Faculty and Staff


Alan Jette, PhD, MPH

Dr. Alan Jette currently directs the Health & Disability Research Institute at the Boston University School of Public Health where he also serves as Professor of Health Policy & Management. He received his MPH and PhD in public health from the University of Michigan. Dr. Jette’s research interests include late-life exercise, evaluation of treatment outcomes, and the measurement, epidemiology, and prevention of disability. He has published over 160 articles on these topics in the rehabilitation, geriatrics, and public health literature. Dr. Jette is Research Director for the New England Regional Spinal Cord Injury Center based at Boston University Medical Center and serves as Associate Director of the Boston Claude Pepper Older Americans Independence Center. He is Director of the Boston Contemporary Outcome Measurement Network funded by the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research. His current work focuses on the development and dissemination of contemporary outcome measurement instruments to evaluate the quality of health care. Dr. Jette was a member of the NRC-IOM Committee to Review the Social Security Administration’s Disability Decision Process Research, was Chair of the IOM Committee on The Future of Disability in America, and was Chair of the NRC Steering Committee to Design and Conduct a Public Workshop on New Survey Measures of Cognitive and Functional Disability: Going Beyond ADLs and IADLs.

In Memoriam: Stephen M. Haley, PT, PhD, FAPTA 1951 – 2011

Dr. Stephen M. Haley served as the Steve was Professor of Health Policy & Management at the Boston University School of Public Health, Associate Director of its Health & Disability Research Institute, and served as Director of Research of the Center for Children with Special Health Care Needs at Boston’s Franciscan Hospital until his death in July, 2011.

Nancy Latham, PhD, PT

Dr. Nancy Latham is a Research Assistant Professor in the Health and Disability Research Institute at the Boston University School of Public Health. Her research interest is in applying methods from the field of clinical epidemiology, such as randomized controlled trials, cohort studies and meta-analyses, to rehabilitation research. She has published more than 35 articles in peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Latham has received a Mary E. Switzer Distinguished Fellowship from the National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research and was recently an investigator in the Boston Pepper Center Research and Development Core. Her current research projects include an NIH funded randomized controlled clinical trial of an exercise intervention to improve function after hip fracture and the development of a voice-recognition system to remotely monitor function in older adults.

Christine M. McDonough, PhD, MS, PT

Dr. Christine McDonough received her BS in Physical Therapy from the University of Vermont, and worked in a wide variety of clinical and non-clinical settings, primarily in independent physical therapy practice from 1988 – 2003. She received her MS and PhDs in Evaluative Clinical Sciences from Dartmouth College. Her research interests include patient, clinician, and policy decision-making, and measurement, epidemiology, and treatment of functional decline and disability associated with aging and musculoskeletal disorders. She holds a New Investigator Training Initiative Fellowship in Health Services Research from the Foundation for Physical Therapy and conducts collaborative research at the Health and Disability Research Institute and the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. She contributed as a committee member to the American Physical Therapy Association’s Revised Research Agenda, and is currently a member of the APTA’s Advisory Committee on the National Outcomes Database. She is an instructor for the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions course Designing Clinical Research, and guest lecturer for Medical Decision Making at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice.  She works as liaison and consultant for the Center for Translation of Rehabilitation Engineering Advances and Technology. Her current work investigates the responsiveness of computer-adaptive measures of function and disability in orthopedic and geriatric clinical trials.

Pengsheng Ni, MD, MPH

Dr. Pengsheng Ni is a Senior Data Analyst at the HDRI. Dr. Ni has extensive training in genetics, and brings a strong mathematical, biostatistical and computer science background to the development of contemporary patient-reported outcomes technology for health care. Dr. Ni’s current work involves applying different Item Response Theory (IRT) models to practical health care assessment issues, building Unidimensional and Multidimensional Computerized Adaptive Testing (CAT) models, providing statistical consultation and constructing web-based surveys. He has worked in multiple health care outcome assessments development process (such as Activity Measure for Post-acute Care (AM-PAC), Late Life Function and Disability Instrument, etc.), which included the data collection program development, item bank construct, CAT program development and evaluation. Dr. Ni brings extensive skills in various statistical software packages and programming languages including: SAS, Mplus, Parscale, OPLM, Testfact, ConQuest, Visual Basic, CGI and Perl, etc.

Mary Slavin, PT, PhD

Dr. Mary Slavin is the Director of Education and Dissemination at the HDRI. She is a physical therapist with more than 30 years of experience in the rehabilitation field, serving as a clinician, educator and researcher. Dr. Slavin’s interests include promoting evidence-based practice in rehabilitation and use of appropriate measures to assess rehabilitation outcomes. She is Co-Director of the Boston Rehabilitation Outcomes Measurement Center (Boston ROC) Didactic Core, and manages the Advanced Rehabilitation Research Training postdoctoral fellowship program at the HDRI. Dr. Slavin also serves as the Director of Dissemination for the Center for Enhancing Activity and Participation (ENACT), the Burn Injury Participation Disability and Rehabilitation Research Project and the Center of Excellence for Health Services Research. During her career, Dr. Slavin has served as a clinician, educator, and researcher. Throughout the last 15 years, she has played major roles in research conducted to develop and promote use of contemporary rehabilitation outcome measures that utilize item response theory (IRT) and computerized adaptive testing (CAT), including the Post-Acute Care (AM-PAC) and Spinal Cord Functional Index (SCI-FI).

Elizabeth Marfeo, PhD, MPH, OTR/L

Dr. Elizabeth (Beth) Marfeo is an Assistant Professor within the Tufts University Occupational Therapy Department, after serving as a Research Associate Professor at Boston University School of Public Health since 2011. She is a Co-Investigator on several large research projects related to examining measurement challenges within the context of the US Social Security Administration’s disability programs. Dr. Marfeo’s areas of interest include research focusing on quality and outcomes measurement development with a particular focus on aging and disability studies. Dr. Marfeo also serves on the Boston University Medical Center Institutional Review Board and is on the executive board of the AcademyHealth BU Student Chapter. She received her MPH in Health Policy from Yale University School of Public Health and BS in Occupational Therapy from the Medical College of Georgia.

Visiting Scholars

Una Makris, MD

Dr. Makris is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine and Division of Rheumatic Diseases & Clinical Sciences at UT Southwestern Medical Center, an Assistant Professor at Dallas Veteran Affairs, and an Adjust Assistant Professor at Yale University School of Medicine. Her research career has focused on back pain in older persons. During her tenure as a Boston ROC visiting scientist, she will be continuing her work on identifying outcomes that are most relevant to older adults with back pain.

Mary Stilphen, DPT

Mary Stilphen, DPT, is the Senior Director of the Rehabilitation and Sports Therapy at Cleveland Clinics. During her tenure as a visiting scientist, she will continue with her research activities using outcome data to inform decision-making about service delivery and discharge recommendations. As a Boston ROC Visiting Scientist, she is supported to examine data collected at Cleveland Clinics (50,000+ assessments) and develop proposals to conduct funded research.

Linda Resnick , PT, PhD

Dr. Linda Resnick is the visiting scientist for 2010– 11. Dr Resnik’s research activities bridge the methodologies of rehabilitation and health services research. Her interests include rehabilitation service delivery, outcomes measurement, prosthetics and amputation, and postdeployment reintegration. She is a member of 3 research teams; Brown’s Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research, Providence VA’s Research Enhancement Program and Center for Restorative and Regenerative Medicine. Dr. Resnick’s work will focus on patient-reported outcomes. She is working to develop a new instrument to assess community reintegration among veterans.


Doctoral Students

Jonathan Comins, NScm RPT, PhD

Feng-Hang (Sarah) Chang, PT, PhD, MPH



Kara Peterik, BA, Project Administrator

Miriam Brody , Research Assistant

Mary Dawson , Research Assistant

Nicholas DiPersio, Institute Administrator

Lori Goehring, Research Assistant

Bethlyn Houlihan, MPH , NERSCIC Associate Director

Molly Marino, MPH, Research Center Manager and Graduate Research Assistant

Mark Meterko, Project Administrator

Anna Schmidt, Administrative Assistant

Judi Zazula, NERSCIC Clinical Liason

Iliana Ycute-Castro , Grants Administrator