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Donald Musa

Donald Musa, DrPH

Survey Research Program
ยท Research Consultant

Memorial for Donald Musa

It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of Donald “Don” Musa on Friday, September 8, 2023, after a brief illness.

Don earned his doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School Of Public Health (GSPH) in 2005, and a master's degree from the Sociology Department at Pitt in 1977.

Don's career began as a Research Assistant at Pennsylvania State University (1969-1972). He then worked as a Researcher for Westinghouse Electric Corporation (1972-1977). In 1978, Don began his career at Pitt, working as a Research Specialist and Programmer/Analyst for the Department of Industrial Engineering (1978-1988).

In 1988, Don came to the University Center for Social and Urban Research (UCSUR) as a Senior Research Associate/Research Specialist. In 2008, in addition to his research activities, he also became Director of UCSUR's Qualitative Data Analysis Program (QDAP). Don was instrumental in QDAP taking the lead on completely restructuring how the qualitative/open-ended student responses for Pitt's Leavers/Student Retention interviews were coded and analyzed, the applications of which are still in place to this day.

Don was also an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Pitt's Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences (GSPH) from 2000-2013, where he taught survey research methods.

Don retired from Pitt in 2017, but he continued as a part-time Senior Analyst at UCSUR, where he worked on several projects until shortly before his death.

Don had a strong background in research methodology and evaluation, including both quantitative and qualitative approaches. He participated in many research studies with faculty from across Pitt's schools and departments. In particular, his work with faculty at the GSPH produced important studies focused on many issues, including vaccine uptake and hesitancy, racial differences, equity issues and health, trust in medical research, and self-care during chronic illness. Don was published in the leading peer-reviewed journals and served as Co-investigator and/or Analyst on several grants.

Don will be deeply missed by his UCSUR family as well as the greater Pitt research community, as is summed up by the following select memorials to him:

“Don was a thoughtful, kind, humble individual, and an outstanding scholar. I worked with him on several projects and papers. He was smart, careful, and always a pleasure to work with. Very sad to hear that he is no longer with us.”

“Don was instrumental in QDAP's institutionalization. He left a critical impact in transforming an important research component of UCSUR's portfolio. Don was so much fun to joke around with, capture irony in all the right or wrong places, and a great colleague. As with all of us, just so saddened.”

“Don was a gentle soul - unassuming, bright, and generous. How fortunate we are to have known him.”


-Scott R. Beach, PhD
 Interim Director

University Center for Social & Urban Research
3343 Forbes Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15260   ·   412-624-5442