Associate Professor of Epidemiology

McGill University

Sam’s research focuses on understanding population health and its social distribution, with specific interests in impact evaluation, measuring health inequalities, global health, demography, and causal inference. His current research projects are focused on experimental and quasi-experimental evaluations of interventions and policies in India, Tanzania, China, and North America. Sam co-teaches a course on impact evaluation (with Arijit Nandi), as well as a course on reproducible research in epidemiology and public health. He also directs the doctoral program in epidemiology at McGill.

He has published several replication papers aimed at demonstrating the benefits of reproducible research for advancing knowledge via incremental improvement, including work on the impact of medical marijuana laws on marijuana use among adolescents, (original paper, replication study, reproducible materials), the effects of the Great Recession on suicide rates (original paper, replication study, reproducible materials), and the impact of the annual “cannabis holiday” on fatal traffic crashes (original paper, replication study, reproducible materials).

Sam studied Biology (BA, 1995) at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri and completed a master’s degree in epidemiology (MSPH, 1999) at the University of South Carolina. He completed a fellowship at the National Center for Health Statistics before earning his doctorate (Epidemiologic Science, 2005) at the University of Michigan. He did postdoctoral research at McGill University and joined the faculty in 2008. He also holds an Endowed Professorship in Health Equity at Erasmus University in Rotterdam.


Sam plans to develop and implement reproducible research practices more widely in his teaching and advising, in his department’s overall graduate training program, and to broaden the reach and impact of reproducible research practice within epidemiology and public health. He has developed a two-hour workshop on reproducible research methods that he hopes to extend to a full half-day seminar to give in his department. He also plans to update and restructure his course on reproducible research, as well as to restructure the protocol part of his impact evaluation course to have the students write up and develop a plan for adopting the TIER protocol in their projects. He also plans to develop a training manual for his advisees to implement the TIER protocol in their own research. Finally, his grand plan is to draft guidance for conducting replication studies in the health sciences.