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Dornsife's Community Health and Prevention Doctoral Students

Ifeoluwa (Ife) Albert, MPH

Ife Albert

Degrees: BA in Biology, Fisk University; MPH, Washington University in St Louis

Ife's Focus: Ife is interested in using community-based participatory research approaches to develop, implement and evaluate interventions that target structural determinants of health for slum residents and marginalized populations in the global south.

She is an Urban Health Collaborative (UHC) doctoral fellow and is advised by Dr. Alex Ezeh. Prior to enrolling at the Dornsife School of Public Health, she was working at the Brown School Evaluation Center where she evaluated numerous public health and social sector programs and initiatives.

Research Interests:

  • Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR)
  • Urban health, health of slum residents
  • Marginalized populations and health inequities


Narshil Choi, MSc

Narshil Choi

Degrees: BSN in Nursing from Calvin College; MSc in Public Health (Health Economics stream) from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Narshil's Focus: Narshil's professional goals include forming strong collaborations with local leaders and researchers to improve access to and quality of health services. Her work focuses on decreasing health disparities, particularly in reproductive, sexual, and maternal health in sub-Saharan Africa.

Research Interests:

  • Global Health
  • Reproductive & Sexual Health
  • Adolescent Health
  • Health Services

Tiffany M. Eaton, MPH

Tiffany Eaton

Degrees: BS in Biology from Spelman College; MPH from SUNY Downstate Medical Center School of Public Health

Tiffany's Focus: Ultimately, my goal is to be a public health practitioner at a state or local health department, where I would focus on the monitoring/evaluation of health programs and developing initiatives to improve health outcomes among minorities. In this capacity, I would continue to conduct research that will help address and reduce health disparities in obesity prevalence, while also working to implement and evaluate effective strategies to achieve health equity.

Research Interests:

  • Obesity
  • Obesity in Black Women
  • Impact of culture/sociocultural factors on health outcomes
  • Health Disparities/Health Equity
  • Food insecurity

Professional Experience:

  • 2017 - Present, Research Assistant for the Council on Black Health
  • 2013 - 2017, Clinical Research Assistant, Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) Program at SUNY Downstate Medical Center
  • 2012 - 2013, Volunteer Research Assistant, Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) Program at SUNY Downstate Medical Center

Maddy Finkelstein, MSW

Maddy Finkelstein

Degrees: BA in Government from Cornell University; MA in Social Work from The University of Chicago

Maddy's Focus: My public health interests have been shaped by my social work background. I have years of experience working with adolescents and emerging adults around trauma, community violence, and general mental health in Philadelphia, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

I am passionate about exploring how mental health, life experiences, and physical health interact, specifically for those living with chronic pain. Through my research, I aim to take an intersectional and feminist approach to understanding the ways that disparity in medical care for chronic pain may cause women and women of color to seek alternative treatments such as medical cannabis.

Research Interests:

  • Chronic pain and disparities in pain treatment in women
  • Substance use
  • Trauma and mental health

Professional Experience:

Contact: or LinkedIn

Tamara Garfield, MA

Tamara Garfield

Degrees: BA in Psychology from Reed College; MA in Community Counseling from Texas State University.

Tamara's Focus: Tamara's professional goals include conducting research focusing on how multiple of factors, including systems and policies, impact health, mental health, and quality of life for autistic youth and adults.

Research Interests:

  • Autism
  • Mental Health
  • Health Disparities
  • Vulnerable Populations
  • Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR)

Professional Experience:

  • 2017-Present, Research Assistant, A.J. Drexel Autism Institute
  • 2013-2016 Mentor and Counselor Intern, Texas State University
  • 2010-2011 Youth Program Assistant, Aspiring Youth, Inc.


  • Garfield, T., & Yudell, M. (2019). Commentary 2: Participatory Justice and Ethics in Autism Research. Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics ,14 (5), 455-457.
  • Roux, A. M., Garfield, T., & Shattuck, P. T. (2019). Employment policy and autism: Analysis of state Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) implementation plans.Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 51(3), 285-298.
  • Sosnowy, C., Silverman, C., Shattuck, P., & Garfield, T. (2019). Setbacks and successes: How young adults on the autism spectrum seek friendship. Autism in Adulthood, 1(1), 44-51.
  • Roux, A. M., Rast, J. E., Anderson, K. A., Garfield, T., & Shattuck, P. T. (2020). Vocational Rehabilitation Service Utilization and Employment Outcomes Among Secondary Students on the Autism Spectrum. Journal of autism and developmental disorders.
  • Roux, A. M., Rast, J. E., Garfield, T., Anderson, K. A., & Shattuck, P. T. (2020). Prevalence and Correlates of Work Experiences Among High School Students on the Autism Spectrum. Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. 58(4), 273-287.
  • Shattuck, P. T., Garfield, T., Roux, A. M., Rast, J. E., Anderson, K., Hassrick, E. M., & Kuo, A. (2020). Services for Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorder: a Systems Perspective. Current Psychiatry Reports, 22(3), 13.

Bengucan Gunen, MSPH

Bengucan Gunen

Degrees: BA in Public Health, German from Johns Hopkins University; MSPH Health Policy and Management from Johns Hopkins University

Bengucan's Focus: As a third-year doctoral student, Bengucan works on a longitudinal study of end stage kidney disease patients with obesity to identify healthy and high-risk weight loss patterns, and continues to conduct community-based nutrition research by collaborating with local community organizations.

Bengucan plans to design studies at the intersection of community-based and clinical research to understand factors in chronic disease prevention and management from a sociobehavioral perspective.

Research Interests:

  • Food insecurity
  • Chronic disease and obesity prevention
  • Chronic kidney disease

Professional Experience: Bengucan has been involved with the design, implementation and evaluation of several community-based nutrition interventions aimed at improving healthy food access and obesity prevention in Baltimore City. Her work on the Center for a Livable Future's Baltimore City Food Environment Map has been used to inform local food policy.

J. Rachael HaileSelasse, MA (she/her)

J. Rachael HaileSelasse

Degrees: BA in International Studies, Minor in African Studies from University of Oregon; MA in International Affairs from the American University of Paris

Rachael's Focus: Rachael uses participatory research and practice-based evidence to inform violence prevention policy and interventions. With nearly two decades of experience in global settings, Rachael is known for diplomacy and delivering high-quality results in complex settings.

Her extensive experience includes managing projects, conducting research, designing programs, teaching, and building consensus in non-profit, business, and academic settings. She is looking to continue to teach, practice, and learn in areas of social determinants of health.

Research Interests:

  • Gender-based violence
  • Social determinants of health
  • Mixed methodology
  • Rural populations

Contact: or

Kati Hinman, MA

Kati Hinman

Degrees: BA in Peace and Conflict Studies, University of California at Berkeley; MA in Social Psychology of Groups and Institutions, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana- Xochimilco

Kati's Focus: Kati is passionate about responding to violence as a public health issue, psychosocial support for survivors of violence and conflict, and working with communities and young leaders to develop programs that break the cycle of violence. She has worked in grassroots settings in the U.S., Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Peru, Bolivia, and Colombia, and enjoys working directly with young people.

She is also interested in arts and participatory methods in qualitative research, to create stronger and more equitable collaborations with communities affected by violence, conflict, and natural disaster.

Her master’s thesis in Mexico City used participatory collage and photo-voice techniques to explore the experiences of young people transitioning out of the criminal justice system. At Dornsife she is a research assistant for the Jonathan Mann Global Health and Human Rights Initiative with her advisor Dr. Joe Amon.

Research Interests:

  • Participatory Research (CBPR)
  • Community-Based Violence Prevention
  • Psychosocial interventions with Survivors of Trauma
  • Health Disparities
  • Humanitarian Health/ Human Rights

Awards and Honors:

  • Fulbright García Robles Graduate Degree Grantee (Mexico City, Mexico)
  • Davis Projects for Peace Grantee
  • John Gardner Fellow in Public Service

Eunji Kim, MPH

Eunji Kim

Degrees: BS in Communication Studies from University of Minnesota, Twin-Cities; MPH in Maternal and Child Health and minors in Epidemiology and American Indian Health and Wellness from the University of Minnesota, School of Public Health

Eunji 's Focus: Eunji’s central professional goal is to become a highly qualified and effective researcher and educator. She hopes to contribute to progress in addressing health disparities and disproportionalities so as to be able to find effective and culturally responsive tools to reduce health disparities and mitigate the occurrence of mental health challenges and behavioral disorders.

Prior to pursuing her doctoral studies, Eunji worked as a Program Manager at the Korean Adoptees Ministry Center in Minnesota, where she was at the forefront of the response to racial discrimination directed at Koreans during COVID-19. She was also responsible for conducting a Community Readiness Assessment (CRA) with respect to the prevention of mental illness and suicide as part of the Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative (EHDI).

She is primarily interested in using a culturally-informed lens to understand the lived experiences of vulnerable populations situated within multifaceted socio-ecological contexts and to investigate how psychosocial factors and the surrounding social-cultural environment influence mental and behavioral health outcomes and the psychosocial well-being of ethnic-racial minority youth and families.

Research Interests:

  • Mental Health
  • Social Determinants of Health
  • Maternal and Child Health
  • Health Disparities
  • Racial/Ethnic Minority Health and Immigrant Health
  • Refugee and Migrant Health
  • Quantitative and Qualitative Research
  • Community Based Participatory Research
  • Health Communication and Education

Professional Experience:

  • 2022 – Present, Doctoral Graduate Fellow, Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University
  • 2020 – 2022, Project Manager, Community Solutions for Healthy Child Development (CSHCD) and Early Childhood Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER), Korean Adoptees Ministry Center
  • 2020 – 2022, Project Coordinator, Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative (EHDI), Korean Adoptees Ministry Center
  • 2019 – 2020, Graduate Research Assistant, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
  • 2019, Graduate Fellow Intern, Women Empowerment Initiative (WEI), Batey Relief Alliance


  • Saahoon Hong, Kweon, Oyong, Kim, Eunji, & Sung, Junghoon. (2021). Exploring Ecological Factors Associated with At-Risk Students with Suicidal Ideation: A Decision Tree Algorithm. Journal of Behavior Analysis and Support, 8(3), 17–35.


Giyoung Lee, MPH

Giyoung Lee

Degrees: BA in Biological Sciences and a minor in Health and Society from Rutgers University, New Brunswick; MPH in Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases from the Yale School of Public Health

Giyoung's Focus: Giyoung’s professional goals include improving child health outcomes by identifying barriers to care and researching the health-seeking behaviors of parents. She is also interested in program evaluation and the use of mixed-methods research to inform new interventions. Her previous experience has been in pediatric infectious diseases (e.g. tuberculosis, pneumonia, COVID-19), data analytics, and epidemiology.

Research Interests:

  • Maternal and child health
  • Infectious diseases
  • Mixed methods
  • Health-seeking behaviors

Professional Experience:

  • 2019 – present, Clinical Research Coordinator II, Center for Pediatric Clinical Effectiveness (CPCE), Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.


  • Dutcher, L., Li, Y., Lee, G., Grundmeier, R., Hamilton, K. W., & Gerber, J. S. (2022). COVID-19 and Antibiotic Prescribing in Pediatric Primary Care. Pediatrics, 149(2), e2021053079.
  • Lee, G., Meyer, A. J., Kizito, S., Katamba, A., Davis, J. L., & Armstrong-Hough, M. (2020). Predictors of evaluation in child contacts of TB patients. The international journal of tuberculosis and lung disease: the official journal of the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, 24(8), 847–849.

Grace Mahasi, MPH

Grace Mahasi

Degrees: BS in Biology and a minor in Chemistry from Eureka College; MPH from Wayne State University; Global Health Certificate from Wayne State University School of Medicine

Research Interests:

  • Maternal and child health
  • Health disparities
  • Community-driven neighborhood development

Grace's Focus: Grace is passionate about addressing system- and structural-level factors perpetuating racial disparities in health outcomes. She has a background in community development, communication, policy analysis and advocacy. Her combined interests in the biological and social sciences have led her to focus on maternal and child health and disparities experienced by marginalized communities. This work has included initiatives in the US as well as in India, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua.

Grace has experience in partnership and program development in the nonprofit space as well as working with civic and social leaders to support community-based organizations. During her MPH she gained research experience on a study partnered with the CDC and NIOSH. At Dornsife, her current research work with her advisor, Dr. Irene Headen, pairs her interests in community development and maternal and child health with her passion for addressing structural factors that impact communities and persons of color.

Awards and Honors:

  • 2016 Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement Award recipient, awarded by the The Lincoln Academy of the State of Illinois
  • 2017 Leadership Fellow, Eureka College

Professional Experience:

  • 2022-Present, Research Assistant, Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University
  • 2020-2022, Project Support Specialist, High Gain Solutions Group
  • 2019-2021, Research Assistant, Wayne State University School of Medicine

Contact: or LinkedIn

Idris Robinson, MPH

Idris Robinson

Degrees: BS in Health Education with a Psychology minor from Virginia State University; MPH in Health Management & Policy from Drexel University's Dornsife School of Public Health

Research Interests:

  • Global Health
  • Black Health
  • Physical Activity
  • Men's Health

Professional Experience:

  • 2021 - Present, Director of Global Health Programs, Dornsife School of Public Health
  • 2014 - 2021, Associate Director of Global Programs, Drexel University Office of Global Engagement
  • 2015 - 2016, Global Leadership Fellow, World Affairs Council
  • 2013 - 2014, Healing Hurt People, Drexel University Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice
  • 2013 - 2014, Getting People in Sync Prediabetes Prevention Program, Drexel University
  • 2011 - 2012, Research Assistant, Philadelphia Collaborative Violence Prevention Center, Drexel University
  • 2011, Administrative Intern to the COO, Hospitals of the University of Pennsylvania

David Alan Sherrell, MA

David Alan Sherrell

Degrees: BS, University of Phoenix, 2013; MA, Rutgers University, 2017

Research Interests:

  • Youth substance misuse prevention
  • Racial health inequity

David's Focus: David Alan Sherrell is a veteran of global schools-based substance misuse prevention, having delivered interventions in over 15 countries from 2009-2021. He received his Master’s in Psychology from Rutgers University in 2017. After over a decade in the field, he is excited to be on an academic journey, expanding his knowledge and skills.

Contact: or LinkedIn

Patrick D Smith, BSN RN

Patrick Smith

Degrees: BS in Nursing from Villanova University

Patrick’s Focus: Patrick is interested in using research to advance policy and practice-related responses to structurally determined health inequities. His most recent research focuses on examining the processes through which residential eviction contributes to poor physical and mental health, and, correspondingly, to health inequities. In his previous research and clinical roles, he has devoted substantial attention to strengthening primary healthcare services within and outside the US.

Patrick’s dissertation will use a mixed-methods approach to examine whether, how, and for whom individual and neighborhood-level exposures to eviction affect cardiovascular health. He is ultimately interested in leveraging his research to advance the development and implementation of evidence-informed policies to promote housing stability and health equity.

Research Interests:

  • Social Determinants of Health
  • Housing Policy and Health Equity

Awards and Honors:

  • US Fulbright Student Grantee, Lesotho
  • Drexel University Graduate Fellow
  • Carpenter Community Nursing Fellow, National Nurse-Led Care Consortium

Professional Experience:

  • 2020 – 2021, Complex Care Manager, Fenway Health
  • 2018 – 2020, RN Case Manager, Fenway Health
  • 2017 – 2018, National Health Reform Evaluation Officer, Partners In Health-Lesotho
  • 2016 – 2017, US Fulbright Student Grantee, Lesotho


  • Smith, PD, Groves, AK, Langellier, BA, Keene, DE, Rosenberg, A, Blankenship, KM (2022). Eviction, post-traumatic stress, and emergency department use among low-income individuals in New Haven, Connecticut. Preventative Medicine Reports.
  • Groves, AK, Smith, PD, Gebrekristos, LT, Keene, DE, Rosenberg, A, Blankenship, KM (2022). Eviction, intimate partner violence and HIV: Expanding concepts and assessing the pathways through which sexual partnership dynamics impact health. Social Science and Medicine.
  • Groves, A. K., Gebrekristos, L. T., Smith, P. D., Stoebenau, K., Stoner, M. C., Ameyan, W., & Ezeh, A. C. (2022). Adolescent Mothers in Eastern and Southern Africa: An Overlooked and Uniquely Vulnerable Subpopulation in the Fight Against HIV. Journal of Adolescent Health, 0(0).
  • Groves, AK, Stankard, P, Bowler, SL, Jamil, MS, Gebrekristos, LT, Smith, PD, Quinn, C, Ba, NS, Chidarikire, T, Nguyin, VTT, Baggaley, R, Johnson C (2022). A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of the Evidence for Community-Based HIV Testing on Men’s Engagement in the HIV Care Cascade. International Journal of STD and AIDS.
  • Smith, PD, Boyd, C., Bellantoni, J., Roth, J., Becker, K. L., Savage, J., Nkimbeng, M., Szanton, S. L. (2016). Communication between office-based primary care providers and nurses working within patients’ homes: an analysis of process data from CAPABLE. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 25(3-4), 454–462.
  • Smith, PD, Becker, K. L., Roberts, L., Walker, J., & Szanton, S. L. (2016). Associations among pain, depression, and functional limitation in low-income, home-dwelling older adults: An analysis of baseline data from CAPABLE. Geriatric Nursing.

Contact: or LinkedIn

Kathleen Ward, MSPH, CHES

Kathleen Ward

Degrees: BA in Communication Studies from The College of New Jersey; MSPH in Health Education and Communication from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Kathleen’s Focus: Kathleen is passionate about using community-engaged research methods to understand the complex relationships between substance use, violence, and health among urban women. Her work with the Health Equity Advancement Lab (HEAL) at Drexel includes implementing a HIV prevention intervention for women who inject drugs. She has also evaluated low-barrier community-based programs that improve access to treatment for opioid use disorder in Philadelphia. She is interested in harm reduction interventions that prevent drug overdose death and promote trauma-informed care.

Prior to pursuing doctoral training, she worked as a program coordinator at Johns Hopkins University on NIH-funded research focused on improving health outcomes and increasing access to healthcare for persons living with HIV, Hepatitis C, and substance use disorders. She has facilitated peer-based interventions for linkage to HCV testing and treatment and has worked on many HIV/HCV community outreach initiatives in Baltimore, MD. Throughout her work, she aims to reduce stigma surrounding substance use and infectious diseases.

Research Interests:

  • Harm Reduction
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Substance Use
  • Program Evaluation
  • Trauma Informed Care

Awards and Honors:

  • 2022 Mentor Recognition Award, Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health
  • 2020-2022 Graduate College Doctoral Fellowship, Blue Award, Drexel University

Research Experience:

  • Doctoral Research Fellow, Urban Health Collaborative, Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health
  • Senior Research Program Coordinator, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases

Professional Experience:

  • Health Education Fellow, Break the Cycle (Washington, D.C.)
  • Education and Outreach Assistant, Healthy Teen Network (Baltimore, MD)


  • Ward KM, Scheim A, Wang J, Cocchiaro B, Singley K, Roth A. Impact of reduced restrictions on buprenorphine prescribing during COVID-19 among patients in a community-based treatment program. Drug Alcohol Depend Reports. 2022; 3: 100055.
  • Ward KM, McCormick SD, Sulkowski M, Latkin C, Chander G, Falade-Nwulia O. Perceptions of network based recruitment for hepatitis C testing and treatment among persons who inject drugs: a qualitative exploration. Int. J. Drug Policy. 2021; 88:103019.
  • Ward KM, Falade-Nwulia O, Moon J, Sutcliffe CG, Brinkley S, Haselhuhn T, Katz S, Herne K, Arteaga L, Mehta SH, Latkin C, Brooner RK, Sulkowski MS. A randomized controlled trial of cash incentives or peer support to increase HCV treatment for persons with HIV who use drugs: The CHAMPS study. Open Forum Infect Dis. 2019; 6(4): ofz166. Highlighted as Editor’s Choice, May 2019.


Arturo Zinny, LPC, MA

Arturo Zinny, LPC, MA

Degrees: MA in Psychology from Universidad Nacional de Rosario (UNR), Argentina

Arturo's Focus: Arturo's professional goals focus on the implementation of evidence-based and promising practices for trauma-impacted children, adults, and their families.

Research Interests:

  • Child Trauma & Mental Health
  • The implementation of trauma-specific evidence-based practices for trauma-impacted children and their families
  • LGBTQ youth
  • Mental health needs of racial & ethnic minority youth and families

Professional Experience:

  • 2023-Present, Interim Executive Director, Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice (CNSJ) within the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University
  • 2018-Present, Program Director, Healing Hurt People, CNSJ
  • 2013-2018, Project Director, Philadelphia Alliance for Child Trauma Services (PACTS) Community Behavioral Health (CBH)
  • 2013-2014, Adjunct Professor, Chestnut Hill College of Graduate Studies
  • 2008-2013, Director for Behavioral Health Services; Clinical Coordinator for Children Services, Congreso De Latinos Unidos
  • 2006-2008, Primary Instructional Coordinator and Mobile Therapist, Devereux
  • 2004-2005, Clinical Psychologist, Psicored, Rosario, Argentina

Research Fellowship:

  • Stoneleigh Fellowship to further examine the prevalence of trauma and the efficacy of community-based trauma mental health care among violently injured youth at CNSJ.


  • Cohen, JA, Mannarino, AP, Wilson, K & Zinny, A (2018): Trauma‚ÄźFocused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy LGBTQ Implementation Manual. Pittsburgh, PA: Allegheny Health Network.
  • Rudd, B.N., Last, B.S., Gregor, C., Jackson, K., Berkowitz, S., Zinny, A., Kratz, H.E., Cliggitt, L., Adams, D.R., Walsh L.M., & Beidas, R.S. (2019). Benchmarking treatment effectiveness of community delivered Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. American Journal of Community Psychology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1002/ajcp.12370.
  • Lessons learned while building a trauma-informed public behavioral health system in the City of Philadelphia (2016) Beidas, R., et al. Journal of Evaluation and Program Planning 59 (2016) 21–32.

Claudia Zumaeta Castillo, MPH

Claudia Zumaeta Castillo

Degrees: BS in Psychology from Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru; MS in Neuropsychology from Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru; MPH in Community Health and Prevention from Drexel University

Claudia’s Focus: Claudia’s professional goal focus on implementing and evaluating initiatives to improve immigrants’ and Latinx health. Her dissertation aims to characterize intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetration, using a mixed-methods approach, among Latino immigrant men living in Philadelphia.

Research Experience:

  • Immigrant Health
  • Latinx Health
  • Community-Based Violence Prevention
  • Mixed Methods
  • Social Determinants of Health

Professional Experience: She has worked over the past 4 years with the Latino immigrant community in Philadelphia; where she served as a project and research coordinator, gaining experience in implementing prevention programs and qualitative and quantitative research skills with minoritized populations in topics related to Substance Use, Violence, Mental Health, HIV/AIDS, and COVID-19. Prior to joining Drexel University, she worked as a psychologist for oncology patients and as a school counselor in her home country.

Research Fellowships:

  • 2020-Present, Doctoral Research Fellow, Dornsife School of Public Health
  • 2018-2020, International Research Fellow, Dornsife School of Public Health

Learn more about research and learning opportunities available with Drexel Dornsife’s PhD in Community Health and Prevention.