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Current Group Members

Our group members represent a diverse body of research interests including (but not limited to) environmental exposures, medical care delivery, disease transmission and disease cluster detection. 

Chantel Sloan, PhD

Dr. Sloan is a research fellow in the Center for Asthma and Environmental Sciences Research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, working with Tina Hartert, MD, MPH.  Dr. Sloan is one of the founding members of the VUMC GIS user group, and runs the monthly meetings.  She is currently funded as an NIEHS K12 scholar to conduct spatio-temporal research on respiratory syncytial virus and pediatric asthma.  Dr. Sloan did her undergraduate work at BYU-Hawaii in biology and biochemistry.  She then attended Dartmouth College and completed a doctorate in genetics.  While at Dartmouth, her research interests  expanded as she became involved in a geographic genetics project resulting from a collaboration with the geography department.  Dr. Sloan pursued more in-depth study of spatial analysis methods during a postdoctoral internship at SUNY Stony Brook working on Q-statistics, which are new methods incorporating human mobility in spatio-temporal disease cluster detection.  She is now working to advance her  current research projects, as well as increase support for medical geography research at VUMC.

Jacob Thornton

Jacob Thornton is the GIS Coordinator and Census Information Center Director in the Vanderbilt University Library. A 2004 graduate of James Madison University with a degree in Geographic Sciences, Jacob began work in his field as a GIS analyst for a local civil engineering firm and has been at Vanderbilt for the past five years. The Geographic Information Systems and Census Information services of the Vanderbilt Library are dedicated to providing the data, tools and training necessary to understand, analyze, and present geographic information. Jacob works closely with Vanderbilt faculty, staff, and students to provide data access, GIS support, and lend expertise in cartography and spatial analysis. He frequently lectures and conducts instruction sessions on GIS and Census related topics in graduate and undergraduate level courses on campus, and his broad range of services are utilized in disciplines such as Teaching and Learning, Economics, Business Management, Earth Sciences, and Anthropology, as well as the Vanderbilt Medical Center and the surrounding Nashville community.

Eva Pantaleoni, PhD

Dr. Pantaleoni is Visiting Scholar at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Education and Human Development. Dr. Pantaleoni received her B.S. degree from Bologna University, Italy, in 2001, before coming to the U.S. for her M.S. degree in Earth Observation from Purdue University, in 2004, and her Ph.D. in Remote Sensing and GIS applied to the environment from Virginia Tech, in 2007. She joined the Kennedy Center in 2010. Her current research interests are medical geography and epidemiology, and specifically she focuses on the effect of air pollution on mortality among infants with developmental disabilities. She also collaborates to the National Children study bringing her GIS expertise.  

David Russell, BS

David Russell is a Paramedic for Vanderbilt LifeFlight where he is a Supervisor in the Office of Emergency Communications (OEC).  He also serves as the go-to person for many computer, database, data analysis, GIS, and other business type needs for LifeFlight and the OEC.  He also serves as the Manager for Discharge Transportation Management where he researched, planned, and setup a business within Vanderbilt to facilitate all discharges that are transported by ambulance.  Prior to Joining Vanderbilt LifeFlight he worked for Rutherford Count Emergency Medical Services in Murfreesboro, TN where he held positions as Dispatcher, Paramedic, and Director of the Special Operations Team.  David has used GIS in many ways and roles since approximately 1998 and is now using it to plan and assist LifeFlight with business planning and analysis.  He has earned an Associates Degree in Allied Health from Volunteer State Community College and Bachelor of Science from Middle Tennessee State University.  Originally from Alexandria, VA he now lives in Murfeesboro, TN with his wife of 11 years and two sons, 6, and 8.  He has interests in computers, photography, and amateur radio with the call sign of N3VUH.

Melissa Kranz Fankhauser, MPH

Melissa is an epidemiologist for the Metro Public Health Department in Nashville.  She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology with minors in Earth Science and Chemistry from the State University of New York, College at Brockport and a Master of Public Health with a concentration in Epidemiology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  She has also earned a certificate in Applied Geospatial Information Systems from Tennessee State University.  She has been doing GIS work with a focus on public health since 2004. 

Carlos Grijalva, MD, MPH

Dr. Grijalva is Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN). Dr. Grijalva was born in Peru and received his MD degree from the Universidad Nacional San Luis Gonzaga, Peru in 2001, before embarking upon postgraduate training in biostatistics and tropical infectious diseases at the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, respectively. Dr. Grijalva also received a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from Vanderbilt University in 2006 and joined the faculty of the Department of Preventive Medicine in the same year. His current research is focused on vaccine-preventable respiratory diseases, especially pneumococcal and influenza infections, and the evaluation of the effectiveness of immunizations and other preventive programs. He is currently leading a project in the Peruvian Andes where GIS strategies will be used to map the spread of respiratory diseases.