Meet the Team

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Mara Aussendorf is a Research Assistant, engaged in projects related to sexual health education, perinatal health, and tobacco cessation. With particular expertise in data visualization, she is passionate about using progressive social research methods to promote health and social equity. Mara has experience in topics related to women and minorities’ social disparities, sexual health, and family. She graduated from Macalester College where she received a B.A. in Sociology, completing a thesis on child sexuality. In her spare time, Mara is a graphic designer, practicing hula hooper, avid promoter of inclusive sex-positivity, and enjoys keeping her plants alive.
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Murylo Batista is a Research Assistant, engaged in projects related to tobacco control, lung disease, and Philadelphia’s domestic violence shelters. He brings to public health a background in Geographic Information Science through spatial analysis and geovisualizations, and is dedicated to applying trauma-informed approaches to evaluations. Prior to PHMC, Murylo completed a fellowship at Dartmouth College investigating race and poverty in U.S. metro areas. He received a B.A. from Dartmouth College in Geography and Romance Languages. In his spare time, Murylo likes to wander through the streets of Old City looking for hidden histories and good food.

 

Mattie Bodden is a Research Assistant, engaged in projects related to HIV/AIDS, health promotion, and tobacco cessation. Mattie is interested in diverse data collection methods and enjoys conducting collaborative program evaluations in the child and maternal health sector. She attended Rutgers University, New Brunswick, where she earned a B.S. in Public Health. Outside of PHMC, Mattie enjoys baking and doing arts and crafts with her adorable nieces and nephews.
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Lisa Bond is the Managing Director of the Research & Evaluation Group at PHMC. She is a sociologist by training, and has spent most of her career working in partnership with research colleagues, community members, and other stakeholders to identify effective strategies for addressing the HIV epidemic. In her role as Managing Director, Lisa is responsible for providing strategic direction for the department, and for supporting the work of her talented team of researchers.. Lisa completed her B.A. at the University of Maryland, her M.A. at Johns Hopkins and her Ph.D. at Temple University. On most weekends, Lisa can be found on a baseball field, football field, or basketball court cheering on her son and the Haddon Township Hawks.
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Janene Brown is a Project Manager, responsible for leading projects related to tobacco and sexual health. Janene enjoys data analysis and its many applications both within and outside the public health field. Janene earned a B.A. in Health and Societies from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.P.H. from Drexel University. Outside of her work, her cat and listening to foreign music make Janene most happy.
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Kirsty Clarke Brown is a Senior Policy Analyst, leading an initiative to identify and examine essential issues related to early childhood education in Philadelphia. Formerly involved in research, policy, and communications at the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), she also served as Special Assistant for Planning, Research, and Evaluation at the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She completed her B.A. at McGill University in Montreal, M.Ed. at Rutgers University, and Ph.D. in education policy at the University of Pennsylvania. Outside the office, Kirsty keeps moving with travel and running, and finds stillness in yoga, knitting, and reading.
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Ellen Bryer is a Research Assistant, engaged in projects related to education and tobacco prevention. Ellen enjoys blending qualitative and quantitative research methods, especially in efforts to improve the health and education outcomes of vulnerable communities. Before joining PHMC, Ellen was an Americorps member, providing college and career guidance to students at a public high school in Philadelphia. Ellen received a B.A. in Sociology and a Certificate in Culture, Health, and Science from Smith College. Outside of work, Ellen is most happy walking in the woods, knitting, trying new recipes, and figuring out how to make the best cup of coffee.
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Alexa Bury is a Research Assistant, engaged in projects related to sexual health, substance use and abuse treatment, worksite wellness, diabetes, and tobacco cessation. She enjoys both implementing health programs and evaluating them. Alexa received a B.S. in Public Health from Temple University. She plans to continue her education related to managing mental and behavioral health issues through integrative, holistic approaches. In her spare time, Alexa enjoys painting and exploring all that Philadelphia has to offer.
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Will Curran-Groome is a Research Assistant, engaged in programs related to substance abuse prevention, cessation, and monitoring, as well as early childhood education. He enjoys connecting and translating data into programs and policy. Prior to joining PHMC, Will worked as a grant writer for a vertical hydroponic farm and helped run a community food pantry in Harlem. He received a B.A. in Government from Wesleyan University, with Certificates in International Relations and Middle Eastern Studies. Outside of work, Will loves to boulder, fiddle around on his guitar, and slowly work his way through the NYTimes crossword archive.
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Alexandra Ernst is a Research Assistant, engaged in evaluations related to tobacco cessation, diabetes prevention, and nutrition. Alexandra is a data junkie and aspiring geospatial analyst who enjoys translating research findings into actionable recommendations for policymakers and community organizations. Prior to PHMC, Alexandra supported programs and evaluations for the international development sector at Social Impact, Inc. She earned her B.A. in Environmental Engineering, with minors in Global Health Technologies and Energy & Water Sustainability, from Rice University. When she’s not at the office, you can find Alexandra teaching yoga sculpt classes, wandering farmers’ markets, or singing in the rain (she is from Seattle, after all).
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Kelly Feighan is a Senior Project Director with expertise in educational evaluation design and implementation; grant writing; K-16 education; questionnaire design; quantitative and qualitative design and analysis; and STEM education. She completed her BA at Temple University and her MA at the University of Maryland; she is currently completing her PhD dissertation at Temple University in sociology. Kelly leads the Research for Better Schools team, lending expertise in rigorous evaluations that offer useful results. Her experience ranges from qualitative, ethno-graphic research to successfully implemented randomized controlled trials in education and analyses of large-scale Census data. Kelly is active in several professional associations and is a board member of the Eastern Evaluation Research Society, an affiliate of the American Evaluation Association. She enjoys dreaming of a completed PhD dissertation and playing the guitar in a band whose members share no musical aspirations beyond having fun.
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Livia Greenbacker is a Project Manager, responsible for leading projects related to tobacco prevention and control, chronic disease, and worksite health. Livia enjoys analyzing large datasets in order to assess programs’ impact and outcomes and provide evidence-based recommendations to her clients. While her background in psychology has cultivated a strong interest in behavioral and mental health, she is also interested in worksite health and early childhood education. Livia graduated from Villanova University with a B.A. in Psychology and earned her M.S. in Experimental Psychology from Saint Joseph’s University. Livia likes to spend her spare time outdoors, hiking or playing tennis, and dominating local trivia competitions.
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Gabrielle Grode is an Evaluation Specialist, responsible for leading projects related to perinatal health and nutrition. Gabrielle enjoys the process of helping clients discover their own driving research questions and the search for novel ways to visualize data. Prior to joining PHMC, Gabrielle worked at Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, studying nutrition and physical activity at child care centers. She earned a B.A. in Psychology from Tufts University and an M.P.H. from Temple University, with a certificate in Geographic Information Systems from the University of New Haven. Gabrielle is a fan of the home design website Houzz and eagerly anticipates reading the Modern Love column in the New York Times each week.
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Maya Gutierrez is a Senior Project Director, responsible for overseeing statewide, regional, and national evaluations of tobacco control and lung health projects. Additionally, she oversees geovisualization and spatial analysis tasks across R&E Group projects. Her research interests include health policy and advocacy, intersections between public health and city planning, and data visualization. Maya completed her B.A. in Political Science at Macalester College and her Master of Urban Spatial Analytics (M.U.S.A.) at the University of Pennsylvania. Outside of work, Maya delights in television and children’s literature, but not children’s television; she plots to ensure that her daughter will share these views. 
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Mary Harkins-Schwarz is an Evaluation Specialist, responsible for leading projects related to adverse childhood experiences, disaster preparedness, pedestrian safety, worksite wellness, services for victims of crime, and medical case management for older adults. She is interested in child and adolescent health, injury prevention, and the growing use of apps to track health and chronic health conditions. Mary received a B.A. in Psychology from Rutgers College, Rutgers University and an M.P.H. from the University of North Carolina. Mary enjoys training for sprint triathlons and caring for her growing collection of African Violets.
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Kate Hemady (née Bamberger) is a Research Scientist, engaged in a variety of projects related to child outcomes and family protective factors. With a background in evaluation of family-based interventions, including quantitative methods, family relationships, and child development, she enjoys thinking through programs’ theories of change in order to design an evaluation plan. Kate is interested in time-dense/rapid data to evaluate the momentary and daily process of change to uncover how programs work. She earned her B.A. in Psychology and English at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies at Pennsylvania State University. Kate is a painter and a vegetable gardener and yearns to live in a home with land for a vegetable garden.
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Sarah Hexem is the Manager of Strategic Policy Initiatives in PHMC’s Strategy Division and the Policy Director at the National Nursing Centers Consortium, a PHMC affiliate. Sarah’s responsibilities include leading public health law research projects, monitoring policy developments related to medical-legal partnerships and nurse-managed care, drafting comments on health reform regulations, and helping develop PHMC’s strategic policy initiatives. She received a B.A. in History from Pomona College and graduated magna cum laude from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, receiving her J.D. Before law school, Sarah worked at several women’s health organizations on issues related to interpersonal dating violence, reproductive justice, and sexual assault. Outside of PHMC, Sarah enjoys spending time with her two cats, Chase and Charlie.
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Azor Hui is a Research Scientist, engaged in projects related to psycho-social interventions to improve the health and well-being of disparately impacted communities. Azor enjoys using clinical/health psychology and public health theories and evidence to design and test new interventions. Prior to joining PHMC, Azor was a Research Assistant Professor at Fox Chase Cancer Center. She completed her undergraduate degree in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and received a M.S. in Public Health and a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Azor enjoys traveling and all kinds of arts and cultural activities in the Philadelphia area.
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Jennifer Keith is the Director of Evaluation and Operations of the Research & Evaluation Group, working on development, implementation, and coordination of evaluation activities across a variety of programs. Jen enjoys working with R&E Group’s diverse set of partners to collect and use data with a focus on maximizing impact and value. Prior to joining PHMC, Jen was a Peace Corps volunteer in central Asia. She earned a B.A. in Sociology at the College of New Jersey (formerly Trenton State) and an M.P.H. from the University of Michigan. Jen loves to travel and laugh with her kids.
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Gary Klein is a Senior Data Analyst, engaged in projects involving specialized programming to clean, merge, aggregate, and analyze data. Gary analyzes population-level census and vital data and sampled health survey data, incorporating a variety of statistical techniques. Prior to joining PHMC, Gary taught statistics and sociology classes at various universities across the Philadelphia area. Gary has earned many degrees in Sociology, including a B.A. from Gettysburg College, an M.A. from Temple University, and a Ph.D. from Temple University, conducting research in South Africa. In his spare time, Gary enjoys running, a hobby he took up at age 40.
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Archana Bodas LaPollo is a Senior Project Director, responsible for overseeing projects related to HIV prevention, sexual health, and substance abuse and recovery support among minority populations, women, and adolescents. Archana earned a B.A. in French and Political Science from Rutgers University, Rutgers College and an M.P.H. from Boston University School of Public Health. When she’s not working, Archana loves spending time with her husband and two children, rock climbing, singing, reading, and watching TV.
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Jennifer Lauby is a Senior Research Scientist, leading projects related to worksite health and teen pregnancy prevention. Jennifer has conducted research on factors related to HIV risk and testing and helped develop several HIV prevention programs. She earned a B.A. in Sociology from Douglass College, Rutgers University, an M.A. in Sociology from the University of the Philippines, and her Ph.D. in Sociology at Harvard University. Away from the office, Jennifer enjoys weaving, sewing, and gardening.
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Laura McCann is a Project Manager, participating in evaluation of early childhood education, workforce development, tobacco control and prevention, asthma, and diabetes prevention projects. Before joining R&E, she worked on research and evaluation projects in the substance abuse, hospice and palliative care, and afterschool fields. She has also enjoyed professional opportunities in counseling, case management, and education. Laura received her B.S. in Sociology from Saint Joseph’s University and her M.S.Ed. in School & Mental Health Counseling from the University of Pennsylvania. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, yoga, attending live music shows, listening to Fresh Air, and spending time with her husband and cat.
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Shannon McGinnis is a Research Assistant, engaged in projected related tobacco control and adverse childhood experiences. Prior to PHMC, Shannon worked as a Research Assistant at the Health Behavior Research Clinic and was an undergraduate intern at the Sewall-Freestone Lab at Temple University. She has interests in disease ecology, infectious disease epidemiology, and urban/environmental health. She graduated from Temple University with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Public Health and completed her honors thesis on Fungal Diseases in Wildlife Populations. Shannon is an avid reader, passionate vegetarian, and yogi.
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Stefan Mend is a Project Manager who works on evaluations relating to K-12 education, community development, and school-based health centers. He completed an MA in Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University and an MA in Politics and Management at University of Konstanz. Stefan is a member of the Research for Better Schools team who develops comprehensive data collection and management plans and conducts advanced quantitative data analysis. He helps clients build their evaluation capacity, assesses the effects of teacher and student interventions on learning, and applies his expertise in technology and systems-level thinking to improving experiences along the educational spectrum. He enjoys crafting furniture at a local woodshop and is always seeking a chance to improve his BBQ skills.
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Mary Milnamow is a Project Manager, responsible for leading projects related to sexual health, adjudicated youth, and low-income families. Mary earned a B.A. in Psychology from Temple University and a Master of Social Service from Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research with a concentration in Community Practice, Policy, and Advocacy. When she is not working, Mary enjoys spending time with her family – especially cheering on her younger brother at Special Olympics – black and white photography, and all things food-related.
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Alexander Peters is a Research Assistant, engaged in projects related to sexual health and diabetes self-management. Alexander has interests in community health, international health, and infectious disease epidemiology, and enjoys engaging youth across diverse Philadelphia settings. He attended Temple University, where he earned a B.S. in Public Health. In his free time, Alexander enjoys traveling and trying new restaurants.
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Megan Richardson is a Project Manager with expertise in STEM education; K-16 interventions; teacher preparation; teacher induction support; professional development studies; and higher education policy. She completed her BA at the University of Pennsylvania and her MA in Sociology & Education at Columbia University. As a member of the Research for Better Schools team, Megan designs complex quasi-experimental and randomized controlled trial evaluations for clients across the educational spectrum. She participates in “green school” initiatives aimed at building healthier and more environmentally conscious school communities and works with state departments of education to obtain hard-to-track longitudinal information about novice teachers. Megan is an avid amateur genealogist and a ninth generation Philadelphian.
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Allison Rudolph is a Project Manager who works on evaluations of pre-service and in-service teacher professional development, out-of-school time initiatives for youth, and partnerships between school districts and institutions of higher education. She completed her BA at Gettysburg College and her MS in Statistics, Measurement, Assessment & Research Technology at the University of Pennsylvania. As a member of the Research for Better Schools team, she brings technology expertise and innovation to all aspects of the research cycle so that data collection, analysis, and reporting are more efficient and accessible to clients. When she isn’t exploring Philadelphia, she enjoys quilting and spending time with friends and family.
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Kelly Thompson is the Law and Policy Program Manager at the National Nursing Centers Consortium, one of PHMC’s affiliates, and the Strategic Policy Initiative Specialist within PHMC’s Strategy Division. She helps to provide a legal perspective on multidisciplinary teams developing public health law projects, which span topics from health and social equity concerns of previously incarcerated individuals to public health emergency preparedness. Her favorite focus areas of legal and policy research are intersections of criminal justice issues with public health outcomes. After graduating with a dual B.A. in Criminal Justice and Sociology from the University of Delaware, Kelly moved to Philadelphia to earn her J.D. from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law. Away from the office, Kelly enjoys being active outdoors, eating sweets, and reading books recommended by her mom. She is excited to someday, inevitably, return to her countryside roots, acquire a variety of rescued pets and take up gardening.
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Jeff Turner is a Project Manager, responsible for leading projects related to tobacco and chronic disease management. Jeff enjoys using various software and applications to analyze and report data and is interested in environmental health. He received a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Temple University and an M.P.H. from Thomas Jefferson University. Jeff enjoys relaxing outside by throwing frisbees to his dog.
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Caroline West is an Evaluation Specialist, responsible for leading projects related to education, pediatric asthma, substance abuse, and HIV/AIDS in Philadelphia. She is most interested in the evaluation of programs that serve hard to reach populations, and she enjoys number crunching in SPSS and creating spreadsheets. Before coming to PHMC, Caroline worked in health services research related to the economic analysis of international family planning programs. She earned an A.B. from Bryn Mawr College with a dual major in History and Economics, and an M.P.Aff. at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, with an M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies, both from the University of Texas Austin. When she isn’t at PHMC, Caroline enjoys long runs and time spent on camping trips with her family.
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Jordan Wilson is a Research Assistant, engaged in projects related to tobacco, diabetes, substance use, and financial and health education. Jordan enjoys using a variety of statistical programs to analyze data and his research interests lie in educating youth and adolescents in order to empower them to make better decisions about their physical and mental health. He earned a B.S. in Biology from Xavier University of Louisiana and an M.P.H. from Saint Louis University concentrating in Biostatistics and Epidemiology. Outside of work, Jordan enjoys working out and trying different cultural cuisines.
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