Lerner Center Staff

Shannon Monnat | Lerner Chair & Director

Shannon Monnat is the Lerner Chair for Public Health Promotion and Lerner Center Director. She is also Associate Professor of Sociology and Co-Director of the Policy, Place, and Population Health Lab at SU. Dr. Monnat is a rural sociologist, demographer, and population health scholar who conducts research on demographic and geographic trends and differences in heath and mortality, with a specific interest in rural health and health disparities. Her most recent research has focused on drug use and overdose, particularly trying to understand the factors that explain demographic and geographic differences in use and overdose rates. She has published over 70 peer-reviewed academic journal articles, book chapters, research briefs, and reports, and has presented her research to numerous public, academic, and policy audiences, including the United Nations, the National Institutes of Health, the National Academy of Sciences, the Aspen Institute, the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy, and at Congressional briefings. Her research has been featured in several media outlets, including CNN, NPR, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and the Atlantic. Monnat teaches graduate courses in Demographic Processes and Health and Place and an undergraduate Introduction to Sociology course.

Email Shannon: smmonnat@syr.edu and see faculty page.

Alexandra Punch | Associate Director

Lerner Center Associate Director Alexandra Punch

Alexandra Punch received her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Northeastern University in 2012; where she is now pursuing her doctoral degree in law and public policy. Prior to working at Syracuse University, Alexandra served as the Director of Drug User Health at ACR Health. There, she focused on innovative treatment practices and community collaborations for addressing opioid dependence using the Harm Reduction model of care.  Alexandra also worked at the Onondaga County Health Department as a Research Technician in the Bureau of Disease Control. She is the Chair of the Harm Reduction subcommittee for the Onondaga County Drug Task Force and a member of the Regional Advisory Committee for the State Opioid Response (SOR) Network.

Email Alexandra: aepunch@syr.edu 
Office phone number: 315-443-9343

Mary Katherine (Mary Kate) Schutt| Program Coordinator

Program Coordinator Mary Kate Lee

Mary Kate Schutt earned her Bachelor of Arts in Human Development from the State University of New York at Oswego. The focal point of Mary Kate’s work at SUNY Oswego was developing and delivering health-related outreach initiatives to students. This work has translated to her role as the Center’s Program Coordinator, where she oversees the national public health initiative, Healthy Monday. She also serves as a research assistant in the Syracuse University Mind Body Lab. Her research interests broadly include the benefits of positive psychological and mindfulness interventions on youth and their families. Mary Kate’s passion lies in empowering others to improve their wellbeing through the teaching and application of positive psychology.

Email Mary Kate: mkschutt@syr.edu
Office phone number: 315-443-4526

Danielle Rhubart | Lerner Postdoctoral Scholar

Danielle Rhubart earned her dual Ph.D. in Rural Sociology and Demography from The Pennsylvania State University in 2016. Her research focuses on the intersection of health and the environment, with particular attention to the importance of place and context. She uses quantitative analyses of secondary data and mixed methods to examine how policies and structural change explain place-level health and well-being. For example, her dissertation examined the disparate impacts of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act on health insurance coverage. Her research has been published in Population Research and Policy Review and SSM-Population Health. She also has collaborative and interdisciplinary research published in Maternal and Child Health, Society and Environment and Climatic Change. She has written public research briefs and reports for the Carsey School of Public Policy (University of New Hampshire) and the Center for Rural Pennsylvania. Finally, she has extensive teaching experience within the field of sociology as well as in interdisciplinary courses like Health Disparities, Society and the Environment, and Sustainability.

Email Danielle: dcrhubar@syr.edu