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Meet Some of Our Doctoral Students

Christopher Alley
Email: ca2205@columbia.edu

Degree program: Ph.D
Track: Anthropology

Areas of interest: 
Dengue fever • vector-borne infectious diseases • waste and sanitation • urban poverty and street economies • community policing • social movements • gender • Brazil

Education:
M.A., M.Phil, Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University (2010)
B.A., Psychology and Criminology, Boston University (1996)

Biographical Note:
Chris' dissertation, provisionally entitled "Dengue Fever and Trash Collection in Brazil: Politics of Responsibility in Favelas of Rio de Janeiro," integrates methods and theory of public health and medical anthropology in an ethnographic investigation of overlapping domains of dengue fever control and social activism.  Developing a concept of 'public health citizenship', Chris studies how new dengue prevention policies in Rio promote civil-state trash collection partnerships between government public health entities and socially marginalized waste pickers who struggle for recognition and autonomy in Rio's informal economy of recyclable materials. 

Cohort Year: 2005

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Althea Anderson
Email: ada2103@columbia.edu

Degree program: Ph.D
Track: Sociology

Areas of Interest:
Intersectional analysis of social inequalities, human rights, and health • gender, sexuality, and health • sexual and gender-based violence prevention • adolescent and young adult health interventions • contemporary masculinities in democratic societies • globalization, social exclusion, and health

Education:
MPH, Maternal and Child Health, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

Biographical Note:
Althea's doctoral research explores the influence of legally-constituted rights and the lived experience of inequalities on the construction of contemporary masculinities and young adults' attitudes regarding sexual violence in South Africa.  Dr. Jennifer Hirsch is her dissertation sponsor.  Althea received a Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship from the Social Science Research Council to conduct preliminary dissertation research. She also received a Leitner Family Student Fellowship from Columbia University's Institute for African Studies for this work. Cohort Year: 2009

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Nadav Antebi
Email: nadavantebi@gmail.com

Degree program: Ph.D
Track: Psychology

Areas of Interest:
LGBTQQIA populations • sex, sexuality, and gender • stigma, prejudice, and stereotypes • mental health and well-being • resilience • community-based participatory research

Education:
B.A., Behavioral Sciences, Tel-Aviv-Yaffo Academic College, Israel
M.A., Human Development, Cornell University

Biographical Note:
I am primarily interested in the positive and protective aspects of stigma and 'minority' membership, with a specific focus on LGBTQQIA populations. My Master's thesis focused on the positive aspects of LGB people and their sense of well-being. For more than a decade, I have been working with LGBTQQA populations in both community and research settings and am excited about integrating theory and research into real-life practice. Please feel free to contact me.

Cohort Year: 2011

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Kathleen Bachynski
E-mail: keb2168@columbia.edu

Degree Program: Ph.D
Track: History and Ethics

Areas of Interest:
20th century history of American public health • public health ethics • injury prevention • injury and safety culture • risk perception • epidemiology • mental health• genetics

Education:
MPH, Epidemiology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (2008)
B.A., Anthropology-zoology, Medieval and early modern studies, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (2007)

Biographical Note:
As an undergraduate Kathleen attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where she received a BA in anthropology-zoology and medieval & early modern studies (2007), followed by an MPH in epidemiology with an interdepartmental concentration in genetics. Kathleen's master's thesis examined the prevalence of migraine headaches among college students, comparing athletes with non-athletes. Prior to coming to Columbia, she worked in the Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System, for the French Ministry of Education as an English teaching assistant, and at the U.S. Army Public Health Command's Injury Prevention Program.  She has studied suicide in the U.S. military, DNA testing for colorectal cancer, motor vehicle collisions, tobacco control policies, and sports-related injuries.

Cohort Year: 2010

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Shruti Chhabra
E-mail: sc3223@columbia.edu

Degree Program: Ph.D
Track: Political Science

Areas of interest: Maternal health • India • development theory • globalization processes • policy and governance

Education:
MBB.S., T. N. Medical College, Mumbai, India (2005)
MHA, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India (2008)

Biographical Note:
An Allan Rosenfield Scholar in Sexual and Reproductive Health, Shruti is trying to find her place somewhere between medicine and public health in order to understand health inequities. She has worked in India with the public, the private as well as the non-profit sector, in both urban and rural areas. As diverse as this experience has been, it has given her insights into health systems in the developing world, and raised questions about politics and power in reproductive health policies that she is working on now with the Department of Population and Family Health at MSPH.

Cohort Year: 2010

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Amy Dao
Email: lmd2174@columbia.edu

Degree Program: Ph.D
Track: Anthropology

Education:
B.A., Anthropology, University of California-Riverside (2008)

Areas of interest:
Social welfare • Risk, trust, governmentality • Vietnam

Biographical Note:
Amy Dao is studying medical anthropology and pursuing her doctoral studies at Columbia University in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences. She is interested in healthcare reforms and the global movement towards providing universal coverage in low-income countries. In particular, she would like to study the multifaceted meanings of health as they pertain to health insurance in Vietnam. She is theoretically driven by analyses of governmentality and conceptualizations of risk, particularly how each develops and influences local perceptions that enable or undermine state efforts at ensuring the health of its citizens. Since 2008, she has worked as a Project Manager on a NICHD-funded social science project on toddler supervision and injury prevention in Riverside, CA. Currently, she continues to gain research experience in her role as the Project Assistant of the Social Science Training and Research (STAR) Partnership, an NICHD-funded social science and HIV research capacity building project carried out in collaboration between the department of Sociomedical Sciences and Hanoi Medical University.

Cohort year: 2011

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Abby DiCarlo
Email: ald2163@columbia.edu

Degree Program: Ph.D
Track: Anthropology

Education:
MPH, Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University (2011)
M.A., Gender Studies and Anthropology from Claremont Graduate University (2009)
B.A., Women's Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston (2007)

Areas of Interest:
Gender and sexuality • public health and law • masculinities • sex work • sex tourism • migration and health • stigma • HIV/AIDS • feminist theory.

Biographical Note:
Abby DiCarlo is a PhD student in Sociomedical Sciences and Anthropology and a 2013-2014 graduate fellow with the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Columbia University. She has primary research interests in gender and sexuality, and the intersections of public health and law. Abby has previously worked as an adjunct lecturer in the Women’s and Gender Studies department at Rutgers University. She currently works at the HIV Center, a component of the Division of Gender, Sexuality, and Health at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University, as Program Manager for the Enhanced Prevention in Couples (EPIC) Study, a NIH-funded series of feasibility studies for biomedical and behavioral interventions in Lesotho.

Cohort Year: 2011

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Ijeoma Eboh
Email: ie2150@columbia.edu

Degree Program: Ph.D
Track:  History and Ethics

Areas of Interest:
History of public health and medicine, African American health, Health disparities, Social determinants of health

Education:
B.A., History and Science, Harvard University (2012)

Biographical Note:
As a student in the Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health, Ijeoma is interested in the history of health disparities that primarily affect urban African-Americans. Her prior research has included the intersection of race, psychology, and sexuality at Harlem's first mental health clinic, as well as the history of asthma documentation of African-American patients. She hopes to expand her research to include other diseases whose social factors place African-Americans at higher risk of incidence and mortality, such as obesity and diabetes.

Cohort Year: 2012

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Kirk Fiereck
Email: kjf2103@columbia.edu

Degree program: Ph.D
Track: Anthropology

Areas of Interest:
ethnography of biomedicine • public health and expertise • globalization and global health • political economy • postcolonial studies • public health ethics and bioethics • science and technology studies • sexual theory • sexuality, gender, feminist, and queer studies • social movements • risk and the articulation of social difference

Education:
M.Phil., Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University (2009)
MPH, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University (2005)
B.S., Biochemistry, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities-Minneapolis (2001)

Biographical Note:
Mr. Fiereck’s dissertation research examines how sexual and cultural ideologies have been elaborated in relation to homoerotic desire, race, class and sexual and gender non-normativity in contemporary South Africa. Drawing on this ethnographic investigation of the ontological politics of opposing sex/gender systems, this project examines how these systems are constituted as well as contested. These analyses pay particular attention to the cultural contradictions that are produced through complex subject-formation processes as they are enacted within and in relation to various “development,” postcolonial “nation-building,” and “decolonization" projects. His research and writing has been supported by the U.S. Department of Education Fulbright-Hays and Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) programs as well as by a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Fellowship.

Cohort Year: 2006

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Somjen Frazer
Email: msf2143@columbia.edu

Degree Program: Ph.D
Track: Sociology

Areas of Interest:
Program evaluation • quantitative methods • gender and sexuality

Education:
MLitt, Sociology, Oxford University's Nuffield College
B.A., Cornell University

Biographical Note:
After working as a program evaluator for several years, she founded a research and evaluation firm, Strength In Numbers Consulting Group, which provides affordable services to progressive not-for-profit and government agencies. She has a particular interest in improving health and social services for marginalized populations, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, homeless children and adults, people of color and others. She is the author of numerous reports, peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and conference papers. She is an avid hiker and studies circus arts, including trapeze and acrobatics, at the Lava Studio in Brooklyn.

Cohort Year: 2011

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Robert Frey
E-mail: rbf2101@columbia.edu

Degree Program: Ph.D
Track: Anthropology

Areas of interest:

Education:
B.A., (with distinction), Cultural Anthropology (Highest Honors) and French and Francophone Studies, University of Michigan

Biographical Note:
Robert's research interests focus on understanding how public and private institutions respond to the health consequences of war, and the visions of citizenship and society that operate therein.  Under the supervision of Dr. Lesley Sharp, Robert is currently completing his dissertation, with funding from Columbia's Earth Institute (AC4 graduate fellowship) and the Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy.  Based on over a year of multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork, his project, Injured and Invisible: The Moral Economy of Health Care and the Privatization of Warfare in the United States, investigates two questions: What's at stake for "military contractors" - the civilian employees of private firms performing outsourced military work in overseas war zones - as they readjust to life in the United States with a war injury?  And, what conditions render certain forms of war-related affliction and, in turn, certain groups of people afflicted by war, visible or invisible in American society?

Cohort Year: 2003

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Allison Goldberg
Email: abg2141@columbia.edu

Degree Program: Ph.D
Track: Political Science

Areas of Interest:
Maternal and child health • health systems strengthening • HIV/AIDS • social determinants of health •  politics of public health policymaking •  international health • social network analyses • GIS mapping

Education:
M.A., Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University (2011)
B.A., Political Science (Honors) and Middle Eastern and North African Studies, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (2005)

Biographical Note:
Allison has 7 years of experience in the field of international health. She worked at Abt Associates Inc. since 2005 and the International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs (ICAP) at the Mailman School of Public Health (MSPH) since 2008, on projects related to HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, and health systems strengthening throughout sub-Saharan Africa, including Uganda, Malawi, Kenya, and Nigeria.  In 2011, Allison returned to Abt Associates Inc. as an Associate/Human Resources for Health (HRH) Specialist in the International Health Division. Allison is interested in, and has experience in, research that focuses on the role of macro-level politics and policy on public health outcomes and improving the demand for, and delivery of, health services.   Allison's dissertation research explores the impact of social networks on childhood immunization uptake in northern Nigeria. This research involved collecting GPS and survey data from mothers about their immunization decisions and community leaders about their perceptions of childhood immunizations living in 22 rural neighborhoods from October to November 2011.

Cohort Year: 2008

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Elisa Gonzalez
Email emg2173@columbia.edu

Degree Program: Ph.D
Track: History and Ethics

Education:
B.S., Biology, University of Puerto Rico-Cayey
M.A., Latin American History from the State University of New York-Albany (2009)

Areas of Interest:
History of public health and medicine • Latin America and the Caribbean

Biographical Note:
Elisa’s current research focuses on public health and medical sciences in relation to economic development and modernization ideologies during mid-20th century Puerto Rico. Specifically, her dissertation examines nutrition sciences and programs in the context of agricultural change and industrialization schemes on the island from the late 1920s to the late 1960s. Her pre-dissertation research was supported by a travel grant from the Institute of Latin American Studies at Columbia University.

Cohort Year: 2009

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Radhika Gore
Email: rjg150@columbia.edu

Degree Program: Ph.D
Track: Political Science

Areas of Interest:
Health care systems • community-based development • participation • political development

Education:
B.A., Economics and Mathematics, Virginia Tech
M.A., International Affairs (concentration: economic and political development), Columbia University

Biographical Note:
Radhika entered the Ph.D program in Sociomedical Sciences in 2008, having worked for over four years with international development organizations, including UNICEF, the World Bank, and UNESCO. Her dissertation research will focus on the politics of primary care in urban India; she will examine health care law and administration as well as collective claims for improved primary care in Mumbai. Radhika is an Allan Rosenfield scholar at the Mailman School of Public Health, and received a dissertation proposal development award from the Social Science Research Council to conduct preliminary research in India.

Cohort Year: 2008

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Akua Gyamerah
Email: aog2105@columbia.edu

Degree Program: DrPH   

Areas of Interest:
African sexualities • gender • human rights & health • postcolonial studies • globalization & identity formation • HIV/AIDS prevention • NGOs & international AIDS funding politics

Education:
MPH (Sociomedical Sciences), Columbia University (2010)
B.A., College Scholar Program, Cornell University

Biographical Note:
Akua is a DrPH student and a Gates Millenium Scholar. Prior to her graduate studies at Columbia, she worked as a Research Assistant at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine on a community based participatory research project aimed at preventing and managing diabetes in East Harlem. Before that, Akua attended Cornell University where she attained her Bachelor of Arts degree in the College Scholar Program with an independent major titled, "The Role of Socioeconomic Inequalities on the Nutrition and Health Status of Sub-Sahara African Women and Children." Akua's doctoral research interests are in examining cultural understandings of sexuality, gender, and health in postcolonial Africa, with a focus on Ghana.

Cohort Year: 2010

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Brendan Hart
Email: bgh2105@columbia.edu

Degree Program: Ph.D
Track: Anthropology

Areas of Interest:
Autism • psy sciences • translation • ethics • expertise • Middle East and North African studies

Education:
B.A., Cultural Anthropology, University of Michigan (2005)

Biographical Note:
I have been working with children with autism as a caregiver and therapist since 2002. My research focuses on the sociology of expertise and the ethics of care for people with severe cognitive or intellectual disabilities. I have worked with Gil Eyal on a historical and sociological project concerning the causes and consequences of autism's recent rise to prominence. On the basis of that work, we coauthored a book, The Autism Matrix (with Emine Onculer, Neta Oren, Natasha Rossi. Polity Press, 2010), and an article (Berkeley Journal of Sociology, 2010). I am currently finishing up fieldwork for my dissertation (supervised by Lesley Sharp) about the treatment and diagnosis of autism and related disabilities in Morocco. My work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation and the Osmundsen Initiative, the Social Science Research Council, and the American Institute for Maghrib Studies. 

Cohort Year: 2006

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Gina Jae
Email: gj2008@columbia.edu

Degree Program: Ph.D
Track: Anthropology

Areas of interest:
Health disparities, sickle cell disease, refugees and survivors of torture, chronic illness management, translating medical technologies to clinical practice. Geographic areas of interest include: New York City, Brazil/Lusophone diaspora, Spanish-speaking Latin America

Education:
MD, University of Illinois at Chicago
MPH, Population and Family Health, Columbia University
B.A., Spanish, Rice University

Biographical Note:
Her ongoing research has involved refugee survivors of torture and families and caregivers of children with sickle cell disease. She has worked as a community-based public health worker in Brazil, Mexico, and Paraguay and as a primary care physician for refugee survivors of torture living in New York City.

Cohort Year: 2008

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Jessica Jaiswal
Email: jlr2161@columbia.edu

Degree program: Ph.D
Track: Sociology

Areas of Interest:
HIV/AIDS, particularly engagement in care • fundamental causes of health inequalities • internalized stigma • historical trauma • health of immigrants • urban American Indian health • “socially marginalized”/more vulnerable populations • Foucault, Bourdieu and Cockerham • gender and critical race theory • interdisciplinary research

Education:
MPH, Behavioral Science and Health Education, Emory University (2009)
B.A. (with distinction), Women's Studies and Latin American Studies, University of Michigan (2007)

Biographical Note:
Jessica has been involved with several qualitative and mixed methodology studies conducted by the Center for the Psychosocial Study of Health and Illness. Recent studies include a mixed methods investigation examining the sexual and reproductive health behaviors and beliefs of seroconcordant and serodiscordant heterosexual couples living with HIV. Her current research explores the challenges and life experiences of people living with HIV/AIDS who are not currently engaged in HIV care.  Jessica’s dissertation research continues in the area of HIV engagement in care, with a particular focus on the impacts of historical trauma and ongoing racism and discrimination (both structurally and interpersonally) on individual and groups’ health lifestyles and habitus.

Prior to coming to Columbia, she held internships and positions at CDC in the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, CARE USA, Planned Parenthood, and UNDP in the HIV/AIDS Regional Programme in the Arab States, in Cairo, Egypt.

Cohort Year: 2010

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Rebecca A. Kruger
Email: rak2136@columbia.edu

Degree Program: Ph.D
Track: Sociology

Areas of interest:
Reproductive health • development • gender • human rights • fair trade • Latin America

Education:
M.Sc., Population and Development, The London School of Economics and Political Science
B.A., Government and the Plan II Honors Program, University of Texas-Austin

Biographical Note:
Rebecca is a Fellow in the NIH pre-doctoral training program in Gender, Sexuality, and Health. She has also received research funding from the Social Sciences Research Council and the Columbia University Institute for Latin American Studies. Her research interests include reproductive health, gender, development, human rights, and Fair Trade, particularly in Latin America. 

Cohort Year: 2009

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Sara E. Lewis
Email: sel2127@columbia.edu

Degree program: Ph.D
Track: Anthropology

Areas of Interest:
Psychiatric and psychological anthropology • anthropology of religion • refugee mental health • clinical ethnography
 
Education:
M.A., Social Sciences, University of Chicago (2005)
A.M., Social Work, University of Chicago (2007)
B.A., Interdisciplinary major, St. Lawrence University (2003)
 
Biographical Note:
Sara Lewis is a PhD candidate in medical anthropology. Her research interests lie at the intersections of mental health, culture and religion.  Her dissertation research, funded by a Fulbright-Nehru award, the Columbia University Weatherhead East Asian Institute, and a Lemelson Society for Psychological Anthropology Pre-Dissertation Fellowship, involved 14 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Dharamsala, India, investigating how Buddhism and other sociocultural factors support coping and resilience among Tibetan refugees (dissertation sponsor is Prof Kim Hopper). She has also served as a co-investigator on several research projects related to mental health and recovery with the Center to Study Recovery in Social Contexts, an NIMH-funded center at the Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, and with the California Mental Health Services Authority. Her work has been published in Culture, Medicine & Psychiatry; Ethos; Psychiatric Services; and Anthropology of Consciousness. In addition to her research activities, she works as a psychotherapist in community mental health, focusing on the treatment of serious and persistent mental illness. (Complete CV)

Cohort Year: 2007

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Mariana Da Cunha De Queiroz Martins
Email: mcm2203@columbia.edu

Degree Program: Ph.D
Track: Psychology

Areas of interest:
Social and health psychology • diet and obesity • Latino health • advertising • quantitative methods

Education : B.A. (Summa Cum Laude), Psychology, Studio Art , Stony Brook University 2009

Biographical Note:
Mariana's main area of interest is diet, particularly the quantitative effects of advertising and health framing on eating behavior, assessed through both neighborhood level analyses of advertisement density and individual level experiments to investigate the efficacy of different types of health advertising.  She is particularly interested in these areas as they relate to Latino immigrants within the US, with an emphasis on the effects of culturally-relevant and language-relevant initiatives and advertisements.  She is also a painter, avid knitter, and overall geek.

Cohort Year: 2009

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Alexander Martos
Email: ajm2230@columbia.edu

Degree program: DrPH

Areas of interest: 
Sexual health, behavior, and knowledge • sexual education curriculum development and evaluation • sexual minority populations

Education:
MPH, Community Health Sciences, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health
B.A., Public Health Policy, University of California, Irvine School of Social Ecology

Biographical Note:
After completing his B.A. at the University of California, Irvine, Alexander worked as a health educator at high schools throughout Los Angeles with a primary focus on sexual health education. Alexander went to UCLA for his MPH, where he served as co-Chair for the student organization Queers for Public Health. As an Albert Schweitzer Fellow, Alexander created a sexual education curriculum for gay men. Alexander has also interned with the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center and supported research on sexual orientation and gender policy through the Williams Institute in the UCLA School of Law. Alexander currently works as a graduate student researcher at the Society, Psychology, and Health Research (SPHERE) Lab at the Mailman School of Public Health. During his doctoral training he plans to broaden his expertise in sexual minority health and develop skills in intervention development and evaluation.

Cohort Year: 2013

William Mellman
Email: wlm2112@columbia.edu

Degree program: Ph.D
Track: Sociology

Areas of interest:
Sexual identity • gender identity • social determinants of health • health disparities and outcomes • mental health

Education:
M.S.W. Clinical Social Work, University of Pennsylvania (2009)
B.A.. Neuroscience and Women's Studies, Wellesley College (2004)

Biographical Note:
Will is primarily interested in health disparities in the transgender community as they relate to the LGBT community and society at large. Prior to attending Columbia, Will worked as a clinical therapist for children in various community behavioral health clinics in Philadelphia as well as a patient advocate and clinical case manager for perinatally infected children with HIV in the Special Immunology department at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Will's current interests broadly include a qualitative approach to studying the social factors that influence the health practices and outcomes of transgender individuals as well as the particular needs of transgender individuals as it relates to health services.

Cohort Year: 2011

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Anne Montgomery
Email: amm2195@columbia.edu

Degree program: Ph.D
Track: Sociology

Areas of interest:
Science and technology studies • North African studies • politics of global health interventions • political sociology • participatory approaches to public health • gender and sexuality studies

Education:
M.S., Harvard School of Public Health
B.A., Interdisciplinary Studies, University of California-Berkeley

Biographical Note:
Anne has been a pre-doctoral fellow in both the NIH Gender, Sexuality, and Health Fellowship program and the NSF-IGERT International Development & Globalization traineeship program. Under the guidance of Professor Carole S. Vance and with support from Fulbright, the National Science Foundation, and the American Institute for Maghrib Studies, Anne's dissertation research will explore how civil society organizations respond to the challenges of carrying out HIV prevention with vulnerable and hard to reach groups in Morocco's highest prevalence region. Prior to coming to Columbia, Anne gained significant experience in design, implementation, and evaluation of health promotion and community development programs in the U.S., Africa, and Latin America. She has also founded peer-led sexual health promotion programs at Brown University and Harvard College.

Cohort Year: 2006

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Laura Murray
Email: lrm2137@columbia.edu

Degree program: Ph.D
Track: Anthropology

Areas of interest:
Gender • sexuality • HIV • cultural activism • Brazil

Education:
M.S., International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (2005)
Bachelors, Political Science and Women's Studies, Wellesley College (2000)

Biographical Note:
Laura has worked on issues related to gender, sexuality, and health as a researcher, activist, and filmmaker since 2000, earning a Thomas J. Watson fellowship to work with international sex worker rights organizations from 2000-2001 and working in HIV prevention and sexual health programs in the Dominican Republic, Peru, and most recently, Brazil from 2001-2010. Her dissertation is focused on the politics of prostitution, HIV prevention, and sex worker activism in Brazil and is being carried out under the supervision of Dr. Richard Parker.

Cohort Year: 2008

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Caroline Parker
Email: cmp2197@columbia.edu

Degree program: Ph.D.
Track: Anthropology

Areas of interest:
Neglected Tropical Diseases • politics of public health • global health agenda-setting • teenage motherhood • politics of the body • sociology of science and expertise • anthropology as activism.

Education:
B.A. (first class) in Human Sciences, University of Oxford (2012)

Biographical note:
Caroline is pursuing her Ph.D. in medical anthropology. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Human Sciences in 2012 from St. John’s College, University of Oxford. Her undergraduate dissertation explored the impact of health inequalities and sex ratios on the prevalence of teenage motherhood among African Americans living in economically disadvantaged urban areas. Her current research interests center around the politics of public health issues, ideology and the body, the relationship between evidence and public health policy, and global health initiatives.

Cohort Year: 2013

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Amaya Perez-Brumer
Email: agp21332@columbia.edu

Degree program: Ph.D
Track: Sociology

Areas of interest:
Gender and sexuality • sexually transmitted infections • HIV/AIDS • quantitative methodology • gender theory • Latin America • social networks

Education:
B.A., Colorado College
M.S., Harvard School of Public Health

Biographical Note:
Amaya is a first year SMS PhD student (Sociology) and a recipient of the NIH pre-doctoral training grant in Gender, Sexuality and Health. Amaya received her B.A. in Italian Studies and History from Colorado College in 2007. She received her M.S. from Harvard School of Public Health in the Department of Society, Human Development and Health in 2013. Prior to Columbia, Amaya was a Rotary International Ambassadorial Research Fellow working for the UCLA Program in Global Health (PGH) satellite office in Lima, Peru. Amaya is broadly interested in multidisciplinary strategies for HIV/STI prevention and control among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender individuals in Latin America. Currently, she is using quantitative and qualitative methods to assess the relationship between social determinants and voluntary partner notification among MSM and transwomen recently diagnosed with HIV, Syphilis, or other STIs in Lima, Peru.

Cohort year: 2013

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Ronna Popkin
Email: rp2471@columbia.edu

Degree program: Ph.D
Track: Sociology

Areas of Interest:
Adolescent and young adult sexual and reproductive health • sexuality education • women's health in the U.S. • sociologies of sexuality, gender, education, science, and technology. 

Education:
M.S., Health Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison
B.S., Women's Studies (with Honors), University of Wisconsin-Madison

Biographical Note:
Ronna is a Fellow in the NIH pre-doctoral training program in Gender, Sexuality, and Health.  Prior to coming to Columbia, Ronna worked as a Community Sexuality Educator for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and lectured courses at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on sexuality education, women's health, and the politics of fertility control. 

Cohort Year: 2009

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Brennan Rhodes-Bratton
Email: blr2125@columbia.edu

Degree Program: DrPH   

Areas of Interest:
Community-based participatory research • children’s environmental health • social determinants of childhood obesity • nutrition • health promotion •  research translation to policy and multi-level intervention implementation• inequalities and social justice.

Education
MPH, Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University (2010)
B.S., Psychology, University of Pittsburgh (2006)

• Certificate in Conceptual Foundations of Medicine

Biographical Note:
Brennan is a DrPH candidate and a recipient of the Initiative to Maximize Diversity institutional training grant. Her primarily interest in her doctoral studies is the intersection of children’s environmental health and obesity through the lens of social science and community-based participatory research principles. She aims to further her understanding through a mixed methods approach.  Prior to her doctoral studies, Brennan has worked in a variety of public health arenas including serving individuals with HIV and AIDS, housing for individuals experiencing homelessness and psychiatric disabilities in post-Katrina New Orleans, and increasing awareness about prediabetes through community-based participatory research (CBPR) in East Harlem -- each with the common thread of improving health disparities among communities of color. Most recently she was the Program Coordinator for the Community Outreach and Translation Core of the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health.

Cohort Year: 2012

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Sara Shoener
Email: sjs2162@columbia.edu

Degree program: DrPH   

Areas of Interest: 
Gender-based violence • the sociology of organizations and institutions • social movements • qualitative program evaluation

Education:
B.S., Biomathematics and Philosophy, University of Scranton
MPH, Sociomedical Sciences (Health Promotion), Columbia University

Biographical Note:
Sara's dissertation focuses on the ways in which government funding shapes the services and social change work of local domestic violence service organizations (sponsor: Dr. Jennifer Hirsch).  Before coming to Columbia, Sara worked for a national organization in Washington, DC, providing training and technical assistance to domestic violence attorneys and advocates.

Cohort Year: 2009

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Ana Stefancic
Email: as2463@columbia.edu

Degree program: Ph.D
Track: Sociology

Areas of interest:
Homelessness, mental health services, housing programs, survey research, qualitative methods.

Education:
B.A., Psychology, New York University

Biographical Note:
Ana Stefancic is a doctoral student in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences. Her recent research focuses on exploring the effectiveness of Housing First services and studying homelessness, mental illness, and housing, within the context of poverty, disability, recovery, social inclusion and citizenship. She is a research consultant with Pathways to Housing, Inc., the NIMH-funded New York Services Study, and The Osborne Association.

Cohort Year: 2003

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Siri Suh

Degree program: Ph.D
Track: Sociology

Biographical Note:
Having recently worked in family planning and maternal health programs in Senegal, her research interests continue to center around reproductive health in sub-Saharan Africa. Ms. Suh wishes to investigate the silence surrounding unsafe abortion in this region and the role of religion, social constructions of gender and sexuality, politicized national and international reproductive health agendas, organized medicine and the law in perpetuating this silence. She is particularly interested in how health professionals negotiate decisions to provide clandestine abortion within this context.

Cohort Year: 2007

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Nityanjali Thumalachetty
Email: nt2285@columbia.edu

Degree program: DrPH   

Areas of Interest:
Sexual health • reproductive health • gender • HPV • cervical cancer • developing countries

Education:
MPH, Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University (2011)
M.A., Bioethics, Case Western Reserve University (2009)
B.S., Molecular, Cellular, and Development Biology, UCLA (2006)

Biographical Note:
Nityanjali is primarily interested in sexual and reproductive health of women in developing countries, with a specific focus on India. She has worked in Ernst & Young's health sciences sector in India where she was able to interact extensively with state governments on public-private partnerships for health projects and with life science companies. She has also worked as a graduate research associate at the Center for the Advanced Study of India at the University of Pennsylvania (a unique policy-focused center with an emphasis on contemporary India), focusing on higher education and regulatory frameworks in the life sciences in India, and the reverse migration of life science talent from the United States to India. Nitya's current interests broadly include a mixed-methods approach to studying HPV and cervical cancer among peri-urban and rural Indian women and girls.

Cohort Year: 2011

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Raziel Valino
Email: rdv2107@columbia.edu

Degree program: Ph.D
Track: Anthropology

Areas of Interest:
U.S.-Mexico migration • youth • belonging • gender • consumption • social reproduction

Education:

M.A., MPhil, Columbia University (2013)
B.A., Social Anthropology, UAEM-Mexico

Biographical Note:
Prior to her graduate studies at Columbia, Raziel worked in Mexico on issues related to youth, gender, sexuality, identity, violence, and U.S.-Mexico migration. Her current research focuses on unaccompanied Mexican migrant youth that form part of a U.S.-Mexico transnational circuit. Specifically, she is interested in looking at the way migrant youth structure the possibilities for belonging within a transnational circuit, but also the ways this belonging is represented and experienced by their families in Mexico. Raziel is a CONACyT (Mexican National Council on Science and Technology) fellow in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences.

Cohort Year: 2008

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Yoav Vardy
Email: yv2143@columbia.edu

Degree program: Ph.D
Track: Anthropology

Areas of Interest:
Critical age studies • anthropology of age • embodiment and disembodiment • critical approaches to genetic research • anthropological demography • feminist and queer theories

Education:
MPhil (with merit), Multi-Disciplinary Gender Studies, University of Cambridge
B.A. (First Class) in Human Sciences, University of Oxford

Biographical Note:
Yoav is a Hearst Foundations Doctoral Fellow in Public Health and Aging. Yoav earned his Master of Philosophy (with merit) in Multi-Disciplinary Gender Studies from the University of Cambridge, with a dissertation focusing on the life-stories of older men who have sex with men in South-East England. He received his Bachelor of Arts (First Class) in Human Sciences from the University of Oxford, a program which combines studies in genetics, physiology, epidemiology, anthropology, linguistics, and evolutionary biology.

Cohort Year: 2011

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Emily Vasquez
Email: eev2105@columbia.edu

Degree program: Ph.D
Track: Sociology

Areas of Interest:
Sociology of science and knowledge • sociology of the body • migration • race and ethnicity • sexuality

Education:
M.P.H., Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University
B.A., Public Policy Analysis, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Biographical Note:
Emily is interested in the influence of biomedical knowledge on social categories of human difference. Previously, she earned an MPH from the department of Sociomedical Sciences, with a thesis critically examining the use of the concept of acculturation in research on the sexual and reproductive health of Hispanic youth in the United States.  Before coming to Columbia, she worked as director of programming at a community-based organization serving LGBTQ individuals in Asunción, Paraguay, and with the support of a US Student Fulbright grant studied the impact of international migration on rural Paraguayan families.  At UNC-Chapel Hill, she studied the politics of immigrant rights in the US and was involved in research on the immigration experience and mental health among Hispanic first and second generation youth.  Emily’s doctoral studies are supported by the Allan Rosenfield Scholars fund. 

Cohort Year: 2011

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Brooke S. West

Email: bsw2110@columbia.edu

Degree program: Ph.D
Track: Sociology

Areas of interest:
Social determinants of health, social theory, gender and sexuality, HIV-AIDS, drug use, conceptualizations of risk, social marginalization, research design and methodology, intervention research

Education:
BA, Sociology, Cleveland State University
MA, Sociology, Cornell University

 

Biographical Note:
At the broadest level, Brooke's research focuses on social determinants of health, primarily in the context of HIV prevention and treatment.  Her dissertation, "The Real Risks of Fishing: Reconceptualizing HIV Risk among Drug Using Fishermen in Malaysia," is a mixed methods study assessing how risk perception and HIV risk decision-making are fundamentally social (rather than biomedical) processes that are shaped by social networks and conceptualizations of masculinity.  She has also conducted research with women involved in sex work in India, migrant marketplace workers in Kazakhstan, and has looked at the intersection between gender, water/sanitation, and HIV health outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa.  While a doctoral student at Columbia, she has held an NIH-funded training fellowship in Gender, Sexuality, and Health and a NIDA-funded training fellowship in Drug Abuse Research.  She has also served as a Visiting Research Fellow in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur. Currently, she works as the Principal Research Associate on a NIDA-funded study entitled, "Community Vulnerability and Responses to Drug-User-Related HIV/AIDS (CVAR)," which assesses changes over time in the HIV epidemic among injection drug users in 96 of the largest cities in the  nited States.

Cohort Year: 2007

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Nancy Worthington

Degree program: Ph.D
Track: Anthropology

Areas of interest: 
Anthropology of medicine and science, medical technologies and technology transfer, medical humanitarianism, health and globalization

Education:
MPH, Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University
B.A., Anthropology, Hampshire College

Biographical Note:
Nancy’s dissertation focuses on issues pertinent to the transnational flow of medical technologies and associated knowledge. More specifically, she is examining the work of volunteer doctors and nurses who travel to poor countries to deliver high-tech medical care for the treatment of congenital heart disease. She asks questions about how medical technologies are adapted and reworked far from their places of origin, and how they may lead to new social dynamics or identities, among other unanticipated outcomes. Fieldwork for her dissertation was carried out in Honduras with support from the National Science Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and the American Philosophical Society.

Cohort Year: 2007

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Heather Wurtz
Email: hmw2129@columbia.edu

Degree program: Ph.D
Track: Anthropology

Areas of interest: 
Reproductive health • anthropology of gender and sexuality • power and the body • indigeneity • ethnographic methodology • Amazonian studies • Ecuador

Education:
B.S., (with distinction) Nursing, University of Kansas
B.A., (with highest distinction) Anthropology and Latin American Studies, University of Kansas

Biographical Note:
Heather is a Fellow in the NIH pre-doctoral training program in Gender, Sexuality and Health. Her doctoral studies are also supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program.  Before coming to Columbia, Heather worked as a Registered Nurse in Labor and Delivery and studied health care practice in Belize and Southern India. Heather has conducted qualitative research on women's reproductive and sexual health issues in Northeast Kansas, Peru, and Ecuador. Her current research interests center around gender and sexual inequalities, unintended pregnancy, birthing practices and preferences, and reproductive health politics among Kichwa women in the Ecuadorian Amazon. She is particularly interested in the role of gender constructs, social networks, and health care access in shaping women’s health decisions and beliefs, as well as the role of greater external forces such as religion, political agendas, international aid, globalization and migration.

Cohort Year: 2012

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