Student Biographies

Current MCH/CYF Concentrators 

Kathryn (Kate) Barker is a doctoral student in the department of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Prior to joining HSPH, she worked at the Population Council where she co-authored and coordinated the development of “Girls on the Move,” a report that examines the internal migration of adolescent girls in developing countries and its links to gender norms, socioeconomic conditions, health, education, and employment. Kate also worked at the US Agency for International Development in Washington, DC and New Delhi, India on sexual and reproductive health and HIV/AIDS prevention programming. Through her research, Kate intends to generate evidence that will inform policy and practice to address social inequalities in health, particularly among adolescent populations in developing countries. Kate holds a Masters in Public Health from UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, exploring the great outdoors, and gardening.

Jodi Anthony is a first year doctoral student. Her interests include applying mixed-method techniques to understanding the complex social and biological interplay of factors that support health and well-being of young children and adolescents.  She is also particularly interested in learning if and how community engagement, locally driven solutions, and unique contexts play a role in reducing health inequities.  Prior to coming to Harvard, Ms. Anthony collaborated with community, state, federal, and international health entities in participatory strategic analysis, technical assistance, and evaluation. When Jodi isn’t studying or in-class, she is almost always with her children (ages 5 and 3) and husband.

Leslie Farland is a doctoral student with a focus on Reproductive, Perinatal, and Pediatric Epidemiology. She graduated in 2010 with a A.B. in Biological Science from the University of Chicago and in 2012 from the Harvard School of Public Health with a S.M. in Epidemiology. During her undergraduate career, Leslie’s research focused on health care utilization through projects at the Trauma Department of Cook County Hospital  and at Mujeres Aliadas, a women’s health and rights organization in Patzcuaro, Mexico. Her work in Mexico focused on birthing practices among indigenous Purepecha populations and prompted her seminal college research on the overuse and misuse of cesarean sections in Mexico. Leslie has been involved in several research projects while at HSPH. Her master’s thesis utilized data from the Project Viva birth cohort and studied the ways in which maternal craving and diet during pregnancy affect risk for gestational diabetes. She has also researched the effects of a chemical found in sunscreen and beauty products, benzophenone-3 (BP3), on birth weight outcomes. Currently Leslie is researching usage patterns of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) in the Nurses Health Study II participants and the ways in which exposure to different (ART) methods influence risk for high blood pressure and benign breast disease later in life. Leslie is also the student coordinator for the MCH Data Connect website. Leslie’s research interests include assisted reproductive technology and the health consequences for both mother and child, risk factors for preterm labor, and drug safety during pregnancy. Outside of school Leslie enjoys photography, picnics, and learning how to cook.

Kelsey Holt is a first year doctoral student. She holds a Master’s degree in medical anthropology from the University of Colorado at Denver and a Bachelor’s degree in biological anthropology from Northwestern University. Kelsey’s academic interests include finding innovative ways to measure and alleviate disparities in reproductive health outcomes, including unintended pregnancy and maternal mortality rates, and documenting the impact of such disparities on quality of life and life course of women and their families. For her Master’s thesis, she spent the summer of 2004 conducting a mixed-methods study of women’s access to reproductive health care at time of birth in rural Bolivia. Prior to coming to HSPH, Kelsey worked as a Senior Project Manager at Ibis Reproductive Health, a non-profit social science and clinical research organization based in Cambridge, MA. During her four years at Ibis, she managed a dynamic program of quantitative and qualitative research on sexual and reproductive health, with a focus on contraception, unintended pregnancy, abortion, and HIV prevention and treatment, in Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, and the United States. In her spare time Kelsey enjoys spending time with her husband and pug dog; cooking; traveling; and spending time outdoors jogging, skiing, hiking, or going to amusement parks.

Jane Lee is a second-year doctoral student in the Society, Human Development and Health Department. Previously, she was a research analyst at the UCSF Center on Social Disparities in Health helping with the redesign and evaluation of California’s Black Infant Health program and working on issue briefs for the RWJF’s Commission to Build a Healthier America.  Prior to that, she worked at the Kaiser Family Foundation in the Women’s Health Policy group helping with a state-level report on racial and ethnic health and health care disparities among women.  Her research interests are in understanding how social policies affect maternal and reproductive health disparities and also in designing and evaluating maternal and child health interventions.  She received her B.A. in Human Biology from Stanford University in 2005 and a M.H.S. degree from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2007.

Jennifer (Jenny) O’Donnell  is a doctoral candidate in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Department. A Maternal and Child Health concentrator, her research interest is the intersection place and identity as it influences access to reproductive health, specifically abortion care, recognizing the importance of these services to women and families.

In addition to her doctoral work, Jenny serves as the Deputy Director for Provide. As Deputy Director, she stewards organizational development and oversees the Core Functions team and work in development, communications, operations, personnel and research/evaluation. As a member of Provide’s Management Team since 2010, Jenny works with colleagues to ensure strategic and effective programming in support of the organization’s mission. Jenny is Fellow in the 2012-2013 cohort of the National Council for Research on Women-Amex Fellowship, a program dedicated to developing women leaders in the nonprofit sector. Other past experience includes NSF-sponsored research/ writing with Professor Rosanna Hertz on her 2006 book capturing a qualitative study of single motherhood, work with the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard Kennedy School, and consultation with Harvard University’s Women’s Leadership Board as well as internships at Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts’ development department, Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s government relations department, and Our Bodies Ourselves’ translation and adaptation program.

Jenny has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wellesley College and a Master of Science degree from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. As a coastal dweller (both right and left) for most of her life, she is delighted that her work has introduced her to the art-deco buildings of Oklahoma, the soybean fields of Iowa, and the small town bakeries of Kentucky.

Christine Simon is a third-year doctoral student in Social Behavioral Sciences and the Maternal and Child Health/Children, Youth, and Families concentration. Her research focuses on father involvement and men’s health. For the past three years, she has provided research assistance to the Boston Healthy Start Initiative and now works primarily with the Father Friendly Initiative at the Boston Public Health Commission. Christine is a graduate of the HSPH Master of Science program in Social Behavioral Sciences and completed the Maternal and Child Health/ Children, Youth and Families and Health Communication concentrations. Prior to attending HSPH, she worked as a Clinical Research Coordinator on the National Children’s Study at Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Agudile Emeka Pascal is an MPH student in the Family and Community Health Concentration with a focus on Maternal and Child Health. He has a Bachelor of Medicine and a Bachelor of Surgery degree (MB, BS) from the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus. Upon graduation, He worked at the Farida Vesico-Vaginal Fistula (VVF) Hospital in Zamfara State, Nigeria where he was involved in the treatment, repair and rehabilitation of women afflicted with VVF. In this hospital he also was the focal person in the antiretroviral treatment program and also coordinated the leprosy and tuberculosis control programs. As a result, he worked and corroborated with international organizations like the USAID and WHO. Prior to enrollment in the MPH program, Emeka was a second year resident physician in OBGYN where he plans to specialize in high risk pregnancies. His career objective is on the public health perspective underlying health service delivery to the most vulnerable members of the community especially women and children in a resource poor environment. His hobbies include swimming, cycling, playing football and watching comedy movies.

Elizabeth Janiak is a doctoral candidate in Social and Behavioral Sciences. She is an interdisciplinary researcher trained in public health and the social sciences, with an A.B. in the Comparative Study of Religion from Harvard College, an M.A. in American Studies from New York University, and an M.S. in Society, Human Development, and Health with a concentration in Maternal and Child Health from the Harvard School of Public Health. Ms. Janiak’s research is jointly based at Harvard and at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Her work focuses on the U.S. context and centers on four themes: 1) understanding barriers to and facilitators of comprehensive reproductive health care delivery, particularly abortion; 2) describing the impact of these barriers and facilitators on patients and providers; 3) designing and evaluating interventions to improve the accessibility of reproductive health care; and, 4) describing reproductive health knowledge, attitudes, and work experiences among the health care workforce. Her current research includes a first-of-its kind quantitative assessment of job stress and its relationship to abortion stigma among clinical abortion workers, funded through a Society of Family Planning Research Fund career development grant; a qualitative investigation of factors affecting provision of long-acting reversible contraception in primary care; and a survey querying a national probability sample of primary care physicians regarding their sexual and reproductive health care service delivery, knowledge, and attitudes. Prior to transitioning to a research career, Ms. Janiak was privileged to serve as the manager of the statewide sexual health hotline based at Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts and as a case manager facilitating abortion access for women with complex medical and social needs. She has also worked as an education and research consultant on a variety of sexual and reproductive health projects for local and national organizations and universities.