Author Archives: Nancy Nguyen

#WeAreEmoryEPI: Meet Jasmine Southivongnorath

Category : #WeAreEmoryEPI

Meet Jasmine Southivongnorath! Jasmine is a second-year Epidemiology MPH candidate with research interest in infectious disease, cardiovascular disease, chronic diseases, and social determinants of health. In this feature, Jasmine talks about her experience at Rollins, advice for first-years, and what she likes to do in her free time. Read more about her below!

 


 

Tell us a little bit about your academic history/where you went to school. 

I graduated with a BS in Biomedical Sciences from Rochester Institute of Technology in May 2020.

 

Are there any exciting projects that you are currently working on that you’d like to share with us?

I am currently working as a research assistant with Dr. Michael Goodman and Dr. Rami Yacoub, focusing on medical record abstractions for the CEASAR and TOPCS prostate cancer projects. I am also doing my APE with Dr. Julie Gazmararian on the relationship between sleep and academics of high school students in Barrow County, GA and creating school-specific analyses and reports.

 

What is your favorite part about earning your MPH at Emory?

I really love how integrated the faculty/staff are with students and the abundance of networking opportunities there are for us to succeed. I also love being part of such a huge public health community and attending one of the top public health schools in the nation.

 

When applying, what were you looking for in a public health school, and what factors drove you towards Rollins?

I was looking for a school that is largely research- or science-based. Coming with a scientific background, I wanted to apply to a program that had the same amount of rigor that will strive me to do my best. I also loved that Rollins is well known in the public health world, with its opportunities and connections, and know that I see myself succeeding here.

 

What is your favorite class you have taken so far at Emory and why? 

I really enjoyed taking EPI 517 – Case Studies in ID Epi during my fall semester, which exposed me to a lot of knowledge about so many different infectious diseases. Applying key epi concepts and characteristics of IDs to real-life examples/cases allowed myself to be integrated in the process of working up outbreaks and identifying possible solutions.

 

What advice do you have for 1st year MPH Students?

Attend office hours! Whether they’re hosted by your professor or a TA, these sessions definitely helped me in understanding methods and data analysis. Seek opportunities such as a research assistant position or a leadership position. And lastly, enjoy your time and have fun during your time here!

 

How have you been spending your free time?

I enjoy watching shows/movies on Netflix/Disney+ (I just binged the entire MCU movies), listening to true crime podcasts, cooking, and going on food adventures!

 

If you currently live in Atlanta, what is one place that you would recommend people to visit? 

Jeni’s or Butter & Cream for some good ice cream!

 

What are three fun facts that you want people to know about you?
  1. I am practically addicted to boba.
  2. My current favorite artists are MANILA GREY and Thuy (check Spotify).
  3. Moving to Atlanta for grad school was my biggest move ever, I am originally from NY!

 


 

It was great to get to know you, Jasmine! Tune in every Monday for another feature on #WeAreEmoryEPI.

 

Want to share your story with our Confounder community? Email confounder [at] emory [dot] edu and express your interest. We look forward to hearing from you. 


#WeAreEmoryEPI: Meet Oyinda Adisa

Category : #WeAreEmoryEPI

Meet Oyinda! Oyinda Adisa is a second-year Epidemiology MPH candidate. Her research interests include cancer epidemiology and injury prevention awareness. In this feature, Oyinda talks about her experience working for the CDC, her favorite RSPH course so far, and must-see hiking locations in Atlanta. Read more below!

 


 

Tell us a little bit about your academic history/where you went to school. 

I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Human Nutrition from Cornell University in 2017, after which I worked for about 2 years in the field of cancer advocacy and awareness, before starting my MPH program at Rollins.

 

Are there any exciting projects that you are currently working on that you’d like to share with us?

I am currently working with the CDC’s Core State Violence and Injury Prevention Program (Core SVIPP) team within the Injury Prevention Program, Georgia Department of Public Health with compiling a directory of mental health support and suicide prevention services across the state to inform a network map of services available to Georgia families and community members. I also assist the SurvivorLink Team of researchers within the Emory Prevention Research Center as they implement the adoption of the personal electronic health record and education system, SurvivorLink designed to promote survivor care, within pediatric cancer clinics.

 

What is your favorite part about earning your MPH at Emory?

I love that we are immersed in an environment where so many interesting research projects are happening and we have the opportunity to plug into them. Also, faculty are approachable and willing to help and guide students as they navigate the program.

 

What is your favorite class you have taken so far at Emory and why?

So far, I have enjoyed EPI 543 (Cardiovascular Epidemiology) because the course allowed me breakdown and understand how to read research papers and how to interpret results and present paper summaries.

 

How have you been spending your free time?

I have enjoyed exploring brunch spots, swimming or just relaxing by my apartment complex pool, cooking and listening to my favorite podcasts.

 

If you currently live in Atlanta, what is one place that you would recommend people to visit?

If you love the great outdoors, you would love Atlanta and the wider Georgia. I have really enjoyed hiking this summer, so far I have hiked near the Chattahoochee River; the East Palisades trail, the Cloudland Canyon State Park and at the Providence Canyon State Park. I have also explored coffee shops around, my favorite is the White Windmill Bakery and Cafe in Doraville.

 

What are some fun facts that you want people to know about you?

1.) I cannot drink anything with banana in it!

2.) I am from Lagos, Nigeria or “Lasgidi” as it is popularly known

 


 

We had so much fun learning about you, Oyinda! Stay tuned every Monday for a new spotlight on #WeAreEmoryEPI. 

 

Interested in being featured for the #WeAreEmoryEPI column? Email confounder [at] emory [dot] edu for more details on how to get interviewed. We can’t wait to hear from you!


#InsideAPE: Jasmine Berry and HealthMPowers

Category : #WeAreEmoryEPI

Jasmine Berry is a second-year Epidemiology MPH candidate. This summer, Jasmine worked with Dr. Julie Gasmararian and HealthMPowers to analyze health behavior data from childcare centers. Her interests include maternal and child health, sexual reproductive health, mental health, and social determinants of health. Read more about Jasmine and her experience below!

 


 

Tell us about your APE project.

My APE project is working with Dr. Julie Gazmararian and HealthMPowers, which is an organization that partners with childcare centers in Georgia and focus on improving child health behaviors. I work with Dr. Gazmararian to analyze health behavior data from childcare centers and write reports that evaluate changes in health behaviors in those centers. I also worked on side projects that included writing a manuscript about changes in child health behaviors in virtual/hybrid/in-person environments during the pandemic and conducting an environmental scan by mapping different health indicators around childcare centers.

 

How did you find your APE project?

I found my APE through the email listserv for students pursuing the maternal and child health certificate. Dr. Michael Kramer tends to forwards a lot of emails about APE and employment opportunities using the listserv. So, when he sent an email about HealthMPowers, I thought it would work well with my interests, applied, and was offered a position.

 

When did you start looking for an APE? When did you start working for your APE organization?

I began looking for an APE around January and February because I wanted to start early and not stress about it. I found my APE around the beginning of March and started working the end of April/beginning of May.

 

Are you pursuing any certificates? If so, was it difficult to meet your APE requirements? 

I’m pursuing the Maternal and Child Health Certificate. The process was pretty straightforward and easy. I just had to submit a form to the certificate supervisor describing the APE and its applications and it was approved.

 

What has the experience been like so far?

It’s been interesting to see the inside operations of a community based organization and how they determine and view health behavior progress in a community. It’s also been beneficial to see how teams work outside of an academic setting and I am appreciative of the work environment so far.

 

How did you spend your free time this summer?

I’ve been reading a lot, watching movies, painting, and got back into playing video games. Since my friends are all vaccinated now, we’ve been hanging out more.

 

What are 3 fun facts that you want people to know about you? 

1. I speak 4 languages.

2. I grew up in Atlanta.

3. I’ve read almost 100 books last year.

 


 

Thanks for speaking with us, Jasmine! Tune in every Monday to see who we feature next on #WeAreEmoryEPI.


#WeAreEmoryEPI: Meet Olivia Barnum

Category : #WeAreEmoryEPI

Meet Olivia Barnum – a second-year Epidemiology MPH candidate with research interests in social determinants of health and addressing failtures in healthcare systems. In this feature, Olivia talks about why she chose Rollins, her favorite RSPH class so far, and a must-see business in Atlanta. Read more below!

 


 

Tell us a little bit about your academic history/where you went to school.

I went to school in Richmond, Virginia where I attended University of Richmond, getting my B.S. in Biology. Go Spiders!

 

Are there any exciting projects that you are currently working on that you’d like to share with us?

I’m currently assisting in the Plantinga Lab where I am creating validity reports for the APPEAL study, which is primarily focused on estimating functional impairment among lupus patients. I am also working at the CDC, as an ORISE fellow, assessing the output of their Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) unit.

 

When applying, what were you looking for in a public health school, and what factors drove you towards Rollins?

I wanted to go to school in a city that also matched my career goals and Atlanta is the best location for public health. I also wanted a welcoming, collaborative environment, which I was assured was present by current students.

 
What is your favorite part about earning your MPH at Emory?

The professors at Emory are truly invested in your betterment. Their patience, care, and support have given me a leg up on public health that I could not get anywhere else.

 

What advice do you have for 1st year MPH Students?

Don’t be afraid to reach out and speak to your professors (even if only to say hello!)

 

What is your favorite class you have taken so far at Emory and why?

So far, I’ve fallen in love with Geographic Information Systems (INFO 530) and am looking forward to taking the subsequent class in the fall. Our zip code is more important to our health than our genetic code! Being able to visually demonstrate the social determinants of health was a fun and eye-opening experience. I never expected to fall in love with maps, but there may be a place for me in spatial epidemiology.

 

How have you been navigating the work (& learn) from home experience during the COVID-19 outbreak?

I navigated it very well for all 8am classes and no required commute. Overall, with the help of my fellow students in the same position, we were able to conquer this sometimes difficult task. It has been a pleasure taking class to the kitchen with me.

 

How have you been spending your free time?

I started a small book club with my sister (which consisted of solely me and my sister) where we read whatever we fancied. I also have benefitted from the age of streaming as I watch more shows than I can handle. In my free time, I also harass my mother for pictures of my cats, which are back home in Maryland.

 

What are three fun facts that you want people to know about you?
  1. I had to get 6 wisdom teeth pulled during spring semester
  2. I’ve been to 10 countries
  3. I’ve pet a cat in each one (check my second fact)

 

If you currently live in Atlanta, what is one place that you would recommend people to visit?

It’s almost impossible to go wrong with the various food options here, so I’ll plug Bear and Honey – a small business candle store in Atlanta where you can learn how to make your own candle! Currently trying to copyright the secret aromatic combination of the candle that I created.

 


 

Thanks for taking the time to talk with us, Olivia. Tune in every Monday for a new feature in #WeAreEmoryEPI!

 

Interested in being showcased on our blog? Email confounder [at] emory [dot] edu and express your interest in #WeAreEmoryEPI. We can’t wait to hear from you!


#WeAreEmoryEPI: Meet John Shen and the Faith in the Vaccine Ambassadors

Category : #WeAreEmoryEPI

Meet John Shen, a second year Global Epidemiology MSPH candidate. This summer, John along with Kiki Francois and Linh Le, 2 graduate students from Emory’s Candler School of Theology, have been working to provide COVID-19 vaccines to the Atlanta community. Read more about John and how these 3 Emory graduate students are using their mobile vaccine clinic to respond to the effects of the pandemic on vulnerable populations.

 


 

              

Left to right: Linh Le (Candler School of Theology), Kiki Francois (Candler School of Theology), John Shen (Rollins School of Public Health)

 

Tell us about your project.

This summer, Rev. Kiki Francois (Candler), Linh Le (Candler), and I became Faith in the Vaccine Ambassadors through Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), a national nonprofit organization, and Emory’s Office of Spiritual and Religious Life. Our project aims to increase access to COVID-19 vaccines and decrease vaccine hesitancy within vulnerable populations. We collaborated with Emory Healthcare and community partners—Toco Hill Community Alliance (THCA), a food pantry serving over 22,000 households during the height of the pandemic, and Peachtree Baptist Justice Initiative—to provide a mobile vaccine clinic for the community connected with THCA and address specific concerns and obstacles surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine.

 

How did you find your project?

Emory’s Office of Spiritual and Religious Life organized a cohort of Emory students to join IFYC’s nation-wide cohort of Faith in the Vaccine Ambassadors, whose collective goal would be to bolster vaccinations in their local communities. Linh Le, our team mobilizer, brought us three together, recruiting Kiki for her experience in community advocacy and organization and me for my experience in public health.

 

When did you start this project?

We began our work in May, receiving training on communication and advocacy from Interfaith Youth Core. In June, our team connected with Emory Healthcare and the aforementioned community partners and initiated preparations for a mobile vaccine clinic at Toco Hills Community Alliance.

 

What has the experience been like so far?

I have grown so much from this experience: from learning how to work in a diverse team with strong personalities and varying perspectives, to recognizing the challenges that come with conducting surveys and communicating health information, to sharing the joy of people who finally have the opportunity to get vaccinated. At the same time, this project was a breath of fresh air, a far cry from my usual activities revolving around research and data analysis, and it showed me a different side of public health.

 

How have you been spending your free time this summer?

When I’m not teleworking for the CDC or Taskforce for Global Health or working on this vaccine project, I enjoy playing beach volleyball on Clairmont Campus through Emory’s summer intramural league.

 

What are 3 fun facts that you want people to know about you?
  1. According to trusted sources, I can make a mean Japanese cheesecake.
  2. Definitely a water bender since I feel most at home in the water, whether it’s swimming, scuba diving, or dragon boat racing.
  3. I tan very easily, so volleyball this summer has got me looking d a r k.

 


 

Thanks for sharing your story with us, John! Tune in every Monday to see who we interview next on #WeAreEmoryEPI

 

Interested in being featured in our blog? Email confounder [at] emory [dot] edu and express your interest in #WeAreEmoryEPI! We can’t wait to hear from you. 

 


#InsideAPE: Lovette Ekwebelem and the Ponce de Leon Center

Category : #WeAreEmoryEPI

Lovette Ekwebelem is a second year Global Epidemiology MPH candidate. This summer, she has been working with Grady’s Ponce de Leon Center and Emory’s School of Medicine to examine if peer-facilitated individualized condom selection intervention can lower STI incidence among young MSM. Her interests include infectious disease, health disparities, community health, and global health equity. Read more about Lovette and her experience below!

 


 

 

Tell us about your APE project. 

This summer, I have been working at Grady’s Ponce de Leon Center with Dr. Andres Camacho-Gonzalez and Emory’s School of Medicine. I am looking at if a peer-facilitated individualized condom selection intervention can lower the incidence of STIs among young MSM.

 

How did you find your APE project?

I’m a REAL student, so my job ultimately turned into my APE opportunity.

 

When did you start looking for an APE? When did you start working for your APE organization?

I started looking around January (which was when I was also looking for a job). I wanted to have a job that could possible help me with finding an APE.

 

Are you pursuing any certificates? If so, was it difficult to meet your APE requirements?

Yes, Social Determinants of Health certificate. It was not too difficult because the GLEPI requirements were kind of similar. With GLEPI, I had the choice between a global context or an underserved population, and I chose the latter which worked out because it satisfied the SDOH requirement.

 

What has the experience been like so far?

It has been an exciting experience. It has really opened my eyes to infectious disease research and ways to mitigate its spread. I have learned so much from the entire team, and I have learned even more from the participants.

 

How have you been spending your free time this summer?

Podcasts (NPR is my favorite!), DIY projects, hiking, biking, swimming, and listening to music.

 

What are 3 fun facts that you want people to know about you?

1. I’m a first-gen American

2. I’ve swam with sharks

3. I’m a huge Marvel fan

 

 


 

It was great to get to know you, Lovette! Tune in every Monday and see who we talk with next for #WeAreEmoryEPI.

Want to share your story with our Confounder community? Send an email to our communications team at confounder [at] emory [dot] edu to be featured!


#InsideAPE: Lauren Krebs and the Emory University Hospital

Category : #WeAreEmoryEPI

Lauren Krebs is a rising-second year Epidemiology MPH candidate. This summer, Lauren is interning with the Infection Prevention Department at Emory University Hospital Midtown to prevent and reduce healthcare associated infections. Her primary interests include maternal and child health along with sexual and reproductive health. Read more about Lauren and her experience below!

 

 


 

 

Tell us about your APE project.

I am interning at Emory University Hospital Midtown (EUHM) with the Infection Prevention Department. We do a little bit over everything! However the main things would be daily rounds on all units to check for overall cleanliness, consulting with nurses and doctors when there is a healthcare associated infection (HAI) or potential HAI, and reviewing construction projects to determine what safety protocols need to be taken to prevent HAIs.

 

How did you find your APE project? 

My friend took a class on HAIs in the spring and they had a guest speaker from the Infection Prevention Department at EUHM who talked about the inter program. She mentioned it to me and I reached out to them via email.

 

When did you start looking for an APE? When did you start working for your APE organization? 

I started looking for an APE in April, but wasn’t having much luck. I heard about this opportunity at the end of May and was able to start mid-June.

 

What has the experience been like so far?

So far I love it! I didn’t know much about it going in, so I didn’t really know what to expect. The Infection Prevention team is amazing and so supportive. Everyone at the hospital is very kind and welcoming, and I get to do a lot of hands on tasks.

 

How have you been spending your free time this summer?

I have been training my puppy, going to dog parks, and watching way too many crime shows.

 

What are 3 fun facts that you want people to know about you?

1. I’ve been skydiving and bungee jumping.

2. I am a proud dog mom.

3. I am a die hard belieber.

 

 


 

 

Thanks for speaking with us this week, Lauren! Stay tuned into the Confounder to see who we interview next.


#InsideAPE: Sandra Amouzou and Georgia Department of Public Health

Category : #WeAreEmoryEPI

Sandra Amouzou is a rising-second year Global Epidemiology MPH candidate. This summer, she is working with Dr. Julie Gazmararian and the Georgia Department of Public Health to assess the effect of The Georgia Home Visiting Program on the Social Emotional Learning of their clients. Her primary interests include social factors that affect health, mental health, and social epidemiology. Read more about Sandra and her experience below!

 

 


 

 

Tell us about your APE project.

My APE project is working with Dr. Julie Gazmararian on one of her projects with the Georgia Department Public Heath (DPH) where we are assessing the effect of  The Georgia Home Visiting Program on the Social Emotional Learning of their clients. Phase one of the project will last until about December 2021. I am working with other investigators and students to develop our survey, coordinate with home visitors with finding clients to participate in the survey, and eventually will perform data analyses with results that we will present to those within DPH. I am currently working on our flyers and our IRB proposal to be sent in.

 

How did you find your APE project?

I found my APE from reaching out to Dr. Gazmararian throughout the semester. I really enjoyed her Social Epidemiology course in the fall and I emailed her to stay up to date. I contacted her when she sent out an invitation for students to work on some projects with her and it worked out perfectly!

 

When did you start looking for an APE? When did you start working for your APE organization?

In all honesty, I probably started looking earlier than necessary (February) but that was because I wanted to apply to as many options that seemed interesting to me. I finally committed to this APE in May, and started working that same month.

 

Are you pursuing any certificates? If so, was it difficult to meet your APE requirements? 

I am pursuing the socio-contextual determinants of health certificate and this worked perfectly with it. I submitted a form that related my project to my certificate and it was approved by our certificate supervisor.

 

What has the experience been like so far?

So far, working with our team as well as a local organization has taught me the importance of direct communication when it comes to tasks and project aims. I have enjoyed the learning moments, the warm environment that the investigators have provided, as well as the opportunity to learn more about programs being implemented in the state.

 

How have you been spending your free time this summer? 

I have been reading for fun (I’m a huge scifi fan so I just started a novel called the Midnight Library), spending time with my family and friends (movie nights), spending time outside, and searching out places for the best gelato (specifically pistachio because you wouldn’t believe how many places in Atlanta don’t carry this flavor!)

 

What are 3 fun facts that you want people to know about you?

Yikes, fun facts.

1. I speak 3 languages,

2. I still have my wisdom teeth

3. I hail from the land of corn (Iowa).

 

 


 

 

Thanks for speaking with us, Sandra! Stay tuned to The Confounder for our next InsideAPE feature. 


InsideAPE: Zihao Liu and Emory School of Medicine

Category : #WeAreEmoryEPI

Zihao Liu is a rising second-year Epidemiology MSPH candidate who is spending his summer understanding patient-reported outcomes for sickle cell disease with Dr. Nitya Bakshi and Emory School of Medicine. His primary interests include infectious disease, specifically rotavirus, vaccine distribution, and patient-centered outcomes research. Read more about Zihao and his experience below!

 

 


 

 

Tell us about your APE project. 

For my APE, I am working with Dr. Nitya Bakshi from Emory School of Medicine on a project evaluating the patient-reported outcomes (PROs) for an acute vaso-occlusive episode in sickle cell disease patients using Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) under different demographic and clinical characteristics; this is part of the result of phase II clinical trial of intervenous arginine therapy in sickle cell disease. I will be conducting a systematic review, data analysis, and drafting a manuscript.

 

How did you find your APE project?

My APE is a continuation of my REAL job. I began working for Dr. Bakshi primarily as a data analyst for another sickle cell disease project. After finishing it in the Spring semester, we started my current project, and I have been working on it for my APE since then.

 

What has the experience been like so far?

My experience so far has been fantastic. It was a challenging and rewarding process to start the project, from conducting the literature review to spending months coding and conducting data analysis, then finally writing the result into a manuscript. But, more importantly, working on the APE is a precious learning experience for me.

 

How have you been spending your free time this summer?

I have been spending my free time this summer trying different restaurants in Atlanta and binge-watching “The Office” over and over again.

 

What are 3 fun facts that you want people to know about you?

1. I came from northeastern China, where the temperature usually gets to -30℉ in winter and sometimes still snows in April. Coming to Atlanta is the first time in my life where I don’t live with any snow in winter.

2. I adopted a cat named Crew when I came to Atlanta.

3. I have been volunteering at a local crisis hotline for 4 years and am still doing it during the weekend.

 

 


 

 

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Zihao! Stay tuned to The Confounder for the next InsideAPE feature. 


Upcoming Events

  • Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Seminar October 6, 2022 at 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm CNR-1000 Event Type: Seminar SeriesSeries: Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics SeminarSpeaker: Carl Yang, PhDContact Name: Porchia Coleman-ArnoldContact Email: Porchia.Arnold@emory.eduAbstract: Graph Mining for Healthcare
  • Cafecito with LAL October 6, 2022 at 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm GCR Room P45 Event Type: Student EventTake a break and relax with your LAL familia! There will be food, beverages, music, and painting!
  • Rollins Hygiene Giveaway with ERHA October 6, 2022 at 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm Collins Courtyard Event Type: Student EventERHA, Dignity Pack Project, and the One Together Project are hosting a 1-for-1 giveaway in the Rollins Courtyard on 10/6 12-1:30pm. Students will be able to “build their own bag” of any hygiene supplies they might need to raise awareness about limited hygiene access.

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