state of the department



  • Department overwhelmingly voted to adopt a statement on public health. (May 2021). Shared with Provost, EVP, CHM Dean, VPOR.



  • Dr. Honglei Chen was named MSU Foundation Professor.
  • Approved appointments of several HFHS biostats and epidemiology faculty.
  • Dr. Nigel Paneth (emeritus) awarded MSU Lester Evans Service Award.
  • Dr. Kristen Upson (assistant professor) awarded College Research Award. 



  • Dr. Nigel Paneth retired May 2021
  • Dr. Danielle Gartner hired October 2021 (retention of Dr. Paneth’s tenure line)
  • Two biostatistics faculty lines approved and searches begun.
  • Applied for 5 Provost “1855 Professorship” initiatives:
    • Quantitative scientist evaluation of policies and programs in joint effort of Economics, Psychology, and our department (biostats focus).   
    • Native American/Indigenous Health jointly with: University Office of Outreach and Engagement & Community Outreach; American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program.
    • Reproductive health jointly with Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology
    • Integrated epidemiology of trauma jointly with College of Nursing.
    • One Health jointly with CVM, CNS
  • Henry Ford Health System affiliation and appointments
    • Approved appointments for ~10 epidemiologists and biostatisticians.
    • Approximately 15 more pending.
    • Future work will include developing opportunities to meet and collaborate on research and educational missions.



  • Promotions of Drs. Chenxi Li and Ana Vazquez to Associate Professors with tenure.
  • Promotion of Dr. Zheui Luo to Full Professor (already tenured)



  • Small faculty, student, and staff group meetings with chair winter 2021.
  • Materials sent to faculty in Oct with full faculty discussion in focused meeting.
  • Next steps being rolled out 2022 for 3 areas: mission/vision/values; goals; areas for growth.
  • Working with faculty to annual align mission percentages with effort.


  • Transitioning department forms to electronic forms.
  • New equipment in conference rooms.
  • Change of URL from epi.msu.edu to epibio.msu.edu


  • More than $4 million annual external funding by department principal investigators for calendar year 2021.
  • Department faculty awarded 21 new external grants/contracts as PI and 8 new co-investigator grants/contracts.
  • Average external funding for faculty AY ~30 percent.
  • COVID-19 state and federal funding awarded.
  • Redesign and new content for research web page.
  • Quarterly post award meetings to occur (planned -- starting soon!)


  • Biostats PhD receiving more qualified applicants than we can support; began to involve MSU mentors outside the dept.
  • Biostats MS program changed # credits and courses to make MS more competitive.
  • Dual degree (BA/MS Epi) continued with first cohort. Will evaluate after theses.
  • New PhD qualifying exams rolled out successfully for both Epi PhD and Biostats PhD.
  • New PhD comprehensive exams rolled out for first two Epi students.
  • Epi curriculum review working group met Summer 2021 to examined peer reviewed literature and other programs. Recommendations submitted to EBCC Sept 2021.
  • Department is participating in Strategic Program Assessment by the grad school (scheduling our review for AY 2023).
  • Recruitment working group transitioned to regular committee.
  • PhD student awarded NIH F31. (Three other PhD students applied for F31s).
  • GEMS recognized as official MSU student organization, working on name change.
  • Launched undergraduate DEI internship -- EQ-BEST -- with two interns hired.


  • Instituted regular meetings of all department committees so that all faculty could submit requests and/or attend as needed.
  • Our faculty provided service on several college and university committees.
  • RPT committee drafted annual reviews of faculty on behalf of the chair.
  • COVID work for university