Meet The Scholars

APPLICATIONS REOPEN IN 2020.
“This program connects me to an interdisciplinary network of scholars who, like me, are investigating the root causes of health inequality to achieve health equity.”
— TERRELL FRAZIER
TERRELL FRAIZER, PhD student, Sociology, Columbia University

Health Policy Research Scholars challenge themselves to apply their expertise and outside-the-box thinking to making their communities healthier and more equitable.

No matter what their background, training or discipline, they play a crucial role building a Culture of Health. They stretch beyond their daily studies and collaborate with scholars from many other disciplines—building their leadership skills, and creating change in their institution, community and beyond.

Scholars

Displaying 77 result(s)

RANTIMI ADETUNJI, PHD STUDENT, HEALTH SYSTEMS AND INTERNATIONAL HEALTH, JOHNS HOPKINS SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH

Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Cohort: 2016
FOCUS: Rantimi Adetunji’s research interests include health financing, global health economics and outcome, and injury and violence prevention.
RANTIMI ADETUNJI, PHD STUDENT, HEALTH SYSTEMS AND INTERNATIONAL HEALTH, JOHNS HOPKINS SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH

Rantimi Adetunji is a second-year doctoral student, concentrating in health economics and health systems, at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Rantimi earned her BA with honors in Applied Economics and Management from Cornell University, an MS in Nonprofit Management from Northeastern University, and an MHS in Health Economics from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Prior to starting her doctoral training, she worked as a Budget and Program Coordinator for the Youth Economic Participation Initiative at Tufts University. She served in AmeriCorps for two years at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Community Health Improvement, where she managed youth development programs for students in Boston Public Schools.

CHINYERE AGBAI, PHD STUDENT, SOCIOLOGY, BROWN UNIVERSITY

 

Location: Providence, Rhode Island
Cohort: 2017
FOCUS: The issue of how living in gentrifying Los Angeles neighborhoods affects the overall health of those who originally resided in these communities is the central question of Chinyere’s research. This work is particularly timely as local policymakers advocate urban development projects that often make housing decreasingly affordable. Because of the scarcity of research on this topic, Chinyere hopes this work will not only shed light on a topic that is not well understood but also provide the evidence necessary to intervene on behalf of those most negatively impacted by this phenomenon.

CHINYERE AGBAI, PHD STUDENT, SOCIOLOGY, BROWN UNIVERSITY

Chinyere is well equipped to explore how gentrification affects health outcomes due to her sociological training, which emphasizes situating groups and individuals in their social and historical contexts when conducting research.

EMANUEL ALCALA, PHD STUDENT, PUBLIC HEALTH, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, MERCED

Location: Merced, California
Cohort: 2017
FOCUS: As part of the program, Emanuel will continue his work of investigating the social and environmental determinants of pediatric asthmatic events and how they may impact emergency department and hospital utilization. Beyond poor air quality, the San Joaquin Valley region has high rates of poverty and low wages. Understanding the mechanisms by which these social and environmental systems generate asthma health disparities is of great importance to the residents of the San Joaquin Valley.

EMANUEL ALCALA, PHD STUDENT, PUBLIC HEALTH, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, MERCED

Emanuel has a history of conducting quantitative research to investigate contextual factors that shape health outcomes for residents of California’s San Joaquin Valley region. Building on research experiences, he plans to influence local policy through evidence-based research.

ANDREW ANDERSON, PHD STUDENT, HEALTH SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND COLLEGE PARK

Location: College Park, Maryland
Cohort: 2016

FOCUS: Andrew’s current work and research focus on value-based healthcare delivery models, performance measurement, and social determinants of health.

ANDREW ANDERSON, PHD STUDENT, HEALTH SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND COLLEGE PARK

Andrew Anderson is a PhD student in health services research at the University of Maryland College Park (UMD). Andrew is also a Phyllis Torda Healthcare Quality Fellow with the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). Prior to NCQA, he was a senior director at the National Quality Forum (NQF) where led healthcare quality measurement initiatives related to health and health care disparities, social risk, and health equity. Andrew is a Maryland native of Jamaican descent.

SECIAH AQUINO, PHD STUDENT, PUBLIC HEALTH, HARVARD T.H. CHAN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH

Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Cohort: 2016
FOCUS: Seciah is determined to successfully revolutionize health care in the United States and ultimately the world. She seeks to provide the leadership needed to address the health disparities that currently exist. She is passionate about the intersection of government, health policy, economics and leadership in order to effectively address health inequalities and create structural change across our great nation.
SECIAH AQUINO, PHD STUDENT, PUBLIC HEALTH, HARVARD T.H. CHAN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH

Seciah Aquino is a second-year doctoral candidate for the Doctorate of Public Health Program at the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health. She was born in Guatemala City and immigrated to the United States at the age of 10. She grew up in Los Angeles, California alongside her beautiful family. Seciah’s training in public health began when she was only 5 years old, as she was exposed to medical missions and the amazing impact they had in rural Guatemalan pueblos. Thereafter, the trials of life as an immigrant refined and shaped her leadership abilities. Through life experience, she has been blessed to learn first-hand how to stand up for the voiceless, how to provide for those in need, and how to speak up for the rights of the destitute. Seciah graduated from the University of Southern California in 2013 with a B.S in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and a M.S in Global Medicine. After graduation she joined the USC Division of Dental Public Health and Community Health Programs and served as a promotora and program assistant for the Children’s Health and Maintenance Program. During her time there she provided encompassing oral health education for community members and leaders, health professionals, teachers, families and children. In addition, she was instrumental in communicating and establishing partnerships with school districts, early childcare centers and other head start programs. In a single sitting she was blessed to set up the provision of preventative oral health services for more than one thousand kids.

MAX AUNG, PHD STUDENT, ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH SCIENCES, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH

Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Cohort: 2016
FOCUS: Max Aung focuses his research on epidemiologic analyses within longitudinal cohorts of pregnant women. Max is investigating the potential effects that mixtures of environmental toxicants have on various biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress during pregnancy, which could have implications for adverse birth outcomes and fetal development. Max is also interested in characterizing how these toxicant exposures affect epigenetic mechanisms—chemical modifications to DNA that impact the regulation of gene expression. By understanding these relationships, Max hopes to advance the field of environmental epidemiology to inform environmental health policy.
MAX AUNG, PHD STUDENT, ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH SCIENCES, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH

Max Aung is a first-year doctoral student at the University of Michigan. Prior to pursuing his doctorate, Max earned his MPH in Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology at the University of Michigan, and his BS in Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

BUKOLA BAKARE, PHD STUDENT, TRANSPORTATION AND LOGISTICS, NORTH DAKOTA STATE UNIVERSITY

Location: Fargo, North Dakota
Cohort: 2016
FOCUS: Bukola Bakare explores access to safe sidewalks and monitored bicycling routes as a potential means of suppressing the prevalence of obesity among school-age children, especially in the poorer communities. She is also interested in accessibility and quality of logistics for locally-grown produce and investigates the possibility of having local community gardens in urban landscapes, especially in the inner cities.
BUKOLA BAKARE, PHD STUDENT, TRANSPORTATION AND LOGISTICS, NORTH DAKOTA STATE UNIVERSITY

Bukola Bakare is a PhD student in Transportation and Logistics at North Dakota State University (NDSU). She received her Bachelors of Business Administration in Accounting from Georgia State University and Master of Accounting degree from Kennesaw State University. She has taught undergraduate accounting courses at universities in Georgia as an adjunct professor and did consulting work with clients in the area of health care management, medical transportation, immigration law, and business. Her past and current leadership roles include leadership in the Hope Worldwide HIV/AIDS campaign, Goodwill of North Georgia, International Rescue Committee, Treasurer for the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the Governance and Finance Committee of the Graduate Student Council (GSC) at NDSU.

KELLAN E. BAKER, CENTENNIAL SCHOLAR PHD STUDENT, HEALTH POLICY AND MANAGEMENT, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY

Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Cohort: 2017
FOCUS: Kellan believes that health equity is a core social justice issue. His research interests focus on how he and other researchers and advocates working at the intersections of multiple communities can reshape the socioeconomic and political determinants of health to secure high-quality care, safe environments, and the highest standard of health for the transgender population and other marginalized groups. Kellan hopes to use this work to inform public policy related to discrimination and other barriers to health care and health insurance coverage, economic assessments of quality and value, and the collection of data that tell people’s stories and highlight the resources their communities need.

KELLAN E. BAKER, CENTENNIAL SCHOLAR PHD STUDENT, HEALTH POLICY AND MANAGEMENT, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY

Despite majoring in astrophysics and Russian literature, Kellan made the transition to his current studies in health services research and policy after making another transition: coming out as transgender. As a public health scholar, he seeks to improve the policies and practices that affect the lives of transgender people and other communities experiencing health disparities.

DEANNA BARATH, PHD STUDENT, HEALTH SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND, COLLEGE PARK

Location: College Park, Maryland
Cohort: 2017
FOCUS: As part of the program, Deanna will work on research to improve health equity for vulnerable populations. She is interested in implementation science and the translation of research into community practice and policy. Deanna hopes to work on applied research that adds to the body of evidence around the utilization and clinical implementation of the Adverse Childhood Experiences Questionnaire to improve management of chronic conditions and increase access to community resources that support proactive factors. Deanna is also interested in the evaluation and implementation of accreditation efforts, quality improvement, and performance management systems, which are the underpinnings that create an efficient public health system to effectively serve communities.

DEANNA BARATH, PHD STUDENT, HEALTH SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND, COLLEGE PARK

During college, Deanna was in a horrendous car accident in which she suffered a traumatic brain injury and fell through the cracks of the medical system. Yet, she thrived and chose to focus her work on creating a supportive local public health system to help the most vulnerable populations.

SAMUEL BAXTER, PHD STUDENT, HEALTH POLICY AND MANAGEMENT, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL

Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Cohort: 2016
FOCUS: Samuel Baxter’s doctoral work focuses on aspects of men’s health within and outside the contexts of health care settings. He is currently working on projects related to neighborhood contexts and sleep health in male populations.
SAMUEL BAXTER, PHD STUDENT, HEALTH POLICY AND MANAGEMENT, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL

Samuel Baxter is an emerging scholar advocate who is passionate about improving the lived experiences of boys and men of varying racial/ethnic identities across their life trajectories. He is a second-year doctoral student studying Health Policy and Management in the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC. Samuel earned his BS in Sociology with a minor in Pan-African Studies from Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina, and his MPH from Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) in Atlanta, Georgia. Prior to coming to UNC, he worked as a graduate assistant on prison health and reentry support programs at Community Voices: Healthcare for the Underserved, a division of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at MSM. He is interested in understanding how health disparities emerge among young men and leveraging this knowledge to create intervention strategies and policy-relevant solutions to create a Culture of Health that improves the health trajectories of African-American men.

 

JASMINE BLANKS JONES, PHD STUDENT, EDUCATION AND AFRICAN STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Cohort: 2016
FOCUS: Jasmine Blanks Jones’s research focuses on how young people develop civic capabilities through arts practices that produce outcomes for improved well-being.
JASMINE BLANKS JONES, PHD STUDENT, EDUCATION AND AFRICAN STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA

Jasmine L. Blanks Jones is pursuing a dual PhD in Education, Culture and Society, and in Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her Master’s in Public Policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, concentrating in Public and Nonprofit Leadership and Management. Jasmine conducted research in Social Policy and Democracy and Citizenship with the Center for School Change and in Public Achievement, respectively. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from Florida A&M University and taught public school music for nearly seven years in Maryland. In 2010, she founded B4 Youth Theatre, Inc. a 501c3 nonprofit organization that provides arts education programming for young people in Liberia, West Africa, using a community organizing model.

ERICA BROWNE, PHD STUDENT, PUBLIC HEALTH, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY

Location: Berkeley, California
Cohort: 2016
FOCUS: Erica Browne’s research interest includes a focus on organizational practice, and the extent to which nonprofit hospital community benefit investments can support equitable economic development, and improved population health outcomes within urban communities.
ERICA BROWNE, PHD STUDENT, PUBLIC HEALTH, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY

Erica Browne is a second-year doctoral student in the Berkeley School of Public Health. Originally from Los Angeles, with strong roots in Covington, Tennessee, she received her MPH. degree in Community Health Sciences from UCLA, and a BA in Development Studies from the International Area Studies program at U.C. Berkeley. Erica’s interest in public health emerged from her curiosity about the cultural, economic and social factors that circumscribe personal choice. She has previously worked with Charles Drew University of Medicine & Science, Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit, and PolicyLink on various community health and health equity programs, and is a graduate student researcher with Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society (HIFIS) at UC Berkeley.

BRITTNEY BUTLER, PHD STUDENT, EPIDEMIOLOGY, THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY

Location: Columbus, Ohio
Cohort: 2017

FOCUS: Brittney’s research focus is on understanding the role that perinatal experiences of interpersonal, cultural, and structural racism play in the development of disease among Black mothers and infants.

BRITTNEY BUTLER, PHD STUDENT, EPIDEMIOLOGY, THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY

Brittney Butler, MPH, is a second-year PhD student in the Department of Epidemiology at The Ohio State University College of Public Health. She is also a graduate researcher at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity. Brittney focuses on racial discrimination during pregnancy and the role it plays in perinatal diseases, pregnancy complications, maternal mortality, and infant mortality, to name a few. She believes that understanding the health ramifications of historical policy is a key factor in changing and creating more equitable communities. Brittney obtained her Master of Public Health from Washington University in St. Louis and her bachelor’s in biology from the University of Miami (Florida).

SONDRA CALHOUN, PHD CANDIDATE, EPIDEMIOLOGY AND BIOSTATISTICS, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Cohort: 2016
FOCUS: Sondra Calhoun plans to study how antibiotic use and stewardship in veterinary medicine (both companion and food animals) affects the population health of both animals and humans. More broadly, she is interested in One Health, an interdisciplinary collaborative movement that recognizes that human health is closely interconnected with animal and environmental health.
SONDRA CALHOUN, PHD CANDIDATE, EPIDEMIOLOGY AND BIOSTATISTICS, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA

Sondra Calhoun is a second-year student in the Epidemiology PhD program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. She is a fifth-year combined degree VMD-PhD student and completed most of her veterinary medical coursework prior to starting her PhD. She now works with UPenn faculty across the veterinary school, medical school and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia on interdisciplinary research initiatives. Prior to joining HPRS and the VMD-PhD program at UPenn, Sondra completed her AB in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University where she graduated summa cum laude. She has previously conducted bench-based research at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Perelman School of Medicine, served as a high school science and math instructor, and worked in private practice as a veterinary technician. Sondra grew up in rural, western Maryland and was active in 4-H and Future Farmers of America in her youth.

PATRICIA CALIXTE-CIVIL, PHD STUDENT, PSYCHOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA

Location: Tampa, Florida
Cohort: 2016
FOCUS: Patricia Calixte-Civil is seeking to advance her training in the theories and methods of substance use research with a particular interest in barriers to treatments and interventions for tobacco dependence in understudied populations. She also has interests in studying effective and accessible interventions for tobacco dependence in African-Americans and the LGBT community. She plans to do research developing and evaluating clinical treatments and interventions for tobacco dependence in groups that carry the burden of illness, and be able to develop and test the delivery of health services in affected communities.
PATRICIA CALIXTE-CIVIL, PHD STUDENT, PSYCHOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA

Patricia Calixte-Civil is a first-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program at the University of South Florida. At the Tobacco Research and Intervention Program at Moffitt Cancer, she is exploring tobacco-related health disparities among under-resourced populations. She is a proud alumna of the Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program, Project L/EARN, and Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey-New Brunswick, where she completed an honors major in psychology with a focus on Substance Abuse Disorders. Previously, Patricia worked as a research assistant in the department of Addiction Psychiatry at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School on a study testing the efficacy of a computer-based intervention for smokers with psychosis.

JESSICA CERDEÑA, MD/PHD CANDIDATE, MEDICAL ANTHROPOLOGY, YALE UNIVERSITY

Location: New Haven, Connecticut
Cohort: 2017
FOCUS: Jessica applies a biocultural lens to health disparities, studying the epigenetic underpinnings of intergenerational trauma among Latin American migrants to New Haven, Connecticut. Using ethnographic and epigenetic methods, she attempts to understand the embodiment of migration-related trauma. In her career as a physician-anthropologist, Jessica plans to deploy her research at the intersection of community health and health policy.

JESSICA CERDEÑA, MD/PHD CANDIDATE, MEDICAL ANTHROPOLOGY, YALE UNIVERSITY

Jessica grew up in northern New Jersey in a community shaped by immigration. Her current research interests grew out of her mental health work at a free clinic in New Haven, where she first learned of the trauma histories shared among the families of many of the Latin American migrant patients.

CHRISTOPHER CHIU, PHD STUDENT, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS BOSTON

Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Cohort: 2017
FOCUS: After obtaining his undergraduate degree, Chris decided to dedicate his research career to studying intimate partner violence (IPV). Delving deeper into the field, he realized that limited effort has been invested in researching partner abuse in the LGBTQ community. He hopes to engage in qualitative and quantitative research focused on ameliorating the suffering resulting from health disparities for LGBTQ individuals, especially in relation to partner violence and victimization. His research will serve as a critical step in creating the evidence base for national policy and practice standards to benefit LGBTQ individuals in the future.

CHRISTOPHER CHIU, PHD STUDENT, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS BOSTON

Chris was born and raised in Boston, and his personal experiences have shaped his desire to use research to improve the lives of LGBTQ individuals through both enhancing clinical care and engaging in advocacy.

DAKOTA CINTRON, PHD STUDENT, EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT

Location: Storrs, Connecticut
Cohort: 2016
FOCUS: Dakota’s academic research interests are in longitudinal and structural equation modeling. In particular, his academic research goals are to conduct methodological research on longitudinal and structural equation modeling, as well as help others apply longitudinal and structural equation models to understand growth and psychopathology.
DAKOTA CINTRON, PHD STUDENT, EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT

Dakota Cintron is currently pursuing a PhD in Measurement, Evaluation and Assessment at the University of Connecticut. Dakota grew up in Wheeling, West Virginia and obtained a BS in Economics and Public Health from Rutgers University. While there, he developed a strong interest in statistical and research methods and their application to public and health policy. His experiences ultimately led him to pursue graduate studies at the Teachers College at Columbia University. At the Teachers College, he obtained a MS in Applied Statistics and EdM in Measurement and Evaluation. His research at Teachers College was focused on structural equation modeling and cognitive diagnosis modeling. He has previously held professional positions at the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research, the Cardiovascular Institute of New Jersey, the National Institute for Early Education Research, the Caribbean Exploratory Research Center, New Visions for Public Schools, and Teachers College at Columbia.

AARON COLEMAN, PHD STUDENT, SOCIAL POLICY AND MANAGEMENT, BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY

Location: Waltham, Massachusetts
Cohort: 2017
FOCUS: Aaron Coleman’s research examines assets, sociopolitical structures, and their impact on the health and economic well-being of underrepresented communities. During his doctoral career, Aaron intends to conduct case studies that explore the responsibilities and potential benefits of community support groups and cultural network systems. He envisions that organizational and cultural entities possess a certain untapped capital that, if understood and utilized passionately, might serve as a model to reduce inequities in our health and social systems. Aaron is particularly focused on relational concepts and their overall influence on the uptake of pre-exposure prophylaxis among Black men who have sex with men (MSM) in the southeastern United States.
AARON COLEMAN, PHD STUDENT, SOCIAL POLICY AND MANAGEMENT, BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY

As a doctoral student studying assets and inequalities, Aaron researches topics including educational inequality, the culture of poverty, social movements, syndemics, and HIV/AIDS among Black men who have sex with men. Additionally, Aaron has worked extensively with organizations such as Teach For America and the sociopolitical action group Equality NC.

AUSTIN COMPTON, PHD STUDENT, BIOCHEMISTRY, VIRGINIA TECH

Location: Blacksburg, Virginia
Cohort: 2017
FOCUS: Austin is studying mosquito-borne infectious diseases in the context of genetic sex determination in the mosquito vector. He is interested in developing a novel genetics-based approach to controlling mosquito populations by creating a male bias within a mosquito population, which could ultimately lead to a local population crash. Through HPRS, he hopes to engage the public and policy leaders in a dialogue about the potential benefits and risks of new technologies to facilitate the judicious and sustainable control of mosquito-borne infectious diseases.

AUSTIN COMPTON, PHD STUDENT, BIOCHEMISTRY, VIRGINIA TECH

As he was growing up, Austin’s parents instilled in him the desire to achieve great things, such as completing a college degree and pursuing a fulfilling career. He now believes that the great things to be achieved are those that benefit humanity. Austin wishes to contribute to HPRS by using his biochemistry background to engage in evidence-driven discussions with his peers.

HANNAH CORY, PHD STUDENT, POPULATION HEALTH SCIENCES, HARVARD UNIVERSITY

Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Cohort: 2017
FOCUS: Hannah’s research interests focus on the intersection of nutrition, social and emotional well-being, and chronic disease risk in minority adolescent populations. Hannah hopes to use mixed-methods approaches to better characterize potential psychosocial stressors that are unique to marginalized adolescents’ lived experiences, such as racial discrimination and weight stigma, and their possible role in both dietary patterns and physiologic responses. Through her research, Hannah aspires to better integrate the fields of nutrition and mental health to more holistically address drivers of chronic disease risk. She hopes that this research will inform a Culture of Health by providing an evidence base to develop more culturally appropriate and efficacious clinical and community-based interventions, as well as by further identifying structural barriers to health that can be addressed through policy intervention.

HANNAH CORY, PHD STUDENT, POPULATION HEALTH SCIENCES, HARVARD UNIVERSITY

As a pediatric dietitian, Hannah worked clinically for several years on the front lines of chronic disease prevention in underrepresented communities before choosing to pursue doctoral research. Hannah grew up in rural Northern California and has since worked throughout the United States, from the San Francisco Bay Area to Nome, Alaska, to southeastern Michigan. Through these experiences, Hannah came to recognize the critical and often unaddressed component of social and emotional well-being in adolescent nutrition.

REBEKAH ISRAEL CROSS, PHD STUDENT, COMMUNITY HEALTH SCIENCES, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES

Location: Los Angeles, California
Cohort: 2017
FOCUS: Structural and institutional racism often determine where we can live, work, and socialize, which ultimately shapes our mental and physical health outcomes. Rebekah is interested in conceptualizing and measuring racism as well as using mixed methods to better understand how the inequitable distribution of power, land, and other resources has shaped the health of racial and ethnic minorities in the United States. Her research interests include structural racism, social determinants of health, affordable housing, and community development. She’s especially interested in the processes of residential segregation, housing discrimination, and gentrification.

REBEKAH ISRAEL CROSS, PHD STUDENT, COMMUNITY HEALTH SCIENCES, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES

Hailing from Harlem, New York, Rebekah has always been fascinated by neighborhood culture. The educational journey that took her from New York to Chapel Hill to Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles has allowed her to see not only how racist policies have deprived certain neighborhoods of resources, but also how communities have mobilized to resist and respond to external forces. Rebekah hopes to elevate community voices that are often ignored in health research on neighborhood effects.

YAMINETTE DIAZ-LINHART, PHD STUDENT, SOCIAL POLICY, BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY

Location: Greater Boston, Massachusetts
Cohort: 2017
FOCUS: Yaminette believes that in order to move toward health equity, health care systems will need to include people in roles such as community health workers, patient navigators, and social workers to help meet the social and health needs of patients. Her research explores how the management of these “nontraditional” health care roles impact patient outcomes. She believes that addressing the current gap in managing these roles is crucial for the integration of health care systems through increased coordination, leading to quality care for patients.

YAMINETTE DIAZ-LINHART, PHD STUDENT, SOCIAL POLICY, BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY

Yaminette’s unique perspective straddles multiple identities, including her professional work as a public health social worker, and positions her well to think about building a Culture of Health through cross-sector collaborations and health service integration.

TRAN DOAN, PHD STUDENT, HEALTH MANAGEMENT AND POLICY, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN

Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Cohort: 2016

FOCUS: Tran Doan’s research goal is to build upon the body of literature on patient-centered care, where health care delivery is focused on quality of care, improved health outcomes, and patient satisfaction. Her current area of interest is developing decision-making tools for enhancing the relationships between patients and clinicians, as well as patients and health organizations. She aims to apply mixed methods and simulation modeling to get at the root of health disparities questions.Tran’s broader career goal is to implement policies and programs that will make a wide range of health care services available for diverse populations—particularly for immigrant Americans and people with life-limiting but preventable illnesses like HIV/AIDS and opioid addiction.

TRAN DOAN, PHD STUDENT, HEALTH MANAGEMENT AND POLICY, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN

Tran Doan is a second-year PhD student in Health Services Organization and Policy, specializing in decision science and operations research. Before this, Tran worked on a Health Policy and Advocacy team for AIDS United—a D.C. non-profit operating the oldest federal policy coalition working to end the HIV epidemic in the United States. Additionally, she spent some time as a Community Outreach Manager for Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti—a 24/7 non-profit hospital in rural Haiti. Tran has an MPH in Infectious Diseases and a BS in Chemistry with honors.

MICHELLE DOOSE, PHD STUDENT, EPIDEMIOLOGY, RUTGERS SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH

Location: New Brunswick, New Jersey
Cohort: 2016
FOCUS: Michelle Doose’s research is focused on examining factors that are associated with the under treatment of breast cancer. She seeks to understand the impact of concomitant comorbidities, health system-level factors, and coordination of care on cancer treatment and outcomes. She aims to use her research to improve health care access, coordination of care, and health outcomes for cancer patients and survivors.
MICHELLE DOOSE, PHD STUDENT, EPIDEMIOLOGY, RUTGERS SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH

Michelle Doose is a third-year doctoral student at Rutgers School of Public Health in the Department of Epidemiology. She currently works for the Women’s Circle of Health Study, which aims to evaluate factors explaining the earlier age at diagnosis and the more aggressive nature of breast cancer among African-American women. She earned her Master of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles, where her studies focused on health promotion and health education. Michelle received her Bachelor’s in International Studies and Spanish at Pepperdine University, also in Southern California. Prior to her PhD program, she worked as a research coordinator focused on improving post-treatment care for children, teens, and young adult cancer survivors. As a survivor of childhood cancer, Michelle’s firsthand experiences navigating the fragmented health care system have driven her to address cancer care inequities through research and health policy.

CATHERINE DUARTE, PHD STUDENT, EPIDEMIOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY

Location: Oakland / Santa Rosa, California
Cohort: 2017
FOCUS: Discretionary discipline is one of the key drivers of suspension and expulsion rates in primary and secondary schools across the United States. Moreover, it is well documented in the education literature that discretionary discipline inequitably targets Black and Latino students in those schools. Catherine’s research focuses on exploring the possible health effects of this racially discriminatory practice to inform education policy interventions aimed at mitigating those effects. Her goal is to contribute to the creation of an equitable world where young people are afforded opportunities to come to school and learn without having to sacrifice their health and well-being in the process.

CATHERINE DUARTE, PHD STUDENT, EPIDEMIOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY

Catherine is an epidemiologist with a background in social theory and an interest in the mutually reinforcing ways in which education and health collide in the real world—specifically, that we are not students one day and healthful beings the next, but both (and so much more) simultaneously. Therefore, Catherine believes that to address our most intractable contemporary health issues requires a transdisciplinary approach that she looks to embody in her doctoral training and research, her HPRS experience, her career, and her life.

ANDREA DURAN, PHD STUDENT, BIOBEHAVIORAL SCIENCES (KINESIOLOGY), COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

Location: New York, New York
Cohort: 2016
FOCUS: Andrea Duran’s research interests include the endocrine and immune responses to acute and chronic sedentary behavior, physical inactivity and exercise in individuals with and without obesity in underrepresented communities. She aspires to translate her research into effective inter-disciplinary behavioral programs for obesity and cardiometabolic disease prevention at different sociological levels.
ANDREA DURAN, PHD STUDENT, BIOBEHAVIORAL SCIENCES (KINESIOLOGY), COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

Andrea is a second-year PhD student in Kinesiology and a pre-doctoral research and teaching fellow in the Biobehavioral Sciences Department at Teachers College, Columbia University. In addition to her coursework, Andrea instructs the Applied Physiology labs in her department and is part of an interdisciplinary research team at the Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health at the Columbia University Medical Center. Andrea completed her BS and MS in Kinesiology, with an emphasis in clinical exercise physiology, at California State University, Fullerton. Andrea grew up in a small town in northern California (Grass Valley, California). During her graduate studies, Andrea had the opportunity to be an integral part of the Prader-Willi Syndrome, Childhood Obesity and Physical Activity Studies research team, which investigated the effectiveness of a home-based physical activity intervention program in children with congenital and non-congenital obesity. Andrea’s experience with Prader-Willi Syndrome fueled her research interests to explore the endocrine and immune responses to exercise in children with excess adiposity, whether syndromic or nonsyndromic in origin. After her graduate studies, Andrea advanced her biomedical research skill set as a Minority Health and Health Disparities International Research Training scholar, where she studied molecular level health disparities at King’s College London during the Summer of 2014. Andrea’s well-rounded research experiences have channeled her passion for human movement and physiology into a career path that is fulfilling and advances a Culture of Health.

ANGELIZ ENCARNACION BURGOS, PHD STUDENT, ARCHITECTURE (COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL PLANNING), THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN

Location: Austin, Texas
Cohort: 2016
FOCUS: Angeliz E. Encarnacion Burgos will explore the intersections between urban development and health in the Caribbean Region. She is particularly interested in political economy, local governments’ development agendas, exclusions and marginalization; and how they play as key elements in health, environment and urban life outcomes.
ANGELIZ ENCARNACION BURGOS, PHD STUDENT, ARCHITECTURE (COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL PLANNING), THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN

Angeliz Encarnacion Burgos is a first-year Ph.D. student at The University of Texas, Austin. Originally from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, she completed her BS and her Master’s in Planning at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. Angeliz then worked on the Caño Martín Peña ENLACE Project for two years with AmeriCorps. As part of ENLACE’s interdisciplinary approach, she was involved not only in the design of instruments to measure program efficiency and collect data in urban and environmental matters, but in social planning issues as well, including adult literacy, violence prevention and housing programs. During this time, she designed methodological approaches and workshops on participatory mapping for an environmental awareness program. She developed a comprehensive GIS database for both ENLACE and the Caño Martín Peña Community Land Trust. Before entering her PhD program, she was working as Associate Director of Research Affairs at the University of Puerto Rico, School of Dental Medicine.

MARIO ALBERTO VIVEROS ESPINOZA, PHD STUDENT, SOCIOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SANTA BARBARA

Location: Santa Barbara, California
Cohort: 2017
FOCUS: Mario’s research focuses on topics of HIV/AIDS, intersectionality, and social movements. Currently, he is researching how health movements garnered attention for people living with HIV/AIDS (PWHAs) during an era when most people affected by the epidemic were being dismissed and underserved. Mario hopes to discover key strategies that worked to better advocate for this population and may be implemented as advocacy strategies for organizations working with marginalized groups.

MARIO ALBERTO VIVEROS ESPINOZA, PHD STUDENT, SOCIOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SANTA BARBARA

Mario’s intersectional identity as a Queer mixed-race Chicanx individual with Indigenous cultural roots has provided him unique experiences throughout his journey that give him a distinctive depth in researching immigrant communities at risk for HIV/AIDS. Knowing that health access is simply unequal in immigrant communities motivates Mario to continue his work on ways in which HIV/AIDS health care agencies can advocate for marginalized groups in culturally appropriate ways.

JOSEFINA FLORES MORALES, PHD STUDENT, SOCIOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES

Location: Los Angeles, California
Cohort: 2016

FOCUS: Josefina Flores Morales’s primary interests follow two main lines of work: The occupational health and employment of undocumented middle-aged immigrants of Mexican origin; and the educational trajectories of newcomer youth and undocumented college students. Presently, Josefina is curious about how undocumented immigrants negotiate their employment and future plans as well as how their long-term employment in low-wage jobs influences their mental and physical health in the short- and long-term. In her doctoral program, she will gain quantitative skills in demography as well as qualitative skills in ethnographic methods in order to be able to reveal the nuanced narratives of adult immigrant workers using mixed-methods. Her research in both health and education hold great implications for health policy at the local and national level.

JOSEFINA FLORES MORALES, PHD STUDENT, SOCIOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES

Josefina is a first-year doctoral student studying demography in the Sociology Department at the University of California, Los Angeles. She recently graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a Bachelor’s in Psychology with a minor in Public Health. As a teenager, Josefina worked as a trombone player in a Mexican band for five years. She worked throughout her undergraduate career in this job and others in several nonprofit organizations (legal and mental health focused). Her own employment trajectory is vastly distinct from that of her mother’s and those of many members of her community, of which a large proportion are undocumented. She believes it is a ripe time to address the health of marginalized undocumented communities—who have contributed much to the fabric of our present society and are the backbone of many local economies.

ANNIE M. FRANCIS, PHD STUDENT, SOCIAL WORK, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL

Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Cohort: 2017
FOCUS: Annie’s research focuses on preserving cultural connections for American Indian children placed in out-of-home care. Her work includes evaluating the implementation of the Indian Child Welfare Act in her home state of North Carolina. Her future work also includes developing and evaluating culturally appropriate social support networks for foster parents who provide out-of-home care to Native children.

ANNIE M. FRANCIS, PHD STUDENT, SOCIAL WORK, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL

Annie, a member of the Haliwa-Saponi tribe of North Carolina, is dedicated to challenging the status quo to better serve the needs of tribal communities. Her passion is fueled by her personal experiences as a member of a tribal community, her professional experiences as a foster care social worker, and her cultural responsibility to address the needs of her community.

TERRELL FRAZIER, PHD STUDENT, SOCIOLOGY, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

Location: New York, New York
Cohort: 2016
FOCUS: Terrell Frazier’s research interests include political sociology, social movements, social networks, organizations, race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, and stratification and inequality. His current research—a study of activist network structures in New York City—investigates the relationship between social movement actors’ social positions and their capacities for strategic action. His research also examines health and disease at the intersections of identity, social position, and processes of advantage and disadvantage, to illuminate both the etiology of health disparities in marginalized communities and the relationship between the social patterning of disease and the patterning of related social movements.
TERRELL FRAZIER, PHD STUDENT, SOCIOLOGY, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

Terrell Frazier is a PhD student in Sociology and a Paul F. Lazarsfeld Fellow at Columbia University. Prior to joining the Sociology department, Terrell completed his MA in African-American Studies at Columbia, where he has also worked as a researcher at the Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics (INCITE) and Education and Outreach Director of the Columbia Center for Oral History. He received a BA in Social Relations & Policy and Journalism from Michigan State University.

REGINA FULLER, PHD STUDENT, EDUCATIONAL POLICY STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MADISON

Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Cohort: 2016
FOCUS: Regina Fuller’s research interests lie at the intersection of school policy on teenage pregnancy and reproductive health education of adolescent girls in Sierra Leone and the United States. After completing doctoral study, Regina plans to pursue health and education policy and evaluation work in Washington, D.C.
REGINA FULLER, PHD STUDENT, EDUCATIONAL POLICY STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MADISON

Regina Fuller is a second-year doctoral student in Educational Policy Studies with a concentration in Comparative and International Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Regina has a master’s degree in African Studies from the University of Ghana Legon where she studied as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from Wofford College with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Intercultural Studies and concentration in African/African-American Studies. Regina previously worked in international education in Washington, D.C. and as a Spanish-English translator in the South Carolina school district. Additionally, Regina taught English and American culture to Brazilian university students at the Federal University of Mato Grosso Do Sul in Campo Grande, Brazil as a U.S. Fulbright English Teaching Assistant.

GERSON GALDAMEZ, PHD STUDENT, GERONTOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Location: Los Angeles, California
Cohort: 2017
FOCUS: Since junior high, Gerson has volunteered as a musician in several long-term care facilities, and developed strong friendships with the older adults living there. Hearing about their experiences with abuse and mistreatment strongly compelled him to research elder abuse as a gerontology PhD student. In addition to exploring the prevalence and mechanisms of elder abuse, Gerson is conducting national-scale research on multidisciplinary elder abuse forensic centers. This intervention uses collaboration across professional fields to address the problem, bringing us a step closer to ensuring a secure old age for everyone.

GERSON GALDAMEZ, PHD STUDENT, GERONTOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Gerson grew up in Compton, California, with several aging relatives, and experienced firsthand the lack of supports and services necessary to maintain a quality late life—inspiring his pursuit of gerontology.

JOSEPH GRIFFIN, DRPH CANDIDATE, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY

Location: Berkeley, California
Cohort: 2017
FOCUS: Joseph’s research is focused on community violence as a public health issue in urban communities of color. His approach looks at the social determinants of health as the root causes of violence. Through this lens, he explores how changes to the built and social environments may act as resiliency factors for communities that suffer from a history of violence. He is inspired and motivated to address this topic by his personal experiences growing up in a violent neighborhood and his professional experiences in violence prevention. Today as an HPRS fellow, Joseph relishes the opportunity to continue this work in his hometown of Richmond, California. Using mixed-methods approaches, with an emphasis on community-based participatory research, he hopes to leverage the expertise found in both the community and academia to help communities like his own heal from violence-related trauma.

JOSEPH GRIFFIN, DRPH CANDIDATE, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY

People of color from low-income communities are often underrepresented at the doctoral level. As the first person in his family to pursue a doctorate, Joseph believes he has an opportunity to represent voices like his own in a space where those voices are often unheard, and to shed light on issues that affect his community.

JENNY GUADAMUZ, PHD STUDENT, HEALTH POLICY AND ADMINISTRATION, UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT CHICAGO

Location: Chicago, Illinois
Cohort: 2016
FOCUS: Jenny Guadamuze is examining utilization of medicines in various developing and developed countries using household surveys. After graduation Jenny will continue to research the use of appropriate (i.e. safe, effective, affordable) medicines among socioeconomically vulnerable communities. She hopes her research can inform policymakers to promote equitable use of essential medicines.
JENNY GUADAMUZ, PHD STUDENT, HEALTH POLICY AND ADMINISTRATION, UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT CHICAGO

Jenny Guadamuz is a first-year PhD student at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), pursuing a degree in Public Health with a concentration in Health Policy and Administration. Jenny received her Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Saint Louis University (SLU). During this time, she took a break from SLU to study international development in Hong Kong, China. During her undergraduate studies, she worked as a medical interpreter/navigator for Spanish-speaking uninsured women at the SLU Cancer Center. Seeing the inequitable access to health services experienced by low-income, immigrant women sparked her interest in the intersection of socioeconomic status and access to health care/goods. She later finished her studies in Madrid, Spain while also interning at the Spanish National Centre for Cardiovascular Research (CNIC). While completing her Master’s degree in Public Health Sciences at UIC, Jenny spent a summer interning with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Amman, Jordan. At UNRWA, she examined the use of antihypertensive medications among Palestine refugees in Jordan and the West Bank. Outside of academia, Jenny worked as a business analyst at PharmacACE, a pharmaceutical consulting firm, where she examined domestic and international pharmaceutical markets, forecasted patient demand, and assisted in client decision-making.

KATHERINE GUTIERREZ, PHD STUDENT, ECONOMICS, UNIVERSITY OF NEW MEXICO

Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Cohort: 2017
FOCUS: Katherine’s interests lie primarily in the realm of public and health economics, specifically for New Mexico, where Hispanics constitute a majority of the population. She is particularly interested in the efficacy of federal income and food assistance, racial and ethnic disparities in socioeconomic status, and children’s nutritional status and well-being. Katherine’s research passion is to use her training in economics and data science to evaluate and contribute to the ability of public systems to help communities break out of the cycle of poverty, and to do so in a way that simultaneously enhances access to health services, affordable housing, and safe neighborhoods in a meaningful, bottom-up way.

KATHERINE GUTIERREZ, PHD STUDENT, ECONOMICS, UNIVERSITY OF NEW MEXICO

Katherine’s ethnic and cultural heritage as a New Mexican gives her a unique perspective on rural Southwestern communities, and her heavily quantitative training in economics allows her to use data to think of evidence-based policy solutions.

MARCELA GUTIERREZ, PHD CANDIDATE, PUBLIC POLICY AND POLITICAL ECONOMY, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT DALLAS

Location: Richardson, Texas
Cohort: 2017
FOCUS: Marcela’s research is focused on exploring how health policy and the social determinants of health are shaped by their broader socioeconomic and political framework. She is interested in connecting the historical legacy of colonialism to the current local, state, and national context of political actors, social service organizations, and health care systems. Her research explores decision-making processes among leaders in these different sectors to better understand how and why they may hinder or support efforts to improve health equity, particularly for immigrants and people of color. She hopes to apply her research to help communities leverage their political and economic power, develop local solutions, and promote institutional changes that contribute to health equity.

MARCELA GUTIERREZ, PHD CANDIDATE, PUBLIC POLICY AND POLITICAL ECONOMY, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT DALLAS

As a bicultural mestiza growing up in an immigrant family of humble origins, Marcela was acutely aware of the dissonance between her family’s experience and popular narratives of political and economic prosperity. As a Health Policy Research Scholar, she feels empowered to combine her knowledge of immigrant communities with her professional experience in social work and public health to elevate children of diaspora as both a resource and a priority in health equity research.

RAVEN HARDY, PHD STUDENT, NEUROSCIENCE, EMORY UNIVERSITY

Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Cohort: 2016
FOCUS: Raven’s research focus combines neuroscience, nutrition, and psychopathology. She is interested in maladaptive eating behaviors. The goal of her project is to identify risk and resilience factors for disorders such as obesity and food addiction. She is interested in the psychopathological, neurobiological, endocrinological, cognitive profiles, and eating behaviors that might predict these disorders. To obtain this goal she will be conducting assessments, neuroimaging and endophenotype analysis in a highly traumatized, low-income, and minority population. Learning more about the biology and profiles associated with various maladaptive behaviors, such as emotional eating and the newly suggested food addiction, can help us detect signs so that therapies could be performed earlier.
RAVEN HARDY, PHD STUDENT, NEUROSCIENCE, EMORY UNIVERSITY

Raven Hardy is a second-year doctoral student at Emory University. Prior to pursuing her PhD, she attended Spelman College where she received a Bachelors in Science. Raven was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. Her research interest combines both basic and social sciences. The literature has shown that there is an interplay between biology and social determinants of health. There exists a feedback loop between the two. She believes that to have success in eliminating health disparities one must assess the contribution of each when designing policies, strategies, and therapies.

ELECTA LEIGH HARE-REDCORN, PHD STUDENT, COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT, UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS

Location: Fayetteville, Arkansas
Cohort: 2017
FOCUS: Electa’s focus area is to continue to support the amazing work of the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative of the University of Arkansas. The Indigenous nations and displaced peoples of our country have a heritage and a voice that is humming, rising, and ready to be heard. The goal of Electa’s research is to reduce chronic disease and obesity by strengthening tribal capacity in policy making for agriculture and health. She believes that our leaders will benefit from the beauty of reciprocity and the preservation of culture and agricultural ways of knowing. There are many grassroots initiatives in existence that carry the goal of a healthy ecology and environment, and it is Electa’s hope to highlight the work of these preservationists and translate it into meaningful policy to build a Culture of Health.

ELECTA LEIGH HARE-REDCORN, PHD STUDENT, COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT, UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS

Electa is a member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma and a descendent of the Ihanktonwan Dakota tribal communities. From her ancestors, she has been gifted with an awareness of social justice issues. Electa’s occupations as a public health community liaison and as a youth advisor have blessed her with a keen sense of humanitarian strength in adverse conditions. She has a heart to cultivate beautiful, strong leaders who are as eager to pull roots in the garden bed as they are to deliver a harvest of health policies. Her goal is to bring their collective knowledge forth as they embrace their history and heritage.

ANA HERRERA, PHD STUDENT, KINESIOLOGY AND HEALTH EDUCATION, THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN

Location: Austin, Texas
Cohort: 2016
FOCUS: Ana Laura Herrera’s research focuses on the social, environmental, and personal influences on youth behaviors, particularly those relating to obesity and tobacco prevention. In pursuing a doctoral degree, she aspires to refine her research skills and learn how to develop, implement, and evaluate effective programs and policies to help eliminate health disparities. She believes that her research on the social determinants of health can provide a practical guidance for policies and add meaning and credibility to ethical and economic arguments needed to act, not only to ameliorate the adverse health consequences, but also to reduce social disadvantage itself, as health should not be a privilege for some, but a right for all.
ANA HERRERA, PHD STUDENT, KINESIOLOGY AND HEALTH EDUCATION, THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN

Ana Laura Herrera is a first-generation student originally from Compton, California. Currently, she is a second-year PhD student in Health Behavior and Health Education at The University of Texas at Austin. She received her MPH in Health Promotion and Behavioral Science from The University of Texas School of Public Health-Austin Regional Campus. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Chicano & Latino Studies from California State University, Long Beach. For the past nine years she served with numerous nonprofit health organizations to gain first-hand experience about the problems that plague medically underserved communities. Through these experiences and her formal education, she learned that the public health approach provides a framework to investigate and understand the causes and consequences of disease. Therefore, she decided to further her education and pursue a career in public health.

TERESA JACKSON, PHD STUDENT, HEALTH & HUMAN PERFORMANCE, OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY

Location: Stillwater, Oklahoma
Cohort: 2016
FOCUS: Teresa Jackson’s dissertation will focus on an innovative nutrition education approach and the differences educator personality may have on health outcomes. Her current plan of study includes classes related to community nutrition, food security, educational counseling, culture, and society. She hopes to empower others to lead healthier lives through sound research and the sharing of experiences that could ultimately lead to program and policy changes throughout Indian Country and beyond.
TERESA JACKSON, PHD STUDENT, HEALTH & HUMAN PERFORMANCE, OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY

Teresa Jackson is a third-year PhD student in Health & Human Performance in the Departments of Applied Health & Educational Psychology and Health, Leisure & Human Performance in the College of Education, Health and Aviation at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma. She earned her MS in Nutritional Sciences and her BS in Human Environmental Sciences, Nutritional Sciences Dietetics option at Oklahoma State University as well. She is also a Licensed Dietitian and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Teresa was a practicing dietitian for five years and gained tremendous experience with the maternal and infant population. She also taught nutrition in an elementary school setting with the goal of increased fruit and vegetable consumption and increased physical activity to prevent obesity and type 2 diabetes. Teresa is Native American, an enrolled member of the Ft. Mojave tribe but also Seminole, Muscogee (Creek), Cherokee and Yuma.

TYLER JIMENEZ, PHD STUDENT, PERSONALITY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI

Location: Columbia, Missouri
Cohort: 2017
FOCUS: Tyler primarily researches how existential concerns about death and the body can lead people to defend their cultural values and strive for self-esteem, even at the expense of their physical health. He also explores the role of metaphors in health communication, and specifically how metaphors that target cultural values can better communicate health messages and subsequently change behavior. Tyler hopes to integrate these findings into a broader understanding of psychological barriers to health that can help reduce health disparities, particularly in Native American communities.

TYLER JIMENEZ, PHD STUDENT, PERSONALITY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI

Tyler’s experience as a Tewa Indian raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico—caught between two worlds—has allowed him to have a dialectical understanding of local and global issues. For example, the economic, social, and health problems that Indians face cannot be fully understood, or addressed, in isolation, but rather in relation to the inherently exploitative global economic system.

AMY JONES, PHD STUDENT, SOCIOLOGY, THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MADISON

Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Cohort: 2016
FOCUS: Amy E. Jones’s research interests focus on understanding the effects on health and wellness for African-Americans in this canera of multiculturalism and diversity. She is in her first year of the doctoral program and is currently conducting an ethnography of a diversity scholarship organization and the lived experiences of the students. She plans to include a software app data collection component to her study to get real-time information about the effects on those providing diversity to a group, university or organization.
AMY JONES, PHD STUDENT, SOCIOLOGY, THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MADISON

Amy E. Jones earned her undergraduate degree at Yale University in 2009 as a cognitive neuroscience and sociology major, and a master’s degree in Sociology from The University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2016. Amy grew up in the Appalachian region in Kentucky and West Virginia.

JOVAN JULIEN, PHD STUDENT, OPERATIONS RESEARCH, GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Cohort: 2017
FOCUS: Isolated and marginalized individuals, families, communities, and organizations often have the least access to the data and evidence that can help clarify the likely outcomes, trade-offs, costs, and benefits of a complex interaction of specific policies and dilemmas faced by decision-makers. Jovan’s research integrates and synthesizes evidence-based models that are accessible, relevant, and available to community-level decision-makers. Designing tools that support democratic decision and policymaking, at its most basic level, is about supporting the actualization of a Culture of Health that is accountable to and in part controlled by those who have been traditionally sidelined in our society.

JOVAN JULIEN, PHD STUDENT, OPERATIONS RESEARCH, GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

Jovan is a student of many schools of thought emerging from the U.S. South, including the Black radical tradition. Jovan’s time as a regional organizer in the South has cemented a focus on creating tools that can support the expansion of a Culture of Health, particularly in rural and isolated communities.

MARY KEOVISAI, PHD STUDENT, SOCIAL WELFARE, UNIVERSITY AT BUFFALO

Location: Buffalo, New York
Cohort: 2016
FOCUS: Mary Keovisai’s research is focused on exploring the intersection of various forms of violence and trauma, and the impact that violence has on community health, particularly in Southeast Asian refugee communities. She aims to use her research to improve mental health care and access in refugee and immigrant communities.
MARY KEOVISAI, PHD STUDENT, SOCIAL WELFARE, UNIVERSITY AT BUFFALO

Mary Keovisai is a second-year MSW student and first-year PhD student in Social Work at the University at Buffalo. She earned a BA in Asian American Studies and Sociology from University of California, Santa Barbara and a MA in Asian American Studies from University of California, Los Angeles. Mary was born in a refugee camp and grew up in San Jose, California. As a Lao American shaped through a history of imperialism and violence, and raised by a television, she has centered her life toward the pursuit of social justice with the right balance of humor. She has a strong background working in nonprofits addressing issues around violence against women, affordable housing, and youth engagement.

MATTHEW LEE, DRPH STUDENT, SOCIOMEDICAL SCIENCES, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

Location: New York, New York
Cohort: 2017
FOCUS: Matthew is committed to designing innovative solutions that address the use, lack of use, and misuse of scientific evidence in public health policy and practice. His research focuses on enhancing the implementation and sustainability of social policies and structural interventions, particularly in the areas of health equity and minority health. He aims to apply translational and implementation science in order to build bridges between marginalized populations, policymakers, researchers, and practitioners.

MATTHEW LEE, DRPH STUDENT, SOCIOMEDICAL SCIENCES, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

Matthew draws from training in anthropology and health promotion, as well as his personal, local government, and international experiences, to understand how policies and everyday life intersect to impact health and healing in diverse communities.

LEAH LOMOTEY-NAKON, PHD STUDENT, ETHICS AND SOCIETY, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY

Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Cohort: 2017
FOCUS: Leah’s work investigates how moral and religious experiences shape expectations about one’s self, one’s communities, and those one deems as “other.” Leah is particularly interested in the formal and informal processes by which people manage moral disappointment, both publicly and privately. This interest is steeped in a curiosity about relationships between organizational and personal values, particularly as they relate to work-life boundaries for health care practitioners.

LEAH LOMOTEY-NAKON, PHD STUDENT, ETHICS AND SOCIETY, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY

Leah’s ecological approach to human and organizational ethical development emerges from her academic training at the disciplinary crossroads of political science, education, community psychology, religion, and ethics.

JENNIFER MCGEE-AVILA, PHD STUDENT, URBAN SYSTEMS, RUTGERS SCHOOL OF NURSING


Cohort: 2016
FOCUS: Jennifer has participated in internships with the California Medical Association Foundation working on a project involving HPV, HPV vaccination, and cervical cancer. She also received a Bixby Reproductive Health Fellowship to intern with Population Council, located in Nairobi, Kenya. There she worked on projects involving HIV/AIDS prevention, microfinance for adolescent girls, and female genital mutilation. Jennifer is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) and received her Certified in Public Health (CPH) certification. She was selected as an Equity & Opportunity Fellow by the Center on Law, Inequality and Metropolitan Equity from Rutgers School of Law.
JENNIFER MCGEE-AVILA, PHD STUDENT, URBAN SYSTEMS, RUTGERS SCHOOL OF NURSING

Jennifer is currently a third-year doctoral student in an interdisciplinary program through Rutgers School of Nursing and the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Urban Systems, with an Urban Health concentration. She attended the University of California, Los Angeles as an undergraduate majoring in Anthropology and Women’s Studies. She completed her Masters of Public Health in Urban Health Administration with Rutgers School of Public Health. Jennifer grew up in Palmdale, California, located in the Antelope Valley, a suburb of Los Angeles, where she attended Palmdale High School. She is currently the Program Manager for the Northeast/Caribbean AIDS Education and Training Center (AETC) at the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center. She also worked in this capacity at Charles Drew University in South Los Angeles prior to moving to New Jersey.

ADRIAN NEELY, PHD STUDENT, EDUCATION (POLICY AND PROGRAM EVALUATION, TEACHER EDUCATION, CULTURALLY RELEVANT PEDAGOGY), GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY

Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Cohort: 2016
FOCUS: Neely’s research includes understanding how schools that self-identify as trauma-sensitive, are accountable to their student population through policy implementation at the micro and macro levels. She is particularly interested in education and health outcomes of students attending schools that function as a system of care to understand if schools are mitigators or perpetuators of trauma.
ADRIAN NEELY, PHD STUDENT, EDUCATION (POLICY AND PROGRAM EVALUATION, TEACHER EDUCATION, CULTURALLY RELEVANT PEDAGOGY), GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY

Adrian Neely is a second-year doctoral student in the Middle and Secondary Education Department with a concentration on Teaching and Teacher Education at Georgia State University. She earned a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Education from the University of Georgia. Adrian began her educational career as a high school science instructor in the Atlanta metropolitan area. She has served as an Aerospace Education Specialist for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), serving urban and rural communities throughout the United States. Neely has provided leadership and coordination of policy implementation in state government at the Georgia Department of Education and the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement.

HARVEY NICHOLSON, PHD STUDENT, SOCIOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA

Location: Orlando, Florida
Cohort: 2017
FOCUS: Harvey’s research examines the social determinants of substance use and other health issues (e.g. sexual health, chronic illness, disability).
HARVEY NICHOLSON, PHD STUDENT, SOCIOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA

Harvey is a doctoral student in sociology at the University of Central Florida. As the first in his family to attend graduate school, his work is centered on uncovering the social determinants of substance use and health, especially among Black youth and adults. He uses national-level survey data to examine various disparities in health behaviors and health outcomes. He intends to develop policy solutions to reduce and ultimately eliminate health inequities.

MANKA NKIMBENG, PHD STUDENT, NURSING, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY

Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Cohort: 2016
FOCUS: Manka Nkimbeng’s research goals are to develop, test and implement interventions that will decrease disability and eliminate health inequities in minority elders.
MANKA NKIMBENG, PHD STUDENT, NURSING, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY

Manka Nkimbeng is a PhD Candidate in Nursing at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. She holds an MPH in Health Policy and Management from Boston University. Prior to beginning the PhD program, Manka worked as a community health nurse in Lowell, Massachusetts, and then as a community research nurse on the Community Aging in Place: Advancing Better Living for Elders (CAPABLE) study in Baltimore city.

ADEDOTUN OGUNBAJO, PHD STUDENT, BEHAVIORAL & SOCIAL SCIENCES, BROWN UNIVERSITY

Location: Providence, Rhode Island
Cohort: 2016
FOCUS: Adedotun’s research interests are on issues related to health disparities and inequity, specifically HIV prevention and treatment, mental health, and substance use in racial and sexual minority communities both in the United States and across the African continent. He is also interested in the determinants of health outcomes among African immigrant communities in the United States. Upon completion of the doctoral program, Adedotun plans on pursuing a post-doctoral fellowship and subsequently starting a career as an academic researcher.
Adedotun Ogunbajo, PhD STUDENT, BEHAVIORAL & SOCIAL SCIENCES, BROWN UNIVERSITY 

Adedotun Ogunbajo is a first-year doctoral student at Brown University who holds a BS and MHS from Johns Hopkins University and a MPH in Social & Behavioral Science from Yale University. Adedotun was born in Lagos, Nigeria and lived there until 2004, when he moved to the United States with his parents and two brothers.

SAMANTHA M. PEREZ, PHD STUDENT, BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA

Location: Charlottesville, Virginia
Cohort: 2017
FOCUS: Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States, and patients with the most common form, pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), have only a 7 percent five-year survival rate. Samantha’s research focuses on characterizing the role of extracellular Plectin-1, a robust biomarker for PDAC, in extracellular and intracellular signaling in order to help develop novel diagnostic and treatment modalities for PDAC.

SAMANTHA M. PEREZ, PHD STUDENT, BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA

Samantha is a first-generation college student who received her bachelor of science in engineering degree from Duke University in 2015 and is currently a PhD student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Virginia. With the help of HPRS, Samantha wants to bring together her research from the lab and a rare perspective from her community to influence health policy.

MARIE PLAISIME, PHD STUDENT, SOCIOLOGY AND CRIMINOLOGY, HOWARD UNIVERSITY

Location: Washington, D.C.
Cohort: 2017
FOCUS: Each day, we are presented with reports of racially charged conflicts across the nation, yet we repeatedly ignore the indirect and often devastating impact of personally mediated racism within the health care system. Studies have shown that Black men are more likely to receive lower-quality care than are white patients, even when presenting identical symptoms of myocardial infarction. As a doctoral student at Howard University, Marie seeks to investigate how provider bias contributes to cardiovascular diseases. As a Health Policy Research Scholar, she plans to identify how racism impacts policies, practices, and norms that perpetuate racial disparities in cardiovascular care. By measuring and analyzing interactions between patients, clinicians, and medical teams, Marie hopes to enhance the detection of racial disparities in cardiac care and contribute to policy development in health care delivery.


MARIE PLAISIME, PHD STUDENT, SOCIOLOGY AND CRIMINOLOGY, HOWARD UNIVERSITY

Marie’s desire to understand the complex interactions between race and health stems from her experiences as the daughter of Haitian immigrants. Her work aims to improve life for disadvantaged communities. Marie’s PhD research goals are focused on ensuring that optimal health is a shared value for all, regardless of social location.

ARRIANNA PLANEY, PHD STUDENT, GEOGRAPHY AND GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SCIENCE, UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT URBANA-CHAMPAIGN

Location: Urbana, Illinois
Cohort: 2017
FOCUS: Arrianna is a health geographer whose dissertation examines dimensions of health care access in the United States with an emphasis on audiologists (hearing and balance specialists). Specifically, she uses spatial analytic, statistical, and qualitative methods to examine the political economy of health care systems and their effects at multiple scales—from the state level to the space of the clinic. Ultimately, she aims to make a case for health policy that ensures access to services indispensable to the well-being of elderly and disabled people.

ARRIANNA PLANEY, PHD STUDENT, GEOGRAPHY AND GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SCIENCE, UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT URBANA-CHAMPAIGN

Arrianna is a deaf-blind geographer who switched from a clinical audiology (AuD) program back to the social sciences to address the effects of health policy on dimensions of health care access.

ARJEE JAVELLANA RESTAR, PHD STUDENT, BEHAVIORAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCES, BROWN UNIVERSITY

Location: Providence, Rhode Island
Cohort: 2017
FOCUS: Arjee’s research engagements in public health concentrate on promoting structural and behavior-based interventions to improve the health of communities affected by a multitude of adverse sexual and mental health outcomes, such as HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, sexual violence, and suicidality, particularly as experienced by transgender and gender-nonconforming communities of color. This work includes advocating for institutional policies and practices that dismantle systems of oppression, inequality, and inequity.

ARJEE JAVELLANA RESTAR, PHD STUDENT, BEHAVIORAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCES, BROWN UNIVERSITY

Born in the Philippines, Arjee is now practicing public health to make visible the importance of health policies and equitable community resources in the lives and health of historically disadvantaged populations, including transgender and gender-nonconforming communities of color.

LAURENT REYES, PHD STUDENT, SOCIAL WORK, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY

Location: New Brunswick, New Jersey
Cohort: 2017
FOCUS: Using qualitative methods, Laurent plans to examine how community programs and initiatives are designed to meet the needs of diverse aging populations, as well as assess the knowledge and attitudes of the staff working in aging services. More specifically, she is interested in working directly with older Latino adults to understand their experiences engaging with these services and staff, as well as their ingenuity in bypassing barriers to access with the help of informal services and resources, such as ties with family, neighbors, church, etc.

LAURENT REYES, PHD STUDENT, SOCIAL WORK, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY

Laurent was born in Havana, Cuba and immigrated to West New York, New Jersey in 1999 with her mother. As a first-generation college student, she has a commitment to her family and community’s success. They have taught her to persist in the face of inequalities and challenges, and that’s why she says, ‘yo sigo aquí en la lucha.’

JENNIFER RICHMOND, PHD STUDENT, HEALTH BEHAVIOR, UNC GILLINGS SCHOOL OF GLOBAL PUBLIC HEALTH, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL

Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Cohort: 2016
FOCUS: Jennifer Richmond’s research interests lie in exploring the social determinants of health among African-Americans and the roles racial discrimination, neighborhood conditions, and medical mistrust play in health outcomes. She is also interested in understanding and improving the quality and value of care that African-Americans receive from the health system. In her career, she aims to explore connections between these research interests (e.g., how receiving poor quality health care may contribute to medical mistrust) and to participate in interdisciplinary efforts that translate research results into policy.
JENNIFER RICHMOND, PHD STUDENT, HEALTH BEHAVIOR, UNC GILLINGS SCHOOL OF GLOBAL PUBLIC HEALTH, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL

Jennifer Richmond is a third-year doctoral student in the Department of Health Behavior at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Jennifer grew up in Burlington, North Carolina, and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Health Policy and Management with a minor in African-American Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has worked at the American Institutes for Research for over seven years where she supports research focused on increasing patient and family engagement in health care and understanding the role of evidence in health care decision-making.

LUISA MARIA RIVERA, PHD STUDENT, ANTHROPOLOGY, EMORY UNIVERSITY

Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Cohort: 2017
FOCUS: Luisa studies the transgenerational transmission of trauma and adversity in communities experiencing chronic and acute stressors. She currently conducts research with two populations: pregnant women delivering at a safety-net hospital in rapidly gentrifying San Francisco, and post-conflict Mayan villages in northwestern Guatemala. In both places, her research focuses on the ways in which historical trauma and structural violence are lived out through caregiving, examining the cultural and biological pathways that may buffer stress and augment resilience in communities of color.

LUISA MARIA RIVERA, PHD STUDENT, ANTHROPOLOGY, EMORY UNIVERSITY

Luisa is a bicultural Puerto Rican woman who brings a critical perspective to biocultural and engaged anthropology. She believes that HPRS offers her the opportunity to move her work beyond the boundaries of a traditionally very theory-oriented discipline and engage policy and change makers to translate her work into structural and clinical interventions for young children and families in the United States and Latin America.

MYA ROBERSON, MSPH-PHD STUDENT, EPIDEMIOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL

Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Cohort: 2017
FOCUS: Mya’s current work focuses on the relationship between premenopausal gynecologic surgery and survival in women with breast cancer. Broadly, she studies spatial and temporal patterns in racial disparities in cancer outcomes in the state of North Carolina using a health services lens. Ultimately she hopes to eliminate inequities that exist in breast and gynecologic cancer outcomes between Black and white women in North Carolina and nationally.

MYA ROBERSON, MSPH-PHD STUDENT, EPIDEMIOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL

Mya is a second-year MSPH-PhD student in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After completing an undergraduate concentration in public health at Brown University, Mya was appointed to the university’s board of trustees upon her graduation in 2016. She is interested in the intersection of scientific research and public service, and hopes to use her passion for cancer research and interest in health care systems to better the health of Black women and train the next generation of scientists.

DESI RODRIGUEZ-LONEBEAR, PHD STUDENT, SOCIOLOGY/DEMOGRAPHY, UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA

Location: Tucson, Arizona
Cohort: 2016
FOCUS: Desi Rodriguez-Lonebear’s ongoing research explores issues of data equity for Indigenous peoples, specifically tribal data sovereignty and the enumeration of Indigenous peoples in official statistics and tribal data systems. She also examines the intersection of race, identity, and tribal citizenship.
DESI RODRIGUEZ-LONEBEAR, PHD STUDENT, SOCIOLOGY/DEMOGRAPHY, UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA

Desi Rodriguez-Lonebear (formerly Small-Rodriguez) is pursuing dual PhDs in sociology at the University of Arizona and demography at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. She received both her MA in Sociology and BA (with honors) in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity from Stanford University. A citizen of the Northern Cheyenne Nation, Desi was raised on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation in Lame Deer, Montana. She ran for her Tribal Council in 2012, and maintains a strong connection to her people and her homeland. Desi is committed to evidence-based tribal development and has served as a tribal researcher for tribes in the United States and Māori tribes in New Zealand. She also has a policy research background spanning tribal, national, and international governments. Desi is an appointed adviser to the Director of the United States Census Bureau as a member of the National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations.

LESLIE SALAS-HERNÁNDEZ, PHD STUDENT, BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES AND HEALTH EDUCATION, EMORY UNIVERSITY

Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Cohort: 2017
FOCUS: Mass incarceration is a public health issue that requires continued cross-sector collaboration between community members, policymakers, public health professionals, and the justice system. Leslie plans to further drive research in community mental health and trauma, an often overlooked aspect of mass incarceration, in order to implement effective and sustainable community mental health efforts. Community mental health policies or programs that have been informed by multiple disciplines are more likely to have a lasting impact on creating equitable communities.

LESLIE SALAS-HERNÁNDEZ, PHD STUDENT, BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES AND HEALTH EDUCATION, EMORY UNIVERSITY

Being raised in Inglewood, California, and later working at a community mental health clinic there, Leslie has seen firsthand the intersection between mass incarceration and mental health. She plans to study parental incarceration and its effects on children’s mental health outcomes from a policy perspective.

SAMANTHA R. H. SCOTT, DRPH STUDENT, UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII AT MĀNOA

Location: Wahiawā, Hawaii
Cohort: 2017
FOCUS: Samantha is interested in addressing Native Hawaiian health disparities and exploring protective factors that affect the mental and physical health of Native Hawaiian women. Using the community-based participatory research approach, she hopes to restore cultural identity through culturally grounded interventions that revitalize ancient practices and values that have been lost through colonization.

SAMANTHA R. H. SCOTT, DRPH STUDENT, UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII AT MĀNOA

Samantha is a doctoral student in the Office of Public Health Studies at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. She received her master of social work degree from the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work, Honolulu. Through her graduate studies, she has gained experience in facilitating community-based participatory research projects within predominantly Native Hawaiian communities, including the PILI (Partnerships to Improve Lifestyle Interventions) ‘Ohana Project, targeting obesity in Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. Samantha has also served as a program coordinator for National Institutes of Health–funded undergraduate and graduate training grants in the John A. Burns School of Medicine Department of Native Hawaiian Health. She works closely with God’s Country Waimānalo, a nonprofit, grassroots organization that has initiated culturally grounded projects focused on wholistic wellness, self-sufficiency, and food safety for Native Hawaiians. Samantha feels it is her kuleana (responsibility) to serve her Lāhui (Hawaiian Nation), and she is dedicated to a healthier Hawaiʻi.

PAUL SHAFER, PHD STUDENT, HEALTH POLICY AND MANAGEMENT, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL

Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Cohort: 2016
FOCUS: Paul is currently working to measure the effect of coverage gains under the Affordable Care Act on emergency department and primary care utilization with a focus on the previously uninsured. He is also working to estimate the impact of federal, state, and insurer advertising on consumer engagement with state and federal health insurance exchanges.
PAUL SHAFER, PHD STUDENT, HEALTH POLICY AND MANAGEMENT, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL

Paul is a third-year doctoral student at UNC with a concentration in health economics. He is a first-generation American, college graduate, and graduate student as the only child of parents who defected from then Soviet-controlled Hungary in the 1970s. He completed a BA in Economics at UNC and an MA in Applied Economics at UNC at Greensboro. Prior to beginning his doctorate, Paul was a research economist in the Center for Health Policy Science and Tobacco Research at RTI International where he focused on tobacco policy. He worked on several high-profile projects, including the evaluation of a CDC national antismoking campaign (“Tips From Former Smokers”), and published numerous papers on other topics, including the economic impact of smoke-free air laws and tobacco retailing.

BOBBY SHED, PHD STUDENT, FINANCE, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA, SCHOOL OF BUSINESS

Location: Tampa, Florida
Cohort: 2016
FOCUS: The discipline of finance is highly quantitative in nature: minimize costs, maximize profits, and achieve efficiency. Such optimization leaves little regard for the human souls behind the numeric figures. Bobby Shed’s research attempts to bring the human aspect of finance back into focus. Specifically, he is interested in social justice issues within finance.
BOBBY SHED, PHD STUDENT, FINANCE, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA, SCHOOL OF BUSINESS

Bobby Shed is a PhD student in Finance at University of South Florida in Tampa. He received his undergraduate degree from University of Charleston in West Virginia. After observing extremes of wealth and poverty firsthand while touring on a music scholarship as an undergraduate student, as well as witnessing historic transfers of wealth as a realtor in Florida during the housing crisis, Bobby began to consider how capital markets could serve and policies could protect people better. He is grateful for the opportunity to investigate these issues within his research.

GAYLE SHIPP, PHD STUDENT, FOOD SCIENCE AND HUMAN NUTRITION, MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY

Location: East Lansing, Michigan
Cohort: 2016
FOCUS: Gayle Shipp is in her second year at MSU working on an NIH R21 intervention study titled “Mama Bear”. It is a dual intervention study gathering pilot data, integrating components of breastfeeding support and weight management for African-Americans. Specifically, her research will focus on understanding Breastfeeding Self- Efficacy and Perceived Social Support in African-American women enrolled in a Randomized Control Trial testing different levels of breastfeeding support. This is an opportunity where Gayle plans to take her experiences working within the community and apply the knowledge to her research while beginning to make changes and build collaborations with the long-term goal of building policies and procedures that can positively impact the breastfeeding dyad.
GAYLE SHIPP, PHD STUDENT, FOOD SCIENCE AND HUMAN NUTRITION, MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY

Gayle Melissa Shipp was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. Gayle graduated from Michigan State University with a BS in Human Nutrition and continued on completing her MS in Nutritional Science at Wayne State University (WSU) in 2012. Concurrent with her studies, she completed the Certificate in Public Health Practice at WSU in 2015. After completing her MS in Nutritional Science, Gayle was a Nutrition Educator and also became a Certified Lactation Specialist with the Women Infants and Children (WIC) Program. Gayle was also previously a Nutrition Instructor with Oakland Community College and has served as the Michigan State Breastfeeding Coordinator with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

NICHOLAS C. SMITH, PHD STUDENT, SOCIOLOGY, INDIANA UNIVERSITY

Location: Bloomington, Indiana
Cohort: 2017
FOCUS: Nicholas’s research interests focus on stress, social networks, mental health and illness, and stigma and status loss. His current research examines how racial homophily in social networks may serve as a protective factor in some situations (e.g., in buffering against stress from discrimination) but a risk factor in others (e.g., when access to instrumental or financial support is needed). He aims to use his research to better understand how the structure of social networks affects access to key resources and social capital, especially among minority populations.

NICHOLAS C. SMITH, PHD STUDENT, SOCIOLOGY, INDIANA UNIVERSITY

As a first-generation college student coming from a working-class, single-parent household, Nicholas brings a unique perspective to the world of research that will help him construct feasible and effective policy solutions.

KRISTEFER STOJANOVSKI, PHD STUDENT, HEALTH BEHAVIOR AND HEALTH EDUCATION, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN

Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Cohort: 2016
FOCUS: Kristefer Stojanovski’s research examines structural causes to health disparities among ethnic, racial, sexual, and gender minorities. During his doctoral program, Kristefer intends to continue this work domestically and internationally.
KRISTEFER STOJANOVSKI, PHD STUDENT, HEALTH BEHAVIOR AND HEALTH EDUCATION, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN

Kristefer Stojanovski is a second-year doctoral student in health behavior and health education at the University of Michigan. Kristefer has extensive experience in conducting a variety of academic and applied research studies in the areas of public health, mental health, and criminal and social justice, both domestically and globally. Kristefer holds dual master’s degrees in epidemiology and health management and policy from the University of Michigan. He has also worked as a consultant with county and state governments in the United States, the World Bank, the World Health Organization, and other non-governmental organizations in the Balkans. He is an Associate Member of the European Academic Network on Roma Studies, and has presented and published his work in international conferences and peer-reviewed journals. Mr. Stojanovski is a former Fulbright grantee to Macedonia and has been awarded numerous early-career researcher awards.

JAKE RYANN SUMIBCAY, DRPH STUDENT, CLAREMONT GRADUATE UNIVERSITY

Location: Claremont, California
Cohort: 2017
FOCUS: Jake’s current research is focused on driving a more effective engagement in health for the Asian-American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) youth and young adult populations by utilizing health promotion and education. Some of the critical issues that Jake has applied his research to include tobacco control, cancer prevention, healthy eating and active living initiatives. More importantly, Jake hopes to deconstruct the fallacies of AANHPI populations by contributing to the movement of disaggregating data, especially among the different subgroups that fall under the AANHPI umbrella. Having detailed data that highlight the diversity of our communities can better guide us to create meaningful, inclusive, and equitable policies for all.

JAKE RYANN SUMIBCAY, DRPH STUDENT, CLAREMONT GRADUATE UNIVERSITY

Jake was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, at the intersection of multiple cultures. The sense of community and the islands’ spirit of “aloha” positions Jake to work in public health with the willingness to include people, to be caring, and to humble himself to serve.

ROY TAGGUEG JR., PHD STUDENT, SOCIOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, DAVIS

Location: Davis, California
Cohort: 2016
FOCUS: Roy B. Taggueg Jr.’s research interests revolve around undocumented immigrants and their interaction with institutions. Specifically, he looks at how individuals construct meaning from their experiences in health care, and how identity is shaped by the intersection of culture and citizenship.
ROY TAGGUEG JR., PHD STUDENT, SOCIOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, DAVIS

Roy B. Taggueg Jr. received his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Social Behavior at the University of California, Irvine. He worked at the UCI Office of Research as an Analyst for the Institutional Review Board, and developed an expertise on human ethics in research before coming to UC Davis in the Fall of 2016 to pursue a degree in Sociology.

VALERIE TAING, PHD STUDENT, JOINT PROGRAM IN SOCIAL WORK AND SOCIOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN

Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Cohort: 2017
FOCUS: How can child care and early education promote the health and well-being of immigrant children? Why do some programs meet the needs of children and families while others fail to do so? Using mixed methods, Valerie studies ways in which politics, partnerships, and social policy determine the quality of care received by immigrant children. Answering this question requires looking beyond child care centers to consider family and work support policies, early intervention, and early childhood development, as well as how such connections can promote healthier children, families, and communities. This research promotes the development of more equitable and accessible systems for child development and family support.

VALERIE TAING, PHD STUDENT, JOINT PROGRAM IN SOCIAL WORK AND SOCIOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN

As a child of immigrants and a former community organizer and policy advocate, Valerie has seen how politics shapes whose needs are met by government programs and whose needs are ignored. She seeks to conduct research that inspires new political strategies and policies that truly address the needs of the most marginalized communities.

FANICE THOMAS, PHD STUDENT, APPLIED SOCIAL AND COMMUNITY PSYCHOLOGY, NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY

Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
Cohort: 2017
FOCUS: Fanice’s research focuses on improving health behaviors, specifically diet and exercise, in immigrant populations. Current research explores how mindsets about the fixed or changeable nature of health, as well as people’s expectancy-value beliefs, influence their intentions to engage in positive health behaviors. Ultimately, she aims to create culturally informed interventions that encourage healthy eating and exercise behaviors as a way of reducing obesity outcomes within immigrant communities.

FANICE THOMAS, PHD STUDENT, APPLIED SOCIAL AND COMMUNITY PSYCHOLOGY, NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY

Born and raised in Kenya, Fanice moved to the United States to pursue her college education. Her interest in research was sparked by observations regarding differences between Kenyan and American culture in notions of the desirability and attractiveness of different body types, and how immigrants navigate them.

PATRICE WILLIAMS, PHD STUDENT, URBAN AND REGIONAL PLANNING, FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY

Location: Tallahassee, Florida
Cohort: 2016
FOCUS: Patrice Williams’s general research interest is in the health effects of green gentrification on vulnerable populations. Specifically, in understanding the costs and benefits to green redevelopment (i.e., green initiatives and capital investments that promote increasing the number of greenspace, parks, energy efficient building, and building infrastructure for alternative modes of transportation) and how it impacts stress and sleep quality.
PATRICE WILLIAMS, PHD STUDENT, URBAN AND REGIONAL PLANNING, FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY

Patrice Williams is a second-year doctoral student, born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Sunrise, Florida. She received dual Bachelor’s degrees in Biomathematics (with honors) and Music, and a Master’s in Public Health, with a concentration in health policy from Florida State University. Prior to starting her doctoral training, Patrice worked as the Council on Research and Creativity Coordinator where she administered eight internal grant programs and three honorary award programs for FSU faculty.

DANA WILLIAMSON, PHD STUDENT, BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES AND HEALTH EDUCATION, ROLLINS SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH, EMORY UNIVERSITY

Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Cohort: 2016
FOCUS: Dana Williamson’s research focuses on understanding community organizing strategies to address issues related to environmental justice. She is particularly interested in community mobilization as a response to environmental stress and racism, how community mobilization can serve as a buffer for environmental stressors, and how communities maintain a sense of resilience despite varying exposures and lack of resources.
DANA WILLIAMSON, PHD STUDENT, BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES AND HEALTH EDUCATION, ROLLINS SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH, EMORY UNIVERSITY

Dana Williamson is a third-year doctoral student in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education at the Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Dana was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, earned her BA in Biology and Chemistry from Oberlin College and received her MPH from Emory University. Finding meaningful ways to impact lives and contribute to society has not only been a professional aim of Dana’s, but also a very personal goal that has radiated throughout her life. Her love for community, volunteerism, and advocacy with vulnerable populations is a fundamental part of who she is. She has diverse public health experience that includes working as an emergency medical technician, a health communications specialist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and a project director for an NIH funded, culturally sensitive intervention educating about organ and tissue donation. She is dedicated to service, prevention, and creating collaborative solutions to the complexities of health inequities that plague low-income and minority communities. Dana’s diverse experiences have maintained a core theme of a health disparities lens. This perspective is crucial to addressing key questions about society, inequities, health consequences, and lack of resources. Dana is pursuing a doctoral degree because she recognizes the immediacy for change, the need for advocacy, and the interdisciplinary teamwork that is needed to create solutions to the complexities of health inequities.

HENRY WILLIS, PHD STUDENT, PSYCHOLOGY & NEUROSCIENCE, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL

Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Cohort: 2016
FOCUS: Henry Willis is interested in exploring how specific sociocultural risk (i.e., race-related stress) and protective (i.e., racial identity) factors affect the mental health of African-Americans. During his doctoral program, he plans to translate this research into cultural adaptations of mental health treatments for underserved populations. He also will begin creating mobile-health mental health applications that can disseminate low- or no-cost treatment to underserved populations in an attempt to reduce mental health disparities.
HENRY WILLIS, PHD STUDENT, PSYCHOLOGY & NEUROSCIENCE, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL

Henry is a second-year student in the clinical psychology doctoral program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a graduate student researcher in the African American Youth Wellness Lab. Henry is originally from Jackson, Mississippi and completed his undergraduate career at Howard University, majoring in Psychology with a focus on African American Studies. He went on to gain a Master of Arts degree in Psychology and Education, with a concentration on Psychopathology and Psychotherapy, from Columbia University. He is currently an executive board member of the National Student Circle board of the Association of Black Psychologists.

BLANCHE WRIGHT, PHD STUDENT, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES

 

Location: Los Angeles, California
Cohort: 2017
FOCUS: Evidence-based treatments (EBTs) designed to improve youth mental health problems have been predominantly validated with middle-class, white families in university settings. As millions of tax dollars are invested in bringing EBTs to the Los Angeles community, which largely serves disadvantaged, Latino families, Blanche aims to (1) identify ethnic disparities in the quality of mental health care; and (2) devise solutions to reduce disparities. By integrating her PhD education in clinical psychology with the HPRS public health and policy training, she is studying how caregivers’ engagement and therapists’ cultural sensitivity and humility can improve the treatment process for Latino and Hispanic families.

BLANCHE WRIGHT, PHD STUDENT, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES

As a first-generation American and Los Angeles native who grew up in low-income, Hispanic communities that did not prioritize mental health, Blanche aspires to make publicly funded mental health services more accessible, acceptable, and effective for families from similar backgrounds.

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