I was born and raised in Albany, NY. I attended elementary school and high school there. I attended Columbia College in New York City, where I was pre-med and did a concentration in mathematics. I then attended the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, NY, where I received my MD degree. My education continued, first at the Harvard School of Public Health, where I received an MPH degree, and then at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, where I received my PhD in epidemiology. My training also included three years in the U.S. Public Health Service Epidemiology Training Program. I started out my employment career as an assistant professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, followed by a five-year stint at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a medical officer. I am currently a professor of community health and preventive medicine. I have served as chair of many dissertation committees.