Chair, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Program director, PhD in Epidemiology
From Norway, Dr. Fonnebo Knutsen completed her medical degree in 1972 at the University of Oslo, Norway. She worked in family medicine for some years before continuing her training by obtaining a Master of Public Health from Loma Linda University in 1977. She then worked as a Public Health officer for several years before joining the faculty at Institute of Community Medicine, University of Tromsoe where she taught Family Medicine and did research on lifestyle and coronary heart disease.
In 1984-85, she spent one year on a sabbatical at the University of Hawaii where she worked on the INTERSALT study as well as with the Honolulu Heart Study. She received the PhD degree from the University of Tromsoe in 1990 with her research based on findings from the Tromsoe Health Study. Following this, she spent one year sabbatical at the School of Public Health, Loma Linda University working on lifestyle and utilization of health services. In 1992, she joined Loma Linda School of Public Health as Chair of the department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. She has continued doing research on lifestyle and chronic diseases as well as health effects of air pollution and is involved in the mentoring of several doctoral students.
Lifestyle and chronic disease, bone health, tobacco and health
Dr. Bahjri is an assistant professor at the department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics since 2001. in addition to his academic role in teaching epidemiology and biostatistics to undergraduate and graduate students, Dr. Bahjri currently is a senior consultant and a co-director of the Health Research Consulting Group at Loma Linda University since 2006. He has assisted many researchers with their projects as well as numerous students in completing their dissertations and preparing for the board exams.
His expertise in research involves power and sample size calculations, selecting appropriate observational and experimental study designs, data management of large projects, analysis of wide variety of research projects and reviewing manuscripts.
As the clinical/statistical services coordinator for clinical faculty at Loma Linda University Medical Center, Dr. Bahjri primarily is responsible for ensuring adequacy of study designs, stating the hypothesis of the protocol, and using appropriate statistical methods.
Jim Banta completed an MPH in Biostatistics from Loma Linda University in 1991. That year he began working at the San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health, first as a Statistical Methods Analyst and then as Managed Care Research Analyst. As a data analyst he was involved with quality improvement efforts, measuring and tracking clinician productivity, and needs assessments. Later he was involved with psychiatric inpatient and outpatient managed care implementation, consumer outcomes measurement, and Medi-Cal audits. While still working at the County, he started the PhD program in Health Services at UCLA. He received a dissertation year award grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency for a national study of hospitalized heart failure patients and comorbid psychiatric disorders. After completing his dissertation in 2004, Dr. Banta left the public sector and joined the LLU School of Public Health as an Assistant Professor, with appointments in the Departments of Health Policy and Management and Epidemiology and Biostatistics.
In addition to teaching responsibilities at LLU, he has been involved in mentoring several master degree students in research projects, done statistical consulting, and worked on quality improvement projects at the LLU Medical Center that also involve health administration students. He has received external funding for research efforts involving the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) and Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS).
Mental illness (including binge drinking) and comorbid physical illness, inpatient health services research for a number of conditions, including sepsis; Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
Director, Epidemiology Program
Larry Beeson’s academic background includes a BS degree in physics from the La Sierra campus of Loma Linda University (now called La Sierra University) after which he spent one year working towards a master’s degree in laser optics at the University of California at Riverside and was a teaching assistant at the same time for one of the physics professors. Unexpectedly, he received his draft notice to be part of the U.S. army after only one year of graduate school. He was trained as a combat medic and served with the NATO forces in southern Germany (Bavaria) for about 2 years. Upon discharge from the army he entered the School of Public Health at Loma Linda University where he received his Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) degree majoring in biostatistics. After graduation Larry joined the Adventist Health Study[-1] research team to evaluate the relationship between lifestyle and chronic disease, especially cancer and heart attacks. For the past 36+ years Larry has been part of that research team while simultaneously earning his Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree majoring in epidemiology. He is now an associate professor in the epidemiology and biostatistics department, the Epidemiology Program Director for the School of Public Health, and serves as co-investigator on two major epidemiologic studies on campus, the NIH-funded Adventist Health Study-2 (AHS2) and the Adventist Health and Smog (AHSMOG). He is also a member of the Environmental Justice Advisory Group for the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
Health effects of air pollution; bone health; lifestyle/environment and health
Gary Fraser received his medical degree from the University of Otago (NZ) in 1969. While recipient of NZ Medical Research Council and NZ National Heart Foundation Fellowships, he spent two years at the Laboratory of Physiological Hygiene, University of Minnesota, USA, receiving the MPH degree (1979). In 1979 Dr. Fraser received his PhD from the University of Auckland. He became board certified in California in internal medicine (1981) and cardiovascular medicine (1983) and is presently Professor of Cardiology at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and Professor of Epidemiology at the School of Public Health, Loma Linda, California.
Over the last 22 years, Dr. Fraser has been awarded a number of AHA and NIH research grants, with a broad focus on diet, exercise, lipids, heart disease, and cancer. At present, he is principal investigator of the study "Cancer Epidemiology in Adventists -A low risk group." This study will find the incidence of breast, colon, and prostate cancer and mortality amongst 96,000 black and white Adventists over a 10 year follow-up. He is also the principal investigator of the study “Biological and Psychological Manifestation of Religion”. This study examines particular cognitive, behavioral, affective, and social manifestations of religious experience and their associations with quality of life and cause-specific mortality.
Dr. Fraser is author/coauthor of over 100 scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals, and author of two books "Preventive Cardiology" (1986) and "Diet, Life Expectancy, and Chronic Disease " (2003), both Oxford University Press.
Director, Biostatistics Program
While attending college, I began teaching mathematics at age 18 and received my BS in Math from the University of Tehran, Iran. I have published 5 books in the field of high school and college entrance exams. After coming to California in 1978, I received my MS in Math and Statistics in 1980 from University of California, Irvine. I began teaching at the University of California at Fullerton in 1984 and completed my PhD in 1997 from the University of California at Riverside.
I joined Loma Linda University School of Public Health Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics in January 2000.
Dr. Job completed his doctoral research in improved measles vaccine with clinical trials in Haiti.
He teaches in the areas of epidemiologic research methods, international health programming, infectious diseases, grant and proposal writing, and tobacco prevention/control.
He has served as a consultant to numerous organizations working in the field of global health.
He is also involved in federally-funded research in tobacco prevention/control and in the National Children’s Study.
Dr. Kiani currently is the president of Integrated Dynamic Solutions (consulting firm). She holds a Doctorate degree in Public Health in Research epidemiology from Loma Linda University and has been trained on quality of health care at Harvard University. She has been Director of Quality Outcome Management and Performance Improvement at multiple hospitals in the Los Angeles area during the past several years. She provides consultation and facilitation for a variety of quality management functions including process improvement and readiness for meeting regulatory and accreditation surveys. She is also a faculty member at Loma Linda University in Southern California teaching quality improvement, patient safety, and outcome research.
She is a member of Editorial Staff for the California Association for Healthcare Quality (CAHQ) Journal and a review panel member for the Journal for Healthcare Quality Review.
From Norway, Dr. Knutsen completed his medical studies in 1972 at the University of Oslo, Norway. He worked in family medicine and psychiatry before he trained and became board certified in internal medicine. He worked for several years at the Tromsoe University Hospital, Norway before receiving further training in endocrinology at Aker University Hospital in Oslo, Norway.
Parallel with his clinical practice, he completed a Master of Public Health at Loma Linda University in 1977. In 1984-85, he spent a one year sabbatical at the University of Hawaii working on the INTERSALT study as well as with the Honolulu Heart Study. In 1990, he was funded from Norway to do bone mineral research in the Mineral Metabolism Lab at the Loma Linda Veterans Hospital where he continued working and publishing for several years.
He joined Epidemiology and Biostatistics in 1997.
bone health, issues in aging, fibromyalgia, cardiovascular disease
John W. Morgan, DrPH, CPH is a Professor of Epidemiology at Loma Linda University (LLU) with a primary appointment in the School of Public Health. In addition to his academic and teaching roles at LLU, Dr. Morgan serves as Epidemiologist for the California Cancer Registry, the statewide cancer surveillance system. His research interests include identification of independent and modifiable predictors of delayed diagnosis of screen detectable cancers, evaluation of adherence with standards of care in the treatment of cancers with origins in the breast, colon and rectum and cervix uteri, and community cancer assessments. Consistent with his background in microbiology, Dr. Morgan maintains research activities in infection control and infectious disease epidemiology.
Born in Japan, Keiji Oda came to Loma Linda University in 2005 as a student. After receiving his MPH in Biostatistics, he worked as a statistical programmer in the department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and also contributed his skills/expertise to the Adventist Health Study-2, a large cohort study of Seventh-day Adventists in the U.S. and Canada. He is currently an Instructor of Biostatistics and continues to work with researchers within and outside the School, providing help with statistical analysis.
Dean, School of Public Health
Dr. Tricia Penniecook studied Medicine and Public Health in Montemorelos University, Mexico. She worked for five years in her country of origin, Costa Rica, in the Ministry of Health as County Health Director, State Epidemiologist, State Health Director and Adviser to the Minister of Health for the Atlantic Region.
She later returned to her Alma Mater to coordinate the Master’s in Public Health programs, and to infect medical students with her passion for public health. A little over two years ago she was invited to join LLU’s School of Public Health as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs; her most important challenge has been coordinating the self-study process in preparation for the school’s accreditation.
She is the happy wife of Richard Blanco, Business Manager for the Office of Public Health Practice, and proud mother of Richard Tyrell and Anthony Arnoldo. Her professional passions are infectious disease epidemiology, access to health services and integration of faith in the teaching and learning of health sciences.
Lifestyle intervention motivates the clinical and academic interests of Dr. Peters for both the prevention and treatment of degenerative diseases. As director for the Loma Linda University Center for Health Promotion, he applies his experience and skills from years of work in preventive medicine and vascular surgery.
Texas and Washington state nurtured him from childhood to adult life. He received his college education at Walla Walla College with a BS degree in Zoology and his medical training from Loma Linda University. After completing his surgical training at the Mason Clinic in Seattle Washington, he was a partner with the Rockwood Clinic in Spokane Washington for ten years. The last fifteen years have been devoted to the development and implementation of clinical preventive medical care. A masters degree in epidemiology and biostatistics created for him the added dimension of population based medical care. His research field is the genetics of obesity which has opened an added understanding of human behavior, neuro-biochemistry and disease intervention.
Mountaineering, stone masonry, computers, and being a grandfather balance and enrich his life. His patients are met with a smile, a desire to make complex things simple, and a passion to facilitate their quest for complete health.
Floyd Petersen graduated from Walla Walla College in 1969 (chemistry/math). He then taught secondary physical science in Zambia for 7 years and Canada 8 years. In 1977 he obtained an MPH in biostatistics and completed a major in Health Administration at LLUSPH. Floyd has taught biostatistics at Loma Linda University for the past 29 years. His academic appointments are in the schools of Public Health, Nursing, Medicine, and Graduate School. In addition to his teaching, he was the director of a statistical consulting group within the SPH Epi/Biostatistics department from 2000-2009. During this time he has personally consulted on over 700 research projects. Floyd has considerable international experience, having taught/consulted in PR China, Kenya, Thailand, Indonesia, Romania, Tchad, Russia and Lao PDR.
He is an author on over 20 peer-reviewed articles and is a member of Delta Omega. In addition to his academic life, Floyd has been a member of the Loma Linda City Council from 1990 to present and mayor of the City of Loma Linda from 1996-2006. He authored and sponsored legislation to make Loma Linda a smoke-free city. Floyd is a member and past chair of Omnitrans – a regional public transportation system. He is currently chair of the Administrative and Finance Committee with oversight of a $100 million budget. Floyd is also a member of the board of directors, (2002-present) of Amphastar Pharmaceuticals - a generic and specialty pharmaceutical company that focuses on developing, manufacturing, marketing and the sale of generic and innovative parenteral pharmaceutical products, new delivery systems, and new technologies.
From Spain, Dr. Sabaté is a board certified physician in internal medicine who moved to the U.S. to further train in Public Health Nutrition. He obtained the degree of Doctor of Public Health in Nutrition from Loma Linda University. He was an American Heart Association post doctoral fellow in the Preventive Medicine Department then became an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics and in the Department of Nutrition. In 1998 he was named Chair of the Department of Nutrition while continuing his teaching commitments in epidemiology.
Dr. Sabaté served as principal investigator in a nutritional study that directly linked the consumption of walnuts to significant reductions in serum cholesterol. His findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1993 and received the attention of more than 400 media sources, both national and international. Dr. Sabaté's most recent research has focused on the relationship of almonds, pecans, and walnuts to heart disease risk factors. He has served as a co-investigator of the Adventist Health Study and the relationships between their diets and various diseases and is currently a co-investigator of the Adventist Health Study – 2.
He has also conducted considerable research in the area of vegetarian nutrition, is editor of the book Vegetarian Nutrition published in 2001, and was the principal architect of the Vegetarian Food Guide Pyramid released in 1997 at the 3rd International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition and redesigned in 2008. As co-chair of the 3rd International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition in 1997, chair of the 4th edition of the congress in 2002 and of the 5th congress in 2008, Dr. Sabaté has been influential in helping establish the scientific evidence of the health benefits of vegetarian diets.
Dr. Singh completed his doctoral degree in epidemiology in 1999 and worked on questionnaire validation research and body composition studies of the Adventist Health Study cohort.
His current research has focused on population-based studies of tobacco use in Southeast Asia.
Since 2002, he has been an investigator on Fogarty/NIH grants of tobacco use in Cambodia and Laos. He is also an area investigator on the NICHD-funded National Children's Study (Wave II, San Bernardino County).
Dr. Singh teaches courses in Principles of Epidemiology, Multivariable Modeling in Epidemiology, and International Health Programming.
Dr. Wilber completed her undergraduate work at Walla Walla College in College Place, WA. She obtained the MD and MPH degrees from Loma Linda University in 1999 and 2003. She teaches both Biostatistics and Epidemiology courses for the department, and has interest in maternal and child health issues. Her current research emphasis is with the Perinatal Services Network, evaluating mother-infant bonding practices within hospitals in southern California.