Topeka, Kansas — Ithar Hassaballa, Ph.D., M.P.H., joined the Kansas Health Institute (KHI) in early January to direct the work of the population health team. In her role as Senior Analyst & Strategy Team Leader, Hassaballa leads a team that assists policymakers, stakeholders and communities with advancing evidence-based and equitable policies and programs that aim to improve the health of all Kansans.
“We are delighted that Ithar has joined our team,” said Kari Bruffett, KHI President and CEO. “As a well-respected population health expert, she has extensive experience working with communities and state-level policymakers to identify, implement and evaluate evidence-based strategies to improve health.”
Prior to joining KHI, Hassaballa was at the University of Kansas Medical Center where she served as Evaluation Project Manager as part of a project focused on health equity and COVID-19 testing, vaccinations, and infrastructure building among historically excluded populations in 20 Kansas counties. In that role, she supported 60 community health workers across Kansas in documentation of their efforts. Hassaballa served as Assistant Director & Research Project Director at the University of Kansas Center for Public Partnerships and Research, and Research Project Manager at the University of Kansas Center for Community Health & Development (CCHD). As part of CCHD, she led the evaluation of the Ebola response effort in partnership with the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa. Further, as part of CCHD, Hassaballa led the Together Helping Reduce Youth Violence for Equity (ThrYve) Youth Violence Prevention Program in Kansas City. Hassaballa served as an Assistant Professor of Community Psychology at the American University in Cairo, New Cairo, Egypt, where she taught community psychology and worked with local organizations to evaluate their efforts and address poverty.
Hassaballa currently serves as the president of the Mid America Alliance for African Studies, a group for researchers and practitioners within nine midwestern states that works to improve the conditions of communities within the African region and globally. Born in Sudan, Hassaballa is a Kansan with a global heart.
“KHI’s vision, mission, talented team, and organizational philosophy drew me to the Population Health Team Leader position,” Hassaballa stated. “The work at KHI is impactful and important. As an educational organization focused on research, KHI has placed its mark and diligently assists policymakers to find the information they need to make policy decisions. As a community-based participatory researcher and now Population Health Team Leader, I’m eager to work with state and local health departments, local organizations and foundations to make a positive impact on the health of all Kansans.”
Hassaballa earned a bachelor’s degree in community health, a master’s degree in applied behavioral science, and a doctorate in behavioral psychology with an emphasis in community health and development from the University of Kansas. Hassaballa also earned her master’s degree in public health from the University of Kansas Medical Center.