Skip to main content

Gaurav Dave, MD, DrPH, MPH, Director

Dr. Dave is Director of Abacus, Research Associate Professor in the School of Medicine, and the Associate Director of the Center for Health Equity Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). Dr. Dave is an expert in the field of formative and summative evaluation research, specializing in evaluating multi-level, complex initiatives, programs and interventions. He has over 15 years of clinical and public health practice and evaluation experience. His area of research focuses primarily on hypertension and chronic diseases, integrating systems thinking in evaluation research. He is the Director of Evaluation of the NIH-funded North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute (TraCS) at UNC, which aims at to accelerate clinical and translational research from health science to discovery to dissemination to patients and communities. He also co-directs the Systems Science and Evaluation Lab at UNC to foster the integration systems thinking and evaluation in biomedical, clinical and public health research. He also serves as the Evaluation chair for HRSA’s Southeast Regional Genetics Network at Emory University to improve health equity and health outcomes in individuals with genetic conditions, reduce morbidity and mortality caused by genetic conditions. Dr. Dave has a medical degree from the University of Pune, India and worked as an emergency room physician in Mumbai, before coming to the U.S. in 2004. He attended the UNC at Greensboro and completed a Masters and a Doctorate in Public Health in 2006 and 2011 respectively, with a concentration in public health, community-based prevention research and evaluation. Dr. Dave’s research interests include evaluation, systems science, and methods research to reduce disparities associated with chronic diseases and hypertension.

Lia Garman, MPH, Evaluation Research Assistant

Lia Garman, MPH, is an Evaluation Research Assistant at CHER and Abacus where she primarily works on the RADx-UP (Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics, Underserved Populations) program. She is a recent graduate of the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC, where she earned her MPH in the Maternal and Child Health Department. During graduate school, she provided research and evaluation support to the Clinical Scholars and ACOG leadership development programs, and technical assistance to Title X grantees through the Family Planning National Training Center. Prior to coming to UNC she held various positions in reproductive health advocacy and research. In addition to program evaluation, her broader research interests include safety net programs that serve pregnant people and families and bridging research and policy to advance health equity. 

Allyson Kelley, DrPH, MPH, CHES, Community Health Scientist

Allyson Kelley is a community health scientist and the founder of Allyson Kelley & Associates PLLC. She leads a multidisciplinary team of associates and together they work to evaluate programs that result in opportunities for community healing and transformation.

Since 2005, Allyson has worked with tribes and organizations as a research partner, public health consultant, evaluator, methodologist, epidemiologist, mentor, author, and educator. Her research interests include building community capacity to address the cultural, social, and environmental factors that contribute to differences in health outcomes among underserved populations in the United States. Allyson earned her Masters degree in Public Health Practice from the University of Alaska Anchorage and her Doctorate in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her first book, Evaluation in Rural Communities published by Routledge in 2018 has been recognized as a practical, how-to guide for evaluation throughout the US. Allyson’s second book, Public Health Evaluation and the Social Determinants of Health published by Routledge in 2020 gives insight into evaluation methods that build health equity in our world. Allyson lives in the central Oregon mountains and loves the outdoors and unplanned adventures. Laughter, family, good food, and the ocean are among her favorite things.

Cheryl Noble, MSW, MSPH, Program Evaluator

Cheryl Noble, MSW MSPH is an evaluator with expertise in leadership development, health equity, and organizational development. She has experience working with programs focused on leadership development, health equity, and service provision in the academic, international non-profit, health care, and public health sectors. She has provided evaluation services for award-winning leadership development programs, including the Food Services Leadership Institute, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Leadership Institute, and the Maternal and Child Health Public Health Leadership Institute. She currently serves as the evaluator of the Clinical Scholars National Leadership Institute, one of four programs funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to train leaders in their Culture of Health Initiative. She regularly collaborates with academic, philanthropic, non-profit, and public health partners to develop comprehensive evaluation approaches measuring program outcomes and impacts. Due to her 10 years of experience in evaluation and 15 years of experience in the human service industry, she has expertise in a variety of evaluation methods, focusing on mix-methods approaches, qualitative analysis, social network analysis, and Concept Mapping, among others. She received her BS in International Relations from Bethel University, and her MSW and MSPH from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Tanha Patel, MPH, Program Evaluator

Tanha Patel is a Program Evaluator and Public Health Professional who partners with Executive Leadership to implement innovative solutions that improves the health of individuals and the public. Tanha leverages her experiences and skills as an evaluator to help government, non-profit, and foundation funded public health programs become more strategic and effective so that it can inspire and empower people to leave their own positive impact for their communities.

Tanha believes in building internal capacity among program leaders and staff to understand what about their programs is working, how to continuously improve, and what impact they are having. Tanha has been consistently recognized by her peers as an emerging leader. She is currently serving as an Incoming Chair for the American Evaluation Association’s Translational Research Evaluation Special Interest Group and has co-chaired a working group that resulted in identifying key opportunities to strengthen clinical and translational science research evaluation. She has also co-authored several other publications sharing evaluation methods and findings of evaluation studies focused on community-based interventions.

Tanha is well positioned to envision emerging trends and opportunities to influence the future of health, health care, and health equity. Her experience working with healthcare systems, government initiatives across the translational spectrum, and foundation supported community-based initiatives, allows her to bring a unique perspective to any team looking to develop innovative ideas to shift systems and culture.

Michelle Song, MSPH, Data Manager

Michelle Song, MSPH, is a Data Manager at the UNC Center for Health Equity Research (CHER) and leads data analytics and visualization in Abacus. Before coming to UNC-Chapel Hill, Ms. Song was a Technical Advisor with the Data Science, Impact, and Learning team at Jhpiego, an affiliate of Johns Hopkins University and a leading global health organization. She has over 10 years of experience in data systems and use across domestic and international health systems and public health programs to improve health outcomes. She has designed and implemented economic and program evaluations for health systems, advocacy strategies, and improvement of internal operations. Ms. Song received her MSPH from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and executive education Certificates in Business Communication and Management Development from the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. Her health and non-health sector experience create a unique perspective from which to understand complex systems, how to make data work for the people who collect and manage it, and how to communicate clear messages data can contain. Her current work focuses on bringing data analytics and visualization to research and evaluation that is furthering the goal of improving health outcomes and equity. 

Allison Van, MPP, Data Scientist

Allison Van has twenty years of experience in mixed-methods complex systems analysis, community/academic partnerships, and the translation of research into social change. Her career has traversed sectors and disciplines, including extensive work in agricultural and rural development, poverty, child welfare and juvenile justice, social entrepreneurship, and medical innovation.  Uniting these experiences was a common approach to applied research and experimentation, allowing Allison to transform radically different systems and organizations.  Allison currently serves as the Executive Director of the Centre for Research in Empirical Social Science at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario Canada. Previously, she’s held positions at North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute at University of North Carolina, Winrock International, Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the National Rural Funders Collaborative.  She received a Masters Degree in Public Policy from Harvard University.


Madison Walker, MPH, Research Assistant

Madison Walker, MPH is a Research Assistant at the UNC Center for Health Equity Research and Abacus. Most of her work focuses on the evaluation of the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics, Underserved Populations (RADx-UP) program. She is a recent graduate of the Gillings School of Global Public Health, where she earned her MPH in Health Behavior. Prior to her graduate studies, she worked in research and program evaluation for a community-based behavioral health center. While in graduate school, she worked on the evaluation team for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s national healthcare leadership program, Clinical Scholars. Madison’s research interests include program evaluation, implementation science, mental health, and health disparities research. 


Mary Wolfe, PhD, Research Scientist

Mary Wolfe, PhD, is a Research Scientist at the UNC Center for Health Equity Research. She earned her PhD in City & Regional Planning from UNC-Chapel Hill, where she investigated transportation access to health care as well as innovative solutions to transportation barriers to care. Before coming to UNC-Chapel Hill, Dr. Wolfe was a Fulbright scholar at the Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research. Her research centers on connections between the built environment and health to understand disparities in health care access and health outcomes.