Our Study Team

Michael D. Celestin, Jr., Ph.D., CHES, NCTTS
Principal Investigator
Director, Louisiana Tobacco Control Initiative

Dr. Michael Celestin is an Assistant Professor of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences at the LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health.  He is also the Director of the Louisiana Tobacco Control Initiative.  His research expertise is in the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based health systems change policies and interventions to ensure cessation treatment for low socio-economic groups most likely to use tobacco and suffer from tobacco-related disabilities, diseases, and deaths. Dr. Celestin recently received a Roadmap Scholars Award from the Louisiana Clinical and Translational Science Center (LA CaTS).  His project is entitled “Promoting Implementation of Interventions to Improve Tobacco Cessation in Healthcare (PITCH) for Rural Populations.”

Tyra T. Gross, Ph.D., MPH

Dr. Tyra Toston Gross is an Associate Professor of Public Health at Xavier University of Louisiana, where she has worked as a public health instructor, researcher, and mentor since August 2015. Before joining Xavier, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in reproductive women’s health at the University of Texas Medical Branch. Her research expertise is in maternal & child health disparities.  Given her interest in maternal & child health, the majority of Dr. Gross’ research has focused on the health of reproductive-age women. Her current research projects explore the health of Black postpartum women in Louisiana, infant & young child feeding during emergencies, and smoking cessation needs for low-income pregnant women.

Tung-Sung Tseng, DrPH, MS

Dr. Tung-Sung Tseng is an Associate Professor with tenure and the Charles L. Brown, MD, Endowed Professor of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in Behavioral and Community Health Sciences at the School of Public Health at LSU Health New Orleans. His research interests include tobacco control, childhood obesity, gene-environment interaction, risk behavioral patterns, community-based participatory research (CBPR), health promotion interventions and evaluations, health disparities, and cancer prevention among ethnic minorities and underserved populations. He serves as a lead evaluator of the Louisiana Tobacco Control Initiative.

Claire Hayes Watson, Ph.D., MPH
Qingzhao Yu, Ph.D.

Dr. Qingzhao Yu is a Professor of Biostatistics at LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health. Dr. Yu is interested in developing statistical methods for public health, health care, and clinical and lab research. She has published over a hundred peer-reviewed papers on statistical methodology development and collaborations. Dr. Yu’s research interests include Bayesian Modeling, Bayesian Clinical Trial, Causal Effect Analysis, Computational Method, Health Disparities, Machine Learning and Data Mining, Mediation Analysis, Spatial Analysis, and Survey Research.  She serves as the Lead Biostatistician of the Louisiana Tobacco Control Initiative.

Ty-Runet Bryant, MPH
Research Program Manager

Ty-Runet Bryant serves as the Program Manager for Research for the Louisiana Tobacco Control Initiative at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center School of Public Health in New Orleans, LA. She holds a B.S. in Chemistry from Loyola University New Orleans and an MPH from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. She has over 15 years of experience implementing, monitoring, and evaluating community-based health initiatives, leading community outreach efforts, and coordinating the submission of program and research grant proposals.