WHO Cochrane Cornell Summer Institute, Faculty

Patricia A. Cassano, Ph.D. is the Alan D. Mathios Professor of epidemiology and nutrition and director of the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University, professor of population health sciences at Weill Cornell Medicine, and director of graduate studies for the graduate field of epidemiology in the Cornell University Graduate School. Dr. Cassano currently serves as director of the WHO Collaborating Center on Nutrition Research for Health at Cornell and director of the Cochrane US Network Affiliate Center at Cornell. Dr. Cassano directs the Summer Institute and works closely with the faculty listed below who represent Cochrane, the WHO, and Cornell University.

Luis Gabriel Cuervo, M.D., M.Sc. is Senior Advisor, Research for Health at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO). Formerly as Senior Clinical Editor at BMJ Knowledge he helped develop and expand the international reach of BMJ’s Clinical Evidence. He also developed an evidence-based methodology to address discrepancies in recommendations among UN agencies leading to the 2006 Interagency List of Essential Medicines for Reproductive Health (WHO, IPPF, John Snow Inc, PATH, PSI, UNFPA, World Bank). Dr. Cuervo has been a contributor since 1994 to the Cochrane Collaboration, spearheading it in Colombia. His education includes degrees as an M.D., Specialist in Family Medicine, and a M.Sc. in Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics. From PAHO, Dr. Cuervo has coordinated the development, monitoring and implementation of policies on research for health, of knowledge translation platforms to strengthen health systems, and initiatives to show the value of research for health as a driver of development.

Julia Finkelstein, D.Sc. is an associate professor of epidemiology and nutrition in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University, with expertise in the design and conduct of randomized trials and cohort studies in resource-limited settings. Dr. Finkelstein is deputy director of the Cochrane US Network Affiliate Center at Cornell, and is associate director of the WHO Collaborating Centre on Nutrition Research for Health at Cornell.

Damian Francis, M.Sc., Ph.D. is a Nutritionist and Epidemiologist who is currently an Assistant Professor of Public Health at Georgia College and State University. He is a 2010 Emerging Leader of the Americas Programme (ELAP) scholar, awarded by the Canadian Bureau of International Education. As an ELAP scholar, he completed a research fellowship at the University of Ottawa in knowledge synthesis and knowledge translation. Dr. Francis is founder of the Cochrane Caribbean and currently serves as Co-Director. He serves both the Pan American Health Organization and World Health Organization (WHO) as a member of the Essential Medicine List expert panel. Dr. Francis enjoys teaching translational research and occasionally bingeing on data analysis of survey data, using STATA no less. Dr Francis has a track record of excellence in research scholarship which has focused on the epidemiology of chronic non-communicable diseases among people of Afro-Caribbean heritage with emphasis on health equity/disparities and public health nutrition.

Kate Ghezzi-Kopel is the Health Sciences & Evidence Synthesis Librarian at Albert R. Mann Library. She serves as liaison to the Cornell Department of Human Development and the Division of Nutritional Sciences and is Coordinator of the Cornell University Library Systematic Review Service. Kate holds a B.A. in English from Ithaca College and a M.S. in Library and Information Sciences from Syracuse University. Her interests include health information literacy, interdisciplinary systematic reviews, scholarly communication, and promotion of evidence-based research practices.

Lee Hooper, Ph.D. has been an editor for the Cochrane Heart Group for 14 years, was an editor of the Cochrane Oral Health Group for 5 years, and regularly referees systematic reviews for top medical and nutrition journals. Dr. Hooper is a member of the World Health Organization Nutrition Guidance Expert Advisory Group (NUGAG) on Diet and Health, which has recently produced guidance on sodium and potassium intakes. As well as being a Cochrane editor, she is an editor of Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, was awarded Ibex Award by British Dietetic Association (2005), and was a member of the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) Partners Council. Dr. Hooper is a Reader in Research Synthesis, Nutrition & Hydration in the Norwich Medical School at the University of East Anglia and has over 100 peer-reviewed publications, mainly in the areas of dehydration and nutrition of older people and the effects of dietary change on health.

Lynn Johnson, Ph.D. is the interim director and one of the staff statisticians for the Cornell Statistical Consulting Unit (CSCU). She has a Ph.D. in statistics from Cornell University and M.S. degrees from the University of Colorado in biometry and mathematics. Her interests range from statistical methodology to statistical applications in epidemiology, nutrition, environmental science, and the social sciences. She has more than 10 years of experience in providing statistical consulting at Cornell University to researchers from a broad range of fields.

Bruce Lewenstein, Ph.D. is a professor of science communication at Cornell University. He is chair of the Department of Science and Technology Studies and a faculty member in the Department of Communication. Dr. Lewenstein specializes in public communication of science and technology.

Saurabh Mehta, Sc.D. is an associate professor of global health, epidemiology, and nutrition in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University. Dr. Mehta is on the Advisory Board of the Cochrane US Network Affiliate Center at Cornell, and is associate director of the WHO Collaborating Centre on Nutrition Research for Health at Cornell. The overarching focus of his research is to identify, diagnose, and intervene on modifiable risk factors such as nutrition to improve population health with advances in technological innovation as an integral component.

Hector Pardo-Hernandez M.P.H., Ph.D is a Consultant at the Department of Nutrition and Food Safety where he is part of the Cross-cutting Global Initiatives team. Hector provides specialized methodological support for the development of global goods, particularly the guideline on the management of overweight and obesity in children and adolescents 2-18 years of age.  Before joining the team in Nutrition and Food Safety, Hector worked as a consultant for the WHO Regional Office for Europe providing technical support for an intercountry initiative on the integrated delivery of health and social services in long-term care. Prior to WHO, Hector worked for eight years at the Cochrane, both as a Researcher at the Iberoamerican Cochrane Centre (Spain) and as a Methods Editor for Cochrane’s Common Mental Disorders group (UK). In this capacity, he participated in methodological projects on systematic reviews and clinical guidelines development and updating, with an emphasis on investigating strategies for incorporating patients’ values and preferences. These projects resulted in several scientific publications. Earlier in his career he worked in HIV prevention projects with the New York City Department of Health. Hector is involved in Cochrane’s Living Evidence Network initiative as a steering group member and in several GRADE working groups. He is also vice-chair of the G-I-N (Guidelines International Network) updating guidelines working group. He has teaching experience and has directed various master and doctoral thesis projects in the Autonomous University of Barcelona. Hector holds a PhD in Public Health and Research Methods from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain), a Master’s degree in Public Health from New York University (USA) and a Chemistry and Biology degree from Rhode Island College (USA). A native of Cali, Colombia, Hector is married and has two girls. He speaks English, Spanish and Catalan. He enjoys traveling, hiking and salsa dancing.

Jordi Pardo Pardo joined the Centre for Global Health, University of Ottawa in 2009. Jordi was trained as a journalist, but early in his career he started working on health research in the Iberoamerican Cochrane Centre in Barcelona, where he is from. Jordi has been involved in the establishment and expansion of the Cochrane Collaboration in Latin America working in training and knowledge translation projects. Jordi had a major role on the launch of the Spanish version of The Cochrane Library (la Biblioteca Cochrane Plus). Jordi is currently the co-chair of the Executive of Managing Editors at Cochrane, and elected member of the Cochrane Governing Board. On his four days a week at the Centre for Global Health, Jordi contributes as one of the Managing Editors of the Cochrane Musculoskeletal Group, and supporting the activities of the Equity Methods Group.

Juan Pablo Peña-Rosas, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H. works in the Division of Universal Health Coverage/ Healthier Populations at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland. He leads the development of normative work and supports the implementation of integrated-health services to support universal health coverage and healthier populations. This work focuses in health promotion, prevention and treatment of conditions requiring nutrition actions throughout the life course and reduction of risk factors and other determinants of health for greater impact at country level. He leads a multidisciplinary agile team on mainstreaming nutrition in primary health care settings for universal health coverage, one of the pillars of WHO 13 General Programme of Work. He is an appointed member of the WHO 3-level Joint Working Group on Universal Health Coverage since 2018. He is Assistant Professor (Adjunct) at Emory University in Atlanta, USA since 2011 and Professor (Adjunct) in the Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, USA since October 2017. JP worked as a Specialist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, USA and was involved in planning, implementing, and reporting of health and nutrition surveillance systems to inform policy. He provided specialized-technical assistance in long-term health projects in Uzbekistan, Morocco, Egypt, Peru, Nicaragua, Georgia and Dominican Republic. In the private sector, JP worked for a multinational food company, in leadership scientific and regulatory positions at the regional level in the Latin America and the Caribbean Headquarters in Mexico and its eight country subsidiaries. He worked in various public-private partnerships in this role.

Vivian Welch, Ph.D. is editor in chief of the Campbell Collaboration, ​director of the Methods Centre, Bruyère Research Institute, Bruyère Continuing Care and associate professor, School of Epidemiology and ​Public Health, University of Ottawa.  She is a co-convenor of the Campbell and Cochrane Equity Methods Group and leader of the GRADE Equity working group developing guidance on how to consider equity in guideline development.

Marty Wells, Ph.D. is the Charles A. Alexander Professor of Statistical Sciences. He is also a Professor of Social Statistics, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology and Health Services Research at Weill Medical School, an Elected Member of the Cornell Law School Faculty, as well as the Director of Research in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. He teaches statistical methodology to undergraduate and graduate students in fields such as agriculture, biology, epidemiology, finance, law, medicine, nutrition, social science, and veterinary medicine as well as graduate courses in statistics.

Luke Wolfenden Ph.D. is a behavioral scientist, his research seeks to reduce the burden of chronic disease in the community. Over the past 5 years Luke’s work has focused on: i) trialing interventions to reduce modifiable chronic disease risks in the community; ii) trialing dissemination and implementation strategies to increase the adoption of evidence based chronic disease prevention practices by organizations in the community; and iii) conducting methodological research to facilitate the translation of research into practice. The research he conducts draws heavily on social-ecological and social cognitive perspectives of reducing chronic disease risks. The primary modifiable risks his research addresses are obesity, diet, physical inactivity, alcohol and tobacco use. Luke’s research is typically settings based. He has conducted trials of health behavior interventions or of population wide-dissemination and implementation strategies in hospitals, out-patient clinics, schools, childcare centers, community organizations, and sports clubs. To ensure that the practice relevance of research outcomes and maximize the potential for successful translation, his work is informed through on-going engagement processes with end-users. Luke has collaborated academics, policy makers or practitioners from the following organizations: The World Health Organization, The UK Cochrane Centre, The Australian Drug Foundation, University of Ottawa, Yale University, University of Newcastle, University of Sydney, Deakin University, University of Melbourne, University of Western Australia, NSW Cancer Council Turning Point, Hunter New England Population Health, Hunter Institute of Mental Health, Parenting Research Centre, NSW Department of Education and Communities Catholic Schools Office, NSW Family Services Inc., NSW Office of Preventive Health, NSW Ministry of Health.

group photo of 2019 summer institute faculty

From left to right:  Vivian Welch, Jordi Pardo Pardo, Damien Francis, Julia Finkelstein, Pat Cassano, Sara Scinto-Madonich, Katharina da Silva Lopes, Kate Ghezzi-Kopel, Luis Cuervo (July 2019)



WHO Cochrane Cornell Summer Institute, Contact Information

Patricia A. Cassano, PhD
Professor & Director, Division of Nutritional Sciences
The Alan Mathios Professor
Professor, Weill Cornell Medicine, Department of Population Health Sciences, Division of Epidemiology
127 Savage Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853
+1 607.255.8001 (phone), +1 607.255.2691 (fax)
E-mail:  summerinstitute@cornell.edu

Please visit our registration page for details on how to apply.