PhD Epidemiology Alumni

Sarah Nechuta, PhD Epidemiology 2009

SarahI am Chief Scientist at the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) in the Office of Informatics and Analytics. At the Tennessee Department of Health, I lead analyses for a variety of projects that utilize Prescription Drug Monitoring Program data, vital statistics data (birth and death certificate), and hospital billing data. My work also includes conducting systematic literature reviews, methods to improve data linkage and outcome/exposure measurement, health indicator case definition development and validation, and identification of susceptible populations for improved population health monitoring and targeted prevention. I am adjunct assistant professor of epidemiology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Over the past year, I have served as senior epidemiologist and lead for Tennessee’s participation in CDC’s State Unintentional Drug Overdose Reporting System, which includes working with the National Violent Death Reporting System. I have mentored close to 20 students/postdoctoral fellows/junior colleagues in epidemiology, biostatistics, and public health/scientific writing. I serve on the TDH Institutional Review Board as an expert scientific reviewer. I am an associate editor for the Journal of the National Cancer Institute and active peer reviewer for many scientific journals. 

The training I received from MSU epidemiology in epidemiologic methods, data management for large datasets, statistical analysis, and grant writing has helped me to be successful in my current position.

As a student at MSU in the department of epidemiology, I had the opportunity to obtain unique training and research experiences, tailored to my research interests and future professional goals. I was a trainee in a fellowship program, which allowed me to pursue my own research agenda, under the mentorship of world-renowned faculty, and also participate in many applied training experiences in the conduct of epidemiologic research, which helped me to develop into a successful research scientist and obtain a research position at an academic institution. MSU faculty provide students the opportunity to participate on multiple research projects, and both encourage and provide support for participation in scientific conferences and specialized competitive training experiences. MSU faculty are committed to helping students find employment after graduation.