Former Yerby Fellows

In addition to the wide assortment of workshops, seminars, and classes available to the Yerby fellows, former fellows return to the School from time to time to share their research interests and to provide counseling and advice to the current fellows through workshops and discussions about career development and career choices.

To learn more about the Yerby postdoctoral experience, prospective applicants are welcome to contact our former fellows:

Mariana Arcaya 2013 04 18 Harvard_Mariana Arcaya_8642

Yerby Fellow, 2013 – 2015

Current Title(s): Assistant Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Urban Planning

Research Interests:  Mariana Arcaya is a social epidemiologist and urban planner whose work explores dynamic relationships between geographic contexts, particularly neighborhoods, and health. Mariana conducts scholarly and policy-relevant research in two main areas: 1) bi-directional relationships between place and health, including how health considerations shape socioeconomic outcomes for individuals and communities, and, 2) applied and translational research on the social determinants of health, particularly health risk factors shaped by urban policy and planning decisions.

Contact Information:
Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139


Gary Bennett

Yerby Fellow, 2002-2003

Current Title(s):    Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Duke University

Research Interests:    Bennett’s work focuses on on developing strategies to prevent obesity in high risk populations. His research program has three major themes: 1) use of new media technologies to deliver obesity interventions; 2) examining social and psychosocial determinants of obesity and physical inactivity, and; 3) exploring the dissemination of evidence-based interventions. Many of his group’s ongoing research studies are based in the primary care setting, where efficacious obesity intervention approaches are particularly necessary.

Contact Information:
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
Duke University
9 Flowers Drive, Room 222
Durham, NC 27708


Cabral A. BigmanCabral Bigman-Galimore - professor of communication

Yerby Fellow, 2011 – 2013

Current Title(s): Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, University of Illinois

Research Interests:   Dr. Bigman’s research focuses on communication and health inequalities, health communication, risk communication, and media effects.

Contact Information:
Department of Communication
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
3001 Lincoln Hall
702 South Wright Street
Urbana, IL 61801


Jorge Chavarro  

Yerby Fellow, 2006-2008

Current Title(s):    Assistant Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Research Interests:    Chavarro’s research focuses on investigating the role of diet and the interaction between dietary and genetic factors in the pathogenesis of diseases affecting reproductive and hormone sensitive organs, particularly malignancies of reproductive organs. Specific research areas include investigation of the role of fatty acids and their metabolism in the development and progression of prostate cancer, work on a methodological problem in nutritional epidemiology related to the study of breast cancer, and a study of the role of diet in male and female fertility.

Contact Information:
Department of Nutrition
Harvard School of Public Health
665 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115


Bettina Drake 

Yerby Fellow, 2006-2009

Current Title(s):    Assistant Professor, Division of Public Health Sciences, Department of Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine

Research Interests:    Bettina Drake is a cancer epidemiologist at Washington University School of Medicine and Siteman Cancer Center. Her research interests are in reducing disparities in cancer by focusing on cancer-prevention strategies through nutritional and community-based approaches. Currently, she is conducting community-based research through the Program for the Elimination of Cancer Disparities (PECaD) on minority recruitment into biorepository studies. In addition, she co-leads the Prostate Cancer Community Partnership, a community partnership of PECaD, which seeks to reduce prostate cancer disparities in the region. In addition to cancer prevention through community-based approaches, Dr. Drake has institutional and Department of Defense funds to research the benefits of vitamin D on prostate cancer. She is most interested in how her community-based work informs and strengthens her nutritional epidemiology findings. Information gained from community-based studies informs both study design and recruitment strategies. In turn, the results of the cancer prevention work can be disseminated in collaboration with community partners.

Contact Information:
Washington University School of Medicine
660 S. Euclid Avenue
Campus Box 8100
St. Louis, MO 63110


Dustin Duncandustin_duncan

Yerby Fellow, 2011 – 2013

Current Title(s): Assistant Professor of Population Health, New York University

Research Interests: How neighborhood characteristics (such as the built environment including parks and community design features and the social environment including crime and violence) influence population health (especially obesity prevention) among children, adolescents and their families. He has a special emphasis on minority health and health disparities. Methodologically, his research utilizes a geospatial lens to apply spatially explicit approaches such as computer-based geographic information systems, web-based geospatial technologies, real-time geospatial technologies and geospatial modeling techniques.

Contact Information:
Department of Population Health
New York University School of Medicine
227 East 30th Street, Room 621
New York, NY 10016


David A. Hurtadodavid 3 env

Yerby Fellow, 2013 – 2015

Current Title(s): Assistant Scientist, Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences

Research Interests: Rooted in social epidemiology and the study of the social determinants of health, my research aims to assess and intervene on occupational factors causally linked with the health of workers, their families and their organizations. In particular, his research has been focused on understanding how and why modifiable workplace factors (e.g.  schedules, breaks, supervisor and coworkers’  support) influence the risk of chronic disease and injury, especially among high-risk populations (e.g. health-care, food-service). As a member of the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center, he isalso involved in workplace interventions aimed at promoting and protecting occupational health and safety, following the Total Worker Health™ framework.

Contact Information:
Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences
RJH 1596
3181 S.W. Sam Jackson Park Rd.
Portland, Oregon 97239-3098


Renee Johnson 

Yerby Fellow, 2004-2006

Current Title(s):   Assistant Professor, Department of Mental Health; Deputy Director, Drug Dependence Epidemiology Training Program, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Research Interests:    Dr. Johnson’s current research centers on adolescent risk behaviors (including substance use and violence), with an emphasis on low-income, urban youth.  Dr. Johnson is a core faculty member with the CDC-funded Harvard Youth Violence Prevention Center. She has received funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National Institute on Drug Abuse to study youth violence and substance abuse.

Contact Information:
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Baltimore, MD 21205


Jonghan Kim jk

Yerby Fellow, 2010-2012

Current Title(s):   Assistant Professor of Toxicology and Pharmacokinetics, Northeastern University

Research Interests:    Dr. Kim’s research interests center around the characterization of absorption, distribution, and metabolism of metals including iron and other heavy metals and metal-induced toxicity in the context of environmental exposure and genetic susceptibility (gene-environment interactions).

Contact Information:
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
School of Pharmacy, Bouve College of Health Sciences
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Avenue, 148 TF
Boston, MA 02115


Miguel Marino 

Yerby Fellow, 2011-2012miguel

Current Title(s):   Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine. Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Division of Biostatistics, Oregon Health and Science University

Research Interests:    Dr. Marino’s research involves statistical analysis of high-dimensional correlated data, electronic health record data, validation of new instruments, multivariate data, risk prediction, missing data, and longitudinal/clustered data. In addition, his applied research includes: assessing a Medicaid randomized insurance experiment with community clinics; developing innovative methods for patients and clinics to create tools for children care; examining how changing patterns of family health insurance affect children’s health insurance stability and utilization of healthcare services.

Contact Information:
3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Rd.
Mailcode: FM
Portland, OR 97239


Josiemer Mattei  Mattei

Yerby Fellow, 2010-2012

Current Title(s): Assistant Professor,  Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health

Research Interests: Dr. Mattei’s research focuses on the following:

  • Diet quality and risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and related cardiometabolic outcomes
  • Dietary patterns and ethnic-specific foods associated with type 2 diabetes and its risk factors, and how these shape racial/ethnic health disparities
  • The global nutrition transition; establishing dietary interventions to improve diet quality and prevent diabetes in Latin America
  • Effect of variants in genes on glucose and lipid metabolism pathways, on changes in weight and glucose/insulin markers in response to diet interventions; gene-diet interactions and nutrigenomics
  • Promoting nutrition/genetic epidemiological studies among Latinos in the US and Latin America, and translating results into community and public health programs

Contact Information:
Harvard School of Public Health
Department of Nutrition
655 Huntington Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02115


Lupita Montoya 

Yerby Fellow, 2001-2003

Current Title(s): Assistant Professor,  Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder

Research Interests: Dr. Montoya’s primary area of research is the study of indoor air quality and the health effects of aerosols (a.k.a. particulate matter). She is especially interested in elucidating the role that biological and physicochemical characteristics of various aerosols play in the development of disease and toxicity. One major thrust of this research is developing new models for the study of disease. In the case of allergenic aerosols, she focuses on the link to allergies and asthma. In this general area, she is also trying to elucidate the connection between the physico-chemical characteristics of various nanoparticles (e.g., TiO2, Al2O3, nanotubes) and possible toxicity and immune effects using in vitro models.

Contact Information:
Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering Department
University of Colorado Boulder
ECOT 514, UCB 428
Boulder, CO 80309-0428