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Environmental and Occupational Health Doctoral Student Profiles

Learn more about the focus of our students' research in Drexel Dornsife's PhD in Environmental and Occupational Health program.

Table of Contents:

Janelle Edwards, MPH

Janelle Edwards headshot

Degrees: BS in Biology from Franklin and Marshall College; MPH in Environmental and Occupational Health from Dornsife School of Public Health

Janelle's Focus: Janelle’s work focuses on climate vulnerability and racial health inequities and understanding why certain groups are more susceptible to both climate impacts and diseases by exploring upstream factors such as historical redlining policies and current residential segregation. She works to elucidate how indicators of structural racism both past and present have affected urban communities’ health and well-being. She aims to explore her research interests through statistical modeling, spatial analysis, meta-analysis, and systematic reviews.

Before pursuing her doctoral degree, Janelle worked for the United States Census Bureau making sure that Philadelphians were counted so that Federal funding and policies were distributed in an equitable manner.

Research Interests:

  • Structural racism
  • Climate-related emergency preparedness
  • Climate impacts on health
  • Built environment/ greenspace
  • Environmental justice

Awards and Honors: 2020-2022 Urban Health Collaborative Research Fellow, 2022 Ubuntu Center of Racism Dissertation Award Recipient


Lisa Frueh, MPH

Lisa Frueh headshot

Degrees: BA in Chemistry from Reed College; MPH in Social and Behavioral Sciences from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Lisa's Focus: Lisa (they/them) focuses on the relationship between social and environmental exposures and health in urban settings.

They are interested in the complex role that social stressors and resilience factors play in modifying and/or mediating the effects of climate-related exposures on health.

Professional Experience: Before starting their doctoral program, Lisa developed GIS-based web resources focused on environmental racism in Greater Boston as a research assistant in the NIEHS Center for Environmental Health at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health under Dr. Gary Adamkiewicz and Dr. Tamarra James-Todd.

During their MPH, Lisa wrote literature reviews and assisted research activities related to the Nurses’ Health Study Cohorts in the Channing Division of Network Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital under Dr. Heather Eliassen.

Prior to their MPH, Lisa’s research focused on antimalarial development in the Experimental Chemotherapy Laboratory at Oregon Health and Sciences University under Dr. Michael Riscoe.

Research Interests:

  • Air pollution
  • Climate-related exposures
  • Urban health
  • Social epidemiology
  • Environmental justice
  • Maternal and pediatric health outcomes

Awards and Honors: 2022-2023 Drexel Graduate College Fellow - Gold Level

Publications: View Lisa’s publications on Google Scholar


Ashley M. Geczik, MPH

Ashley M. Geczik headshot

Degrees: BS from Loyola University Maryland; MPH from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

Ashley's Focus: Ashley’s research is focused on how organizational safety climate is associated with occupational exposures and chronic disease outcomes among firefighters. Ashley’s research will help guide fire department leadership on ways to mitigate chronic disease risk. At Drexel, Ashley will be collaborating with the Firefighter Injury Research and Safety Trends (FIRST) Center.

In the five years Ashley has been an epidemiologist, she gained competencies in all aspects of the scientific research process: proposal writing, IRB, patient enrollment, data cleaning, analysis, and interpretation. At the NCI, Ashley studied hormonal and reproductive risk factors for cancer outcomes in men and women, producing published manuscripts and conference proceedings.

Research Interests:

  • Firefighter health
  • Occupational epidemiology
  • Chronic disease prevention
  • Cancer epidemiology

Professional Experience: Research Analyst at the National Cancer Institute

Awards and Honors: 2020 APHA OHS Section’s James Keogh Scholarship


  • Geczik AM, Lee J, Davis AL, Allen AJ, Taylor JA. Size matters: How safety climate and downstream outcomes vary by fire department organization type. Inj Epidemiol. 2022 Mar 23;9(1). PMID: 35321756
  • Geczik AM, Falk RT, Xu X, Yarney Y, Wiafe-Addai B, Yarney Y, Awuah B, Biritwum R, Vanderpuye V, Dedey F, Adjei E, Aitpillah F, Osei-Bonsu E, Oppong J, Titiloye N, Edusei L, Nyarko K, Clegg-Lamptey JN, Wiafe S, Ansong D, Ahearn TU, Figueroa J, Garcia-Closas M, Brinton LA*, Trabert B*. Relation of circulating estrogens with hair relaxer and skin lightener use among postmenopausal women in Ghana. *Authors contributed equally to this work. Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology. 2022 Jan 6. PMID: 34992224.
  • Trabert B, Geczik AM, Bauer DC, Buist DSM, Cauley JA, Falk RT, Gierach GL, Hue TF, Lacey JV, LaCroix AZ, Michels KA, Tice JA, Xu X, Brinton LA, Dallal CM. Association of endogenous pregnenolone, progesterone, and related metabolites with risk of endometrial and ovarian cancers in postmenopausal women: the B~FIT cohort. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2021 Aug 31. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34465588.
  • Geczik AM, Kelly SP, Pfeiffer RM, Huang WY, Liao LM, Zhou CK, Brinton LA, Cook MB. Fatherhood Status in Relation to Prostate Cancer Risks in Two Large US-based Prospective Cohort Studies. Cancer Med. 2020 Nov 21. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33219755

Contact: or on Twitter @AshleyGeczik

Jessie Gleason, MSPH

Jessie Gleason headshot

Degrees: BS from Unversity of Pittsburgh; MSPH from Emory University

Jessie's Focus: Jessie Gleason is interested in conducting health outcomes research to study the impact of environmental hazards on human health. Currently, her focus includes studying climate change and emerging drinking water contaminants through a health equity lens. Additional interests include using data to design and conduct evidenced-based environmental health interventions.

Professional Experience: Jessie has been with the NJ Department of Health’s Environmental and Occupational Health Surveillance Program as an environmental epidemiologist for the past 9 years. She studies areas of emerging concern around drinking water and public health including Legionella, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances and lead. She is the Principal Investigator for CDC’s Environmental Health Capacity cooperative agreement which focuses on targeted private well testing outreach, education, risk communication and evaluation. She serves as the Chair of the Health Effects Subcommittee of the New Jersey Drinking Water Quality Institute.

Research Interests:

  • Environmental Exposures
  • Climate Change
  • Drinking Water
  • Social Determinants of Health


  • Gleason JA, Cohn PD. A review of legionnaires’ disease and public water systems – Scientific considerations, uncertainties and recommendations. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health 2022; 240: 113906.
  • Seliga A, Spayd SE, Procopio NA, Flanagan SV, Gleason JA. Evaluating the impact of free private well testing outreach on participants' private well stewardship in New Jersey. Journal of Water and Health 2021.
  • Gleason JA, Nanavaty JV, Fagliano JA. Drinking water lead and socioeconomic factors as predictors of blood lead levels in New Jersey's children between two time periods. Environmental Research 2019; 169: 409-416.
  • Gleason JA, Fagliano JA. Effect of drinking water source on associations between gastrointestinal illness and heavy rainfall in New Jersey. PLoS One 2017; 12: e0173794.
  • Gleason JA, Kratz NR, Greeley RD, Fagliano JA. Under the Weather: Legionellosis and Meteorological Factors. Ecohealth 2016; 13: 293-302.
  • Gleason JA, Post GB, Fagliano JA. Associations of perfluorinated chemical serum concentrations and biomarkers of liver function and uric acid in the US population (NHANES), 2007-2010. Environ Res 2015; 136: 8-14.
  • Gleason JA, Bielory L, Fagliano JA. Associations between ozone, PM2.5, and four pollen types on emergency department pediatric asthma events during the warm season in New Jersey: a case-crossover study. Environ Res 2014; 132: 421-9.


Lizbeth Gomez, MPH

Lizbeth Gomez headshot

Degrees: BSc in Biology from The City College of New York; MPH in Environmental Health Sciences from Columbia University with a certificate in Molecular Epidemiology.

Lizbeth’s Focus: Lizbeth’s research focuses on the modification of clinical trial treatment efficacy by social and environmental co-exposure among asthma patients. Her work centers on understanding the role that the environment and lived experience may play in asthma medication efficacy.

Research Interests:

  • Air pollution
  • Asthma interventions
  • Mixed Methods
  • Social Determinants of Health
  • Community-based participatory research methods


  • Navas-Acien, A., Domingo-Relloso, A., Subedi, P., Riffo-Campos, A. L., Xia, R., Gomez, L., Haack, K., Goldsmith, J., Howard, B. V., Best, L. G., Devereux, R., Tauqeer, A., Zhang, Y., Fretts, A. M., Pichler, G., Levy, D., Vasan, R. S., Baccarelli, A. A., Herreros-Martinez, M., … Cole, S. A. (2021). Blood DNA Methylation and Incident Coronary Heart Disease: Evidence From the Strong Heart Study. JAMA Cardiology.
  • Navas-Acien Ana, Domingo-Relloso Arce, Tellez-Plaza Maria, Gomez Lizbeth, Herreros Miguel, Devereux Richard B, Baccarelli Andrea, Umans Jason G, Howard Barbara, Zhao Jinying, Tang WanYee, Haack Karin, Fallin M. Daniele, & Cole Shelley. (2020). Abstract MP31: Blood DNA Methylation Signatures of Incident Coronary Heart Disease: An Epigenome-wide Analysis in the Strong Heart Study.


Amber Palmer, MPH

Amber Palmer headshot

Degrees: BS in Pharmacology and Toxicology from The University at Buffalo; MPH in Environmental Health Science and Policy from George Washington University

Amber's Focus: Amber is interested in health risks from biological and chemical contamination of water. Her goal is to conduct research that will influence policy.

Research Interests:

  • Water Quality
  • Risk Assessment
  • Environmental Exposures
  • Built Environment

Professional Experience Before starting her doctoral program, Amber worked as an Emerging Threats Consultant focused on Hepatitis C and COVID-19 in Erie County New York. She worked on Hepatitis C surveillance for pregnant women and infants for the CDC's Surveillance for Emerging Threats to Mothers and Babies Network. She also drafted COVID-19 guidance for schools in Erie County and assisted in planning a school testing program for all schools in the county.

Madison Raposa, MS

Madison Raposa headshot

Degrees: BA in Health Science from Stonehill College; MS in Population Health Research: Epidemiology from Boston University

Madison's Focus: Madison’s research is focused on mental health and occupational exposures in the fire service. She is interested in investigating associations between occupational stressors related to the coronavirus pandemic and mental health outcomes.

At Drexel, Madison will be collaborating with the Firefighter Injury Research & Safety Trends (FIRST) Center.

Research Interests:

  • Firefighter health
  • Mental health
  • Injury prevention
  • Occupational epidemiology

Awards and Honors: 2021-2022 Drexel Blue Graduate College Fellow

Rachit Sharma, MBBS, MPH

Rachit Sharma headshot

Degrees: MBBS from University of Health Sciences, Rohtak, India; MPH from Johns Hopkins University

Rachit's Focus: Rachit Sharma focuses on examining the combined effects of environmental exposures, including air pollution and ambient temperatures, and chronic psychosocial stressors like neighborhood violence, poverty, racial segregation etc. on neurological outcomes from a health disparity and justice lens. He is also interested in conducting epidemiologic evidence evaluations for environmental hazard identification through systematic reviews and meta-analyses.

Before starting his doctoral journey, he was involved in the Delhi Air Pollution Health Effects (DAPHNE) study as a physician-scientist conducting air pollution exposure and health assessments in a mother-child cohort in New Delhi, India.

Research Interests:

  • Environmental Neuroepidemiology
  • Psychosocial Epidemiology
  • Environmental Health Disparities and Justice
  • Evidence Evaluation


Learn more about environmental and occupational health research and learning opportunities available at Drexel Dornsife: