In the Division of Epidemiology, we focus on conducting observational studies and clinical trials to address major public health challenges nationally and globally. In addition to leading numerous investigator-initiated projects and participating in many long-term multi-center observational cohort studies, our faculty are actively engaged in collaborative research across the school of medicine as well as other schools and institutes, including the McCormick School of Engineering, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Education and Social Policy.
What We Do
The division has a lengthy and proud history of involvement in NIH-sponsored, multi-site, longitudinal cohort studies, and its faculty oversee many investigator-initiated, NIH-sponsored research projects and trials focused on population health. While the early years of the division focused most intensively on cardiovascular health and disease, recent years have seen an expansion of focus into numerous disease and health topics such as cancer, obesity, diabetes, pulmonary disease, cognitive decline, depression, arthritis, chronic kidney disease, and lifecourse epidemiology. Faculty use numerous cutting-edge methods in study design, measurement, implementation, and analysis to better understand the etiology of heath and disease; division members are currently involved in observational studies utilizing social epidemiology methods, complex statistical modelling, multiple types of –omics measurement, insurance claim and EHR data, and tech-enabled assessment of physical activity and diet to name just a few methods and techniques. Division faculty also develop innovative prevention efforts for individuals and groups at high risk for developing certain chronic diseases and rigorously assess these efforts in trials using refined statistical and epidemiological methods.
The division educates and trains pre- and postdoctoral students, university faculty and community members to use epidemiology, biostatistics and bioinformatics methods to apply and translate research findings.
The NHLBI CVD training grant is a full-time, NHLBI-funded T32 postdoctoral research training program in cardiovascular epidemiology and prevention based in the division of epidemiology.
In addition to the CVD training grant, our faculty supports training in epidemiology through independent studies and by teaching in several Northwestern degree programs.
- The Master of Science in Biostatistics is a four-quarter (July 1 through mid-June) program training postdoctoral and predoctoral scientists to apply current methods of epidemiology and biostatistics to conduct research on a range of health problems facing the population.
- The Masters of Public Health Program offers an accredited master’s degree in public health to full-time (accelerated), part time and joint-degree students and offers a specific concentration in epidemiology.
- The Masters of Science in Clinical Investigation program is a part-time evening program primarily for medical residents, fellows and junior faculty members who wish to receive formal training in clinical research.
Meet Our Team
Diana Chirinos Medina
Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine (Epidemiology)
Dr. Diana Chirinos is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She is a clinical psychologist with training in public health and behavioral medicine. Her interdisciplinary program of research has been guided by theoretical models for understanding illness progression that incorporate elements of the behavioral sciences, psychoneuroimmunology, and basic physiology. Her work focuses on understanding the role of demographic and psychosocial factors as determinants of the cardiovascular health of ethnic minorities.
Kiarri N Kershaw
Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine (Epidemiology)
I am a social epidemiologist, and my work focuses on understanding the contributions of the social environment to cardiovascular health and health disparities. I have done a lot of research to date using secondary data to examine cross-sectional and longitudinal associations of racial/ethnic residential segregation with obesity and cardiovascular disease. More recently I have begun to explore the health impacts of two strategies for addressing the negative impact of segregation on health: 1) providing individuals with opportunities to move to neighborhoods with more health-promoting resources and 2) improving access to resources in segregated neighborhoods. My research investigating the first strategy currently involves the examination of changes in segregation exposure and health within individuals over time using existing data sources. My research exploring the second strategy seeks to use primary data collection and simulation modeling to understand whether and how modifying the food environment influences eating behaviors and obesity.
Research Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine (Epidemiology)
My research interest is in cardiovascular epidemiology, with a focus on the long-term associations of cardiovascular and lifestyle risk factors on sub-clinical atherosclerosis, markers of inflammation, quality of life, cardiovascular disease and mortality. In addition, with a multidisciplinary background in medicine, social science, and epidemiology, I am also interested in investigating how socio-demographic/economic factors interact with biological/epidemiologic factors that lead to disparities in various cardiovascular health outcomes, especially among vulnerable populations, such as the elderly, women, children, and immigrants.