Media Experts: Syracuse University Researchers on COVID-19

For those looking for experts to comment on various aspects and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, please use the reference list below of Syracuse University faculty experts for your articles and media coverage.

For additional media assistance, please contact:

Ellen Mbuqe, Director of News and Public Relations   |
Joshua Grossman, Director of Media Relations Washington D.C.   | 
Keith Kobland, Media Relations Manager   |
Daryl Lovell, Media Relations Manager   |
Matt Michael, Media Relations Specialist   | 

Public Health

Brittany Kmush   |
Brittany Kmush is an assistant professor of public health in Falk College. Kmush’s specialties include epidemiology, immunology and vaccines, and infectious diseases. Her expertise is particularly well suited for information related to the vaccine and subsequent booster shots. 

David Larsen   |
David Larsen is an associate professor of public health in Falk College. Larsen’s expertise includes global health, large data analysis and spatial statistics, and sanitation. During the 2020-2021 academic year, Larsen helped lead Syracuse University’s wastewater surveillance program to monitor COVID-19 on campus. 

Brooks Gump   |
Brooks Gump is the Falk Family Endowed Professor of public health in Falk College. Gump’s specialties include the effects of psychosocial factors on overall health, discrimination and health, and epidemiology. He has commented on various aspects of the pandemic’s effect on public health guidance. 

Bryce Hruska   |
Bryce Hruska is an assistant professor of public health in Falk College. Hruska’s specialties include the impacts of occupational stress and traumatic event exposure related to PTSD. He is available to comment about the effects of the pandemic on healthcare workers. 

COVID and Politics

Shana Kushner Gadarian   | 
Shana Kushner Gadarian is professor and chair of political science in the Maxwell School. Gadarian’s specialties include American politics, political psychology, and public opinion. She was recently named a 2021 Carnegie Fellow for her quantitative research studying the long-term impacts of the pandemic on health behaviors and evaluations of government performance. 


Doron Dorfman   |
Doron Dorfman is an associate professor of law in the College of Law. Dorfman’s expertise includes anti-discrimination and equity law, disability law and policy, and public health law. His legal specialties are particularly well suited for news related to mask and vaccine mandates. 

Mark Nevitt   |
Mark Nevitt is an associate professor of law in the College of Law. Nevitt’s specialties include military law and national security law and policy. He is available to comment on the legality and policies surrounding COVID-19 vaccine enforcement for military members. 

Kyla Garrett Wagner   |
Kyla Garrett Wagner is an assistant professor of communications in the Newhouse School. Garrett Wagner is an expert on the relationship between public health and the First Amendment, focusing on the impacts of health-driven media regulations on freedoms of speech. She can discuss the history of people fighting against public health mandates. 

Nursing Homes and Elder Care

Nina Kohn   |
Nina Kohn is the David M. Levy Professor of law and faculty director of online education in the College of Law. Kohn’s expertise lies in elder care, nursing homes, and the civil rights of older adults with diminished cognitive capacities. Kohn has frequently commented on the situation regarding COVID-19 within nursing homes. 

Pandemic’s Impact on Society

Scott Landes   |
Scott Landes is an associate professor of sociology in the Maxwell School. Landes is an expert on medical sociology and the sociology of disability. His current research focuses on the impact of the pandemic on those with physical and mental disabilities, as those with developmental disabilities are at a much higher risk for COVID-19. 

Shannon Monnat   |
Shannon Monnat is an associate professor of sociology and the Lerner Chair for Public Health Promotion in the Maxwell School. Monnat’s expertise lies at the intersection of place, public policy and health. Most notably, Professor Monnat will serve as lead researcher for a project examining the impacts of state COVID-19 mitigation policies on adult psychological health, drug overdose and suicide. The five-year project is funded by $1.95 million from the National Institutes of Health. 

Colleen Heflin   |  
Colleen Heflin is a professor of public administration and international affairs in the Maxwell School. Heflin’s specialties include policy related to child and family poverty. Her most recent work focuses on the impacts of food insecurity in American households, particularly during the pandemic. 

Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern   |
Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern is an assistant professor of food studies in Falk College and an affiliated faculty member of geography in the Maxwell School. Minkoff-Zern’s expertise lies at the intersection of food, racial and social justice, and agricultural policy. Her most recent work focuses on the impact of the pandemic on food systems and farm workers. 

Pandemic’s Impact on Veterans 

Nicholas Armstrong   |
Nicholas Armstrong is the senior director for research and evaluation at the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF). Armstrong’s expertise lies in veteran public policy for the societal and economic needs of veterans. His current work focuses on advocating for policies and programs to support veterans during the pandemic. 

Rosalinda Vasquez Maury   |
Rosalina Vasquez Maury is the director of applied research and analytics at the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF). Maury has extensive experience studying veteran and military spouse employment and education. Her recent work relates to the positive impacts of  veteran entrepreneurship during the pandemic. 

Business and Supply Chains

Julie Niederhoff   |
Julie Niederhoff is an associate professor of supply chain management in the Whitman School. Niederhoff’s expertise lies in supply chain contracting, human behavior related to supply chain, and operations. She has commented frequently on the challenges impacting global supply chains throughout the pandemic. 

Patrick Penfield   |
Patrick Penfield is a professor of supply chain practice in the Whitman School. Penfield’s research focuses on green supply chains, manufacturing and warehousing, and strategic sourcing. His expertise has been a leading voice on issues within supply chains during the pandemic.

Burak Kazaz   |
Burak Kazaz is the Steven R. Becker Professor of supply chain management and the Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor of Teaching Excellence in the Whitman School. Kazaz’s research focuses on the integration of supply chain operations, marketing and pricing, and the management of uncertainty and risk. His expertise relates to the manufacturing and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Mental Health

Afton Kapuscinski   |
Afton Kapuscinski is an associate professor of psychology and director of the Psychological Services Center in the College of Arts and Sciences. Kapuscinski’s research relates to the treatment and prevention of mental health issues in adults, and college students in particular. She is available to comment on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on both adult and young adult’s mental health. 

Ken Marfilius   |
Ken Marfilius is an Assistant Teaching Professor of Social Work in Falk College. Marfilius’ areas of interest include social work intervention, military culture and mental health, and suicide prevention. He is able to comment on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on veteran’s mental health.

Rashimi Gangamma   |
Rashmi Gangamma is an Associate Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy in Falk College. Gangamma’s expertise includes providing trauma-informed mental health treatment for refugee families. Her current research focuses on the benefits of teletherapy and telehealth services during the pandemic.

Race and COVID-19

Danielle Taana Smith   |
Danielle Taana Smith is a professor of African American studies in the College of Arts and Sciences and director of the Renée Crown University Honors Program. Smith’s research focuses on global public health and issues of social justice and human rights. Her current work covers the impact of COVID-19 on people of color. 


George Theoharis   |
George Theoharis is a professor of education leadership and inclusive elementary and early childhood education in the School of Education. Theoharis has extensive experience in educational leadership as a former principal and teacher. He is currently focused on the impact of the pandemic on the education system and students.

Tiffany Koszalka   |
Tiffany Koszalka is a professor of instructional design, development and evaluation in the School of Education. Koszalka studies the integration of learning, instruction, and technologies in instructional and learning environments. With the COVID-19 pandemic, Koszalka’s work and research is especially important given the transition to online or hybrid work for students of all ages. 

Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion

The Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion in the Maxwell School leads the way in community health research, education, and outreach related to the social, spatial, and structural determinants of physical, mental, and behavioral health. The center consists of over 20 faculty affiliates from various disciplines including public health, sociology, psychology, economics, and public administration.

The Lerner Center has published dozens of studies and research briefs during the pandemic related to various aspects of COVID-19. You can find them here. Recent examples: