Alexandria Coffey is a doctoral student in the Department of Maternal and Child Health at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. She received her MPH in Epidemiology and her BS in Biochemistry from Kent State University. Prior to coming to UNC, Alexandria worked at Akron Children’s Hospital in Akron, Ohio for four years, where she led and supported efforts in clinical research, health policy, and injury prevention programming. Her most recent role at the organization involved the development and management of a $1.2M clinical trial evaluating a cooling therapy among adolescent athletes diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injury. Her current research interests include child maltreatment prevention with a focus on economic supports.
David Colston is a third-year doctoral student in the Department of Health Behavior at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. His work centers around understanding the social and structural factors that impact substance use, and how harm reduction strategies can be implemented to reduce the burden of overdose in the US. His most recent work has centered around opioid and injection drug use in Appalachian Ohio and polydrug use trends in North Carolina, though he also has extensive experience evaluating the impact of tobacco control policies on downstream health equity. If you are interested in collaborating or learning more about his work, he invites you to reach out!
Madeline Frank is in her final year of the dual master’s degree program in Social Work at the UNC School of Social Work and Public Health in the Maternal, Child, and Family Health Concentration at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Prior to graduate school, she received her BA in Anthropology from Kenyon College and worked for several years with children and families both in Philadelphia and abroad. Her research and practice interests include material hardship, the health impacts of childhood trauma, integrating social workers into healthcare teams, and mitigating racial health disparities.
Laurel Sharpless is a third-year doctoral student in the Department of Health Behavior at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. She completed a post-baccalaureate fellowship at Stanford University School of Medicine where she led research that prompted system-level improvements in the implementation of intimate partner violence screening among the university’s network of primary care clinics. Inspired by this work, she received a Master’s of Public Health in Chronic Disease Epidemiology from the Yale School of Public Health where she pursued her interest in how social justice and gender-based violence intersect to shape mental health among survivors as a Solomon Student Fellow in Health Law and Policy at Yale Law School. Building off this training, her research interests center on how restorative and transformative justice impact the mental health and wellbeing of survivors of gender-based violence. Her dissertation focuses on the role of state-level restorative justice policies and their implementation on depression and suicidal ideation among adolescent dating violence girl survivors.
Paris Wiechecki Vergara is a second-year Master of Public Health student at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. She attended the University of Florida where she received degrees in health science and neuroscience with a minor in Spanish. Her passion for mental health and violence prevention developed over years spent as a crisis interventionist with the Alachua County Crisis Center. Prior to pursuing graduate studies, Paris worked full-time as a victim advocate with the Child Advocacy Center in Gainesville, FL. Her experiences navigating the child welfare and legal systems informed her decision to research child abuse prevention and sexual violence prevention during her graduate degree program. As an inaugural Peer Educator with UNC Violence Prevention and Advocacy Services, Paris assisted in the revision of the university’s sexual violence bystander intervention training. Since then, she has collaborated on projects relating to trauma-informed courts and domestic violence intervention programs. Paris gravitates towards roles where she can engage in curriculum development, facilitation, health communication, and advocacy.
Margarett McBride is a 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.
Rebecca Patterson-Markowitz is a doctoral 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.
Erika Redding is a third year MSPH-PhD student in the Department of Health Behavior at the Gillings School of Global Public Health. Since beginning her master’s training, Erika has conducted research addressing Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) victimization and its impact on marginalized communities. As such, Erika works closely with Dr. Beth Moracco on projects focused on improving Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO) process and outcomes for women of color. Erika is passionate about addressing health disparities in the U.S. and plans to continue conducting research that meaningfully addresses the disparities experienced by minority populations.
Chrissie Schalkoff is a doctoral student in the Department of Health Behavior, where she also received her MSPH. Prior to coming to UNC, she worked as a Fulbright Teaching Assistant in Germany and subsequently as a Research Assistant for the Clemson University School of Health Research. She is currently a project coordinator for the Ohio Opioid Project, a 5-year NIDA-funded intervention implementation study of substance use and treatment services in rural southern Ohio. Her doctoral research focuses on the intersection of health behavior and moral psychology and examines community trauma, substance use-related stigma, and acceptance of evidence-based treatment for opioid use disorder. Her current work is also supported by an NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral NRSA fellowship.
Adams Sibley is a doctoral student 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.
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.
Natalie Blackburn is a Project Manager at the UNC IPRC. She received her PhD from 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 Adverse Childhood Experiences and Resilience Coordinator for Durham County Public Health. She received her MPH from the department of Health Behavior at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. 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.
Caroline Chandler is a doctoral student in the Department of Maternal and Child Health where she also received her MPH. She received her BA in Healthcare Studies and Cognitive Science from the University of Richmond. Prior to coming to UNC, Caroline worked at RTI International where she engaged in research on HIV and intimate partner violence prevention. Her current research interests include child maltreatment prevention and response with a focus on child and adolescent well-being.
Gerard Chung is a 4th year doctoral candidate 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 child maltreatment, intimate partner violence, parenting, and advanced statistical methods. His dissertation will focus on risk factors of child maltreatment. More about Gerard at gerardchung.com
Dirk Davis is a 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.
Lee Doyle is a second year MSW/MPH student at UNC Chapel Hill. Before coming to UNC, Lee worked for ten years in sexual violence and intimate partner violence prevention and education and has been doing youth work for over thirteen years. Lee currently serves as a graduate research assistant on campus sexual violence prevention study. Lee’s research interests include queer and transgender health, sexual and intimate violence prevention, and adolescent sexual health.
Venita Embry is a 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.
Hannabeth Franchino-Olsen is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Maternal and Child Health. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, she completed her MPH in the Department of Maternal and Child Health, and she also holds an MS in Physiology and Developmental Biology. Her research interests focus on issues of gender-based violence, and she has worked on projects related to intimate partner violence, child marriage, and human trafficking in the United States and Botswana. Her doctoral research focuses on domestic minor sex trafficking and the vulnerabilities and forms of adolescent violence associated with experiences of minor sex trafficking.
Alex Gertner received his MD/PhD from the UNC School of Medicine and the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Gillings School of Global Public Health. 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 received her MPH from the Maternal Child Health department at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. She received a BS in Public Health from the University of Arizona. Prior to attending UNC, 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.
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.
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 doctoral candidate in the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Social Work. Her research focuses on sexual and intimate partner violence prevention and intervention with 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.
Aliza is a third year doctoral student in the Interdisciplinary Program of Human Movement Science. She graduated from Ithaca College in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Athletic Training. She received her Master of Arts in Exercise and Sport Science with a concentration in Athletic Training from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May of 2017. Following completion of her Master’s degree, Aliza worked as a Project Coordinator and Research Assistant in the Matthew Gfeller Sport Related Traumatic Brain Injury Center and the Injury Prevention Research Center at UNC Chapel Hill. Her research interests include injury prevention and education surrounding sport related concussion and exertional heat illness.
Catherine Paquette is a 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.
Tricia Roby is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia. Tricia received her doctorate 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.
Amy Sechrist is a second-year master’s student in the Department of City and Regional Planning with a concentration in Housing and Community Development. Prior to UNC she worked as a Housing Advocate and Shelter Manager at a gender-based violence crisis center and as a federal project management consultant working on federal homelessness projects. Her research interests include affordable housing, the intersection of gender and planning, and housing development for survivors of gender-based violence. Her Master’s Project will focus on better understanding HUD’s Consolidated Planning process and the ways in which DV/SV organizations can better advocate for survivor housing within that process.
Kristin Shiue is a doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology. Before coming to UNC, she received her MPH in Epidemiology from the East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine and worked at IQVIA as a member of the Injury Surveillance & Analytics team, collaborating on research efforts to examine injury and player health in professional sports leagues. Kristin is a recipient of the Gillings School’s Robert Verhalen Endowed Scholarship in Injury Prevention/Trauma Management and the Gary G. and Carolyn J. Koch Merit Scholarship in Public Health. Beyond sport-related injury, Kristin’s research interests lie at the intersection of substance use and pain, particularly the leveraging of large healthcare databases and integrated data systems to guide the development of effective strategies to manage pain and mitigate the ongoing opioid crisis.
Kathleen Shumaker received her MSW from the UNC 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. She was 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.
Josie Caves Sivaraman is a 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.
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.
Dianne Uwayo is a second year MPH student in Global Health at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. She has spent the past five years dedicated to intimate partner violence (IPV) prevention research and dialogue in the U.S and in East Africa. Most notably, in 2016 she was awarded a Fulbright grant to Tanzania to continue her qualitative research on community perceptions of IPV. Her work in neighboring Kenya and Rwanda is also rooted in violence prevention and improving women’s health. Looking ahead, Dianne is particularly interested in utilizing the tools of public health to help cultivate healthy relationships and exploring the ways in which communities can critically engage men in IPV prevention.
Belinda-Rose Young is a 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.