Susan Puumala, Ph.D., an epidemiologist, has joined national firm HDR as senior researcher for HDR’s healthcare, education, science and technology consulting practice. Her responsibilities include working with HDR’s research team to develop studies that investigate how design affects outcomes such as health, wellness, satisfaction and productivity. Coming from the field of public health, Puumala is passionate about improving lives through research. The field of epidemiology, she said, has for many years focused on how to design the best research studies where a randomized design isn’t possible. By applying those methods to design, she hopes to obtain solid answers to predict what will work best and have the greatest impact on health and wellness, and other outcomes that our clients and our communities care about. For the past 17 years, Puumala has conducted biomedical and epidemiological research as a statistician/methodologist and epidemiologist. She holds a Master of Science degree in statistics from Iowa State University, and a Ph.D. in epidemiology from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.