Meet the Team

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RE site staff janene label   RE site staff photos kristy label Ellen with label 75percent Christina Collins FINAL
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  Nana Nimako FINAL
Shyanne Ruiz FINAL   BrianNa Saunder FINAL Hannah Savage FINAL    Frances Williams FINAL
     Brian Zepka FINAL        

 

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Ali Anis is a Project Manager, responsible for leading projects related to diabetes and substance-use prevention and care. Ali is involved in program evaluations at different levels, and likes to use modern techniques and applications to analyze and visualize data. Before joining PHMC, he worked on substance use related projects and policy evaluations at the Treatment Research Institute. Ali received his M.S. in Social Policy from the University of Pennsylvania, and has a B.Sc. in Economics and Political Science from Lahore University of Management Sciences. In his free time, you will find Ali exploring gadgets, learning about the cosmos, and planning small community uplift projects for Green Volunteers, a small youth volunteer organization in Pakistan.

 

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.

 

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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.

 

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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Katie Booth is a Research Assistant, engaged in projects related to sexual health, workforce development, and diabetes. She enjoys using data to increase the evidence base of programs that improve large-scale health outcomes. Before joining PHMC, Katie was a member of the Women’s Health Research Team at the College of Charleston, conducting research related to sexual assault prevention and contraception access. She received a BS in Public Health and a BA in International Studies with a concentration in Latin America and the Caribbean from the College of Charleston. Outside of work, Katie enjoys reading good books, planning her next trip abroad, and watching The Office.

 

 

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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Christina Collins is an Interviewer and Locator for the Peer Recovery in Primary Care project. Drawing on her background in mental health, she conducts follow-up interviews with participants who have histories of incarceration and substance use. Data collected in the project informs program decisions and contributes to knowledge around health outcomes, particularly related to mental health, substance use, and HIV/AIDS. Christina studied Communications at the College of New Jersey. Outside of work, Christina likes to write poetry, visit art galleries, and volunteer.

 

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.

 

Alexandra Ernst is a Project Manager, responsible for leading projects 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).

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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. 

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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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Nana Nimako is a Research Assistant evaluating projects related to sexual health and substance abuse recovery. She is interested in women’s reproductive health, health inequity, as well as program design and evaluation. Nana attended Washington University in St. Louis where she received a B.A. in Anthropology: Global Health and Environment. Outside of work, Nana enjoys writing, baking, and shopping unnecessarily.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Allison Rudolph

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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Shyanne Ruíz is the Operations Assistant, engaged in communications and visibility of evaluation projects through social media, newsletter campaigns, and print/graphic design. Before joining PHMC, she worked with the City of Philadelphia Office of Immigrant Affairs on social media management and design. Shyanne earned a B.A. in Culture and Communications from Ithaca College and is a certified Web and Interactive Media designer from Moore College of Art and Design. Outside of PHMC, Shyanne operates her own web and graphic design business, spends time paddling on the Schuylkill River and enjoys binge watching Chopped.

 

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Brianna Saunders is a Research Assistant, currently working on projects related to diabetes prevention, tobacco cessation, sexual health education, family-centered care for children with disabilities, and substance-use prevention and care. She works primarily with project design and program implementation for newer projects, and evaluative methods including survey creation and data analysis for ongoing work. Brianna graduated from Johns Hopkins University where she received a B.A. in Public Health. Prior to PHMC, she worked at the Center for AIDS Research at Johns Hopkins as a research fellow, where she studied sexual health in LGBT minority adolescents. When not at work, Brianna attends aerial circus classes, takes many weekend trips to Baltimore, and struggles to take care of a foster cat.

 

 

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Hannah Savage is a Research Assistant working on the evaluating projects focused on tobacco control and prevention, asthma, and education. She is interested in developing and implementing health policy and plans to continue her education in the health policy field. Hannah received a B.S. in Public Health from Temple University. Prior to joining PHMC, Hannah completed internships at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and AccessMatters. She enjoys cooking, trying new restaurants, art/crafts, and is fond of British television shows. 

 

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.

 

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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Frances Williams is a Research Assistant, engaged in projects related to tobacco cessation and control, lung disease, and father-focused parenting education. She is interested in chronic disease epidemiology, violence prevention, data visualization, and health policy and promotion. Frances earned a B.A. in Neuroscience & Behavior from Wesleyan University, and prior to joining PHMC worked as the Medical Editing Intern at Doctors Without Borders in NYC (MSF-USA). Outside of work, Frances enjoys exploring her new city of Philadelphia, reading short stories, and playing games with friends and family.


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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Brian Zepka is a Project Manager, responsible for leading projects related to nutrition, chronic disease management, and health promotion. He is passionate about leveraging research and program evaluations to facilitate inclusive health policy decision-making for vulnerable populations. Before joining PHMC, Brian worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Virginia where he provided support for a variety of programs addressing health literacy, sexual health, and chronic disease prevention. He earned a B.S. in Biology from West Chester University and an M.P.H. from Thomas Jefferson University, completing a thesis on adolescent mental health in the U.S.–Mexico Border Region. Outside of work, Brian likes to go on long runs and write young adult novels with resilient teen protagonists.