Susan Puumala

Susan Puumala, Ph.D.

Senior Researcher

Susan Puumala, Ph.D., is a Senior Researcher for HDR Consulting. Susan works 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, Susan is passionate about improving lives through research. As part of HDR’s research team, she works with architects and designers to contribute to the work they do. By applying epidemiological methods to design, she seeks 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 17 years, Susan 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. Susan has published over 70 research manuscripts, including research on the comparability and representativeness of control groups in a case-control study of infant leukemia, and has been successful in obtaining grant funding through various sources, including the National Institutes of Health.

Additionally, Susan served as the Director of the methodology core of the Collaborative Research Center for American Indian Health for over three years and helped academics and community members develop grant proposal and research projects. For seven years, Susan was a member of Sanford Health’s Institutional Review Board and helped assess research studies to ensure that research participants were protected.

When she’s not conducting research, reviewing manuscripts or teaching medical and public health students, Susan enjoys baking, hiking, planning family events and spending time with her children. Though she doesn’t consider herself a runner, Susan has completed seven half-marathons in three states.