Stanford Population Health Summer Research Program

Advancing Health Equity and Diversity (AHEaD)

2022 AHEaD Scholars

Nina Edwards

Project Title: Teamwork, Targets, Technology, and Tight Control in Newly Diagnosed Pediatric Type 1 Diabetes: 4T Study

Faculty Mentor: David Maahs, Lucile Salter Packard Professor of Pediatrics

Nina Edwards is a senior at the University of Arizona Honors College. She is working toward a Bachelor of Science in Care, Health, and Society, with a Public Health and Pre-Health Professions minor. She is involved on campus as incoming Co-Director of the Student Health Advocacy Committee, a student government organization that aims to improve preventive health education and resources for students. 

Nina is originally from Anchorage, Alaska, and is Tlingit and Tsimshian Alaska Native. Inspired by her family’s commitment to Tribal Health, she hopes that her future career will contribute to health equity for Alaska Native, American Indian, and otherwise rural or underserved communities. She has broad interests in the ways health can be improved at the population level through addressing social determinants of health, public policy, and healthcare systems. She plans to pursue a graduate degree in medicine and/or public health. In her spare time, she loves to hike, play guitar, practice yoga, and read.

Karrington Hendrix

Project Title: Environmental causes of social inequalities in biological aging

Faculty Mentor: David Rehkopf, Associate Professor of Epidemiology & Population Health and of Medicine (Primary Care & Population Health)

Karrington Hendrix (she/her/hers) is an incoming junior at California State East Bay majoring in Health Science with a Public Health Concentration. 

Before transfering to Cal State East Bay, Karrington’s exploration into public health began when a close family member started to struggle with mental illness. Karrington recognized a gap in the healthcare system for treating black youth with mental illnesses and since then has been dedicated to advocating for black youths' mental health. 

Through the AHEaD Research program with mentor Dr. David Rehkopf, Karrington hopes to better understand the impact of population health research in hopes of conducting her own research on the impact that predominantly white schools have on black and brown mental health and academic performance, with the goal of increasing the number of person of color (POC) counselors in said school systems. Until then Karrington volunteers at the Berkeley Free Clinic as part of their Peer Counseling Services, providing a non judgemental space for individuals experiencing homlessesnes and drug addiction to express themselves with the opportunity to obtain assistance. In her free time, if she is not trying out a new restaurant, Karrington enjoys reading science fiction books. 

William Hutson

Project Title: Influence of weather and environment on the efficacy of water, sanitation, and handwashing interventions in rural Bangladesh

Faculty Mentor: Jade Benjamin-Chung, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology & Population Health

William Hutson (he/him) is an incoming MPH student at Washington University in St. Louis. Through his leadership roles in his university’s Minority Association of Premedical Students chapter during his undergraduate degree, he gained exposure to ways physicians can impact their patients’ health on a community or population level. He now hopes to be a physician who works to both treat and prevent disease for his patients by addressing the social factors influencing their health. He is passionate about reducing health inequities that impact marginalized communities, and especially hopes to address inequities in addiction treatment access and gun violence. He plans to use his interests in epidemiology and health policy, along with his perspective as somebody who grew up surrounded by these issues to advocate for people of color in the St. Louis community and worldwide. In his free time, he loves hiking, listening to Motown music, and pretending he’s an NBA analyst when discussing basketball with his friends. 

Joaquin Luqueño

Project Title: Trends in police shootings in the United States

Faculty Mentor: Mathew Kiang, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology & Population Health

Joaquin Luqueño is a junior at the University of California Davis, majoring in Economics (specialization in Data Analytics & Economic Analytics) with a double minor in Public Health and Sociology. Hailing from Southeast Los Angeles, he has experienced first-hand the systemic issues in inadequate access to healthcare facilities and the lack of resources needed for a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, he works at the intersection of medicine and economic theory in order to improve the access and quality of healthcare within low-income communities and to make medical knowledge more accessible to marginalized populations. 

At UC Davis, Joaquin also serves as a Public Health Ambassador, a sociology research assistant, and the vice president of the Sociology Association. His most impactful position has been serving as a Public Health Ambassador in the wake of COVID-19 and distributing knowledge about policies and resources to the Davis community. He also has gained experience in academic research at Stanford’s Graduate School of Education, where he assisted with a data science project on Latinx intersectionality. Thanks to these experiences, Joaquin aspires to pursue a graduate degree in Public Health or Medicine., concentrating on health economics. During his free time, Joaquin enjoys learning about video content creation, trying out new restaurants, and playing Pokemon Go. 

Mileati Melese

Project Title: Improving Equity for Health Care Payments

Faculty Mentor: Sherri Rose, Associate Professor of Health Policy

Mileati Melese graduated from the University of Colorado Denver with a major in biology and a minor in mathematics. Her interests in using data to improve public health stem after she took a course in biostatistics and reflected back to her experience growing up in Tigray and the scarcity of public health data and how that might have negatively impacted health and health outcomes of vulnerable communities. Mileati plans to continue her graduate degree in quantitative methods of health to improve and innovate preventative public health measures and post-care or follow-up interventions that can potentially lead to favorable health outcomes and enhance the health of the general public. In her free time, Mileati enjoys cooking.

Hodan Mohamed

Project Title: The Built Environment and Life Expectancy in Santa Clara County

Faculty Mentor: Michelle Odden, Associate Professor of Epidemiology & Population Health

Hodan Mohamed is a senior at James Madison University pursuing a degree in Health Sciences with a minor in Humanitarian Affairs. She is interested in pursuing a career in Public Health in hopes of addressing the needs and concerns of populations’ experiencing humanitarian emergencies. Her interest stems from her parents immigrating to the United States from Somalia due to conflict in their home country and opened her eyes to the intersectionality between global health and conflict. She also has an interest in the health disparities in minority populations and community health. In the future, Hodan aspires to pursue a Masters degree  in Public Health, Global Health or Population Health. During her free time, Hodan loves reading, listening to music and spending time with family and friends. 

Justin Naidu

Project Title: The Impact of COVID-19 on Cancer Care for the Latinx Community

Faculty Mentor: Patricia Rodriguez Espinosa, Instructor, Epidemiology & Population Health

Justin Naidu is a first-generation undergraduate student at the University of California, Merced double majoring in Sociology & Public Health with minors in Psychology & Community Research and Service. He was born on the small island of Fiji and immigrated with his family to the San Francisco Bay Area. 

As a student residing in Merced, Justin has encountered many people from diverse immigrant backgrounds in the Central Valley struggling with the impacts of health inequities, including low COVID-19 vaccination rates, tobacco-related diseases, and food insecurity. Because of the persistence of these health inequities during the COVID-19 pandemic, Justin came to understand the importance of epidemiology and population health. In addition to his personal experiences, Justin previously conducted qualitative research under the guidance of Dr. Andrea Polonijo at UC Merced, where he identified facilitators and barriers to HPV and meningitis vaccination among MSM populations in the Inland Empire.

Justin is motivated to pursue a career in social epidemiology with the aim of incorporating community engagement and the social determinants of health. In the future Justin hopes to work alongside with Asian and Pacific Islanders communities. In his free time, Justin enjoys traveling with his family, listening to K-Pop music, and playing video games. 

Stephanie Perez

Project Title: Improving Equity for Health Care Payments

Faculty Mentor: Sherri Rose, Associate Professor of Health Policy

Stephanie Perez is a recent graduate from UCLA, where she earned a degree in International Development with minors in Global Health and Global Studies. She enjoys audiobooks, making little crafts for friends, a good allegory, and of course, public health.

Her special area of interest lies within dental public health and bridging the gap between clinical and preventive oral healthcare for underserved populations. This is in part due to her personal experiences navigating care as a low-income, daughter of immigrants growing up in Compton, where she witnessed great need within her community. Since oral health is such a huge indicator of systemic health, she hopes to improve health outcomes for all by increasing access to dignified healthcare through policy and further understanding disparities in the social epidemiology of disease burden.

In the future, Perez plans on pursuing an MPH/DDS degree and bring a perspective to oral health delivery that involves education as preventative care, community-based participatory research, and the advancement of oral epidemiology as a discipline. Until then, she will be obtaining her post-baccalaureate and focusing on further understanding the unique needs of various communities beyond her own. 

Jaleel Poole

Project Title: Recipe4Health: A comprehensive approach to addressing food insecurity and chronic disease to promote health equity

Faculty Mentor: Lisa Goldman Rosas, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology & Population Health and of Medicine (Primary Care & Population Health)

Jaleel Poole is a recent graduate of Denison University and will be attending Columbia University in Fall 2022 to obtain his Masters’ of Public Health degree in Chronic Disease Epidemiology. He is passionate about health disparities in cardiovascular diseases and their connection to food apartheid (a term emphasizing the role of racist and oppressive structures in creating nutrient-deprived food environments) in disinvested, disenfranchised Black communities. Jaleel’s interest for this subject emanates from having grown up in food apartheid and losing family members to diabetes and heart diseases who had a history of unhealthy eating because of limited, infrequent access to healthy, affordable, and culturally-appropriate food. Through internships with the Columbia University Irving Medical Center and the Food Systems Division of Columbus Public Health, Jaleel developed a profound comprehension of the structural determinants— racism and poverty— driving the differences in the prevalence of food insecurity and chronic disease mortality between Black and white populations in the US. Through his AHEaD research project with Dr. Lisa Goldman Rosas, he is hoping to improve his understanding of how epidemiologists design and employ multi-sectoral initiatives to reduce reliance on emergency food systems and build community partnerships that promote food sovereignty and security. Jaleel enjoys eating food just as much as he enjoys studying it, trying new vegetarian and vegan foods as often as he can. He also enjoys biking along Chicago’s beautiful lakefront, exploring the outdoors, and listening to hip-hop/rap music.