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 T.H. Chan 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.

boyce_angieAngie Boyce recently received her doctorate in Science & Technology Studies from Cornell University, where she investigated historical and current instances of the development of government standards and technologies for regulating food safety and nutrition.  During her graduate career, she held internships at the CDC and the FDA. As a Health & Society Scholar, Angie conducts a cross-case analysis of major public health emergencies, examining historical and contemporary debates about the infrastructure of the US public health system, and the interface between science and public health policy.

Philipp Hessel received his PhD from the London School of Economics, where he completed a dissertation examining how exposure to macroeconomic shocks during different and potentially sensitive life-course periods affects health at later–life. His research combines demography, public health, and gerontology and employs cross-national data from Europe and the US. Philipp’s work was recently (jointly) awarded the Kalish Innovative Publication Award by the Gerontological Society of America. As a Bell Fellow, Philipp looks at the role of social protection programs in mitigating the health effects of recessions; he is also in the process of developing a new line of research investigating the health-effects of pension reforms across Latin America.

RWJ_Lippert_Pic-(1)Adam 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

LeynaGermana Leyna, a physician and a Lecturer in Epidemiology at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) in Tanzania, has previously collaborated with Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health through the Harvard-Tanzania Partnership. She holds a medical degree from the University of Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania) and a doctoral degree in Nutritional Epidemiology from the University of Oslo. Germana is active in the Dar es Sakaan Urban Cohort Study (DUCS), a Tanzanian urban surveillance site dedicated to the study of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). As a Spiegelman fellow, Germana focuses on how urban migration in low-income countries influences risk factors for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

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.

O'Brien-RourkeRourke O’Brien is a sociologist who studies the connections between public policy, economic behavior, and population health.  He holds a PhD in Sociology and Social Policy from Princeton University, where he authored a dissertation on the social and structural determinants of self-reported disability. Rourke previously served as a Senior Policy Advisor at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and he is coauthor (with Katherine S. Newman) of “Taxing the Poor” (UC Press, 2011 ) which explores the link between regressive state and local tax policy and poverty-related outcomes.  As a Health & Society Scholar, Rourke continues his research on how population health is impacted by household finance, taxation, and social policy.

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 examines how health care decision-making processes throughout the life course, including disease prevention and treatment-seeking behavior, are influenced by frames.  More specifically, she focuses on mechanisms rooted within psychology and behavioral economics – cognitive dissonance and counterfactuals – which allows 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 S V 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.

Reid_ColleenColleen Reid conducts research focused on the health effects of climate change.  She received her Ph.D. in Environmental Health from UC Berkeley, where her work included an epidemiological analysis of exposure to air pollution from northern California wildfires. Colleen also has created a national neighborhood-level spatial map of vulnerability to extreme heat that can be used in preparing for future heat waves. In her work as an RWJF scholar, Colleen applies causal inference epidemiology to environmental hazards, with the aim of furthering understanding of population vulnerability vis-à-vis climate hazards and, ultimately, using this knowledge to increase environmental protection and impact health policy.

Rosenberg_MollyMolly Rosenberg is an epidemiologist who studies how social, structural, and economic factors influence sexual health outcomes. Molly holds a PhD from the University North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MPH from the Yale School of Public Health. Molly’s dissertation examined how the sexual health outcomes of rural South African adolescents are linked to the adolescents’ association with two very different places: school and alcohol outlets. As a Bell Fellow, Molly continues with two lines of research related to sexual health in South Africa: the influence of child support grants upon fertility patterns, and the community-level determinants of HIV infection and sexual risk.

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.

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 is extending 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.