Fellow Profiles

2015-2017 Cohort

F. Xavier Gomez-Olive, PhD

Xavier Gomez-Olive_0236_HIS PICK_resized for webXavier Gomez-Olive holds a PhD in Public Health from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.  As a postdoctoral fellow, he will continue his work on the link between HIV and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the elderly. His research aims to insight into how health policies and interventions can effectively respond to the demands of an aging population that has been and will continue to be profoundly affected by these two conditions.  Prior to starting as a Bell Fellow, Xavier worked on the HAALSI study through his role as the Field Research Manager of the MRC/Wits Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Research Unit (Agincourt).

Collin Payne, PhD

Collin Payne_0318_HIS PICK_resizedCollin Payne’s research integrates approaches from demography, epidemiology, sociology, and biostatistics to improve empirical and theoretical models of population health in low-resource contexts.  He received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, where his dissertation focused on the health of aging populations in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. As a Bell Fellow, Collin will study how the HIV epidemic and the introduction of new treatments has impacted population health, economic activity, and family structure in Sub-Saharan Africa. His methodological work will continue to center on developing and improving the estimation of macro-level population processes using micro-level longitudinal data, and advancing formal demographic techniques for projecting cohort life expectancy.

Juli Simon Thomas, PhD

Simon-Thomas_JuliJuli Simon Thomas is a sociologist who holds a PhD in sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles.  She is particularly interested in the roles that education and income inequality play in these social stratification and mobility.  Her dissertation focused on how childrens’ education attainment is affected by “event shock” brought on by disruptions in their parents’ lives. As a Bell Fellow, Juli will expand this work by conducting cross-national comparisons to see if children’s educational outcomes after parental disruptive events vary between countries.  Additionally, she plans to look at recent increases in income inequality and its impact on educational attainment and, more broadly, intergenerational mobility.

2014-2016 Cohort

Philipp Hessel, PhD

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 also is in the process of developing a new line of research investigating the health-effects of pension reforms across Latin America. phessel@hsph.harvard.edu

Molly Rosenberg, PhD
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. mrosenb@hsph.harvard.edu

2013-2015 Cohort

Fahad Razak, MD

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.  (Fahad has recommenced his work as a staff physician at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto and as a research scientist in the Keenan Research Centre, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute).

J.M. Ian Salas, PhD

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. (Ian is now an Assistant Scientist in the Department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health)

2012-2014 Cohort

Daniel Corsi, PhD

corsi_black-shirt-for-webRecently awarded his PhD in Health Research Methodology from McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, Daniel Corsi’s primary area of research is in social and environmental determinants of health. As a Bell Fellow, he is focusing specifically on issues of intergenerational health and nutrition in low and middle income countries.  Daniel has also studied the social and geographic distributions of smoking, diabetes, body mass index, and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease in populations worldwide. Prior to joining the Harvard Pop Center, Daniel was a research fellow at McMaster’s Population Health Research Institute. (Dan is currently a research scientist in the clinical epidemiology program at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute in Canada.)

Clemens Noelke, Dr.rer.soc.

Noelke_smallerClemens Noelke is a sociologist studying the effects of institutions and policies on skill formation, health, educational attainment and labor market outcomes. He was awarded his Dr. rer.soc. from the University of Mannheim in 2010. His recent work focused on institutional determinants of youth labor market performance and the formation of cognitive and non-cognitive skills in childhood and adolescence. As a Bell Fellow, he is examining the relationship between institutions, labor market dynamics and health outcomes. Part of this project will deal with how institutions regulating the incidence or consequences of unemployment shape health outcomes over the life course and across generations. (Clemens is currently a researcher at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University)

2011-2013 Cohort

Hiram Beltran-Sanchez, PhD

Hiram-Beltran-Sanchez-pic1Hiram Beltran-Sanchez’s research focuses on developing and applying demographic methodologies to studying adult population health at national and individual levels.  He obtained a PhD in Demography at the University of Pennsylvania in 2009. His research comprises two areas: national trends in adult morbidity, mortality and longevity, and health, health behaviors, and biomarkers in the adult Mexican population. As a Bell Fellow, he is extending his research by linking increases in life expectancy with human longevity, as well as implications of longer life expectancy on compression/extension of morbidity. He is also continuing his research on physiological and health patterns in the adult Mexican population and their links with earlier life conditions. (Hiram is currently Assistant Professor, Department of Community Health Sciences, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health)

Rania Salem, PhD

salemRania Salem’s research lies at the intersection of the sociology of families, gender, economic sociology and development studies. She obtained her Ph.D. in Sociology at Princeton University in 2011. Her dissertation examined the cultural and economic underpinnings of marriage in Egypt through a mixed-methods study of matrimonial transactions, and looking specifically at the gender and class meanings matrimonial transactions convey. As a Bell Fellow, she is extending her previous research on the measurement of women’s work in Egypt to other Arab countries, where the low rate of female labor force activity is believed to be an artifact of the male bias of conventional labor force surveys. She is also collaborating on a project in rural Egypt that investigates interactions between women’s wage work and experiences of intimate partner violence. (Rania is currently an assistant professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto)

2010-2012 Cohort

Analia Olgiati, PhD

Analia Olgiati is concerned with the impact of individuals’ health status and their access to health services on South-South migration flows. Her research mostly focuses on within-country migration in South Africa. She obtained her PhD at Princeton University in 2010. Her thesis examined the funeral expenses, the mortality-related predictive power of self-assessments of health, and the internal migration flows of the population in a South African demographic surveillance area. As a Bell Fellow, Analia hopes to develop a research agenda focused on the health-related determinants of return migration. In particular, she intends to study the role of poor health outcomes on the decision to search home-based care by comparing migrants who are about to go back to their sending regions and migrants who are to remain in the receiving community. Analia will also analyze the role of public antiretroviral programs as attractors of returning migrants in poor health. She is a native of Buenos Aires, Argentina and obtained a BA and MA in Economics from Universidad de San Andres. She has worked for the Argentine National Institute of Statistics and Censuses, the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank. (Analia is currently a consultant with the Boston Consulting Group, Boston, Mass) 

Yuhui Zheng, PhD

Yuhui Zheng’s main research area is health economics. Her research focuses on trends in population health and the attendant social and economic consequences, as well as on economics of chronic disease prevention and management. She obtained her PhD in policy analysis from the Pardee RAND Graduate School. Her dissertation investigated how economic factors – including food prices and retirement – affected dynamics of body weight among older Americans. She has also co-authored papers on topics related to the impact of accelerated medical technology advance on aging in America, lifetime benefits of preventing risk factors among older Americans, effects of pharmacy benefit design, and how neighborhood design impacts walking. As a Bell fellow, Yuhui aims at examining how demographic and health transitions affect population health and economic growth in China as well as the roles of medical technology and government policies. She is also interested in addressing various issues related to chronic disease prevention and treatment in developing countries. She holds an M.S. in Management Science and Engineering and a B.S. in Engineering, both from Tsinghua University, Beijing, China (Yuhui is currently a research scientist at the Center for Industrial Development and Environmental Governance, Tsinghua University, Beijing).

2009-2011 Cohort

Rocio Calvo Vilches, PhD

Rocio Calvo is interested in addressing policy-relevant research questions on the impact of the welfare state on the incorporation of foreign-born individuals and their descendants into recipient societies. Rocio recently completed her doctoral degree in Social Work at Boston College. Her thesis examined the role of different welfare systems on the economic and social incorporation of foreign-born individuals as compared to the native population. As a Bell fellow, Rocio aims to continue focusing on the relationship between social policy and immigrant incorporation. She plans to investigate the role of different welfare systems on the social capital accumulation of the children of immigrants as compared to their parents and to the native-born population. Additionally, she intends to explore whether two characteristics of the welfare state, size and scope, are related to social cohesion indicators on diverse societies. Rocio also holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychopedagogy from the University of Salamanca and a European Master’s in International Humanitarian Action from Deusto University. (Rocio is currently an assistant professor at Boston College Graduate School of Social Work) 

Santosh Kumar, PhD

Santosh Kumar is a development economist with an interest in understanding the causes of special problems, like poor health and low standard of living, faced by the developing countries. His research mostly focuses on India. He has vast experience evaluating various anti-poverty projects while working at the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), Delhi, where he worked from 2002-2004. Currently, he is involved in evaluating the impacts of a child vaccination program “Universal Immunization Program (UIP)” and “Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) – a rural road infrastructure project” in India. Besides these projects, he is also exploring the role of international trade on intergenerational mobility in India. Santosh holds a Ph.D. in Economics from University of Houston. In his dissertation, he examined the long-term effects of child vaccination program on mortality and education of children. He also holds an M.A. in Economics from the Delhi School of Economics and a B.A. in Economics from Delhi University. During his Bell Fellowship at the Harvard Pop Center, Santosh wants to continue conducting policy-relevant research related to poverty, health, and education and make policy recommendation so that achieving the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) of reducing poverty and disparities by 2015 becomes a reality. (Santosh is currently assistant professor of economics at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX.)

2008-2010 Cohort

Mauricio Avendano Pabon, PhD 

Mauricio Avendano Pabon is a research fellow at the Department of Public Health of the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. He obtained his PhD at the same University. His thesis examined the impact of socioeconomic status on stroke risk across different world regions and explored possible explanations. He also holds an MSc in Public Health from the Netherlands School of Public Health, and an MSc in Epidemiology from the Erasmus University. His current research integrates econometric and epidemiological approaches to study the impact of social policy on health in Europe and the US. Additionally, he studies the impact of family support policies on the health of mothers, and whether cross-national differences in family support policies explain life expectancy differences between the US and European countries. His recent work also examines the impact of health insurance coverage and social protection programmes on health in Colombia and other Latin American countries. (Mauricio is currently an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, as well as Principal Research Fellow and Deputy Director at LSE Health, London School of Economics and Political  Science)

Kavita Sivaramakrishnan, Ph.D.   

Kavita Sivaramakrishnan was Senior Programme Manager of Academic Programmes with the Public Health Foundation of India ( PHFI), a Public Private Partnership of the Government of India and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other private stakeholders. She completed her undergraduate education at St Stephens College, Delhi University and at Trinity College, University of Cambridge. She studied at Trinity College on a Nehru Cambridge Fellowship & was the recipient of an Oxford & Cambridge Society endowment. She was trained in Modern History and Political thought at Cambridge and subsequently pursued an M.Phil and Ph.D. at the School of Social Sciences at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She was awarded a Doctoral Research Fellowship at the apex national centre for social science research- the Teen Murti Centre for Contemporary Studies in Society and was also awarded the Chevening Fellowship to consult health and medical archives and reports in the UK. She has received a Balzan Fellowship (2008) to be held at University College, London for research in social epidemiology and to advance setting up of research networks in the area of society and health. She has published several peer reviewed publications in national and international journals and has recently authored a monograph titled “Old Potions, New Bottles: Recasting Indigenous Medicine in Colonial Punjab,” published in the Wellcome Trust and Orient Longman Series on “New Perspectives on the History of Medicine and Environment in South Asia”, May 2006. The book was favourably reviewed in the London Times Literary Supplement and various other academic journals, such as The Journal of Medicine and Allied Sciences, Social History of Medicine, and the American Historical Review. (Kavita is currently an assistant professor of sociomedical sciences at Columbia University)