Cheryl HollyDr. Peijia Zha Assistant Professor
Rutgers School of Nursing
65 Bergen St., Room 845A
Newark, NJ 07101
P: 973-972-8366

Field Specializations

My primary research interests are in quantitative research methodologies, including multivariate statistical modeling, causal modeling, survey design, and program evaluation. I am also extremely interested in the dynamics of race & equity in health, immigrant health, and urban community health systems.


As a quantitative researcher and academician, my passions include health disparity research and the provision of high quality health care to underserved urban communities.

Rutgers School of Nursing Outreach Program
- Peijia Zha, (right)
Rutgers School of Nursing Outreach Program

Since joining the Rutgers School of Nursing in June of 2013, I have been heavily involved with numerous research projects at the Jordan & Harris Community Health Center and the New Jersey Children’s Health Project, two health care initiatives founded by Dr. Cindy Sickora and the Rutgers School of Nursing.  Both have become strong, popular resources for building healthier communities in the city of Newark, NJ.

My current role as a statistician and health care researcher is built on a wealth of prior experience.  Previous to my faculty appointment, I was a research associate at the Newark Schools Research Collaborative, which spearheaded multiple projects. I worked on the design, implementation, and evaluation of a new school model within the Newark Public Schools system, using hierarchical linear modeling and fixed-effect models to investigate neighborhood and school-related factors affecting the academic performance of over 4,000 immigrant students.  I also wrote a formal analysis of these research findings for the Spencer Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.   All of these opportunities allowed me the satisfaction of contributing to projects that have helped change school cultures, positively impact their surrounding communities, and produce strong school reform.

Dr. Peijia Zha (2nd from left.) & Colleagues
Rutgers School of Nursing Outreach Program

Many of the projects I was involved in at the Newark Schools Collaborative received funding from local, state, and national foundations, while additional projects have been funded by both state and federal agencies including HSRA, NIH and CMS.  

Using these experiences as my foundation, I’ve been able to expand my research focus at the School of Nursing.  Since my arrival, I’ve worked with several different research teams, all of which have produced well-received papers in noted publications.

As a result of my expertise in formulating experimental research designs and assessing project evaluation plans and results, I’ve also been recruited to serve as a peer reviewer for U.S. Department of Education grants.

As a research scientist who has taught at both the undergraduate and graduate levels in both statistics and epidemiology, and as an academic who believes strongly in the power of positive mentorship, I enjoy working closely with both Ph.D. and DNP students.  I specialize in statistical consulting and in helping students identify and gain mastery over the frameworks they need to conduct high-quality research.  In this way, I am able to promote the use of powerful and elegant research designs in healthcare.


Administrative and Teaching Experience

Awards, Fellowships, and Grants

 Recent and Forthcoming Publications

Journal Articles
Book Chapters
Research Reports
Works in Progress

Recent Presentations

Research and Urban Health Program Projects

I am currently collaborating with Dr. Sabrina Chase and Dr. Cindy Sickora to run two new research projects at the Jordan and Harris Community Health Center and the FOCUS Wellness Center in Newark, NJ. Our research team includes graduate students Patricia Hoff , Jennifer Bucalo, and Phoebe del Boccio.

Recent and Upcoming Conferences

“The Effect of Remediation and Student Support Programs on the Academic Outcomes of Underprepared College Students” was presented at the Annual Meeting of American Educational Researcher Association in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in April of 2014.

Courses Offered

Professional Affiliations

American Public Health Association
American Education Research Association
American Psychological Association

Other Interests
When not involved in research and academic pursuits, I enjoy spending time in the following activities:


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