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Andrew McWilliams, MD, MPH
Medical Director
Associate Professor
Dr. McWilliams is an experienced clinician-researcher and faculty member in internal medicine and pediatrics. He promotes building Atrium Health into a learning healthcare system and works across departments to facilitate research and innovation. He has a special interest in research that leverages new technologies to change healthcare delivery paradigms and advance the quality of care.
Medical School: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduate School: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Yhenneko Taylor

Yhenneko Taylor, PhD, MStat
Director, Health Services Research
Associate Professor

Dr. Taylor is a statistician and health services researcher. Her research interests include access to care for women and children and its effect on health outcomes in pregnancy and early childhood. She also examines the social determinants of health and improving care for vulnerable patient populations. She is an author of over 40 peer-reviewed research studies and has been an investigator on 8 federal and foundation grants. She is a recipient of AcademyHealth’s Minority Scholar Award and their New Investigator Small Grant Program in collaboration with the March of Dimes. She is also a research assistant professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte where she serves on the Public Health Programs Advisory Board.
Graduate School: PhD, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Graduate School: MStat, North Carolina State University

Philip Turk

Philip Turk, PhD, MS
Director, Biostatistics and Data Science
Associate Professor

Dr. Turk brings almost 25 years of academic and industry experience to the Center for Outcomes Research & Evaluation (CORE). Most recently, he was an associate professor of statistics at Colorado State University. Prior to that, he served as assistant professor of statistics at West Virginia University. As a statistical consultant, he has partnered with multidisciplinary faculty on numerous extramurally funded studies that span data science, computational statistics and translational and outcomes research. Dr. Turk’s extensive work in the private sector includes supporting the development of medical therapies and devices from research to market launch. He has authored or co-authored almost 50 peer-reviewed articles.
Graduate School: PhD, Montana State University
Graduate School: MS, Western Illinois University

Melanie Spencer

Melanie Spencer, PhD, MBA
Professor Emeritus

Dr. Spencer is a researcher and academic leader at Atrium Health. Her research interests are the application of bacterial genomics to human health, antibiotic stewardship and implementation science. Her postdoctoral research focused on the human gastrointestinal microbiome, including the analysis of the relationships among human-associated microbes, disruptions to the microbial system, nutrition and chronic disease.
Graduate School: PhD, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Graduate School: MBA, Queens University of Charlotte
Fellowship: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill            

Henry Bundy

Henry Bundy, PhD
Health Services Researcher           
Assistant Professor

Dr. Bundy’s primary research interests concern how sociocultural factors and economic inequity inform the experience and distribution of health and illness in the American South. He recently concluded a two-year ethnographic project to understand how uninsured working-poor South Carolina residents manage their chronic health conditions with safety-net care that is meant to be temporary and conditional. He is a Fulbright scholar, a Daniel R. Reedy Quality Achievement Award Fellowship recipient, and has had papers recognized for awards by the Society for Medical Anthropology’s Alcohol, Drug, and Tobacco Study Group and the Society for Economic Anthropology.
Graduate School: PhD, University of Kentucky

Shih-Hsiung Chou

Shih-Hsiung Chou, PhD, MS
Data Scientist, Acute Care
Assistant Professor

Dr. Chou is an industrial engineer whose research interests include big data analytics, multivariate statistical process control, high dimensional data visualization, data mining, machine learning and artificial intelligence. As a data scientist at CORE, he has participated in several projects involving new technologies, algorithms, exploratory applications, predictive modeling, data analysis, dashboard development and data mart construction. Examples of predictive models in development include hospitalization predictive models and inpatient/30-day mortality and 30-day readmission predictive models for suspected infection, asthma exacerbation, congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Graduate School: PhD, Kansas State University
Graduate School: MS, National Taipei University of Technology

Tara Eaton

Tara Eaton, PhD, MA
Lead Scientist, Qualitative Research
Assistant Professor

Dr. Eaton is an applied anthropologist whose research interests include new care delivery models, culturally targeted health information technology development and evaluation, telehealth, implementation science, organizational change, health disparities and ethnography in health services research. With over 20 years conducting qualitative research in a wide range of settings and industries, she has worked on numerous grants and research projects and presented her work at many local, national and international conferences and venues.
Graduate School: PhD, Wayne State University
Graduate School: MA, Wayne State University 

Marc Kowalkowski

Marc Kowalkowski, PhD
Lead Scientist, Clinically Integrated Research
Associate Professor

Dr. Kowalkowski leads an integrated research team of data scientists who closely collaborate with clinical teams to answer system-critical questions. Using clinical epidemiology, econometrics, data technology and machine learning approaches, Dr. Kowalkowski aims to better understand how patient and clinical characteristics can inform care delivery and improve patient outcomes. He also collaboratively directs an Atrium Health research initiative to improve care and outcomes for patients hospitalized with suspected infection, including the development of risk models to better align system resources for high-risk patients.
Graduate School: PhD, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Graduate School: MS, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Tsai-Ling Liu

Tsai-Ling Liu, PhD, MSPH
Associate Data Scientist
Assistant Professor

Dr. Liu’s educational background is in health services research with an emphasis on quantitative outcomes research. Her experience includes analyzing survey data, claims data and electronic medical records via Atrium Health’s electronic data warehouse. Dr. Liu’s research interests include telehealth, health disparities and chronic disease management. Her most recent work involves mixed methods research to evaluate the effectiveness of a navigator program for patients with dementia, including those in a rural setting.
Graduate School: PhD, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduate School: MSPH, National Yang-Ming University

Rohan Mahabaleshwarkar

Rohan Mahabaleshwarkar, PhD
Senior Data Scientist
Assistant Professor

Dr. Mahabaleshwarkar joined CORE in 2014. His research endeavors have been in using secondary datasets, including electronic medical records and Medicare and Medicaid claims data, to answer important research questions related to quality of healthcare and treatment patterns. He has an interest in conducting prospective cohort studies to examine the impact of interventions on health outcomes.
Graduate School: PhD, University of Mississippi
Graduate School: MS, St. John’s University

Jennifer Priem

Jennifer Priem, PhD, MA
Senior Data Scientist
Associate Professor

Prior to joining CORE in 2019, Dr. Priem worked as an associate professor in the Department of Communication at Wake Forest University and studied the interplay between interpersonal communication, stress and health. Currently at CORE, she provides statistical and methodological support for infectious disease and disease prevention, working with multi-disciplinary teams of healthcare professionals to address issues related to multi-drug resistant organisms and antibiotic stewardship.
Graduate School: PhD, Penn State University
Graduate School: MA, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Jason Roberge

Jason Roberge, PhD, MPH
Senior Data Scientist, Population Health
Assistant Professor

Dr. Roberge has been at Atrium Health since 2013. He has designed, managed and analyzed epidemiologic studies for more than 13 years. In his current role at CORE, he focuses on assessing initiatives that seek to improve outcomes for patients. Acting as co-principal investigator, recent studies included assessing standardized care plans for hospitalized COPD patients and evaluating virtual follow-up care among behavioral health patients seen in the emergency department. Presently, he is the principal investigator on a study that aims to reduce Vitamin D orders among the general population as part of a strategic initiative to lower wasteful testing and procedures.
Graduate School: PhD, The University of Arizona
Graduate School: MPH, Emory University

Alicia Sparling

Alica Sparling, PhD
Senior Data Scientist, Population Health
Assistant Professor

Dr. Sparling previously taught health economics at Davidson College before joining Atrium Health in 2018. While teaching, she investigated patient, community and provider-level determinants of access to care and health, covering diverse populations of elderly women, low-income cancer patients, agricultural workers and individuals living with multiple sclerosis. In her role as a senior data scientist at CORE, she focuses on population health research and cost-effectiveness studies.
Graduate School: PhD, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill            

Kamala Swayampakala

Kamala Swayampakala, PhD
Data Scientist, Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute
Assistant Professor

Prior to joining CORE, Dr. Swayampakala worked as a health services researcher supporting Atrium Health’s Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute. Currently at CORE, she provides statistical and research methodology support for Sanger. She also works with a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals to develop and implement research methods to assess the safety and effectiveness of drugs, devices and the impact of healthcare programs on patient outcomes.
Graduate School: PhD, University of South Carolina

Jing Zhao 

Jing Zhao, MD, PhD, MS
Senior Data Scientist
Assistant Professor

Dr. Zhao specializes in phase II-IV clinical trials and real-world evidence outcome studies. Serving as the lead statistician for ongoing research grants and several clinical projects, she applies a broad range of statistical, epidemiological and pharmacoepidemiology methods to support various trials. These trials include stepped-wedge cluster randomized trials, interrupted time series, and effectiveness-comparison studies utilizing propensity score analysis. She employs advanced statistics for large-scale data analyses of longitudinal data applying tree analysis and mixed, multilevel and predictive models. She also works with a multidisciplinary team to execute data coordinating center functions, including the collecting and preprocessing of data along with establishing and maintaining databases.
Medical School: Tianjin Medical University
Graduate School: PhD, Vanderbilt University
Graduate School: MS, Memorial University of Newfoundland


Collaborating Faculty

James Kearns

James Kearns, MD
Assistant Professor of Urology

Dr. Kearns is a physician-scientist and faculty member in the department of urology and CORE. He is particularly interested in characterizing recent local trends in prostate cancer care with an eye toward identifying and addressing healthcare disparities. His goal is to use this information to develop and study tools that can be integrated into the electronic health record and used at the point of care to reduce disparities while increasing care delivery for all. Dr Kearns also maintains a clinical practice at Levine Cancer Institute, where he primarily cares for men with prostate cancer.
Medical School: Columbia University

Caroline Reinke Caroline E. Reinke, MD, MSPH, MSHP, FACS
Associate Professor of Surgery
Surgery Quality Officer

Dr. Reinke is a clinician-researcher and a faculty member in surgery at Atrium Health’s Carolinas Medical Center. Her research interests focus on surgical outcomes, quality improvement and pragmatic clinical trials. Dr. Reinke leads the Atrium Health NSQIP Collaborative and works across Atrium Health to improve patient care.
Medical School: Duke University
Graduate School: MSPH, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill           
Graduate School: MSHP, University of Pennsylvania
Samuel Ross

Samuel Ross, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Surgery

Dr. Ross is an Assistant Professor of Surgery, Division of Acute Care Surgery, at Carolinas Medical Center. He is also NSQIP Surgeon Champion at Carolinas Medical Center and has research interests in EGS, trauma, hernia, MIS and surgical public health with over 35 peer- reviewed publications and 5 book chapters. He is the recipient of multiple international, national and regional research awards including the Raymond H. Alexander, MD Resident Research Award from EAST, Karl Storz Award from EAES, SAGES resident research award, ACS Committee of Trauma resident paper competition national finalist and three-time winner of the NC ACS COT Resident Paper Competition. Additionally, Sam is the recipient of the EAST ORIENS award and Leadership Development Scholarship. He was recently named Co-Director of EGS Public Health Research at Atrium Health as well as receiving a career research development grant.
Medical School: The University of North Carolina
Graduate School: MPH, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Stephanie Taylor Stephanie Taylor, MD
Associate Professor of Internal Medicine

Dr. Taylor is an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at Carolinas Medical Center. Dr. Taylor’s research interests focus on applying health services methods and "big data" analytics to granular clinical data to advance the learning hospital system and improve outcomes for patients with sepsis and other acute conditions. Along with CORE faculty Marc Kowalkowski, PhD, she leads an R01-funded dissemination and implementation study evaluating the effects of a sepsis transition and recovery program on reducing readmissions and mortality among sepsis survivors.
Medical School: University of South Florida

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