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Epidemiology Doctoral Student Profiles

 Ariela Braverman Bronstein headshot

Ariela Braverman Bronstein, MPH

Degrees: MPH in Epidemiology and Maternal and Child Health from Boston University; MD from Anahuac University.

Ariela’s Focus: Ariela is a research fellow at the Urban Health Collaborative.

Research Interests:

  • Effects of neighborhood factors on maternal and child health

Professional Experience: Originally from Mexico, Ariela completed her MD and became a pediatrician in 2013. Before starting Drexel’s doctoral program in epidemiology, she worked as a junior researcher at the National Institute of Public Health in Mexico, where she collaborated in different projects such as the evaluation of the health impact of sugar sweetened beverage taxation in Mexico; the implementation of UNICEF’s Multi Indicator Cluster Survey in Mexico; and the development of strategies for teen pregnancy prevention.

Contact: ab4257@drexel.edu or personal website

 Janene Brown headshot

Janene Brown, MPH

Degrees: BA in Health and Societies with a concentration in Epidemiology from the University of Pennsylvania; MPH from Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health.

Research Interests:

  • Epidemiologic study of gun violence
  • Chronic disease and its relation to the built environment
  • Relationship between the use of public assistance programs and health status

Professional Experience: Prior to starting her doctoral program, Janene worked in the Research and Evaluation Group of Public Health Management Corporation where she conducted an ongoing evaluation of the Pennsylvania Free Quitline, a smoking cessation service, and rigorous evaluations of sexual health interventions for at-risk youth.

Contact: jrb436@drexel.edu

Meghan Carey headshot

Meghan Carey, MS

Degrees: BS in Biological Sciences, University of Delaware: MS in Epidemiology, Drexel University

Research Interests:

  • Autism risk factors
  • Outcomes and quality of life among young adults on the autism spectrum
  • Environmental health
  • Intentional & unintentional injuries

Focus: My research interests include examining the transition to adulthood and life course outcomes for autistic individuals. For autistic youth, the transition to adulthood can be an incredibly difficult time because as they leave high school they lose access to many services (Roux et al. 2015). I am also interested in understanding environmental risk factors for autism and the association between environmental exposures during pregnancy and autism diagnosis.

Before returning to Drexel, I was working as a Research Coordinator at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. I was responsible for preparing grant proposals, managing project budgets, and securing IRB approval. I’ve drafted major sections of six grant proposals that were funded including two R21s and an R01 from NICHD. I’ve also conducted statistical analyses in SAS, led the development of and served as a co-author on manuscripts, and presented at over a dozen conferences including the APHA annual meeting.

Awards and Honors: 2020 Emerging Innovator in Collaborative Research, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; 2016 Lifesavers Conference Traffic Safety Scholar

Publications:

Curry AE, Yerys BE, Metzger KB, Carey ME, Power TJ (2019). Traffic Crashes, Violations, and Suspensions among young drivers with ADHD. Pediatrics, 143(6):e20182305.

Myers RK, Bonsu JM, Carey ME, Yerys BE, Mollen CJ, Curry AE (2019). Teaching autistic adolescents to drive: Perspectives of specialized driver educators. Autism in Adulthood, 1(3): 202-209.

Curry AE, Pfeiffer MR, Carey ME, Cook LJ (2019). Catalyzing traffic safety advancements via data linkage: Development of the New Jersey Safety and Health Outcomes (NJ-SHO) data warehouse. Traffic Injury Prevention, 1-4.

Moss CM, Metzger KB, Carey ME, Curry AE, Power TJ (2020). Chronic Care for ADHD: Clinical management from Childhood through Adolescence. The Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 41, S99-S104.

Carey ME, Mansour R, Anderson E, Sloan J, Curry AE (2020). Missed opportunities to advance knowledge on traffic safety: Accessibility of driver licensing and crash data for scientific research. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 139, 105500.

Contact: mek376@drexel.edu

Amie Devlin headshot

Amie Devlin, MPH

Degrees: MPH in Epidemiology from George Washington University; MA in Urban Bioethics from Temple University.

Amie’s Focus: Amie is a graduate research assistant at the Dornsife School’s Urban Health Collaborative.

Research Interests:

  • Urban health
  • Effects of neighborhood factors on health

Professional Experience: Prior to coming to Drexel, Amie worked as a Research Program Manager at Temple University. In that role, she oversaw numerous community health research studies based in North Philadelphia.

Contact: am4495@drexel.edu

Dustin Fry headshot

Dustin Fry, MPH

Degrees: BS in Biology from the University of Texas, Austin; MPH from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

Dustin’s Focus: Dustin is a research fellow at the Urban Health collaborative.

Research Interests:

  • Innovative data sources
  • Physical activity determinants
  • Policy-relevant research including integration of StreetView based audit data for the measurement of physical disorder and pedestrian-supportive infrastructure.

Contact: dtf34@drexel.edu

Zachary Fusfeld headshot

Zachary Fusfeld, MPH

Degrees: Dual BA in Neuroscience and Philosophy from Johns Hopkins University; MPH from Thomas Jefferson University.

Zach’s Focus: Zach is a Doctoral Fellow working in the Urban Health Collaborative on the West Philly Promise Neighborhood grant.

Research Interests:

  • Urban health, particularly how urban health disparities may affect health outcomes.

Professional Experience: Zach worked for four years studying the neurobiological basis underlying goal directed behaviors in the context of substance use and inflammation at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In the year prior to starting the doctoral program, Zach worked in pediatric clinical research in vaccine trials and in the validation of novel tools in neonatal care in Philadelphia at Nemours Pediatrics.

Contact: zhf23@drexel.edu

Luwam Gebrekristos, MPH

Degrees: BA in Public Health Studies from Johns Hopkins University; MPH from Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health

Focus: Luwam is interested in examining the social and structural factors that drive racial and gender health inequalities. Currently, Luwam is a research fellow in the Department of Community Health and Prevention.

Research Interests:

  • Adolescent health
  • Sexual and reproductive health
  • Mental health
  • Health disparities

Publications:

Gebrekristos, L. T., Groves, A. K., McNaughton Reyes, L., Maman, S., & Moodley, D. (2020). IPV victimization in pregnancy increases postpartum STI incidence among adolescent mothers in Durban, South Africa. AIDS care, 32(sup2), 193-197.

Groves, A. K., Reyes, H. L. M., Gebrekristos, L. T., Moodley, D., & Maman, S. (2020). Examining why age-disparate relationships influence unsafe sex postpartum among South African women: relationship control and physical partner violence as explanatory mechanisms. Journal of interpersonal violence, 0886260520944531.

Purtle, J., Gebrekristos, L. T., Keene, D., Schlesinger, P., Niccolai, L., & Blankenship, K. M. (2020). Quantifying the Restrictiveness of Local Housing Authority Policies Toward People With Criminal Justice Histories: United States, 2009–2018. American Journal of Public Health, 110(S1), S137-S144.

Groves, A. K., Gebrekristos, L. T., Reyes, L. M., Moodley, D., & Maman, S. (2020). Describing Relationship Characteristics and Postpartum HIV Risk Among Adolescent, Young Adult, and Adult Women in South Africa. Journal of Adolescent Health.

Wanyu Huang headshot

Wanyu Huang, MS

Degrees: BS in Biochemistry from Purdue University, West Lafayette; BS in Biological Sciences from China Agricultural; MS in Environmental Sciences from The Ohio State University.

Research Interests:

  • Environmental epidemiology, including air pollution and asthma incidence and water quality and health

Professional Experience: After completing her MS, she continued working as a research assistant at OSU School of Environment and Natural Resources, supporting the establishment of modeling routines on soil physiochemical characteristics prediction.

Contact: wh397@drexel.edu

Rini Jose headshot

Rini Jose, MPH

Degrees: BS in Biology from Emory University; MPH in Epidemiology from Emory University.

Research Interests:

  • Adolescent health
  • Exploring risk factors associated with sexually transmitted infections
  • Experiences of violence

Professional Experience: Prior to starting her doctoral program, Rini worked in the New Jersey Department of Health’s Communicable Disease Service, primarily focused on the prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections.

Contact: rj499@drexel.edu

Rennie Joshi headshot

Rennie Joshi, MPH

Degrees: BA in Health Science from Gettysburg College; MPH in Epidemiology & Biostatistics from Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health.

Rennie’s Focus: Rennie is currently a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, leading labs for the MPH core methods courses. Rennie was a doctoral fellow from 2017 to 2019 at the UHC, where she worked as a Research & Data Core Research Assistant. She has been involved in numerous projects including her Master’s thesis on drug and alcohol use and projects on the West Philadelphia Promise Zone neighborhoods and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's health equity research.

Research Interests:

  • Urban health
  • Effects of neighborhood environments and environmental risk factors on chronic diseases.

Contact: rj438@drexel.edu

Kevin Martinez Folgar headshot

Kevin Martinez Folgar, MD

Degrees: MD from the University of San Carlos of Guatemala.

Research Interests:

  • Cancer
  • Urban health
  • GIS
  • Data modeling

Professional Experience: Before starting Drexel’s doctoral program in epidemiology, Kevin worked as a junior researcher at the Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panamá (INCAP), where he collaborated on different projects such as the Economic and Social Cost of Doble Burden of Malnutrition in Guatemala, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, and Honduras, working closely with ECLAC, PAHO, and WFP. Also, he was the lead data analyst in Central America for the SALURBAL project.

Contact: km3785@drexel.edu

Tanner Nassau headshot

Tanner Nassau, MPH

Degrees: BA in Philosophy from Indiana University; MPH from Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health.

Research Interests:

  • Influence of social factors on HIV care and prevention
  • Geospatial analysis of the HIV epidemic
  • Analyzing phylogenetic HIV transmission networks in combination with risk networks to identify potential methods to curb the ongoing spread of HIV

Professional Experience: Prior to starting his doctoral program, Tanner worked for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health within the AIDS Activities Coordinating Office as an epidemiologist in HIV surveillance where his main responsibilities were improving data quality and data accessibility.

Contact: tbn28@drexel.edu

Max Pistilli headshot

Max Pistilli, M.Ed., MS

Degrees: BS in Biology and Biotechnology from Worcester Polytechnic Institute; MEd in Science Education from the University of Washington; MS in Biostatistics from Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health.

Professional Experience: Max has worked in HIV research at the Wistar Institute, pain and patient reported outcomes research as a graduate research assistant at Washington, and has most recently worked as a biostatistician in the department of ophthalmology at the University of Pennsylvania.

He also spent a year as an AmeriCorps VISTA working on teacher education at the Seattle Aquarium and on environmental education in an elementary school where kindergartners liked pouring sand on his keyboard.

Contact: mp525@drexel.edu

Jessica Rast headshot

Jessica Rast, MPH

Degrees: MPH from Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health.

Jessica’s Focus: Jessica researches autism spectrum disorder across the lifecourse. Jessica currently works at the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute using national data to understand the characteristics, experiences, and service needs of people on the autism spectrum.

Research Interests:

  • Outcomes of children and young adults on the autism spectrum, largely in the domains of education, employment, and health
  • Autism risk factors and the methods used to analyze them

Contact: jer336@drexel.edu

Dina Terloyeva headshot

Dina Terloyeva, MS

Degrees: MS in Epidemiology from the University at Albany; MPH from the Kazakhstan School of Public Health.

Dina’s Focus: Dina’s Master’s research focused on the prevalence of depressive symptoms among people living with HIV in Kazakhstan.

Research Interests:

  • HIV, including psychiatric comorbidities of infectious diseases, the effect of depression on cell-mediated immunity, and the synergetic approach to HIV prevention and treatment

Professional Experience: Dina worked for Columbia University’s Global Health Research Center of Central Asia studying tuberculosis risk factors among labor migrants in Central Asia. As a Project Director she worked with key stakeholders and field staff planning, organizing, and conducting the study with further data analysis, preparation of publications, and developing recommendations for the Ministries of Health of these countries to improve access to diagnostic and treatment services for labor migrants.

Contact: dt528@drexel.edu

Nguyen Tran headshot

Nguyen Tran, MPH

Degrees: BS in Public Health from The University of Texas at Austin; MPH in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health.

Research Interests:

  • Epidemiologic study of HIV/bacterial STI among sexual, gender, and racial minorities
  • Quantitative methods for misclassification bias adjustment

Professional Experience: Prior to starting his doctoral program, Nguyen worked as a research assistant for numerous projects related to HIV risk factors among individuals at high risk for HIV (i.e., men who have sex with men, persons who inject drugs, and high-risk heterosexuals), drug and alcohol use among youths, and evaluation of immigrant health at the Texas-Mexico border.

Contact: nt448@drexel.edu

Bricia Trejo headshot

Bricia Trejo, MPH

Degrees: MPH in Epidemiology and Maternal and Child Health from Boston University.

Bricia’s Focus: Bricia is a graduate research fellow at the Dornsife School’s Urban Health Collaborative.

Research Interests:

  • Effects of neighborhood factors on health
  • Use of geographic information systems for public health

Professional Experience: Prior to coming to Drexel, Bricia worked as a Senior Associate for the Clinton Health Access Initiative. In this role, she provided technical and operational support for the Honduras Ministry of Health’s malaria elimination initiative.

Contact: bgt26@drexel.edu

Chioma Uzoigwe-Smith headshot

Chioma Uzoigwe-Smith, MPH

Degrees: BA in Psychology from Stanford University; MPH with a concentration in Epidemiology from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

Chioma's Focus: Chioma is currently a Senior Manager in Health Economics and Outcomes Research at Novo Nordisk, where she has worked for the past 7 years supporting the growth hormone and, most recently, diabetes therapeutics areas. She had previously worked as a research analyst for The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Mathematica Policy Research, where she conducted work in public health disparities and health policy.

Research Interests:

  • Outcomes research
  • Pharmacoepidemiology

Professional Experience: Chioma previously worked as a research analyst for The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Mathematica Policy Research, where she conducted work in public health disparities and health policy.

Contact: cu53@drexel.edu

Rachel Vecchione headshot

Rachel Vecchione, MPH

Degrees: BS/BA in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and French from the University of Georgia; MPH from Thomas Jefferson University.

Rachel’s Focus: Rachel currently works at the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute where she focuses on the impact of maternal diet on ASD outcomes.

Research Interests:

  • Impact of environmental factors on autism spectrum disorder

Contact: rv422@drexel.edu

Angie Wang headshot

Anqi (Angie) Wang, MS

Degrees: BS in Biology Science from Shandong University School of Life Science in China; MS in Biostatistics from Georgetown University.

Professional Experience: Before starting Drexel’s doctoral program in epidemiology, Angie worked as a research assistant in Georgetown University’s Department of Biostatistics, Bioinformatics and Biomathematics, finding novel biomarkers for lung cancer by measuring telomere length variation. She also joined a program as a laboratory assistant in Lombardi Cancer Center, Georgetown University, where her work mainly focused on analyzing the Matriptase protein in tumor and normal tissue by utilizing logistic regression.

Contact: aw957@drexel.edu

Jessica Webster headshot

Jessica Webster, MPH

Degrees: BS in Sociology and French from Arizona State University; MPH in Epidemiology from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Research Interests:

  • Epidemiologic methods
  • Infectious diseases
  • Health disparities among vulnerable populations
  • Global public health

Focus:Jessica’s interest in epidemiology stems from a desire to use data and information systems to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable populations on both a local and a global scale. Her research experience spans malaria preventative measures in rural Uganda, social determinants of health of New Yorkers, and US-bound immigrant and refugee health. During the program, she hopes to expand her knowledge on epidemiologic methods for infectious disease research and modeling.

Professional Experience:

  • Research Fellow, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Intern, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Contact: jlw494@drexel.edu

Karol Zhong headshot

Caichen “Karol” Zhong

Degrees: BS in Health Services Administration from Drexel University; MS Epidemiology from Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health (expected December 2019).

Karol’s Focus: Karol is currently working with Dr. Kristen Lyall at the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute for her master project where she analyzes placental data from children with enriched risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to examine placental morphology in association with ASD and broader neurodevelopment disorders.

Research Interests:

  • Pharmacoepidemiology and nutritional epidemiology, particularly the effects of perinatal diet and medication on childhood neurodevelopmental disorders

Professional Experience: Previously Karol worked as a student nutrition educator at Drexel University’s PA SNAP-Ed/ Eat.Right.Philly program, providing nutrition education to students and adults in School District of Philadelphia schools and community sites to promote lasting healthy habits.

Contact: cz358@drexel.edu