking process is also unique and exceptional. We couldn’t be happier that Erin will be expanding this work at Brown.”

Roslyn C. Murray, MPP

Roslyn C. Murray’s research focuses on the evaluation of health care policies and programs designed to control health care spending in the United States. With a bachelor’s degree in Human Biology from Stanford, a Master’s in Public Policy from Georgetown, and an anticipated Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, Murray specializes in health economics, health care spending, pricing power in commercial insurance markets and the spending outcomes associated with Medicare Advantage. Her scholarly work has been published in journals such as Health Affairs, JAMA Health Forum and The Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law.

Substance Use and Overdose

Jha has brought Brown alumna Alex Macmadu onboard, an appointment that honors her excellent work with Brown’s People, Place & Health Collective. The collective tackles the challenges posed by substance use & overdose with a person-forward approach: conducting research that pairs rigorous epidemiological methods with broad, accessible communication to make measurable and meaningful impact in Rhode Island.

Alex Macmadu, Ph.D.’22

As a substance use epidemiologist, Alex Macmadu investigates critical areas such as the social determinants of drug use and overdose, evidence-based strategies to mitigate drug-related harms and justice and health equity in marginalized communities. With over 37 peer-reviewed publications and contributions to prestigious journals, her influence is far-reaching, earning her the Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award in 2021 for exceptional work interrogating the influence of overdose in social networks on individual risk behaviors.

“Alex’s program of research is tackling some of the most challenging aspects of the nation’s overdose crisis. Her work has directly informed positive policy change in Rhode Island, and she cares deeply about improving the health and well-being of people most heavily impacted by overdose,” said Brandon Marshall, chair of Brown’s Department of Epidemiology and founding director of Brown’s People, Place & Health Collective. “As a critical member of our research collective, we are incredibly fortunate that Alex has decided to build a career at Brown.”