WELL for Life Students and Post Doctoral Fellows
WELL for Life hosts students, annually, from the Community Health and Prevention Research (CHPR) and Epidemiology and Public Health master's program at Stanford University. WELL for Life also welcomes Post Doctoral Fellows to advance the research of well-being. During their time with WELL students gain hands-on experience with community engaged research, partnership development and exercising the scientific method.
WELL for Life Post Doctoral Fellows
Patricia Rodriguez Espinosa - Postdoctoral Researcher
Patricia, a native of Habana, Cuba, earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 2018 and a Master of Public Health (Health Policy concentration) in 2017, both from the University of New Mexico. Her graduate research work concentrated on health equity, racial residential segregation and the science of Community-Based Participatory Research. She is currently a research fellow with the Stanford Prevention Research Center. She is currently working with WELL analyzing both qualitative and quantitative data.
Sparkle Elaine Springfield - Postdoctoral Fellow
Sparkle's research focuses on gaining a more in-depth understanding of the factors that contribute to poor dietary and physical activity outcomes in African American women. She is currently working on projects that include studies to understand individual and community level predictors of resilience and examine its relationship with CVD-related health behaviors, including diet quality. Her previous research examined socio-demographic and psychosocial predictors of dietary quality in African American breast cancer survivors enrolled in a community-based randomized weight loss intervention trial.
Anthony Edward Crimarco - Postdoctoral Researcher
Anthony Crimarco, Ph.D., is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at the Stanford Prevention Research Center. His primary research interests include diet and lifestyle interventions. More specifically he focuses on the health benefits of plant-based diets, the impact of the built environment on diet and physical activity behaviors, and the use of mHealth and eHealth in lifestyle interventions.
Dr. Crimarco completed a Ph.D. in Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior from the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina in 2019. He also completed M.S. degrees in Management at the University of Florida (2013) and Wellness Management at Ball State University (2012).
WELL for Life Students
Sophia Kreider- Undergraduate B.S. Student
Sophia is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology at Stanford University with a concentration in Brain and Behavior and a minor in Music.
Sophia is passionate about destigmatizing mental illness and promoting well-being among youth. In the future, she hopes to attend medical school to become a pediatric psychiatrist or neurologist and work towards creating more equitable access to healthcare.
Gracemary Wanjiru Nganga - Undergraduate B.S. Student
Gracemary is a rising junior at Stanford University studying Human Biology. She working with the WELL for Life study through the HB-REX internship program. She is passionate about working to improve community health and being engaged with service. In the future, she hopes to work to eradicate healthcare disparities through clinical research or as a physician.
Rahma Ahmed - MPH Candidate, Yale School of Public Health
Rahma is currently a graduate student at Yale School of Public Health, pursuing an MPH in Healthcare Management with a concentration in Global Health. She graduated with her bachelors in Neuroscience from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2020, and she is passionate about combining her research skills with her newfound knowledge in the public health field.
Her work with Stanford WELL has been focused on analyzing data from China and the United States and using cross-country comparisons to explore potential variables that can be used to improve the overall well-being among low-income populations in these areas.
Natalie Yu - MS Candidate Community Health and Prevention Research Program, Stanford School of Medicine
Natalie graduated from Duke University with a Bachelor of Science in a self-designed degree, “Cognitive Science in Innovation and Society”. This interdisciplinary major allowed her to explore the application of cognitive science principles in technological innovation, policy making and health systems design. Natalie is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in the Community Health and Prevention Research Program at the Stanford University School of Medicine. By working with the WELL for Life team on her thesis, she hopes to help advance the science of well-being and its application in different socio-cultural contexts.
Yan Min - Epidemiology PhD Student
Yan obtained her Bachelor of Medicine from Peking University Health Science Center, and Master of Arts in health policy from Stanford University. Her research was focused on health inequity, population aging and long-term care in developing countries.
Yan has worked at the World Health Organization Department of Health care System Financing. Her research there included investigations of long-term care insurance programs, and analysis of healthcare system efficiencies within Eight East Asian Countries. As a visiting researcher, Yan was involved in two fieldworks conducted by National Taiwan University School of Public Health with a focus on the elderly’s living arrangements in Taipei.
Caroline Ji-Hae Yim Young - Epidemiology Master Student
Caroline is an epidemiology master's student examining the associations between nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and various cardiometabolic conditions such as obesity and type II diabetes. She is especially interested in cardiometabolic-NAFLD associations within lean NAFLD WELL China individuals, and exploring whether these relationships are different from those found in other NAFLD patients.
Justine Kaneda - Human Biology Intern
My sophomore year I was lucky enough to be selected for a summer research internship with Stanford WELL For Life through the Human Biology Research Exploration Program. A highlight of my internship was being able to collaborate with the San Mateo County Commission on Disabilities, one of WELL's Community Partners. I had the opportunity to attend one of their commission meetings, as well as help represent WELL during their 2nd Annual Inclusion Festival! Also throughout my internship, I conducted various literature reviews, helped code qualitative data, and managed WELL’s social media platforms. During this summer I learned the importance of collecting both qualitative and quantitive data when conducting community research and the power that collaboration can have on enhancing well-being on both a local and global scale. I am very grateful for my experience with WELL and will continue to encourage wellness in my community everyday!
George Cholankeril, M.D. - Epidemiology M.S. Student
George Cholankeril is currently a third-year clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology fellow supported by a NIH T32 training grant. He will be joining Baylor College of Medicine as a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
His clinical research interests include understanding the epidemiology and health-related outcomes related to chronic liver disease with a special focus on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and liver cancer. He is particularly interested in the metabolomic differences seen among patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
Steven Crane - CHPR Masters Student
Steven is studying the social connectedness domain of well-being, as measured by the Stanford Well for Life Scale. He is particularly interested in analysis of how different demographic groups experience this dimension, how the experience of social connection changes over the life course and can be improved, and how it is linked to important outcomes in health and human flourishing.
Check out Steven's Master's Thesis Here
Amy Li, M.D. - Knight-Hennessy Scholar- CHPR Masters Student
Amy used WELL China data to study how well-being is associated having a chronic disease. She is examining if the associations differ depending on having a chronic disease. Using Stanford Well for Life data in China, Amy is examining if the association differ depending on (a) whether or not the person knows that they have the disease and (b) the person is successfully managing the disease.
Robert Shi - CHPR Masters Student
Abstract: The Well-Being of Unhoused Individuals in Transitional Housing: A qualitative exploration of stress, spirituality and religion, and purpose and meaning
Purpose: This thesis examined how individuals who are unhoused experience stress, spirituality and religion, and purpose and meaning. Specifically, it sought to build upon a study comparing the well-being of unhoused and housed individuals. In this prior work, an innovative well-being measure—the Stanford WELL for Life Scale—was used to gather self-reported data about ten domains of well-being: social connectedness, lifestyle behaviors, physical health, stress and resilience, experience of emotions, purpose and meaning in life, sense of self, financial issues, spirituality and religion, and exploration and creativity. There were a number of unexpected findings in this prior research that warranted additional exploration, which forms the basis for this thesis. Specifically, no difference was found when comparing the well-being of people who were unhoused and the housed in terms of the self-reported stress scores and the purpose and meaning scores. People who were unhoused reported higher scores for the spirituality and religion domain.
Methods: This thesis used qualitative data-gathering during three focus groups (n = 12) and a one-on-one interview (n = 1) with individuals who were unhoused. Participants were recruited from a previous WELL for Life study’s sample as well as through a partnership with LifeMoves, a transitional housing organization in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Results: The recorded and transcribed data resulted in the identification of five thematic categories—purpose and meaning (which has three sub-codes: personal belief systems, motivation, and change over time); stressors; spirituality and religion; coping; and responsibilities. The sample of participants who were unhoused from this thesis proposed that people who are unhoused and housed experience different stressors, but not necessarily different levels of stress. A reliance on spirituality and religion as a coping mechanism for the unique stressors of not having a house may have accounted for high levels of spirituality and religion levels from previous research. Motivation to become housed and personal belief systems such as accepting one’s situation, learning from the past, and focusing on what is good in life may have contributed to the findings in the previous research that there was no difference in purpose and meaning levels when comparing the sample of people who were unhoused and matched WELL participants who were housed.
Conclusion: These findings have implications for improving the well-being of individuals who are unhoused and for future research in expanding our understanding of domains of well-being among individuals who are unhoused.
Nicole Jackson - CHPR Masters Student
Abstract: The Role Of Religiosity And Spirituality In The Well-Being Of Members Of The African American Community: A Comparative Analysis
Purpose: This study examined the role of spirituality and religiosity in the overall well-being among members of the African American community compared to non-African Americans by analyzing data collected using the Stanford WELL for Life Scale (SWLS). The Stanford Wellness Living Laboratory (WELL) designed the scale to measure ten domains of well-being. To diversify the WELL for Life registry and to recruit African American participants, the WELL research team partnered with organizations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area such as the African American Community Health Advisory Committee and Stanford’s undergraduate and graduate programs.
Methods: To study the association between spirituality and religiosity and well-being, this study ran linear regressions on data from 98 African Americans and 392 matched nonAfrican American participants.
Results: Results from these regressions found that overall levels of wellbeing in the African American sample and the matched sample were similar. However, African Americans in this sample were more likely to report spirituality and religiosity as an important part of their daily lives. Linear regression analysis was used to estimate an interaction effect to evaluate whether spirituality and religiosity was more strongly associated with well-being among African Americans compared to non-African Americans, but this interaction term was not significant.
Conclusions: African Americans are more likely than their non-African American peers to report spirituality and religiosity as an important aspect of their daily lives. Further research on the factors that lead to well-being among African Americans would provide insights into how governmental institutions and health organizations can craft policies supporting these populations.
Dilpreet Singh Sahota - CHPR Masters Student
Abstract: The Role of Religiosity and Education on Well-Being in South Asians: A Comparative Analysis
Purpose: Well-being is a topic of growing interest across academic disciplines, but there is a lack of ethnic diversity within the literature. We set out to investigate the association of spirituality and religiosity, and education, on the well-being of South Asians in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Methods: South Asians in the San Francisco Bay Area were recruited through community partners. Participants responded to 76-questions about 10 domains of well-being in the Stanford WELL for Life Scale (SWLS). Recruited participants (n = 80) were matched 1:4 to non-South Asian (n = 320) participants in the WELL registry. Linear regression analyses were conducted, controlling for age and gender, to examine differences in the way that education, and spirituality and religiosity, interact with well-being among South Asian and non-South Asian participants.
Results: There was no statistically significant difference in well-being between South Asians and the matched non-South Asian participants. The association between education and well-being was not different for South Asians in comparison to non-South Asians, though there was a statistically significant increase in well-being for additional education completed, regardless of ethnicity. The association between spirituality and religiosity and well-being was not statistically different for South Asians in comparison to non-South Asians, but it was determined that this sample of South Asians ascribed more importance to spirituality and religiosity than non-South Asian participants.
Conclusions: The findings of this study support other research that indicates that spirituality and religiosity are important to South Asians, suggesting that policies and programs designed to improve wellbeing should incorporate spirituality and religiosity. There is a need for more research to better understand the ways that the lived experiences of ethnic subgroups, such as South Asians, lead to variations in well-being.
Sylvia Zhang - CHPR Masters Student
Abstract: Well-being among US-born and foreign-born Chinese Americans
Purpose: This paper examines the well-being of U.S.-born and foreign-born Chinese Americans in the San Francisco Bay Area of Northern California, U.S.
Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 181 Chinese Americans and 724 matched comparisons completed the self-administered Stanford WELL for Life Scale. Data were analyzed using multiple linear regression analyses.
Results: On average, the well-being of Chinese Americans in this sample did not differ from that of non-Chinese Americans. However, among the Chinese Americans in this study, U.S.-born Chinese Americans in this sample experienced lower levels of overall well-being compared to that of foreign-born Chinese Americans. Social connectedness was more strongly associated with overall well-being among foreign-born Chinese Americans compared to U.S.-born Chinese Americans.
Conclusions: These findings suggest that, based on this sample, cross-cultural differences in well-being are not as prominent as previously thought and that interventions aimed at increasing well-being should focus on those who are U.S.-born. Future research is needed to explore reasons for differences in well-being between U.S.-born and foreign-born populations.
Yihan Hu - CHPR Masters Student
Abstract: Epidemic of Obesity, Metabolic Syndrome, and Diabetes in Hangzhou, China: A WELL China Community-based Study and Implications for Prevention
Purpose: Obesity and metabolic syndrome are rising globally, including in China. To understand the inter-relationships among obesity, metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes, and diabetes and to provide new insight for disease prevention, we conducted a community-based study of over 3,000 Chinese men and women. The goals of this study were to examine the prevalence and inter-relationships of obesity, central obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome, and provide insights and critical information for disease prevention to reduce the burden of obesity and related downstream diseases within the same community.
Methods: As part of the US-China Wellness Living Laboratory (WELL), this study used analyzed data from 3,070 men and women in the WELL China study. The 3,070 study participants were selected by stratified sampling of permanent residents in one district (insert name of district) in Hangzhou City. For all study participants, height, weight, waist and hip circumference and blood pressure were measured on site. Fasting blood samples were collected during an in-person visit and were used to measure various biomarkers, including hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c). We used the World Health Organization Asian body mass index (BMI) cutoffs to define overweight and obesity and the International Diabetic Federation (IDF) metabolic syndrome (MetS) guideline to assess MetS in the study.
Results: A total of 3,070 individuals (1,354 males, 1,716 females) were included in the study. Age at study enrollment ranged from 18 to 70+. 26.1% of the participants had an education below middle school. Mean BMI was 24.0 kg/m2 in men and 23.0 kg/m2 in women. The prevalence of overweight and overall obesity was 23% and 30.4%, respectively, with men having a higher prevalence of obesity (37.3% ) than women (25.5%). Central obesity was more common in women (55%) than men (17.8%). Prevalence of MetS was 8.9% in men and 8.7% in women. Prevalence of MetS increased with increasing BMI, ranging from 3.5% in normal BMI and increasing to 19.5% among overweight individuals. About 20.8% of participants had pre-diabetes and 7.9% had diabetes. BMI and abdominal obesity, measured by waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), were associated with pre-diabetes and diabetes. Relative to those with a low or normal BMI and WHR, abdominal obesity was significantly associated with a 4-fold risk of diabetes (95% CI 2.3-7.2) and a 1.89-fold risk of pre-diabetes (95% CI 1.3-2.7) among those with a normal BMI. Those with a high BMI (>25) and a high WHR (>1 for men and >0.86 for women) had a 6.7-fold risk of diabetes (95% CI 4.3-10.5) compared to normal BMI and WHR.
Conclusions: Abdominal obesity was very common among study participants and was associated with increased risks of diabetes and pre-diabetes, even among individuals with a normal BMI. The prevalence of undiagnosed diabetes and –pre-diabetes was high. Recommendations for the future include, community-based screening of diabetes using a minimally invasive blood test of HbA1c should be implemented to identify high risk individuals for health education and treatment and to raise awareness of the public health problem related to the epidemic of obesity and abdominal obesity in China.
Aaron Rios - CHPR Master Student
Abstract: Comparing the Well-Being of Guamanian and Non-Guamanian Young Adults
Introduction: Guam is a 210 square mile island in the Western Pacific Ocean and home to over 160,000 Americans. Guam’s unique geopolitical and cultural histories have significantly influenced its people, but the literature on Guamanian health and well-being is sparse.
Objective: To quantify and compare the well-being of Guamanian young adults living in mainland United States (the U.S), excluding U.S. territories, with Non-Guamanian comparisons.
Measurement: The Stanford WELL for Life Scale (SWLS) asks participants questions about ten domains of well-being, as well as demographic and health status information.
Methods: 41 Guamanians living in the U.S. were recruited to take the Stanford WELL for life scale. They were then matched with 41 Non-Guamanian comparisons controlling for age, gender, and education. Two sample independent t-tests were conducted to determine the significance of differences in overall well-being of Guamanians vs Non-Guamanians, as well as
explore differences in each of the ten domains of well-being. Multi-linear regression analyses were also conducted to test the significance of an interaction between the independent variables of being Guamanian and the individual domain scores on the dependent variable of the overall well-being score.
Results: Guamanians reported statistically significantly less healthy scores for lifestyle behaviors compared to non-Guamanians (μ =5.67, σ =1.5 for Guamanians and μ =6.47, σ =1.4 for non-Guamanians); t= -2.43, p = 0.016. Guamanians also reported statistically significantly higher scores for purpose and meaning (μ=6.86 σ= 2.0 for Guamanians and μ=5.91 σ = 2.2 for non-Guamanians); t= 2.05, p = 0.04. The regression analyses yielded a significant interaction between being Guamanian and the lifestyle domain score on overall well-being as quantified by the long well-being score (β=-01.02, p=0.031).
Conclusions: These results suggest that, on average, Guamanian young adults who have moved from Guam to the U.S. are engaging in unhealthier lifestyle behaviors, and that lifestyle is relatively less important to overall well-being for these Guamanians compared to non-Guamanians. Furthermore, Guamanians in this sample had a greater sense of purpose and meaning. While significant differences were not observed for the remaining domains of wellbeing, it is important for future research to further explore the associations between health and well-being holistically.
Allison Ngyuen - CHPR Masters Student
Abstract: Well-being in the Context of Housed-Individuals Compared to Non-Housed Individuals
Additional information coming soon!
In addition to CHPR students, WELL for Life hosts a number of students from various Universities and majors. Students who are selected to be a WELL for Life intern are involved in community outreach, participant engagement, data analysis, and other projects as identified by a WELL for Life mentor.
If you are interested in becoming a WELL for Life intern please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org