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
Advisor: Patricia Risica
Anna Alikhani is a second 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: Jennifer Tidey
Teresa DeAtley is a fourth-year doctoral student who holds a BA from William and Mary and a MPH with a focus on Behavioral Science from Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she earned a certificate in Global Tobacco Control. Prior to Brown she worked in the international research unit at the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, and at the Schroeder Institute for Tobacco Studies at the Truth Initiative, focusing on international and domestic tobacco control policy and research. Her research interests center broadly around nicotine reduction policy, combustible tobacco use among vulnerable populations and substance use. She is specifically interested in understanding how biological and psychosocial mechanisms drive nicotine addiction, and exploring the burgeoning research paradigm of behavioral economics and its application to understanding consumer preferences for products with lowered health risks through the lens of tobacco regulatory science.
Advisors: Abigail Harrison and Jennifer Pellowski
Kira DiClemente is a is a fourth-year Doctoral Candidate who holds a BA in Visual Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and an MPH from the Yale School of Public Health. Her research focuses on global women's health, gender and health, and empowerment. She is interested in how women's empowerment- individual, relational, and environmental- affects a range of health outcomes, including sexual, reproductive and mental health. Methodologically, Kira focuses on community-engaged approaches to research, employing both qualitative and mixed-methods. Kira's dissertation is titled "Mental health among women exposed to war and violence in Africa: a community-based approach." This work focuses on defining the complex system surrounding Central African refugee women's mental health throughout the resettlement period and Rwandan women’s mental health outcomes in the context of intimate partner relationships and trauma histories.
Advisor: Katie Biello
Alberto Edeza is a fifth-year doctoral student interested in cultural perspectives on HIV and their subsequent effects on PrEP/PEP access and adherence within domestic Spanish & Portuguese-speaking MsM populations, as well as sexual & gender minority youth health and associated policy. He completed his BS in Biology and BA in Health and Humanity at the University of Southern California. Prior to attending Brown, he worked in both the education and public health non-profit sectors in California, serving primarily low-income communities.
Advisor: Lynn Hernandez, Jennifer Nazareno, Don Operario
Ashley Gomez is a third-year doctoral student whose primary research interests are the health of Latinx families, migrant 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, Jacob van den Berg
John Guigayoma is a second-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
Advisor: Matthew Mimiaga
William Lodge II is a second-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.
Advisor: Akilah Dulin
Rachel Mealy is a second-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.
Advisor: Jacob van den Berg
Marquisele Mercedes is a second-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: Jacob van den Berg, Philip Chan, Amy Nunn
Madeline Montgomery (pronouns: she/her/hers) is a third-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.
E. Karina Santamaria
Advisor: Don Operario
E. Karina Santamaria is a seventh-year 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.
Advisor: Christopher Kahler
Anthony Surace is a fourth-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 third-year doctoral student who holds an MD from University of Brasilia, Brazil, and an MPH in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University. 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 and East Africa. He is interested in using quantitative and qualitative methods to study the relationship between socioeconomic status, stigma, and health disparities among vulnerable populations, especially regarding HIV prevention and care.
Advisor: Jennifer Pellowski
Alison Weber is a second-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, particularly during the postpartum period. Her work focuses on 1) the health of women living with HIV in global south contexts, particularly in South Africa and 2) maternal health disparities in the United States. She is interested in using mixed methods participatory-social justice designs to understand and shift drivers of health disparities and structural racism within the context of maternal health.
BSHS Doctoral Alumni
Augustine Kang PhD’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 PhD’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 PhD’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 PhD’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 PhD’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 PhD’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 PhD’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 PhD’19
Dissertation: Genetic Underpinning of Physical Activity Adherence: Affective Response to Physical Activity as an Intermediate Phenotype
Current Position: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Harvard University