Meet the Team

allison adams FINAL Kohei Akiba BW Text araba assan FINAL alex battaglia final alyssa bell FINAL
Briana Bonner BW Text Alaina Bowers BW Text Terri Bulan BW Text brook burkley FINAL Esther Choi FINAL christina collins FINAL
karen dugosh FINAL Gabriella Grimaldi BW Text Andrew Hartnett BW Text
KatharineHwlabel 2 rachel hough FINAL andrew jones b w withbanner final Melanie Kamuesa BW Text Gurleen Kaur BW Text
markise king FINAL Jaime Kishpaugh BW Owen Knight BW Text amirah lewis FINAL
jessica lipkin FINAL meghan love FINAL Joanna Marzano BW Text Marin McCoy BW Text keli mcloyd_FINAL.png conor millard FINAL
Ben Miller BW Text Andrew Munn BW Text wandia mureithi FINAL Nana Nimako FINAL caroline parker FINAL Roo Parkhe BW Text
henisha patel FINAL justin powell FINAL isabelle rocca FINAL alia salam FINAL
kathleen shea FINAL laura sosinsky FINAL sarah string FINAL leo thorbecke final anna todaro FINAL
Ashley Van Riper BW Text pragya verma FINAL Marissa Williams BW Text Brian Zepka FINAL    

 

 

 allison adams BW

Allison Adams is a Research Coordinator engaged in projects relating to regional tobacco cessation. She received her B.A. from Bryn Mawr College in Psychology with a focus in child and family studies. Before joining PHMC, Allison worked as a telephone counselor at the Women’s Law Project providing legal information, problem-solving techniques, and support to callers in Pennsylvania. Outside of work, Allison is happiest in the theater and sitting around a good campfire with friends and family.

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Kohei Akiba BW

Kohei Akiba is a Research Assistant working on tobacco cessation and vaccine confidence projects. He received a B.A. in Public Policy and Administration from the University of Delaware, where he also minored in Africana Studies. Before joining PHMC, Kohei worked on various environmental policy analysis projects at the Institute for Public Administration. When he's not at work, Kohei helps teach the drumline at Unionville High School. He enjoys watching basketball, playing video games, and petting cats.

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 araba assan BW

Araba Assan is a Research Coordinator working on projects related to tobacco control and prevention, behavioral health, asthma management, and nutrition. She received her B.S. and MPH in Public health with a concentration in Community Health Education at Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ. Before joining R&E Group, Araba worked as a Birth Equity Advocate with the Director of Health Equity at March of Dimes providing oversight, management, and implementation of various maternal child health research and evaluation projects. When not working, Araba enjoys reading, watching Netflix and hanging out with friends.

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 alex battaglia BW

Alex Battaglia is a Research Coordinator working on tobacco cessation and prevention, nutrition and health advocacy projects. She maintains survey data and provides analyses and visualizations for project evaluations. Alex has a B.A. in International Economics from Elon University. Prior to joining PHMC, she was a Data Analyst for a PECO program that promotes commercial energy efficiency in the Greater Philadelphia area. Most of Alex’s free time is spent at concerts, trying to find the best food in Philly, traveling and doing arts & crafts. 

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 alyssa bell BW

Alyssa Bell is a Product Manager responsible for a portfolio of evidence-based tools in the field of alcohol and substance use. Utilizing her background in biology, customer service expertise, and varied interests ranging from graphic design to process improvements, she helps to advance and support products that translate research into action in the field. Prior to PHMC, Alyssa worked as an Office Manager and Patient Services Representative at Excel Physical Therapy, helping patients navigate their insurance benefits. She received her B.A. in Biology from Vassar College. Outside of work she can be found doing crossword puzzles or attending quizzo with her wife, teaching herself woodcarving and furniture refinishing, or playing endless games of fetch with her puppy, Kipling.

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Lisa Bond is the Managing Director of the Research & Evaluation Group at PHMC. She is a sociologist by training, and has spent most of her career working in partnership with research colleagues, community members, and other stakeholders to identify effective strategies for addressing the HIV epidemic. In her role as Managing Director, Lisa is responsible for providing strategic direction for the department, and for supporting the work of her talented team of researchers.. Lisa completed her B.A. at the University of Maryland, her M.A. at Johns Hopkins and her Ph.D. at Temple University. On most weekends, Lisa can be found on a baseball field, football field, or basketball court cheering on her son and the Haddon Township Hawks.

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Briana Bonner BW

Briana Bonner is an Interviewer for Talking Matters, a health and wellness education research study for Black and African-American youth in the Philadelphia area. Briana earned a B.S. in Public Health/Health Promotion with a minor in Peace & Conflict Studies from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Prior to joining PHMC, she interned at a non-profit that aimed to reduce disparities in maternal and child health of the Chester County community, and also worked as a Substitute Teacher/Para-professional with children, K-12. In her free time, Briana enjoys trying new restaurants, spending time with loved ones, blogging about post-grad life, and reading a good book or two.

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Alaina Bowers BW

Alaina Bowers is the Administrative Assistant supporting the department around personnel, fiscal operations, meeting coordination, and helping the operations team be the right-hand for R&E. Alaina's passion for public health motivates her to keep things running smoothly for the team. Previously, she worked in a small periodontist office directly under the office manager. In her free time, Alaina enjoys spending time with her children, singing, teaching dance, and traveling with her extended family.

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Terri Bulan BW

Terri Bulan is a Research-Based Counselor working on projects evaluating clinical interventions for people with Substance Use Disorders. Terri earned her B.A. in Psychology with a Minor in Gender and Sexuality Studies from the University of Connecticut and her MSW from the University of Pennsylvania. Terri's clinical and research interests include, but are not limited to, Substance Use Disorders, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and social determinants of health. Outside of work, Terri is most likely at the gym so she can stay in shape to keep up with her very, very energetic niece and nephew.

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 brook burkley BW

Brook Burkley is a Senior Project Manager, responsible for leading projects related to medication assisted treatment in drug courts and other substance use evaluations. Before joining PHMC, she worked as a Program Coordinator for the Treatment Research Institute, where she worked on substance use research projects and evaluations. Brook received her B.A. in Social Work from the University of Oklahoma and her M.S.W from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice. When she isn’t at work, Brook leads the University of Oklahoma alumni group in the Greater Philadelphia area. You can find her cheering on their football team on almost every Saturday. During the football offseason, she enjoys spending time with her husband, step daughters, and cats.

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 Esther Choi

Esther Choi is a Project Manager involved in substance use projects. Before joining PHMC, she worked on an evaluation of medication assisted treatment in drug courts at the Treatment Research Institute. Esther received her B.A. in psychology and law and society, with minors in politics and philosophy, from Oberlin College. She spends much of her free time being ordered around by her demanding avian baby.

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Christina Collins is a Research Assistant for the Peer Recovery in Primary Care project. Drawing on her background in mental health, she conducts follow-up interviews with participants who have histories of incarceration and substance use. Data collected in the project informs program decisions and contributes to knowledge around health outcomes, particularly related to mental health, substance use, and HIV/AIDS. Christina studied Communications at the College of New Jersey. Outside of work, Christina likes to write poetry, visit art galleries, and volunteer.

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 karen dugosh BW

Karen Dugosh is a Senior Scientist and Director of the Center on Addictions. She oversees a number of research trials and systematic evaluations of interventions for people who have substance use disorders. Much of her work focuses on individuals with substance use disorders who are criminal justice-involved. Karen received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Gettysburg College and a graduate degree in Experimental Psychology from the University of Texas at Arlington. Outside of PHMC, you’ll find her cheering on her son, Ezra, at his soccer games, doing spin, CrossFit, and yoga with her husband Jeremy, or snuggled up with a book and her tiny Chihuahua Lulu.

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Kelly Feighan directs the Division of Teaching and Learning, a unit within the R&E Group that evolved out of Research for Better Schools and specializes in producing independent, actionable research related to schools and lifelong education. She is a sociologist with expertise in educational evaluation design and implementation, grant writing, and data analysis. Kelly’s advanced degrees in sociology include a PhD in from Temple University and an MA from the University of Maryland at College Park. Over the past two decades, she has conducted more than 80 educational evaluations as well as qualitative, ethno-graphic research, randomized controlled trials, and analyses of large-scale Census data. Kelly is active in several professional associations and slated to serve as president of the Eastern Evaluation Research Society—an affiliate of the American Evaluation Association—in 2020. She enjoys playing the guitar in a band whose members share no musical aspirations beyond enjoyment.

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Gabriella Grimaldi BW

Gabriella Grimaldi is a Project Manager engaged in projects relating to tobacco prevention and cessation, sexual health, and technology in public health. She received her MPH from Drexel University and a bachelor's degree in Psychology with a minor in Cognitive Neuroscience from Temple University. Some of her areas of interest in research include environmental health, human behavior, and infectious disease. In her free time, Gabriella enjoys trail running, discovering new music, and reading memoirs.

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Gabrielle Grode is an Evaluation Specialist, responsible for leading projects related to perinatal health and nutrition. Gabrielle enjoys the process of helping clients discover their own driving research questions and the search for novel ways to visualize data. Prior to joining PHMC, Gabrielle worked at Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, studying nutrition and physical activity at child care centers. She earned a B.A. in Psychology from Tufts University and an M.P.H. from Temple University, with a certificate in Geographic Information Systems from the University of New Haven. Gabrielle is a fan of the home design website Houzz and eagerly anticipates reading the Modern Love column in the New York Times each week.

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Mary Harkins-Schwarz is a Senior Project Director, responsible for overseeing the Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey and leading projects related to public health emergency preparedness, crime and violence as a public health issue, and injury prevention. Her research interests include social determinants of health; adverse childhood experiences; and child and adolescent health. Mary received a B.A. in Psychology from Rutgers College, Rutgers University and an M.P.H. from the University of North Carolina. In warmer months, Mary enjoys paddling on the Schuylkill River with her dragon boat teammates.

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Andrew Hartnett BW

Andrew Hartnett is a Research Based Counselor working on projects that engage individuals with opioid use disorder with CBT interventions. He received his MS in counseling from Capella university and is currently working towards licensure. He is interested in the development of evidence based interventions for individuals with a myriad of mental health concerns. Andrew does not have any spare time because he has two beautiful and wonderful children ages 4 and 2.

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Kate Hemady (née Bamberger) is a Research Scientist and Director of the Division on Family Strengthening and Child Wellbeing. Kate is interested in achieving public health impact by embedding programs in families’ lives through integration into familiar service delivery venues and through real time intervention with mHealth (mobile health). She earned her Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies at Pennsylvania State University and was a NIH-funded pre-doctoral fellow at the Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center. Kate is a painter and new mom learning to love city living but still pining for a vegetable garden.

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 rachel hough BW

Rachel Hough is a Research Assistant engaged in projects related to substance use disorders, mental healthcare, and nutrition. Before joining PHMC, she received her MSc in Human Geography from the University of Amsterdam and her BA in Sociology and Spanish from Temple University. Her professional interests include geography, nutrition, and migrant populations. Outside the office, Rachel enjoys biking around the city, trying out new recipes, and moderating her local Buy Nothing group.

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Andrew Jones is a Research Coordinator engaged in projects primarily related to the Community Health Database and tobacco cessation. He enjoys analyzing community health data and developing plans to positively address pressing health needs. He earned his M.P.A. and Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Villanova University and a B.A. in American Studies and History from the University of Richmond. Prior to joining PHMC, Andrew was a postgraduate researcher on a multi-year biography project centered on Earl Browder, a 20th century political and cultural figure. He enjoys collecting watches, reading science fiction, and rooting for his hometown Houston Astros.

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Melanie Kamuesa BW

Melanie Kamuesa is a Research Interviewer working on a project to increase testing for COVID-19 in some of Philadelphia's underserved communities. She received her B.S in Health Science with a Minor in Biology from Chestnut Hill College. Prior to joining PHMC, Melanie worked at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center's Heart and Vascular ICU as a patient care associate and caring for COVID-19 patients. In her free time, Melanie loves to cook, hike, spinning, watch Grey's Anatomy, and spend time with her Goldendoodle named Thor!

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Gurleen Kaur BW

Gurleen Kaur is an interviewer on projects related to alcohol and substance use disorders. She earned her B.S. in Public Health from Temple University. Before joining PHMC, Gurleen interned with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, where she discovered her interest in research and evaluation. Outside of work, Gurleen enjoys exploring Philadelphia with friends, trying new recipes, and watching Netflix.

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 Jennifer Keith

Jennifer Keith is the Deputy Director of the Research & Evaluation Group, working on development, implementation, and coordination of evaluation activities across a variety of programs. Jen enjoys working with R&E Group’s diverse set of partners to collect and use data with a focus on maximizing impact and value. Prior to joining PHMC, Jen was a Peace Corps volunteer in central Asia. She earned a B.A. in Sociology at the College of New Jersey (formerly Trenton State) and an M.P.H. from the University of Michigan. Jen loves to travel and laugh with her kids.

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 markise king BW

Markise King is an Interviewer for Brothers Speak, a research study that engages young black men in a theater-based teen pregnancy prevention program. Markise is a student at Community College of Philadelphia pursing a degree in elementary education. Before joining PHMC, he worked as the Special Education Liaison at a Philadelphia high school. Outside of PHMC, Markise loves to travel, spend time with family, work out, play cards and eat.

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 jaime metzger BW 

Jaime Kishpaugh (née Metzger) is a Research Coordinator working on projects related to substance use, environmental health, and asthma. Before joining PHMC, Jaime earned a B.A. in Linguistics and Spanish at Haverford College and worked on a National Science Foundation project creating online Zapotec dictionaries in Oaxaca, Mexico. Their public health interests include broadening language access, increasing community agency in public health projects, and developing trauma-informed research practices. You might run into her at a concert in Philly, or at a coffee shop. 

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Gary Klein is a Senior Data Analyst, engaged in projects involving specialized programming to clean, merge, aggregate, and analyze data. Gary analyzes population-level census and vital data and sampled health survey data, incorporating a variety of statistical techniques. Prior to joining PHMC, Gary taught statistics and sociology classes at various universities across the Philadelphia area. Gary has earned many degrees in Sociology, including a B.A. from Gettysburg College, an M.A. from Temple University, and a Ph.D. from Temple University, conducting research in South Africa. In his spare time, Gary enjoys running, a hobby he took up at age 40.

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Owen Knight BW

Owen Knight is an interviewer working on a project to increase testing for COVID-19 in some of Philadelphia's underserved communities. In this role, he conducts interviews in English and Spanish, collects and enters research data, and provides direction on COVID-19 prevention measures. He graduated with a B.A. in Urban Studies and History at the University of Pittsburgh, where he also worked part-time on the development of an online geo-spatial historical resource. When he's not working, you can find him biking around the city, looking for ingredients for a new recipe he is trying out.

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Archana Bodas LaPollo is a Senior Project Director, responsible for overseeing projects related to HIV prevention, sexual and reproductive health, substance use and recovery, and adolescent health. Archana earned a B.A. in French and Political Science from Rutgers University, Rutgers College and an M.P.H. from Boston University School of Public Health. She is also currently pursuing a doctorate in public health at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. When she’s not working, Archana loves spending time with her husband and two children, and dog, Pineapple.

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 amirah lewis BW

Amirah Lewis is an Interviewer working on a Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) project where she primarily conducts field research to better analyze treatment programs. Amirah graduated from University of Hartford with a BA in International Studies with a concentration in Cultural Globalization. Prior to working at PHMC, she interned at a nonprofit that specialized in youth serving systems that prepared young people for future employment. Outside of PHMC, Amirah enjoys learning about wellness and self-care.

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jessica lipkin no banner

Jessica Lipkin is a Project Manager responsible for working on research projects and evaluations related to improving outcomes and policies for substance users. Before joining PHMC, she worked as a Research Assistant at Treatment Research Institute. Jessica received her M.P.H. from Drexel University and B.A. in Psychology and Criminal Justice from the University of Delaware. Outside of the office, Jessica is the Co-President of the Pennsylvania chapter of DanceSafe, a non-profit public health organization that provides harm reduction services and drug education at music festivals and nightlife events. She likes to spend her free time cooking, taking fitness classes, and binge watching Parks & Rec (again).

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 meghan love BW

Meghan Love is the Product Director for the Treatment Research Solutions team and is responsible for providing day to day oversight for the development and delivery of new products and services. This includes overseeing the distribution and support of software for treatment programs and problem-solving courts, and developing and implementing training programs. Prior to PHMC, Meghan led the successful development and implementation of products, solutions dissemination, and licensing initiative for 9 years at the Treatment Research Institute. Over the past 27 years, she has managed a variety of research projects in the field of substance use and mental health, including managing the Drug Evaluation Network System (DENS) project between 1998 and 2004. Meghan graduated with a B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies from Pennsylvania State University. Besides cheering on the Nittany Lions, she spends her free time on the sidelines watching her sons play soccer, walking her rescue dog Sugar, or in a yoga studio.

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 Joanna Marzano BW

Joanna Marzano is a Research Assistant working on projects related to parenting intervention programs and tobacco cessation and prevention. She earned her MPH in Community Health and Prevention from Drexel University and her B.A. in Psychology from Temple University. Joanna is interested in making health information and data more accessible through health communication, data visualization, and GIS. People describe Joanna as an outdoor enthusiast, avid cyclist, and attentive plant mom.

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Marin McCoy Photo

Marin McCoy is a Research Assistant engaged in public health projects addressing nutrition, tobacco cessation, substance use, telehealth access and health systems change. Marin works to dismantle the root causes of public health disparities: racism, wealth inequality, systemic bias, colonialism and other interlocked oppressions. Marin earned her B.S in Biology from Swarthmore College. Prior to her work at R&E, she conducted qualitative public health research with linguistically and racially diverse young people, worked with LGBTQ+ youth and taught STEM to low-income girls of color. Marin is nourished by reading science magazines, discovering Philadelphia by bike, trying to keep her plants alive and becoming an amateur sourdough chemist.

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 keli mcloyd BW no banner

Keli McLoyd is a Policy Analyst, focusing on substance use disorder policy development and implementation. Keli is passionate about increasing access to substance use disorder treatment for vulnerable populations and utilizing evidence-based practices to help people move towards recovery. Prior to joining PHMC, Keli was a Policy Analyst at the Treatment Research Institute. Keli received a BA in Art History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a JD from the University of Michigan. Outside of work Keli teaches Aviation Law and Aviation Legislation courses, and happily chases after her spirited toddler, Maya.

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 conor millard BW

Conor Millard is a Research Coordinator engaged in projects relating to opioid use disorder treatment and recovery as well as cancer control. Prior to joining PHMC, Conor received a B.A. in Biology and Public Health from Brown University, where he was passionate about sexual health education and harm reduction research and practice. Conor is happiest when taking care of his plants, reading, and taking long runs to explore Philadelphia.

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Ben Miller BW

Ben Miller is a Research Assistant engaged in projects related to tobacco cessation and enforcement, and asthma. He received a B.A. in Political Science and Psychology from Stony Brook University, where he conducted research related to voting habits and implicit bias. In his free time, Ben enjoys performing, exercising, and reading.

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Andrew Munn BW

Andrew Munn is an Interviewer for a randomized controlled trial comparing methods of increasing coronavirus testing among members of underserved communities. He has a Bachelor's degree in Music Theory and Composition and a Mater's degree in International Political Economy and Development. Before joining PHMC, Andrew served as a Data Associate Americorps VISTA with the Center for Family Services in Camden, New Jersey. In his spare time, he loves to read, travel, study new languages, listen to music and nerd out on music theory.

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 wandia mureithi BW

Wandia Mureithi is a Research Coordinator working on projects related to diabetes, early childhood education, youth opioid abuse prevention, and anti-human trafficking programs. She received a B.A. in Health and Societies from the University of Pennsylvania worked as a research assistant at the Penn Center for AIDS Research before joining the R&E Group. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, reading, finding reasons to be outside and watching reruns of her favorite 90’s sitcoms.

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  nana no banner

Nana Nimako is a Research Coordinator evaluating projects related to sexual health and substance abuse recovery. She is interested in women’s reproductive health, health inequity, as well as program design and evaluation. Nana attended Washington University in St. Louis where she received a B.A. in Anthropology: Global Health and Environment. Outside of work, Nana enjoys writing, baking, and shopping unnecessarily.

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 caroline parker BW

Caroline Parker is a Research Assistant for working on projects related to housing, substance use, child welfare, and lung health. She received her B.S. in Exercise Sports Science from Ursinus College. Before PHMC, she was a program coordinator at Turning Points For Children for a federal research grant investigating family engagement in elementary schools. Outside of work she enjoys reading, painting, being down the shore with friends and family, cooking with her husband, and morning workouts.

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Roo Parkhe BW

Roo Parkhe is a Research Assistant working on projects relating to tobacco control and prevention. Roo received a B.A. in Sociology and a minor in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies from Temple University. They are interested in harm reduction and community organizing, and enjoy analyzing LGBTQ+ pop culture and meticulously curating Spotify playlists.

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 henisha patel BW

Henisha Patel is a Project Manager working on a variety of projects regarding statewide nutrition initiatives, education, and the CDC’s policy response to the opioid epidemic. Henisha earned her MSW from University of Pennsylvania and her BA in Psychology and Sociology from Boston College. Prior to joining R&E Group, she served as the Forensic Case Manager for Access Services, and a Research Assistant for the SexGen Policy Lab at University of Pennsylvania. Outside of work, Henisha enjoys cooking, reading, yoga, and kickboxing.

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Alexander Peters is a Project Manager, engaged in projects related to sexual health and diabetes self-management. Alexander has interests in community health, international health, and infectious disease epidemiology, and enjoys engaging youth across diverse Philadelphia settings. He attended Temple University, where he earned a B.S. in Public Health. In his free time, Alexander enjoys traveling and trying new restaurants.

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 justin powell BW

Justin Powell is an Interviewer on projects related to sexual health education and substance use. Previous to joining R&E Group, Justin worked at PHMC for both The Bridge & The Care Clinic, where his focuses were juvenile substance use treatment and Hepatitis C outreach. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a B.A. in English & Film Studies. An avid film fan, when not at the movies, Justin likes to spend time traveling, reading, and seeking new experiences.

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Megan Richardson is a Senior Project Manager with expertise in STEM education, early childhood and K-16 interventions, teacher and principal preparation, teacher induction support, professional development studies, and higher education policy. She completed her BA at the University of Pennsylvania and her MA in Sociology & Education at Columbia University. As a member of R&E Group's Division of Education (formerly Research for Better Schools), Megan designs complex quasi-experimental and randomized controlled trial evaluations for clients across the educational spectrum. She participates in “green school” initiatives aimed at building healthier and more environmentally conscious school communities and works with state departments of education to obtain hard-to-track longitudinal information about novice teachers. Megan is an avid amateur genealogist and a ninth generation Philadelphian.

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 isabelle rocca BW

Isabelle Rocca is a Research Coordinator engaged in projects relating to sexual health, tobacco control, cancer prevention, and technology assistance for children with special needs. Her experience in health research and advocacy has made her dedicated to improving health outcomes locally, and fighting for health equity world-wide. Isabelle earned a B.S. in Public Health with a minor in biochemistry from American University. In her free time, Isabelle enjoys exploring running trails throughout Philly, crafting things for her apartment, and tending to her growing collection of plants.

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 alia salam BW 

Alia Salam is a Research Coordinator engaged in projects related to cancer screening and perceptions, opioid use disorder, and tobacco-related disparities. She earned her M.P.H. from Thomas Jefferson University and her bachelor’s degree from Temple University, majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Psychology. Prior to joining the R&E Group, Alia lived near the Syrian-Lebanese border to manage a psycho-social support project serving Syrians affected by war. On the weekends, Alia loves to shop for the trendiest clothes and home-decor items with her mom and watching psychological thrillers with her husband.

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 kathleen shea BW

Kathleen Shea is a Senior Project Manager currently managing research and evaluation projects involving policy and program interventions for substance use disorder and respiratory health conditions. She has her MS in Social Policy from the University of Pennsylvania and her BA in anthropology from the University of Delaware. Kathleen’s research experience includes examining how state and federal health policy impacts access to effective community-based treatment for individuals with behavioral health conditions. In her free time, Kathleen enjoys traveling, listening to music, reading about health policy, and drinking way too much coffee.

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 laura sosinsky BW

Laura Sosinsky is a Research Scientist conducting evaluations of programs for children and families with a focus on interventions designed to build the capacities of teachers and parents to promote healthy early development and school readiness. Trained as a developmental psychologist, Laura has expertise in infant and child development, early care and education (ECE) quality improvement and professional development, as well as state, federal, and local ECE policy. Laura received her B.A. in Psychology from Cornell University and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Yale University. Outside of PHMC, Laura enjoys classic movies, good music, traveling to new places, and spending time with her family.

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 sarah string BW

Sarah String is a Project Manager involved with projects related to STEM education, community public health needs assessments, and healthcare coordination for chronic disease management. Sarah earned her M.P.H. from Arcadia University and a B.S. in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from Houghton College. Her research interests include healthcare coordination, patient centered decision making, workforce development, and issues related to human ecology. She enjoys being outdoors, traveling with her husband, and volunteering with international health development organizations.

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Kelly Thompson is a Policy Analyst, responsible for managing legal research projects and policy initiatives. She helps to provide a legal perspective on multidisciplinary teams developing public health law projects, which span topics from health and social equity concerns of vulnerable populations to emergency preparedness. Her favorite focus areas are intersections of criminal justice issues with public health outcomes. After graduating with a dual B.A. in Criminal Justice and Sociology from the University of Delaware, Kelly moved to Philadelphia to earn her J.D. from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law. Away from the office, Kelly enjoys being active outdoors, eating sweets, binging podcasts, and meeting dogs while walking her dog.

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 leo thorbecke BW

Leo Thorbecke is a Research Coordinator engaged in projects related to substance use and lung health. They received their B.A. in Social Work from Warren Wilson College, where they fell in love with macro practice and applied research working on projects ranging from child welfare worker time and retention to horticulture therapy. Leo is interested in the influence structures have on health and behavior and re-imagining structures to improve community well-being. Outside of work, you can find Leo in one of their many gardens – this year, he focused on growing flowers, and especially enjoyed learning more about roses.

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 anna todaro BW

Anna Todaro is a Senior Project Manager, responsible for leading projects related to tobacco prevention and control, nutrition, and addiction. She enjoys evaluation design, mixed methods research, and data visualization. Prior to her role at PHMC, Anna was a research analyst with The Health Determinants & Disparities Practice, developing programming in culturally and linguistically appropriate healthcare services for the Office of Minority Health. She also spent time in Latin America and Africa through her roles with the Rutgers Global Health Institute and the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children. A Fulbright scholar, Anna earned her B.S. in Neuroscience from the University of Scranton, and her M.P.H. from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Besides research and evaluation, Anna loves photography, discovering new music, and exploring Montco trails with her husband.

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Ashley Van Riper BW

Ashley Van Riper is a Research Assistant working on projects related to substance use disorders. She received a B.A. in Public Health and Women's & Gender Studies from The College of New Jersey, where she conducted research related to maternal health and environmental racism. She is interested in the role that public health can play in dismantling systems of oppression. In her free time, Ashley enjoys reading, organizing around issues of mass incarceration, and learning about trees in Philly.

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  pragya verma BW

Pragya Verma is a Senior Project Manager working on multiple evaluation projects related to lung health as well as opioid use disorder. Prior to joining PHMC, Pragya worked as a data analyst and project manager supporting behavioral health and child welfare programs at a direct service organization in Philadelphia. She received her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania and Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from The College of New Jersey. Outside of work Pragya enjoys crafting & woodworking, photography and traveling.

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Marissa Williams BW

Marissa Williams is the Operations Manager for REG. Marissa serves as a department leader ensuring and improving REG's operational performance and efficiency. She's also responsible for developing, overseeing and implementing operational strategies to support processes ranging from contract execution to staff engagement. Marissa Earned her MBA, specializing in Managerial Accounting, from Walden University and her BS in Paralegal Studies from Pierce College. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family, reading a good book and volunteering with youth in her community.

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 Brian Zepka BW

Brian Zepka is a Senior Project Director, responsible for leading projects related to tobacco control and prevention, environmental health, and chronic disease management. He is passionate about leveraging research and program evaluations to facilitate inclusive health policy decision-making for vulnerable populations. Before joining PHMC, Brian worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Virginia where he provided support for a variety of programs addressing health literacy, sexual health, and chronic disease prevention. He earned a B.S. in Biology from West Chester University and an M.P.H. from Thomas Jefferson University, completing a thesis on adolescent mental health in the U.S.–Mexico Border Region. Outside of work, Brian likes to go on long runs and write young adult novels with resilient teen protagonists.

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