WHO Cochrane Cornell Summer Institute, Faculty

Patricia A. Cassano, PhD is the Alan D. Mathios Professor of epidemiology and nutrition in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University, professor of healthcare policy and research at the Weill Cornell Medical College, and director of graduate studies for the graduate field of epidemiology in the Cornell University Graduate School. Dr. Cassano serves as director of the WHO Collaborating Center on Nutrition Research for Health at Cornell, as Director of the Cochrane US Network Associate Center at Cornell, and as co-Director of the Center for Precision Nutrition and Health 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 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 MD, Specialist in Family Medicine, and a MSc 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 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.

Lee Hooper 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.

Saurabh Mehta 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.

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 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 on 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 (Courtesy) 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.

Lynn Johnson is the director of the  Cornell Statistical Consulting Unit (CSCU). She has more than 10 years of experience in providing statistical consulting at Cornell University to researchers from a broad range of fields.

Vivian Welch 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.

Hector Pardo-Hernandez MPH, PhD 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.

Toby Lasserson has been Deputy Editor in Chief of The Cochrane Library since 2019. He leads a team who commission and develop systematic reviews and provides methodological advice and guidance to systematic review teams prior to submission to Cochrane’s Editorial Service. Toby has been involved in Cochrane since 1999, when he worked in one of the review groups which oversaw production of reviews in asthma and chronic lung disease. He has since delivered training to Cochrane authors and been involved in the development of Cochrane’s standards for conduct and reporting, as well as ‘PRISMA’ extensions for Harms, Abstracts, Individual Participant Data, Protocols, and Living Systematic Reviews. He provides input on Cochrane’s dissemination activity for its published reviews.

Christian Miller is a librarian and lecturer in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University. Prior to coming to Cornell, he was a medical librarian at the University of Maryland Medical School and then the National Cancer Institute where he was first involved in systematic reviews. Since joining Cornell, he has become a member of the Cornell Library’s Evidence Synthesis Team allowing him to provide consultation to and collaboration with project teams from a wide variety of disciplines. His expertise in the methodology behind evidence syntheses has led to publications of protocols and papers in a wide range of sources – from BMJ Open to the Journal of Black Studies.

Tiffany Duque is a global health professional and currently serves as Cochrane’s Senior Officer in charge of the Cochrane US Network & Global Groups.  She leads and helps direct 23 Cochrane affiliate centers based in the US as well as Cochrane’s 53 country offices. In this position, she works to promote the dissemination of high-quality evidence, transparency, collaboration and to advocate for Cochrane across the globe. With over 20 years of experience in global and US public health, most of Tiffany’s work has focused on global nutrition research, program design, implementation, program management, and multi-partner collaborations.  She graduated from UW-Wisconsin with a BS in Nutrition, and from Emory University with an MPH in Global Health.  Internationally, her work has been with organizations including WHO, UNICEF, the Ministry of Health of Colombia, the Public Health Institute of Mexico, and a variety of NGOs.  In the US, Tiffany worked for 8 years at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as with CARE, Emory University and the Fulton County Health Department in Atlanta, GA.  She currently resides in the Los Angeles area with her husband and two children.

Elizabeth Centeno-Tablante is a doctoral student of International Nutrition at Cornell University. She is developing research projects in Ecuador focusing on maternal and child health and the intersection between nutrition, inflammation, and infectious diseases. Additionally, Elizabeth is conducting systematic reviews to assess the potential transmission of infectious diseases through breastfeeding and contribute to the development of evidence-based public health guidelines. Elizabeth is a Teaching Fellow for the Summer Institute contributing to the organization and preparation of training materials.

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, Director Summer Institute
The Alan D. Mathios Professor, Division of Nutritional Sciences
Professor, Division Epidemiology, Department of Population Health Sciences, Weill Cornell Medical
3310 MVR Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853
+1 607.255.7551 (phone)
E-mail:  summerinstitute@cornell.edu

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