Category Archives: #IamEmoryEPI

ADAPs: Noni Bourne and Farah Dharamshi

Category : #IamEmoryEPI

For this week’s #IamEmoryEpi spotlight, we had the special opportunity to get to know both of our new ADAPs (Assistant Director of Academic Programs) in the department: Noni Bourne and Farah Dharamshi!

Tell us a little bit about your academic history:

Noni: I went to Spelman College for undergrad and completed a Masters in English and American Literature at Georgetown University.

Farah: I have a bachelors in science (BS) in environmental studies from the University of Winnipeg (I’m Canadian!), I hold a masters in science and education (MSEd) in public health from the University of Toledo, and a juris master- JM (master in law) in global health law from Emory University.

Where were you before arriving at Rollins?

Noni: My last position was at Trinity Washington University in D.C., where I worked in academic advising and student success.  Before that, I traveled to the South Pacific with the Peace Corps and spent several years advising NYU students.

Farah: I was a director in the Office of Enrollment Management and Student Services for five years at the Emory University School of Law. I have worked in consulting, and graduate medical education as director of medical education, working primarily with family practice residents. I have conducted research in childhood obesity, and interpersonal violence, and has presented numerous seminars on these topics along with early cognitive development, and women’s preventative health. I am also an active community volunteer, and serves as a principal and teacher on the weekends at an early childhood development center.

Why did you want to become an ADAP for the Epidemiology Department?

Noni: I was interested in the ADAP role because it allows me to support students from orientation all the way through to graduation, which is the best part of my job. I’m also really looking forward to learning about and being involved in the inner workings of the department, including admissions and student programming.

Farah: I love working with students, and helping individuals reach their highest potential! It is very rewarding for me to see the change, growth, and development that happens when students find and pursue their passion. I am also excited about the tremendous amount of collaboration both within RSPH, and across Emory to provide an exemplary student experience.

What are you most excited about at Emory?

Noni: I’m excited to join a vibrant, diverse, and well-respected community of scholars, students, and staff.  I’m also excited to learn more about public health and Epidemiology specifically, which are new to me; but (as you already know) have influenced much of my life.

Farah: I had an amazing experience being a student here, and decided to stay! The great minds, and diversity on campus makes each day an adventure.

What goals do you have when it comes to working with your new MPH students?

Noni: I’m looking forward to helping them make the most of their experience and training here at Emory.  That means different things for every student; so I’m excited to get to know my advisees better!

Farah: I’m excited to start meeting all of my students. I’m looking forward to learning about each one individually, and supporting them throughout their time here at Rollins!

What books are you currently reading, or what podcasts are you currently listening to?

Noni:  I’m a big fiction reader.  I recently finished An American Marriage, which is by Tayari Jones (my Spelman sister and current Emory professor).  Before that I was riveted by N.K. Jemisin’s sci-fi/fantasy trilogy The Broken Earth.  I haven’t decided what’s next, and am open to recommendations!

Farah: I am always listening to something, and very rarely watch anything. My favorite podcasts are: RadioLab, OnBeing, the TED Radio Hour, Science VS, HIDDEN BRAIN, Planet Money, Revisionist History, Science Rules, and Science Friday. I am currently reading: When Breath Becomes Air, The Checklist Manifesto, and The Obesity Code.

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

Noni:

  1. Fall is my favorite season, so I am currently living my best sweater and PSL life.
  2. My guilty pleasure is Netflix binge-watching.
  3. I like to cook and my most used spice is cumin. 

Farah:

  1. I love to run – I’ve run in a lot of amazing cities around the world – it’s the best way to know a place.
  2. I love to cook everything, although I am currently expanding my vegetarian repertoire for my daughter’s recent conversion.
  3. I spent my first five years in Africa – Kampala, Uganda.

1st Year EPI MPH: Tony Mufarreh

Category : #IamEmoryEPI , Twitter

For this week’s #IamEmoryEpi spotlight, we met up with Tony Mufarreh!

Tell us a little bit about your academic history:

I obtained my bachelor’s at the University of Michigan in Biochemistry and Middle Eastern Studies.

What are your primary research interests?

I’m really interested in genetic and molecular epidemiology, particularly cardiovascular disease and how both molecular and social determinants of health, synergistically, can affect disease outcome.

What were you up this this past summer?

I worked as a radiochemist in the Department of Radiology at Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor. I was making radiopharmaceuticals for PET imaging and researching novel drugs for imaging neurodegenerative and cardiovascular disease.

Are there any exciting projects or experiences you are involved in right now?

Outside of Rollins, I play trumpet in the Emory Wind Ensemble. I get the chance to develop a unique skill and learn about myself. Music has brought me so much joy and has shaped my values in life.

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

People come to Emory from all around the world and walks of life. I learn so much about the world by simply talking to peers about their lives.

What advice do you have for people who may be interested in getting their MPH?

Ask yourself the following question: “What do I believe in?” It is so key to find educational opportunities that will advance your personal goals and philosophies. An MPH truly does this for me.

What books are you currently reading, or what podcasts are you currently listening to?

I’m currently reading “The Wisdom of Whores: Bureaucrats, Brothels and the Business of AIDS,” by Elizabeth Pisani. It’s a great read to learn how real-world HIV prevention works and the challenges that exist!

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

  1. I’ve been playing the trumpet for 12 years.
  2. My morning omelette ALWAYS consists of spinach, shredded cheese, and turkey slices.
  3. I collect pens, and the most expensive one in my collection is priced at $60.

2nd Year GLEPI MPH: Rutika Raina

Category : #IamEmoryEPI , GLEPI

For this week’s #IamEmoryEpi spotlight, we met up with Rutika Raina!

Tell us where you went to school:

I did my undergrad in India, where I studied Biotechnology.

What are your primary research interests?

My research interest is in non-communicable diseases; particularly psychiatric illness and neurological disorders. I am doing my thesis on Schizophrenia.

What did you do this past summer?

I was working at the Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands at their psychiatric epidemiology department during summer. I loved every bit of my experience in the Netherlands. I actually got to take some time off to roam around and I went to Belgium and Italy for vacation; attended the pride parade in Amsterdam.

How did you find the research that you are currently conducting?

I found my practicum by literally sending an email to the HOD at their Epi Department and things kind of worked smoothly from there. I had an interview and I got in and they actually reimbursed me for my travel expenses.

What is your favorite part about being at Emory?

My favorite part about doing my MPH at Emory is the diversity. The people that I have met and the friends that I have made; the relationships that I have forged, these are the things I am going to be carrying away after I graduate. Oh, also the food that I have had from different cultures and backgrounds. I love it! Obviously, some hard skills too but that’s why we are here, I guess!

Do you have any advice for MPH students?

My advice to the first years would be to take advantage of every opportunity to explore their interests. Graduate school is a lot of work but make sure to breathe once in a while and just broaden your perspective because Rollins provides you with so much that it is overwhelming at times.

What are three fun facts about yourself?

1. I am a trained dancer and I don’t miss an opportunity to dance. I have danced for 6hrs at a stretch.
 
2. I love music to the extent that I absolutely dislike having music apps. I download physical files of each song that I like!
 
3. I have been a year early for all my high school years and even during undergrad because I was promoted to 1st grade directly since I had the skills required for it already at the age of 5. I might be one of the youngest in our cohort too (23 years!)

 


Rollins Professor: Audrey Gaskins

Category : #IamEmoryEPI

For this week’s #IamEmoryEPI, we caught up with Dr. Audrey Gaskins!

Tell us where you went to school:

I received my Bachelors of Science in Engineering from Duke University (2004-2008) and my Doctorate of Science in Nutrition and Epidemiology from Harvard School of Public Health (2010-2014).

What are your primary research interests?

I am interested in how nutrition, lifestyle, and environmental exposures affect a couple’s ability to conceive and have healthy pregnancies and babies.

What did you do this past summer?

I had my first baby in May so I spent my summer on maternity leave caring for a sweet baby boy and soaking up all his newborn snuggles.

How did you find the research that you are currently conducting?

After I finished my undergraduate degree I worked as a post-bachelorette fellow at the NICHD where my mentor was studying how oxidative stress affects menstrual cycle function. It was during those two years that I became fascinated with the topic of human fertility and how little we knew about the factors that affect a man and woman’s chance of conceiving.

What is your favorite part about being at Emory?

The people. Everyone I have met so far is incredibly welcoming and collaborative which is not the standard at many other big research institutions.

Do you have any advice for MPH students?

Don’t feel like you have to narrow down your interests immediately (you can do this later). The MPH program gives you many incredible opportunities to learn about all the different areas of public health- enjoy them! 

What are three fun facts about yourself?

  1. One of my favorite workouts is boxing- I even continued doing it during my pregnancy, up until I was a week from my due date!
  2.  I was a vegetarian for a long time… until I married a Texan
  3. My research on TV watching and semen quality was mentioned in one of Conan O’Brien’s monologues

2nd Year Epi MPH Student: Kirsten Woolpert

Category : #IamEmoryEPI

For this week’s #IamEmoryEpi spotlight, we met up with Kirsten Woolpert!

Tell us where you went to school:

I went to UNC Wilmington, where I studied Biology and Spanish.

What are your primary research interests?

My main interests are in breast cancer research and epidemiologic methodology.

What did you do this past summer?

I worked remotely this summer for the American Cancer Society (ACS), where I performed an evaluation of the SOURCE (Strengthening Organizations for a United Response to the Cancer Epidemic) program. I was responsible for evaluating the effectiveness of this ACS initiative, where in-country cancer organizations were taught how to deliver effectively on their mission and work to reduce the cancer burden throughout Kenya. I also spent the summer coaching our local swim team and teaching swim lessons.

How did you find the research that you are currently conducting?

I found this opportunity through Handshake in early-March.

What is your favorite part about being at Emory?

I really love the Rollins community and knowing that we have such an inclusive and supportive environment. I’ve met so many amazing people in my year here, and I’m so excited to continue getting to know more of our incredible faculty and student body!

Do you have any advice for MPH students?

It’s easy to get caught up in graduate school life, but really make sure to take time out of each week to step away from your work and school responsibilities. I am currently enrolled in two art classes, and each week I’m so happy to step back and work on a hobby I love!

What are three fun facts about yourself?

1. My roommate and I foster cats and dogs- if you’re looking to adopt there’s a good chance I’ve got plenty to choose from at my house!

2. I spent an entire semester with my roommate painting a giant mural at my house, only to move out the day after it was done. I didn’t learn my lesson though, because I’m doing the exact same thing now…

3. I was once stung by a stingray, and I do not recommend it.

 


Rollins Professor: Michael Kramer

Category : #IamEmoryEPI

For this week’s #IamEmoryEPI, we caught up with Dr. Michael Kramer!

Tell us where you went to school:

I received my BA in human development and social relations at Earlham College; Master of Science as a physician assistant (at Emory) and then another MS specializing in clinical emergency medicine (at Alderson-Broaddus). I received my PhD in EPI at Emory.

What are your primary research interests?

I am primarily interested in social epidemiology of non-communicable disease, particularly in maternal and child health populations. This work involves focus on social theory, epi (and other) methods, and often the use of spatial thinking and spatial analysis.

What did you do this past summer?

In terms of teaching and mentoring work, I worked with several MPH and PhD students on a variety of projects, and did some prep work revising and tweaking aspects of the Spatial Epidemiology course I am teaching this fall. In terms of research I finished and submitted a manuscript related to work on health equity and maternal mortality with the CDC Division of Reproductive Health (the paper was just accepted to AJOG). In terms of fun I spend 10 days backcountry canoeing with my wife in Ontario.

How did you find the research that you are currently conducting?

I have many ongoing projects. Some evolved from prior work I was doing (one answer inevitably leads to 20 new questions!), but a number of projects are collaborations with other at Emory, scientists at CDC, and collaborators at other academic and non-academic public health institutions; they arise from networking and connections and reaching out to other people doing cool work!

What is your favorite part about being at Emory?

Great students, great colleagues (faculty and staff), and great public health community in Atlanta and in the Southeast. Too many interesting projects to keep up with.

Do you have any advice for MPH students?

Cultivate two things: the skills and knowledge that you are already passionate about (e.g. possibly an area of epi or public health or a place you hope to work one day); explore a little outside of your current passion. You don’t always know what you don’t know and sometimes those things become your future.

What are some fun facts about yourself?

  1. I bike to work year round; I often pass (or get passed by) people I know from RSPH when riding but because I a) don’t wear my glasses when I ride; and b) am pretty focused on riding…I may not seem to recognize or acknowledge you. My apologies in advance for seeming rude when really I’m blind or oblivious! 
  2. I raise dairy goats. They have provided milk for my family for 14 years but now they are old-lady goats living out their retirement.

2nd Year Epi MPH Student: Amber Moore

Category : #IamEmoryEPI

For this week’s #IamEmoryEpi spotlight, we met up with Amber Moore!

Tell us where you went to school:

I went to Ohio State University (Go Bucks), where I studied Environmental Public Health.

What are your primary research interests?

I’m primarily interested in mental and behavioral health, especially depression and suicide.

What did you do this past summer?

I was an ORISE Fellow at the CDC studying Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

How did you find the research that you are currently conducting?

My REAL supervisor asked me to stay on for the summer and I was able to meet the MH Certificate requirements through our study!

What is your favorite part about being at Emory?

First of all, the connection between Emory and the CDC is an incredible opportunity that not many schools can offer. I’m so lucky to have 1.5 years experience there when I graduate, which will (hopefully) make me competitive in the job search. Second, Atlanta is an amazing city to live in as a young professional.

Do you have any advice for MPH students?

Seek out opportunities to grow as a public health professional outside of the classroom. I’ve learned so much through organizations and volunteering.

What are three fun facts about yourself?

1. I was born on Leap Year.
2. A wasp once got stuck in my ear.
3. I love to paint when I have the free time.

 


Rollins Professor: Lauren McCullough

Category : #IamEmoryEPI

For this week’s #IamEmoryEPI, we caught up with Dr. Lauren McCullough!

Tell us where you went to school:

I received my BA from Vanderbilt, my MSPH from Meharry Medical College, and my PhD from UNC Chapel Hill.

What are your primary research interests?

I am interested in molecular epidemiology of obesity as it relates to cancer progression and outcomes and multi-level drivers of disparities in breast cancer outcomes. 

What did you do this past summer?

At work: I organized my research projects, as well as on-boarded new staff and trainees. 

At home: Baseball….everyday…..all day…..baseball.

How did you find the research that you are currently conducting?

I have a personal connection to cancer, and my undergraduate training in influenced my decision to study molecular epidemiology. Being raised in a primarily African-American community and seeing first-hand disparities in all aspects of life (i.e. health, housing, income) strongly influences the questions I ask and populations I serve. 

What is your favorite part about being at Emory?

Hands down my trainees. We work hard, we learn from each other, we laugh together. They really are an extension of my family. Couldn’t ask for more!

Do you have any advice for MPH students?

Network. The market is competitive; the more you can get to know people (professors, professionals, peers) the better your odds of landing a job or successfully competing for graduate/professional school

What are three fun facts about yourself?

  1. I (will soon) have 3 boys, so my house is live — all the time!
  2. For 12 years I was a competitive baton twirler (3 state titles [GA] and 2 national titles). 
  3. If I wasn’t an epidemiologist I’d probably be a financial adviser. 

PhD Student: Katie Ross

Category : #IamEmoryEPI

For this week’s #IamEmoryEPI, we caught up PhD student Katie Ross!

Tell us where you went to school:

I did my undergrad in Public Health from the University of Miami in 2015. I got my MPH in Epi from RSPH in 2017, and I am now a PhD student (still in Epi!).

What are your primary research interests?

I am interested in health services research and social epidemiology. I work with Dr. Rachel Patzer on improving access to transplantation for patients with end-organ failure in the United States.

What did you do this past summer?

I spent most of the summer traveling to conferences and working on my dissertation. However, I did get to spend two weeks in Banff, which rocked!

You recently were awarded the Anoopa Sharma Award! Can you tell us a little bit about that?

The Anoopa Sharma Award for Excellence in Epidemiologic Research is given in honor of Anoopa Sharma, a PhD student in the Epidemiology department who passed away in the first year of her program. You can find out more about Anoopa and her legacy here: http://anoopasharmachildrensfoundation.blogspot.com/.

What is your favorite part about your PhD program at Emory?

Everyone – including faculty, fellow students, and the department – is dedicated to helping each other and creating a supportive environment.

Do you have any advice for future PhD students?

When choosing an advisor, look for someone who is kind, uplifting, and willing to mentor you as both a scholar and a person. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or admit you don’t know something. Take care of yourself – you can’t pour from an empty cup!

What are three fun facts about yourself?

  1. I moved 9 times before I graduated from high school (Air Force brat)
  2. I got scuba certified in college and try to go as often as possible. 
  3. Last year, I adopted a cat who turned out to be a dog (plays fetch, greets us at the door, loves belly rubs)

RSGA Epi Reps: Michelle McKinlay & Nathan Quan

Category : #IamEmoryEPI

For this week’s #IamEmoryEPI, we caught up with your Rollins Student Government (RSGA) department representatives: Michelle McKinlay and Nathan Quan! 

Tell us about your research interests:

Michelle: My primary research interest is in social epidemiology, specifically focusing on the social determinants of health in vulnerable populations.

Nathan: I am interested in social epidemiology and the social determinants of health, specifically racial and ethnic discrimination and segregation.

What were you up to this summer?

Michelle: I spent my summer in Southern California working for Project Horseshoe Farm, a community health nonprofit organization, establishing the nonprofit’s pilot expansion site in Pomona, CA. My projects consisted of building community partnerships, developing the structure for a gap-year fellowship, and creating a protocol for future data collection, all in preparation for me to serve as the Site Director after graduation.

Nathan: As a Region IV Public Health Training Center Pathways to Practice Scholar based at the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness, I partnered with the Louisville Health Advisory Board (LHAB) to expand community-wide efforts to target efforts for suicide prevention using local suicide data. I presented my findings to LHAB, expressed a clear vision for the future research in Louisville regarding suicide prevention at a population health level, and laid groundwork to develop a suicide fatality review by the end of 2019 to elucidate intervention strategies unique to Louisville.

Tell us about your role as Epi Reps?

We really enjoyed the opportunity to get to know students and staff in the department better. Perhaps more importantly, we took pride in acting as the liaison for the Epi student body to the administration. This led to various improvements in the department and to Rollins as a whole!

What are your priorities as Epi Reps this year?

One priority this year is to increase student and staff engagement at our Epi events. Another is to help bridge the gap between the EPI and GH departments for our GLEPI students. We really want to help implement new ideas that our fellow students have – please reach out to us if you have any!

When are elections for the new Epi Reps?

RSGA elections for departmental representatives will be held in early November (keep an eye out for more information in October!). Students who want to be more involved not only in the department but at Rollins as a whole, who care about bringing students and staff together, who enjoy planning and putting on events, and students with creative new ideas should run for Epi Rep! As elections approach, we will be holding informal “Coffee Chats” with students who are interested in learning more about the role!