Employee Spotlight: Meet Dr. Nicholas Peiper, Meru’s Newest Researcher

We’re excited to welcome Dr. Nicholas Peiper onboard at Meru Health as a Senior Researcher. Nicholas holds a Ph.D. in epidemiology and an MPH in health behavior. His area of focus is psychiatric and behavioral epidemiology, where he studies how lifestyle impacts health, and how to address root causes to prevent and treat mental disorders. Nicholas has 15 years of applied experience in community mental health, public health, and outcomes evaluation. He was awarded his Ph.D. at the University of Louisville’s Department of Epidemiology & Population Health, where he now works as an associate professor, teaching psychiatric epidemiology, social epidemiology and survey research methods.

Nicholas spent about four years during his graduate training as a researcher with Jigsaw, an Irish organization with a mission to support national youth mental health. Jigsaw was created in response to high levels of self-harm and suicide amoung young people after the 2008 financial crisis. As part of an interdisciplinary team at Jigsaw, Nicholas helped to create a new system of care for adolescents and young adults experiencing mental health difficulties. The Jigsaw team opened ten mental health centers across the country, safe places where young people could go and get adult support. Nicholas performed analyses to determine which specific treatments might be helpful for the young people based on their symptoms and needs. It was through his work at Jigsaw that Nicholas developed his deep appreciation for collaboration with mental health clinicians, and the power of both quantitative and qualitative clinical research.

In the United States, Nicholas has done a lot of work with federal and state agencies to measure mental and behavioral health at the population level, through large-scale surveys. Through this work, he helps determine the prevalence of mental and behavioral health problems so that public health agencies can allocate resources to high-needs populations, design interventions, and evaluate outcomes over time.

Over the past 5 years or so, Nicholas has focused on implementing and evaluating substance use disorder interventions in rural and impoverished communities. A lot of this work is focused specifically on overdose prevention interventions among people who inject drugs and use illicit opioids. He’s interested in how rapid-testing technologies like Fentanyl test strips and HIV home testing can empower people to engage in protective behaviors based on the test results.

At Meru Health, Nicholas is hitting the ground running. He’s researching how Meru’s 12-week program impacts suicidality, and assessing whether there are different treatment outcomes for people with low, moderate, and severe levels of depression. He’s helping with the coaching program, and is also exploring his passion for prevention by building out a large-scale screening instrument to support digital triage.

When he’s not doing groundbreaking mental health research at Meru or teaching public health students at the University of Louisville, you can find Nicholas cooking or spending time outside.

Learn more about the research at Meru Health here

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