Current Students

  • Hawa Abu

    Hawa Abu, MBBS, MPH, CPH

    Hawa graduated with her Medical Degree from the University of Ibadan, South Western Nigeria in 2010. During her medical training, she became passionate about preventing chronic diseases with a particular interest in working to improve the health outcomes of vulnerable populations. While practicing as a general physician in Nigeria, she decided to develop her skills in population-based research due to the limited impact of her interaction with patients beyond the walls of the clinical setting. In 2015, she earned her MPH degree in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. During this time, she volunteered with the Johns Hopkins Center to Eliminate Cardiovascular Health Disparities. She additionally obtained her Certification in Public Health in 2015, further establishing her commitment to the field of public health. Hawa is enthused about the CPHR program as it has enabled her to engage deeply in cardiovascular epidemiology research and to address the needs of minority populations experiencing health disparities. She seeks to acquire more knowledge and experience in translating research findings to clinical practice and the “real-world”.  She is co-mentored by Dr. Catarina Kiefe and Dr. Robert Goldberg in the Population and Quantitative Health Sciences Department.

  • Matthew Alcusky

    Matthew Alcusky, PharmD, MS

    Matthew graduated with his Doctor of Pharmacy and MS in Pharmacoepidemiology from the University of Rhode Island in 2014. His master’s thesis examined patterns of chronic medication use before and after transitions of care among patients with diabetes. He subsequently furthered his research experience through the 2-year Thomas Jefferson University and Janssen Scientific Affairs Health Economics and Outcomes Research Post-Doctoral Fellowship program. During the fellowship, Matthew led and contributed to health economic, pharmacoepidemiologic, and outcomes research studies conducted in both academic and industry settings, across several therapeutic areas. Matthew has developed a thorough appreciation for the social determinants of health and the need to expand the scope of research and healthcare interventions beyond the traditional realm of medicine in order to effectively improve population health. He aspires to conduct and disseminate impactful research which influences clinical practice and informs health policy, with an ultimate goal of tangibly advancing the tenets of social justice and population health. Mentored by Kate Lapane, PhD, Matthew is presently a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences and is also pursuing a PhD in the CPHR program.

  • Karen Ashe

    Karen Ashe, BA, MS, MNSP

    Karen Ashe earned her BA in Biology from Trinity University, Washington, D.C. and her M.S. in Biology from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2003.  After 10 years of rare disease preclinical research in the biotech industry her interests expanded to nutrition and obesity.  This curiosity led her to attend a Master’s program at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.  Studying issues of local and global nutrition through the lenses of both science and policy gave her a deeper appreciation of the need to translate research into practice. Her research interests include nutrition interventions, application of behavior change theory, mobile technology and patient privacy. 

  • Ariel Beccia

    Ariel Beccia, BS, MS

    Ariel earned her BS in Neuroscience from St. Lawrence University in 2014. After completing her bachelor’s degree, she earned her MS in Integrative Medicine Research from Helfgott Research Institute in Portland, OR, where her research focused on eating disorder prevention and treatment. Her master’s thesis was a mixed methods exploration of women’s experiences with integrative medical care for eating disorders, and she also conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of mindfulness-based eating disorder prevention programs. Her research interests include community-based mental illness prevention, the effects of shame and stigma on mental health, and mindfulness-based interventions for promoting resilience. Mentored by Dr. Judson Brewer, Ariel is currently working on developing a validated measure of mindfulness-based behavioral change. 

  • Maira Castañeda

    Maira Castañeda, BS, MS

    Maira A. Castañeda earned a B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from Universidad Metropolitana in San Juan, Puerto Rico. After completing her bachelor’s degree, she was accepted into the Introduction for Cancer Research Career (ICRC) program of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), where she worked in the dermatology branch for 2 years and discovered a special interest in epidemiology and biostatistics. In 2015, Maira earned a MS in epidemiology at the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus. Her thesis project related Chlamydia trachomatis serostatus with HPV infection in women living in PR. Most recently, she was awarded a diversity supplement by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial research (NIDCR) (5R21DE024850-02), where she worked on a project aimed at evaluating the association between periodontal disease and oral HPV infection. Maira joined the CPHR program through the Pathways to Graduate School Program. Mentored by Mara Epstein, ScD, Maira's research is focused on cancer prevention and the control of infection-related cancers among underserved populations, with a specific focus on Latino/Hispanic health disparities. 

  • Eric Ding

    Eric Ding, BS, MS

    Eric graduated from University of California, San Diego with a BS in biochemistry and psychology as well as an MS in biology. His thesis work in the regulation of cardiac molecular signaling during ischemic stress sparked a strong interest in research and led him to the MD/PhD program at UMMS. During medical school, Eric explored many different avenues of research and discovered exciting opportunities to merge his background in programming and software design with research in improving health conditions and outcomes, specifically in cardiovascular disease. Eric is mentored by Dr. David McManus and is currently working on leveraging biosensors on novel technologies such as smartphones and smartwatches to aid in the diagnosis and management of cardiac arrhythmias.

  • Oluwabunmi Emidio

    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.

  • Nathaniel Erskine

    Nathaniel Erskine, BA

    Nate earned his BA with high honors in chemistry from Swarthmore College in 2010. His undergraduate thesis research in synthetic organic chemistry led him to work as a medicinal chemist in Singapore before coming to UMMS as an MD/PhD student. Nate is currently pursuing his interest in studying cardiovascular disease under the mentorship of Dr. Catarina Kiefe and Dr. Robert Goldberg. His thesis works examines the association of patients' usual sources of care with outcomes after hospitalization for an acute coronary syndrome using data from the Transitions, Risks, and Actions in Coronary Events-Center for Outcomes Research and Education (TRACE-CORE) study. 

  • Aimee Kroll-Desrosiers

    Aimee Kroll-Desrosiers, BA, MS

    Aimee earned her BA in Anthropology with a focus on Culture and Health from Mount Holyoke College and her MS in Epidemiology from UMass Amherst.  She has been a biostatistician in the Department of Quantitative Health Sciences at UMass Medical School since 2010, where she has worked with numerous investigators within the university and gained experience conducting analysis of observational data, assisting in the management of a large clinical trial, and working with Medicare and other types of claims data.  Her research interests include reproductive and maternal health, the coordination of care across providers, and the history, current policies, and alternative methods utilized in conducting clinical trials in vulnerable populations, specifically pregnant women.  Aimee is mentored by Dr. Kristin Mattocks.

  • Nien-Chen Li

    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.

  • Deborah Mack

    Deborah Mack, BA, MPH

    Deborah earned her BA in Biology and Studio Art from Bates College. Her undergraduate thesis focused on medication adherence of Somali Refugees. She then earned her MPH with a concentration in Health Services Research and a focus in gerontology from Brown University in 2015. Her master’s thesis focused on the POLST (Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) development across the US - its effectiveness, utilization, and progress in implementation.  Following graduation from Brown, she worked at the Institute for Aging Research in Boston. Her research interests include health services research and policy among a geriatric population including cost-effectiveness of services, large dataset and claims analysis, and innovative approaches to long-term care. 

  • Grace Masters

    Grace Masters, BS

    Grace graduated from Cornell University with a BS in Biological Sciences, concentrating in Neurobiology and Behavior. After college, she worked at McLean Hospital, in a lab researching the neurobiological underpinnings of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Her passion for understanding and improving the lives of those with serious mental illness led her to the UMMS MD/PhD program, where she plans to train to become a physician-scientist focused on mitigating the difficulties we face in identifying and treating these illnesses. Under the mentorship of Dr. Nancy Byatt and Dr. Kate Lapane, she plans to pursue this work by examining psychiatric treatment of depression and bipolar disorder in pregnant and post-partum women to improve health outcomes.

  • Catherine Nagawa

    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.

  • Divya Shridharmurthy

    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.

  • Meera Sreedhara

    Meera Sreedhara, BA, MPH

    Meera earned a BA in Psychology from College of the Holy Cross and an MPH from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  She previously worked as a clinical research coordinator at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute within the Department of Radiation Oncology and in the Cancer Research Office at the University of Massachusetts Worcester.  Her knowledge of population health research grew during her time as a project manager at the Meyers Primary Care Institute.  Meera’s mixed-methods research focuses on public health approaches that promote healthy eating and physical activity. She is mentored by Stephenie Lemon, PhD and assists on a community-based health behavior intervention, public health systems research, and physical activity policy research.

  • Yiyang Yuan

    Yiyang Yuan, MS, MPH

    Yiyang earned her BS from East China University of Science and Technology, and MPH from University of California Los Angeles. After graduation, she worked as a research data analyst at Boston University School of Public Health, where she later obtained her second master’s degree in health services research. Her thesis topic focused on the impact of parental depression on depressed children and adolescents’ use of psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy. Yiyang has a wide variety of research interests, ranging from children and adolescents with mental health disorders to the quality of care at nursing homes. She enjoys digging deep into the data and believes there is a story to tell behind every statistic. Yiyang is currently a first year Ph.D. student mentored by Dr. Christine Ulbricht.

  • Danni Zhao

    Danni Zhao, MS

    Danni graduated from Peking University in China with a Bachelor of Medicine in 2016. Following graduation from PKU, she came to U.S. and earned her MS in Global Health at Duke University in 2018. Danni's master thesis focused on evaluating the association between pain and depressive symptoms in advanced cancer patients. During her time at Duke, she discovered a great passion for epidemiology and statistical programming, and she is interested in utilizing large healthcare datasets to study drug use and drug effects in the population. This lead her to the CPHR program at UMass Medical School. Danni is presently a first-year Ph.D. student in the program, working on opioids-related pharmaco-epidemiology studies, and she is mentored by Professor Kate Lapane.