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Department of Epidemiology and Health Services Research

The Department of Epidemiology and Health Services Research offers unique opportunities for epidemiologic, outcomes, health services, social and behavioral health and population health, including community-based research. The department’s mission is to discover the means of understanding health and healthcare. This department conducts research to address health and healthcare delivery across patients, providers, the health plan and the population.

Core areas of focus include:

  • The science of healthcare delivery, seeking solutions to simultaneously improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare;
  • Comparative effectiveness research (CER), emphasizing health economics and the application of novel methods that improve the validity of findings;
  • Epidemiology;
  • Social and behavioral health research, characterizing behavioral conditions and co-occurring illness influenced by social and behavioral issues and addressing the most challenging barrier to improving outcomes - patient’s health needs and care delivery models that improve access and outcomes;
  • Population and community health, including research on rural communities;
  • Environmental health, focusing on how the local environment influences health.

Leadership (interim co-directors)

  • Lester Kirchner, PhD
  • Brian S Schwartz, MD


  • Lisa Bailey-Davis, DEd, RD
  • Joseph Boscarino, PhD, MPH
  • Alexander Chang, MD, MS
  • Tullika Garg, MD, MPH
  • Jamie A Green, MD, MS
  • Jing Hao, PhD
  • Annemarie G Hirsch, PhD, MPH
  • Daniel D Maeng, PhD
  • Melissa N. Poulsen, PhD, MPH
  • Susan R Snyder, PhD, MBA
  • Wendy M Ingram, PhD


Initiatives & Projects

The Built Environment & Obesity

We are evaluating the relation of food, land use, physical activity and social environments, measured as features of communities, with body mass index by studying more than 160,000 children with a Geisinger primary care provider. Read More

The General Environment & Chronic Rhinosinusitis

Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) is a chronic condition with a significant patient and population disease burden. Geisinger, in collaboration with Northwestern University, The University of Chicago and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has been awarded a grant by the NIH to study the epidemiology, genetics and pathobiology of chronic rhinosinusitis. Read More

Veterans Study

The Veterans' Cohort Study conducted a mental health assessment of veterans in Geisinger. Read More

Chronic Hepatitis Cohort Study (CHeCS)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided funding to collect and analyze data on more than 12,500 people with chronic hepatitis B and C. The multi-center project is creating an anonymous electronic database from medical and insurance records. Read More

Evaluation of Behavioral Health Training for Pediatric Residents

This study compares changes in knowledge and attitude of pediatric residents who are exposed to two different behavioral health service delivery models: an integrated behavioral health/primary care model versus a usual care training program. Read More


The PREPARE NOW study will employ a new care strategy to help patients understand their risks of kidney failure, understand their treatment options, obtain needed support and choose treatments that are aligned with their personal values. Read More

Bari-Kidney Study

At Geisinger, one in five primary care patients has a BMI >= 35kg/m2, and over 300 patients undergo bariatric surgery each year. We are conducting retrospective studies to examine the effect of bariatric surgery-induced weight loss and kidney function. Read More


The goal of this study is to determine if the pediatric care redesign with evidence-based screening, patient-centered education, negotiated decision-making and health information technology to reverse childhood obesity clinical improvement initiative is improving the quality of care by examining process and outcome measures associated with parent-child exposure to PREVENT. Read More

Bladder Cancer Study

Limited understanding of what outcomes are most important to elders with multiple chronic conditions and superficial bladder cancer result in significant gaps in our ability to help physicians and patients make treatment decisions. The objective of this project is to apply mixed methods approaches to identify patient-centered outcomes most important to this population. Read More