University of California, San Francisco & Berkeley Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars


Scholars

ALUMNI

(2012-2014) Cohort 10 Scholars
(2011-2013) Cohort 9 Scholars
(2010-2012) Cohort 8 Scholars
(2009-2011) Cohort 7 Scholars
(2008-2010) Cohort 6 Scholars
(2007-2009) Cohort 5 Scholars
(2006-2008) Cohort 4 Scholars
(2005-2007) Cohort 3 Scholars
(2004-2006) Cohort 2 Scholars
(2003-2005) Cohort 1 Scholars

(2012-2014) Cohort 10 Scholars

Ezequiel M. Galarce, PhD
Ezequiel M. Galarce, PhD

Ezequiel M. Galarce is interested in understanding the effects of early adversity on the development of health and risk behaviors. More specifically, he is currently examining the effects of childhood food insecurity on the development of food consumption patterns throughout the life course. In this effort, he is studying how insufficient and unreliable food sources may affect the cognitive antecedents of food related behavior; either in a purely direct manner, and also through the effects of food insecurity on maternal stress. Dr. Galarce attempts to tackle these problems from biological, psychological and ecological perspectives, combining secondary data analysis with animal and human laboratory experiments. Ultimately, he attempts to help answer a critical question to population health:Why do some population subgroups present more difficulties in maintaining healthy lifestyle choices than others? Ezequiel earned a Ph.D. in Psychological and Brain Sciences in 2009 from the Johns Hopkins University. He also holds a license in Clinical Psychology earned in 2000 in Argentina.

Matt Killingsworth, PhD

Matt Killingsworth, PhD

Matt Killingsworth studies the nature and causes of human happiness, and is the creator of www.trackyourhappiness.org, a project that uses smartphones to study happiness in real-time in the course of everyday life on a large scale.  Recent research has examined a variety of topics, including the relationship between happiness and mind-wandering, the percentage of daily experiences that are intrinsically valuable, and the degree of congruence between the causes of momentary happiness and of one's overall satisfaction with life.  Currently, Matt is a doctoral candidate in psychology at Harvard University.  Prior to graduate school, he worked in the software industry as a product manager.  Matt received his B.S.E. from Duke University with majors in Biomedical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Economics.  When not working on his research, you might find Matt wandering around the city or countryside taking pictures, in the kitchen cooking, at the gym, or trying a new restaurant.

 

(2011-2013) Cohort 9 Scholars

Meredith Barrett, PhD
Meredith Barrett, PhD


MEREDITH BARRETT is an ecologist with an interest in how built and natural environments influence health. She was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at UCSF and UC Berkeley from 2011-2013.  She is now Vice President of Science and Research at Asthmapolis, a health technology company dedicated to improving the care of people with asthma and COPD. She develops research that uses the real-time, spatially explicit data passively collected by the Asthmapolis sensor to better understand patients’ symptoms, asthma care quality and cost, and environmental drivers of asthma. She has a diverse background with over 15 years of experience in environmental research. Her training in ecology, environmental science, population health and spatial analysis have enabled her to study the impacts of environmental change on both infectious and chronic disease. She completed her PhD in Ecology at Duke University in 2011, where she was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and worked across campus with the Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke Global Health Institute, and the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. She supports multidisciplinary approaches to health, and is involved with One Health initiatives that build collaboration among diverse disciplines to achieve optimal human, animal and ecosystem health. She has helped to develop courses on the One Health approach and serves on the steering committee for the North Carolina One Health Collaborative.

CV LINK

 

Olivier Humblet, ScD
Olivier Humblet, ScD


Olivier Humblet received his doctorate in Epidemiology and Environmental Health from the Harvard School of Public Health in 2010. His thesis research assessed how children’s reproductive development is affected by industrial chemicals in the environment. He then focused on studying asthma in relation to air pollution and other chemical exposures, completing postdoctoral fellowships at the Stanford School of Medicine, and in the Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar Program at UCSF/UC Berkeley.

His current work focuses on how mobile technology and data science can be used to improve population health and prevent disease, especially for asthma and other respiratory diseases.

 



(2010-2012) Cohort 8 Scholars

Emily Jacobs, PhD
Emily Jacobs, PhD


Emily received her PhD in Neuroscience from UC Berkeley in 2010. There she began her investigation of the impact of ovarian hormones on prefrontal cortical function in humans. Using fMRI, PET and pharmacogenomics methods she examined the way endogenous hormone fluctuations over a woman’s menstrual cycle modulate neurochemical circuits, in turn shaping cognitive processes.


With the support of RWJ, Emily continues to clarify the impact of ovarian hormones on brain morphology and behavior, with the purpose of understanding the extent to which neuroactive hormones are relevant to observable sex differences in neurological disorders at the population level. Ovarian hormones are neuroactive, with estrogen receptor expression evident throughout the frontal lobe, yet few human studies have examined the behavioral and health-related consequences of this relationship within a model of brain circuitry and function. Emily and colleagues plan to probe this line of research on two levels, pairing large-scale exploratory analyses with controlled experiments of ovarian hormones.


Emily received her BA from Smith College in 2004 where she majored in Neuroscience. She grew up in southern Illinois.

 

Mark A. Pachucki, PhD
Mark C. Pachucki, PhD

Mark's research is broadly concerned with social determinants of health, culture, and social network dynamics. While it is commonly accepted that culture and social context is linked to health, social science and medicine have had difficulty considering how the structure and meanings of relationships between people are involved in well-being. To address these challenges, his work explores pathways by which the social world influences our physical and mental health throughout the lifecourse. If we better understand how people are connected, we gain insight into how health changes at the interpersonal and population level over time. His published work explores how patterns of meaning that we construct in our everyday lives are associated with group-level social structure. Mark received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Columbia University, received his MA in Sociology from Harvard University, and completed his PhD in 2010. He joins the faculty of the Mongan Institute for Health Policy and Center for Child and Adolescent Health Research and Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital in 2013. Read more about Dr. Pachucki's research.



Aric A. Prather, PhD
Aric A. Prather, PhD


Aric A. Prather received his PhD (2010) in Clinical and Biological & Health Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh, and completed his clinical training internship in behavioral medicine at Duke University Medical Center. Trained in the field of psychoneuroimmunology (PNI), Aric’s research focuses on psychological, behavioral, and physiologic correlates of immune function, with particular emphasis on restorative processes (e.g. sleep) that may buffer the deleterious effects of stress on health.  For instance, his dissertation focused on whether natural variation in sleep parameters (e.g. sleep duration, efficiency, subjective quality) was associated with the magnitude of primary and secondary antibody responses to the hepatitis B vaccination series.  While in the RWJ program, Aric plans to explore how larger social pressures (e.g. SES) shape biology and health behaviors across the life span to influence susceptibility to physical and mental illness in adulthood.  When not working, he and his wife, Michelle, enjoy exploring their environment, including dining out at local restaurants, hiking/biking/walking around, and enjoying the cultural richness of the Bay Area.


(2009-2011) Cohort 7 Scholars


Nicole Bush, PhD
Nicole Bush, PhD

Nicki will join the faculty at the UCSF School of Medicine as an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, beginning in the fall of 2011


Nicole (Nicki) Bush joined the HSS fellowship after completing a postdoctoral fellowship in children’s physiologic stress reactivity with W. Tom Boyce. She received her Masters of Science (2005) and PhD (2007) in Child Clinical Psychology from the University of Washington, and completed her clinical training internship at the Institute for Juvenile Research at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Nicki received a Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology, with a minor in Sociology from Gonzaga University in 1998. She has a background in basic research as well as clinical and community intervention with families from high-stress contexts, and she is actively involved in policy-oriented projects.

Her research has examined relations among biobehavioral predispositions (e.g., temperament and physiology) and stressful life circumstances (e.g., poverty, parenting, and neighborhood) in the prediction of a broad range of children's mental health outcomes. As an HSS Fellow, Dr. Bush is expanding her examination of contextual risk effects by infusing her models with a new understanding of biology (physiology, genetics, epigenetics) throughout early development, including the prenatal period. Her work integrates insights from social epidemiology, sociology, clinical psychology, and developmental psychobiology to elucidate the interplay of biology and context in youth development, as physiological systems mature and social environments change.

She hopes her examinations of how social disadvantage interacts with and alters children’s biological stress response systems will clarify the etiology of children’s mental and physical health outcomes and subsequent adult health. To read more about Dr. Bush’s research click here.


Born and raised in Alaska, a dancer, and married to an activist artist, Nicki endeavors to

juggle science, social justice, art, and wilderness adventures in the Bay area.

 

Laura M. Gottlieb, MD, MPH
Laura M. Gottlieb, MD, MPH

Laura Gottlieb completed her MD at Harvard Medical School and subsequently trained in family medicine at Harborview Medical Center with the University of Washington. She completed her MPH at the University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine in Health and Policy Research. Her MPH thesis focused on the influence of food supplementation programs on obesity in low-income women. During several years in clinical practice in New Mexico, she also completed fellowship work on the role of community context in the prevention of depression.

With the Health and Society Scholars, Laura works with Human Impact Partners in Oakland, California to promote and improve health impact assessments so they can be used to better inform local, state and national policy decisions. She also works with the California Department of Public Health and the California Strategic Growth Council Task Force on Health in All Policies to develop a framework for state social and fiscal policy coherence around health promotion.

Laura spends time outside the office laughing, running and hiking, nationally and internationally, with her sweet husband, smiling daughter and the family’s adorable brown dog.

Article:

The Social Determinants of Health: It's
Time to Consider the Causes of the Causes

 

A. Janet Tomiyama, PhD
A. Janet Tomiyama, PhD

A. Janet Tomiyama completed her PhD in social and health psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles in June, 2009. Her dissertation examined the potentially deleterious psychological and biological consequences of low calorie dieting, investigating whether dieting causes chronic psychological stress. Her broad research interests include obesity and its twin causes, overeating and sedentary behavior, as well as the relationship between stress and health.  Janet received her BA in 2001 from Cornell University where she majored in Psychology and sang in The Chordials, a co-ed a cappella group. She continued singing as the sole graduate student member of The Scattertones, UCLA’s co-ed a cappella group. When Janet isn’t researching or singing, she can be found teaching group fitness classes and indulging her foodie habit.


(2008-2010) Cohort 6 Scholars


A Beery, PhD
Annaliese Beery, PhD

Dr. Beery's research focuses on the mechanisms by which experience gets "under the skin", with a focus on the means by which short-term experiences can have long-term effects on health and physiology.  Her current projects examine epigenetic processes (such as DNA methylation) that may underlie biological encoding of early life experience, using rats as a model.


Dr. Beery received her PhD in Neuroscience from UC Berkeley in 2008.  Her dissertation examined biological mechanisms underlying the formation of social bonds, particularly non-sexual social bonds between peers. Her research (in > 10 rodent species) focused on hormones and neuropeptides that co-vary with social behavior in response to environmental modulation.  She received her Bachelor's degree from Williams College in 1997 and spent the years before graduate school teaching high school and working as a software engineer.

 

Julie Harris, PhD
Julie Harris, PhD

Julie N. Harris received her PhD at the University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Department of Public Health Genetics. Her dissertation focused on examining how communication about genetic information occurs in the familial and clinical context, and determining how/whether that communication influences an individual’s cancer prevention and screening behaviors. Julie received a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology/Marine Biology from University of North Carolina in Wilmington, NC in 1998. Her research interests include examining the impact of emerging biotechnologies on health disparities and on examining the broader social, political, and economic forces driving their uptake. The goal of this work is to identify effective health policies and interventions aimed at reducing the negative impact of technologies on population health disparities and improve the utility of this information for all communities. When not doing research, Julie enjoys running, biking, hiking, tidepooling, and swimming. She looks forward to completing her second swim from Alcatraz this summer.

Cassandra Okechukwu, MSN, MPH
Cassandra Okechukwu, ScD

Cassandra Okechukwu received her Doctor of Science degree from the Department of Society, Human Development, and Health at the Harvard School of Public Health in June 2008. Her research focuses on how work and working conditions influence the health and health behaviors of working populations. She also has an interest in global tobacco control, especially as it relates to tobacco industry practices in African countries. In her dissertation, entitled “Working environments and smoking behaviors among the working class,” she evaluated a group randomized smoking cessation intervention for blue-collar workers, which integrated occupational health with smoking cessation messages. In addition, she examined the relationship between exposure to occupational and social hazards in the workplace and current smoking status among blue-collar and service workers. Cassandra has a Masters in Public Health degree from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she majored in Occupational Health. She also has a Masters in Nursing from the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. Cassandra is a registered nurse with a Bachelors degree in Nursing from the University of Maryland. She is of the Igbo tribe in Nigeria and enjoys dancing and writing fiction in her spare time.


(2007-2009) Cohort 5 Scholar - 3rd Year

Kaja LeWinn, MS

Kaja LeWinn, ScD

Dr. Kaja LeWinn’s research explores how socioeconomic position is biologically embodied during childhood with the goal of understanding early life origins of health disparities. In 2007, Kaja completed her doctorate in Social Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health.   Her thesis examined the impact of stress hormones during gestation and social disadvantage in the first five years of life on cognitive performance at age 7. As a Scholar, Kaja has extended this work by investigating the extent to which physiological responses to stress mediate the relationship between socioeconomic position and cognitive outcomes. In order to better understand the neurobiological mechanisms by which early adversity affects brain development, Kaja obtained extensive training in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). She is currently the Principal Investigator of a novel pilot project using fMRI that explores whether socioeconomic conditions in childhood are associated with neural correlates of emotion regulation and, if so, whether this relationship is modified by genetic factors. In future projects, Kaja will continue to use fMRI to explore how genetic factors interact with social adversity early in life to influence the mental and physical health of the developing child.

[back to top]


(2007-2009) Cohort 5 Scholars

David H. Chae, ScD
David H. Chae, ScD

David H. Chae, ScD, is a Robert Wood Johnson Heath and Society Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, and University of California, San Francisco site. He will be joining the faculty of the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education at the Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University in Fall 2009. Dr. Chae’s research focuses on the health implications of socially oppressive systems, expressed in processes such as discrimination and dimensions of self- and group-identity. Using a socio-psychobiological framework, he examines how racism, structural and interpersonal forms of discrimination, and dimensions of racial/ethnic identity impact health via psychological and biological processes. Dr. Chae is the principal investigator of a study examining psychobiological stress mechanisms involved in cardiovascular health among African American young adult men.

Dr. Chae received his Doctor of Science degree from the Harvard School of Public Health, Department of Society, Human Development and Health, with a major in Social Epidemiology and interdisciplinary concentration in Women, Gender, and Health. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Chicago where he majored in Psychology; and Master of Arts degree in Psychology from Columbia University, Teachers College. He was also a W.K. Kellogg Fellow in Health Policy, a Research Fellow at the Cambridge Center for Multicultural Mental Health Studies, and a researcher at the University of Washington.

Jenna Nobles, MA
Jenna Nobles, PhD


Jenna Nobles is a social demographer who studies issues of development, migration, and family dynamics. Much of her previous work examines these relationships in resource-constrained settings. Her dissertation research studied the effects of parental labor migration on child development in Mexico, with a particular focus on children’s living arrangements, health status, and educational attainment. In related work, she has examined shifting family formation patterns during periods of economic and social change. As a Health and Society Scholar, Jenna will examine U.S. health issues emerging from a) population composition change on both sides of the U.S./Mexico border and b) temporary migration patterns in the wake of economic downturn and natural disaster. Jenna received her Ph.D. in sociology from UCLA, where she was an affiliate of the Center for Health and Development and the California Center for Population Research. She graduated from Boston College with a B.A. in sociology in 2002.

[back to top]


(2006-2008) Cohort 4 Scholars
Ryan A. Brown, PhD
Ryan A. Brown, PhD

Ryan Brown received a PhD in biocultural anthropology from Emory University in 2006. While at Emory, Brown's research explored how Cherokee (American Indian) and White youth in the Appalachian Mountains view and experience their lives, with special attention to violence, substance use, and other risk-taking behaviors. As a Health and Society scholar, Ryan Brown conducted three research projects: (1) Collaborating with Margaret Kemeny, Ryan used an experimental approach to examine emotional and biological responses to social threat. This research found that anger can be an adaptive (or biologically protective) response to social threat in some cases, while shame is associated with detrimental patterns of biological response. (2) Collaborating with Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, Ryan used a survey approach to explore the social and emotional mediators of the "acculturation gradient" in health risk behaviors among U.S. immigrants (lower than expected risky behaviors for first generation Latino and Asian immigrants, but increasing risky behaviors with increasing acculturation). This research found that the perceived chance of shaming or disappointing family or community members appears to decrease involvement in health risk behaviors. (3) Collaborating with Ray Catalano, Ryan investigated the impact of mass political involvement on mortality in Sweden. This research provides prospective evidence of the lifespan-extending effects of female political involvement on female life expectancy. Ryan is now Assistant Professor of Human Development and Social Policy at Northwestern University, where he is establishing a mobile psychophysiology laboratory as well as a field school for human trafficking research with the United Nations in Bangkok, Thailand.

Belinda Needham, PhD
Belinda Needham, PhD

Belinda Needham is currently an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  Her research focuses on gender differences in the link between mental and physical health across the life course.  She is particularly interested in identifying developmental processes by which gender inequality shapes inequalities in health.   

David Rehkopf, ScD
David Rehkopf, ScD


David Rehkopf completed his dissertation at the Harvard School of Public Health in March of 2006 in the Department of Society, Human Development and Health. His dissertation, entitled “The non-linear impacts of income on mortality, biomarkers and growth,” documents the ways in which higher income has different returns to health and human development depending on a household's position in the income distribution.

His research interest is in understanding the differences between permanent income and changes in income in explaining socioeconomic disparities in cardiovascular disease risk factors and in understanding variation in childhood growth, as well as understanding the relative importance of the pathways through which income disparities develop. In addition to using methods to make causal inference from observational data, he is interested in using circumstances where changes to income or resources occur at a population level to understand the associations between household resources and health.


[back to top]


(2005-2007) Cohort 3 Scholars
Sara Johnson, PhD, MPH
Sara Johnson, PhD, MPH

Sara Johnson received her PhD in public health from the Johns Hopkins University. Her dissertation looked at how new understandings of adolescent biobehavioral development from fields including neuroscience, neuoroendocrinology, psychology and adolescent medicine, could be integrated in order to design more effective injury and violence prevention programs for youth. Her research interests in the RWJ HSS Program include biological and contextual influences on adolescent decision-making about risk, and the effect of social factors on child development and health-related trajectories.

Candyce Kroenke, ScD, MPH
Candyce Kroenke, ScD, MPH


Candyce Kroenke comes to the Robert Wood Johnson program most recently as an instructor at the

HarvardMedicalSchool where her research focused on the influence of psychosocial and lifestyle factors on chronic disease outcomes in women. In this work, she sought to clarify common biological pathways that underlie many of these relationships. Candyce received her doctorate from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). Prior to this, she earned her Master’s degree in Epidemiology and her undergraduate degree in Sociology from the University of Minnesota ; her undergraduate thesis focused on theories of gender socioeconomic (SES) disparities. She also worked for two Minnesota-based, not-for-profit organizations on research and formative evaluation of programs and initiatives designed to improve the well-being of youth. Candyce is interested in how material and social factors intersect to influence SES-health trajectories over the life course. As a Health and Society Scholar, she hopes to examine the impact of macro level influences on health as well as how early material and social adversity impact health and biological markers of aging.

 

Wizdom Powell Hammond, PhD, MPH
Wizdom Powell Hammond, PhD, MPH

Wizdom Powell Hammond received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Michigan in March 2005. Wizdom also holds a MS degree in Psychology from the University of Michigan and an MPH degree from the University of Michigan School of Public Health. She received her BA in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Wizdom’s research has largely focused on investigating racially engendered health disparities among African American men. Wizdom received an award from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation to fund her dissertation research, which examined factors associated with African American men’s medical mistrust, utilization of preventive health screening services, and engagement in self-protective health practices. During her graduate training, she also worked with the University of Michigan Prevention Research Center on the Fathers and Sons Evaluation Project, a CDC-funded community-based participatory intervention between nonresidential African American fathers and their pre-adolescent sons. Wizdom is a recipient of both the Ford Foundation Pre-doctoral Fellowship administered by the National Research Council and the American Psychological Association Minority Fellowship funded by SAMHSA. As a health and society scholar, Wizdom plans to investigate the interplay between social constructions of masculinity and African American men’s acquisition of healthcare/social capital across the lifespan and the impact of racial discrimination experienced by African American men in healthcare and social environments on their trust in healthcare organizations and professionals.




Article:

Determinants of Usual Source of Care Disparities among African American and Caribbean Black Men: Findings from the National Survey of American Life

 

June Tester, MD, MPH
June Tester, MD, MPH

June Tester did her undergraduate training in biology at Harvard University and completed medical school at University of California, San Francisco. During medical school, she completed an MPH at UC Berkeley and began to pursue her interest in how the built environment affects the health of urban populations. Interested in traffic calming interventions, she studied the effects of neighborhood speed humps on child pedestrian injury. She completed residency in pediatrics at Children’s Hospital, Oakland in June of 2005. Dr. Tester’s research as a Health and Society Scholar focuses on how the built environment relates to injury as well as to physical activity among children, and she has studied the relationship of parental perceptions of environment to children’s walking behaviors. She has been a research collaborator with Team Up for Youth, a non-profit in Oakland, in conducting a longitudinal study of San Francisco parks before and after renovations to their playfields. She also studies the role of the food environment on childhood obesity, and is conducting a study about street vendors and after school snacking in school children.

CV Link

[back to top]


(2004-2006) Cohort 2 Scholars

Julian Jamison, PhD

Julian Jamison, PhD

Julian Jamison comes to the program from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, where he was an assistant professor of decision sciences. He earned his PhD in economics from MIT, specializing in game theory: his doctoral work considered the role of information and uncertainty in dynamic strategic interactions among agents. Julian's early work in health economics focused on mathematical models for measurement of the burden of disease. As a Health & Society Scholar, he is pursuing the relationship between health and utility, where the latter may be measured as subjective; predicted; according to revealed preference; or via recent neuroscientific techniques. He is also studying decision-making in charged contexts, such as with newly diagnosed patients; alcohol-impaired young adults; or dieters tempted by chocolate cake. Of particular interest in all of this work are observed differences across individuals and population subgroups. Julian has served as a consultant for NIMH, JPL, Lockheed-Martin, and Bates White, LLC.


Janxin Leu, PhD

Janxin Leu, PhD

Janxin Leu received a joint BA/MA in Psychology from Stanford University, and later served as a research fellow at Peking University in 1997 in Beijing, China. Along with her family, she has been active in addressing poverty in rural China through grass-roots initiatives in literacy and community development (www.esscare.org). She received her Ph.D. in social psychology along with a certificate of training in cultural anthropology from the University of Michigan in June 2004. At Michigan, she worked with social psychologists, developmental psychologists, cultural anthropologists, and historians to examine the influence of cultural models of self and well-being on cognition and emotion in the US, China, and Japan. As an RWJ fellow, she is working to better understand the role of culture and emotion in health, using epidemiologic, biopsychological, and narrative methods. Specifically, she and her colleagues examine 1) how emotional scripts, such as anger, are produced and learned within American immigrant communities, and consequently, 2) how the experience and display of these emotions (e.g., anger) contribute to changing disease patterns, such as the greater prevalence of coronary heart disease among second and third generation immigrants.


Michelle McMurry, MD, PhD

Michelle McMurry, MD, PhD

Michelle McMurry was the Health and Social Policy Legislative Assistant to Senator Joseph Lieberman (Democrat-Connecticut). Michelle received her MD and PhD in molecular immunology from

DukeUniversity as part of the NIH Medical Scientist Training Program. While at Duke, her graduate work focused on the regulation of chromatin structure and gene recombination during T cell receptor gene rearrangement. Michelle received her undergraduate training in biochemistry at HarvardUniversity . She was the senior health policy advisor for the Lieberman for President Campaign. Her work in both contexts included drafting legislation and policy proposals to decrease healthcare disparities and promote translational research. She was also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Health Policy at GeorgeWashingtonUniversity where her research focused on the role of biomedical research in disparities in health and healthcare. Prior to this, she was the Hospital Preparedness Coordinator for the Department of Health and Human Services where she worked on preparing our Nation’s hospitals for terrorism and other public health emergencies. Michelle previously completed a bioterrorism policy fellowship in the office of Senator Joseph Lieberman funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Prior to her fellowship she participated in a joint pediatric-medical genetics training program at Children’s NationalMedicalCenter in Washington
,
DC
and the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health. She is a former recipient of an American Association for the Advancement of Science Policy fellowship, which supported her work in the Office of the Director of the National Science Foundation. In that capacity, Michelle addressed issues of diversity in science education and training.


[back to top]


(2003-2005) Cohort 1 Scholars

Douglas Jutte, MD, MPH

Douglas Jutte, MD, MPH

Douglas Jutte received his BA from Cornell University and his MD from Harvard in 1996. While in medical school he worked in the Dominican Republic and evaluated childhood malnutrition in several rural communities. He studied the interaction of biomarkers for iron deficiency anemia children in Guatemala. After completing his residency at Stanford University, serving as chief resident, Doug joined Stanford's Division of General Pediatrics, where he worked with Mexican immigrants and other minority families. Interest in Latino health and behavioral pediatrics led to research assessing the validity of psychosocial screening tools in Hispanic children. In 2003 Doug completed an MPH in epidemiology at UC Berkeley. His research interests are resilience and vulnerability in children and the biological links through which social-contextual factors contribute to a child's long-term medical, psychosocial and cognitive outcomes. Current projects include work with the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy using the Population Health Data Repository to examine the interactive relationships of biological and social factors present at birth and long-term health and educational outcomes, and a UC Berkeley-based pilot study evaluating SES-related differences in family interaction and parent-child communication on development of the pre-frontal cortex.

Article:

Family Socioeconomic Status and Child Executive Functions: the Roles of Language, Home Environment and Single Parenthood

 

Amani M. Nuru-Jeter, PhD, MPH
Amani M. Nuru-Jeter, PhD, MPH

Amani M. Nuru-Jeter completed her PhD in Health Policy and Management, Health and Social Policy from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in May 2003. Her dissertation examined the role of race and residential segregation in the relationship between income inequality and mortality in metropolitan areas in the U.S. Amani has also explored doctor-patient race concordance and its effects on satisfaction with and utilization of health care services. Prior to this, she earned an MPH in Maternal and Child Health from the George Washington University School of Public Health. Amani’s work focuses on structural inequalities, psycho-social and environmental context and its implications for racial inequalities in health. She is currently developing a tool to measure racism and racial discrimination and its influence on reproductive health outcomes. She is also working on the conceptualization of race as a marker for exposure to chronic stress and is examining the influence of psychosocial and contextual factors on racial differences in allostatic load. Her previous roles include Health Policy Coordinator at DC Action for Children and Manager of the State Primary Care Office at the Department of Health in Washington, D.C. Amani currently serves as a Core Member of the Health Disparities Working Group of the National Children's Study and the Measures of Racism Working Group at the CDC.




Articles: A methodological note on modeling the effects of race: the case of psychological distress
2009 Presentations

Family Socioeconomic Status and Child Executive Functions: the Roles of Language, Home Environment and Single Parenthood

 


Constance Wang, PhD
Constance Wang, PhD

Constance Wang is an epidemiologist with interdisciplinary training in biostatistics and in biological, behavioral and decision sciences. She earned her PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Texas School of Public Health in 2003. Her overall research interests relate to the social determinants of population health and healthy aging.
Specifically, her research is focused on understanding, from a lifecourse perspective, the social influences on disease causation in populations, with the ultimate goal of pinpointing what actions, in the form of intervention programs and health policies, need to be taken at what age across the lifespan of individuals to prevent disease and to enhance population health and healthy aging. She is engaged in an interdisciplinary research program through her National Institute on Aging-funded Career Development Award (K01) to identify the constellation of multilevel factors that predict multiple-disease vulnerability and resilience in the population. Constance takes an epidemiology-based approach to integrate theories and methodologies from diverse, but complementary disciplines (social and policy sciences, medicine and public health, biology and human development), to account for health and disease over the lifespan of individuals.
The most important aspect of her work is to describe how a multiplicity of biological, physiological, psychosocial, social, and environmental factors act in concert to impair health and/or decrease resilience in populations. In this work, she is developing systematic and simplified ways in which computational methods can be implemented to integrate social and biological complexity in the discovery of underlying preventable causes of vulnerabilities and diseases.


[back to top]