Program Director

Brian A. Primack, MD, PhD
Dr. Primack is the Director of MTH, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research on Health and Society, and Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics, and Clinical and Translational Science at the University of Pittsburgh. After graduating from Yale University with degrees in English and Mathematics, he taught adolescents and studied human development for his master's degree at Harvard University. He subsequently graduated first in his class from Emory Medical School and trained in Family Medicine in Pittsburgh. Dr. Primack combines his expertise in education, technology, human development, and medicine by researching the effects of media and technology on health. 


Kar-Hai Chu, PhD
Assistant Professor of Medicine

Dr. Chu joined MTH as an Assistant Professor of Medicine in 2016. He completed his BS in Computer Science from Johns Hopkins University, MS in Computer Science from Columbia University, and PhD in Communication and Information Sciences from the University of Hawaii. His interdisciplinary training focused on applying technology and social network analysis to different aspects of interactive online education. For the past several years, he has been a Research Scientist at the University of Southern California, studying various public health issues, including tobacco control, community health coalitions, and social media based health surveillance. Dr. Chu’s current research is focused on innovative methods of using online technologies to support health science.


Jason B. Colditz, MEd
Program Coordinator

Jason joined the MTH team in 2012 and is responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations and research staff.  He received a B.S. with high honors, majoring in Psychology and Communications, and an M.Ed. in Social and Comparative Analysis, both from the University of Pittsburgh. He has served in various research administration roles for the past 10 years. Jason is currently a Ph.D. student in the Clinical and Translational Science program at the University of Pittsburgh. His primary research interests include social media use typologies, online peer-to-peer support networks, early-intervention models for substance use, and econometrics of research.
César G. Escobar-Viera, PhD, MD
Postdoctoral Associate
In 2015, Dr. Escobar-Viera received his Ph.D. in Health Services Research at the University of Florida. Before coming to the U.S., Dr. Escobar-Viera completed his medical education and clinical training in Psychiatry in his home country of Paraguay, where he also served as CMO of the only public psychiatric hospital during the Psychiatric Reform in that country. From then on, he acquired a long-standing interest in exploring new ways to improve access to and delivery of mental health services in community settings. His main research interests include social media and consumer information technology as potential tools improve access to mental health services. He is currently working in several projects related to the impact of social media on mental health outcomes, the integration of mental health services into primary care, as well as the qualitative component of the ongoing Pennsylvania Community Health Choices Evaluation Project, which is conducted by the Medicaid Research Center affiliated to the Health Policy Institute.
Beth Hoffman, BSc
Research Assistant
Beth joined MTH in 2014 as a medical student and has since become an integral staff member. She graduated from Brown University with a degree in Human Biology. Her current research focuses on portrayals of health topics in primetime television shows.

Ariel Shensa, MA
Statistician and Data Manager

Ariel joined the Center in 2010 and is responsible for data management and analysis.  She received a B.A. in Psychology from Chatham University and M.A. in Research Methodology from the University of Pittsburgh. Ariel is currently a Ph.D. student in the Clinical and Translational Science program at the University of Pittsburgh. Her interests include structural equation modeling, social media use and addiction, media literacy, and tobacco use prevention.

Jaime E. Sidani, PhD, MPH, CHES
Assistant Director

Dr. Sidani joined the Center in 2011 after practicing as a university health educator for 5 years. After graduating from the University of Rochester with a B.A. in Health & Society, she completed an M.P.H. at the Northwest Ohio Consortium for Public Health. Dr. Sidani completed her Ph.D. in Health Education at the University of Toledo and maintains her status as a Certified Health Education Specialist. She is a key player in studies conducted at MTH and continues to develop novel approaches in assessing and tracking health behaviors. Her main research interests include adolescent health behavior and tobacco use prevention, with a specific focus on media and technology.
Michelle Woods, BA
Communications Officer
Michelle joined MTH in 2016, contributing her editing and social media knowledge to the team. She received a B.A. in Writing from Grand Valley State University and completed a copy editing certificate program at the University of Chicago. Michelle is currently a M.A. student in English at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research interests include social media and media literacy. 

Current and Recent Students

Medical Students

Meghan Bisbey
Bethany Corbin
Erin Whaite
Sabrina Karim

Public Health Students

Priam Chakraborty
Jacquelynn Jones
Mara Leff
Amber Chaudry
Dan Rzewnicki
Amanda Shaginaw

Undergraduate Students

Maharsi Naidu
Chandler Larkin
Christine Stanley
Erica Barrett
Daria Williams
Charis Williams
Tabitha Yates
Kirsten Wade
Eva Rosen 

Affiliated University of Pittsburgh Faculty

Michael J. Fine, MD, MSc
Medicine, Clinical and Translational Research, Health Disparities

A. Everette James, JD, MBA
Health Policy and Government

Kevin Kraemer, MD, MSc
Alcohol Use, Clinical Medicine

Steven Martino, PhD, 
RAND, Health Psychology

Elizabeth Miller, MD, PhD
Pediatrics, Adolescent Medicine, Community-Based Research

Brooke Molina, PhD
Psychiatry, Psychology, Youth Development, Substance Use

Ana Radovic, MD
Adolescent Medicine

Daniel Rosen, PhD
Social Work, Substance Use, Aging, Technology, Business

William G. Shadel, PhD
RAND, Health Psychology, Media Messages, Substance Use

Galen E. Switzer, PhD
Medicine, Psychiatry, and Psychometrics

Charles Wessel, MLIS
Library Science, Systematic Reviews

Jessica Levenson, PhD
Health psychology, Psychiatry, Sleep