Meet The Scholars

Health Policy Research Scholars is an opportunity to network with like-minded people who get it, people who are driven and thoughtful, people who are working to make a difference.
— TERESA JACKSON

TERESA JACKSON, PhD student, Nutritional Sciences, Oklahoma State 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

Adedotun Ogunbajo, PhD student, Behavioral & Social Sciences, Brown University

Location: Providence, Rhode Island

Research Interests: HIV/AIDS, Substance Use, Mental Health, Gender and sexual minority communities, Racial/ethnic minority communities, mixed methods, and multi-level modeling.

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.

Adrian Neely, PhD student, Education (Policy and Program Evaluation, Teacher Education, Culturally Relevant Pedagogy), Georgia State University

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Research Interests: Teacher Education, Culturally Relevant Pedagogy, Education Policy, Urban Community Schools, Institutional and Systemic Oppression, Participatory Action Research.

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.

Amy Jones, PhD student, Sociology, The University of Wisconsin-Madison

Location: Madison, Wisconsin

Research Interests: Race and ethnicity; comparative/historical sociology; racism’s effects on health and wellness; ethnography; in-depth interviews.

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.

Ana Herrera, PhD student, Kinesiology and Health Education, The University of Texas at Austin

Location: Austin, Texas

Research Interests: Social Determinants of Health, Latino Health Disparities, Chronic Disease, Obesity Prevention, Tobacco Control, and Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR).

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.

Andrea Duran, PhD student, Biobehavioral Sciences (Kinesiology), Columbia University

Location: New York, New York

Research Interests: Exercise physiology, immunology, endocrinology, health behavior, physical activity interventions, childhood obesity prevention, cardiometabolic disease prevention, chronic disease prevention.

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.

Andrew Anderson, PhD student, Health Services Administration, University of Maryland College Park

Location: College Park, Maryland

Focus: Andrew Anderson’s research interests include:

  1. Health care quality improvement.
  2. Health care disparities.
  3. Economic evaluation of medical care.

Specifically, his work focuses on strategies that increase patient autonomy to make health care decisions and its effect on increasing quality, reducing cost, and increasing access to health care.

Andrew Anderson, PhD student, Health Services Administration, University of Maryland College Park

Andrew Anderson is a second-year PhD student in health services research at the University of Maryland College Park (UMD). Andrew also received his Bachelors and Masters in public health and health services administration at UMD. Andrew is a senior project manager at the National Quality Forum (NQF) where he works on healthcare quality measurement projects related to health and health care disparities, patient safety, shared decision-making, and home and community-based services. He is a certified health education specialist and is certified in public health practice by the National Board of Public Health Examiners. He was also a National Science Foundation Undergraduate Research Fellow at UMD where he supported studies in science education research and life sciences. Andrew is a Maryland Native of Jamaican descent.

Angeliz Encarnacion Burgos, PhD student, Architecture (Community and Regional Planning), The University of Texas at Austin

Location: Austin, Texas

Research Interests: Uneven urban development and gentrification issues, environmental justice, participatory mapping and health in the city.

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.

Bobby Shedd, PhD student, Management Science, Finance, The University of Texas at Dallas

Location: Dallas, Texas

Research Interests: Social Divesting, Real Estate, Corporate Governance.

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 that believe the numeric figures. His research attempts to bring the human aspect of finance back into focus. Bobby is specifically interested in how capital markets interplay with policy and society at large.
Bobby Shed, PhD student, Management Science, Finance, The University of Texas at Dallas

Bobby Shed is a PhD student in Finance at The University of Texas at Dallas. Bobby received his undergraduate degree at University of Charleston. After travelling and seeing extremes of wealth and poverty firsthand during his undergraduate studies, as well as witnessing wealth evaporate around him as a realtor in Florida during the recession, Bobby wondered how capital markets could serve some well and not others, and how policies could permit and markets could sustain the kind of loss seen during the recession. He is grateful to now have the opportunity to investigate these questions.

Brandon Ransom, PhD student, Personal Health Informatics, College of Computer and Information Science, Bouve College of Health Sciences, Northeastern University

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Research Interests: Personal Health Informatics, Nutrition, Wearable Biosensors, Community-Based Participatory Research, Health Policy, Quantitative Analysis, Data Visualization, and Health Behavior Change.

Focus: Brandon’s long-term research interests are in the development of subdermal nutrition-sensing technology and just-in-time nutrition recommendations for underserved communities. Through this program, he plans to develop skills in creating health technology-based interventions for underserved communities. Upon completing his doctoral program, he hopes to use his experiences to start a National Center for Minority Health Technology.
Brandon Ransom, PhD student, Personal Health Informatics, College of Computer and Information Science, Bouvé College of Health Sciences, Northeastern University

Brandon is a first-year doctoral student in Personal Health Informatics at Northeastern University. He earned his Bachelor’s degree at Morehouse College, where he developed nutrition coursework and protocols through the Morehouse Research Institute for Project A.H.E.A.D. He was then selected for a fellowship developing researching national obesity prevention programs at the David Satcher Leadership institute through the Morehouse School of Medicine and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He then received his Master’s in Nutrition from Tufts University, where he focused on evaluating mobile health technology usage for underserved populations and developing strategies for engaging underserved populations through Child Obesity 180.

Bukola Bakare, PhD student, Transportation and Logistics, North Dakota State University

Location: Fargo, North Dakota

Research Interests: Transportation, logistics, health, and health economics and policy.

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.

Dakota Cintron, PhD student, Educational Psychology, University of Connecticut

Location: Storrs, Connecticut

Research Interests: Longitudinal and Structural Equation Models.

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.

Dana Robinson Williamson, PhD student, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Research Interests: Program evaluation, multi-level modeling, mixed methods research, community-based participatory research, cultural sensitivity, health disparities, social and environmental justice, structural and policy interventions.

Focus: Dana Williamson is interested in researching how neighborhood characteristics and community capacity mediate behavior and health outcomes. Specifically, she would like to create a model that understands the relationships among the degree of disadvantage experienced by a population, the neighborhood in which that population resides, lack of access to nutritional/physical activity resources, poor health outcomes, and community resilience.
Dana Robinson Williamson, PhD student, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University

Dana Williamson was raised in Detroit, Michigan. She earned a BA in Biology and Chemistry from Oberlin College and an MPH from Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, where her thesis was titled “The Relationship between Physical Activity and Screen time behavior among Tweens using The Theory of Planned Behavior.” She is currently a second-year doctoral student at Emory University.

Desi Rodriguez-Lonebear, PhD student, Sociology/Demography, University of Arizona

Location: Tucson, Arizona

Research Interests: Social demography, race and ethnicity, social stratification, mixed-methods.

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.

Erica Browne, PhD student, Public Health, University of California, Berkeley

Location: Berkeley, California

Research Interests: Health disparities, leadership and strategic management, implementation science, hospital community benefits.

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.

Gayle Shipp, PhD student, Food Science and Human Nutrition, Michigan State University

Location: East Lansing, Michigan

Research Interests: Maternal and child health, Breastfeeding specifically focused on self-efficacy and social support, First Food Deserts, and Health Behavior.

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

Henry Willis, PhD student, Psychology & Neuroscience, Clinical Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Research Interests: Race-related stress, Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR), racial identity, cultural adaptations of mental health treatment for African-Americans, mobile-health technology, mental health disparities.

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.

Jasmine Blanks Jones, PhD student, Education and African
Studies, University of Pennsylvania

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Research Interests: Youth civic engagement practices, African and diaspora civic development and globalization, performance studies, ethnography, case study research.

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.

Jennifer McGee-Avila, PhD student, Urban Systems, Rutgers School of Nursing

HIV/AIDS, Cervical Cancer, HIV/AIDS Cervical cancer co-morbidities, practice transformation, health equity, social determinants of health, racism and health, trauma, Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR), reproductive health, GIS, mixed methods research.

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, microfinance for adolescent girls and female genital mutilation. Jennifer is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) and received her certificate as a Practice Transformation Coach. She was recently named 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 second-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 and majored 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 has also worked in this capacity at Charles Drew University in South Central Los Angeles prior to moving to New Jersey.

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

Research Interests: Medical Mistrust, Health Care Quality and Value, Social Determinants of Health, Health Disparities (particularly among African-American populations).

Focus: Jennifer Richmond’s research interests lie in exploring the social determinants of health among African-Americans and the roles racial discrimination 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 second-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 previously 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 six 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.

Jenny Guadamuz, PhD student, Health Policy and Administration, University of Illinois at Chicago

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Research Interests: Pharmaceutical policy, utilization of medicines, access to medicines, medicines for primary and secondary prevention, chronic disease epidemiology, health equity.

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.

Josefina Flores Morales, PhD student, Sociology, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Location: Madison, Wisconsin

Research Interests: Immigration, education, employment, occupational health, health disparities, mixed-methods, demography.

Focus: Josefina Flores Morales’ primary interests follow two main lines of work:

  1. The occupational health and employment of undocumented middle aged immigrants of Mexican origin.
  2. The educational trajectories of newcomer youth and undocumented college students.

Presently, she 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 with 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 Wisconsin-Madison

Josefina is a first-year doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying demography in the Sociology Department. She recently graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a minor in Public Health. As a teenager, Josefina worked as a trombone player in a Mexican band for five years. With this job and others in several nonprofit organizations (legal and mental health focused), she worked throughout her undergraduate career. 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.

Kristefer Stojanovski, PhD student, Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan

Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan

Research Interests: Discrimination and racial and ethnic health inequities among Roma in the Balkans, Structural factors to sexual and mental health inequities among sexual and gender minorities in the Balkans, Sexual and gender minority and health care provider relationships and discourse, Human rights-based approaches to research and policy development, Quantitative and qualitative methods, applied research methods, translation of research into policy.

Focus: Kristefer Stojanovski’s research is at the intersection of health and human rights, where he focuses on elucidating and framing health issues through human rights frameworks. During his doctoral program, Kristefer intends to continue his research on sexual and mental health disparities among sexual and gender minorities in the United States and the Balkans.
Kristefer Stojanovski, PhD student, Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan

Kristefer Stojanovski is a first-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.

Manka Nkimbeng, PhD student, Nursing, Johns Hopkins University

Location: Baltimore, Maryland

Research Interests: Aging, Disability, Immigrant health, Health inequities and Global health.

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

Mary Keovisai, PhD student, Social Welfare, University at Buffalo

Location: Buffalo, New York

Research Interests: Mental health and well-being of refugees and immigrants; historical trauma; violence; community health.

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.

Max Aung, PhD student, Environmental Health Sciences, University of Michigan, School of Public Health

Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan

Research Interests: Environmental, molecular, and epigenetic epidemiology; Child and maternal health; Endocrine disrupting chemicals and immune responses.

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.

Michelle Doose, PhD student, Epidemiology, Rutgers School of Public Health

Location: New Brunswick, New Jersey

Research Interests: Epidemiology, health disparities, cancer survivorship, mixed methods, multi-level models, longitudinal data.

Focus: Michelle Doose’s research interests are to explore the social-environmental determinants of health in cancer disparities and to inform policies that promote equitable access to medical and supportive care for cancer patients and survivors.
Michelle Doose, PhD student, Epidemiology, Rutgers School of Public Health

Michelle Doose is a second-year doctoral student at Rutgers School of Public Health in the Department of Epidemiology focused on developing advanced epidemiological and biostatistical analytic techniques. She earned her Master of Public Health at University of California, Los Angeles, where her studies focused on health promotion and health education. She received her Bachelor’s in International Studies and Spanish at Pepperdine University. Michelle grew up in Southern California. Prior to the PhD program, she worked for five years as a research coordinator focused on improving post-treatment care for children, teens, and young adult cancer survivors. Her projects focused on qualitative interviews, community-partnered participatory research, and program development utilizing health technology.

Patrice Williams, PhD student, Urban and Regional Planning, Florida State University

Location: Tallahassee, Florida

Research Interests: Built Environment, Neighborhood Health, Gentrification, Race, Ethnicity, Class & Health, Mix Methods (Qualitative & Quantitative), Social & Environmental Justice, Food Systems Planning.

Focus: Patrice Williams’s general research interest is in the health effects of gentrification on marginalized populations. Specifically, she is interested in studying the social, economic, and environmental factors that will have an impact on the objective and subjective well-being of marginalized populations undergoing the gentrification process in Atlanta, Georgia.
Patrice Williams, PhD student, Urban and Regional Planning, Florida State University

Patrice Williams is a first-year doctoral student who was 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.

Patricia Calixte-Civil, PhD student, Psychology, University of South Florida

Location: Tampa, Florida

Research Interests: Tobacco-related health disparities, patterns of use, and beliefs among priority populations, accessible behavioral interventions for tobacco dependence.

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.

Paul Shafer, PhD student, Health Policy and Management, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Research Interests: Health care utilization, health promotion, policy and program evaluation.

Focus: Paul Shafer is currently working on projects related to utilization of colorectal cancer screening and HPV vaccination. His plan is to focus his research on the impact of the ACA on emergency department utilization, particularly among the previously uninsured.
Paul Shafer, PhD student, Health Policy and Management, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Paul Shafer is a second-year doctoral student in Health Policy and Management at UNC with a concentration in Health Economics. Paul’s parents defected from Hungary in the 1970s and settled in the United States. He is a first-generation American and college graduate. He completed a BA in Economics at UNC and an MA in Applied Economics at UNC 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 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tips From Former Smokers campaign evaluation, and published numerous papers on topics ranging from smoke-free air laws, tobacco retailing policy, and anti-tobacco media campaigns.

Rantimi Adetunji, PhD student, Health Systems and International Health, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health

Location: Baltimore, Maryland

Research Interests: Health financing, public financing, economic evaluation, econometrics, health systems strengthening, injury, violence, economic participation, education.

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.

Raven Hardy, PhD student, Neuroscience, Emory University

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Research Interests: Neurobiology, neurocircuitry, maladaptive eating, cognitive profiles, emotional profiles, post traumatic stress disorder.

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.

Regina Fuller, PhD student, Educational Policy Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Location: Madison, Wisconsin

Research Interests: Adolescent girls, education policy, reproductive health, girlhood, qualitative methods, program evaluation, adolescent sexuality.

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.

Roy Taggueg Jr., PhD student, Sociology, University of California, Davis

Location: Davis, California

Research Interests: Immigration, Citizenship and Health, Stratification, Social Capital, and Health Policy.

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.

Samuel Baxter, PhD student, Health Policy and Management, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Research Interests: Health Policy (issues of quality and access), men’s health, intersectionality, self-care practices, place, mixed methods, levels of racism, and vulnerable male populations.

Focus: Samuel Baxter’s doctoral work will focus on aspects of men’s health within and outside the contexts of health systems. He is interested in understanding how interventions in educational, sociocultural, and political environments can create a Culture of Health for males in the emerging adulthood life stage.
Samuel Baxter, PhD student, Health Policy and Management, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Samuel Baxter, MPH, 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 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in the Gillings School of Global Public Health. Samuel earned his BS in Sociology and minor in Pan-African Studies from Clemson University and his MPH from Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM). 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.

Seciah Aquino, PhD student, Public Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Research Interests: Creating a Culture of Change, Leadership, Economics, Behavioral Economics, Reverse Innovation, Health Policy, Government, Health Care System Reform, Financing, Health Equity, Addressing Social Determinants of Health.

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.

Sondra Calhoun, PhD candidate, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Pennsylvania

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Research Interests: Antimicrobial Use, Stewardship, and Resistance, Veterinary Medicine, Pediatric Infectious Disease, One Health, Multi-level Models, Qualitative Methods.

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.

Teresa Jackson, PhD student, Nutritional Sciences, Oklahoma State University

Location: Stillwater, Oklahoma

Research Interests: CBPR, formative assessment, program evaluation, mixed methods, and Native American populations.

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, Nutritional Sciences, Oklahoma State University

Teresa Jackson is a second-year PhD student in Nutritional Sciences at the Department of Nutritional Sciences in the College of Human Sciences at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma. She earned her MS in Nutritional Sciences and her BS in Human Environmental Sciences 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, enrolled Ft. Mojave tribe but also Seminole, Muscogee (Creek), Cherokee and Yuma.

Terrell Frazier, PhD student, Sociology, Columbia University

Location: New York, New York

Research Interests: Political Sociology, Collective Action and Social Movements, Social Networks, Stratification.

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.

Tran Doan, PhD student, Health Management and Policy, University of Michigan

Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan

Research Interests: Health disparities; health of immigrants and new Americans; patient- and population-level decision making; health literacy and communications; effectiveness analysis.

Focus: Tran Doan’s goal is to perform research and develop policies that will make a wide range of quality health services accessible for under-resourced communities—particularly refugee immigrants and people with life-limiting but preventable diseases. She hopes to apply mixed methods and population-level decision making tools to get at the root of health literacy issues.
Tran Doan, PhD student, Health Management and Policy, University of Michigan

Tran Doan is a first-year PhD student in Health Services Organization and Policy, specializing in decision science and operations research. Her MPH is in Infectious Diseases from the University of Pittsburgh and she earned her BS in Chemistry from the University of Richmond. She previously worked on a Health Policy and Advocacy team for AIDS United—a DC nonprofit operating the oldest federal policy coalition working to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States. Additionally, she spent some time as a fundraising manager for Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti (a 24/7 nonprofit hospital in rural Haiti). Tran was born in southern California and grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.