Meet Our Team

Learn about the history and development of TADA here!

Hannah Cooper

Hannah Cooper, ScD, TADA Co-Director: Dr. Cooper holds the Rollins Chair in Substance Use Disorders Research at Emory, and co-directs the Emory Center for AIDS Research’s Prevention Science Core, and Directs the Research Core within IPRCE, the Injury Prevention Research Center at Emory. She is internationally known for her advances in research on ecologies of Substance Use Disorders (SUD) and related harms, and has extensive expertise applying advanced multilevel, geospatial, and qualitative methods to characterize these ecologies and their impacts. In addition, Dr. Cooper has pioneered theoretical advances in the Risk Environment Model (REM), one of the most commonly applied models to guide research on ecologies of drug-related harms by developing the construct “racialized risk environments” and publishing a commentary in the American Journal of Public Health on related statistical methods. She has served as Principal Investigator on twelve NIDA grants. In recognition of her contributions, Dr. Cooper has served on several national panels and committees, including a National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Task Force on Public Health Interventions to Address the Opioid Crisis, an Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health Task Force on Public Health Initiatives to Address the Substance Abuse Crisis, and a NIDA/OBSSR Panel on Contributions of Social and Behavioral Research in Addressing the Opioid Crisis.

Lance WallerLance Waller, PhD, Co-Principal Investigator and Co-Director completed a nine-year term as Rollins Professor and Chair of the Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics in the Rollins School of Public Health in Fall 2018.  His research involves the development of statistical methods for spatially referenced data and geographic information systems in public health.  Dr. Waller has a history of interdisciplinary collaboration with secondary faculty appointments in both the graduate program in Environmental Health Sciences (Department of Environmental Health) and in Population Biology, Evolution, and Ecology program (within Emory’s Graduate Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences) and has served as dissertation advisory for trainees in both of these programs as well as in Biostatistics. Dr. Waller has relevant experience in the spatial epidemiology of SUD through multiple collaborations with Dr. Paul Gruenewald and others in the Prevention Research Center. Dr. Waller partners with Dr. Cooper to lead TADA, with a focus on the development of the data science components of courses, and facilitating mentors from biostatistics, biomedical informatics, and data science. With Dr. Cooper, he oversees TADA recruitment, application, and admission protocols providing assessment of statistical and computational preparation and he partners with the module instructors to create and instruct the two-semester TADA course and lab, with a focus on relating data science methods and tools to SBS theories and SUD content.

Abeed Sarker, PhD, TADA Co-Director is an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Informatics in the Emory University School of Medicine. He also holds secondary appointments as Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science in Emory University’s College of Arts and Sciences, as well as Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at both Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University. Dr. Sarker’s research interests include developing data-focused solutions using biomedical natural language data from domains such as clinical notes, medical literature, and social media. He is particularly interested in designing, developing, and utilizing end-to-end natural language processing and machine learning systems that can extract useful knowledge that is contained in large free text data. Dr. Sarker has authored over 50 peer-reviewed journal, conference, and workshop publications. He currently serves as associate editor for BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making and is an editorial board member for Digital Health: Frontiers in Public Health. In addition to serving as a Co-Director of TADA, Dr. Sarker is a member of the Cancer Prevention and Control Research Program at Winship Cancer Institute.

Marielysse Cortés, MSW, Associate Director of Rollins Program in Substance Use Disorders serves as the Program Manager for TADA. Ms. Cortés has over 16 years of experience in research, including 11 years of public health experience in HIV prevention, vaccines, and dementia caregiver interventions. She received her MSW in Community Partnerships from Georgia State University and her undergraduate degree from Emory University. She possesses extensive experience managing public health programs/research and has expertise in grants management, faculty/staff training, and strategic planning.  In past roles, she has provided assistance to doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty enrolled in graduate-level training. Working closely with the training grant directors, Ms. Cortés supports all TADA program activities, including outreach and recruitment; meetings of the executive committee, internal and external advisory boards;  mentor and mentee trainings; professional development activities; tracking of trainee individual development plan progress; and management of TADA stipend and training expenditures for trainees.

Elizabeth Walker

Elizabeth R. WalkerPhD, MPH, MAT, Director of Evaluation is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences (BSHES) at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health. She is the Director of Evaluation for the SAMHSA funded Southeast Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) and the Assistant Director of the Office of Evidence-Based Learning (OEBL), which is housed in BSHES. Dr. Walker employs mixed-methods to evaluate workforce development efforts, including courses, curricula, and training programs for public health graduate students and mental health professionals. In the BSHES department, she teaches research methods courses, a mental health elective, and the doctoral-level pedagogy course. Dr. Walker leads the evaluation of the TADA program to assess the quality and effectiveness of TADA training. The evaluation plan includes a mixed-methods assessment of: 1) coursework and associated training activities; 2) mentorship; 3) student success and productivity in the training program; and 4) trainee, instructor, and mentor satisfaction and experiences with the program to inform quality improvement.

Dawn Comeau

Dawn L. Comeau, PhD, MPH, Director of Mentoring Training is an Associate Professor and Vice Chair for Faculty Development in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at the Emory Rollins School of Public Health, with a secondary appointment in the Emory School of Medicine.  Dr. Comeau has dedicated her career to advancing science through the evaluation of research training programs with a focus on mentored-research for public health professionals.  For the past several years, she has developed robust mentor training programs for a wide range of researchers in order to build a more diverse biomedical workforce. She is a certified trainer from the NIH-funded National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) and has conducted needs assessments and evaluation research in the US, Ethiopia and the country of Georgia to inform the adaptation of culturally relevant training programs. This work includes implementing six mentor training programs and a range of free-standing mentor training modules for graduate students, postdoctoral students, and junior and senior faculty in the health sciences.

Dr. Comeau develops, implements, and monitors TADA’s mentor training programs.  The first training focuses on junior and senior faculty who serve as TADA mentors, and the second training serves TADA trainees who are beginning crucial and influential mentoring relationships.  In addition to formal mentor and mentee training, Dr. Comeau meets as needed with mentors and trainees on an individual basis to assist with troubleshooting and strategize solutions for difficult mentor-mentee situations. Dr. Comeau also offers additional training sessions based on needs identified through the program evaluation.

TADA Executive Committee

Member Name School/Department
Hannah Cooper, ScD RSPH/Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences
Lance Waller, PhD RSPH/Biostatistics and Bioinformatics (BIOS)
Colleen McBride, PhD RSPH/Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences
Ellen Idler, PhD ECAS/Sociology
Janet Cummings, PhD RSPH/Health Policy and Management
Kelli Komro, PhD RSPH/Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences
Regine Haardoerfer, PhD RSPH/Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences
Rohan Palmer, PhD ECAS/Psychology
Jessica Sales, PhD RSPH/Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences
Vaidy Sunderam, PhD ECAS/Computer Science
David Jacho-Chavez, PhD ECAS/Economics
Craig Hadley,PhD ECAS/Anthropology
Ashley Naimi, PhD RSPH/Epidemiology
Coming soon… RSPH/Hubert Global Health

TADA Internal Advisory Board

Member Name School/Department
Ashish Sharma, PhD Medicine/Biomedical Informatics
Carmen Marsit, PhD RSPH/Environment Health
Clifford Carrubba, PhD ECAS/Quantitative Theory and Methods
Delia Lang, PhD RSPH/Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences
John Banja, PhD Office of the Provost/Ethics Center
Jeff Staton, PhD /
Kimberly Jacob Arriola, PhD
Viola Vaccarino, MD, PhD RSPH/Epidemiology

TADA External Advisory Board

Member Name Institution
Brandon Marshall, PhD Brown University, School of Public Health
Luc Anselin, PhD Center for Spatial Data Science, University of Chicago
Paul Gruenewald, PhD Pacific Institute for Research Evaluation
Srinivas Alru, PhD Georgia Institute of Technology