2022 Graduate Public Health Awards

Public Health Impact Award


Recognizes up to three exceptional graduating SPH Master’s students for their impact in Scholarship and/or Professional Contributions.


Tsion Armidie MPH ’22

“In addition to her excellent academic record, and her work at the Tikur Anbessa Specialized Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia conducting data analysis for a population-based study examining breast cancer recurrence and survival, Tsion has found time to be an awesome classmate to the MPH students in her cohort and a great ambassador for Brown's MPH program and the School of Public Health! She is always willing to speak with prospective students and to serve on panels related to her interests in epidemiology and global health, actively and cheerfully pitching in and promoting and enhancing the goals and mission of the School of Public Health.”

Destry Jensen

Destry Jensen MPH ’22

“Destry made an outsized contribution to her research team, tangibly impacting its ability to push forward important qualitative data management and analysis tasks. She is thoughtful, a wise analyst, aware of her own and her team’s limitations, proactive, and able to complete unwieldy analyses in a measured and efficient way. In addition to her research and academic achievements, Destry served as the School of Public Health's  Communications Scholar for two years, sharing SPH findings and stories across multiple audiences and serving as a spirited ambassador for the School's mission.”


Christopher Santostefano RN, MPH ’22

“Chris demonstrates remarkable skill and agility in identifying, developing, and executing analyses that address contemporary public health needs with substantial impact on population health. He contributes to several research teams as a data analyst with talent that far exceeds his years of experience. Combing programming, data analysis, and data management skills, Chris has led projects that have helped to guide the nursing home industry during the pandemic. He will continue to engage in public health policy evaluations and best practices for vulnerable populations as he collaborates with our investigators and leads projects of his own.”


Recognizes one exceptional graduating SPH Doctoral student for impact in Scholarship and/or Professional Contributions.


Alexandria (Alex) Macmadu Ph.D. Epidemiology ’22

“Alex has already established herself as a leader among her peers. She recently led a study (published in JAMA Network Open) which leveraged four statewide linked
databases to conduct among the most comprehensive analyses of overdose deaths occurring during the pandemic to date. Very few faculty, let alone students, have been able to develop such productive working relationships with the Rhode Island Executive Office of Health and Human Services. Alex has demonstrated dexterity across multiple collaborations and research methodologies, as well as singularity of  purpose and striking commitment to developing a research program focused on opioids and overdose prevention.”

Public Health Diversity & Inclusion Catalyst Award


Recognizes one exceptional graduating SPH Master's student for impact to advance diversity, inclusion, and equity within the Department/Program, School of Public Health, University, local city/state, and/or broader communities.


Alicia Persaud MPH ’22

"Alicia arrived at Brown in 2020, at the height of the COVID pandemic, but despite the challenges, she has taken on a variety of leadership positions, including at Women on Change, an organization dedicated to improving STEM literacy for young women around the world, and at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School where she worked as a research assistant and health educator. She also took part in HUGS/Abrazos, a community-based program that fosters family resilience and mitigates the negative effects of COVID-related stress on pregnant women and families. At Brown, Alicia focused her research on adapting, testing, and packaging effective interventions for the prevention of obesity among low-income children from racial/ethnic minority backgrounds. This work has the potential to reduce childhood obesity by expanding access to effective pediatric weight management strategies for children from underprivileged communities. Alicia's dedication to public health is unmatched and I know she will continue to advocate for diversity and inclusion throughout her career."


Recognizes one exceptional graduating SPH Doctoral student for impact to advance diversity, inclusion, and equity within the Department/Program, School of Public Health, University, local city/state, and/or broader communities.

Julie Skarha

Julie Skarha Ph.D. Epidemiology ’22

"Julie Skarha is a name to follow in the field of disparities research. She is smart, collaborative, driven, and poised to conduct highly impactful research in the field of prisoner health and environmental justice. During her doctoral training at Brown, Julie received a prestigious F31 fellowship to examine the profound association of extreme heat and cold exposure on prison populations and concomitantly worked diligently to gain access to a restricted national database related to deaths in prison populations. This work shows the importance of promoting policies that mandate temperature control in prisons around the country and illustrates the unique lens Julie brings to the field of environmental health and disparities research that will make her a leader in the field."

Community-Engaged Public Health Citizen Award

Recognizes one exceptional graduating master’s or doctoral student who has demonstrated a commitment to building community across Providence.

Kira DiClemente

Kira DiClemente Ph.D. Behavioral and Social Health Sciences ’22

“Kira's doctoral research focuses on the mental health needs of African refugee women in Providence. This research was successful because she adopted a true community-based participatory research approach, gaining trust and taking the time to understand community needs and priorities. Over time, Kira has made significant contributions to the community of African refugees in Providence, through her research focused on women’s mental health, a high priority for this community. Notably, Kira’s work with the community has been a truly bidirectional exchange – she has embraced the idea of learning from the community, and she has brought community perspectives into many aspects of her research and teaching at Brown.”

Commitment to Service Award

Recognizes one exceptional graduating master’s or doctoral student who has served as a leader within the school working to promote a stronger and better Brown SPH community.

Andrew Walch

Andrew Walch MPH ’22

“Andrew has served the School of Public Health Graduate Student Council, rewriting the governing body's bylaws and bringing procedural order to the voting process. He spent hours talking to students, bringing their concerns to the Dean of Students, and rallying in several spaces to include student voices in decision making. A Marine Corp veteran, Andrew worked tirelessly in the Office of Veterans' Affairs to make the campus more inclusive for those who've served in the armed forces. He also volunteers with a beach cleanup organization. Because he is such an effective advocate for students with a strong desire to serve his community, I am sad Andrew is graduating, but know that his mark on Brown will be long lasting.”

Excellence in Teaching Experiences Award

Recognizes one exceptional doctoral student who completed a Teaching Assistantship or Teaching Experience within the last academic year. Nominees need not be graduating students.

Hyesung Oh

Hyesung (Hace) Oh MPH, MBA, Ph.D. Health Services Research

“For his Teaching Experience for the specialized graduate course on Medicare Data and Policy, Hyesung (Hace) went above and beyond in every conceivable way. He offered extra time and sessions to students less experienced in conducting data analysis with complex databases and helped students work through their final projects, planning practice sessions and giving them confidence in their presentations. Hace is attentive, patient, available, and responsive. He sees when communication gaps are affecting students' understanding and makes appropriate clarifications. The lectures he delivered himself were masterful. Hace set a standard for future TEs that will be hard to meet. He will make a great teacher."