Meet our Doctoral Students & Alumni

Cohort 1

Doctoral Students & Alumni

Nessa Ryan

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Marybec Griffin, PhD '18

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Cohort 2

Cohort 2

Keely Jordan

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Filippa Juul

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Rachael Piltch-Loeb

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Elizabeth Stevens

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Cohort 3

Cohort 3

Drew Blasco

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Sasha (Alexandra) Guttentag

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Sarah Lieff

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Patricia McGaughey

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Cohort 4

Cohort 4

Ariadna Capasso

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Margaux Grivel

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Jacqueline Litvak

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Gabriella Meltzer

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Jamie Murkey

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Temitope Ojo

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Cohort 5

Cohort 5

Kelley Akiya

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Shelby Brewer

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Gawon Cho

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Daniel Hagen

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Bridget Murphy

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Brooke Wiles

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Mahathi Vojjala

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Nessa Ryan

Nessa is happy to be one of four individuals who comprise the inaugural cohort of PhD candidates at CGPH. Her research interests lie in global women's health, particularly in understanding and addressing the barriers to health care experienced by women and girls in low resource settings. Nessa's dissertation research focuses on informing the implementation of an intervention to support coping among women with obstetric fistula in Ghana. She is also a TL1 pre-doctoral fellow at the NYU School of Medicine Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) where she focuses on global health and mixed methods translational research, particularly in West and East Africa where she has lived and worked.  As Research Director for the non-profit Restore Health, Nessa works within a collaborative team dedicated to developing innovative and accessible solutions for women living with the devastating indignities of obstetric fistula (https://restore-health.org/).  As an assistant adjunct faculty, Nessa enjoys teaching MPH students in NYC and Cross Continental MPH students in Ghana.


Marybec Griffin, PhD '18

Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, Marybec worked with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to design Ryan White funded programs for people living with HIV/AIDS and conduct a city-wide assessment of available sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents.  Marybec received a BA in Political Science and International Affairs from the University of St. Thomas, a MA in International Affairs from the New School, and a MPH from New York University.  Her research focused on the subject of LGBTQ healthcare access, specifically the decisions around coordinating primary and sexual healthcare services. 


Keely Jordan

Keely Jordan is a doctoral student at the College of Global Public Health of New York University, specializing in global health policy. Keely received her undergraduate degree in political science and sociology from the University of Pennsylvania and her master’s degree in global health from the University of California San Francisco (UCSF).  Prior to joining NYU she worked on the Lancet Commission Global Health 2035 and is currently the lead researcher on ethics and equity for the Lancet Global Health Commission on High Quality Health Systems in the SDG Era. Her work focuses on how to strengthen health systems in low- and middle-income countries in order to provide quality care, with an emphasis on reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health. 


Filippa Juul

Filippa Juul is a doctoral student at the College of Global Public Health of New York University, specializing in nutritional epidemiology. Filippa is originally from Stockholm, Sweden. She completed a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in Spain, and thereafter pursued a Master’s degree in Public Health Nutrition at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. Prior to joining NYU Filippa worked as a researcher at Karolinska Institutet, where her work focused on obesity epidemiology. She also has practical experience of working with public health initiatives, including obesity prevention among young children. Filippa is broadly interested in the impact of nutritional factors on chronic diseases. For her dissertation, Filippa will examine the role of food processing in the risk of cardiovascular disease.


Rachael Piltch-Loeb

Rachael Piltch-Loeb is a doctoral candidate at NYU’s College of Global Public Health and assistant research scientist within the Program on Population Impact, Recovery, and Resilience. Rachael has been a part of the program from its inception at NYU, working on projects related to health, well-being, and long-term recovery from disasters. Her prior work has supported systems improvement initiatives specifically in the area of public health preparedness as a research assistant and consultant at Georgetown University working on a sub-project of the Harvard School of Public Health's Preparedness Emergency Response Research Center. Rachael received her master’s degree from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University and her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University. Her current research focuses on influences in intervention receptivity and health decision making during emerging disease events, particularly the Zika virus, disasters, and other adverse events.


Elizabeth Stevens

Liz is a doctoral candidate focusing on Implementation and Decision Sciences. She was born and raised near Albany, New York. She received her AB in Biological Anthropology from Princeton University and a MPH in Epidemiology from University at Albany. During her master’s studies Liz served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Togo, West Africa, where she first became interested in Implementation Science. She currently works in the Division of Comparative Effectiveness and Decision Science in the Department of Population Health at NYU School of Medicine. Under the mentorship of Dr. Bernadette Boden-Albala, Liz’s dissertation is focusing on factors contributing to the use of implementation science in the health research community.


Drew Blasco

Drew is a second year doctoral student in Public Health at New York University. She received a BA in Global Health and BS in Psychology in 2015. Additionally, she graduated with an MA in Global Health from Arizona State University where she focused on the stigma associated with obesity. Her training in the disciplines of psychology and global health led to her current research focus on mental illness, the effects of labeling, and stigma. After graduation, she plans to pursue a tenure-track position where she can incorporate her passion for research and teaching.


Sasha (Alexandra) Guttentag

Sasha is a second-year PhD student in Dr. Tom Kirchner's mHealth Lab. Originally from the SF Bay Area, she graduated from Johns Hopkins with a B.A. in Public Health in 2013 and completed a Fulbright Fellowship in southern Brazil in 2015. Sasha spent Fall 2017 completing a visiting research fellowship at ISPUP in Portugal, where she analyzed longitudinal data to evaluate patterns in smoking related to neighborhood deprivation and residential mobility amongst Portuguese women. Her main research interest centers on the applications of mobile technologies in health surveillance and behavior change. Her current research project at CGPH uses mobile phone systems to evaluate the harm reduction potential of electronic cigarettes amongst cigarette smokers. Outside of CGPH, she is an active member of the NYU Squash Club, and volunteers with Crisis Text Line. 


Sarah Lieff

Sarah is a Research Fellow and second-year doctoral student in the Social and Behavioral Sciences track. She earned a BA in Psychology from Columbia University and an MPH in Health Behavior from UNC Chapel Hill's Gillings School of Global Public Health. Her primary research interest is the impact of policy on the social determinants of mental health among underserved and vulnerable populations. Specifically, she aims to test innovative programs and policies to reduce stigma, increase access to care, and improve the quality and cultural competency of mental health services. Before enrolling at NYU, she led the evaluation of Maimonides Medical Center's Health Home, which aimed to utilize health-enabled IT to integrate care for patients with serious mental illness.


Patricia McGaughey

Patricia McGaughey joined the doctoral program in NYU’s College of Global Public Health in 2016. A Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) with almost 10 years’ experience, Patricia is on the Healthcare Management track of the PhD program. She currently provides intrapartum care at  Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. Patricia practiced full-scope midwifery with Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston for 7 years and served as interim Director of Midwifery at the hospital. Her clinical and administrative duties covered nine community health centers in the Boston area, as well as an in-hospital adolescent clinic, triage, labor and delivery, and postpartum. Her clinical experience drives her passion for research. Patricia is interested in the connections between quality, safety, leadership and organizational structure. She strives to optimize the organization of women’s healthcare to promote effective care for all women and newborns. She provides clinical teaching and is currently an Adjunct Lecturer in the NYU College of Global Public Health. She holds an MSN from Yale University School of Nursing and a BA in Biology (Spanish Minor) from Eureka College.


Ariadna Capasso

Ariadna Capasso is a first year PhD student in Social & Behavioral Sciences. Prior to joining NYU, Ariadna was a senior technical advisor at Management Sciences for Health, where she provided strategic leadership and managed a wide range of sexual and reproductive health projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. Thematic focuses of her work included adolescent sexual and reproductive health, women's empowerment, persons with disabilities and maternal and intercultural health.


Margaux Grivel

Margaux Grivel is a first-year doctoral student in the Social Behavioral Sciences track. Immigrating to the U.S. from Brignoles, France, as the second-oldest sibling of five, Margaux’s background has fostered exceptional openness to, and captivation with, others' backgrounds, sensitivities, experiences, and perspectives. During her undergraduate and post-bac development at the University of Maryland, Margaux managed numerous projects for Dr. Derek Iwamoto including one longitudinal study focused on identifying distinct alcohol use trajectories among young adults, and examining sociocultural predictors of latent class membership. During her time at Teachers College, Columbia University, in the Clinical Psychology MA program, Margaux completed a clinical placement at the Center for Prevention and Evaluation, one of few clinics worldwide that treats individuals with Attenuated Psychosis Syndrome, and had the opportunity to examine the relationship between history of trauma, clinical presentation, and transition to full psychosis in this population. Concurrently, Margaux worked with Dr. Lawrence Yang in the Global Mental Health, Psychosis, and Stigma lab and worked on a meta-analysis examining cognition in drug-naïve schizophrenia in collaboration with the late Dr. Larry Seidman (Harvard Medical School Department of Psychiatry) which has led to an R01 grant from NIMH (PI’s: Yang, Phillips, Keshevan), and a review of substance use stigma in collaboration with Dr. Deborah Hasin (Columbia University). Dr. Yang's exemplary work in identifying cultural variations in mental illness stigma and intervening with stigma,  in addition to the program’s commitment to identifying the underlying social, behavioral and structural factors that contribute to health disparities motivated Margaux to continue her work with Dr. Yang here at CGPH.


Jacqueline Litvak

Jacqueline (Jackie) is a doctoral student in public health concentrating in Epidemiology.  She is a born and raised Jersey girl who has always dreamed of living in New York City.  Jackie received her bachelors of science degree in Neuroscience from Union College, a M.S. in Human Nutrition from Columbia University, and a MPH in Chronic Degree Epidemiology from the Yale School of Public Health.  Her research interests focus on the intersection of maternal and child health and nutritional epidemiology.  After receiving her PhD, Jackie hopes to pursue a career in academia.


Gabriella Meltzer

Gabriella is a first-year doctoral student concentrating in Epidemiology, with a focus on environmental justice in the US and throughout the developing world. Originally hailing from Chicago, Illinois, she graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with her B.A. in Health and Societies, and her undergraduate research examined the public health issue of electronic waste, using Accra, Ghana as a case study. Following graduation, Gabriella worked at the Council on Foreign Relations as a Global Health Research Associate, where she focused on global health governance, pandemic preparedness, and environmental health in China. She hopes to pursue a career in academia with a strong emphasis on global health education.


Jamie Murkey

Jamie Murkey is a first-year doctoral student in the PhD program at the New York University College of Global Public Health. He’s interested in research related to identifying and better understanding the impact of social and structural factors on adverse health outcomes among marginalized communities, particularly as it relates to chronic diseases. Jamie holds a BS in Nutritional Sciences from Pepperdine University and a MPH in Health Policy and Leadership from the Loma Linda University School of Public Health, where he was inducted into the Delta Omega Honorary Society. Prior to New York University, Jamie worked as a research manager at the University of California, Los Angeles on a variety of clinical and behavioral research projects involving the reduction of cardiovascular disease risk factors among HIV/Hepatitis C co-infected patients, HIV prevention using gamification, and an unbiased clinically validated metagenomic Next-Generation Sequencing (mNGS) diagnostic used to detect pathogens in hospitalized patients with infectious diseases. He has previously worked on other studies concerning marginalized populations within the University of California, San Francisco’s HIV and AIDS Division, RAND Corporation, and City of Pasadena.


Temitope Ojo

Temitope (Temi) is a doctoral student in Public Health, with a concentration in Epidemiology. She received her BA in Biochemistry, with a minor in Anthropology from Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA. She spent three years as a clinical research assistant and fellow, working on  chronic kidney disease studies in Boston, MA and Abuja, Nigeria. She went on to receive her MPH in Chronic Disease Epidemiology from the Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, CT. Her research interests focus on cardiovascular disease management and the continuum of care in low resource settings, through the lens of  implementation science.


Kelley Akiya

Kelley Akiya is a doctoral student at the College of Global Public Health, concentrating in Health Policy and Management. Her research interests include social determinants of health and the integration of social services and health care to address health disparities. Before enrolling in NYU, she earned a Masters in Public Affairs from the University of Texas Austin and a BA in Psychology and Political Science from Washington University in St. Louis. Additionally, she worked as a program evaluator for 8 years, studying U.S-based and international interventions aimed at improving health, employment, and education outcomes.


Gawon Cho

Gawon Cho is a doctoral student in Public Health at New York University. She is interested in the biopsychosocial determinants of chronic illnesses, and is currently working with Dr. Virginia Chang to study the relationship between obesity and disparities in pain and pain treatment. Prior to joining the GPH, she completed her undergraduate work in Business and Psychology at Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea, and a year of graduate work in Social/Health Psychology at SUNY-Stony Brook as a Fulbright scholar, focusing on the daily health of breast cancer survivors. Gawon hopes to become a researcher who can accurately identify factors that drive chronic illness epidemics, and improve the health of disadvantaged populations.


Shelby Brewer

Shelby is a doctoral student in the Public Health PhD program at the New York University College of Global Public Health, with a concentration in Health Policy and Management. She received her Bachelors of Science degree with Honors in Allied Health Sciences (Pre-Med) from University of Connecticut. Shelby received her Masters of Science degree with honors in Health Promotion from the University of Connecticut. Her primary research interest is the impact of policy on the overall health status among underserved and vulnerable populations.


Daniel Hagen

Daniel Hagen is a doctoral student in the Epidemiology track of the PhD program in Public Health at NYU’s College of Global Public Health. His main interests are in the epidemiology and etiology of common psychiatric disorders, with a focus on health disparities, global mental health, and internationally comparative research. Daniel studied political science and sociology at the Universities of Mannheim, Bonn, and Copenhagen before majoring in Epidemiology in the International MPH program at the French School of Public Health (EHESP) in Paris. Amongst other things, he has worked on the effects of stigma and institutionalized discrimination on minority health in different settings, with experience in LGBT health research at the World Bank and the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. More recently, he worked in project and science management for the funding initiative “Research Networks for Health Innovations in Sub-Saharan Africa” implemented by the German development agency GIZ in Berlin. Prior to that, he was a research assistant at the University of Bonn and a volunteer with the Regional Office for Africa of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in Nairobi.


Bridget Murphy

Bridget Murphy is a doctoral student in NYU’s College of Global Public Health’s epidemiology concentration. She is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator, completing her dietetic internship at Harvard University’s Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, MA, earning a M.S. in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics from NYU. Bridget has previous work experience in outpatient hospital settings both at NYU and New York Presbyterian hospital. More recently Bridget has worked with the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU with families of children and adolescents with disordered eating patterns.  Her research interests include nutrition, obesity, chronic disease, and wellness.


Brooke Wiles

Brooke Wiles joined the GPH doctoral program in 2018 in the Epidemiology track. Brooke has a background in biology; she completed research at Institut Pasteur's Molecular Retrovirology Unit and was first in her class at Mary Baldwin University, where she earned a BS in Biology. She later enrolled in NYU's Cross-Continental MPH program, during which she studied in both Accra, Ghana and Florence, Italy while completing her thesis on Zika Virus prevention and gaining hands-on experience regarding the health and human rights concerns of migrant populations. Brooke graduated first in her MPH class and is also a member of NYU's chapter of the Delta Omega Honorary Society. Her primary research interests include HIV and syndemics among socially marginalized youth.


Mahathi Vojjala

Mahathi Vojjala is a doctoral student in the Social and Behavioral Sciences track. She is a 2017 MPH graduate from New York University College of Global Public Health with a concentration in Epidemiology. Prior to her MPH, Mahathi received a B.A. in religion and public health from Rutgers University. She has been working at the Tobacco Research Lab (TRL) since 2015; Mahathi started as a Research Assistant and was then promoted to Research Lab Manager. After receiving her MPH in 2017, she joined the Tobacco Research Lab full-time as a Junior Research Scientist and Research Coordinator working with Dr. David Abrams and Dr. Ray Niaura. Mahathi’s previous research focused on youth smoking initiation and media advertising, dual and poly use of substances specifically marijuana and cigarettes among young adults, media portrayal of alcohol and tobacco in movie trailers and youth smoking rates, and more recently, use of oral analgesics combined with marijuana, alcohol, and cigarettes among people with chronic pain. Mahathi is primarily interested in research examining alcohol use among youth, and policies and regulations of flavored alcohol products.