Natalie Blackburn is a fifth-year doctoral candidate in the Department of Health Behavior at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health. She holds a Master’s in Public Health in Behavioral Sciences and Health Education from Emory University. Prior to starting the PhD program at UNC Natalie was an ORISE fellow in the Division of Viral Hepatitis at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta where she focused on strengthening the evidence for screening of hepatitis C among persons who use drugs. Her research interests include treatment for opioid use disorders and the implementation of substance use treatment services in infectious disease clinical settings. Learn more about Natalie through her Fellow in Focus article.
Jess Bousquette is a second-year MPH student in Health Behavior. She received a BA in International Studies: Political Science from the University of California San Diego. Prior to attending the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Jess served as the Child Protection Policy Advisor at World Vision, where she focused on violence against children, child labor and children affected by armed conflict. Her research interests include the prevention of adverse childhood experiences, social determinants of health, and school-based interventions.
Josie Caves Sivaraman is a fourth-year doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology. Prior to her doctoral work, she received her nursing degree from UNC and worked both as a cardiac bedside nurse at Rex Hospital and as a cardiovascular research coordinator at Duke and UNC hospitals. She received her MSPH in Injury Epidemiology at the Gillings School of Global Public Health and has been supported by the Raluca Iosif Intimate Partner Violence Research Award from IntraHealth International and the Gillings School’s Robert Verhalen Endowed Scholarship in Injury Prevention/Trauma Management. Research interests include intimate partner violence, police violence, firearm violence and opioid epidemic.
Gerard Chung is a 3rd-year doctoral student in the School of Social Work. He is from Singapore and he holds a Masters in Social Work from the National University of Singapore. Before starting his Ph.D. , Gerard was a researcher in the social work department of the National University of Singapore. He also worked for five years in direct social work practice with families in a community setting. His research interests include intimate partner violence, parenting and fathers, and advanced statistical methods. More about Gerard here.
Tricia Combs is a fourth-year doctoral candidate in the Interdisciplinary Program in Human Movement Science. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Exercise and Sport Science with an emphasis in Athletic Training. After graduation, she worked as a certified athletic trainer at Tuscarora High School in Frederick, MD. She completed her Master of Education in Kinesiology from the University of Virginia in 2015. She was a research coordinator in the Matthew Gfeller Center in 2016. Her research interests include physiological outcomes in pediatric concussion.
Dirk Davis is a fourth-year doctoral student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the Department of Health Behavior, where he also obtained an MPH. Prior to coming to UNC-CH, Dirk lived and worked in Guatemala for five years with the US Peace Corps. He continues to work in Central America and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean to identify and reduce health inequities experienced by sexual and gender minorities. He is particularly interested in exploring how different forms of gender-based violence (GBV), including intimate partner violence (IPV) and violence perpetrated by public security forces (police, military, prison guards), are experienced by gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender women.
Venita Embry is a fourth-year Health Behavior doctoral student at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Since graduating with her MPH at Emory University, she has worked on a variety of research, evaluation, and technical assistance projects related to behavioral health, violence, health services, and criminal justice outcomes. For six years, she has worked at RTI International in the Center for Courts and Corrections which is housed in the division of Applied Justice Research. Her research interests include violence prevention interventions, court system responses to public health problems, and the effects of justice involvement on health. Read more about Venita in her Fellow in Focus spotlight.
Alex Gertner is a seventh-year MD/PhD candidate in the School of Medicine and the Department of Health Policy and Management. He received a BA in Anthropology with a certificate in Global Health and Health Policy from Princeton University and worked as a coordinator for the Health and Human Rights Division of Human Rights Watch. He is the recipient of a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. His research interests include the effects of state and federal policies on overdose and suicide rates. More about Alex here.
Nicole Gonzalez is a second-year MPH student in Maternal Child Health. She received a BS in Public Health from the University of Arizona. Prior to attending the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Nicole served in various positions focused on preventing substance abuse and suicide among youth. Now in her graduate program, Nicole’s research interests include prevention of gender based violence, femicide, and the intersections of these topics with family dynamics and infectious diseases.
Christi Hurt is a doctoral student in the Health Policy and Management Program at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC. She has a Master in Public Administration and has been working to end gender-based violence in a variety of capacities throughout her career. She is currently a national consultant on campus safety and Title IX matters, and formerly served as the Interim Vice Chancellor and the Assistant Vice Chancellor/Chief of Staff for Student Affairs at UNC. Prior to these roles, she served as the Director of the Carolina Women’s Center, where she increased the capacity of the Center to serve students, faculty, and staff who experienced interpersonal violence and abuse. Additionally, she served as the University’s first full-time Title IX Coordinator and chaired the campus-wide Task Force to revise the University’s policy on prohibited discrimination and harassment, including sexual misconduct. Before beginning her tenure at the University, Hurt spent more than 20 years working on local, state, and national levels to eliminate interpersonal violence and develop responsive support systems.
Julie Kafka received her MPH from UNC Gilling’s in 2018 and is currently a PhD student in the Department of Health Behavior. Her research is focused on prevention of intimate partner violence (IPV), gun violence, violent deaths, and mitigation of risk behaviors. She has experience and interest in applying advanced qualitative and quantitative research methods, managing and linking complex data sources, evaluating project and policy outcomes, and engaging with communities. Julie has worked both on research translation projects, partnerships with state and local agencies to advance violence prevention, and national training and technical assistance initiatives for behavioral health.
LB Klein is a fourth-year doctoral student in the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Social Work. Her research focuses on sexual and intimate partner violence prevention and intervention with particular interests in reducing health disparities among sexual and gender minorities, fostering equity in higher education, and bridging the gap between research and practice. She has served as a consultant and trainer nationally and internationally through Prevention Innovations Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, Soteria Solutions, and her consulting partnership Catalytical Consulting LLC. LB holds a BA and MSW from Washington University in St. Louis, an MPA from the Program on Gender-Based Violence at the University of Colorado Denver, and a graduate certificate in LGBT health from Drexel University. She has worked in various capacities to prevent and respond to interpersonal violence and advance social justice for over 15 years.
Margarett McBride is a second-year doctoral student in the Developmental Psychology Ph.D. Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is from Saginaw, Michigan. She received her B.A. from the University of Michigan in Biopsychology, Cognition and Neuroscience with a minor in Community Action and Social Change. Before graduate school, she worked with several community-based organizations that focused on developing low-income, traumatized youth’s literacy skills and coping/expression skills for incarcerated and recently released people, both through the arts. Her current research investigates the ways in which community violence, neighborhood supports, and physical structures cause intergenerational impacts on socialization practices and mental health outcomes for low-income, black and brown families.
Catherine Paquette is a third-year doctoral student in the clinical psychology program. She received her master’s degree from the University of Maryland, College Park. Before graduate school, she worked as a program manager at a community-based public health non-profit in Washington, D.C. that provides direct services to sex workers and people who use drugs. She also worked for two years at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, where she worked on NIDA-funded projects addressing the health impacts of injection drug use. Her research interests include treatments for substance use and health risk behaviors, with a focus on empirically-supported interventions and harm reduction approaches for underserved and high risk populations such as people who inject drugs.
Rebecca Patterson-Markowitz is a second year PhD student in the Department of Geography. As a Royster Scholar at UNC she is currently studying the emergence of somatic approaches to healing trauma and generating social transformation. She received a BA in international studies with a concentration in human rights from the University of Arizona. Taking a break from her studies, she volunteered for two years as a crisis advocate for the Victim’s Service out of the Pima County Attorney’s Office responding to violent crimes. There she became interested in the embodied impacts of violence and their social repercussions. Deciding to continue her studies as a feminist health geographer she picked up threads from her undergraduate research on post-conflict Guatemala and received an MA in Geography in 2017. Her research examined the processes of psychosocial accompaniment for Guatemalan women survivors of sexual violence in human rights trials. The intersections of healing and justice articulated by these accompaniers inspired her current research on these intersections in the US context.
Kathleen Shumaker is a second year MSW student in the School of Social Work with a concentration in Community Management and Policy Practice, and MPH student in the School of Public Health in the Maternal and Child Health department. Kathleen spent her first year at UNC interning at the Advocates for Children’s Services, a special project of Legal Aid of North Carolina working to improve education access for children with special needs, including those experiencing trauma. Previously, she worked at InterAct as a Youth Education Specialist and a Crisis Intervention Counselor, providing support and resources to people experiencing intimate partner and family violence. She has partnered with Wake County Schools, local universities, and other community organizations to bring a violence prevention curriculum, focusing on the prevention of dating violence and sexual assault, to students ages 8-24. She also facilitated a psycho educational group for children exposed to domestic violence. Currently, she is the Service Systems intern at the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress, working on the pilot study of their Trauma-Informed Organizational Assessment. Her research interests include juvenile justice and the school to prison pipeline, community violence, restorative justice, and trauma-responsive interventions to keep children engaged and supported in school.
Adams Sibley is a second-year MPH candidate in the Department of Health Behavior at the Gillings School of Public Health. He received his BA in Sociology from Emory University. Before coming to UNC, Adams worked for five years at the Center for Community Engaged Learning & Research in Ewing, NJ. Among other projects, he coordinated two regional coalitions focused on youth violence and prisoner reentry, which informed his venture into the injury and violence prevention field. Adams currently serves as a research assistant on an NIH-funded study of opioid use in Appalachian Ohio. His research interests include design and implementation of community-based interventions, barriers to uptake of harm reduction and treatment EBP in rural contexts, and stigma against PWID and MAT users.
Belinda-Rose Young is a third-year doctoral student in the Department of Health Behavior. She received an MSPH in Public Health Education from the University of South Florida and has served in various national leadership positions, such as Board of Trustee for the Society for Public Health Education and chair of an American Public Health Association work group. She also co-directed a global, digital media campaign entitled I am Wo(man) with the United Nations Women. Prior to starting her doctoral program, she was an Evaluation and Translation Fellow with the CDC Prevention Research Center Program. Research interests include the prevention of gender-based violence and sex trafficking, and understanding perpetrator profiles.
Anna Austin is a core faculty member at IPRC. She graduated from the Department of Maternal and Child Health. She received an MPH in Chronic Disease Epidemiology from Yale School of Public Health and worked as a Fellow for the New Haven Mental Health Outreach for Mothers Partnership. She was also a CDC/CSTE Applied Epidemiology Fellow at NC DPH|IVPB and received the CDC/CSTE Hillary B. Foulkes Memorial Award. Research interests include the prevention of child maltreatment and other adverse childhood experiences, and parenting in the context of substance use.
Laurie Graham graduated from the School of Social Work. Prior to the doctoral program, she received an MSW from UNC-Chapel Hill and worked at the Orange County Rape Crisis Center, first as the Crisis Response Coordinator and then as Programs Director. Ms. Graham has worked in gender-based violence intervention and prevention for over 10 years in varying capacities. She received the Hometown Hero Award from 97.9 WCHL and Performance AutoMall and the Statewide Peer Support Award from the NC Coalition Against Sexual Assault. Currently, as a recipient of the Caroline H. and Thomas S. Royster Fellowship from the UNC Graduate School, her research focuses on the prevention of sexual and intimate partner violence perpetration. She is particularly interested in prevention work with vulnerable and underserved communities, as well as the development, implementation, and evaluation of strategies that prevent the perpetration of multiple types of violence.
Sarah Treves-Kagan graduated from the Health Behavior department in the Gillings Global School of Public Health. Her research focuses on structural approaches to preventing violence, with a specific focus on gender-based violence and sexual assault among vulnerable populations. She has published her research in several peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, PLoS One, BMC Public Health, Global Public Health, and AIDS and Behavior. She has also received several fellowships and awards including the Royster Society of Fellows award and the Jamie Kimble Scholarship for Courage while at UNC; and the Federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau Traineeship with at the University of California, Berkeley. She earned a Master in Public Health from the Maternal and Child Health department at the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.A. in Political Science and Anthropology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Venera Urbaeva graduated with her MPH in Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. She has a graduate degree in international human rights and a bachelor’s in international relations. Prior to starting her degree at UNC Venera has been working for UNICEF for 8 years coordinating child protection programs for children and adolescents affected by violence, family separation, juvenile delinquency and armed conflict in both development and humanitarian contexts. Her research interests include prevention of violence against children, adolescent health programming, digital health and program monitoring/evaluation.