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Current Students of the Clinical and Population Health Research Program

Ariel Beccia, BS, MS

Ariel Beccia (she/her/hers) is a PhD candidate in the Clinical and Population Health Research program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Her research interests include the social epidemiology of eating disorders and bridging quantitative epidemiological methods with social and feminist theories, with a focus on intersectionality theory. Mentored by Dr. Kate Lapane, her dissertation research is examining the prevalence and social determinants of eating disorders and disordered weight control behaviors at the intersection of sexual orientation, gender expression, and weight status. This research is funded by a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Individual Predoctoral Fellowship (F31) from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. Prior to her PhD training, Ariel had conducted research on the “gender puzzle” of alternative medicine use and the use of mindfulness-based interventions for eating disorders and other mental health issues. Ariel received her MS (Integrative Medicine Research) from Helfgott Research Institute and BS (Neuroscience) from St. Lawrence University.

Esther Boama-Nyarko, BS, MPH

Esther Boama-Nyarko earned her BS in Biology & Public Health from UMass Amherst and her MPH in Social and Behavioral Sciences from Boston University. Esther previously worked at Worcester Connections Family Resource Center of YOU Inc. where she assisted families in navigating resources including food access, housing assistance, childcare and mental health resources in the Worcester Area.  She serves on the board of St. Anne’s Free Medical Program, which seeks to provide high-quality healthcare services to the uninsured and underinsured members of the greater Worcester community. In her several years as a Clinical Research Coordinator in the Department of Emergency Medicine, her research experience focused on suicide prevention within healthcare settings, including training, clinician engagement and continuous quality improvement. Her employment at UMMS introduced her to implementation science and piqued her interest in establishing an independent career in research. Esther’s primary research interests are under the umbrellas of health equity, mental health, and community-based research. In her first year, she was selected to participate in and  receive funding as a pre-doctoral scholar in the UMMS Center for Clinical and Translation Science (CCTS) TL1 training program. She hopes to use the opportunity to investigate differential participation in perinatal mental health services for women of color. She is mentored by Dr. Stephenie Lemon and Dr. Christine Ulbricht.

Qiaoxi Chen, BS, MPH

Qiaoxi (Tracy) Chen earned her BS in biomedical sciences in Central Nervous System stream from University College London. Her undergraduate thesis focused on the role of phosphorylation of NMDA receptors that locate in neurons during the spreading of pain signals. She then earned her MPH with a concentration in Biostatistics and Epidemiology from Boston University. After graduation from BU, she worked for Brigham and Women’s Hospital as a clinical data analyst participated in providing statistical analysis and data visualization support to the Medicaid pilot projects including Community Partners project and Serious Mental Illness project as well as Faculty Wellness projects held by Brigham and Women’s Physician Organization.

Zachary Dyer, AB, MPH

Zach Dyer holds an AB in Creative Writing from Columbia University and an MPH in Maternal and Child Health from Boston University. For several years, Zach worked for the Worcester Division of Public Health as Deputy Director where his work focused on coalition building for health improvement, community engagement, and policy change. Zach remains active in local, state, and national boards including the Massachusetts Public Health Association Policy Council and the National Civic League’s Council of Advisors.

Zach’s research interests center on improving social determinants and reducing health disparities through broad, high-level systems change including payment reform and innovative risk adjustment modeling. He has rotated with and is currently advised by Dr. Jay Himmelstein and Dr. Arlene Ash in the department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences.

Oluwabunmi Emidio, MD, MPH

Bunmi earned her Medical Degree from the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Nigeria and her MPH from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  Her research experiences include coordinating research at the Mckusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She also worked at the Evidence-based Practice Center, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health where she developed a great interest in translational medicine and implementation science. Mentored by Stephenie Lemon, PhD, Bunmi is presently a PRACCTIS post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences and is also pursuing a PhD in the CPHR program.

Katarina Ferrucci, BA, MS

Katarina earned her BA in Psychology from Bard College. Her undergraduate thesis proposed an exploratory study, which investigated the relationship between perceptions of personal size, BMI, and body adiposity. While at Bard, Katarina aided in establishing the Affective Cognition Laboratory at Bard College; a novel psychophysiology lab, which focused on affect sharing and empathetic emotion. During this time, she also served as a clinical research assistant at the Anderson Center for Autism, where she conducted independent case investigations for individuals expressing atypical eating and feeding symptomology, as well as exacerbated emotional expression. At Anderson, she additionally contributed to a validation study of the English translation of the San Martin Scale, which provides a comprehensive assessment of quality of life for individuals on the Autism Spectrum. Following graduation, she pursued her MS in Behavioral and Social Health Science from the School of Public Health at Brown University. Throughout her second year at Brown, she worked as a research assistant with RIDOC: Heart and Sole Debate; teaching and facilitating a cardiovascular health course and debate program to incarcerated males at the Rhode Island state medium security ACI. Her master’s thesis investigated the relationship between body image, self-perceived weight status, and body shaping behaviors in young, transgender women. Following graduation, she worked as a Research Coordinator at UMMS, aiding in a study investigating delay in diagnosis for patients with Ankylosing Spondylitis. Her research interests include sexual and gender minority health, community-based health behavior intervention, health policy, and preventative healthcare. Katarina is currently a second year PhD student and a pre-doctoral scholar in the UMass Center for Clinical and Translation Science (UMCCTS) TL1 Training Program and is mentored by Dr. Kate Lapane and Dr. William Jesdale.

Melissa Goulding, BS, MS

Melissa earned a BS in Biology from Emmanuel College, Boston MA and a MS in Medical Sciences from Boston University School of Medicine. Through her master’s program she was introduced to clinical research at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. After completing her masters, Melissa remained at UMMS as a clinical research coordinator in the Emergency Medicine Department until joining the CPHR program. Melissa’s research interests include chronic disease prevention and health promotion in children with an emphasis on health equity. Currently, her work focuses on pediatric hypertension screening and management. Melissa is a member of the Health Equity Research Group (HERG), the IMSD program, and is a pre-doctoral scholar in the UMass Center for Clinical and Translation Science (UMCCTS) TL1 Training Program. Melissa is mentored by Dr. Stephenie Lemon.

Carly Herbert, BA

Carly is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis with a BA in Anthropology: Global Health and the Environment. During her time at Washington University, Carly conducted research with the Death to Onchocerciasis and Lymphatic filariasis (DOLF) Project, looking at adverse effects associated with mass drug administration for the global elimination of Lymphatic filariasis. She also conducted anthropological research on the gendering of HIV in Uganda. After college, Carly worked at the CDC as a Public Health Research Fellow in the Division of Chronic Viral Diseases studying HPV infection among men who have sex with men.

Carly is in the Clinical and Population Health Research Program, and her current interests include social and infectious epidemiology and biostatistics. Carly will be working with Dr. Bo Wang as her thesis advisor, studying HIV education implementation in the Bahamas and machine learning as an HIV risk predictor

Julie Hugunin, BS

Julie Hugunin earned a BS in Biology from Northeastern University, Boston MA. Through her experiences in college, she was inspired to become a physician-scientist so that she could improve health at both the individual and population level, while helping to bridge the worlds of patient care and scientific research. Julie is interested in improving mental health care and outcomes through integrated and collaborative approaches within primary care. Her research focuses on primary healthcare utilization in transition age youth (16-25 years) with serious mental illness. She is also working on understanding working-aged adults (22-64 years) with serious mental illness in nursing homes. Julie is a pre-doctoral scholar in the UMass Center for Clinical and Translation Science (UMCCTS) TL1 Training Program and is mentored by Dr. Christine Ulbricht.

Clevanne Julce, BS, MPH

Clevanne Julce (she/her/hers) is a 1st-year PhD student in the Clinical and Population Health Research program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Clevanne received her BS in Public Health from UMass Amherst and holds an MPH in Program Management from Boston University. In 2013, she joined ClimbCorps as a Team Associate at Brigham and Women’s Hospital where she delivered wellness presentations and physical activity challenges to corporate offices, schools, and community organizations throughout the Boston area. For seven years, Clevanne worked as a Project Manager for the Preconception Care Research Team at Boston University Medical Center (BUMC) where she oversaw both domestic and international grant portfolios. Within this role, she coordinated a national randomized-controlled trial of over 500 Black and African American women, assisted in the content development of an innovative Health Information Technology system, “Gabby”, designed to mitigate poor maternal and infant health outcomes in the Black community, and carried out the adaptation and cultural tailoring of “Gabby” for use in the country of Lesotho to promote HIV testing among the Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) community. Additionally, Clevanne has worked as an Event Coordinator for the Volunteer Health Advisor program at Cambridge Health Alliance and a Community Health Worker for the Center for Disease Control’s High Impact Prevention program. Clevanne’s primary research focus seeks to use a mixed-methods approach to investigate the intersection between the use of technology, preconception care delivery, and the growing field of implementation science. She is passionate about health disparities and racial justice particularly surrounding Black maternal and infant mortality. She will be mentored by Dr. Nancy Byatt.

Stephane Labossiere, BS, MSc, MS

Stephane Labossiere, BS, MSc, MS, aspires to become a public health scientist in the areas of cardiovascular disease prevention, health disparities, mixed methods, community-participatory research, and aging. He has completed internships and research projects with the United Nations, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and for the American Federation for Aging Research. While at Teachers College, he also worked as a Clinton Health Matters Initiative Intern at the Clinton Foundation. In 2019, he started a position as a Community Outreach Coordinator with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and the Office of Housing Authority. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Stephane conducted many webinars and provided city agency resources to 1,600+constituents in New York City. He has been featured on many media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, ABC News, Pix 11 News, The Daily Wire, and for his outreach work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He was a Research Coordinator at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City. In this role, Stephane managed all administrative, operational, dissemination of activities and reporting relating to department-specific research projects. Mr. Labossiere’s research interests include health care quality measurement and improvement; health policy analysis; the development and assessment of public health interventions. Moreover, his work focuses on sustainable health prevention programs for improving population health in the United States and developing countries. Stephane has conducted global public health work in Haiti, India, and Colombia.

Stephane received his B.S. from York College, City University of New York (CUNY) with distinction as a Thurgood Marshall College Fund Student Ambassador and CDC Undergraduate Public Health Scholar. He holds two master’s degrees in public health and health care management with honors from Teachers College, Columbia University and Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School, respectively. He is a current Ph.D. student in Clinical and Population Health Research at the University of Massachusetts Medical School under the mentorship of Dr. Stephenie Lemon.

Nien-Chen Li, BS, MPH, MA

Nien-Chen Li (Anny) received her BS in Medical Science and Technology from Taipei Medical University, Taiwan. Subsequently she obtained MPH in Epidemiology and MA in Biostatistics from Boston University School of Public Health, and MA in Statistics from Boston University Department of Mathematics and Statistics. During her stay at Boston University, she served as a teaching assistant in several major courses, and research assistant in medical research involving pharmacoepidemiological studies related to hepatitis C, Alzheimer disease, dementia and Parkinson’s disease; diabetes; patterns of recovery for children with burn injuries; and US Veterans health care outcomes and health related quality of life, etc. After graduation, she worked for Fresenius Medical Care, the world’s largest dialysis company, as a biostatistician participated in clinical epidemiology research for end-stage renal disease; patients’ clinical outcomes and quality of life; intervention analysis; large oracle data extraction and management; statistical analysis using SAS including GENMOD, survival analysis, case-control matching, and propensity analysis. She is mentored by Professor Arlene Ash as a PhD student in the Population and Quantitative Health Sciences Department.

Pryce Michener, BS, BA

Pryce is originally from Lawton, Oklahoma and graduated from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee with a BS in Biology and a BA in German. During undergrad, he studied the evolutionary biology of the Australian plant family Goodeniaceae with a focus on phylogenetics and bioinformatics. Since college, he has done research on the evolution of transposable elements in gibbons and another project on the evolution of stickleback fish immune systems. He began doing population health research after coming to UMass and is interested in health disparities and social epidemiology research particularly in people who use drugs or are experiencing homelessness. He has been involved in local harm reduction work since moving to Worcester for medical school two years ago. He will be mentored by Dr. Peter Friedmann.

Arvis Mortimer, BSc, MPH/MPH

Arvis is from Nassau, Bahamas and earned her double Master of Public Health (MPH) degrees with Distinction from the University of Sheffield and the University of Copenhagen, through the Erasmus Mundus Europubhealth+ joint Master’s program, in 2014. Her undergraduate degree – a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Biology with a minor in Chemistry – was received from the College of The Bahamas in 2010.

From 2015 to 2021, Arvis worked in the area of Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E). She has been a consultant on various projects; including the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Cooperative Agreement with The Bahamas Ministry of Health.

Prior to working in M&E, Arvis was a Research Assistant with the Focus on Youth in the Caribbean (FOYC) Fidelity Research Project, between 2011 and 2015. FOYC-Fidelity was a collaborative national research endeavor that assessed the relationship between adolescent outcomes and teacher faithfulness to an evidence-based HIV risk-reduction curriculum for young people.

Arvis is incredibly passionate about public health research and using data to evaluate and/or facilitate the implementation of interventions that could potentially improve population health and reduce disparities in outcomes.

Her UMMS CPHR mentor is Dr. Bo Wang and she will be focusing on developing effective mobile health (mHealth) interventions to improve HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) uptake and adherence among young Thai men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender women.

Catherine Nagawa, MS

Catherine earned her BS in Statistics and Mathematics from Makerere University in Uganda, and her MS in Epidemiology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her thesis focused on predictors of anemia among HIV patients in Uganda. After obtaining her MS, she worked as a research coordinator at the University of Massachusetts Medical School within the Division of Health Informatics and Implementation Science. Catherine’s research interests include application of behavior change theory and use of mHealth technology to improve health. With an underlying passion for math, Catherine is a lifelong learner in the field of predictive data analytics. She is mentored by Dr. Rajani Sadasivam, PhD and Dr. Thomas Houston, MD, MPH.

Syed Naqvi, BS

Syed Naqvi (He/Him/His) graduated from the University of Connecticut with a BS in Biological Sciences and a BS in Environment, Culture, and Health. His McNair Scholar research and honors thesis focused on studying the health burdens of contaminated water and creating hydrogel beads that could be used to treat contaminated water as a solution.

He conducted postbaccalaureate research at UMMS with Dr. Anthony Nunes studying non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. His experience motivated him to pursue a PhD in CPHR. Currently, Syed is a first year PhD student working on diabetes epidemiology related research mentored by Dr. Anthony Nunes.

Laël Nethania Ngangmeni, BA, MBS

Laël received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Pre-Medical studies and Psychology from Bard College at Simon’s Rock. While there, she completed a year-long senior thesis project on "(Over)Medicalization of Pregnancy and Childbirth in the United States: Consequences, Repercussions, and a 'New Age' revolt." She then graduated from Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine with a Master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences. Laël then joined UMassMed as an MD/PhD student in the Clinical and Population Health Research program.

Shaped by her experience as a Cameroonian immigrant to the United States, Laël’s research interests include infant and maternal health, health disparities—especially with regards to race and religion, immigrant and refugee health, and mental health. She has completed a lab rotation with Dr. Nancy Byatt on screening for mental illnesses during the perinatal period. She also completed a lab rotation with Dr. Wenjun Li on teen pregnancy and another one with Dr. Kristin Mattocks on Veterans' health. Laël will be working with Dr. Kristin Mattocks as her thesis advisor, studying health disparities and women Veterans' health.

Seun Osundolire, MD

Seun Osundolire graduated from Windsor University School of Medicine, St. Kitts (West Indies) with a MD degree. After graduation, he proceeded to complete a medical practice internship year in his home country, Nigeria. He came to the U.S in 2015 and subsequently joined the U.S Army as a Behavioral Health Specialist. Seun is studying for his MPH degree at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS), and hopes to complete it by Summer 2020. His master's culminating experience project was focused on finding the relationship between overweight and congestive heart failure or coronary heart disease using the NHANES dataset. He has research interests in the field of pharmacoepidemiology and working with vulnerable populations.

Atinuke Oyinbo, BSc, MPH

Atinuke is a first year PhD student in the Clinical and Population Health Research Program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She earned her BSc in Biochemistry from Covenant University and her MPH in Epidemiology from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Her undergraduate thesis was an exploration of potential cancer biomarkers through the quantitative measurement of biochemical parameters in Nigerian breast cancer patients. At UMass Lowell, she served as a research assistant to provide support on the qualitative analysis of focus group data from the Healthy Active and in Control (HA1C) project, a study that examined the feasibility and acceptability of yoga as a complementary therapy for adults with Type-2 Diabetes. She also explored the effects of social media usage on perceived stress among college students using data from the USDA-funded Get Fruved project. She completed her MPH practicum with the Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards where she evaluated state workers’ injury compensation claims to identify and prioritize high-risk occupational settings. Atinuke is mentored by Dr. Mara Epstein and Dr. Kate Lapane and her research interests lie broadly in the field of cancer epidemiology, particularly in biomarkers, survivorship, comorbidities, polypharmacy and cancer disparities.

Meagan Sabatino, BA, MSL

Meagan Sabatino (she/her/hers) earned her BA in Psychology and Philosophy from Boston University. Following graduation, she spent 12 years working in clinical research at institutions in Boston, Cleveland, Indianapolis, and Dallas. Her research focused on advancing treatment in clinical specialties such as Sports Medicine, Orthopaedics, Oncology, and Emergency Medicine. Over the last two years, Meagan managed an Institutional Review Board program, facilitating the review of human subjects research protocols and ensuring research was conducted both legally and ethically. In the spring of 2021, she completed a Masters of Legal Studies in Health Law and Healthcare Policy at Wake Forest University. Meagan’s research interests include studying the creation, validation, and use of patient-reported outcomes, identifying the impact of treatment on health-related quality of life, predicting long-term treatment outcomes, and health policy research.

Divya Shridharmurthy, MBBS, MPH

Divya is a doctoral candidate in the Clinical and Population Health Research Department. Prior to her doctoral training, Divya earned her Bachelor’s degree in Medicine from M S Ramaiah Medical College, India and Master's degree in Public Health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore. She then worked as a Research Fellow at the University of Maryland in the Pharmaceutical Health Services Research Department, during which she was primarily involved in comparative effectiveness research and patient centered outcomes research studies conducted in both academic and industry settings. Her research interest is in pharmacoepidemiology and pharmacoeconomics including developing methods to optimize use of therapeutics, cost-effectiveness of prescription drugs and medical devices, as well as the development and evaluation of policies to improve their use. Divya is mentored by Shao-Hsien Liu, PhD.

Yiyang Yuan, MS, MPH

Yiyang earned her BS from East China University of Science and Technology, MPH in epidemiology from UCLA, and MS in health services research from Boston University. She joined the Clinical and Population Health Research program as a Ph.D. student mentored by Dr. Christine Ulbricht in 2017. Yiyang is passionate about leveraging longitudinal data from administrative databases, national surveys, and other patient-reported measures to disentangle the development of age-related conditions arising from physical, cognitive, and psychosocial processes. In August 2020, Yiyang received the F99 grant from the National Institute on Aging to support her dissertation research on physical frailty and cognitive impairment in older U.S. nursing home residents.

Peng "Billy" Zhou, MS

Peng “Billy” Zhou graduated from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute with an MS in Data Science prior to becoming a medical student at UMMS. Billy’s master thesis focused on Generative Adversarial Networks Learning with Sparse Image Data. During his Master study, he worked as a research assistant in Deep Transfer Learning Radiology Reports Semantic Analysis, and he worked with the pharmaceutical company for Deep learning Image classification. These experiences ignited his great passion for applicating machine learning and deep learning technology into biomedical research. Mentored by Dr. Chan Zhou, Billy is currently interested in computational methods development of integrating multiple big data (high-throughput sequencing genomics, transcriptomics and clinical health record) to explore noncoding RNAs and epigenomics for personalized medicine.