photo of Dr. Puac-Polanco

Victor Puac-Polanco, MD, DrPH, MSCE

Assistant Professor
Department of Health Policy and Management
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Academic Qualifications:

  • Doctor of Medicine, Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala, Guatemala City 
  • Doctor of Public Health, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University 
  • Master of Science in Clinical Epidemiology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania 
  • Postdoctoral appointment, Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School 

Background and Expertise:

Dr. Puac-Polanco is an expert in population-based survey design and data collection, management, analysis, and interpretation. He has applied this knowledge to address pressing public health issues in mental health, substance use, injury prevention, global health, and social inequities. He leverages his experiences and training as a clinician and clinical epidemiologist to advance novel methodological and statistical approaches to analyze complex data. Dr. Puac-Polanco integrates his expertise by examining questions critical to precision medicine. For example, he has developed personalized treatment rules by estimating individual differences in the effects of alternative intervention strategies. When multiple therapeutic options exist, these rules can aid treatment decisions for individual patients. More recently, Dr. Puac-Polanco has been assessing how drink special laws, implemented at the state level, affect inequities in alcohol-related adverse illnesses and injuries, including road safety, alcohol consumption, and alcohol-related morbidity outcomes. He is interested in assessing how health outcomes related to alcohol consumption can be influenced by individual, community, and state-level factors and determine whether drink special laws have a differential effect on health outcomes for populations systemically marginalized. As alcohol continues to account for nearly a third of yearly traffic deaths, providing research findings that speak directly to the development of effective policy and practice is warranted. This research will then be translated into informative materials and publications to improve decision-making and regulation processes seeking to prevent alcohol-related deaths.  

Courses Taught:

  • HPMG 5206: Introduction to Health Policy and Management
  • EPID 5205: Epidemiologic Research Methods II
  • EPID 7202: Advanced Epidemiologic Research Methods II