Meet Our Staff

Tanya Purdy, MPH, MCHES
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Tanya has experience in research, development, implementation and evaluation of many health promotion initiatives including bystander intervention, mental health promotion and peer health coaching.  Tanya's academic interests include feminist analysis of health disparities and health promotion strategic program planning and assessment. She is invested in bringing feminist theory and social justice research to practice through her health education work. When not at work, Tanya is an avid crocheter, volunteers as a full spectrum doula and is learning to play the drums. Tanya received a BA in Political Science and Women’s Studies from Montclair State University and a Masters in Public Health from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

Naomi Ninneman, MPH
Assistant Director
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Naomi has been promoting health and wellness, with a focus on sexual health, for more than two decades. She was the director of education departments for Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando and Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts and ran a peer education program for Planned Parenthood here in Rhode Island. Since coming to Brown in 2007, Naomi has launched and managed multiple campus wide initiatives including the founding of the Sexual Health Awareness Group (SHAG) and its associated texting and Ship n SHAG programs. When not at work, Naomi can most often be found running (5ks and 10ks), or at her kids’ baseball games. Naomi holds a BA in Literature from Bennington College and a Masters in Public Health from UMASS Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences.

Elliot Ruggles, PhD, LCSW
SHARE Advocate (Sexual Harassment & Assault Resources & Education)
Pronouns: he/him/his or they/them/theirs
Elliot Ruggles holds a PhD in Human Sexuality Studies and a Master’s in Social Work from Widener University.  He has been organizing, teaching, running therapeutic groups, and conducting research in the fields of social work and sexuality for over ten years.  Most recently he served as the Director of the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center at SUNY Oneonta. Before then, while living in Philadelphia, he gained clinical experience using trauma-informed and feminist modalities working with racially and socioeconmically diverse LGBTQ communities, adolescent parents, people in recovery from addiction, and children survivors of sexual abuse. His research uses critical and queer theory to examine the genealogy of the interrelated, yet distinct (Western) concepts of gender and sexuality, and life-history interviews to examine how people develop sexual and gender identities that deviate from Western social norms.   

Alana Sacks, MSW, LCSW
SHARE Advocate (Sexual Harassment & Assault Resources & Education)
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Alana is a clinical social worker who has worked for the past 7 years as an advocate for survivors of sexual and relationship violence.  Before coming to Brown, she served as Assistant Director of Programs and Services at RESPOND, Inc., New England's first domestic violence organization, and as a clinician at the inpatient psychiatric unit at Cambridge Health Alliance.  She has received training from the Victims of Violence Program at Cambridge Health Alliance,  the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, and the Greater Boston Domestic Violence Collaborative.  In her free time she loves to cook, eat, spend time with loved ones and play music in local bands.  Alana is a graduate of Boston College and of Boston University’s School of Social Work, receiving a certificate of specialization in trauma.

Takyah Smith, MPH
Social Wellness Coordinator
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Takyah is a passionate public health professional experienced in health education and promotion. In her past positions she has focused on marginalized populations, youth and young adults, community health education and outreach, health policies, and tobacco cessation. Takyah’s academic background includes a BS in Health Sciences Pre-Clinical and Psychology from the University of Central Florida and a Master’s in Public Health from the University of South Florida. Combining her academic and professional background, Takyah is determined to support equitable services for youth and young adults that address social determinants of health and empower others to live in wellness while optimizing their quality of life. To note, Takyah is a proud native of Miami, FL.

Jonell Thibault, BA
Operations and Administrative Coordinator
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Jonell comes to Brown with a background in operations and case management. Originally from Southern California, Jonell graduated with her BA in Sociology from Loyola Marymount University. She is particularly passionate about criminal justice reform, and the destigmatization of those who have been justice-system involved as well as those with mental health and substance use issues. Most recently, Jonell was an operations coordinator at an outpatient treatment facility for patients with mental health and substance use disorders. When she's not working, Jonell is always up for an adventure (near or far). She loves traveling, dining out at the myriad of local eateries Providence has to offer, and dancing to just about whatever kind of music is playing.

  • 401.863-2794
    Health Promotion
  • 401.863-3953
    Health Services
  • 401.863-6000
    Sexual Assault Response Line
  • 401.863-4111
  • 401.863-3476
    Counseling & Psychological Services
  • 401.863-4111