We are proud of the IPRC’s graduate students! Students are an important part of the IPRC. There are typically over 20 graduate and postdoctoral students directly involved in the IPRC’s projects in any given year. Throughout its history, the Center has contributed substantially to the training of over 175 graduate students. We are proud that many of our former students are employed in leading positions as researchers or practitioners in universities; community, state, and national agencies and centers; and non-governmental agencies.

Graduate Students

Anna E. Austin, MPH headshot

Anna E. Austin, MPH

Graduate Research Assistant

Ms. Austin is a fourth-year doctoral student in 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.

Ginna Doss, MPH headshot

Ginna Doss, MPH

Graduate Research Assistant

Ms. Doss is a first-year doctoral student in the department of Epidemiology. She received her MPH from the University of Virginia in 2017. Her research interests broadly include reproductive, pediatric, and perinatal epidemiology, with a specific interest in opioid exposed pregnancies, prescribing practices, and birth outcomes. 

Mike Dolan Fliss, MSW headshot

Mike Dolan Fliss, MSW

Graduate Research Assistant

Mike Dolan Fliss has worked in public health epidemiology and informatics at the county and state level in North Carolina since 2010. He graduated from Duke University with a double major in computer science and philosophy, then from UNC-CH with a Master’s of Social Work with a concentration in management and community practice, with separate certificates from both Duke and UNC in Nonprofit Management and Leadership. He anticipates finishing his Master’s of Biomedical Health Informatics, Public Health Informatics concentration in 2018 and PhD in Epidemiology at UNC Chapel Hill in 2019. His current work is in social, injury, environmental, and spatial epidemiology, and includes opioid overdose, tobacco and alcohol environment control, violent deaths, child maltreatment, industrial animal farms, disparities in policing, and public health informatics.

Mackenzie Herzog, MPH headshot

Mackenzie Herzog, MPH

Graduate Research Assistant

Bio coming soon!

Julie Kafka, MPH headshot

Julie Kafka, MPH

Graduate Research Assistant

Ms. Kafka is in her third year of study in the Department of Health Behavior at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, having just completed her MPH and started her first year in the doctoral program. Prior to her studies at UNC, Ms. Kafka worked at the Education Development Center (EDC) in Boston on early childhood mental health promotion and substance abuse prevention. Since arriving at UNC, she has worked primarily with Dr. Beth Moracco studying firearm-related intimate partner violence. She has also worked with the NC Department of Public Health on the state’s violent death reporting system (NC-VDRS). Ms. Kafka is a recipient of the UNC Graduate School Doctoral Merit Award. Research interests include prevention of intimate partner violence, dating violence, firearm violence, and adverse childhood experiences.

Morgan Richey, MPH headshot

Morgan Richey, MPH

Graduate Research Assistant

Morgan is a second-year doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology. Prior to the doctoral program, he received an MPH with a focus on applying research to clinical practice from the University of Virginia School of Medicine and worked as a research specialist with the Department of Infectious Disease, Cardiology and Nephrology at UVA medical center. His current research interests include road, sports and occupational safety, especially in high-risk settings.

Kristin Shiue, MPH headshot

Kristin Shiue, MPH

Graduate Research Assistant

Ms. Shiue is a first-year doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology. Before coming to UNC, she received a 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 such as the NFL and NBA. Beyond sport-related injury, Ms. Shiue’s research interests focus on opioid use disorder and overdose prevention, particularly the leveraging of large healthcare databases and integrated data systems to develop effective strategies for mitigating the ongoing opioid crisis.

Bhavna Singichetti, MPH headshot

Bhavna Singichetti, MPH

Graduate Research Assistant

Ms. Singichetti is a first-year doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology and recipient of the Shults Injury Prevention Scholarship. She received an MPH in Epidemiology at The George Washington University. Before coming to UNC, she worked as a Senior Research Associate at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, where she earned the distinction Outstanding Research Associate in Clinical Research for 2017. Her research interests include pediatric injury, traumatic brain injury/concussion, and transportation safety (including systems thinking).

Josie Caves Sivaraman, MPH headshot

Josie Caves Sivaraman, MPH

Graduate Research Assistant

Ms. Caves 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.

Katherine (Katie) Wolff, MPH headshot

Katherine (Katie) Wolff, MPH

Graduate Research Assistant

Bio coming soon!

Belinda-Rose Young headshot

Belinda-Rose Young

Graduate Research Assistant

Ms. Young is a second-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.

Student Research Groups

An Innovative Approach to Supporting Student-Led Groups

Over the past 5 years, the IPRC has utilized an innovative approach to supporting student-led groups with interests in specific areas of injury and violence research. Initially, this method arose from the IPRC’s desire to support a multi-disciplinary group of students with a shared research interest in gender-based violence (GBV) and has since expanded to supporting other student-led research groups focused on other injury-related topics (e.g. opioid drug overdose and child abuse and neglect). The student-initiated GBV Research Group, with IPRC support, has grown into a campus-wide GBV research consortium that is leading and generating its own publications, presentations, seminar series, journal club, and annual symposium. The Opioid Drug Overdose (ODO) Research Group and the Child Maltreatment Prevention Research and Practice Network are also well organized and productive. The ODO Research Group is implementing a faculty speakers’ series and research workshops where students share their research and receive support from their peers and faculty. The Child Maltreatment Prevention Research and Practice Network is working with faculty to conduct a systematic review to examine the availability, psychometric properties, and use of social determinants of health screening measures to detect early indicators of risk and inform care among youth in clinical settings.

GBV Research Group

Mission: The UNC GBV Research Group is a group of graduate students, faculty, researchers, and practitioners who work to foster a better understanding of, and an end to, all forms of violence associated with a person’s gender. Our efforts affect change domestically and globally through research initiatives, advocacy, pursuits of funding, and the training of individuals working to prevent and control this epidemic.

Goals/Activities: Working in close collaboration, the following committees plan activities that facilitate interdisciplinary research, provide training and professional development for GBV researchers and practitioners, and create opportunities for networking for individuals interested in GBV research and practice.

The Communications Committee coordinates and disseminates all group communications and liaises between the GBV Research Group and partnering organizations. Laurie Graham (grahamlm@live.unc.edu), Doctoral Candidate, School of Social Work, is the chair of this committee.

The Training and Research Committee provides support and coordination for the group’s paper teams, writing workshops, and journal club, and explores opportunities for seeking funding for GBV research. Paper teams are interdisciplinary groups of scholars, including UNC students, faculty, and staff that conduct research on various aspects of gender-based violence. The journal club meets regularly to read and discuss publications covering various forms of GBV and the application of relevant findings to current and future GBV work. Hannabeth Franchino-Olsen (hbo@live.unc.edu), Doctoral Candidate, School of Public Health, is the chair of this committee.

The Event Planning Committee coordinates the group’s social and networking events as well as the annual Speaker Series and Research Symposium. The speaker series brings GBV researchers, practitioners, and policy makers to UNC’s campus to discuss their work with UNC students, faculty, and staff as well as community members. The GBV Research Symposium brings together students, faculty, staff, and community members to present and discuss current GBV research and practice. Yasmin Barrios (yasminv@email.unc.edu), Doctoral Candidate, School of Public Health, is the chair of this committee.

Faculty Support: Drs. Beth Moracco, Rebecca Macy, Sandra Martin, and Steve Marshall are faculty advisors for this group.

 

Opioid Drug Overdose Student Research Group

Mission: The purpose of the Opioid Drug Overdose Student Research Group is to add to the knowledge base of opioid overdose prevention research and engage students, faculty, and staff in collaborative research or practice work related to opioid overdose prevention.

Goals/Activities: The group is comprised of UNC students, faculty, and staff, and community members who are working to improve awareness of opioid research at UNC and in Carolina communities.  The group’s goals are to 1) promote student research through presentations and publications; 2) identify opportunities for research dissemination; and 3) connect students, faculty, and staff, and practitioners on practice-informed opioid research projects. The group meets monthly and offers a faculty speaker series and research workshops. The faculty speaker series is an opportunity for students and faculty to present their opioid research every other month. Examples of past presentation topics include medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in prisons and risk of overdose among recently incarcerated individuals. The research workshops are opportunities for students to “workshop” their own research and receive feedback from the group, which also takes place every other month. A recent example of this was a student who presented preliminary results from a qualitative study interviewing NC pain providers and individuals receiving pain treatment about their perceptions of MAT.
Faculty Support: Drs. Steve Marshall and Shabbar Ranapurwala are the faculty advisors for this network.

Membership: The group is comprised of UNC students, faculty, and staff, and community members who are working to improve awareness of opioid research at UNC and in Carolina communities. Currently, the group has 80 members. Dr. Steve Marshall and Dr. Shabbar Ranapurwala are the faculty advisors for this network.

Child Maltreatment Prevention Research and Practice Network

Mission: The purpose of the Child Maltreatment Prevention Research and Practice Network is to 1) unite local child abuse and neglect researchers and practitioners; 2) discuss current developments in child abuse and neglect research, policy, and practice; and 3) brainstorm practical solutions for bridging the gap between research, policy, and practice within the field of child welfare.

Goals/Activities: This network is comprised of UNC masters and doctoral students, faculty, and staff from diverse disciplines including the Gillings School of Global Public Health, School of Social Work, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, and School of Medicine. The network meets every other week to discuss research and its implications for child maltreatment prevention practice, and organizes monthly field trips to learn about local program and policy initiatives related to child wellbeing and child maltreatment prevention. Students and faculty are currently conducting a systematic review to examine the availability, psychometric properties, and use of social determinants of health screening measures to detect early indicators of risk and inform care among youth in clinical settings.

Faculty Support: Drs. Meghan Shanahan and Paul Lanier are the faculty advisors for this network.

Alumni Spotlight

Heather T. Keenan, PhD, MPH, DCM

Professor in Pediatric Critical Care, Primary Children’s Hospital at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT

Dr. Keenan’s key accomplishments in graduate school include completing the first ever population-based study of abusive head trauma (Shaken Baby Syndrome) in the United States and completing a mixed methods research study that identified disparities in evaluation and diagnosis of child abuse. During her graduate education, Dr. Keenan received the Bert Kaplan Best Student Publication by the UNC Department of Epidemiology and the Gillings School of Global Public Health Bernard Greenberg Award for Excellence in Doctoral Research. Dr. Keenan graduated with a PhD in Epidemiology from UNC Chapel Hill in 2004.

IPRC’s contribution to training: Dr. Keenan was advised by Dr. Steve Marshall (IPRC Center Director) and mentored

Alumni Spotlight

Mel Downey-Piper, MPH, CHES

Director of Health Education and Community Transformation, Durham County Department of Public Health, Durham, NC

During her graduate education, Dr. Downey-Piper received the Kerr Memorial Award for commitment to community health education and the Lucy Morgan Award for integrity and leadership in health education. Key accomplishments since graduating with an Master’s degree in Health Behavior Health Education from the Gillings School of Global Public Health in 2008 include leading the largest Health Education Division in NC, launching the state’s first replication site of the Cure Violence program, leading a 400-member coalition, which won the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Culture of Health Prize, and co-leading Durham’s first Health Impact Assessment, which resulted in funds for connecting sidewalks around schools in Durham, NC.

IPRC’s contributions to training: Ms. Downey-Piper was trained by IPRC faculty in the development of study procedures, research tools, and implementation methods as part of the Violence Against Home Health and Hospice

Alumni Spotlight

Shankar Viswanathan, DrPH, MSc

Assistant Professor in the Division of Biostatistics, Department of Epidemiology and Population Health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, NY

During his graduate education, Dr. Viswanathan received travel awards from UNC IPRC and the UNC Department of Biostatistics in addition to the Delta Omega Award. His key accomplishments since graduating with a DrPH in Biostatistics from UNC Chapel Hill in 2011 include his influential research on inflicted traumatic brain injuries in children in India, mentoring numerous trainees domestically and internationally in injury and violence prevention research and biostatistics, and being an Associate Editor for the BMC Public Health journal.

IPRC’s contributions to training: Dr. Viswanathan was advised by IPRC faculty and an IPRC graduate research assistant throughout his doctoral training.

Alumni Spotlight

Catherine Vladutiu, PhD, MPH

Senior Epidemiologist in the Office of Epidemiology and Research at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB)

Dr. Vladutiu’s key accomplishments in graduate school included conducting the largest state-based study of motor vehicle crashes and adverse pregnancy outcomes in North Carolina. She received the UNC Graduate Education Advancement Board Impact Award and the SOPHE/CDC Unintentional Injury Prevention and Control Fellowship. Since graduating with a PhD in Epidemiology from UNC Chapel Hill in 2012, Dr. Vladutiu’s key accomplishments include facilitating and leading the redesign of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program’s performance measurement system.  In 2018, Dr. Vladutiu was a recipient of the Early Career Professional Achievement Award in MCH Epidemiology – a National MCH Epidemiology Award sponsored by the Coalition for Excellence in MCH Epidemiology.

IPRC’s contributions to training: Dr. Vladutiu was mentored by IPRC Directors Drs. Carol Runyan and Steve Marshall.

Alumni Spotlight

Jared Parrish, PhD, MSc

Senior Epidemiologist in the Alaskan Division of Public Health in Anchorage, AK

Dr. Parrish’s key accomplishments in graduate school include linking multiple administrative databases to examine predictive analytics for child maltreatment in Alaska. During graduate school, he received the Doris Duke Fellowship for the promotion of child wellbeing and prevention of child abuse and neglect. Since graduating with a PhD in Epidemiology from UNC Chapel Hill in 2016, Dr. Parrish’s key accomplishments include co-chairing the Alaska Statewide Violence and Injury Prevention Partnership, and serving as the Technical Advisor for measurement to the Federal Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities.

IPRC’s contributions to training: Dr. Parrish collaborated on and gained experience through various projects at IPRC to quantify national, regional, and state rates of abusive head trauma in infants and was advised by Dr. Steve Marshall.