Students in the School of Public Health’s newest Doctoral Program, in Behavioral and Social Health Sciences (BSHS), come from all over the country, and all over the world. Meet them here:
Current BSHS Doctoral Students
Advisors: Patricia Risica, Diana Grigsby-Toussaint
Anna Alikhani is a third-year doctoral student who focuses on issues impacting maternal and child health outcomes. Her primary research interests involve infant feeding practices, responsive parenting and cannabis use during the perinatal and postpartum periods. Anna holds a BA from Sewanee: University of the South and received an MSW from the University of Maryland School of Social Work and an MPH from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Advisors: Jennifer Merrill, Kate Carey
Holly Boyle is a fourth-year doctoral student who holds a BA in Neuroscience and Psychology from Smith College and two master’s degrees, a MA in psychology from Mount Holyoke College and an ScM in Behavioral and Social Health Sciences from Brown University. Prior to coming to Brown, Holly worked on several research projects as a lead clinical research coordinator at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College. Her research interests include exploring (1) psychosocial determinants of alcohol use in college students, (2) the interplay between stress levels and substance use, (3) and mHealth and eHealth interventions designed to address real-time, risky drinking behavior in a college student population.
Advisor: Lynn Hernandez, Jennifer Nazareno, Don Operario
Ashley Gomez is a fourth-year doctoral student whose primary research interests are the health of Latinx families, Latina entrepreneurship, and the intersection of identity and place. Prior to Brown, she worked with government agencies, nonprofits, and community-based organizations to promote health equity and access for Latinxs in the U.S. and abroad. Ashley holds an MPH degree in Sociomedical Sciences and a certificate in Public Health Research Methods from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, New York City. She also holds a B.A. in Chicanx Studies from UCLA.
Advisors: Tyler Wray, Sara Becker
John Guigayoma is a third-year doctoral student interested in the development and evaluation of behavioral health interventions to address disparities in HIV prevention and treatment outcomes among sexual and gender minorities. Prior to Brown, John coordinated HIV services in various community clinic settings throughout California as well as worked in HIV surveillance for the San Francisco Department of Public Health. His interests also include mixed-methods research, behavioral health technology, and implementation science. John has an MPH in Health and Social Behavior from UC Berkeley and an BA in Comparative Literature from UCLA.
William Lodge II
Advisors: Katie Biello, Matthew Mimiaga
William Lodge II is a third-year doctoral student focused on developing and evaluating interventions around HIV with a specific interest in the role of community health workers and their interpersonal/psychosocial relationship in delivering quality HIV care. Prior to Brown, he worked several years at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School on a range of research projects such as knowledge and attitudes on polio immunization, Ebola and Zika viruses; quality of surgical care, and cost-effectiveness of a national immunization program. While his work has primarily been focused in South Asia, he has also worked on projects in Tanzania, Somalia, Guinea Bissau, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the United States. William holds an MSc in International Educational Development from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in English Literature and South Asian studies from Brandeis University.
Advisors: Akilah Dulin, David Williams
Rachel Mealy is a third-year doctoral student who holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Akron in Ohio, where she completed a BS in Exercise Physiology, with a second major in Spanish, and a minor in Psychology. Rachel also holds an MS in Global Health from the University of Notre Dame. She is interested in applying mixed-methods approaches and systems thinking to study the relationship between multilevel resilience resources and cardiometabolic disease management.
Advisors: Jennifer Nazareno, Don Operario
Marquisele Mercedes is a third-year doctoral student who holds a BA in English Literature, Language, and Criticism from Hunter College and a certificate in Public Policy from the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute. She is interested in using mixed methods research and critical theories to understand how stigma impacts people in larger bodies as they come into contact with health institutions and professionals. Her intersectional analyses of these experiences are shaped by the field of fat studies and scholarship on race/ism. Her overarching goal is to inform and shape interventions that improve quality of life for all fat people. She is a recipient of the Brown University Presidential Fellowship and a former Ronald E. McNair Scholar.
Advisors: Madina Agénor, Kate Carey
Madeline Montgomery (pronouns: she/her/hers) is a fourth-year doctoral student who holds a BA in Anthropology and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and an MPH from Brown University. Madeline’s research interests include healthcare utilization and health communication among queer women, with a focus on sexual health and minority strengths. Madeline is motivated by the goal of promoting health equity and meaningful inclusion in research of queer and trans persons and other systemically oppressed populations.
Advisors: Judson Brewer, Kate Guthrie
Bill Nardi is a second year doctoral student interested in patient-oriented research for the development of comprehensive, integrative treatments for comorbid substance use and anxiety. Specifically, his work focuses on designing and testing mobile health applications as adjunctive therapies to primary substance use treatments utilizing mixed methods research. Bill holds an ScM from Brown University.
E. Karina Santamaria
Advisors: Don Operario, Kate Carey
E. Karina Santamaria is a doctoral student who holds two degrees from the City University of New York: a BA from the City College of NY in Psychology and an MPH from Lehman College in community-based public health and health equity. In her role as research project director at the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies, at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University, she managed a longitudinal study examining the burden of HIV infection during different stages of adolescence and its relationship to mental health, successful adult transition, and risk behavioral outcomes. Karina has collaborated on several other studies investigating factors that affect medical adherence among HIV seropositive mothers and youth from inner city neighborhoods, including psychiatric disorder, stress, family functioning, and social support. Her research interests are focused on the health behaviors and psychological functioning of women and youth living with HIV/AIDS, and on intimate partner violence. She is interested in the role of culture, race, gender, and urban stressors in shaping health behaviors and outcomes.
Advisors: Diana Grigsby-Toussaint, Jennifer Pellowski
Ellis Silva is a second-year doctoral student who holds a BS in Biology from Northeastern University and an MPH from Brown University. She is interested in using mixed-methods approaches to examine the relationship between food insecurity and social support in low- and middle-income countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. She is a recipient of the Diversity Fellowship provided by the Graduate School, and hopes to use this funding to focus her research on improving health outcomes for vulnerable populations.
Advisors: Christopher Kahler, Peter Monti
Anthony Surace is a fifth-year doctoral student who holds an MA degree in Psychology from Hunter College. Prior to attending Brown, he worked for several years on myriad federally-funded research studies examining health behavior among minority populations. These include work on designing and evaluating interventions to improve Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) uptake, and reducing alcohol and substance use among populations at risk for HIV infection. He is interested in elucidating the psychosocial factors which attenuate substance use intervention efficacy. Ultimately, his goal is to tailor treatments to better serve at-risk populations.
Pablo K. Valente
Advisors: Katie Biello, Matthew Mimiaga
Pablo K. Valente is a fourth-year PhD candidate interested in using quantitative and qualitative methods to study the relationship between socioeconomic status, stigma, and health disparities in access to HIV prevention and treatment among vulnerable populations. In his dissertation, he is studying how patient interactions with health systems and healthcare providers may shape access and preferences regarding biobehavioral HIV prevention technologies among sexual minority adolescents. Prior to attending Brown, he provided clinical care to people living with HIV in Brazil and studied health disparities among LGBTQ individuals in the US, Brazil, and East Africa. Pablo holds an MD from University of Brasilia, Brazil, with a residency in Infectious Disease at Instituto de Infectologia Emilio Ribas in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Pablo also has an MPH in Sociomedical Sciences/Infectious Disease Epidemiology from Columbia University.
Advisors: Jennifer Pellowski, Abigail Harrison
Alison Weber is a third-year doctoral student who holds a BA in Biology and Spanish from Mount Holyoke College and an MPH from Brown University. Prior to Brown, she worked in quality control testing for pharmaceutical and medical device companies. Her research interests are centered around global maternal health. Her work focuses on 1) the health of women living with HIV in global south contexts, particularly in South Africa and 2) maternal health equity in the United States. She is interested in using mixed methods designs and intersectionality to understand structural racism in the United States and drive health equity within the context of maternal health.
BSHS Doctoral Alumni
Teresa DeAtley Ph.D.’21
Dissertation: Mechanisms Underlying High Rates of Tobacco-Related Disease in People with Psychiatric Disorders Who Smoke
Current Position: Postdoctoral research fellow, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
Kira DiClemente Ph.D.’21
Dissertation: Mental health experiences of women exposed to war and violence in Africa: a community-based approach
Current Position: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Brown University School of Public Health
Alberto Edeza Ph.D.’21
Dissertation: Sexualized substance use and HIV prevention among men who engage in transactional sex with men
Augustine Kang Ph.D.’20
Dissertation: Sleep and Physical Activity among Latinx Children: Formative Research for Obesity Prevention Intervention Development
Current Position: Investigator, Brown University School of Public Health
Ashleigh LoVette Ph.D.’20
Dissertation: Resilience in the Context of HIV Risk: A Strengths-Based Perspective for HIV Prevention among South African Girls and Young Women
Current Position: Postdoctoral Fellow, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing
Adedotun Ogunbajo Ph.D.’20
Dissertation: Substance use, mental health, and other psychosocial health problems in the context of HIV sexual risk behavior among Nigerian gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men
Current Position: Yerby Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Arjee Restar Ph.D.’20
Dissertation: Modeling the Socio-Ecological Factors of HIV Prevention Services among Filipinx Trans Women and Cis Men
Current Position: Post Doctoral Research Fellow, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Sylvia Shangani Ph.D.’20
Dissertation: Engagement in HIV Prevention and Treatment among Key Populations in Kenya
Current Position: Assistant Professor of Community and Environmental Health, Old Dominion University
Rachel Denlinger-Apte Ph.D.’19
Dissertation: The Effects of Menthol Flavoring in Cigarettes on Tobacco Product Selection, Use, and Perceptions of Harm: Implications for Tobacco Regulation
Current Position: Assistant Professor, Dept of Social Sciences and Health Policy, Wake Forest School of Medicine
Jessica Emerson Ph.D.’19
Dissertation: When Outcomes Matter: A Temporal Analysis of Beliefs in the Exercise and Smoking Domains
Current Position: Research Fellow in Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Brown University
Harold Lee Ph.D.’19
Dissertation: Genetic Underpinning of Physical Activity Adherence: Affective Response to Physical Activity as an Intermediate Phenotype
Current Position: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Harvard University