Daniel K. Addyson, M.P.H.
Daniel Addyson graduated from Penn State University in the spring of 2008 with a BS in Geography and Minor in Chinese. As an undergraduate he has been investigating spatial clustering of cancer and visualization strategies for cluster identification. Dan is also the Brigade Preventive Medicine Officer for the Pennsylvania Army National Guard’s 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team.
Cliff Akiyama, M.A., M.P.H.
Cliff Akiyama is a Lecturer in the Division of Family and Community Health in the School of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches victimology, forensic science, and forensic mental health. For the past ten years Mr. Akiyama has studied youth gangs with an emphasis in Asian gangs and has used his research to educate the law enforcement, public health, social work, mental health, and medico-legal communities on understanding the “signs and symptoms” in detecting youth gangs. Prior to coming to PENN, Mr. Akiyama served as a Deputy Sheriff to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Reserve Forces Bureau. As he continues his education in Public Health, Mr. Akiyama hopes to gain further insight into effective means of combating the problem of youth gang violence, which he calls “domestic terrorism.”
Sydney Axson, M.P.H.
Sydney Axson is a 2010 graduate of Syracuse University. Her interest in public health developed through working with uninsured patients and their families. She was immediately taken with the “right” to healthcare, in addition to the numerous consequences of needing care without sufficient coverage. This led her to spend the second half of her SU career working in bioethics. Her work focused on informed consent and clinical trials in vulnerable communities. However, she is also interested in women’s health and resource allocation. She will be pursuing the MPH as a full-time student and will build a strong public health foundation by following the generalist track. She hopes this foundation will enrich her own research and make her more capable of addressing the gap between scientific progress and the distribution of health. When not on Penn’s campus, you can find Sydney rowing on the Schuylkill River. As an undergraduate she was a member of the Women’s Rowing team and will continue training on the elite level.
Sameena Azhar, M.S.W., M.P.H.
Sameena Azhar graduated with an MSW/MPH from UPenn (2007) and a BA in Philosophy from the University of California, Berkeley (2002). Sameena received both the Otto and Getrude Pollack Scholarship and the Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship at Penn. Sameena's areas of interest are the clinical fields of mental health, substance abuse, sexual trauma, and HIV/AIDS. As a recipient of a service fellowship from the American India Foundation, Sameena spent a year working at Mamta Health Institute in New Delhi, India, where she conducted a research study documenting the stigma and discrimination experienced by people living with HIV/AIDS. Sameena has worked in HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment at the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies at the University of California, San Francisco; Congreso de Latinos Unidos; and Blacks Educating Blacks about Sexual Health Issues (BEBASHI). She has also served on the Board of Directors of AIDS Services in Asian Communities (ASIAC) in Philadelphia. She currently resides in San Francisco where she works as a Clinical Supervisor at the Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center.
Amy Badler, M.P.H.
Amy Badler graduated from Franklin & Marshall College with a degree in biology. For the past six years she has worked on various health disparities research projects. Her most recent experience was at the University of Chicago where she worked as a project coordinator for the Robert Wood Johnson National Program Finding Answers: Disparities Research for Change. Her interests include health disparities, vulnerable populations and women’s health issues.
Amy Bastianelli, M.S.W., M.P.H.
Amy Bastianelli hails from Newark, Delaware. She is a MSW/MPH dua-degree student, having graduated from the University of Richmond in 2007 with a BS in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Spanish. Amy intends to pursue macro social work practice, with special focus on advocacy and policy formation relative to her public health interests, which include reproductive health services and ethnic health disparities. Amy is inspired by the work of Paul Farmer. She likes to spend her free time with friends and family.
Arpita Basu, M.B.B.S., M.P.H.
Much of Arpita Basu's interest in Public Health was inculcated while pursuing a medical degree at T.N. Medical College, India. The one year of internship in the remote areas of India further added fuel to her interest in global health promotion and disease prevention. She actively participated in trauma management and was part of the flood relief camp conducted in Mumbai in July 2005. She is keen on pursing a further course in injury epidemiology and prevention on completion of the MPH.
David Beckmann, M.D., M.P.H.
David graduated from Duke University with a degree in psychology and concentrations in neuroscience and mathematics. He then worked in Duke’s division of child and adolescent psychiatry as a research assistant and a program coordinator for a clinical trial comparing treatment modalities for adolescents who have attempted suicide. After some additional course work at Bryn Mawr College, he came to Penn in 2007 and is currently an MD/MPH candidate. David is particularly interested in mental health disparities in children and adolescents.
Inna Bleckman, M.P.H.
Inna graduated from Penn with a Bachelor of Arts in Health and Societies and a minor in biology. Her experience includes working for Penn's Center for Research on Reproduction and Women's Health and the Family Planning Council (Philadelphia, PA). She also worked for the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) as coordinator of PCOM's component of the Bridging the Gaps program as well as a general community outreach coordinator. Since 2005, Inna has been a research coordinator at the Center for Sleep at Penn. Inna is a member of the Pennsylvania Public Health Association (PPHA) and the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP). She is certified by both Penn and ACRP as a Clinical Research Coordinator. In her personal life, Inna is a co-founder of a charity organization, an applicant interviewer for Penn and an advisor for Penn's Office of Career Services. She enjoys travel, photography, and reading.
Elizabeth Brooks, M.P.H.
Elizabeth Brooks is originally from West Chester, Pa. She graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a bachelor’s degree in political science and Russian, in 2008. As an undergraduate student she worked closely with a professor on research relating to polical, social and health issues. Long interested in government and the policy-making process, Elizabeth is also a student in the M.S. Social Policy Program at Penn, interested inanalyzing issues of helath policy from a perspetive grounded in the essentials of public health study.
Julie Cederbaum, M.S.W., M.P.H.
In addition to being a graduate of the MPH program, Julie Cederbaum is a doctoral candidate in the School of Social Policy & Practice. Her dissertation entitled, The Impact of HIV serostatus on Mother-Daughter Communication and Parental Monitoring is currently in process. Julie works with Drs. Loretta Sweet Jemmott and M. Katherine Hutchinson in the Center for Health Disparities Research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. Julie received her Master’s in Social Work at the UCLA in 2001.
Bei Chen, M.D., M.P.H.
Bei Chen is a research fellow of Department of Otolaryngology –Head Neck Surgery. She graduated from Shandong University, School of Medicine, China. After graduation she had worked in the Hospital of Shandong University as an Otolaryngologist for more than ten years. During her career both as a physician and a researcher, she find that most head neck diseases correlate with cigarette smoking, such as cancer of oral cavity, nasal cavity, paranasal sinuses, larynx, pharynx and lung. Also cigarette smoking can cause infections of upper aerodigestive tract, such as chronic sinusitis, pneumonia and chronic obstructive lung disease. Currently she participates in the research project “Contribution of Second Hand Tobacco Smoke to Sinusitis” Her future research will focus on cigarette smoking and head neck diseases.
Wenjia Chen, M.P.H.
Wenjia Chen hails from Guangzhou, South China. She loves painting and running in her spare time. Her lifetime dream is to use her MPH education to help improve China's and the world's public health systems.
Carly Chornobil, M.P.H.
Carly Chornobil's personal interest in public health was fostered by her academic studies in psychology and neuroscience at Kenyon College. As a first year student in the MPH program, she completed a concentration in Public Health Policy and Management. In addition, she hope to explore issues surrounding global health. Her primary objective is to improve the quality of health care for individuals at a national level, with a focus on family health care. She wishes to be more involved in formulating policy and optimizing administrative and operational development. Furthermore, she plans to broaden her public health knowledge through advanced research opportunities.
Merlin Chowkwanyan, M.P.H.
Merlin Chowkwanyun is a joint Ph.D.-MPH candidate in History and in Public Health. He is writing a dissertation of post-1945 public health that examines the history health services and environmental health burdens in four American regions -- and a related separate study on health care social movements in New York City during the same period.
Stephanie Ciosek, M.P.H.
Stephanie Ciosek is a research specialist at the University of Pennsylvania. Over the course of her eleven year career in biomedical sciences, she has studied genetic diseases, development, and virology. One goal of her studies is to use her scientific knowledge to help people understand health and biomedical issues as they relate to governmental policy.
Evelina DiFranco, MPH, Graduated Summer 2005
Evelina DiFranco is currently a Program Coordinator at Case Western Reserve University’s School of Nursing. Ms. DiFranco has also worked for the Division of Chronic Disease Prevention in the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, and at the University of Pennsylvania. Ms. DiFranco received a B.A. in Sociology from Ohio University. She completed her MPH with a capstone project titled “Health Communication & Promotion among Individuals with Serious Mental Illness”. Her public health interests focus on preventive community-based outreach and education initiatives.
Aqsa Durrani, M.P.H.
Aqsa Durrani holds a Bachelor’s degree from New York University in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies with minors in biology and chemistry. After spending many of her formative years living in Selma, Alabama, she became interested in healthcare access and disparities. At NYU, Aqsa melded this interest with global public service by studying abroad and leading service trips to disaster- and poverty-afflicted regions. She explored these issues further by working with various organizations and hospitals in New York, including the New York City Free Clinic, as well as by focusing many of her academic courses on health, health policy, and social work. After designing an interdisciplinary independent study, Aqsa was able to link her global health and Middle Eastern interests in a study of health policy in the Middle East. She has decided to continue exploring these overlooked areas in her graduate studies and will focus her Master of Public Health degree in International Health.
Aqsa currently works as a primary research associate for UPenn’s Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) on Skin Cancer. Upon completion of her MPH at UPenn, she plans to attend medical school in hopes to deliver healthcare to under-served populations, as well as to be better prepared to address health policies from a multitude of perspectives. Aqsa intends to continue working with overlooked and under-served communities at home and abroad throughout her graduate and professional careers.
Joel A. Fein, M.D., M.P.H., Graduated Spring 2005
Joel A. Fein, M.D., MPH is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and an Attending Physician in the Emergency Department at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). His areas of interest include violence prevention and pain management in children and adolescents. Dr. Fein is the co-director of the Emergency Department Violence Intervention Project at CHOP and The University of Pennsylvania Medical Center.
Dr. Fein has authored review articles and original research papers on the topic of violence prevention and the evaluation of post-traumatic stress disorder, and was the guest editor of the “Injury Prevention and Control” issue of Clinical Pediatric Emergency Medicine in June 2003. He is a manuscript reviewer for Pediatrics, Annals of Emergency Medicine, Pediatric Emergency Care, and Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. Dr. Fein is the Chairman of the Patient Satisfaction Subcommittee at CHOP, a member of the Youth Fatality Review Team of the Philadelphia Department of Health, and a member of Physicians for Social Responsibility.
Melissa Fernando, M.P.H.
After obtaining a Bachelors degree in Computer Applications from Stella Maris College, Chennai, Melissa Fernando moved to Philadelphia in the summer of 2004. After much consideration, Melissa decided to pursue the route of the biomedical sciences. She accepted a position at the Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Department at the School of Medicine, where she developed and performed a wide variety of immunological experiments and analyzed her findings in scientific reports and presentations. During this period, Melissa successfully completed a course in Immunobiology where she gained sound knowledge of the biological basis of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). This sparked her interest in HIV and further research led her to find that HIV is the leading cause of death in African Americans. She pursued her interest further by exploring the research work of the University of Pennsylvania Faculty and found the work of Dr. Chris Coleman to be intriguing. Melissa interviewed with Dr. Coleman and accepted his offer for the position of Research Assistant. During the past few months, Melissa has been working for Dr. Coleman on his latest research,“The Black Men’s Health Promotion Project.”This project is a randomized behavioral trial for African American seropositive men who have sex with men 50 years and older. Melissa has been in charge of screening and recruitment, module development, data collection and general database management of the Project. Currently, Melissa works as a Research Coordinator at the Center for Sleep and Respiratory Neurobiology at the School of Medicine.
Kathleen Flandrick, M.P.H.
Kathleen Flandrick was first drawn to public health while living in New York City and working with investigators at Columbia University preparing research grant proposals. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. Currently, Kathleen is a manager in the Office of Research Program Development at Penn’s School of Medicine. Her interests are in research funding and equitable access to affordable, quality health care.
Melissa Frank, M.P.H.
Melissa Frank graduated from the George Washington University in 2006 with a BA in international affairs and minors in French and History. For the past two years, she has been involved in researching endogenous pathways controlling central nervous system cell death following neonatal brain injury. She is now a full-time MPH student, and hopes to do work improving disaster preparedness and response plans.
Carmen Frazier, M.P.H.
Carmen Leticia Frazier is pursing a Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in administration and health policy. Currently, she is the project manager of the WIN Asthma Study at the University of Pennsylvania. Carmen received her Bachelor of Science degree in neuroscience from East Carolina University in 2005. Her interests lie in the areas of child and family health, immigration and health issues affecting the Hispanic community.
Eron Friedlaender, M.D., M.P.H.
Eron Friedlaender, M.D. is an attending physician in the Division of Emergency Medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and is an Instructor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. She completed her fellowship training in pediatric emergency medicine at CHOP in 2003. Currently, she is supported by a T32 grant to pursue a fellowship in child advocacy.
Dr. Friedlaender’s research interest is in injury prevention, specifically related to child maltreatment and sports medicine. She is currently the principal investigator for a case-control study designed to evaluate the healthcare utilization patterns of victims of child maltreatment compared to matched controls in order to assess the association between Emergency Department and ambulatory service use prior to a diagnosis of abuse. In addition, Dr. Friedlaender has begun to establish an interdisciplinary team of experts in pediatrics, pediatric emergency medicine, law, public health, and social work to address landlord-tenant issues that compromise the health of children, such as abatement for lead, absent locks on windows and front doors, absent smoke detectors, and unregulated hot water heater temperatures.
Amy Fuller, M.E.S., M.P.H.
Amy Fuller entered the Master of Environmental Studies program after working at an animal shelter for two years post graduation. Public health classes taken through that program led her to apply for the Master of Public Health degree, which she plans to finish as a dual program with the MES. Amy hopes to find a Capstone Project that focuses on sustainable agriculture and nutrition in developing countries. After graduation she would like to enter the public health field through an international NGO or government position.
Link for Amy's most-recently pubhlished articles to which she contributed:
Eric Griffin, M.P.H.
Before becoming an MPH student at the University of Pennsylvania, Eric Griffin served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Republic of Kiribati, a pacific atoll nation. While in Kiribati, Mr. Griffin worked with the Ministry of Health to formulate the first road-safety program for the country. Mr. Griffin works with the Urban Nutrition Initiative (UNI), developed to improve the eating habits of West Philadelphia Teens, which he also worked with while an undergraduate at Penn.
Emily M. Hall, M.S.N., M.P.H.
Emily M. Hall is student in the Family Health Nurse Practitioner/Masters of Public Health dual degree program. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Virginia in 2003. Since that time she has been practicing in the Intermediate Surgical Intensive Care Unit at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, where she qualified for certification as a Progressive Care Nurse. Her interests in international health lead her to participate in a health assessment and education program in rural Rwanda during 2006. She will pursue these interests while completing the Masters of Public Health program as a Global Health Fellow during the 2006-2007 academic year.
Michael Harhay, M.Be., M.P.H.
Michael is currently working on population health and health policy research projects with researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and the Economist Intelligence Unit of The Economist.
Links for Michael's most-recently pubhlished articles to which he contributed:
Josh Havassy, M.P.H.
Since graduating from Haverford College in 2004, Josh has worked in several fields, but mainly as an eating disorder rehabilitation counselor at The Renfrew Center. After watching thousands of women suffer from disorders that have both biological and social components, he decided to study public health to better understand how humans operate. His interests include sociobiology, engineering, and understanding how our individual actions, interpersonal behaviors, and societal structures relate to our evolutionary history. With backgrounds in both molecular biology and sociology, Josh comes to the MPH program with a goal of trying to integrate natural and social sciences to understand and guide social phenomena.
Wen-Zhe Ho, M.D., M.P.H.
Dr. Ho is a viral immunologist with a research interest in how the body protects itself against viral infections, particularly human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV). He is also interested in investigating how drug abuse such as opioids and alcohol suppress human immune system and promote viral infections. Dr. Ho's laboratory is investigating the role of drug abuse in the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the immune dysfunction seen in patients infected with HIV and/or HCV. He uses in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo models to directly address whether drug abuse has the ability to promote HIV and/or HCV diseases. In addition, the work Dr. Ho has done in the past twenty years has given him insight into a number of problems and issues in public health.
Dr. Ho reports that his MPH training at Penn has certainly promoted him to have deep interests in using his basic research knowledge and background to address physical, mental, and environmental health concerns of communities and populations at risk for disease in the future.
Joanna Holsten, M.S., R.N., M.P.H.
In addition to being a student in the MPH program, Joanna is also working towards her PhD in the School of Nursing. In her research she is focusing on the obesity epidemic that this country is facing. Joanna did her undergraduate work in at the University of Pennsylvania as well.
Giovanna Imbesi, M.P.H.
Giovanna Imbesi graduated from the University of Southern California with a BA in psychology. Since then she has been working with the Cystic Fibrosis Adult Program at the University of Pennsylvania. Her current role there, as research ccordinator, has shown her the powerful impact that large-scale health initiatives have on the welfare of an individual patient as well as the necessity of resaerch for improving healthcare. Giovanna is interested in hospital administartion and policy.
Shally Iyer, M.P.H.
After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts in Hispanic Studies with a concentration in cultural competency, Shally pursued a career in healthcare consulting. She specialized in clinical operations improvement and worked for the New York Department of Health and Mental Health to improve medical intake procedures for Rikers Island Prison Facilities. Shally’s work in New York stimulated her interest in clinical improvement for underserved communities and she is excited to be returning to her alma mater for her Master of Public Health.
Margaret Johnson, M.D., M.P.H.
Margaret Johnson, MD is Family Medicine physician currently practicing medicine at Penn Family Care in West Philadelphia. She has an interest in reproductive health within primary care including contraceptive counseling, IUD insertion and prevention of unintended pregnancy, STD treatment and prevention, colposcopy, and early medication and aspiration pregnancy terminations. She has collaborated on research regarding resident education of reproductive health procedures as well as the safety and efficacy of abortion care in the primary care setting.
Gabrielle Jones, M.A., M.P.H.
As an undergraduate, Gabrielle’s focus was forensic anthropology. After graduating from college, she attended a graduate program in anthropology with a medical focus in 2000-2002. In addition to teaching undergraduate introductory cultural anthropology, she taught sexuality education and anger management to “at risk youth” in Memphis, TN. While attending this program in Memphis and after moving to Los Angeles, CA, Gabrielle worked on a number of research projects and with nonprofit organizations on topics involving housing and lead abatement and women’s health issues including STD’s, breastfeeding and mammography screening.
Gabrielle has always been interested in the social forces precipitating conflict and violence. Her capstone project was based upon her research involving interviews with victims of gunshot injury in Southwest Philadelphia. She plans to continue this research. Her goal is to work in Africa on issues relating to structural violence - and human rights.
Kevin T. Jones, M.Ed., M.P.H.
Kevin Trimell Jones works full-time at the HIV/AIDS Prevention Research Division in the School of Medicine as an Ethnographer; there, he examines neighborhoods, bars, bathhouses, “crack houses,” and sexual networking websites to better understand the context of “risks” in the transmission of STD/I for various populations. As a qualitative researcher, he has provided data collection and analysis trainings for Philadelphia’s Department of Public Health, various community based organizations and professors and graduate students at the University of Botswana. His current interests focus on the use of media and communication in the social construction of risks, and in the design of clinical trial recruitment strategies and sexual health messages. Kevin is a national trainer with the Gay Men’s Health Leadership Academy; a founder of the Black Gay Men’s Leadership Council; and the founder of the Black LGBT Archivists Society of Philadelphia. He received a BA from the University of Michigan, and a MEd from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
Vanesa Karamanian, M.D., M.P.H.
Vanesa received her medical degree from Universidad Favaloro, Argentina. While in Argentina, she assisted in clinics located in rural areas with limited resources, where she provided basic medical services, educated local villages regarding healthy lifestyle choices and promoted vaccinations, oral contraception as well as proper hygienic practices. After graduating she worked as a medical doctor focusing in emergency pediatrics and volunteered for the Red Cross for more than seven years. She moved to Philadelphia to become a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania in order to participate in the development of new disease treatments and management strategies. During the last four years her research has focused on developing new diagnostic techniques for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a non-efficiently treatable disease. Currently she is enrolled as MPH student in Global Health track. She plans to work with non-profit organizations designing new strategies to prevent and treat diseases in limited-resources communities. She believes that education is the essential tool to make an impact on the population heath, decreasing the patient overflow at health care facilities.
Jennifer Levy, M.P.H.
Jennifer Levy completed her undergraduate degree in Women’s Studies at the University of Maryland. She recently spent a year teaching English in Prague, Czech Republic. Since her return she has been working at the National Latina Health Network (NLHN), assisting in the development and implementation of public health programs designed to prevent chronic illness in Latinas and their families. While at NLHN her work has focused on programs that value peer/youth leadership, community mobilization and gender-centered approaches as tools for intervention and raising awareness. During her time at UPenn she hopes to continue working on projects that promote healthier communities through social change. Her primary interests within the field of Public Health include Global Health, Public Policy and Health Communications.
Link for Jen's most-recently pubhlished articles to which she contributed:
Sage Macleod, B.A., B.S.N., R.N., M.S.N., M.P.H.
Sage Macleod is currently enrolled in the Nurse-Midwifery program at the School of Nursing. Her interest in public health began while working at a reproductive health clinic, where Sage witnessed how economic, geographic, and social barriers to healthcare effected women’s lives. Working with low-income and HIV positive pregnant women has reinforced Sage’s interest in studying barriers to healthcare and underserved populations.
Edith Maravanyika, M.S.N., M.P.H.
Edith Maravanyika, born on March 28, 1984, grew up in a family that was keen on education, and at a young age her parents knew she would stand out and make a difference in the world. She was a very caring person and always made sure everyone was well taken care of. Edith consistently maintained a stellar academic record throughout her matriculation. She was involved in many volunteer programs through the National Honor Society ranging from volunteering in nursing homes to assiting in youth-run programs in the community. Being of Zimbabwean descent, she was always determined to give back to her country and the world at large; she was determined to stand out.
After careful consideration Edith decided that nursing was the best way for her. She graduated from the University of MA in Lowell, with a bachelor's degree in science in nursing and she began working on a medical surgical telemetry floor. At he same time she did some geriatric care, home health and community health. During her free time she assisted her church with health related issues and went into the community and reached out to residents. She was also involved in health screens as well as HIV/AIDS testing, and educating the community on preventative programs; a department that is underfunded by the government. After three years of experience Edith decided to go back to school to obtain a MSN/MPH from the University of Pennsylania to focus more on preventive health programs educating the community and assisting in increasing health care access in these communities.
J. Nicole Martin, J.D., M.A., M.P.H.
J. Nicole Martin received her MA in Medical Anthropology in May 2006 from the University of Pennsylvania, and examined the role of drinking-experience narratives in two alcohol treatment programs, the BRENDA biopsychosocial model, and in Alcoholics Anonymous. As a former University of Pennsylvania undergraduate, Ms. Martin was an Urban Nutrition Initiative Fellow where she taught health and nutrition classes to middle school students, and organized and led a fitness night at a local West Philadelphia middle school, which was dedicated to informing students about the importance of exercising and eating healthily. Currently, Ms. Martin serves as the Director of the Phoenix Language Services Program at a local pediatric healthcare institution where she has worked on LEP (Limited English Proficient) patient policy and coordinates interpreter services to facilitate LEP patient care. While housed in the SOM at Penn, Ms. Martin plans to continue examining and addressing public health concerns, specifically LEP patient health rights, and more locally, researching and implementing policy regarding obesity concerns of West Philadelphia adolescents. Ms. Martin’s future endeavors consist of writing policy for LEP patients, co-creating and serving as secretary for the Pennsylvania Association of Medical Interpreters (PAMI) and pursuing a career in public health law.
Amanda McCarthy, M.P.H.
Amanda graduated from Loyola University Maryland in May of 2010 with a bachelor's degree in biology and is currently enrolled as a part-time student in the MPH Program at the Univesity of Pennsyvlania, on the global health track. Her interest in public health has largely been formed by her long-time participation in social justice work, especially in the underserved urban communities of Camden, North Philadelpha and inner-city Baltimore. In collge she co-led the Loyola corps of Poject HEALTH, a national non-profit that works to break the link between poverty and poor health in America. Her primary interest is in international health, especially the interconnectedness among the political, cultural, and econmic factors that affect access to care in underserved areas of the world. She is especially interested in exploring these factors in places that are experiencing or have recently experienced conflict, natural disaster, or other destabilizing crises.
Amanda currently works as a study coordinator in the Adult & Pediatric Bone Marrow Failure Center, a collaboration between the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and University of Pennsylvania. After finishing her MPH at PENN, Amanda hopes to attend medical school so she can continue to work toward her goal of providing direct medical care in areas where health care access is extremely limited. Amanda intends to continue to direct her efforts at correcting the inequalities surrounding health care access both at home and abroad throughout her academic and professional careers.
Daniel O. Morris, D.V.M., DACVD, M.P.H.
Dan Morris is an Associate Professor of Dermatology at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. Since the mid-1990’s, Dan’s research has focused on zoonotic skin diseases and their implications for companion animal and human health. Most recently, his work has concentrated on the arena of multi-drug resistance in staphylococci [in particular, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)] and the potential for antimicrobial resistance in bacteria to be shared between people and their pets. Collaboration with the Pennsylvania Dept. of Health led Dan to realize that he wanted further education and credentials in the field of public health. Dan serves as a trainer in zoonoses for the PDH’s biannual Public Health Institute and is involved in the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System’s (NARMS) “Get Smart” program to further public health education regarding appropriate antibiotic use.
Hilary Nelson, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Hillary Nelson, PhD, MPH is an Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Despite spending most of her career as a molecular biologist and biochemist, Hillary has always been interested in the public health implications of basic science. As a MPH student, Hillary did an independent study reviewing the public health implications of genetic-testing for smoking cessation. She did her fieldwork as an intern in HHS, working under Dr. Dalton Paxman, Regional Health Administrator for the mid-Atlantic area. Hillary’s main project was to interpret the newly-signed Affordable Care Act in terms of its impact on public health policies, specifically those related to the regional office. She also helped on other projects including: designing an educational program for federal workers about health disparities; assisting with the federal collaboration with local public health department on their tobacco and obesity grants; and evaluating the federal response to the Gulf Oil spill. For her Capstone research, Hillary switched to the use of antibiotics in food-producing animals: her paper was titled “A Critique of the FDA’s Guidance to Industry on Antibiotics for Food Animals.” Currently, Hillary is expanding her Capstone project. As she continues in public health, her emphasis will be on how basic science impacts public health policy.
Ethan Nguyen, M.P.H.
Ethan Nguyen is a project manager with the University of Pennsylvania. His research examines the experiences of limited-English proficient communities in navigating US health systems. As a former Thomas J. Watson Fellow, he has conducted extensive immigrant-focused research in Europe and Australia. He is a graduate of Vassar College.
Lynda Nolan, RN, MA, MSN, APNC, M.P.H.
Lynda Nolan has worked as a Nurse Practitioner in a joint Hospital and University Center in a high risk perinatal practice. She has also taught graduate and undergraduate nursing education. Because of her experience in reproductive health care as well as attending an OSHA internship, Ms. Nolan became interested in current and developing research on specific environmental chemicals that act as endocrine disruptors in fetal and newborn development. Her publications include a qualitative research analysis on Women’s Decision Making Process prior to hysterectomy as well as an article on the analysis of chronic exposures to certain environmental toxins. While attending the Public Health program at the University of Pennsylvania, she wishes to construct and participate in epidemiological studies as they relate to reproductive health issues in women’s health care and child development.
Breah Paciotti, M.P.H.
Breah Paciotti obtained a BS in biology in 2009 with a second major in Spanish at Ursinus College, Pennsylvania. As an undergraduate, she studied in Madrid, Spain and utilized her language skills interning at an elementary school teaching English. Through volunteer work with a Spanish-speaking veteran at the VA Medical Center and continued studies in Spanish, her passion for medicine naturally aligned with an interest to practice within underserved communities. Both an interest in medicine and the social determinants of health care lead her to pursue a Masters of Public Health at the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently exploring global health issues and has done research in Santiago Atítlan, Guatemala, through PENN’s Global Health Initiative (GHI). The GHI organization works in partnership with communities in Guatemala to learn and better understand the health in the Tz’utujil Maya town of Santiago Atitlán. Her research in Guatemala involved violence and the help seeking methods used by women after physical, mental, and economic abuse. Breah is currently applying to medical schools with a special interest in global health care and underserved communities and wants to utilize the MPH degree in the future as a physician. She believes the training learned through the MPH program will set the foundation for meaningful partnerships with patients as a physician and allow her the skills to research the multi-faceted challenges to health care access.
Jenny Pahys, M.P.H.
Jenny Pahys first became interested in public health while researching Genetics as a Biology major in college. She has been interfacing with health systems for the last six years through her work experience in the consulting field and, currently, with Independence Blue Cross. Jenny would like to focus her public health study on factors impacting access to health care and health care utilization in urban environments as well as analyzing the efficacy of existing heath care systems and policies designed to assist low-income families.
Amanda Bennett Palladino, M.D., M.P.H.
Amanda Bennett Palladino, M.D. is a Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics fellow at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She received her medical degree from Marshall University School of Medicine and completed general pediatrics training at The Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. Dr. Bennett’s career interests include public school and mental health services and support systems for children with special needs and their families.
Nirav Patel, M.D., M.P.H.
Nirav moved to the United States in 2001 following medical training and the most part of medical residency in London, England. He joined Penn in 2004 having completed residency in Internal Medicine. After completing fellowships in pulmonary and critical care medicine, Nirav commenced a fellowship in sleep medicine. He is currently a post-doctoral fellow in the Center for Sleep and Respiratory Neurobiology and a clinical fellow in the Division of Sleep Medicine. Nirav’s concomitant exposure to the domains of sleep and public health has led him to an interest in the public health aspects of ‘sleep practice’.
Nirav’s research focus is in the sociology of sleep. Sleep is a ubiquitous activity that occupies one-third of our lives. The fact that millions worldwide do not sleep ‘well’ for one reason or other, translates to enormous direct and indirect costs by way of lost productivity, sick days, road traffic accidents, medical illness, and early mortality. In spite of this, the priority and interest in the subject of societal sleep practice is limited. His work aims to uncover differences in ‘sleep practice’, ‘sleep priority’, and sleep quality among social and neighborhood strata. Hypothesized differences, he believes, may also explain part of the well-known social-health gradient of society. Intervention on a grass-roots level would be required to positively affect sleep practice.
Charity Payne, M.P.H.
Charity Payne received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 2006, as a biology major and sociology minor. She has a very strong background in athletics, including 4 Varsity Collegiate years on the Women’s Track and Field team at Penn. Charity plans on working towards her Masters in Public Health as a part-time student and using the degree to become a well-rounded physician. After receiving her MPH in 2011, she plans on pursuing her career goal by attending an osteopathic medical school. Charity hopes to combine her two passions in life with a concentration in sports medicine.
Bradley Pennington, M.P.H.
Bradley Pennington, B.A., University of Chicago '06, is currently employed with Merck & Co., Inc. in the Customer Strategies and Solutions Group. As an internal pharmaceutical sales representative, he focuses on healthcare technology and health communication delivery. He has executed on initiatives to promote chronic disease management programs, life-saving medicines, and multi-channel marketing plans partnering with small, group and health systems across the nation. Brad's expertise lies in healthcare delivery,managed care organizations and patient self-care management.
Brad hopes to focus on innovative partnerships between the different healthcare sectors to service and improve the unmet medical needs on an individual, community and nationwide level. He believes the current evolutions in e-healthcare, public health economics, and program evaluation will increase the need for public health professionals who can capitalize on the influence of public policy and the interests of private industry.
Alison Petok, M.P.H.
Alison is currently a dual MSW-MPH student. She is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and history. She was drawn to public health after spending a few years working in the family planning clinics of Planned Parenthood in Colorado and Philadelphia, which fueled an interest in STI prevention, contraceptive use and sexual health education, as well as preventative medicine and infertility. Alison also has an interest in geriatrics after her social work placement at a long term care facility. She is pursuing an MPH to broaden her public health and policy knowledge and hopes to work abroad in the future.
Andres Pinto, D.D.S., D.M.D., M.P.H.
Andres Pinto, D.D.S., D.M.D., M.P.H., is an Assistant Professor-Clinician Educator in oral medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine and a Clinical Attending Instructor at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center. He received his D.D.S. degree from Universidad Javeriana, (Bogota, Colombia) and a D.M.D. and a certificate in oral medicine from the University of Pennsylvania. Board eligible in oral medicine, he is also a member of the American Academy of Oral Medicine, the Hispanic Dental Association, and a fellow of the American Association of Hospital Dentists. He has been board certified since 2004. Dr. Pinto's research interests include pediatric oral medicine and minority access to care.
Dana Prince, M.P.H.
Dana Prince is an educator and activist. A native of Seattle, Prince arrived in Philadelphia via Oberlin College. For the past four years, she has worked for the University of Pennsylvania Center for Community Partnerships coordinating health promotion and disease prevention programs at Sayre High School in West Philadelphia. Prince has researched, developed and implemented peer health education programs in adolescent sexual and reproductive health, nutrition, physical fitness and smoking awareness. She also founded two after-school peer health education groups: Nutrition Most Wanted, fall 2004, and the Stay Safe Crew, summer 2005. Prince is particularly interested in how urban youth can be active agents for change in their own lives and communities. She plans to use her experiences as Peer Health Education Coordinator at Sayre High School as a case study in the process, impacts and implications of peer-to-peer health education for urban youth.
David Reed, M.P.H.
David Reed served as the Director of Infection Control and Quality Assurance for the School of Dental Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and worked with faculty, students and patients to assure awareness of the hazards associated with dentistry and related occupational injury. Mr. Reed is interested in issues of environmental and occupational health and has extensive experience in the field of occupational safety.
Tiffany Richardson, M.P.H.
Tiffany’s interest in Global Public Health first stemmed from her experiences working in social work and psychiatry, as well as volunteering abroad in Mexico and Bolivia. She graduated from Drexel University with a Bachelors degree in Psychology. Tiffany is currently a Clinical Research Coordinator, working on research related to anxiety and depression at the University of Pennsylvania. Though originally planning to pursue a doctorate in clinical psychology, her work with under served populations inspired her to focus on issues in public health.
She is interested in working on sustainable health programs, particularly in developing countries. Her primary research interests include sustainable access to safe water and sanitation. She is also interested in health issues related to women’s rights and food security.
She plans to use her knowledge from the MPH program to volunteer and work abroad in the future.
Megan Rowlands, M.P.H.
Megan Rowlands currently works as a clinical research coordinator in the Schizophrenia Research Center at the University of Pennsylvania. She received a B.A. in neuroscience with a cellular and molecular concentration and a B.A. in Spanish from the Johns Hopkins University in 2009. She is primarily interested in exploring the factors that contribute to psychiatric diseases and the existing barriers that complicate the delivery of adequate treatment for these diseases. She will pursue an MPH degree so that she can better understand psychiatric diseases within a civic and social context and learn how to conduct research in the field. She is planning to apply to medical school, and will use her MPH degree and research experience to investigate and design more efficient interventions for psychiatric diseases.
Maria Samohod, M.P.H.
Maria Samohod is enrolled as a full-time MPH student at Penn. She graduated from Loyola University Maryland in May 2010, where she received her Bachelor’s of Science in biology. She first became interested in public health when she began volunteering at a shelter for medically fragile babies with drug addiction and disease in Baltimore during her sophomore year at Loyola. Living in Baltimore for four years opened her eyes to the serious healthcare issues existing in our country. Maria was also a part of Project Health at Loyola, where she worked at the family help desk of the Druid Clinic in inner city Baltimore. At the clinic she acted as an advocate for individuals in need of food, housing, health insurance, childcare, adult education and job training and connected them to the necessary resources. Her ultimate goal is to become a physician working in the Public Health field, advocating the importance of preventive Medicine.
Esther Sampayo, M.D., M.P.H.
Dr. Esther Maria Sampayo graduated from Albert Einstein College of Medicine and completed her Social Pediatrics residency and Chief residency at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore. She was appointed to the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics after completing a fellowship at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in Pediatric Emergency Medicine where she is currently an attending physician. She completed her master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Pennsylvania in 2009. She is currently doing clinical research and her areas of interest include asthma, health disparities, work-life balance and the education of underserved populations and the prevention of emergent medical conditions and injuries.
Esther is an exemplary clinician, teacher, and role model especially for minority and Hispanic women. She is also the mother of three young children. Throughout her career she was a Resident Fellow of the National Hispanic Medical Association and Co-President of National Boricua- Latino Health Organization and received multiple awards including the Danielle Leicht Award for Outstanding Achievement in Social Medicine, the Chairman’s Award for Distinction in Research, and Leo Davidoff Society Induction for Outstanding Teaching to Medical Students. At UPENN she continues to be leader and mentor to many medical students, residents and fellows and has taught in several medical school courses including the Doctoring Course, the Cultural Competency Course and is a member of the Minority Physician's Alliance at CHOP.
Michelle Sanchez, M.S.W., M.P.H.
As a fifteen year old working in a HIV/AIDS support clinic, Michelle Legaspi Sánchez began down her path to understanding the need for social change. Before pursuing her graduate education through Penn’s Social Work and Public Health dual degree program, Ms. Sanchez has witnessed first hand how an adverse environment can greatly affect a child's health. She volunteered as a counselor, staff and board member during nearly a decade of work with a camp for children infected and affected with HIV/AIDS. More recently, she has worked as a social worker for several years in the Philadelphia foster care system and in international adoption. Ms. Sanchez was drawn to pursue studies at Penn to develop her skills in program development, advocacy work, and health policy in order to continue down the path working toward social change.
Natalie Shih, M.D., M.P.H.
Natalie received her medical degree from the University of Auckland, New Zealand. After three years of working as a medical house officer in NZ, Natalie moved to Taiwan, where she encountered a different health system and SARS outbreak. The SARS experience was particularly heartbreaking for Natalie. People including medical personnel were seriously ill and they died before the cause of the disease could be identified. Thus, Natalie decided to go back to Pathology, the basis of all diseases.
In 2007, after four years of solid training in Anatomical Pathology, Natalie passed her Board Exam and became a fully-qualified Anatomical Pathologist in Taiwan.
She now wants to combine her knowledge in the fields of Pathology and General Medicine and apply them in her study of Public Health. Her major interests lie in the areas of Global Health and Women’s Health. Natalie is determined to become competent in developing health policies in these areas, so that she can use her knowledge and contribute more to the society.
Victoria L. Vetter, M.D., M.P.H.
Victoria L. Vetter (Vicki) is an attending staff physician at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in the Division of Pediatric Cardiology. She graduated with her undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Kentucky, received her pediatric training at Johns Hopkins Hospital and Vanderbilt University Hospital, and trained in pediatric cardiology and electrophysiology at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where she has been since her training. She is a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and was the Director of Electrophysiology at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Chief of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology, having served in this capacity for over 14 years. She is the principal investigator of the NIH/NHLBI supported Pediatric Heart Disease Clinical Research Network (at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia)—a collaboration of eight national clinical sites that conduct research studies in children with congenital or acquired heart disease.
Her research interests have been in the evaluation and treatment of abnormal heart rhythms in children and in the prevention of sudden cardiac arrest. Dr. Vetter is also the principal investigator of the Healthy Heart Screening Study, a large epidemiologic study aiming to evaluate over 50,000 children using electrocardiograms to determine the best methodology to identify children at risk for sudden cardiac arrest. Additionally, her public health interests involve determining the factors that originate in childhood that result in the development of cardiovascular disease in adults and finding the best preventive methodology. She is interested in applying the knowledge base of the public health field to health policy to effect changes that will improve the health of children. She has worked with a number of community and national advocacy organizations including Sudden Arrest Death Syndromes Foundation (SADS) and the Cardiac Arrest Research and Education Foundation (CARE), Parent Heart Watch, the American Heart Association and the Philadelphia Safe Heart Coalition. She is the Medical Director of the Youth Heart Watch at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, an affiliate of Project ADAM, a national program aimed at public access defibrillation and automated external defibrillator (AED) implementation within schools.
Nishika Vidanage, M.A., M.P.H.
Nishika graduated from Lehigh University in 2007 with a B.A. in Sociology and Cultural Anthropology and in 2008 with a M.A. in Sociology. Starting in the Fall of 2009, Nishika plans on pursuing the Global Health track of the MPH program. Before coming to Penn, Nishika was the Prevention Program Coordinator and Prevention Case Manager at the AIDS Services Center at St. Luke’s Hospital in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She would like to continue working in the field of HIV/AIDS however, on a global level. One of Nishika’s passions is prevention education and empowerment. She hopes to focus her Capstone Project on how literacy can improve the health of the community.
Tara Walhart, M.S.N., M.P.H.
Tara is currently a Registered Nurse in the Emergency Depart at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. She is pursuing dual master's degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in Master of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practioner and Master of Public Health. She is very interested in Global Health initiatives, with focus on improving access to health care in vulnerable popularions. She was awarded a 2009 Global Health Frameworkds Fellowship to study undernutrition in children under the age of five in India this past summer.
Jennifer Walton, M.D., M.P.H.
Jennifer is a fellow in developmental and behavioral pediatrics at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She graduated from Kent State University with a B.S. in integrated life sciences, received her medical degree from Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, and completed her pediatric residency at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan. Jennifer’s focus is on education and policies on children with special healthcare needs. Jennifer is currently working on research involving urban children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
Changying Wang, M.P.H.
Changying Wang is from China, where she received her Bachelor's degree in preventive medicine. She likes participating in healthcare volunteer activities and internships. She volunteered in the Prevention of H1N1 Influenza in the Guangzhou Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau at the Airport. Changying also completed a health supervision internship in China. All these different experiences inspired her interest in the field of public health administration.
Devorah Wieder, M.D., M.P.H.
Devorah Wieder, M.D., MPH received her degree in medicine and her MPH from the University of Pennsylvania. She has long been interested in women’s health issues and specializes in Obstetrics and Gynecology. As a participant in the Victim Advocacy Training Program, Dr. Wieder received training in identifying women at risk for domestic abuse and in empowerment techniques to enable them to set up support systems. Dr. Wieder completed her MPH degree with a capstone project entitled "Documenting Obstacles to Obstetrics Care Utilization Among Medicaid Recipients in Southeastern Pennsylvania: A Patient-Centered Perspective."
John Wierzbowski, M.S., M.P.H.
John Wierzbowski, MS, is employed at Pennsylvania Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania Health System. He is currently practicing Safety, Industrial Hygiene, and Emergency Management at the Hospital. His primary focus is the anticipation, recognition, evaluation, and control of workplace health hazards (chemical, physical, biological, and radiological) and taking on all phases of the Emergency Management Life Cycle such as mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery in taking an “all hazards” approach to the management of any and all types of disasters that may affect Hospital Operations, whether natural or man-made. His expertise in safety, industrial hygiene, and hazardous materials has allowed for the successful development of a Patient Decontamination Response Team, and has also been involved in hospital, community, and citywide planning and preparedness for Pandemic Influenza. Moving forward, John is a strong believer that Emergency Preparedness is emerging into a large Public Health issue, and evidence shows a need for integration into sound public health practice. He believes this academic preparation will assist him is his important leadership role at Pennsylvania Hospital and in the surrounding community in which it serves, as well as be a resource for his home community.
Sara Whittington, M.S.W., M.P.H.
Sara Whittington received a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Temple University in 2003. Shortly after receiving her MSW, she began working at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in clinical trails for HIV Prevention where she is the Data Manager for a several multisite Vaginal Microbicide and HIV Vaccine trails. Ms. Whittington has worked with people at risk for both homelessness and HIV Infection.
Cara Zayac, M.P.H.
Cara Zayak is originally from the small town of Scranton, PA. She received her undergraduate degree in Life Science with a minor in Psychology (cognitive/neuro emphasis) from Penn State University. Cara started out as a pre-med major, but questioned whether pursuing an MD was the way to truly pursue the common good. After working in research at Harvard Medical School for an epidemiological study focusing primarily on pulmonary function in spinal cord injured patients, Cara thought more seriously about a degree in public health. She realized her goals in medicine would be better served working for the benefit of entire populations or communities, rather than one single case at a time, as a sole physician.
Cara has found she has many interests in health care, specifically promoting wellness, hygiene, access to care, and policy issues, and needed a dynamic field and career, such as public health. She enjoyed the research she did in epi, and hopes to find a project she can feel passionate about. Cara is looking toward pursuing a PhD in epi and possibly staying in academia.