Meet Our Staff

Tanya Purdy, MPH, MCHES
​Director, BWell Health Promotion
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 spends countless hours in imaginative play and reading books with her son.  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 for Outreach and Communication
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Naomi has been promoting health and wellness, with a focus on sexual health, for about twenty years. 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.

Marc Peters, MPS
Health Promotion Specialist
Pronouns: he/him/his
Marc works to promote healthy masculinity primarily through the Masculinity101 peer education program and discussion group. He previously served as part of the Global Secretariat of the MenEngage Alliance as their Global Communications and Campaigns Manager. His work with MenEngage took him all over the world advocating for men to stand up for gender equality. Marc has presented on engaging men at the United Nations; the Institute of Development Studies; the World Conference on Youth; and the International Conference on Masculinities. He is a graduate of Syracuse University and the University of Arkansas- Clinton School of Public Service. In his spare time, he enjoys playing tennis and just joined his first USTA team.

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.   As an undergraduate at Mount Holyoke College, he co-chaired a sexuality peer education program, conducting and developing workshops with fellow students.  Elliot is a fierce advocate for queer and trans people, strives for anti-racist practice and believes that liberation from oppression is the key to ending violence.

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.

Molly Sandstrom
Peer Education Specialist
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Molly has been working on accessible and inclusive consent education and sexual violence prevention work for the last four years. As a recent graduate from Brown University, Molly is excited to be returning to Brown as a staff member to continue her work addressing toxic masculinity and harmful gender norms through education. As a student at Brown, Molly was a student coordinator, curriculum developer, and Lead Peer Educator of the Sexual Assault Peer Education group (SAPE), a student coordinator for the Masculinity Peer Education program (MPE), and a Woman Peer Counselor. During her senior year, Molly was also a Breakthrough U.S. student fellow, and developed the #PositiveChange consent campaign to address rape culture during the University's annual Spring Weekend. As an undergraduate Molly worked closely with the athletic department to engage student athletes in peer education opportunities and was one of the football team's student managers during her senior year. When not at work Molly might be found teaching English, power lifting, participating in community organizing, or watching football or reality television. 

Suzanne Soprano
Administrative Assistant
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Suzanne is a native Rhode Islander who has a strong background in customer service and has forged deep relationships throughout the community.  She staffs the front desk and provides administrative support services for BWell Health Promotion. She enjoys being the office’s first contact person for students and staff.  When not at work, Suzanne enjoys spending quality time with family and friends.  

  • 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