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W. Susan Cheng, PhD



Dr. W. Susan Cheng is an infectious disease epidemiologist who boasts an extensive public health background across a variety of disciplines, having worked as both a practitioner and researcher focusing on the effects of social determinants of health on mental health, maternal mortality, and childhood wellness. She is passionate about working in and advocating for underrepresented communities, especially BIPOC communities, Native American tribes, and homeless populations. Before her career in academics, Dr. Cheng served as an epidemiologist for the Native American Alliance for Emergency Preparedness where she developed infectious disease outbreak responses for 105 tribes in California. She also managed the virtual Emergency Operations Center during the H1N1 outbreak and during the 2003 and 2007 California wildfires. Even as an academic, Dr. Cheng has continued working as a public health professional, having consulted on a variety of testing, tracing, return to work policies, and overall response plans for the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Cheng is also the school’s associate dean for public health practice and diversity, equity, & inclusion.

PhD in Epidemiology, University of California, San Diego/San Diego State University Joint Doctoral Program

MPH in Epidemiology, San Diego State University

BA in Biology (physiology concentration), Northwestern University

Cheng WS, Garfein RS, Semple SJ, Strathdee SA, Zians JK, Patterson TL. Increased drug use and STI risk with injection drug use among HIV-seronegative heterosexual methamphetamine users. J Psychoactive Drugs. 2010 Mar;42(1):11-8. doi: 10.1080/02791072.2010.10399781. PubMed PMID: 20464802; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2907747.

Cheng WS, Garfein RS, Semple SJ, Strathdee SA, Zians JK, Patterson TL. Binge use and sex and drug use behaviors among HIV(-), heterosexual methamphetamine users in San Diego. Subst Use Misuse. 2010;45(1-2):116-33. doi: 10.3109/10826080902869620. PubMed PMID: 20025442; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2861916.