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PhD in Health Sciences Cohort

Newest Students 2017

The Ph.D. in Health Sciences program began its third cohort on August 18, 2017 at NIU's Hoffman Estates Campus.

Nine students and several faculty from fields across the College of Health and Human Sciences kicked off the evening with a dinner and a reception.

NIU Dean for Division of Research and Graduate Studies, Bradley Bond, welcomed the students and Dr. Michael O'Rourke delivered the evening's keynote address.

Current Students

Get more information and view member biographies from previous year cohorts


The 2017 cohort at the August Ph.D. in Health Sciences event

Newest Student Biographies 2017

Crystal Carel

Most recent degree(s): Master of Public Health, The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

Current professional position: Systems Analyst (Programmer/Quality Consultant)

Research goals: Investigating outcomes related to quality among supportive and palliative care and non-palliative care clinicians and interactions with seriously ill patients.

Faculty advisor: Dr. Jinsook Kim

Shubhagata Das

Most recent degree(s): Master of Science-Profession Program in Biotechnology, Texas A&M University

Current professional position: Scientific Affairs Manager, Luminex Corporation

Research goals: Evaluating the role of biostatistics in clinical trials design and analysis, particularly understanding how to optimally design a clinical study based on available data, which would reduce risks, and improve the quality of results and submissions. Investigate how to determine the suitable variables to be measured based on the study objectives and to learn efficient ways to interpret and analyze data. Additionally, exploring how early, accurate, and rapid diagnosis, along with an efficient healthcare management system, can lead to high-quality, cost-effective patient care; how transforming complex healthcare and diagnostic systems to simpler user-friendly platforms can eliminate diagnostic and human errors thus providing timely results and improving the overall clinical workflow.

Faculty advisor: Dr. Ping Yao

Deauna Froneberger

Most recent degree(s): Master of Science-Mental Health Counseling (Rehabilitation Counseling) & Post Masters Certificate in Rehabilitation Counseling and Behavioral Addictions

Current professional position: Vocational expert and rehabilitation counselor

Research goals: Prepare students and clinicians in the delivery of health care via Telehealth through the development of interpersonal skills and use of technology, developing useful options to enhance quality of life and efficacy of chronic disease management, and public and private sector rehabilitation counseling service delivery.

Faculty advisor: Dr. Matthew Sprong

Hannah Johnson

Most recent degree(s): Doctor of Physical Therapy

Current professional position: Staff Physical Therapist-Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Research goals: Enhancing the interdisciplinary team within a skilled-nursing facility setting; optimize student and clinician knowledge of physical therapy treatment strategies for persons with mental health disorders.

Faculty advisor: Dr. Jennifer Gray

Donna Kruse

Most recent degree(s): Master of Science-Nursing, Northern Illinois University

Current professional position: Registered Nurse (Stroke Coordinator and Magnet Coordinator), Advocate Sherman Hospital, Elgin, Illinois.

Research goals: Study patients who suffer a stroke but delay in seeking medical treatment (is the delay due to lack of knowledge, denial, severity of symptoms, etc.).

Faculty advisors: Dr. Kari Hickey

Olivia Lemberger

Most recent degree(s): Master of Science- Nursing

Current professional position: Clinical Educator- Rush Copley Hospital

Research goals: Health care innovation-interdisciplinary use of simulation.

Faculty advisor: Dr. Jeanette Rossetti

Audra Moore

Most recent degree(s): Master of Occupational Therapy

Current professional position: Occupational Therapy Supervisor, Wood County Educational Service Center, Bowling Green, Ohio.

Research goals: Meeting the needs of clients with social and health disparities with specific interest on the family dynamics related to the opiate crisis as well as youth mental health. To utilize developing research to advance access to community health programs by establishing a sample model using telehealth practices in conjunction with face to face interaction with clients.

Faculty advisor: Dr. Thomas Pavkov

Nathan Taylor

Most recent degree(s): Master of Public Health/Master of Science-dual degree with a concentration in Health Information Systems

Current professional position: Clinical Informatics Consultant

Research goals: Using healthcare data and technology to find the best practices and techniques that drive high quality care at low cost within chronic diseases.

Faculty advisor: Dr. James Ciesla

Paris Willis

Most recent degree(s): Master of Science-Health Education & Promotion, with an emphasis in Community Health, University of Cincinnati.

Current professional position: Quality Improvement Facilitator, Telligen.

Research goals: Analyzing approaches to health disparities in unserved and underserved communities, specifically exploring low levels of access and/or use of mental health services, including community stigma.

Faculty advisor: Dr. Kathleen Musker