A thesis is required for all students completing the Vanderbilt MPH Program. It is a substantive and original body of work that allows students to synthesize and integrate knowledge from their public health course work and practicum experiences, apply it to a particular topic area, and communicate their ideas and findings through a scholarly written product. The thesis represents the culmination of the student’s educational experience in the Vanderbilt MPH Program. 

The thesis may take on different formats, depending on the student’s track focus and interests. Regardless of the format chosen, the student must apply critical thought, systematic analysis, and clear presentation. 

Each student is responsible for identifying a topic and appropriate format for their thesis with the assistance and guidance of faculty advisors and faculty thesis readers.

The practicum product must be distinct from the thesis. Although the practicum and thesis can be related, the student must be able to articulate how the two projects are independent from one another. The practicum is a practice experience that allows students to apply and develop skills in public health concepts. The thesis is the synthesis and integration of knowledge acquired in coursework and through the practicum and results in an original scholarly work.


Topic and Mentor(s)

Julia Allen


Diabetes Services Utilization under the Affordable Care Act Medicaid Expansion: Evidence from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
Gilbert Gonzales, Ph.D., M.H.A.

Frances Anderson   Evaluation of the Minnesota TB Screening Program: Immigrants and Refugees with TB Class conditions Arriving in the State of Minnesota, 2012-2014 
Alicia Earnest, M.P.H.

Jimmy Carlucci, M.D.


Prevalence and Risk Factors for Malaria among Children in Zambezia Province, Mozambique
Troy Moon, M.D., M.P.H.

Alaina Davis, M.D.


Depression and Medication Non-Adherence in Childhood-onset Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
Melissa McPheeters, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Cherie Fathy


Ophthalmologist Age and Patient Complaints
William Cooper, M.D., M.P.H.

Grace Fletcher


Maternal Conception of Gestational Weight Gain Among Latinas: A Qualitative Study
William Heerman, M.D., M.P.H.

Sarah Greenberg


Evaluation of the Home Health Market: Impact of Chain Status on Quality Care 
David Stevenson, Ph.D.

Aamer Imdad, M.B.B.S.


Pathogenic Escherichia coli (E. coli) As Cause Of Acute, Moderate To Severe Gastroenteritis In A Geographically Defined Pediatric Population In Colombia, South America. A Case Control Study
Oscar Gomez, M.D., Ph.D.

Kailey Lewis


Variation in Tennessee Outpatient Antibiotic Prescribing by County of Practice and Provider Specialty in 2013
Marion Kainer, M.B.B.S., M.P.H.


Katie McGinnis


An Exploratory Investigation Into Parent/Caregiver and Hospital Staff Perceptions About Children and Families' Psychosocial Needs and Hospital Experiences in Two Kenyan Children's Hospitals
Doug Heimburger, M.D., M.S.

Rany Octaria, M.D.


Using Administrative and Surveillance Data to Target Carbapenem Resistant Enterobacteriaceae Response and Prevention Strategies in Tennessee
Troy Moon, M.D., M.P.H.


Ezequiel Ossemane


Assessment of Guardians’ One-Day Recall of Elements of Informed Consent to a Mozambican Study of Pediatric Bacteremia
Troy Moon, M.D., M.P.H.


Caroline Presley, M.D.


Validation of an Algorithm to Identify Heart Failure Hospitalization and Retrospective Assessment of Frailty Status
Robert Greevy, Jr., Ph.D.

Jason Pryor, M.D.


Pregnancy Intention and Maternal Alcohol Consumption
Katherine Hartmann, M.D., Ph.D.

Markus Renno, M.D.


Toward High-Value Utilization of Pediatric Echocardiography: Foundations for a Robust Quality Improvement Initiative
Prince Kannankeril, M.D.

Kidane Amare Sarko



Influence of HIV Status Disclosure on Facility-based Delivery and Postpartum Retention of Mothers in a Prevention Clinical Trial in Rural Nigeria 
Muktar Aliyu, M.D., M.P.H., Dr.P.H.

Cassie Smith


Evaluating the Frequency and Dispersion of ACOs with Multiple Payer Contracts
Michael Richards, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.

Shanel Tage


Determinants of Breastfeeding Self Efficacy Among Mexican Immigrant Women 
Melanie Lutenbacher, R.N., Ph.D.

Grace Umutesi Wa Mana  

Evaluation of the impact of the Ebola outbreak on the Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) Surveillance in Guinea and Liberia
Troy Moon, M.D., M.P.H.

Christopher Wahlfeld, Ph.D.


HIV Rapid Diagnostic Test Inventories in Zambézia Province, Mozambique: A Tale of Two Test Kits
Troy Moon, M.D., M.P.H.

Katherine Watson, M.D.  

Measuring Health Literacy in Parents of Young Children
Russell Rothman, M.D., M.P.P.


Topic and Mentor(s)

Lealani Acosta, M.D.


Error Frequency in Category Fluency in Mild Cognitive Impairment
Angela Jefferson, Ph.D.


Jillian Balser   Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences on Long-term Outcomes in Vulnerable Populations: Retrospective Analysis
Carolyn Audet, Ph.D., M.Sc.

Mary Bayham


Predictors of Healthcare Utilization Among Children 6-59 months in Zambezia Province, Mozambique
Troy Moon, M.D., M.P.H.

Angela Boehmer, R.N.


Patient and Clinician Satisfaction with Task Shifting of Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission (PMTCT) Services in rural North-Central Nigeria
Muktar Aliyu, M.D., M.P.H., Dr.P.H.


Mariu Carlo, M.D. 


Executive Function, Depression, and Mental Health-Related Quality of Life in Survivors of Critical Illness
E. Wesley Ely, M.D., M.P.H.


Erin Graves, R.N.


Prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) outcomes in Zambézia, Mozambique
Carolyn Audet, Ph.D., M.Sc.


Erin Hamilton


Evaluation of a School Nutrition Education and Fruit Delivery Intervention in Santiago, Chile
Troy Moon, M.D., M.P.H.


Bryan Harris, M.D.


Preventing Infection-Related Ventilator-Associated Complications
Tom Talbot, M.D., M.P.H.


Jessica Hinshaw


Food Security and Dietary Diversity of a Peri-urban Community in Nicaragua
Avery Dickins de Giron, Ph.D.


Savannah Hurt


Pediatric Perioperative Mortality Rates in a Sample of Urban Kenyan Hospitals
Bantayehu Sileshi, M.D.


Mary Allyson Lowry, M.D.


An Innovative Mucosal Impedance Device Differentiates Active Eosinophilic Esophagitis From Inactive Disease, Nerd, and Controls
Sari Acra, M.D., M.P.H.


Joseph Maloney


Microenterprise in Croix-des-bouquets, Haiti: Program Evaluation to Evaluate Affects on Poverty and Health
Troy Moon, M.D., M.P.H.


Brett Norman, M.D.


30-day Readmission Rates Associated with Survivors of Severe Sepsis
John Graves, Ph.D. 


Bhinnata Piya


An Early Impact Assessment of Health Systems Strengthening Initiatives on Tuberculosis Outcomes: A 6 Month Prospective Cohort Study in Southeast Liberia
Kate Clouse, Ph.D., M.P.H.


Nicholas Richardson, D.O.


Adverse Health Outcomes of Contemporary Survivors of Childhood & Adolescent Hodgkin Lymphoma
Debra Friedman, M.D.


Caitlin Ridgewell



Prematurity as a mitigating factor in the relationship of adverse family events and adolescent depression: Analysis of the 2011/2012 National Survey of Children's Health
Melissa McPheeters, Ph.D., M.P.H.


Althea Robinson-Shelton, M.D.


Problem Behaviors in Pediatric Narcolepsy
Beth Malow, M.D.


Emily Sheldon


Strategic Planning with the Turner Family Center for Social Ventures at Vanderbilt University
Bart Victor, Ph.D.


Shellese Shemwell



Vaccine and Vitamin A Compliance in Children Ages 12-13 months in Zambezia Province
Natasha Halasa, M.D., M.P.H.


Thomas Spain, Jr, M.D.


History of Physician Complaints and Risk of Hospital Readmission
Bill Cooper, M.D., M.P.H.


Krystal Tsosie, M.A.  

Epidemiology of Essential Hypertension and Uterine Fibroids
Todd L. Edwards. Ph.D.


Zachary Willis, M.D.


Risk Factors for Persistent and Recurrent Clostridium difficile Infection among Pediatric Oncology Patients
Cecilia Di Pentima, M.D., M.P.H.


Jo Ellen Wilson, M.D.


Catatonic Signs in Patients with Delirium in the ICU: A nested prospective cohort study
E. Wesley Ely, M.D., M.P.H.


Kathleene Wooldridge, M.D.  

Social Isolation and Hospital Length of Stay in Acute Decompensated Heart Failure
Sunil Kripalani, M.D., M.Sc.


Topic and Mentor(s)

Amma Bosompem, MS  

Evaluation of Treatment Completion Rates for Latent Tuberculosis Infection in Refugees in Davidson County
Connie Haley, MD, MPH, Global Health


Mary DeAgostino-Kelly  

Analysis of Sex Differences within the Nutritional Support for Africans Starting Antiretroviral Therapy Study Results
Douglas Heimburger, MD, MS, Global Health


Annabelle de St. Maurice, MD  

Invasive Pneumococcal Disease in Tennessee: Regional Differences in Rates, Racial Distribution and Antibiotic Susceptibility
Natasha Halasa, MD, MPH, Pediatric Infectious Disease


Jay Doss, MD  

A Study of Rheumatoid Arthritis by Serotype in a Clinical Electronic Health Record
Joshua Denny, MD, MS, Biomedical Informatics


Najibah Galadanci, MBBS  

Acceptability and Safety of Hydroxyurea for Primary Prevention of Stroke in Children with Sickle Cell Disease in Nigeria
Michael DeBaun, MD, MPH, Vanderbilt-Meharry Center for Excellence in Sickle Cell Disease


Dupree Hatch, MD  

Endotracheal Intubation Safety and Outcomes in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
E. Wesley Ely, MD, MPH, Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care Medicine


Caleb Hayes



A Focus Group Study on the Barriers to Type 2 Diabetes Self-management among Latinos in Middle Tennessee
Chandra Osborn, PhD, MPH, General Internal Medicine and Public Health


Colleen Kiernan, MD  

Utilization of Radioiodine After Thyroid Lobectomy In Patients with Differentiated Thyroid Cancer: Does it Change Outcomes?
David Penson, MD, MPH, Urology


Sahar Kohanim, MD   

Risk Factors and Patterns of Unsolicited Patient Complaints in Ophthalmology: an Analysis of a Large National Patient Complaint Registry
Paul Sternberg, MD, Ophthalmology


Kristy Kummerow, MD  

Inter-hospital Transfer for Acute Surgical Care: Does Delay Matter?
Ben Poulose, MD, MPH, General Surgery


Paula McIntyre, MS  

Multidimensional Poverty in Dominican Bateyes: A Metric for Targeting Public Health Interventions
Aaron Kipp, PhD, MSPH, Epidemiology


Alicia Morgans, MD  

Patient-Centered Treatment Decision-Making in Advanced Prostate Cancer
David Penson, MD, MPH, Urology


Thomas O'Lynnger, MD



Standardizing the Initial and ICU Management of Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury Improves Outcomes at Discharge: A Pre- and Post-Implementation Comparison Study
John Wellons, MD, MSPH, Neurosurgery


Cristin Quinn  

Changes in the Comprehensiveness of Care Provided at HIV Care and Treatment Programs in the IeDEA Collaboration from 2009 to 2014
Bill Wester, MD, MPH, Global Health


Scott Revey, MA



Women's Agency in Rural Mozambique: Multidimensional Poverty and The Decision to Bear Children
Troy Moon, MD, MPH, Global Health


Katie Rizzone, MD



Development of a Survey to Study Sports Specialization and Injury Risk in College Athletes
Christianne Roumie, MD, MPH, General Internal Medicine and Public Health


Elizabeth Rose, M.Ed.   Determinants of undernutrition among children aged 6 to 59 months in rural Zambézia Province, Mozambique: Results of a population-based cross-sectional survey
Troy Moon, MD, MPH, Global Health

Jay Shah, DO



Association Between Disease Activity and Fatigue in Adolescents with Crohn's Disease
Maciej Buchowski, PhD, Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition


Ebele Umeukeje, MBBS  

Increasing Autonomous Motivation in End Stage Renal Disease to Enhance Phosphate Binder Adherence
Kerri Cavanaugh, MD, MHS, Nephrology


Andrew Wu  

Incidence and Risk Factors for Respiratory Syncytial Virus and Human Metapneumovirus Infections Among Children in the Remote Highlands of Peru
Carlos Grijalva, MD, MPH, Health Policy


Topic and Mentor(s)

Jay Bala  

Diagnostic trends in rural health clinics in Southern, Zambia, 2003-2009: Informatics for clinic data management
Doug Heimburger, MD, MS, Global Health

Imani Brown


Positive prevention in Zambézia province, Mozambique: How effective/useful is the messaging?
Troy Moon, MD, MPH, Global Health


Charlotte Buehler, MS  

Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to examine spatial patterns and clustering of HIV knowledge withing three districts of Zambézia Province, Mozambique
Troy Moon, MD, MPH, Global Health


Lanla Conteh, MD


Radiologic-Histologic concordance for hepatocellular carcinoma: comparing lesions treated with locoregional therapy versus untreated lesions
Seth Karp, MD, Surgery


Liz Dancel, MD  

Acculturation and Infant Feeding Styles in a Latino Population: Results from an Ongoing Randomized Controlled Trial of Obesity Prevention
Russell Rothman, MD, MPP, Internal Medicine and Pediatrics


Eileen Duggan, MD  

Patterns of Care, Outcomes and Healthcare Utilization for Patients with Perforated Appendicitis at Children’s Hospitals
Martin Blakely, MD, MS, Pediatric Surgery


Laura Edwards


Evaluation of a health management mentoring program in rural Mozambique: successes and challenges of year one of implementation
Troy Moon, MD, MPH, Global Health


Ditah Fausta, MD  

Pharmacogenomics of Anti-Retroviral Drug-Induced Hepatoxicity
David Haas, MD, Infectious Diseases


Monique Foster, MD  

Prevalence of Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli and Analysis of Classical and Non-Classical Virulence Factors
Oscar Gomez, MD, PhD, Pediatric Infectious Disease


Oliver Gunter, MD  

Teaching Status is Associated with Early Postoperative Complications in Emergency Abdominal Operations
Dan Barocas, MD, MPH, Urologic Surgery


Bill Heerman, MD  

Parent Health Literacy and Injury Prevention Behaviors for Infants
Shari Barkin, MD, MSHS, General Pediatrics


Angela Horton-Henderson, MD  

Predictors of Acute Care Transfers from Inpatient Rehabilitation
Sunil Kripalani, MD, MSc, General Internal Medicine and Public Health


Jessica Islam  

Knowledge, Attitudes and Perceptions of Cervical Cancer and the HPV Vaccine in a Cohort of Bangladeshi Women
Muktar Aliyu, MD, MPH, DrPH, Global Health


Yaa Kumah-Crystal, MD, MA  

Technology Use for Self-Management Problem Solving in Adolescent Diabetes and its Relationship to Hba1C
Shelagh Mulvaney, PhD, School of Nursing
Russell Rothman, MD, MPP, Internal Medicine and Pediatrics


Chrispine Moyo, MBChB  

WHO 2007 Policy Recommendation to Initiate Anti-Retroviral Therapy with Tenofovir instead of Stavudine: Implementation Status in Zambia and 12-months Outcome Evaluation
Sten Vermund, MD, PhD, Global Health
Doug Heimburger, MD, MS, Global Health


Elizabeth Murphy  

Youth Violence Prevention in the Sierra Region of Chiapas, Mexico; Identifying Relevant Positive Youth Development Approaches to Promote Healthy Relationships
Carol Etheringon, RN, MSN, Global Health


Christopher Nyirenda, MBChB  

Plasma Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Zambian Adults with HIV/AIDS: Relation to Dietary Intake and Cardiovascular Risk Factors
Doug Heimburger, MD, MS, Global Health


Colby Passaro  

MSM HIV/Syphilis Testing and Sexual Risk Behaviors at a Lima CBO: A Cross-Sectional Retrospective Study
Connie Haley, MD, MPH, Global Health
Aaron Kipp, PhD, Epidemiology


Heather Paulin, MD  

Antenatal Care Uptake in Zambézia Province, Mozambique
William Wester, MD, MPH, Global Health and Infectious Diseases


Matthew Resnick, MD  

Self-referral for Advanced Imaging in Urolithiasis: Implications for Utilization and Quality of Care
David Penson, MD, MPH, Urologic Surgery


Cecelia Theobald, MD  

Improving Quality of Care for Patients Transferred to VUH: Targeting Provider Communication
Sunil Kripalani, MD, MSc, General Internal Medicine and Public Health


Christopher Tolleson, MD  

Motor Timing in Parkinson's Disease Patients with Freezing of Gait
David Robertson, MD, Clinical Pharmacology


Yuri van der Heijden, MD  

Missed Opportunities for Tuberculosis Screening in Pediatric Primary Care
Tim Sterling, MD, Infectious Diseases 


Ellen Zheng, PhD, MS  

HIV infection and related risk factors among men who have sex with men (MSM) with commercial sex activIties in China
Han-Zhu Qian, MD, PhD, Global Health


Topic and Mentor(s)

Dwayne Dove, MD, PhD  

Neuroimaging Young School-Age Children: Brain Connectivity and Pre-Reading Skills in Kindergarten
Laurie Cutting, MA, PhD, Special Education


Leigh Howard, MD  

A Phase I Study in Healthy Adults to Assess the Safety, Reactogenicity, and Immunogenicity of Influenza A/H5N1 Virus Vaccine Administered With and Without Adjuvant System 03
Kathy Edwards, MD, Pediatrics


Eiman Jahangir, MD  

The Socioeconomic and Sociodemographic Determinants to Awareness, Treatment, and Control of Hypertension in the Southern Cone
Doug Sawyer, MD, PhD, Medicine
Adolfo Rubinstein, MD, MSc, PhD


Ashley Karpinos, MD  

Prevalence of Hypertension Among Collegiate Male Athletes
Russell Rothman, MD, MPP, General Internal Medicine and Public Health


Pat Keegan, MD  

Patterns of Care Regarding Active Surveillance for Prostate Cancer
Dan Barocas, MD, MPH, Urologic Surgery
David Penson, MD, MPH, Urologic Surgery


Dzifaa Lotsu, MD  

Role of Omega Fatty Acids in Colorectal Cancer
Harvey Murff, MD, MPH, General Internal Medicine and Public Health


Andre Marshall, MD  

Socioeconomic Disparities of 30-day Readmissions Following Surgical Treatment of Appendicitis in Children
Martin Blakely, MD, Pediatric Surgery


Leigh Anne Dageforde, MD  

Health Literacy Assessment in Dyads of Primary Support Persons and Patients being Evaluated for Kidney Transplantation
C. Wright Pinson, MD, Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs
Irene D. Feurer, PhD, Surgery and Biostatistics
Derek E. Moore, MD, MPH, Surgery 


Rebecca Snyder, MD  

Patterns of Care in Perioperative Therapy for Resectable Gastric Cancer
David Penson, MD, MPH, Urologic Surgery


Jose Tique, MD  

Assessing Literacy and Numeracy in Patients with HIV Infection in Mozambique: Validation of the HIV Literacy Test
Sten Vermund, MD, PhD, Global Health
Troy Moon, MD, MPH, Pediatric Infectious Disease
Phillip Ciampa, MD, MPH, Medicine 


Eduard Vasilevskis, MD  

Developing a Daily Prediction Model for Acute Brain Dysfunction in Older Patients: A New Tool for Quality Measurement and Improvement
Wes Ely, MD, MPH, Allergy/Pulmonary & Critical Care Med Division


Joshua Warolin, DO  

Factors in Adolescent Weight Gain, a Prospective Cohort
Maciej Buchowski, MD, Medicine 


Candice Williams, MD  

Rural Residence and Access to Mental Health Care for Children and Adolescents after a Suicide Attempt
William Cooper, MD, MPH, General Pediatrics


Elizabeth Williams, MD  

Educational Intervention to Improve Acceptance of the Recommended Childhood Vaccine Schedule in Vaccine Hesitant Parents
Kathy Edwards, MD, Pediatrics


Jessica Young, MD  

Severe Dysmenorrhea in Adolescence and its Association with Somatization, Mood Symptoms, and Chronic Pain
Lynn Walker, PhD, Pediatrics


Topic and Mentor(s)

Alex Diamond, DO  

Determining the effects of participation in organized physical activity
as a youth on a variety of short as well as long-term patient
and societal-oriented outcome measures
Andrew Gregory, MD, Orthopaedic Surgery


Richard Epstein, PhD   

Sudden cardiac death risk and psychotropic drug use
in young women
William Cooper, MD, MPH, General Pediatrics


Jennifer Esbenshade, MD   

Surveillance of influenza shedding in healthcare workers
in a pediatric intensive care unit
Tom Talbott, MD, MPH, Infectious Diseases


Sara Horst, MD   Evaluating a cohort of patients diagnosed with different chronic abdominal pain syndromes as children or adolescents now being evaluated as young adults
Lynn S. Walker, PhD, Pediatrics
Tera Howard, MD   

Health literacy defined as the degree to which patients can obtain, process and understand basic health information and services they need to make appropriate health decisions
Sunil Kripalani, MD, MSc, General Internal Medicine and Public Health 


Matthew Landman, MD  

Effects of organ allocation strategies in liver transplantation
C. Wright Pinson, MD, Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs 


Christopher Lee, MD  

Development of muscle imaging as a biomarker in amyotropic lateral sclerosis
Beth Ann Malow, MD, Neurology


Alessandro Morandi, MD   

The role of pre-hospital use of statins on delirium and long-term cognitive impairment prevention in critically ill patients
Wes Ely, MD, MPH, Allergy/Pulmonary & Critical Care Med Division


Wesley Self, MD  

Comparing the results of a real-time polymerase chair reaction (PCR) test targeting Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and culture results from purulent material isolated from skin and soft tissue (SST) abscesses
Bob Dittus, MD, MPH, Associate Vice-Chancellor for Public Health and Health Care


Julia Shelton, MD  

Effects of wound classification on the incidence of abdominal wall incisional hernias
Mike Holzman, MD, General Surgery


Anees Siddiqui, MBBS  

Preventing HIV/AIDS transmission among female sex workers (FSWs)in Nawabshah,Sindh by assessing prevalence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs)and knowledge regarding HIV/AIDS transmission
Sten Vermund, MD, PhD, Global Health