Rameela Chandrasekhar, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biostatistics and Nursing
Overview of Interests
Dr. Chandrasekhar has been collaborating as the lead statistician with the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS) and the Vanderbilt Center of Excellence for Children in State Custody (COE) since 2011. The main goal of their collaboration is to enhance the quality of services provided to children in or at risk of entering the Tennessee child welfare or juvenile justice systems. This collaboration has involved multiple high-impact projects which has influenced policy and practice and improved the health and well-being of children and families involved in these systems. Currently Dr. Chandrasekhar is working on the implementation of the Centre for Medicaid Services methodology for risk-standardized mortality rates to monitor prescribing of psychotropic medications to children in the child welfare system. This aims to improve the quality of the process for monitoring psychotropic prescribing and enable the DCS to intervene with prescribers to reduce potentially problematic prescribing to the children and youth in their care. She also works to identify disparities in child welfare due to race and gaps in access to services by integrating administrative data with publicly available U.S. Census data. This includes utilizing spatial analysis and mapping of geo-referenced, individual-level data to identify important geographical patterns for the incidence of child abuse and visualize the contrast between the intensity of services required and existing services across geographic locations.