TADA Leadership Team

Learn about the history and development of TADA here!

Principal Investigator Team/TADA Co-Directors:

With wide-ranging expertise in advanced data analytics and a common goal to end drug-related harms, the TADA Co-Directors oversee TADA’s mission and vision, including the novel two-semester course relating data science methods and tools to SUD (Substance Use Disorders) content. The Co-Directors collaborate with faculty across Emory University and the School of Medicine to provide a unique interdisciplinary approach to research and training on SUDs.

Hannah Cooper

Hannah Cooper, ScD, TADA Co-Director 
Rollins Chair in Substance Use Disorders Research & Professor in Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences and Epidemiology
Expertise: Advanced methods to study the impact of Substance Use Disorders, such as multilevel, geospatial, and qualitative approaches; Risk Environment Model (REM).

Lance Waller

Lance Waller, PhD, TADA Co-Director
Professor, Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics

Expertise: Developing statistical methods for spatially referenced data and geographic information systems in public health; interdisciplinary collaborations with Environmental Health Sciences and Population Biology, Evolution, and Ecology; spatial epidemiology of Substance Use Disorders (SUDs)

Abeed Sarker, PhD, TADA Co-Director
Associate Professor, Departments of… Biomedical Informatics, Emory University School of Medicine; Computer Science, College of Arts and Sciences, Emory University; and Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology & Emory University

Expertise: Developing data-focused solutions using biomedical natural language data from sources like clinical notes, medical literature, and social media; creating natural language processing and machine learning systems to extract useful knowledge from large free text data.

Directors of Evaluation

Elizabeth WalkerElizabeth R. Walker, PhD, MPH, MAT, Director of Evaluation

Research Assistant Professor, Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences

Dr. Walker uses mixed methods to evaluate workforce development efforts, teaches research methods courses, and leads the evaluation of the TADA program. Her evaluation plan includes assessing coursework, mentorship, student success, and satisfaction to inform quality improvement. 

Dawn ComeauDawn L. Comeau, PhD, MPH, Director of Mentor/Mentee Training

Associate Professor, Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences & Emory School of Medicine

Dr. Comeau implements mentor training programs for TADA, including training for mentors and trainees, and provides individualized troubleshooting and solutions for mentor-mentee situations. She also offers additional training based on program evaluation findings.

TADA Coordinators

Marielysse Cortés, MSW, TADA Program Manager (2021-Present), began her research career in 2002 at the Emory Institutional Review Board (IRB) and has since worked as research staff on both clinical and community-based social/behavioral projects at Emory and at Arizona State University. Prior research areas include cancer, HIV prevention, vaccines, and dementia caregiver interventions. She holds an MSW in Community Partnerships from Georgia State University and an undergraduate degree from Emory University. In her role with TADA, Ms. Cortés leads the management of administrative and operational activities of the TADA, including outreach and recruitment, committee meetings, mentor and mentee trainings, professional development activities, TADA Course management, and management of training funds.

Crystal Ballard, TADA Program Coordinator (2023-Present), has over 17 years of experience in Qualitative/Quantitative Research and Administrative Office Management. She has experience in field staff supervision, field data collection, informed consent and IRB processes. Ms. Ballard works closely with the Program Manager to assist in leading the administrative and operational activities of the TADA program, including outreach and recruitment, committee meetings, mentor and mentee trainings, professional development activities, and management of training funds.

Megan Louttit, TADA Graduate Assistant, (2023-Present), is a graduate student in the Hubert Department of Global Health and is pursuing a certificate in Data Science. Ms. Louttit is also a Graduate Research Assistant for Spark at Emory, the TADA Fellowship and Certificate program, and the REPP study. Before Rollins, Ms. Louttit attended Miami University in Ohio where she obtained an undergraduate degree in Public Health (Epidemiology track) with a minor in Global Health and Anthropology. Ms. Louttit has experience interning at the Butler County General Health District, working at COVID-19 vaccination clinics, and at Syringe Services Programs throughout the county.