Postdoctoral Fellows

Arcaya_Mariana_310 x 440Mariana Arcaya is a Yerby Fellow whose work focuses on the intersection of urban planning and public health. She holds a ScD in Social and Behavioral Sciences from the Harvard School of Public Health and a Master of City Planning from MIT. She previously managed the Public Health Division of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, assisting Massachusetts municipalities in implementing community-based wellness initiatives and overseeing the agency’s Health Impact Assessment Practice. Her research interests include neighborhood effects on health, health disparities, and correlated data analysis.

Adam.LippertAdam Lippert is a sociologist and demographer interested in how social disadvantage impacts physical and mental health during key stages in the life course. He recently completed a dual-title PhD at the Pennsylvania State University. Findings from his work can be found in the American Journal of Epidemiology, the Journal of Urban Health, and Social Science & Medicine. His dissertation investigates how combinations of life transitions experienced by adolescents entering adulthood coincide with mobility into and out of low-income neighborhoods, and how this mobility influences obesity. As a Health & Society Scholar, Adam is extending his research by developing more refined measures of the health environment and examining how multiple spatial territories simultaneously influence health. CV

Mark McGovernMark McGovern completed his PhD in economics at University College Dublin in 2012. His research mainly deals with the lasting impact of childhood health and how initial conditions can affect outcomes throughout the life cycle. His previous work focused on the long-run effects of a series of interventions which dramatically improved the public health of the Irish population in the 1940s. As a Program on the Global Demography of Aging Fellow, Mark is investigating how health behaviors can be influenced by early life conditions, with particular reference to the social determinants of hypertension.

selena_310_x_440Selena Ortiz’s research integrates frame analysis to study how the public understands major social health issues and how public health can effectively address these health issues. She received her PhD in health policy and management from the University of California Los Angeles in 2013. Selena’s research examines how frames and values influence public opinion and support for health policies. As an RWJ fellow, Selena will examine how health care decision-making processes throughout the life course, including disease prevention and treatment-seeking behavior, are influenced by frames.  More specifically, she will focus on mechanisms rooted within psychology and behavioral economics – cognitive dissonance and counterfactuals – which will allow for a more nuanced understanding of the extent to which frames, and the values embedded within, influence attitudes/beliefs, public discourse, support for health policies, population health behavior change efforts and the consumption of health services.

Fahad-Razak_310_x_440Fahad Razak is a staff physician at St. Michael’s Hospital, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto and research scientist in the Keenan Research Centre, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute. He has a multidisciplinary background including biomedical engineering, epidemiology and public health, and a medical degree with specialization in general internal medicine. As a Bell Fellow, he is studying the causes and consequences of the changing shape of chronic disease risk factor distributions at the population level, with special focus on body weight. His recent work with SV Subramanian showed that in low and middle income countries, reliance on conventional and widely used metrics of population change may underestimate the degree of weight gain among high weight individuals and overestimate weight gain in low weight individuals. He is extending these findings to other risk factors for chronic disease and examine the patterning of these changes on social and demographic factors. Fahad completed his undergraduate degree in Engineering Science and Medical Doctorate at the University of Toronto, and MSc from McMaster University.

Salas_headshotJ.M. Ian Salas is an applied microeconomist with research interests in the fields of development, labor, demography, and health. He recently completed his dissertation at the University of California, Irvine. His current research seeks to understand the causal explanations for high fertility in many developing countries, with an eye towards credibly identifying the contributions of several supply-side and demand-side factors in shaping fertility behavior. As a Bell Fellow, he is investigating the behavioral mechanisms behind the persistence of fertility differentials by socioeconomic status. He is also continuing his research on the effects of recurring natural disasters on fertility and health at birth and early childhood, including its ramifications for later life outcomes.

sabbathErika Sabbath is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the HCPDS. Her research explores associations between occupational exposures during working life and health after retirement, with a focus on the role of work in shaping socioeconomic aging patterns. In 2012 she received a joint doctorate from Harvard School of Public Health and University of Paris. Her dissertation examined the contribution of chemical, ergonomic, and psychosocial exposures during working life to post-retirement functional and cognitive outcomes in the French GAZEL cohort. She is studying the role of lifetime work-family strain on later-life health among American and European retirees

Jessica-Williams_smallerJessica Williams is a health policy and health economics researcher whose research examines the role of workplace psychosocial factors in health and how aspects of the Medicare Part D benefit affects prescription drug non-adherence. She received a PhD from the Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA in the department of Health Policy and Management with a specialization in health economics. As a RWJF Health & Society Scholar, Jessica is expanding her work in the area of occupational health by researching the implications of interventions to improve the physical and psychosocial work environment and to look at the impacts of the Affordable Care Act on the healthcare offerings of employers.

Laura-Yasaitis_310_x_440Laura Yasaitis’ research focuses on geographic variations in healthcare services and their implications for population health.  She completed a PhD in health policy and clinical practice at The Dartmouth Institute in 2013.  She is currently exploring potential disparities in diabetes care by comparing ZIP code level measures of care quality with local population characteristics.  As a Pop Center research fellow, she plans to extend these spatial analysis methods to help develop novel local measures of population health, with the aim of achieving greater understanding of the local factors that impact residents’ healthcare experiences and health outcomes.