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Student Funding

Doctoral Dissertation Research Funding Award

In order to promote urban health research and to train the next generation of urban health researchers, the UHC is pleased to support dissertation projects with a focus on understanding and improving health in cities. Projects must align closely with the UHC’s mission. All Drexel University doctoral students are eligible to apply.

2019-2020 Doctoral Dissertation Funding Awardees

The Drexel Urban Health Collaborative is happy to announce the first recipients of our new Doctoral Dissertation Funding award mechanism.

Samantha Joseph, MPH, PhDc, has been awarded funding to support her proposal “Development of a Community Trauma Index to Prevent Community Violence in Urban Neighborhoods.”

Rennie Joshi, MPH, PhDc, has been awarded funding to support her proposal “Evaluating effects of ambient air pollution on cardiovascular health outcomes in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal.” We look forward to following the progress of both of these projects throughout the year.

Interested in focusing your training on health in cities?

Join the Drexel Urban Health Collaborative as a Fellow! Prospective and incoming master's and doctoral students are welcome to consider a fellowship with Drexel's Urban Health Collaborative. The program supports selected students in conducting urban health research. Fellows also benefit from a wealth of data and support resources available through the Urban Health Collaborative.

Doctoral Fellowship Program

Fellows are supported to conduct urban health research under the mentorship of a faculty research sponsor. Fellows will receive a stipend, full tuition remission and additional support for research and travel. Awards are renewable for a second year depending on progress.

Eligibility: Incoming students enrolling in a full-time doctoral program at the Dornsife School of Public Health who are interested in conducting research related to urban health are eligible for this fellowship.

Application Process: UHC Doctoral Fellows will be nominated by departmental admission committees based on academic excellence and interest in urban health research as expressed in their doctoral application.

2018-2019 Doctoral Fellows Awardees

Catalina Correa Salazar, MS, Community Health and Prevention
Advisor: Stephen Lankenau, PhD

Catalina Correa Salazar, MS is a doctoral student in the Department of Community Health and Prevention, advised by Stephen Lankenau, PhD. Previously a resident of Bogota, Colombia, Catalina received a bachelors degree in literary studies from Pontificia Universidad Javerinana, a bachelors degree in psychology from the Universidad de los Andes and a masters degree in psychology from the University of los Andes. She has worked in public health and human rights in urban and rural areas as a community organizer, researcher and activist. She was the Director of Community Health and Harm Reduction for the nongovernmental organization PARCES in Bogota for five years, worked as a professor in Universidad de los Andes and directed the Psychology Department's research line in harm reduction and gender there. Her long-term goal is to apply mixed methods research towards identifying multi-level factors and social determinants of health that impact women's well-being and health in urban contexts. She aims to design, implement and evaluate community-based public health interventions that include community organizing and public health policies. As a doctoral student, her research will focus on a mobile phone app to reduce opioid overdose in Philadelphia.

Nishita"Nishi" Dsouza, MPH, Community Health and Prevention
Advisor: Ana Martinez-Donate, PhD

Nishita "Nishi" Dsouza, MPH is a doctoral student in the Department of Community Health and Prevention, advised by Ana Martinez-Donate, PhD. Dsouza received a bachelors degree in Human Science from Georgetown University and an MPH specialized in Urban Design from the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in Saint Louis. Previously, she served as a Commissioner's Fellow in Public Health at the Tennessee Department of Health, where she managed the "Access to Health through Healthy Active Built Environment" grant program, designed to promote the planning and implementation of activity-promoting built environments. Dsouza has experience working on livability and Health in All Policy work at both the local and state level, and has worked on research projects in implementation science, obesity prevention, and urban green space. She aims to use mixed-methods research, advocacy, and community engagement processes to reduce health disparities in urban populations and promote healthy and inclusive built environments.

Dustin Fry, MPH, Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Advisor: Gina Lovasi, PhD, MPH

Dustin Fry, MPH is a doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, advised by Gina Lovasi, PhD, MPH. He received a bachelors degree in Biology from the University of Texas, Austin and an MPH from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Fry previously worked at the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health studying New York's Clean Air Taxi policies. He also served as field coordinator for a park observation research study, overseeing systematic neighborhood and park-based data collection in New York. Fry's interests include innovative data sources, physical activity determinants, and policy-relevant research including integration of StreetView based audit data for the measurement of physical disorder and pedestrian-supportive infrastructure.

In addition to the three UHC Doctoral Fellows, the Collaborative welcomes

Amie Devlin, MPH, MA, Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Advisor: Sharrelle Barber, ScD, MPH

Amie Devlin is a PhD student in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, advised by Sharrelle Barber, ScD, MPH. She has a MPH from George Washington University and a MA in Urban Bioethics from Temple University. Prior to enrolling at the Dornsife School of Public Health, she was working in North Philadelphia on a community research project run though the Temple University School of Medicine. Devlin has also worked in clinical trials, regulatory affairs, and research ethics. Her research interests include stress, neighborhood factors influencing health and health disparities.

2017-2018 Doctoral Fellows Awardees

Rosie Mae Henson, MPH, Health Management and Policy
Advisor: Robert Field, PhD, JD, MPH

Rosie Mae Henson is an Urban Health Collaborative Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Health Management and Policy. Her research primarily focuses on the social, economic, and environmental policies and systems that impact health equity, and how to communicate and disseminate this research to inform decision-making and policy development. Henson is interested in and uses mixed methods, with a focus on econometric and policy analysis and outcomes approaches. She currently works on the Urban Equity Project, a mixed methods study of U.S. mayors, health departments, and health systems to identify and examine activities in U.S. cities to achieve health equity as well as the barriers and facilitators to these activities. She also works on the Salud Urbana en America Latina (SALURBAL) project with the Urban Redevelopment group at the UHC.

Katie Nelson, MPH, Health Management and Policy
Advisor: Jonathan Purtle, DrPH, MPH, MSc

Katie Nelson, MPH will study mental health policies and systems in urban areas using a cross-disciplinary approach.  Specifically, she will study the relationship between mental health, policy, and social determinants of health with the potential to compare rural and urban areas.  She will use innovative methods to understand dissemination and implementation of research findings in mental health policy.

Nelson is an MPH alumna of Drexel’s Dornsife School of Public Health and received bachelor’s in psychology from the University of Pittsburgh. Her master’s project focused on understanding how older adults with clinically significant depressive symptoms perceive communication with their healthcare providers and how that might influence receipt of mental health treatment. While earning her MPH, she worked at Merck on global vaccine policy. Previously, she worked at Impaq International, a social science research firm, as an analyst conducting program evaluations for DOL, CMS, and ODEP.

Rennie Joshi, MPH, Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Advisor: Yvonne Michael, ScD, SM

Rennie Joshi will be studying the social and built environmental determinants of chronic diseases, particularly obesity and cardiovascular health. She is interested in utilizing novel research methods to better understand the combined effects of different neighborhood-level risk factors, such as food environments and safety on cardiovascular health.

Originally from Nepal, Joshi received her MPH from Drexel’s Dornsife School of Public Health, and received her bachelor of arts in health science from Gettysburg College. Her master’s thesis was a repeated cross-sectional study to examine the risk factors related to underage drinking in Louisiana. As an MPH student, Joshi also worked at the Urban Health Collaborative as a Research Assistant on various projects, including UHC Community Briefs and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Equity study. Before coming to Drexel in 2015, Joshi worked as a researcher for a consulting company focused on behavioral health and social services.

Irene Headen, PhD, MS, Postdoctoral Fellow

Irene Headen, PhD, MS is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Drexel Urban Health Collaborative at the Dornsife School of Public Health. Her research interests center around the social and structural determinants of racial/ethnic disparities in pregnancy outcomes. Dr. Headen’s work investigates how differences in exposure to neighborhoods and other urban environments across the life course impact inequities in adverse pregnancy outcomes and their risk factors. Her doctoral work examined associations between long-term trajectories of neighborhood deprivation and women’s risk of gaining too much or too little weight during pregnancy, both of which have adverse implications for maternal and infant health.

Previously a Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Centers of Excellence Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, Dr. Headen continued to study how neighborhood environments interact with individual-level interventions to modify their effectiveness on pregnancy-related weight status. Her current work studies associations between place-based, early education initiatives, including Promise Neighborhoods, and maternal, child, and family health outcomes in low-income communities. Dr. Headen earned her bachelor of science in Brain and Cognitive Sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a master of science and doctorate in epidemiology from the University of California, Berkeley.

2016-2017 Doctoral Fellows Awardees

Samantha Rivera Joseph, MPH '12, Community Health and Prevention
Mentor: Amy Carroll-Scott, PhD, MPH

Samantha Joseph will study community resilience and the protective factors that support Philadelphia communities with high levels of violence and resulting chronic trauma. Joseph will examine neighborhood level data and community organizing efforts to understand the risk factors for community and domestic violence, create an inventory of community assets that can be used for addressing these factors, and organize partnerships to build supports. She will use Community Based Participatory Research to identify interventions to address disparities and build community capacity.

Joseph is an MPH alumna of Drexel's Dornsife School of Public Health, and received her BA in natural sciences from Fordham University. She previously worked at Congreso de Latinos Unidos, a Philadelphia-based organization, first as a Development and Quality Assurance Manager for health programs and then as the Director of Primary Care for their Federally Qualified Health Center. Before coming to Philadelphia, she worked in HIV prevention and community empowerment in Brooklyn, NY. Additionally, Joseph is on the steering committee and serves as a coach for the Latino Partnership Institute, which focuses on community organization/mobilization and leadership training in the Greater Philadelphia area.

Matthew Kearney, MPH, Community Health and Prevention
Mentor: Philip Massey, PhD, MPH

Matthew Kearney will develop evidence around sexual health education programs in Philadelphia in hopes of increasing their implementation. This has the potential to improve the sexual health outcomes of youth, which can impact disparities in overall physical and mental health and educational attainment. Kearney's research will incorporate mHealth and social media to evaluate school-based health programs. His research will include developing better tools to assess adolescents' health seeking behavior and health literacy and the programs that aim to influence them.

Kearney earned his MPH from the University of Pennsylvania and a BS in biology from Union College. His master's thesis was a qualitative study examining medical residents' engagement with the development and implementation of a health education program that he helped create at Henry C. Lea Elementary School in West Philadelphia. He also led a health education program at Samuel B. Huey Elementary School in West Philadelphia, and was a research assistant at the Center for Public Health Initiatives, the Mixed-Methods Research Lab, and in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. Before graduate school, Kearney taught high school biology, algebra, and environmental science in Connecticut and Missouri.

Erica Smith, MPH, Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Mentors: Esther Chernak, MD, MPH and Alison Evans, ScD

Erica Smith's research will focus on the social and environmental determinants of infectious disease rates in cities, with the potential to compare rural versus urban areas. She plans to study the relationship between food insecurity, food safety, and the determinants of health, examining disparities in foodborne illness and food safety. Smith will use multiple sources of data and both descriptive and analytic epidemiological methods to investigate these population health issues.

Smith earned her MPH from Virginia Commonwealth University and a BS in biology and anthropology from the College of William and Mary. While earning her MPH, she worked at the Virginia Department of Health and the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center. Since completing graduate school, Smith worked for the Pennsylvania Department of Health for six years, first as a Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) Applied Epidemiology Fellow in Infectious Disease, and then as a general infectious disease epidemiologist, before becoming a statewide foodborne/enterics epidemiologist.

In addition to the three UHC Doctoral Fellows, the Collaborative is hosting two additional doctoral students and a new Postdoctoral Fellow this year.

Kim Daniels, MS, Epidemiology and Biostatitics
Mentor: Ana Diez Roux, MD, PhD, MPH

Kim Daniels will be studying the social and environmental factors related to obesity and cardiovascular disease. She is particularly interested in child obesity and is collaborating with the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in order to study this population. She is also hoping to compare the environmental factors related to cardiovascular disease and obesity between the city of Philadelphia and the greater state of Pennsylvania.

Daniels completed her MS in epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and a BS in mathematics and biology from the University of Maryland (Baltimore). Daniels previously worked as a statistician at Boston Children's Hospital under Dr. John Meara MD, DMD, MBA and assisted the surgeons in the Plastic and Oral Surgery department in analyzing their data and running quality improvement projects. She also worked as an epidemiologist in Boston Children's Program in Global Surgery and Social Change, where she helped the fellows in the program design research projects and analyze data, in addition to running her own modeling projects.

Ana Ortigoza, MD, MS '16, Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Mentor: Ana Diez Roux, MD, PhD, MPH

Ana Ortigoza will study the impact that violence among young people in Latin American cities has on mortality and morbidity, at citywide levels. As part of the Urban Health Network for Latin America and the Caribbean, Ortigoza is part of a large interdisciplinary team that is combining multilevel and longitudinal data analysis approaches with systems thinking and simulation modeling to 1) understand relationships and processes involved and 2) gain insights into plausible effects of city level factors.

Ortigoza is a 2016 graduate of the MS in Epidemiology program at the Dornsife School of Public Health. Originally from Argentina, she completed her MD at the National University of Rosario, Argentina, and became licensed in pediatrics in 2008. She also earned a Master in Epidemiology, Health Policies and Management from University of Lanus in Bueno Aires. She joined the Urban Health Collaborative in 2014 and has been working on the Urban Health Network for Latin America and the Caribbean since its inception. Her research interests focus on childhood, youth violence and health disparities. Before coming to Drexel, Ortigoza worked as chief resident in pediatrics, clinical instructor and assistant professor of pediatrics at the Hospital Provincial de Rosario, and previously as project manager of a clinical trial related to RSV infection in preterm babies in Chaco, Argentina.

Ivana Stankov, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow
Mentor: Ana Diez Roux, MD, PhD, MPH

Ivana Stankov's research focuses on understanding the social and environmental determinants of health and disease using soft and hard systems methods. Her current research employs participatory methods to identify and understand built environments implicated in the development of cardiometabolic risk. She is actively involved in research that employs simulation-based methods, including spatial agent-based modelling, to understand place-health relations and explore the effectiveness of policy-relevant interventions on health-related behavior and chronic disease outcomes. She is also involved in research examining the role of peer and romantic partner influences on adolescent marijuana use.

Stankov completed her PhD in Social Epidemiology at the Centre for Population Health Research at the University of South Australia. Her thesis is titled, "The built environment and cardiometabolic disease: Framing place health relations from a complex systems perspective." During her doctoral studies, Stankov completed an International Residency at the Brookings Institution Center on Social Dynamics & Policy with Director Ross Hammond, PhD and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine with Pamela Matson, PhD, MPH, which was funded by a Maurice de Rohan Scholarship. Stankov also completed a Bachelor of Physiotherapy with Honors from the University of South Australia and a BS in Biology, Physics, Mathematics, and Chemistry from the University of Adelaide in Australia. Stankov has previous work experience as a physiotherapist.

Master's Fellowship Program

The Drexel Urban Health Collaborative (UHC) supports master's students interested in urban health research each academic year. UHC Master's Fellows are also eligible to receive Dornsife School of Public Health's Dean's Scholarships.

Eligibility: Prospective UHC Master's Fellows will be considered for these positions based on exceptional academic promise and their interest in urban health as evidenced in their application.

Application Process: Applicants should indicate their interest in urban health and fit with the UHC Master's Fellowship in their personal statement. Applicants interested in being considered are encouraged to apply for admission no later than January 15th.

2019-2020 Master’s Fellows Awardees

Rachel Brown, MPH ’21, Community Health and Prevention
Mentor: Amy Carroll-Scott, PhD, MPH, and Jennifer Kolker, MPH

Rachel Brown is an Urban Health Collaborative Masters Research Fellow and a MPH student concentrating in Community Health and Prevention. Before beginning her graduate studies, Brown held numerous nonprofit communications and community engagement roles in Philadelphia at organizations including the Coalition Against Hunger, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, and SteegeThomson Communications. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Media & Communications from Ursinus College. As a UHC Fellow, Brown will work with Amy Carroll-Scott, PhD, MPH and Jennifer Kolker, MPH on projects in the Policy and Community Engagement Core, including the Big Cities Health Coalition. Brown’s work in the UHC brings together her interests in urban health inequities and developing community partnerships.

Jay Budd, MPH ’21, Community Health and Prevention
Mentor: Felice Le-Scherban, PhD, MPH, and Amy Carroll-Scott, PhD, MPH

Jay Budd is a MPH student concentrating in Community Health & Prevention, and an Urban Health Collaborative Masters Research Fellow. Jay has a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice from American University. He spent 5 years in education teaching 3rd and 4th grade in San Jose, CA as well as middle school Special Education in Washington, DC. Most recently, Jay worked on school and community outreach for an education technology company. As a UHC Fellow, Jay will be combining his interest in education and community outreach as a member of the team working on the West Philadelphia Promise Neighborhoods grant, with Felice Le-Scherban, PhD, MPH and Amy Carroll-Scott, PhD, MPH. This project intends to create a cradle-to-career continuum of support for children who live or attend school in the Promise Zone while creating a system of service linkages focused on educational, health, and behavioral health services and programs.

Michelle Goodwin, MPH ’21, Health Management and Policy
Mentor: Joan Bloch, PhD, CRNP, FAAN

Michelle Goodwin is a MPH student concentrating in Health Management and Policy, and an Urban Health Collaborative Master Research Fellow. Goodwin interned with Lehigh Valley Health Network’s Organizational Effectiveness Department in Allentown, PA as well as the West London Mental Health Trust NHS in London, ENG while earning a bachelors degree in Psychology from Penn State. She recently completed a service year with City Year San Jose AmeriCorps where she interpreted test data to create academic interventions for eight fourth graders and ran a combination afterschool program for 1st and 2nd graders. Her research interests pertain to comorbid diseases and mental health, and the impact education level and income level have on the quality of care provided to underserved populations. As a UHC Fellow, she is working with Joan Bloch PhD, CRNP, FAAN addressing Philadelphia’s high infant mortality rates through a city-wide collective impact initiative. In particular, attempting to highlight system inequities in health care access and services for mothers and their children.

Chahita Kanungo, MPH ’21, Environment and Occupational Health
Mentor: Leah Schinasi, PhD, MPH

Chahita Kanungo is a MPH student concentrating in Environment and Occupational Health, and an Urban Health Collaborative Master Research Fellow. As a UHC fellow, she is working with Leah Schinasi, PhD, MPH on project that aims to characterize the urban landscape for an analysis of heat and mortality by using google street view. Chahita has an undergraduate degree in dentistry. Her experience in pharmacovigilance, and as a medical research fellow at a cancer research center and hospital helped her gain deeper understanding in importance of preventive measures and awareness in addressing public health issues. She is passionate about volunteering and had been actively involved in various community projects at the American Red Cross and working with underprivileged children at Yuva unstoppable. Her research interests include understanding the impact of various environmental factors and awareness mechanisms on public health.

Kerry Miley, MPH ’21, Community Health and Prevention
Mentor: Alexis Roth, PhD, MPH

Kerry Miley is a MPH student concentrating in Community Health and Prevention. As a UHC Masters Research Fellow, she is working with Alexis Roth, PhD, MPH, on two studies focused on preventing HIV transmission and overdose among people who inject drugs. Before pursuing her MPH, Miley coordinated an environmental exposure study for the state of Utah as a CDC Public Health Associate. Miley received her B.S. in Public and Community Health from Ithaca College, and has worked at several harm reduction centers in the northeast. She is passionate about the overlapping issues of drug overdose, housing instability, infectious disease, and incarceration.

Duong (Tina) Nguyen, MPH ’21, Health Management and Policy
Mentor: Jane Clougherty, MSc, ScD

Duong (Tina) Nguyen is a MPH student concentrating in Health Management and Policy, and an Urban Health Collaborative Masters Research Fellow. Tina immigrated from Vietnam to Philadelphia five years ago and has a bachelors degree in Biochemistry from Temple University. She previously interned at Temple Hospital Guest Relations and worked as a research assistant at Nicholson Lab Biochemistry and Nanotechnology. She is also a cofounder of Health Without Boundaries, a community project which aims to bridge the gap between non-English speaking immigrant communities in Philadelphia and our healthcare system. As a UHC Fellow, she is working with Jane Clougherty, MSc, ScD, on an air monitoring network campaign to inventory and map available data on air pollution emissions across the City of Philadelphia for epidemiological and policy purposes.

2018-2019 Master’s Fellows Awardees

Leah Lombardi, MPH ’20, Epidemiology
Mentor: Felice Le-Scherban, PhD, MPH and Amy Carroll-Scott, PhD, MPH

Leah Lombardi is a MPH student concentrating in Epidemiology, and an Urban Health Collaborative Masters Research Fellow. Lombardi has a bachelors degree in Biology from Boston College. She previously interned at the Penn State Cancer Institute's Community Sciences and Health Outcomes Core, which aims to reduce cancer disparities in Pennsylvania, and with the Eradicate Childhood Obesity Foundation in Massachusetts. As a UHC Fellow, she is working with Felice Le-Scherban, PhD, MPH and Amy Carroll-Scott, PhD, MPH on the West Philadelphia Promise Neighborhoods grant, based at the UHC. This project intends to create a cradle-to-career continuum of support for children who live or attend school in the Promise Zone, while creating a system of service linkages focused on educational, health, and behavioral health services and programs. Lombardi's work with the UHC combines her interests in epidemiology and social justice.

Eliza Ziegler, MPH'20, Health Management and Policy
Mentor: Alexis Roth, PhD, MPH

Eliza Ziegler is a MPH student concentrating in Health Management and Policy, and an Urban Health Collaborative Masters Research Fellow. As a UHC Fellow, she is working with Alexis Roth, PhD, MPH on a project studying the factors that affect PrEP uptake and adherence in women who inject drugs. Ziegler received her bachelors degree in Economics and Community Health from Tufts University. Since moving to Philadelphia, she has worked at Pathways to Housing PA coordinating benefits for adults experiencing chronic homelessness. Ziegler's interests include improving access to healthcare for vulnerable populations, specifically mental health and drug and alcohol treatment, and how public health research can help promote interventions such as safe consumption sites.

2017-2018 Master’s Fellows Awardee

Kristin Giordano, MPH ’19, Community Health and Prevention
Mentor: Ana Martinez-Donate, PhD

Kristin Giordano is an Urban Health Collaborative Research Fellow and a MPH student, concentrating in Community Health and Prevention. Before moving to Philadelphia, Giordano worked as a research analyst with the Colorado Springs Fire Department’s Community & Public Health Division’s mental health crisis response and 9-1-1/ED super-utilizer programs. She brings to Drexel an interest in finding cross-sector solutions to community-identified health issues. During her fellowship, Giordano will work with Ana Martinez-Donate, PhD on a pilot project working to address community resilience in Latino communities in Philadelphia: Creating Strong and Resilient Opinion Leaders (CRiSOL) Program.

Student Funding for Master's Depth Experience

The UHC provides student funding to support select Depth Experience placements for students wishing to focus on urban health as part of the practical experience required of all first-year MPH students. Students complete the Dornsife School of Public Health Depth Experience placement process to select a supervised, hands-on 120-hour public health experience within public health practice settings. Applications are accepted in early May.

Learn more about the DSPH first-year practicum experience.

2019 Depth Experience Awardees

Maura Boughter-Dornfeld, MPH’20, will work with the St. Christopher’s Foundation Farm to Families program on a community needs assessment. The Farm to Families Initiative is a collaborative community-based effort to improve the diets and health children and families by address access to nutritious food and access to information nutrition and food preparation. The program sources, packages, and delivers fresh food to community food hubs. Boughter-Dornfeld will be assessing whether this program is serving the community’s needs or whether a change is needed. She will engage with families who participate in the program and non-participating families, identify local resources, and contribute to drawing conclusions from this needs assessment to determine next steps for the program. Maura hopes to use her MPH to work to ameliorate perpetual disparities and inequalities within all communities, specifically within those that are underserved and underrepresented. She is interested in food insecurity, food justice, and food policy.

Hannah Conner, MPH’20, will work with UC Green, a community greening organization that is driven by the goal to make West and Southwest Philadelphia neighborhoods stronger and healthier through collaboration with community members to increase tree canopy. Conner is creating partnerships and directly communicating with local community leaders and other health- and nature-centered organizations (e.g. Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Penn Park Orchard) to green neighborhoods and promote healthy lifestyles and environmental stewardship. She will assess the perception of street trees in the neighborhoods of West and Southwest Philadelphia and use original questionnaires and marketing pamphlets to disseminate information to community members. Besides facilitating direct communication with local residents and neighbors, she will manage social media accounts to extend the reach of UC Green and promote community greening to a wider audience. She will also provide opportunities for residents to engage with UC Green to become more aware of the health benefits—both physical and mental—of trees by organizing events such as walking tours and weekly pruning clubs.

Amanda Hazen, MPH’20, will work with the Opioid Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Prevention Program within the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.  Hazen will be supporting epidemiology and data analytics projects related to substance use in Philadelphia through data management, analysis, and interpretation.  Hazen's role will include: creating reports presenting data in graphical and tabular forms; orally presenting findings to Opioid Program staff; and supporting the work of the Harm Reduction coordinator at overdose prevention training.

Rebecca Hosey, MPH’20, will work with the Health Federation of Philadelphia (HFP) on the Opioid Program to support Philadelphia clinicians in providing treatment to patients suffering from opioid use disorder and other substance use disorders. The Opioid Program at HFP reaches seven FQHC sites within the city through the Preceptor Training Program, which provides clinicians with mentorship and peer support in caring for patients with OUD and SUD. Hosey will assist with planning future programs, creating survey tools to assess needs of clinicians and performing an analysis of results, as well as utilizing the resources of HFP to support the Philadelphia Department of Public Health in creating policy to reduce the number of opioid related overdoses and deaths.

Madison Sehn, MPH’20, is working with University of Pennsylvania's Breast Health Initiative, where she will be creating events to provide free mammogram screening for under- and un-insured women in the Philadelphia area. She will be working to create additional partnerships with free Philadelphia clinics and community centers to increase access for women who may need preventive screening, but cannot afford it. Further, Sehn will be writing a literature review on the barriers that women in the Philadelphia area face in receiving proper preventive care, and how that may affect their diagnoses.

2018 Depth Experience Awardees

Anne Golden, MPH ‘19, will work with the Division of Chronic Disease Prevention at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health to coordinate the Food Equity Pilot Study. The Food Equity Pilot Study will assess food access and availability within the city of Philadelphia. This study test a linear measurement tool, measuring the linear feet of "healthy" and "unhealthy" food items stocked in Philadelphia corner stores. This is the Department’s largest pilot study yet, measuring over 100 stores. Locations will be randomly sampled and represent both high-income and low-income communities. Golden’s role will include: creating training materials and coordinating with volunteers; completing store measurements; compiling and analyzing data under the supervision of members of the data and evaluation team; summarizing data; and presenting findings to the data and evaluation team.

Paola Maysonet, MPH ‘19, will work with Philadelphia Prevention Partnership, a coalition of organizations that advocates building relationships to understand local systemic issues. Maysonet is creating a culturally-tailored interview guide that inquiries upon organizations’ protocol for serving Puerto Rican evacuees displaced by Hurricanes Maria and Irma, perceptions of the challenges, successes and further needs. Interviews will be conducted amongst grassroots, non-profit and city government sectors of Philadelphia. Project findings will be disseminated to relevant stakeholders to understand the city’s approach in reaching and serving this population.

Vaibhavi Mone, MPH ‘19, will working with Management and Environmental Technologies Inc. (MET) on their METWorks Summer Program, a part of the Philadelphia Youth Network’s WorkReady program. Mone has a dual role in this program. First, she will refine and teach public health-related contextual learning experience curriculum to about 100 West Philadelphia youth, ages 14 to 18. Second, she will evaluate the overall impact of the program on youth participants. Mone will work closely with METWorks staff to incorporate evidence-based improvements and develop an evaluation toolkit for MET to be able to independently collect and summarize data in future summers. This curriculum and training is a way to empower youth to understand and improve health in their own neighborhoods.

Ornella Pitah, MPH ‘19, will work at the Department of Advocacy and Policy of the People Emergency Center, a nonprofit community development agency providing comprehensive homeless services. Pitah is developing research as part of the advocacy strategy for the Yay Babies Campaign to raise awareness of infants and toddlers experiencing homelessness among city, state and federal policymakers. Part of the advocacy strategy is to develop a literature review and policy briefs called “Brain Gain.” The briefs will inform policymakers on decisions concerning services to homeless children ages 0-3 and the adverse health outcomes of experiencing homelessness. Additionally, Pitah will engaging diverse stakeholder to build consensus in Children’s Work Group and FSPN on needed services for children ages 0-3 who are residing in emergency/transitional housing.

2017 Depth Experience (formerly Practicum) Awardees

The Urban Health Collaborative has awarded funding to four first-year Master of Public Health students completing their practicum experience with a focus on urban health. These projects cover a range of topics and incorporate a variety of activities poised to have significant impact on the health of Philadelphians. In addition to the standard practicum requirements, these students will be integrated into the Urban Health Collaborative, participating in UHC opportunities and receiving support from UHC staff and faculty.

Louisa Boison is working on two projects with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Division of Chronic Disease Prevention, also known, as Get Healthy Philly. The first project involves surveying school principals and physical education staff in the Philadelphia School District about the physical activity practices in elementary schools, analyzing the data, and assessing the effectiveness of a specific campaign. The second project is focused on determining the effectiveness of a Stairwell Toolkit to promote physical activity among health department employees and will include research design, data collection, and data analysis.

Victoria Kontor is working at the Women's Law Project, a public interest law center devoted to the rights of women and girls. She is creating an aggregate data set that summarizes the demographics of girls aged 10-17 in Philadelphia with an emphasis on those in the juvenile justice system. The data set will be used in projects to work toward improved quality of life for girls in Philadelphia, especially those in the juvenile justice system, which include writing a policy agenda and briefing for the Health Commissioner and updating a previous publication called "Through the Lens of Equality: Eliminating Sex Bias to Improve the Health of Pennsylvania's Women" to include girls, and attempting to reorganize a Girls Coalition in Philadelphia.

Maitri Shah is working in the Center for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in North Philadelphia to integrate oral health services into this primary care setting. Interested and eligible patients, will receive dental care either the same day (during or after their primary care visit), or will be assisted in making a future appointment. Researchers will evaluate if the co-location of services improves the patient's compliance with dental health recommendations in children, and if there is perceived utility among participating caregivers and medical providers.

Kevin Smith is working at Mercy Hospital in West Philadelphia on a project to decrease the incidence of infectious disease within the hospital, specifically Clostridium Difficile (C. Diff). This project includes data collection to determine trends - tracking patients with a C. Diff diagnosis, tracking the amount of antibiotics prescribed to patients, analyzing how well patient rooms are cleaned between discharge and a new admittance, and tracking healthcare provider compliance with proper hand hygiene and personal protective equipment guidelines. This hospital is an important resource in the community, including nearby residents who feel a lack of access to primary care facilities and depend on the hospital for a wide variety of needs.

2016 Depth Experience (formerly Practicum) Awardees

Giselle Babiarz is working with the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC)'s Office of Communications and Engagement, assisting with multiple projects around the effects of built environment on health, advocating for healthy food environments, and partnership building between public health and urban planning.

Alexandra Skula is working with the Air Quality Division of the Environmental Protection Agency and Air Management Services to make data about air toxins more accessible and understandable to community members affected by them, particularly in the Point Breeze neighborhood of Philadelphia.

Vaishnavi Vaidya is working with the Philadelphia Mayor's Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity focusing on early childhood learning. She will research best practices and grant opportunities, and conduct outreach and program evaluations to support the A Running Start Philadelphia program.

Samantha Weckesser is working with the Health Federation of Philadelphia's Mobilizing Action for Resilient Communities program to enhance the application of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) science, language, and data in 14 participating communities. She will assess the communities' policy related activities to inform technical assistance for their efforts.