Spotlight: Ryan Huerto and Amy Brunner

Huerto_Ryan“I have witnessed the impact of marketing on marginalized communities and am frustrated that many healthcare and public health practitioners blame the individual rather than acknowledge structural issues influencing an individual’s health behaviors. Increasing corporate social responsibility is a way to address health inequities.” -Ryan Huerto

Picture- Amy Brunner“My project is an opportunity to expand the reach and impact of the STRIPED teaching cases, which are an incredibly valuable learning resource for public health students and professionals. As a student, it has been exciting to explore the world of online learning and how it can apply to eating disorders prevention.” -Amy Brunner


This semester’s spotlight features two STRIPED trainees who are using their strengths and skills to tackle eating disorders prevention. Ryan Huerto is a master’s degree candidate in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard Chan School. Under the guidance of STRIPED Director Dr. S. Bryn Austin and STRIPED Co-Director Dr. Christina Roberto, Ryan has been working with co-trainee Anvita Kulkarni to develop a strategic plan to motivate voluntary corporate actions to address the sale of harmful dietary supplements marketed for weight loss and muscle building in pharmacies and supermarkets. The need for such a plan is crucial in light of poor FDA regulation and frequent abuse of dietary supplements for weight loss and muscle building purposes, especially by adolescents with eating disorders and body image issues. Over the past semester, Ryan has conducted field visits, literature reviews, and key informant interviews to inform this vital plan for increasing corporate social responsibility in the dietary supplement industry. In a different project, Amy Brunner, a master’s degree candidate in the Technology, Innovation and Education program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, has been working with STRIPED Director Dr. S. Bryn Austin and STRIPED faculty Dr. Holly Gooding to develop a prototype for converting the STRIPED teaching cases into e-learning modules. This important work will increase the accessibility of STRIPED teaching cases across different educational settings in order to engage more students in team-based problem-solving of current, real-world dilemmas in eating disorders prevention. As part of the project, Amy has gained experience in assessing the options for online learning platforms, creating designs for a sample case, and writing a strategic plan to lay down the foundation for the project moving forward.

Ryan and Amy bring different backgrounds and insights to the STRIPED team. Prior to attending the Harvard Chan School, Ryan was a 3rd year medical student at the University of California, San Diego. Before beginning medical school, Ryan completed a master’s of education at Loyola Marymount University and worked as a high school science teacher in Los Angeles. Amy also has a background in teaching. Prior to enrolling at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Amy worked with the Urban Education Institute as a Math Tutoring Fellow. Through the Urban Education Institute, Amy tutored 9th and 10th grade boys in algebra and geometry in two Chicago public high schools. Before her time in Chicago, Amy spent a year teaching English in Vladimir, Russia. After graduation, Ryan hopes to practice family medicine and increase health access to marginalized populations, and Amy hopes to work in educational media production where she will help produce media-based learning experiences for teens.


Read our previous spotlights…