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Ph.D. in Public Health
Student Profiles

Biblia Cha

Biblia Cha, MPH

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Cynthia Lakon

Biblia’s research interests include mental health and mental health service use; health disparities, and the intersections of race, religion/spirituality, and health. Her current work focuses on Korean American church-goers and clergy in Southern California and the contextual and structural pathways to their intentions to seek mental health services.

Abhery Das

Abhery Das,

Ph.D Student

My research examines how policies and structural factors correspond with mental health and suicidality among vulnerable populations. I am interested in the relation between structural racism within the criminal justice system and mental health outcomes in minority populations. Additionally, I investigate whether firearm policies and gun culture precede increases in suicidal behavior. I utilize econometric methods (i.e., fixed effects, difference-in-difference, time series) with longitudinal and panel data to measure changes over time.

Samantha Garcia

Samantha Garcia, MPH, CHES

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Suellen Hopfer

Samantha’s research focuses on advancing the understanding of mechanisms contributing to Latino health disparities and intervening with efficacious health behavior interventions utilizing health communication strategies. Her work focuses on developing, implementing and testing community-based interventions using mixed methods research. Her dissertation work investigates individual, interpersonal and structural drivers of HPV-vaccination disparities among Mexican American young adults.

India Glendening

India Glendening,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Daniel M. Parker

My research interests lie in infectious diseases, particularly neglected tropical diseases and public health responses to infectious disease outbreaks in low-resource settings. My interests are informed from my educational background at The London School of Economics where I studied for a BSc and then an interdisciplinary MSc in African Development during which I researched the barriers to the international response to the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone. Building from this previous work, I am now trying to research how local and international health responses coexist, interact and how they influence health behavior in outbreak situations

Gabrielle Gussin

Gabrielle Gussin, MS

Ph.D Student

I have a broad interest in the epidemiology and prevention of infectious diseases, with a focus on healthcare-associated infections and drug-resistant pathogens. For my dissertation, I seek to quantify and address barriers to the prevention of SARS-CoV-2 in nursing homes.

Michael Huynh

Michael Huynh, MPH

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Annie Ro

I am a PhD student in Public Health with a concentration in Disease Prevention at UCI. My research interests include coping mechanisms for distress, dietary patterns, structural discrimination, and social determinants of mental health among Asian American populations. I am also passionate about suicide prevention, support networks, and interdisciplinary approaches to health equity. Prior to entering UCI, I worked as a project manager/research analyst at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and volunteered as a crisis line counselor at the Didi Hirsch Suicide Prevention Center. I completed my MPH in Epidemiology/Biostatistics at UC Berkeley and received my BS in Human Biology and Society at UCLA. During my undergraduate education, I was involved in a nonprofit organization that funds health clinic services and scholarships to villagers in Vietnam. My master's capstone research paper focused on obesity and metabolic outcomes among patients in a safety-net health system.

Brook Jeang

Brook Jeang,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Guiyun Yan

My research interests lie broadly in global health and vector-borne disease epidemiology. I aim to apply my previous experiences in materials science, bioengineering, and translational research towards my current research, which focuses on developing a better understanding of the transmission dynamics and drivers of malaria infection in malaria elimination settings.

Emilia Julia-Fields

Emilia Julia-Fields,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Suellen Hopfer

My research interests lie in better understanding vaccination behaviors among African American and Latinx communities and improving health disparities as they relate to infectious diseases. I am interested in intervention design, mixed methods approaches, and health communication strategies as ways to address these disparities. My interests originate from my academic background in microbiology and global health, my previous research in vaccine development and food insecurity among vulnerable populations, as well as my professional career as a Public Health Microbiologist. My current work is focused on investigating COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among parents and understanding risk perceptions via mask-wearing discussions on social media.

Hawa Mariko

Hawa Mariko,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Kristina Uban

I have a passion for protecting the health of mothers and babies. My current research interests include understanding the role of physiologic biomarkers of maternal allostatic load on birth outcomes and subsequent child development. In addition, I am interested in the racial patterning of perinatal allostatic load. In the long term I seek to translate findings of physiologic stress that contribute to perinatal disparities into tangible public health results.

Erika Mey

Erika Mey,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Brittany Morey

Erika’s research interests include mental health and chronic diseases among the Khmer community as well as health disparities among underserved populations, particularly within the Asian American community. Her academic and cross-cultural experiences in research, volunteering abroad, and interning on a federal level solidified her passions in addressing health disparities through research, policy, health education, program interventions and community organization. She aspires to design, implement, and improve health programs and policies that leverage abilities of health research and education to improve minority health.

Minhazul Mohsin

Minhazul Mohsin,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Kristina Uban

My current research focuses on understanding how maternal substance exposure during pregnancy alters the brain and endocrine development in children. I am a physician by training from Bangladesh. My interest in public health research ignited during my time of work in the International Center for Diarrhoeal Diseases Research, Bangladesh, where I explored several public health issues like childhood stunting, malnutrition and antimicrobial resistance. Prior to joining UC Irvine, I completed a Master’s in Nutrition from the University of Nevada, Reno with a research thesis on postmortem hypertensive human brain to disentangle the brain mechanisms of blood pressure regulation.

Vida Rebello

Vida Rebello, MPH

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Kristina Uban

Vida is a Ph.D. student studying the impact of epidemiological, clinical, and laboratory findings seen in children exposed to certain prenatal conditions, including preeclampsia and maternal substance use, to understand subsequent effects on childhood developmental risks. Her interests also include using salivary biomarkers to elucidate endocrine/environmental disruptors in mother-child dyads. The overarching aim of her research is to help contribute to the strengthening of health systems globally on maternal and child health outcomes. Vida has previously worked with the United Nations Foundation to address global health issues, such as child vaccination coverage. She has also worked with health care institutions in the US and India as a physical therapist and patient safety specialist in CQI procedures to improve the quality of health care, increase patient safety and reduce healthcare-associated infections.

Connie Valencia

Connie Valencia, MPH

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Brittany Morey

Connie Valencia's research interests are focused on the role that structural, individual and environmental factors impact health disparities and health equity among low income Latino communities. Connie's dissertation work focuses on understanding the impact ambient air pollution has on obesity and factors that impact civic engagement among predominantly Latino communities. Connie earned her BS from UCLA and an MPH from Cal State Fullerton.

Margaret Whitley

Margaret Whitley, MPH

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Annie Ro

My research focuses on the way structural factors, in particular work, influence population-level patterns in preventive health behaviors. In my dissertation, I am applying quantitative methods to existing datasets to examine how employment status and working conditions relate to racial disparities in breastfeeding. I have an MPH in Community Health Sciences and a BA in Social Welfare.

Yachen Zhu

Yachen Zhu, MS

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Scott Bartell

Yachen Zhu is a PhD student on the global health track. She has a master's degree in Statistics. Her research uses a variety of statistical methods to examine how PFAS in the environment relates to maternal and infant health.

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