Since they were established in 2016, the Centers for Health Metrics and Evaluation have been growing their team of experts. Team members have expertise in epidemiology, biostatistics, data analysis, community health, workplace health, health promotion, health policy, and program evaluation. The Centers also collaborate with AHA staff who specialize in healthcare quality research and bioinformatics and policy research.
Eduardo Sanchez, MD, MPH, is Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for Prevention and Chief of the Centers for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Before joining AHA, he served as Vice President and CMO for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas. There, he focused on worker and worksite wellness, clinical prevention, and chronic disease management, particularly diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Among other past positions, Eduardo is a former Texas State Commissioner of Health. He serves on the board of directors for several health groups and is a chair or member of a number of scientific advisory boards and committees.
Kim Stitzel, MS, RD is Senior Vice President of the Centers for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which she co-leads with Eduardo Sanchez. She has been with the AHA since 2005 and has served in a variety of roles overseeing consumer engagement campaigns, product development, and delivering prevention strategies for the Association. Prior to joining AHA, her work focused on nutrition policy and research in positions at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the American Dietetic Association, and the Institute of Medicine. She serves on the board of directors and leadership committees for several health and non-profit groups.
Chris Calitz, MPP is Director of the Center for Workplace Health Research and Evaluation. Before joining AHA, Chris was a health policy analyst for the Vitality Group and he co-founded the MEND Program, one of the largest community-based childhood obesity programs in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. Chris has published original research, commentaries, and statement articles on disease prevention and workplace health promotion in Circulation, Health Affairs, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, and the Journal of the American Medical Association. He has served as an expert panelist on workplace wellness for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the national advisory board for the Corporate Health Leadership Program convened by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Chris has expertise in policy analysis, workplace health research and evaluation, program development, implementation science, and cardiovascular disease prevention.
Christina M. Shay, PhD, FAHA is Director of Impact and Health Metrics at the Center for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Before joining the Center staff, she held academic appointments at the University of Oklahoma College of Public Health and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Public Health. Her expertise is cardiovascular disease epidemiology, with an interest in the application of epidemiologic and biostatistical methods to monitor the status of cardiovascular health in the US population. Her work has focused on better understanding how to define and measure overall cardiovascular health and the various components for clinical and epidemiologic research purposes. Chris also has experience in conducting metabolic, physical activity, and nutritional assessments in clinical and epidemiologic settings. She has served as a member of several local and national AHA committees.
Olivia N. Barnes, MPH is a Project Coordinator at the Centers for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Her background is in epidemiology and global health, and her graduate work focused on social determinants of health. She previously worked for various non-profit organizations, including CARE and the United Nations World Food Programme in Uganda. Olivia has also worked as a patient advocate/consultant at a small healthcare company in Dallas.
Jessica Lee, MPH is a Community Profiles Analyst. The focus of her public health work is health promotion, evaluation, and health policy, centered around a passion for women’s health. Before joining the AHA, she worked as an Evaluation Specialist at Susan G. Komen Headquarters where she addressed community health reporting for breast cancer. As lead for the Community Profile process, Jessica guided more than 100 Komen Affiliates to complete community health needs assessments that spoke to the state of breast cancer in the individual communities. At Komen she also had the opportunity to work as a grants manager for the Health Equity Initiative, which focused on reducing breast cancer mortality in African-American women. Additional projects included community health grants, program evaluation, and advocacy.
Remy Poudel, MPH, MS is a Statistical Analyst responsible for analytics and consulting, dynamic reporting, visualization, and database development. He is a Certified SAS professional with four SAS Certifications and certification in Public Health. He most often uses R, SAS, Python, and Mplus software. Previously, Remy was a Research Biostatistician at Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center (OUHSC). There, he was involved with assessing changes in depressive symptoms, substance abuse, and parenting skills in a DHS Title-IV Project focused on promoting child welfare. He also led database development, data analysis, and visualization of spatial data of children with special needs at OUHSC.
Adela Santana, MSEd, MPH, CHES is a Program Evaluation Analyst for the Center for Workplace Health Research and Evaluation. In this role, she supports the health metrics, program evaluation, and research-related activities of the AHA in the workplace. Her responsibilities include managing continuous quality improvement of the Workplace Health Achievement Index, a science-based measure of employee heart health that organizations can use to assess the quality and comprehensiveness of their workplace health programs. She also provides scientific support to the CEO Roundtable, a coalition of 26 Fortune 500 CEOs that is committed to creating a culture of health to improve employee health and well-being. Previously, Adela was a Health Scientist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division of Public Health Information Dissemination, where she worked closely with leadership and staff in policy, communication and science to coordinate strategic planning efforts and develop an evaluation infrastructure for the division.
Collaborating Team Members
Healthcare Quality Research and Bioinformatics
Yosef Khan, MD, PhD, MPH, is National Director for Healthcare Quality Research and Bioinformatics. Before joining the AHA, he was a faculty member at The Ohio State University in the departments of Biomedical Informatics and Biostatistics. Yosef’s primary research has focused on developing electronic standards and ontologies, working with clinical trial alert systems, leveraging health information exchanges for research purposes, and furthering development of electronic surveillance systems from registries, electronic health record systems, and large administrative databases. He has more than a decade of experience in designing, conducting, and analyzing large observational studies and therapeutic and device clinical trials. He has developed and enhanced electronic epidemiological surveillance systems, creating algorithmic profiles and risk models of chronic diseases. His training and experience has facilitated efficient and meaningful dialogue between industrial, biological, and business experts, making technical topics and issues accessible.
Learn more about policy research.
Laurie Whitsel, PhD, FAHA, is Director of Policy Research, helping to translate science into national policies in the areas of cardiovascular disease and stroke prevention and health promotion. Laurie presents at national conferences on prevention issues and evidence-based policy making, serves as an expert peer reviewer for several scientific journals, and is a consultant on research grant teams. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Health Enhancement Research Organization and the National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity. She has served on expert advisory groups to national initiatives, and has been a sector co-leader for the National Physical Activity Plan. She leads the AHA’s internal strategic plan around physical activity. Laurie has a courtesy appointment as an Associate Professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago and gives regular guest lectures at Columbia University. She is a Fellow and member of the AHA’s National Scientific Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health.
Madeleine Konig, MPH, is a Senior Policy Analyst, leading the association’s access and value policy portfolios including coverage, quality, systems of care, payment and delivery system reform, palliative care, and drug and pharmacy issues. She is also the Advocacy lead for the association’s work in support of hypertension monitoring and control. Madeleine represents the AHA in related relationships with AcademyHealth, Faster Cures, the National Forum for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, Network for Excellence in Health Innovation (NEHI), and eHealth Initiative (eHI), where she sits on its Policy Steering Committee. Previously, Madeleine was a Senior Manager in Government Affairs with Aetna and also served as a Program Analyst at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) in the Department of Health and Human Services. She has also held positions at Avalere Health and AcademyHealth.
Colby Tiner, MA, is a Policy Analyst, leading the association’s portfolios on health technology, stroke, surveillance, workplace health, and social determinants of health. He also serves as a policy advisor for the Association’s Center for Health Technology and Innovation, a role in which he works with volunteer academics, manufacturers, and providers to develop the Association’s burgeoning policy and research agendas in the digital health space. Colby also represents the AHA in various external digital health coalitions. Prior to joining the association, he ran political campaigns in his home state of Texas and served as an intelligence analyst in the United States Air Force.