Board of Trustees Grants Faculty Appointments, Tenure


At the Washington University in St. Louis Board of Trustees meeting March 3, the following Brown School faculty members were promoted with tenure, effective July 1, 2017. Derek Brown, Alexis Duncan, Darrell L. Hudson and Jason Q. Purnell will serve as associate professors in the Brown School.

Each of the four teach within the Brown School’s growing Master of Public Health program, with courses including “Epidemiology Methods,” “Advanced Health Policy Methods,” “Health Behavior and Health Promotion,” and “Transdisciplinary Problem Solving: Popular Culture and Public Health.”

Befitting the transdisciplinary emphasis of the Brown School’s approach to public health, each faculty member informs their research with perspectives from fields like social work, psychiatry, genetics, economics and public policy.

Derek Brown focus his research on costs, access to care, quality, and disparities among Medicaid populations — including physician payment, housing instability, and child maltreatment. His goal with this work is to improve valuation of health outcomes and policies and to promote better economic evaluation of public health policies.

Alexis Duncan’s research focuses on risk mechanisms and psychiatric comorbidity of obesity, eating disorders and substance use disorders, particularly among women. Her additional research interests include nosology (the study of diagnostic criteria) of psychiatric disorders, the effects of child maltreatment, and differences in psychopathology by race, gender and sexual orientation.

Darrell L. Hudson conducts research on racial/ethnic health disparities and the role of social determinants of health, particularly how socioeconomic position and social context affect health and health disparities. Hudson is currently investigating why data show African Americans to have lower rates of depression compared to white Americans, despite greater exposure to stress and physical health disparities.

Jason Q. Purnell researches how socioeconomic and sociocultural factors influence health behaviors and health outcomes. He also prioritizes mobilizing community action to address the social determinants of health. He currently leads the For the Sake of All project, which focuses on improving the health of all people by eliminating racial inequities in the St. Louis region.

In addition, Leopoldo J. Cabassa was appointed with tenure.

Cabassa will join the Brown School faculty this summer, bringing expertise on Hispanics and other racial and ethnic minorities with serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorders or major depression. Cabassa uses his research to inform the development and implementation of interventions to reduce disparities in health and mental health care.