WGH Faculty Members
Selected Student and Alumni Profiles
Isha Agarwal is a joint MD/ScD student between Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health (Epidemiology). Before coming to HSPH she spent time in India, Rwanda, and Cambodia as an volunteer for women’s reproductive health programs. Her research interests include the effect of sex and gender on cardiovascular disease and the rise of chronic diseases in the developing world. In her free time, Isha enjoys bhangra dancing, SCUBA diving, and advising undergraduate pre-medical and pre-doctoral students.
Madina Agénor is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences and concentrating in Women, Gender, and Health.She holds a Master of Public Health (MPH) in sociomedical sciences with a focus on social science research in public health from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. She received her undergraduate education at Wellesley College and Brown University, from which she graduated with an AB in community health and gender studies. Madina’s research interests pertain to the social and policy determinants of and social inequalities in women’s sexual and reproductive health, including HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections (STIs); access to contraception and sexual health services; and intimate partner violence. Madina has worked as a research assistant at Ibis Reproductive Health, where she conducted formative research to inform a state-wide intervention promoting young adults’ access to reproductive health services in the context of Massachusetts health care reform. Recently, she served as the data analysis coordinator for a qualitative project on gender norms, gender-based violence, and reproductive health among youth in northern Uganda for the Institute for Reproductive Health at Georgetown University. Her dissertation uses quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate how sexual orientation and race/ethnicity shape cervical cancer screening among US women.
Hannabah Blue is Diné (Navajo), originally from Kirtland, NM. Her clans are the Red Bottom Clan, born for Bilagaana. Her maternal grandparents’ clan is the Tangle People Clan, and her paternal grandparents are also Bilagaana. She is a first year student in the two-year SBS Master Program. Her current research is conducting a needs assessment on the Navajo Reservation examining gender and sexuality differences, and their impact on the health of Navajo people. Prior to coming to HSPH, she worked as a Capacity Building Assistance Specialist at the National Native American AIDS Prevention Center (NNAAPC) for over 3 years, where she coordinated technical assistance and HIV prevention interventions targeting Native women. She has a double major in Broadcast Journalism and Gender & Sexuality Studies from New York University and is working towards a Maternal and Child Health Graduate Certificate focusing on Native women through the University of Arizona. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Café Cultura-Artist Collective, an organization that promotes creative expression and leadership among Indigenous and Latino youth through hip hop, spoken word and poetry. In her free time, she enjoys running, dancing, poetry/spoken word, reading and going to concerts.
Vanessa Boulanger is the Program Manager for the Health Rights of Women and Children (HRWC) Program. Her work is situated at the intersection of research, policy, advocacy, and public health practice with a focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights. Previously, she has worked with community health workers to increase knowledge, access, and utilization of HIV health services in Namibia; conducted community-based assessments and advocated for donor funding in the Philippines; developed curricula, lead training sessions, and evaluated the impact of a peer educator program for women in Vietnam; and measured The Cost of Inaction, a study conducted at the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights on the consequences of a failure to address the social and economic needs of children affected by HIV/AIDS. Ms. Boulanger received a MSc in Global Health and Population from the Harvard School of Public Health with a focus on Women, Gender, and Health and a BA in International Development and Social Change with a focus on Women and Gender Studies from Clark University. She also completed an intensive training program at the Harvard Center for Geographic Analysis GIS Institute.
Meagan Campol completed her MPH at HSPH in 2011. She was in the Family and Community Health Concentration with a focus in Women, Gender, and Health. While at HSPH, she worked for the Fenway Institute to design a community-based research survey assessing the healthcare needs of gender minorities. She is interested in all aspects of women’s health, including reproductive and sexual health, gender identity, and health disparities. Meagan’s interests have taken her across the globe, including Israel, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Uganda, for diverse volunteer missions. She holds a B.A. in Women’s Studies from the University of Florida, where she graduated from the Honors Program magna cum laude and as a Phi Beta Kappa member. In 2012, Meagan will complete her MD at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, NY. She plans to become an obstetrician gynecologist and practice in underserved populations both in the U.S. and abroad. In her spare time, she enjoys playing ice hockey and tennis, photography, and being a foodie.
Brittany Charlton is a fifth-year doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. Her research interests include contraceptives, HPV/cervical cancer, and LGBT health disparities. She holds academic appointments at the OB/GYN Epidemiology Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the Division of Adolescent Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital, and the Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen, Denmark. Brittany previously worked on Capitol Hill in the Offices of Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY10) and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) as well as for non-profit organizations including NARAL and the Center for Reproductive Rights. She has also worked as a political strategist with groups such as the Center for American Progress and she completed a year of national service in AmeriCorps, during which she was based at New York’s LGBT Callen-Lorde Community Health Center. Brittany holds a BA from The New School and an MSc in Epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health.
Ahizechukwu Eke is a medical doctor from Nigeria. He obtained his medical degree (MBBch) in 2003 from the University of Calabar, Nigeria. He then proceeded to do residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital Nigeria, which he completed in May 2010. He graduated from Harvard University School of Public Health in May 2011, where he obtained a Masters degree in Public Health (MPH) in Health Policy and Management. During his stay at Harvard, he took courses in Women, Gender, and Health, including Sexual and Reproductive Health. He is a trainee of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist of the UK (RCOG), having passed the MRCOG Part 1 examinations. He is a clinician, a researcher, and a health policy analyst.
Kathryn Falb is a returning doctoral student. She received her B.S. in Community Health from the University of Illinois in 2004 and a Master of Health Science degree from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2007. Her focus was on women’s health issues, particularly violence against women, and the relationship between health and human rights. She has worked on child marriage prevention programs in Uganda, managed health education programs in refugee camps on the Thai-Burma border, and developed a program to address mental health issues in the military population. While at HSPH, she worked for two years as a research assistant with the Violence Against Women Prevention Research team. Currently, Kate is the Program Manager of the Health Rights of Women and Children program at HSPH which applies a rights-based approach to promote equitable and sustained progress for MCH health in global forums. In this role, she manages a multi-country, mixed methods study on the impact of maternal death on living children. Kate is also working on her dissertation which focuses on the health and psychosocial impacts of gender-based violence among conflict-affected women and continues to consult for international health and humanitarian organizations on this topic.
Allegra Gordon is a third year doctoral student in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences and concentrating in Women, Gender and Health. She hails from Berkeley, Ca., by way of Philadelphia, Pa. She received a BA in Education from Swarthmore College and an MPH in Sociomedical Sciences, with a concentration in Sexuality and Health, from Columbia University. During her MPH program she studied stigma, prejudice, and mental health, which continue to be some of her primary research interests, and conducted her thesis research on gender nonconformity as a target of discrimination and violence. Before coming to HSPH she worked in community health research and program evaluation, including managing the Philadelphia region’s biennial household health survey and co-chairing a Community Advisory Board on LGBT health research. She has also worked as a sexuality educator and HIV early intervention counselor and is currently a member of the Growing Up Today Study’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Working Group based at Children’s Hospital Boston.
Sabra Katz-Wise is a first year postdoctoral research fellow in the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital, studying health disparities related to sexual orientation and gender in adolescents and young adults. She is a member of the Sexual Orientation and Gender (SOGe) working group, headed by Dr. Bryn Austin. Sabra earned a B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Women Studies from the University of Washington, and a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology with a minor in Gender and Women’s Studies from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. As a doctoral student, she conducted research on a range of topics, including: gender-role attitudes related to the transition to parenthood; self-objectification in adolescents and the mother-adolescent relationship; gender transitioning in transgender adults; and a meta-analysis of victimization experiences of lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals. Sabra’s dissertation used mixed methods to examine sexual fluidity (changes in attractions and sexual identity) in sexual minority young adult women and men. Currently she is working on an analysis of sexual orientation and gender nonconformity to explain disparities in weight-related
behaviors, using the longitudinal Add Health data set. Sabra is also conducting a multi-site mixed methods study of identity development and emotional experiences of transgender youth and their parents.
Anne Y. Kim is a Master of Science candidate class of 2013 in the health policy track at Harvard School of Public Health. At HSPH, she takes an interdisciplinary approach to her education, taking health economics to electricity regulation and applying the fruits of her education to create practical policy and product solutions that improve health by addressing climate change and environment. Anne interned in Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office and in South Korea, where she helped shape the presidential decree for the greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme. Her favorite class to date is Health and Global Environment, which explores the health impacts of climate change and cultivates analytic skills essential to associating the human health impacts of climate change for energy, humanitarian, and urban planning policies among others. Anne is Strategy Director and past President of HSPH Students in Latino Public Health and guides Women of Ethnic Minority Student and Scholars Empowerment to collaboratively create the policy and business best practices needed for a stronger country in light of the 2030 minority majority demographics of the US. She earned her BA in international relations and public policy at UC Berkeley. She also served as an environmental commissioner for the City of Berkeley. Anne is from West Adams, Los Angeles, CA.
Ramya Kumar graduated from the Master of Science program in Global Health and Population in 2011 where she concentrated in Women, Gender and Health. She is a medical doctor by training and received her degree in 2004 from the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka. She is currently a doctoral student in Public Health Sciences at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. Her areas of interest include women’s health services, the politics of women’s health and applications of third-world feminist theory to health.
Samantha Radcliffe Lattof graduated from Harvard School of Public Health in 2010 with her Master’s of Science in Global Health and Population and an interdisciplinary concentration in Women, Gender, and Health. She currently works for the Women and Health Initiative at HSPH as project manager for the Maternal Health Task Force project. Samantha has worked on a number of projects in Ghana, including a health system strengthening program that aimed to reduce maternal and child mortality in collaboration with Columbia University and Ghana Health Service, revisions to Ghana’s National Health Insurance Scheme in collaboration with Harvard Law School and the University of Ghana, and a pilot study on the use of verbal autopsies to improve cause of death ascertainment with Dr. Allan Hill’s Women’s Health Study of Accra. Prior to her work in Ghana, Samantha worked for Washington University School of Medicine as a pediatric neurology research assistant. She completed her BA at Washington University in St. Louis, where she majored in Anthropology, International Studies, and Women & Gender Studies.
Rebekka Lee is entering her third year in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences doctoral program. She holds BA in psychology from Mount Holyoke College and a master’s degree from HSPH during which she earned the Women, Gender, and Health concentration. Rebekka has been a research assistant at HSPH for the past seven years. She is currently working on two studies of afterschool nutrition and physical activity interventions at the Harvard School of Public Health Prevention Research Center (HPRC). Her experience working at the HPRC and studying in SHDH has cultivated her interest in developing effective implementation strategies for community-based interventions that explicitly seek to improve health equity. Rebekka also serves as a student representative to the APHA Spirit of 1848 Caucus and has helped coordinate the International Women’s Day celebration at HSPH for the past two years.
Heather L. McCauley is a third year doctoral student in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences. She holds a MS in Global Health from HSPH and a BA in Sociology from St Lawrence University. She currently is a Research Associate at the Institute on Urban Health Research at Northeastern University where she evaluates substance-abuse treatment programs and HIV prevention programs for women and men who have been incarcerated. Prior to Northeastern, she was a Research Coordinator at HSPH where she designed and managed domestic and international research projects focusing on how gender-based violence affects the sexual and reproductive health of women. Broadly, her research interests include the health impacts of trauma. More recently, she has begun to focus on co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders, structural violence against vulnerable populations, and LGBT health disparities. Heather continues to be involved in the Steering Committee on Women, Gender, and Health and is a Maternal Child Health concentrator. Heather lives on the seacoast of New Hampshire with her spouse, and enjoys cycling, middle distance running (10k, half marathon), and playing on the beach year-round.
Susan Fields Mead is a MD/MPH candidate at the University of Michigan Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health. Prior to embarking on her medical training, she received a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Macalester College. Her anthropology honors thesis, Crossing the Border, analyzed the impact of geopolitical environment, socioeconomic status, and gender norms on women’s susceptibility to HIV along the Ghana-Togo border. Mead has also worked with community organizations in Lawrence, MA, Minneapolis, MN, and Detroit, MI, helping to develop programs and events around topics such as reading literacy, English language learning, and nutrition. At HSPH, she is pursuing a degree in quantitative methods and analysis. Her current research interests include the intersections between social structures, culture and biology and their influence on sexual and reproductive health, the impact of HIV decentralization initiatives in Africa, and primary health care delivery in the United States. Mead plans to complete a medical residency in Family Medicine.
Johanna Milburn is a first year student in a direct entry master’s program to become a women’s health nurse practitioner at the Mass General Hospital Institute for Health Professionals. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 2002 with a BA in Anthropology and is a licensed massage therapist specializing in prenatal massage. She has volunteered for the Brigham & Women’s Hospital OBGYN Epidemiology Lab, NARAL, and Planned Parenthood. She is a WGH event attendee and through a WGH email, she completed the certification in 2011 through the US Office of Minority Health to become a Pre-Conception Peer Health Educator. She enjoys commuting on her bike, playing soccer, dancing, comedy and is very grateful to be a part of the WGH community.
Ramya Naraharisetti is a graduate of the Masters of Science program in the Department of Global Health and Population after recieving her Bachelors in Interdisciplinary Studies – Health Studies and Economics from Michigan State University. She is trained in both qualitative and quantitative (spatial statistical) methodology for determining the social and biological determinants of global health. Her conceptual framework favors community-based participatory approaches to development, which recognize that actors at multiple levels (from local to international) are interdependent and necessary for the solving of social and health problems. She has previously consulted with organizations focusing on HIV/AIDS, orphans and vulnerable children, women’s health and empowerment, and disability. She has researched gendered experiences of poverty in rural South Africa, disability and poverty in rural India, HIV/AIDS prevention policy in South Africa and India, civil society organizations in Cambodia, and appointment adherence in community-based clinics in rural South Africa. In the immediate future she hopes to work with local level agencies to strengthen their impact through capacity building on issues of health.
Anne Narayan is a fourth year joint MD/MPH student between the University of California Irvine School of Medicine and Harvard School of Public Health (Quantitative Methods). Before coming to HSPH, she spent three years working at both regionally and nationally for several women’s health organizations including the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Medical Students for Reproductive Education, and has been an active proponent for women’s access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive medical care. She has also been active in developing medical curriculum on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender healthcare and health disparities. Prior to medical school, Anne volunteered a year of service with the Bay Area Youth AmeriCorps, where she worked with the Berkeley Public Health Department to promote sexual health amongst bay area teens. She is currently studying quantitative methods, and intends to use this background as an Obstetrician-Gynecologist to study the social and preventable risk factors associated with gynecologic cancers.
Nkechi Theresa Onwuka is a Masters of Public Health Candidate in Global Health and also completing the Women, Gender and Health concentration. Before gaining admission into the Harvard School of Public Health, she worked as a physician in Nigeria with the AIDS Prevention Initiative Nigeria (APIN- PEPFAR). She also is the coordinator of the Women’s Health Information Initiative, a locally based NGO in Nigeria, which is primarily concerned with improving access of women and girls in resource- limited settings to healthcare and sexual education. Her public health interests are women’s sexual and reproductive health, the relationship between gender and access to reproductive health services; social determinants of women’s health and maternal health. She is presently working on a review of medical school curricula in Africa with emphasis on women’s health and human rights.
April Opoliner is a doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology. Before HSPH, April studied neuroscience at Smith College and received her MPH in at Emory University. She also worked on neurological clinical trials. April’s interest is in psychiatric epidemiology and global health and her dissertation looks at suicide risk factors in different international contexts.
Kristin Palmsten is a doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology. Her research interest is in pharmaceutical safety during pregnancy. Kristin majored in Biology and minored in Women’s Studies at Boston College. She worked at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center as the lab manager of the Division of Matrix Biology and performed angiogenesis and preeclampsia research. Kristin earned a Master of Science in Epidemiology at HSPH in 2009 with a focus on Reproductive Epidemiology and a Women, Gender, and Health Concentration. For her thesis, she analyzed data from the Collaborative Perinatal Cohort and the New England Family Study to investigate the association between in-utero exposure to pregnancy-related hypertension and hypertension in offspring later in life. For her dissertation, Kristin will utilize Medicaid Analytic Extract data from 49 states to study the comparative safety of different antidepressants used during pregnancy with respect to maternal outcomes.
Agudile Emeka Pascal graduated in May 2011 with an MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health. His concentration was the in the Family and Community Health with a focus on Maternal & Child Health; and Women Gender and 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. He also plans to engage in research aimed at improving the sexual and reproductive rights and health of individuals. 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.
Amaya Perez-Brumer is second year Masters of Science candidate in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences. She received her B.A. for Colorado College. Prior to HSPH, Amaya was a Rotary International Ambassadorial Research Fellow working for the UCLA Program in Global Health (PGH) satellite office in Lima, Peru. Amaya is broadly interested in multidisciplinary strategies for HIV/STD prevention and control among MSM and transgender individuals in Latin America. Currently, she is using quantitative and qualitative methods to assess the relationship between social determinants and voluntary partner notification among MSM recently diagnosed with HIV, Syphilis, or Other STIs in Lima, Peru.
Jennifer Rasanathan (Jenny) is a Family Medicine intern at the Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, NY, the nation’s most underserved county. She graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School in 2011 after completing her MPH in Global Health with a concentration on Women, Gender and Health at HSPH in 2010. Throughout her medical and public health degree programs, Jenny played a leadership role in The Quito Project, a multi-disciplinary non-profit organization that partners with local health officials and universities to conduct community-based research to address disparities in the health, education and social sectors in Quito, Ecuador, simultaneously supporting and building local capacity. After graduating from medical school, Jenny worked with WHO’s Department of Gender, Women and Health (until it was dismantled in 2012) on gender-based violence, gender-sensitive health indicators and gender-based health inequities in the Caribbean. She also worked on sexual and reproductive health in the context of HIV in the Partnerships department of UNAIDS in Geneva. Jenny continues to work and write about the sexual and reproductive health and rights of HIV-positive women with HSPH colleagues and hopes to do research on this during residency in the Bronx. Her academic areas of interest include gender, sexual and reproductive health, human rights, breastfeeding and migrant health.
Sari Reisner is a Doctor of Science candidate in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, studying social and psychiatric epidemiology. Reisner’s primary research interests are (1) developmental and social determinants of mental health across the life course, especially for sexual and gender minority populations; (2) implications of mental health risk and resilience for physical health outcomes, particularly HIV/AIDS and cancer; (3) application of new methodologies to study the health of marginalized populations; and (4) national and global transgender and nonconforming health. He is on faculty as an Associate Research Scientist at The Fenway Institute, Fenway Health in Boston, Massachusetts, where he is currently Co-Investigator on a multisite R01 (Boston and Chicago) testing the efficacy of an HIV risk reduction intervention with transgender male-to-female youth, and Co-PI of a 10-year longitudinal cohort study of transgender youth age- and race- matched to non-transgender youth. Reisner is a member of the Growing Up Today Study (GUTS) sexual orientation and gender working group at Children’s Hospital, led by Bryn Austin, ScD. His dissertation research is funded by the Williams Institute to conduct psychometric evaluation and cognitive testing of gender identity measures for use in cohort studies and cohort-related surveillance systems of health. He has co-authored more than 35 peer-reviewed journal articles and has presented his research nationally and internationally at scientific conferences. He is a founding member of the Transgender Research Group at the National Center for Population Research in LGBT Health at Fenway Health. Reisner earned a Master’s degree from Brandeis University and a Bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University.
Katyayni Seth is a Master of Science candidate in the Department of Global Health and Population. Katyayni received a B.A in Economics and International Studies from Colby College, where she conducted econometric and historical research on maternal and child health in India. At Harvard, Katyayni has focused her work on the use of epidemiological methods for monitoring and evaluating health-care interventions. She is broadly interested in improving health-care delivery by using impact evaluations to guide public and private sector health strategies. She is a recipient of the Presidential Scholarship at Harvard and was a Davis United World College Scholar at Colby. She was born and raised in Meerut, India and enjoys dancing.