Core Faculty

To search Brown's comprehensive faculty directory by research area, please visit [email protected].

  • Mark Lurie

    Mark Lurie, PhD

    Director, International Health Institute, Associate Professor of Epidemiology

    Dr. Mark Lurie is an infectious disease epidemiologist working on HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections, silicosis and tuberculosis in sub-Saharan Africa. He has studied the role of migration in the spread of HIV in South Africa, examined the evidence for concurrency as a major driver of the HIV epidemic, and examined the impact of antiretroviral therapy on HIV epidemic dynamics in sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Angela_Bengtson

    Angela Bengtson, PhD

    Assistant Professor of Epidemiology

    Dr. Bengtson's research focuses on improving the health of HIV-infected women and their children during the perinatal period. Her work explores the impact of HIV drugs on pregnancy outcomes, investigates novel strategies to measure and support ongoing engagement in HIV care, and addresses common comorbid conditions with HIV during pregnancy, including obesity and perinatal depression. Dr. Bengtson has worked extensively in sub-Saharan Africa, most recently in Malawi and South Africa. She received her PhD in 2015 from the Department of Epidemiology at the University of North Carolina.

  • Dr. Omar Galárraga

    Omar Galárraga, PhD

    Associate Professor of Health Services, Policy, and Practice

    Dr. Omar Galárraga is a health economist who works on applications of health and behavioral economics to improve HIV prevention and treatment outcomes.  His work focuses on three main areas including: 1) how behavioral economic applications such as conditional economic incentives may be best utilized to improve the prevention and treatment of HIV, and other chronic diseases; 2) the health and labor market effects of social health insurance programs; and 3) the economic efficiency (cost-effectiveness) and financing of various treatment and prevention programs. He has several projects in Mexico, Kenya, Ghana and South Africa.

  • Abigail Harrison, PhD, MPH

    Associate Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences , Graduate Program Director, MSc in Global Public Health

     Dr. Abigail Harrison’s research focuses on global HIV prevention and reproductive health among adolescents and young women, with a primary focus on South Africa.   Trained as a social epidemiologist, she conducts interdisciplinary qualitative and mixed methods research on health behaviors and the social context of prevention, as well as behavioral interventions. Current research addresses women's reproductive decision-making and empowerment, the health and social needs of adolescents living with HIV, and the development of HIV prevention interventions for adolescent girls and young women.

  • McGarvey

    Stephen McGarvey, PhD, MPH

    Professor of Epidemiology and Anthropology

    Dr. Stephen T. McGarvey is a biological anthropologist who has conducted population health and biological research in low and middle income countries nations for >40 years. His research focuses on issues of human population biology and international health, specifically modernization-related induced socio-economic and behavioral changes, gene by environment interactions on cardiovascular disease risk factors, tropical parasitology and child nutritional status and health, and environmental issues. He leads, and collaborates in, several ongoing projects in the Samoan islands on genetic and nutritional epidemiology of cardiometabolic conditions, behavioral interventions on their risk factors and maternal and child health.

  • Jennifer Pellowski

    Jennifer Pellowski, PhD

    Assistant Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences

    Dr. Jennifer Pellowski is a social psychologist who focuses on addressing psychosocial and contextual factors that impede engagement in health behaviors. She has a background in behavioral intervention development and evaluation and her research interests include HIV treatment adherence, sexual and reproductive health, and technology-based approaches to data collection and intervention.

  • Shufang Sun

    Assistant Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences

    Dr. Sun's research focuses on understanding minority stress and mental health among marginalized populations including LGBTQ individuals, as well as minority health promotion through innovative, evidence-based methods including mHealth and mindfulness-based interventions. Her work concerns marginalized communities both in the United States and globally. Her research with sexual minority men in China has focused on achieving a culturally responsive understanding of minority stress and addressing mental and sexual health risks through culturally-adapted mHealth methods. Her NIH-funded K23 career development award aims to develop an internet-delivered, mindfulness-based intervention as an HIV prevention strategy to engage young sexual minority men and promote sexual and mental health. She is also a co-investigator on several NIH-funded R awards focusing on HIV prevention and understanding biological mechanisms (epigenetics, inflammatory biomarkers) through which mindfulness training may be capable of remediating the adverse impacts of early life stress.  Dr. Sun is a licensed psychologist. Her clinical and supervisory work has emphasized affirmative and culturally competent care concerning sexual and gender minorities, as well as mindfulness-based interventions. 

  • Leausa Samau Toleafoa Dr. Take Naseri

    Adjunct Associate Professor of Epidemiology, Director General of Health/Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of Health of Samoa

    Leausa Samau Toleafoa Dr. Take Naseri is the Director General of Health/Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of Health of Samoa.  Dr. Naseri holds a Masters in Public Health (MPH) from the University of Queensland, Australia and a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) from the University of Papua New Guinea.  He started his education in Samoa before furthering his studies in New Zealand and Fiji.  Dr. Naseri is a registered practicing physician and has served in the Medical Profession for over 25 years in Samoa, American Samoa and in New Zealand in the areas of Anesthesia & ICU, Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases and Population Health.  In 2010 he was appointed at the Samoa Ministry of Health as the Consultant Specialist Physician, Public Health and Assistant Chief Executive Officer. He was instrumental in establishing and developing Samoa's National Disease Surveillance (NDS) and International Health Regulations (IHR) Division within the Ministry in 2012. In 2014 he became the Director General and CEO of the Ministry of Health.  His population health background and distinguished clinical experience with his visionary approach, led to Samoa's implementation of the WHO NCD Package of Essential Non-communicable disease interventions (PEN), which he contextualized in the Samoan way now called PEN Fa’aSAMOA. This was recognized with an award for "Best Proposal" at the Pacific Health Ministers Meeting’s 20th Anniversary Yanuca in Fiji 2014.  He also led Samoa’s first side event on NCDs at the WHO World Health Assembly (WHA) 2014 and the Small Island Developing States (SIDs) Conference, the same year.  Under Dr Naseri’s guidance, the health sector by September 2017 was the first sector to develop a Disaster Risk Management (DRM) Strategy for Samoa.  The policy not only grounded the mainstreaming of climate change and health instruments across-sector, but also assures the integrating of the IHR 2005 and the Asia Pacific Strategy for Emergencies and Emerging Diseases III (APSED III); into all aspects of the strategy.  Of significance, as the Director General of Health, Dr Naseri since mid-2017 has led the re-organization of the realigned health system; with emphasis now on prevention, research and population health and not just centralized curative care as it has been in the last two decades.  It will place the emphasis to be patient-focused and population health oriented, with the main goal of decentralizing health resources to the communities and grassroots’ levels. Dr Naseri has collaborated with international academic institutions – Brown University and  Yale University in the United States - researchers and others in Samoa since 2010 in their ongoing public health studies of cardiometabolic disease risk factors.  His leadership since early 2014 has not only allowed growth in collaborative research but focused the research on its operational implications for implementing future interventions.