Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health has been funded as a Public Health Training Center (PHTC) since 2001, covering different health departments in different funding cycles around New York and New Jersey, in partnership with a number of institutions (see History).  The Central Office is housed within the department of Sociomedical Sciences, whose mission is to “address public health challenges by taking into account the broad social, historical, cultural and political contexts with the ultimate goal to empower communities and inform social and health policy.”  The faculty and staff that work on the Region 2 PHTC have expertise in training, adult learning, survey research and needs assessment design, and draw from the department’s expertise in health disparities, health equity and social determinants of health.

Marita Murrman

murrmanMarita Murrman is the Principal Investigator (PI) of the Region 2 Public Health Training Center. She has been the PI for two previous HRSA-funded Public Health Training Centers (PHTCs): the New York-New Jersey PHTC (2001-2011) and the New York City-Long Island-Lower Tri-County PHTC (2011-2014). For the past 20 years, she has designed and taught competency- based education and training programs, face-to-face and via distance, domestically and globally for practicing physicians, nurses, public health workers and community health workers and for medical housestaff, dental post-doctoral students, undergraduate and graduate nursing students and graduate public health students. Marita directs one of the largest MPH certificate programs at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and teaches 3 of its required courses: Designing Needs and Assets Assessments, Theories in Public Health Research and Practice and Advanced Intervention Design. She has worked for over 10 years as the Senior Training and Education Specialist for the International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs (ICAP).


EdD, Columbia University Teachers College
MS, Boston College
BS, Boston College

Memberships and Certifications


Angela Aidala

aidalaAngela Aidala is the Evaluator for the Region 2 Public Health Training Center. She designs all evaluation instruments and processes for Center activities. She has served as Principal Investigator or Co-PI for over 20 collaborative, community health or services research projects, the majority of which included evaluation and capacity building assistance to clinical or community based service organizations. She is Co-PI and Study Director of the Community Health Advisory & Information Network (CHAIN) Project, an ongoing cohort study of persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in New York City now in its 20th year. CHAIN is a major source of service planning data for the City and is conducted in collaboration with the HIV Planning Council and the New York Health Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. She is additionally the PI for a regional capacity development initiative to assist food and nutrition providers serving PLWHA in conducting local program evaluations. She has taught courses in program evaluation and research methods at the Mailman School of Public Health, with focus on inclusion of typically harder to reach individuals and subpopulations, crucial to understanding health disparities.


PhD, Columbia University

BA, Miami University

Memberships and Certifications

Activity Therapist Certification, Rockland College
American Public Health Association
American Sociological Association
Society for the Study of Social Problems
Eastern Sociological Association
Sociologists for Women in Society
Association for the Sociology of Religion
American Association for Public Opinion Research

Melissa Bernstein

bernsteinAs the Center Coordinator for the Region 2 Public Health Training Center, Melissa Bernstein manages the day-to-day activities of the Center, and facilitates communication between the Local Performance Sites, the Central Office, the National Coordinating Center and HRSA. Melissa has experience working with university students, non-native English speakers, homeless individuals, people living with HIV/AIDs, people living with breast cancer, and university students. During her graduate program, she completed a faculty-student collaborative project through the NYC-LI-LTC PHTC to evaluate a Medical Reserve Corps recruitment/retention plan at Nassau County Department of Health. She has conducted mixed methods research at NYC DOHMH and New York Presbyterian Hospital as well as clinical research at NYU Langone Medical Center. While working as a Health Promotion Assistant at Alice! Health Promotion, Melissa managed the nutrition and stress management initiatives, and designed a new healthy relationships initiative. Before pursuing her Master of Public Health, Melissa taught English in Italy for 2 years.


MPH, Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health
BA, University of California, Santa Barbara

Memberships and Certifications

TEFL Certification

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