Rita Hamad, Director

Associate Professor, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Rita Hamad, MD, PhD, is the director of the SPHERE Center. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.  Dr. Hamad spearheads a research agenda to examine the effects of social and economic policies on health disparities across the life course, with the goal of informing state and national policymaking. She specializes in applying quasi-experimental epidemiologic…

Akansha Batra

Akansha Batra, PhD, MA, is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Utah. She has been involved with the SPHERE Center as a Research Data Analyst and then as a PhD student since 2017. Akansha holds a PhD in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from UCSF, a Master’s in Health Policy and Management from UCLA, and a Master’s in Economics from the University of Delhi. She is passionate about exploring the underlying…

Claire Brindis

Claire D. Brindis, DrPH, is a Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics and Health Policy and Emerita Director of the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California San Francisco. As a Latina bi-lingual, bi-cultural researcher, her research experience is in program evaluation and implementation science, as well as policy research on how social determinants impact health. She has brought this distinct perspective to several major formative…

Daniel Collin

Daniel Collin, MPH, has worked as a Research Data Analyst at the SPHERE Center since completing his MPH in Epidemiology/Biostatistics from the UC Berkeley School of Public Health in 2018. He is currently working on examining how the earned income tax credit and other economic policies affect health and health behaviors. Future projects include looking at how school and housing policies affect health outcomes among children and adults. In his…

Dave Esons

Dave Esons (eh-sunz) is a new faculty support staff member in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences and provides administrative support to the SPHERE Center. On hiatus for now, Dave plans to pursue his master’s in public health and apply that towards confronting housing instability and poverty. He is enthusiastic about how epidemiological and biostatistical data can be used to influence policy and improve population health. He would also…

Else Foverskov

Else Foverskov, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor at the University of Copenhagen. She completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the SPHERE Center. She continues to work with the Center to examine the effects of neighborhood socioeconomic characteristics on health among a group of refugees in Denmark who were quasi-randomly assigned to neighborhoods of varying socioeconomic disadvantage upon arrival. Her broader research evaluates how social policies can help reduce health disparities.…

Alice Guan

Alice Guan, MPH, is a Ph.D. student in the UCSF Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. She completed her MPH at San Francisco State University. Her broad interests include understanding how social and economic policies impact health across the life course, with a particular emphasis on racial/economic disparities. She is currently working on examining the effects of the 2009 revision to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children…

David Harris

David B. Harris, PhD, is a member of the SPHERE Center’s Advisory Board. He is the President of Children’s Research and Education Institute, a partner at Kids Project, a senior research fellow at the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University, an affiliate of the Center on Poverty and Inequality at Stanford University, and a senior research fellow at UNICEF Innocenti, Global Office for Research and Foresight.

Kaitlyn Jackson

Kaitlyn Jackson, MPH, is a Senior Statistical Analyst at the SPHERE Center. Since completing her Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of California Berkeley, she has worked on a diverse portfolio of research projects focused on addressing socio-economic and environmental determinants of chronic disease within vulnerable populations, including investigating chronic kidney disease incidence in Jalisco, Mexico, and the implementation of a Randomized Controlled Trial among chronic uveitis patients…

Picture of Deborah Karasek

Deborah Karasek

Deborah Karasek, Ph.D., MPH, is an Assistant Professor at Oregon Health Sciences University/Portland State University School of Public Health. She earned her MPH and Ph.D. in Epidemiology from the University of California Berkeley, School of Public Health, and completed a Transdisciplinary Postdoctoral Fellowship with the Preterm Birth Initiative at UCSF.  She brings expertise in research design, implementation, and analysis to her work studying social determinants of perinatal and reproductive health.…