Sunitha Batchu

Sunitha BatchuSunny graduated from Westminster College in 2007 with a BA in psychology. During her studies Sunny worked as a research coordinator on neurological clinical trials for multiple sclerosis such as the Teva Nabscount study, which examined how the implementation of regularly scheduled neutralizing antibody (NAb) tests in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients receiving high-dose therapies and how this ultimately affects treatment patterns, versus the usual care of patients. One of the issues that came up inspired Sunny to develop a career in public health, was that many patients enrolled in these clinical trials were unable to afford the cost of their MS drugs. Many of the pharmaceutical companies have patient assistance programs so that patients can afford their treatment, however even with these cost effective options, many of which are unable to maintain the care that is needed. This issue is part of a greater problem where many people in low resource communities are unable to access healthcare locally, nationally and globally. Sunny is most interested in health policy and access to healthcare on a global level. Currently, Sunny is a part-time student in the MPH Program. She works for the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine as a research administrator, which entails running a research lab and managing grant proposal submissions for a principal investigator researching diabetes and periodontal disease.

Anna Barnwell

Anna BarnwellAnna Barnwell graduated in 2010 from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee with a BA in psychology and medicine, health, and society. After graduation she worked on two National Cancer Institute studies related to how families adjust to and cope with pediatric cancer and how they communicate about the disease. Witnessing the detrimental impact of cancer-related stress on family and individual functioning, she became fascinated by how psychosocial factors affect health outcomes. Anna is currently enrolled in the dual MSW/MPH program and hopes to use the skills from both programs to design evidence-based interventions to help individuals manage chronic illnesses.

Michael Brennan

Michael BrennanMichael graduated from the University of Vermont in 2013 with a degree in microbiology. During his undergraduate career Michael worked for a social services agency providing crisis intervention and residential services to the developmentally disabled. After working in a specialized inpatient psychiatric unit for children with Intellectual Disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorders, he decided to pursue graduate training in Public Health in order to further access to quality healthcare for this vulnerable population. Michael's research interests include comorbid psychiatric disorders of children and adolescents with Intellectual disability. Michael hopes to use his MPH degree to continue his research one day as a pediatrician.

Tirza Calderon

Tirza CalderonTirza graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May 2012, where she spent much of her time engaging in activities that aligned with her interest in public health. In addition to working at Gillings School of Global Public Health, where she became exposed to a broad range of public health research, Tirza focused on the issue of global water quality and quantity by establishing an organization called A Drink For Tomorrow. As a student-run group, they worked to raise awareness for the global water crisis and funds to build two wells in rural Guatemala. Further, she had the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the meaning of public health by volunteering abroad on medical brigades in Honduras. On these trips, where they concentrated on facilitating general medical practice and pharmacy, Tirza learned that the numerous medical problems encountered by the Hondurans could never be fully addressed without public health. From this point on, she grasped public health as a way to improve the health of communities at the intersection of a variety of efforts such as education, the environment, lifestyle and more. With a great passion to protect the health of populations, she considered the many ways that public health professionals prevent problems from happening and re-occurring. Tirza feels that she could make the greatest impact on the largest number of people by pursing work in public health policy. She is currently employed by the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Nicotine Addiction, working as a clinical research assistant and counselor on a study that evaluates the effectiveness of a smoking cessation medication among HIV/AIDS-infected individuals who smoke. This position is providing her with wonderful experience in clinical research and exposing her to a very important issue of public health.

Brittany Clark

Brittany ClarkBrittany E. Clark graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2009 with a Bachelors of Arts degree. As an undergraduate, she majored in anthropology and completed a supplemental major in pre-professional (pre-medicine) studies. A summer fellowship experience at Weill Cornell Medical College shifted her lifelong ambition of pursing a medical degree in obstetrics and gynecology to graduate studies in public health. Her interest further expanded into fields of maternal and child health, health disparities, and intimate partner violence. She would like to improve access to culturally competent care for women and children of African American, Caribbean, and Latin descent.

Meredith Curtis

Meredith CurtisMeredith Curtis is a student enrolled in the dual MD-MPH program with intention to pursue a career in pediatrics. Prior to matriculation in medical school she taught middle school science in New York City through the Teach for America program, which sparked her interest in issues relating to availability of healthy food, early childhood environment and educational outcomes, and in chronic disease management and medication adherence.

Lisa Eng

Lisa EngLisa Eng graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Upon graduation, she returned to New York and worked at The Mount Sinai Hospital for 2 years on a general pediatric floor that also specialized in hematology/oncology and respiratory. She then spent a year working for a foster care agency for medically fragile children.  During that time, Lisa travelled to Trinidad for a week to volunteer with a mission group.

Lisa has been working as a public health nurse for The Visiting Nurse Service of New York since the beginning of 2011. She is working as a nurse home visitor for the Nurse-Family Partnership, an evidence-based program for low-income, first-time mothers. The program follows the mothers from their pregnancy until their child’s 2nd birthday and works to help them have a healthy pregnancy and healthy child, maintain high immunization rates, reduce accidents and injuries, promote maternal bonding and improve self-efficacy and financial stability. Lisa began the joint degree MSN/MPH program at Penn in 2012 on a part-time basis and is expected to graduate Spring 2016. She plans to use the knowledge and skills gained from the MSN/MPH programs to continue her career in public health nursing.

Doug Farquar

Doug grew up in Washington DC, and went to college at Pomona College in Los Angeles. He is currently a student in Penn's School of Medicine. His interests are primarily in global health. Doug spent time in college living in a rural village hospital in India, doing fieldwork there on patient expectations of healthcare. In medical school, he went to Malawi with three other students to investigate the effects in the field of the global funding shortage for HIV treatment.

Doug is excited to be entering the MPH program and developing a comprehensive understanding of the healthcare system. In addition, he hopes thet program will allow him to further understand the current challenges in global health that will need to be addressed when he finishes school, and to add a background in epidemiology and biostatistics to help with his clinical research.

Kelsey Gangemi

Kelsey GangemiKelsey graduated from St. Joseph's University in 2011 with a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Health Services and a minor in Health Care Ethics. Currently employed full-time at the University of Pennsylvania's Tobacco Use Research Center she has had the opportunity to work on various research studies focused on nicotine addiction. Beginning in the fall of 2013 she will become matriculated as a part-time student in the MPH program. Both her education and work experience have influenced her decision to pursue a career in public health. Her interests lie in health promotion/education, obesity prevention, and public health program evaluation. She hopes to integrate her passion for healthy living into her work life with the goal of improving the lives of others.

Dana Gatto

Dana GattoDana holds a bachelors degree in biopsychology with a minor in health and wellness. She was very involved with a program at Cedar Crest College that promoted a culture around campus that encourages and supports biological, psychological, social and spiritual health. After spending three years coordinating schizophrenia research studies at the Brain Behavior Lab at Penn, she decided to shift her focus to public health research. She now works as a clinical research coordinator at Penn’s Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics for weight loss, smoking cessation and medication adherence studies. Dana's public health goals are to promote healthy behavior changes in obese populations.

Emily Godfrey

Emily GodfreyEmily graduated magna cum laude from Ursinus College in 2007, with a BA in international relations, and minors in politics and Spanish. In August, 2008 she joined Restless Development (then Students Partnership Worldwide) as a volunteer peer educator, and spent 8 months living in a rural village in Tanzania, implementing a sexual and reproductive health education/awareness program. This program included teaching SRH and life skills lessons in the local primary and secondary schools, creating and coordinating a youth action group, and implementing SRH and life skills workshops for community members of all ages. Due to the circumstances in the region, a particularly strong focus of our program was raising awareness and understanding around HIV/AIDS. Upon returning from Tanzania, Emily worked as a community organizer with the Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island for a year. As an organization, they focused on building the capacity of community members in Providence, Rhode Island, to identify and organize around local environmental justice issues. She also worked for the Childhood Lead Action Project as the project coordinator on the Immigrant and Refugee Lead Poisoning Prevention Project, during which time she designed and implemented a program to identify and address the causes of lead poisoning among refugees in RI, raise awareness of the issue among social service providers, and provide appropriate lead poisoning prevention education to the refugee community. Since January, 2012, Emily has worked in Philadelphia for Women’s Campaign International, an international non-profit focused on building the capacity of women around the world to take leadership roles in civic, political, and economic sectors. Her focus has been researching grant opportunities, and assisting in the development of program proposals.

Julie Griff

Julie GriffJulie is pursuing her MPH part-time while working as a community education coordinator for the Pennsylvania HeartRescue Project, a statewide initiative (associated with Penn's Department of Emergency Medicine) that seeks to raise awareness about cardiac arrest and CPR, and improve survival rates in Pennsylvania. Previously, Julie worked for four years for Breakthrough, a human rights organization in New York that uses media and art to raise awareness about women's rights, HIV/AIDS, immigrant rights and racial justice in the US and India. She has worked on issues of food security and senior health at The Elderly Project and Santropol Roulant in Montreal, QC, and co-founded a community bicycle co-op in Cincinnati, OH, committed to sustainable transportation and community development. Julie received a BA in history and humanistic studies from McGill University in Montreal.

Julie is interested in the intersection of social justice, human rights, and public health, and seeks to further explore health disparities and how social, behavioral, and cultural factors affect the health of individuals and communities. She is particularly interested in methodology, including strategies for health communication, community-based models, and program design and evaluation.

Samantha Gross

Samantha GrossSamantha recently completed her second year of law school at Rutgers-Camden. During her undergraduate course of study in international affairs, she discovered a passion for public health. She subsequently became an EMT and began public policy work for a medical society in Washington, DC. In that position Samantha enjoyed learning about the intersection of health care and policy. She is interested in pursuing a career in health care regulation and public policy.

Sara Grossman

Sara GrossmanSara Grossman graduated from The George Washington University with special honors in 2011, where she studied International Affairs and Public Health. She is a part-time student and works full-time at Cooper University Health Care’s Urban Health Institute in Camden, NJ. She serves as program assistant for a business innovation team focused on clinical redesign and innovation to benefit Camden’s medically underserved population. Sara is most interested in the design, implementation and evaluation of public health programs.

Tigist Hailu

Tigist HailuTigist Hailu is currently a part time student in the Master of Public Health Program. She received a bachelor's degree in special studies: public health psychology and Africana studies from Franklin and Marshall College in 2011. Tigist currently works for Philadelphia Corporation for Aging as a Care Manager. Tigist works one-on-one with sixty low-income senior citizens who come from all walks of life with the goal of staying independent in their community. Her role takes a comprehensive approach to meeting an elderly person’s needs, including addressing housing needs and living situation; working with family members and informal caregivers; coordinating benefit counseling; providing health promotion; arranging guardianship support if needed; and safeguarding the client from abuse and neglect. As an undergraduate, Tigist had the opportunity to work and study in South Africa where she worked with community members in Khayelitsha Township. She was able to design a workshop on first aid and had the opportunity to present the workshop to trainers in the community. Tigist believes there is a need for dedicated health workers and hopes a master’s in public health will allow her to continue to make change in the local and global community. She hopes to one-day work in her home country of Ethiopia. Tigist’s interests include global health, affordable health care access, women's health, health communication, and health administration.

Bethany Hall

Bethany HallValuing human dignity and appreciating the accountability inherent in global citizenship, Bethany is dedicated to working to ameliorate existing health and socioeconomic disparities. As an undergraduate, Bethany surveyed the needs and rights of asylum seekers in Dublin and drafted a report that was later presented at the Irish Social Policy Conference. As an undergraduate she also had the opportunityto travel through the Navajo Nation, India, New Zealand and Mexico dialoguing with various indigenous communities. After graduating from Boston University with a bachelors in psychology, Bethany became a facilitator of group therapy for low-income, chronically mentally ill adults in Philadelphia, and briefly volunteered teaching ESL classes in North Philadelphia.

Bethany endeavors to increase access to health services and to facilitate community development. She is particularly connected to the concept of a pan-American identity. Bethany is pursuing her MPH (global health track) part-time while continuing to work full-time at the English Language Programs at the University of Pennsylvania.

Justine Jou

Justine JouJustine received her B.S. in biology, vertebrate physiology option at Pennsylvania State University in 2010. After graduation, she worked as a research technician at the University of Pittsburgh in the department of structural biology doing AIDS related research. Here, she mostly worked on protein expression and purification and NMR with CcpNMR. Currently, she is enrolled as a graduate student in the University of Pennsylvania MPH program.

Jordan Kaplan

Jordan KaplanJordan graduated from The College of New Jersey in 2006 with a degree in bology. In the six years between his undergraduate education and the start of UPenn’s MPH program, he changed his focus from hard science to a more people-oriented perspective. He worked for one-and-a-half years at Thomas Jefferson University doing research in a cancer lab while making this transition. Jordan has volunteered in Peru, Haiti, and recently returned from a month-long trip to the Philippines where he helped build homes for typhoon victims with All Hands Volunteers.  He still loves science but now also loves volunteering, traveling, and working with people and organizations. He hopes that an education in public will help him to combine these pursuits into a fulfilling career.

Savannah Knell

Sameena AzharSavannah Knell graduated from Hamilton College in 2010 with a degree in Psychology. While at Hamilton, she researched how implicit and explicit Self-Esteem and personality factors can predict whether one engages in or refrains from Risky Sexual Behavior in the college setting. After graduation, Savannah worked on a NIH funded clinical trial as a Research Assistant at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia entitled "High Dose Vitamin D3 Supplementation in Children and Young Adults with HIV/AIDS: Safety and Efficacy." While in that position, she was able to better understand how nutrition factors could help improve quality of life in those living with a chronic disease. Starting in the Fall of 2013, Savannah will pursue the MPH full-time along with a Masters in Social Policy from the School of Social Policy and Practice. Her interests include nutrition education, childhood obesity prevention, and health policy analysis. Savannah hopes to use her dual degrees from Penn to help influence positive policy change in the better school food movement to ensure every child has access to affordable and healthy food in the school setting.

Rachel Koster

Since graduating from Wesleyan University in 2006, Rachel has applied her liberal arts background and B.A. in psychology to several different settings, including supervising case managers for families with disabled children, supporting research on community partnerships, and teaching in an elementary school. Drawing from her experiences abroad, Rachel wants to further explore the influence of behavioral, social, and cultural factors on health problems in order to shape effective practices and policies. She maintains an interest in community-based work and collaborative partnerships to create services and programs for our vulnerable communities. By pursing the dual MSW/MPH degree, Rachel hopes to build a stronger foundation in public health and policy as she commits herself to social justice.

Ashley Kraybill

Sameena AzharAshley Kraybill is a part time MPH student and employed full-time as a  Research Coordinator at the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics. She graduated with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Intercultural Studies. She spent two semesters abroad in Lithuania and Mexico which precipitated an initial passion for global human rights and piqued an interest in Public Health. Following graduation she spent a year teaching grade 8 and 9 in a rural village in Zambia. The exposure to poverty in conjunction with her students' resilience influenced the desire to advocate for quality health care and health education for those who lack basic resources. After returning, Ashley worked as a Case Manager at a safe-haven homeless shelter at Bethesda Project in Philadelphia. She assisted adults experiencing severe mental health conditions as well as drug and alcohol addictions in housing and referrals to health and mental health facilities. Recognizing the need for structural and policy change she decided to pursue a degree in public health while also developing her research skills. She is most interested in pursuing issues of global health, access to care, health behaviors and beliefs, and violence prevention. She is also interested in research related to the social determinants of health and their impact on health outcomes.

Ciarra Lawson

Ciarra LawsonCiarra Lawson graduated in 2010 from Temple University with a BS in public health. After completion of her undergraduate degree she accepted a research coordinator position at Penn’s School of Nursing working on an NIH RO1 grant titled Shape Up: Barbers Building Better Brothers. Shape Up is an HIV prevention program implemented in barbershops and facilitated by barbers targeting African American men ages 18-24. Ciarra is a full time MPH student and her interests are in women’s sexual and reproductive health. She also volunteers her time as a doula with Pennsylvania Alliance for Labor Support. Ciarra plans to continue her education well beyond her MPH by obtaining a second bachelors and masters degree in Nursing with a specialty in women’s health and midwifery. She believes the collaboration of public health and nursing will provide her with the skills to not only diagnose and care for patients, but more importantly make a bigger impact on the community by reaching the majority of the population through research and clinical practice.

Damien Leri, M.S.Ed.

Damien LeriDamien holds a BA and MSEd, both from Penn. He works for Penn Law as a full-time administrator in information technology. For the past 2 years he has been learning about public health and doing informal projects applying IT for public health.

Clare Leinweber

Clare LeinweberClare Leinweber holds a BA in anthropology and an MA in human development from the University of Chicago. She also has a graduate certificate in management from the Wharton School. Clare is a part-time student in the MPH program and is pursuing the global health track. Clare aims to integrate her experience developing and managing educational programs with her interest in the impact of girls’ education on public health in developing countries.

Adina Lieberman

Adina Lieberman Adina Lieberman graduated from Boston University in 2004 with a BA in English and is currently enrolled as a part time MPH student at Penn. During her time as an Americorps National Civilian Community Corps member in 2002-03, she became aware of a lack of health education and services in low-income communities. In 2006, moved by her neighborhood’s call for action against violence, she founded SoSo Town Watch and served as president for over two years. In this capacity, she increased her exposure to and strengthened her understanding of the diverse population in Philadelphia. She worked for the University of Pennsylvania's Office of Regulatory Affairs as an IRB Administrator for four years and is currently a clinical research auditor for the Abramson Cancer Center's Department of Compliance and Monitoring. In these two regulatory roles, she has become familiar with much of the research conducted at Penn, especially cancer research and clinical and translational research. Adina is interested in examining the effect of programs that address social determinants of health in the Latino population of South Philadelphia. She is involved in a number of SDH programs in the Latino community in South Philadelphia and also instructs ESL and yoga on a weekly basis through Puentes de Salud.

Monique McDermoth

Monique McDermothMonique McDermoth graduated in 2009 from Princeton University with a BA in sociology. While at the University of Pennsylvania, she has spent the last three years doing patient recruitment for grants involving Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) and Testicular Germ Cell Tumors (TGCT). Monique served as a Family Health Advocate - using Motivational Interviewing to better understand the needs of men and women in IPV relationships. As a clinical research coordinator in the Abramson Cancer Center, she built upon her patient recruitment skills within the TGCT grant to include familial recruitment while getting more familiar with the Institutional Review Board submission and review process.

Through these seemingly disconnected positions, Monique was able to understand the impact of IPV on women's health, in addition to seeing the possible deleterious effects of chemotherapy on male fertility as a result of a TGCT diagnosis. These two projects have fueled her passion for women's health/women's fertility research and the understanding of how health outcomes are affected by psychosocial factors, disease construction and access to contraceptives. Monique is currently enrolled on the generalist MPH track and hopes to design community and evidence-based interventions to better women’s health locally and globally.

Kaitlyn Meirs

Kaitlyn MeirsKati Meirs graduated from Kenyon College in 2011 where she majored in biology and minored in social institutions. Kati was also the 2008 NCAA National Champion in the 1650 Freestyle and a 16 time NCAA All-American in swimming. Her interest in public health stems from her undergraduate work combining animal behavior theories and health care issues. As an undergrad, Kati completed original research comparing the United States and Sweden’s political decisions, policies, and social institutions that directly or indirectly affected childhood obesity rates in the respected countries. Since graduating Kati has worked directly with children focusing on creating an active and healthy lifestyle. She is currently enrolled as a full-time MPH student at Penn focusing on program development working toward improvements in women’s health, family planning, and obesity.

Kathleen Murphy

Kathleen MurphyKatie Maeve Murphy is a second-year PhD/MPH student at University of Pennsylvania in Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Development and is interested in ways to improve developmental, educational, and health outcomes for children in low-income and impoverished settings. Before Penn, Katie was based at the Earth Institute at Columbia University as the Deputy Director of the Master's in Development Practice Secretariat, working with university partners around the world to launch cross-disciplinary training programs for practitioners in the field of sustainable development. Prior to working at the Earth Institute, Katie was the Education Manager for the International Rescue Committee in Chad, working with Darfurian refugees to build and improve educational and recreational programs for children and youth. Katie was also a health, sanitation, and education volunteer with the Peace Corps in El Salvador, where she lived in a rural community for 2 years working in education, health and income generation. While serving as a Peace Corps volunteer, Katie was also president of the Gender and Development (GAD) for El Salvador, leading the development of national youth leadership workshops and teacher trainings on gender, self-esteem and HIV/AIDS. Katie has a M.Ed. in International Education Policy from Harvard and a B.A. from Johns Hopkins University.

Kara Napolitano

Kara NapolitanoKara Napolitano graduated from the University of Maine with a degree in psychology. She relocated to Philadelphia after graduation and began working for Community Behavioral Health as the Child/Adolescent Admissions Specialist for Residential treatment. Her interest in providing better care for those affected by mental health began while working at CBH. Currently Kara works as a research coordinator in the Radiology Department.

Matthew Oishi

Matthew OishiBorn and raised in Hawaii, Matt completed his bachelors at Georgetown University in biology, history, and theology. Upon graduation he completed graduate courses in theology at Fordham University and then returned to Georgetown and received a masters degree in biomedical science policy and advocacy. Matt's many Jesuit mentors at Georgetown profoundly impacted his decision to enroll in the DMD-MPH program at Penn, as their commitment to being men for others and working towards justice in the world inspired Matt to pursue his interests in dentistry and health policy to improve the oral health of society.

In addition to his dental and public health programs, Matt serves as the 2012-2013 Gert Quigley Government Affairs Fellow at the American Association for Dental Research and is the Director of Public Affairs for the Stand With Science initiative out of MIT's Washington, DC office, in which both positions involve advocating for increased federal funding for biomedical science research (including public health). In his spare time Matt enjoys playing golf, traveling, cheering on the Georgetown Hoyas, and reading the theology of Karl Rahner, S.J.

Miguel Padilla-Hernandez

Miguel Padilla-HernandezMiguel Padilla-Hernandez graduated from University of California, Berkeley with a degree in Molecular Environmental Biology. After working one year doing research at Berkeley for Dr. Tanouye’s Neurogenetics research lab, he came to University of Pennsylvania and is currently a DMD/MPH candidate. His interest in public health developed through working in underserved communities in Northern California with the Biology Scholars Program and Chicanos in Health Education Student Organization at Berkeley. He is especially interested in the impact dental health has in overall health and hopes a strong public health foundation will provide him the tools needed to address this important connection to his community and the world. He also hopes to inspire more dentists to take interest in public health as many connections to overall health have yet to be explored.

Jason Parad

Jason ParadJason is a summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Yale University where he received a BS with distinction in the biology and psychology majors. He is the recipient of the William R. Belknap Prize, the Fellows' Prize, the Yale College Writing Prize, the Yale Student Marshal Award, and the Yale Science & Engineering Association Senior High-Scholarship Award. Jason has conducted public health fieldwork in Malaysia, Mexico, and South Korea with fellowships from the Charles H. Siegel and Paul K. & Evalyn Cook Richter Memorial Funds as well with grants from the Korea Foundation, James Joo-Jin Kim Program in Korean Studies, and Psi Chi International Honor Society in Psychology. His published research on psychological biases in public health efforts and clinical treatment plans has been presented at the 30th International Congress of Psychology and has been honored with the Allyn & Bacon Research Award. Jason speaks Spanish and Korean, for which he has also received a Critical Language Scholarship from the U.S. Department of State and a Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education. Jason is currently pursuing master's degrees in public health and bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, where he has received the Center for Public Health Initiatives Scholarship and the MPH Scholarship Award.

Maureen Pickarsky

Maureen PickarskiMaureen has worked in the pharmaceutial industry as a bench scientist for ten years. In this environment, the focus is on identification of a viable disease target, and development of effective treatment methods. This model, while valuable, centers on treatment as opposed to prevention. Maureen believes the public health sector offers the opportunity to intervene and effect chagne before disesase overwhelms a community, be it biological or social disease. Maureen believes the direction of our society would benefit from changing our focus on cure to a focus on prevention and personal responsibility. This will require candid communication among many groups to better understand individual community differences and belief systems which are often key barriers to successful implementation of public health practices. Maureen has seen within her own circle of family and friends the gap between public health problems identified through solid scientific research and the resulting distilled message relayed to the larger community. Often, the message is miscontrued, the intent lost, and change does not happen. Through study, she hopes to gain the necessary skills to identify and evaluate public health disparities and then effectively communciate potential solutions to the individuals or communities affected.

Jennifer Plebani

Jennifer PlebaniJennifer Plebani is a Research Assistant Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. She obtained her PhD from the University of Vermont in 2004, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for the Study of Addictions prior to joining the faculty in 2009. Dr. Plebani has conducted research on the treatment of addictive disorders, including the evaluation of behavioral interventions for nicotine dependence, and pharmacotherapies for the treatment of cocaine dependence and alcohol dependence. Her current research interests include investigating the mechanisms of action of promising pharmacotherapies in human laboratory studies. A certified personal trainer, she hopes to combine her interests in order to develop health behavior promotion programs as substance abuse prevention. She is an outdoor enthusiast, a dedicated localvore, and an avid baker.

Deena Roemer

Deena RoemerDeena Roemer is enrolled as a full-time MPH student at Penn. After graduating from Washington University in St. Louis with a degree in mrketing, she put her business and communications skills to work in the Philadelphia media market for five years, a majority of which she spent at KYW Newsradio. In 2009, Deena spent six months abroad in Israel where she worked at The Lincoln David Abraham Pediatric Educational Institute of Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem.  There she worked one-on-one with children, in collaboration with their parents and doctors, to develop resources and programs that served the specific emotional and developmental needs of the chronically ill pediatric patient. Her experience at Shaare Zedek sparked her curiosity in the patient-parent-provider dynamic and its impact on compliance, health literacy and disease management. Upon returning to the U.S. Deena began to question where children actually fit into the national health literacy agenda and how parents’ and caregivers’ own health literacy influences a child’s ability to acquire, process, and understand health information. She recently contributed an article entitled "Building Rapport with the Pediatric Patient: A Retrospective Perspective" to PEDIATRICS: A Competency-Based Companion (Elsevier 2011) and is now working part time at The Nemours Center for Children’s Health Media ( as a policy analyst.  She hopes to further explore the complexities of pediatric chronic care and to make tangible contributions to the healthcare community and the patients and families receiving care nationwide.

Jane Seymour

Jane SeymourJane graduated from Haverford College in 2010 with a degree in public health. While at Haverford she was first drawn to the interdisciplinary work of public health through field work on the border in Texas, and in Nicaragua and Washington, DC. After graduation Jane served first as an AmeriCorps VISTA and then as a program associate at the National Nursing Centers Consortium where she now works on a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration to provide training and technical assistance to federally qualified health centers that serve residents of public housing. Jane also works part time as a research assistant on a project to pilot HPV vaccination in Nicaragua through Haverford. She is pursuing the MPH full-time and will focus on expanding her epidemiological research skills with the hope that the work she does at Penn will lead to a career in women’s health research and social epidemiology.

Ashlee Snyder

Ashley SnyderAshlee graduated from Lafayette College in 2005 with a BA in music and a BS in Neuroscience. She pursued her medical degree at Drexel University College of Medicine and completed her residency in pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) in 2012. During her residency Ashlee was disheartened by the overwhelming abundance of domestic violence and child abuse that she witnessed and became passionate about reaching out to at risk families. She is currently completing a pediatric emergency medicine fellowship at CHOP and conducting mixed-methods research in domestic violence and adverse childhood experience (ACE) screening in the pediatric emergency department. She plans on pursuing a career in pediatric advocacy with special focus on pediatric emergency care and domestic violence.

Elisabeth Stelson

Elisabeth StelsonBeth graduated from Brown University with a bachelor's degree in history. Following graduation (and a brief stint as a wildland firefighter), Beth worked at an HIV/AIDS drop-in center in Minneapolis. She continued her work with the HIV-positive community as an HIV counselor in New Orleans while also working at The Green Project, an environmental waste-management organization in the 9th Ward. While at The Green Project, Beth founded The ReUse District, a nonprofit collaboration that unites reuse organizations and small businesses to promote source reduction and increase the commercial density of New Orleans' low-income neighborhoods. Beth is currently perusing a joint masters in social work and public health at the University of Pennsylvania with specific interests in HIV-prevention among low-income women and prison populations.

Christian Stillson

Sameena AzharChristian graduated from Drexel University in 2009 with a BS in biology. From 2010 to 2012, he served with the US Peace Corps in South Africa. Living in a rural district of KwaZulu-Natal, Christian worked closely with local schools and NGOs to improve teaching practices, health education, and computer literacy. His time spent living in an area with scant health resources has steered Christian academically towards public health. He plans on returning to Southern Africa to work on coupling primary and tertiary care in the treatment of infectious diseases in rural areas. Christian will be continuing his study of isiZulu at Penn while enrolled in the MPH program as a Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellow.

Alexandra Tomlinson

Ali TomlinsonAlexandra Tomlinson graduated from Cornell University in May 2011 with a B.S. in Communication and minor in Nutrition, Health and Society. Her undergraduate research focused on evaluating the effectiveness of technology on healthy eating behaviors among children. She is the founder of IN-Power Health & Wellness Coaching, and has spent the last year implementing integrative health coaching practices among young female athletes. Alexandra will pursue the MPH full-time along with a Masters in Social Policy from the School of Social Policy and Practice. Her interests include nutrition education, the importance of physical activity in childhood development, childhood obesity prevention, and health policy analysis. Alexandra hopes to use her dual degrees from Penn to help influence positive policy change in the effort to make healthy food and physical activity readily accessible to children. Alexandra is also a Research Assistant at the Center for Health Behavior Research working on the USDA "Our Healthy Block" project.

Elizabeth Wall

Elazabeth WallElizabeth graduated in 2012 from James Madison University with a B.S. in Biology and pre-medicine and pre physician's assistant concentrations. After gradaution, Elizabeth began working as a clinical research coordinator in the Department of Women's Health. It was in this field that she discovered her passion for public health. Elizabeth currently works as a clinical research coordinator in the Department of Internal Medicine. She is currently enrolled as a part time MPH student, with interests in improving healthcare access, obesity prevention, and diabetes.

Danfeng Wang

Danfeng WangDanfeng Wang graduated from University of Pennsylvania with a MSW degree in 2009. Currently she is working as an intensive case manager with children and families who have mental health diagnosis in Philadelphia. Danfeng wants to pursue the Master of Public Health with a concentration in mental health policy and services in order to research and implement intervention policies aimed at increasing the effectiveness of treatment, eliminate health disparities, and improve access to mental health services, particularly among populations that are disproportionately affected.

Michael Weinstein, MD FACS

Michael WeinsteinMichael S. Weinstein, MD FACS is an associate professor of surgery at Jefferson Medical College in the division of Acute Care Surgery He is director of the 25-bed Surgical Intensive care unit and Executive Medical Co-Director of the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital Center for Critical Care. Board certified in Surgery, Surgical Critical Care, and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, his clinical and academic interests relate to palliative care integration in the ICU, communication and language in medicine, medical ethics, diaphragmatic pacing, and spinal cord injury. Weinstein is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He is Co-Director for the Diaphragmatic Phrenic Nerve Pacing Program of TJUH and the Delaware Valley Regional Spinal Cord Injury Center

Michael attended Lafayette College and graduated cum laude in 1990 with a B.S. degree in Biology.  In 1994 he received his degree in medicine from Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA. Michael completed his surgical residency and surgical critical care fellowship at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital (TJUH) where he stayed on staff in the Department of Surgery.

In 2005, Weinstein received the Dean’s Citation for Significant Contributions to the Advancement of Education at Jefferson Medical College.  In 2011 he was an Honorary Inductee to the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honors Society, Alpha Chapter of Pennsylvania. In 2013 Weinstein was a recipient of a Presidential Citation from the Society of Critical Care Medicine, the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award from Jefferson Medical College, and the Philip J. Wolfson Outstanding Teacher Award from the Association for Surgical Education.

Michael is currently enrolled in the combined MBE/MPH program.