The Analytic Core provides expertise and systems for the conduct and analysis of qualitative studies, pilot intervention studies, randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and economic studies. Led by Dr. Travis Sanchez and Dr. Kate Muessig, the Analytic Core works with the Technology and Management Cores to set up systems to manage participant recruitment and retention and ensure data quality and security. The Analytic Core supports cleaning and integration of multiple data sources (e.g. technology usage metrics – paradata, biological outcomes, surveys, costing data), conducts quantitative and qualitative primary analyses, and supports interpretation and dissemination of study results.
The Analytic Core is housed under PRISM Health (Programs, Research, & Innovation in Sexual Minority Health), which is based within the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. PRISM Health conducts a broad portfolio of National Institutes of Health (NIH), US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and foundation-funded studies and projects and actively collaborates with community-based organizations to conduct research, to generate theories and knowledge, and to translate findings into effective sexual health interventions and programs.
Kate Muessig, PhD
Co-Director Analytic Core
Kate Muessig is an Assistant Professor and health behavior interventionist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health. She uses mixed-methods research to develop and evaluate technology-based interventions with youth, particularly men who have sex with men and transgender individuals, to support HIV prevention and care. Dr. Muessig co-leads a mixed methods study analyzing online forum data to understand the potential for online stigma-reduction interventions for young Black men who have sex with men (R21MH105292). She has also led the qualitative components of two completed (HealthMpowerment.org and Tough Talks) and three ongoing (Epic Allies, Ally Quest, Test Rehearsal) NIH-funded eHealth interventions. She is co-Director of the Analytic Core of the iTech. In this role, she supports the development and implementation of the formative and pilot phases of all iTech studies.
Travis Sanchez, DVM, MPH
Co-Director Analytic Core
Dr. Travis Sanchez graduated with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from University of Georgia in 1994 and a Master of Public Health from Emory University in 2000. He has extensive experience in infectious disease epidemiology, including HIV epidemiology and prevention in the United States at the local, state, and federal levels. He worked as an epidemiologist in Fulton County and then coordinated Georgia’s District Epidemiology program. He worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for 10 years and helped to establish 2 supplemental HIV surveillance systems – the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System and the Medical Monitoring Project. He led two of CDC’s first research studies on risk factors for HIV infection among transgender persons and created a new CDC system for conducting HIV behavioral surveillance with MSM using entirely online research methods. Dr. Sanchez was associate chief for science for 2 CDC branches within the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention and was the strategic information branch chief for CDC-South Africa. He is currently the principal investigator of the American Men’s Internet Survey, an annual online behavioral survey of US MSM 15 years of age and older. This survey has collected more than 50,000 surveys from MSM in every US state over the past 5 years. Dr. Sanchez’s other current studies also include a wide breadth of HIV research and program that is relevant to the Adolescent Trials Network – at-home HIV testing, HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis, tech-based HIV prevention, tech-based HIV care support, and online data collection.
Laura Gravens, MS, MPH, PMP
Analytic Core Coordinator/iTech Project Manager
Laura Gravens graduated with a M.S. in Psychology in 2011 and a M.P.H. in Epidemiology in 2013 and has focused her career on the social determinants of HIV transmission and prevention research among men who have sex with men (MSM) and sexual minority youth. She serves as both the Analytic Core Coordinator and the Project Manager for iTech. Prior to public health work she was involved in research looking into the neural correlates of emotion processing using EEG measurements. Outside of work, Laura enjoys volunteering with a local greyhound rescue organization, learning American Sign Language, watching soccer and trying new local breweries.
Nicole Luisi, MPH, MS
Analytic Core Data Lead
Nicole is currently an Associate Director of Research Projects with PRISM Health at Emory University. She completed her MPH in Community Health Education and her MS in Epidemiology, and has been working in HIV/AIDS research since 2007. Nicole has served as data manager/analyst for various studies, and provides training and consultation services for Emory's CfAR Prevention Science Core.
Rachel Valencia, MPH
Analytic Core Data Lead
Rachel has been working with PRISM Health at Emory University since 2011, currently as an Associate Director of Research Projects. She completed her Master of Public Health in the Global Epidemiology Department at Emory in 2013. Since then, she has been in charge of data collection and management for a variety of projects in South Africa and domestically. In the last several years, she has transitioned to a management role, supervising the data analysts as part of the PRISM Health Data Team.
Cristian Acero, MPH
Cristian Acero graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from Kennesaw State University and an MPH from Mercer University. While attending Mercer University, he worked as a health policy intern at the Georgia State Capitol during the General Assembly. Shortly after graduation, Cristian worked as a Biostatistician and Data Manager at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While there, his work focused on analysis of national surveys and risk factor assessments regarding reproductive health outcomes in women of childbearing age who consume alcohol and other substances. Other work included analysis of internet panel surveys regarding influenza vaccination among health care personnel and pregnant women. He joined the PRISM team in 2020 and is supporting projects in iTech and PRISM Health. Out of work, Cristian enjoys working out, hiking and really doing anything outdoors.
Elizabeth Adam, MPH
Analytic Coordinator Data Staff
Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Science in Biological Engineering from the University of Georgia and an MPH in Global Epidemiology from Emory University. Following graduation in 2012, Elizabeth joined the Domestic Epidemiology Team within the Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where she completed a fellowship and then joined the team as an Epidemiologist. While there, she worked as a study coordinator, data analyst, and outbreak epidemiologist. Elizabeth is a Data Analyst on the iTech Analytic Core. Protocols: Get Connected, P3
Marissa has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Georgia College and State University and an MPH in Epidemiology from Georgia State University. While attending Georgia State, Marissa worked as a graduate research assistant at the Mark Chaffin Center for Healthy Development and part time as a research analyst with Georgia Center for Oncology Research and Education (CORE). She joined the analytic core as a data analyst in August 2018.
Victoria Phillips, PhD
Cost Analysis Specialist
Dr. Phillips received her DPhil from Pembroke College, Oxford England. Her research interests include conducting and designing economic evaluations and analyzing how care is delivered and financed for people with chronic illnesses. Her research has examined the costs and effects of introducing surgical interventions for people suffering strokes; employing different inpatient management strategies for people with type 2 diabetes; providing palliative care counseling for people with HIV, and using rapid diagnostic testing in Africa for children suspected of having malaria. She has also worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Georgia Department of Public Health to estimate the costs of active monitoring of people at-risk of developing Ebola Virus Disease. Broadly, Dr. Phillips’ work aims to provide economic data to inform health care decision-making.
Mona Rai, MPH
Mona is a 2009 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and earned her Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology from Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health in 2014. After graduating from Emory, Mona worked with the infectious disease group at the Atlanta VA Medical Center where she managed recruitment and retention for a number of multi-site studies focused on HIV-infected veterans and performed epidemiological analyses for research publications and presentations. Most recently, Mona was a scientific data analyst with the CDC’s Trends in Immunization Practice System (TIPS) Reporting and Analytics team where she performed analyses with TIPS data to support the research and reporting activities of the branch for HPV, seasonal flu, and meningococcal quadrivalent vaccine coverage. She joined PRISM Health in 2017 as a data analyst. Protocols: YouTHrive, We Prevent (Aim 1 only), LifeSteps (Aim 1 only)
David Benkeser, PhD
I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics. I obtained my PhD from the University of Washington, where my research focused on methods for the analysis of preventive vaccine efficacy trials. I have also worked in cardiovascular epidemiology, neurology, critical care medicine, pediatric medicine, and cancer prevention. Protocols: P3, LifeSteps, TechStep
Kirk Easley, M.S.
Kirk Easley is a Senior Associate within the Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics of the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. He has served as the Director of the Data Coordinating Center for several clinical studies in HIV/AIDS, pediatrics, nutrition, blood transfusion, autoimmune diseases and infectious diseases. Protocol: Get Connected
Samuel Jenness, PhD
Samuel Jenness is an Assistant Professor for the Department of Epidemiology in the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. Protocol: ePrEP
Jeb Jones, MPH, MS, PhD
Dr. Jones earned his PhD in epidemiology from Emory University in 2016. He previously earned a MPH in epidemiology from Emory and MS in psychology from the University of Florida. His research focuses on behavioral aspects of HIV risk, risk assessment methods, mobile-based HIV prevention interventions, and mathematical modeling approaches to understanding the HIV epidemic among men who have sex with men. Dr. Jones also enjoys teaching and mentoring. He serves as Thesis Advisor for students in the Applied Epidemiology track of the Executive Master of Public Health (EMPH) program and teaches epidemiology methods courses in the traditional MPH and EMPH programs at Emory. Protocols: LYNX, MyChoices, COMPARE
Kristin Wall, PhD
After obtaining a degree in Biomedical Engineering in 2006, Dr. Wall sought advanced training in Epidemiology and Biostatistics and has been an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at Emory University since 2012. Her research seeks to advance evidence-based decision-making to improve outcomes related to HIV and family planning. Specifically, Dr. Wall’s research focuses on improving efficiencies in HIV prevention and care and family planning through studies of service integration and cost-effectiveness both domestically and in limited-resource settings. She currently holds an NIH K01 award (2016-2020) to explore optimal HIV program resource allocations in Zambia. She is a Principal and Co-Investigator on several international and domestic grants to promote and integrate couples’ voluntary HIV counseling and testing with family planning services; promote effective contraception for prevention of unplanned pregnancy and perinatal HIV transmission; improve HIV prevention for key populations (discordant couples, sex workers, and men who have sex with men); and use technology to improve data quality and patient safety in clinical trials. She collaborates with the Emory-based Rwanda Zambia HIV Research Group (RZHRG); Programs, Research, & Innovation in Sexual Minority Health (PRISM) Group; and the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS). Protocol: ePrEP, We Prevent