Rose Traveling Fellowship Program

Rose Traveling Fellowship Program in Chronic Disease Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Nov 2015 Rose Fellows Slide2

Public health exists in a multi-national, multi-cultural world. With the speed of travel, and information networks, opportunities for cross-cultural exchange are widespread. Until now, opportunities in international health have been strongest in the areas of family planning and infectious disease, mainly in developing countries.

The goal of the Rose Traveling Fellowship is to give graduate students and postdocs in the Departments of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, a cross-cultural experience, which could be in a developed country or a developing country.

The Rose Traveling Fellowship Program at the Harvard Chan School provides critical financial support for students or post-doctoral scholars traveling abroad for internships, research work, or any other academically-related projects related to chronic disease epidemiology and/or biostatistics.

Applicants should submit a brief summary (1 page) in the form of a personal essay describing:

  •  their travel plans
  •  research strategy or internship objective
  •  the background experience and skills the applicant will bring to the project
  •  the skills or experiences the applicant hopes to acquire
  •  how the experience fits into the applicant’s overall academic and career goals

If the applicant is planning a research project, the essay should mention the research topic, hypothesis, methodology, data collection strategy in the country, and subsequent analysis planned by the applicant.

Each applicant should also submit (1) a budget and (2) a short faculty recommendation from their academic advisor or other faculty member familiar with their academic plans.

Fellowship recipients will be chosen by the chairs of the Departments of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Candidates will be selected on the basis of academic merit, faculty recommendations, and the nature of their proposed trip. Excellence and an ability to make a difference in the world are the top criteria.

There are four $5,000 awards and three $10,000 awards available that will be given out over the course of this academic year. There will be two deadlines for the 2015-2016 academic year: November 1, 2015 and April 1, 2016. The grant is expected to cover the cost of airfare and other travel costs, provide a stipend for food and housing, and assist with any research expenses.

The award will be considered taxable income, so it is important to include taxes in the budget if you do not want to pay this out-of-pocket. Stipend payments will be made approximately two months after award decision.

Upon returning to the Harvard School of Public Health, grant recipients will be expected to provide a written summary of their experience and to be available to meet the donor when possible. In addition, the Departments of Epidemiology and Biostatistics will host an annual seminar to provide each year’s grant recipients with an opportunity to share their travel and research experiences with the larger School community.

Recent Rose Traveling Fellows and Project Descriptions:

Fall 2015 Fellows

Archana Basu | Postdoc Researcher in Epidemiology
Advisor – Karestan Koenen
Brief Project Description: How maternal mental health gets under fetal skin: a pregnancy cohort study in South Africa

Leslie Farland | Doctoral Candidate in Epidemiology
Advisor – Stacey Missmer
Brief Project Description: Disease Heterogeneity: Endometriosis and risk of breast cancer

Jessica Gronsbell | Doctoral Candidate in Biostatistics
Advisor – Tianxi Cai
Brief Project Description: Semi-Supervised Learning with EMRs in France

Kale Kponee | Doctoral Candidate in Epidemiology
Advisor – Douglas Dockery
Brief Project Description: Collaboration with the Africa Mental Health Foundation to study the extent to which endocrine disruptors in the environment have adverse health effects on pregnant women and their offspring

Alex Ocampo | Doctoral Candidate in Biostatistics
Advisor – Marcello Pagano
Brief Project Description: Using Lot Quality Assurance Sampling to Target Maternal Mortality Interventions in Ghana

Melanie Prague | Postdoc Researcher in Biostatistics
Advisor – Victor DeGruttola
Brief Project Description: Estimation of Incidence and prevalence of HIV in Botswana: Pooling data from different registers to evaluate the impact of personal characteristics

Spring 2015 Fellows

Arielle Anglin | Masters of Science Candidate in Biostatistics
Advisor – David Wypij
Brief Project Description: Improving Surveillance and Anlysis of Noncommunicable Diseases and their Risk Factors in Six Caribbean Countries

Yen-Feng Lin | Doctoral Candidate in Epidemiology
Advisor – Deborah Blacker
Brief Project Description: Research on gene-environment (GxE) interactions on late-life cognitive function using data from the Age, Gene/Environment Susceptibility-Reykjavik Study (AGES-Reykjavik)

Sarah Lucht | Masters of Science Candidate in Epidemiology
Advisor – Lorelei Mucci
Brief Project Description: Study Effects of Life Stress on all-cause and cancer-specific mortality among heriditary BRCA2 mutation carriers in Iceland

Ander Wilson | Postdoc Researcher in Biostatistics
Advisor – Francesca Dominici
Brief Project Description: Estimating the adverse effects of air pollution, weather, and social stressors on birth outcomes in Delhi, India: A collaborative project with the Public Health Foundation of India

Fall 2014 Fellows

Elizabeth Cespedes ǀ Doctoral Candidate in Nutritional Epidemiology
Advisor – Frank Hu
Brief Project Description: To study Mediterranean diets and protein sources in regards to preventing cardiovascular disease.

Megan Diamond ǀ Masters of Science Candidate in Epidemiology
Advisor – Michelle Holmes
Brief Project Description: To pursue research on diabetes and other cardiovascular disease risk factors in Africa.

Amanda Markovitz ǀ Doctoral Candidate in Epidemiology
Advisor – Janet Rich-Edwards
Brief Project Description: To travel to Trondheim, Norway to study the relationship between preterm delivery and maternal cardiovascular disease(CVD) using a unique population-based linked dataset.

Sonja Swanson ǀ Postdoc Researcher in Epidemiology
Advisor – Miguel Hernan
Brief Project Description: To collaborate with investigators of the Norwegian Colorectal Cancer Prevention Trial to study the effect of flexible sigmoidoscopy screening on colorectal cancer incidence and mortality.

Linda Valeri ǀ Postdoc Researcher in Biostatistics
Advisor – David Christiani
Brief Project Description: To evaluate the joint and potentially interactive effect of maternal exposure to metals mixtures on children’s neurodevelopment in Bangladesh.

Rachel Zack ǀ Doctoral Candidate in Epidemiology
Advisor – Goodarz Danaei
Brief Project Description: To understand barriers to care for hypertension treatment and to allow us to conduct longitudinal rather than cross-sectional analyses for determining risk factors for high blood pressure.

Spring 2014 Fellows

Sarah Anoke | PhD Candidate in Biostatistics
Advisor – Marcello Pagano
Brief Project Description: To design a framework for using existing data to evaluate efforts towards NCD mortality reduction, and to propose supplementary methods outside of the routine systems that can support such an evaluation.

Monica Bertoia | Postdoc Researcher in Nutrition
Advisor – Eric Rimm
Brief Project Description: To analyze polyphenol intake in relation to weight gain and help with an ongoing blueberry clinical trial.

Alexandra Binder | Doctoral Candidate in Epidemiology
Advisor – Karin Michels
Brief Project Description: To investigate the molecular mechanisms of chronic disease in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), University of Bristol.

Hoi Cheung “Doug”Chen | Master of Science Candidate in Epidemiology
Advisor – Matthew Mimiga
Brief Project Description: Transphobic and homophobic bullying among secondary students in Thailand: a national school-based study.

Josephine Ocran | Doctoral Candidate in Epidemiology
Advisor – Alec Walker
Brief Project Description: Projects supporting new therapies development and real life evaluations and will gain exposure to different methodological approaches and data sources frequently used by the division.

Ryan Seals | Doctoral Candidate in Epidemiology
Advisor – Marc Weisskopf
Brief Project Description: To collaborate with the Danish Cancer Society to study the association between occupational risk factors and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Fall 2013 Fellows

Elizabeth Kantor | Postdoctoral Researcher in Epidemiology
Advisor – Lisa Signorello
Brief Project Title: Late-Adolescent Exposures in Relation to Colorectal Cancer and Mortality.

Shanshan Li | Postdoctoral Researcher in Epidemiology
Advisor – Walter Willett
Brief Project Description: Studying differences in diseases burden across 6 countries and transitions of modifiable lifestyle factors.
Project Proposal Example

Shelley Liu | PhD Candidate in Biostatistics
Advisor –Brent Coull
Brief Project Description: Study effects of pollutants on asthma and other respiratory diseases using spatial epidemiology methods.

Miguel Angel Luque-Fernandez | Postdoctoral Researcher in Epidemiology
Advisor – Michelle Williams
Brief Project Description: To organize medical records abstraction for time of onset of delivery and merge data into the Medical Birth Registrar.
Project Proposal Example

Student Project Reflections:

Monica Bertoia tells us how this fund furthered her research experience,“With the Rose Traveling Fellowship, I visited the University of East Anglia, in Norwich, UK to work with Dr. Aedin Cassidy and colleagues in the Department of Nutrition. I examined the relationship between dietary flavonoid intake and weight change among Health Professionals Follow-up Study, Nurses’ Health Study, and Nurses’ Health Study II participants. I also had the unique opportunity to help with data collection for an ongoing blueberry clinical trial, examining the effects of anthocyanins on blood pressure, cholesterol levels, insulin sensitivity, cognitive function, and lung function. Overall, this was an extremely valuable experience: I developed new collaborations, learned about the mechanisms linking flavonoids to disease, and experienced first-hand the practicalities of running a clinical trial and the assessment of intermediate measures of cardiovascular disease.


SAnoke-RoseFellowshipSarah Anoke states that as a Rose Traveling Fellow “I was able to travel to Kigali, Rwanda to work with Dr. Bethany Hedt-Gauthier, Assistant Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Because the prevalence of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs; the main ones being cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, and diabetes) is increasing globally, it is important to have good data sources, and prevalence estimation procedures that are appropriate to the setting of measurement. Together Dr. Hedt-Gauthier and I researched existing NCD data sources for Rwanda, as well as existing NCD mortality measurement methods, to determine what statistical evidence would be needed to demonstrate changes in mortality attributable to NCDs; we hope to soon submit our findings for publication. I was also fortunate enough to participate in the data analysis of a diabetes outcome study with Dr. Neo Tapela and her colleagues and to support research/data analysis training. From this fellowship, I was able to see how public health data is generated, which will inform my own work in biostatistical methods development.”


Elizabeth KantorAbout her project, Elizabeth Kantor says, “As a recipient of the Rose Traveling Fellowship, I traveled to Örebro, Sweden to work with Katja Fall and colleagues in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Örbero University Hospital (pictured below). Using a linkage of population-based registries, we evaluated the role of early-life exposures (such as adolescent inflammation) in relation to colorectal cancer risk and mortality. This fellowship provided a wonderful opportunity to develop new collaborations, while also providing experience with the use of registry data in epidemiologic research”.