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.

Huong (Theresa)  Duong

Huong (Theresa) Duong,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Suellen Hopfer

Huong (Theresa) Duong is a Ph.D. student on the Disease Prevention track in the Program in Public Health. Her research to date has focused on various aspects of communication around the HPV vaccination and cervical cancer. Furthermore, her interests lie in cancer prevention, developing health behavior interventions, and addressing health disparities in minority populations, particularly in the Asian American community. Her current work revolves around understanding intergenerational health communication in Vietnamese families and designing culturally appropriate cancer communication interventions in the context of social media messaging platforms.

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.

Natasha India Glendening

Natasha 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

Sara Goodman

Sara Goodman,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Cynthia Lakon

My research interests include infectious diseases, particularly Hepatitis C and sexually transmitted diseases including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV/AIDS. I am also interested in global health and vulnerable populations. I am currently focusing on the Hepatitis C surveillance data to better understand the disease burden in Orange County and the Hepatitis C treatment cascade and why people are not being retained in care. I was a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer in Burkina Faso, 2011-2013 which sparked my interest in Public Health, I currently volunteer at the Orange County Public Health Department working on their Hepatitis C data. 

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.

Georgia Halkia

Georgia Halkia,

Ph.D Student

My passion has always been to help and work with underrepresented minorities and managed to get involved with educational and research projects that have a significant public health impact. As a master’s student I was involved with the Center of Excellence for Behavioral and Social Research on Terrorism and Counterterrorism, which lead to creating imminent threat public health messages for mobile devices, and with the California Earthquake Study of Household Preparedness (The Great California ShakeOut).  My current research focuses on understanding individual and community implications of human-induced seismicity caused by deep-wastewater injection to create interventions that best serve the needs of those affected as well as to inform policy. Deep injection of wastewater from fossil-fuel extraction can result in extremely frequent earthquakes. In some areas, individuals may experience earthquakes nearly every day. The relatively sudden increase in potential physical risk and property damage inherent in these earthquakes can prove to be a powerful psychological stressor to this population. Presently, over 7 million Americans are living in areas affected by these chronic, artificial earthquakes. The purpose of my research is to shed light on the challenges that individuals and communities face due to this seismicity, as well as the affected individuals’ perspectives.

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.

Hemangi Mavadiya

Hemangi Mavadiya, MPH RD

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Yunxia Lu

I am a PhD Public Health student with an emphasis in Disease Prevention. My research interests include investigating disparities in cancer incidence, prevalence and survival. I am also interested in looking at diet quality and quality of life among cancer survivors by enhancing nutrition related knowledge and reducing risk factors such as obesity. I received my BSc in Nutrition/Dietetics from India and MPH in Nutrition from Loma Linda University, CA. I am a Registered Dietitian and a certified yoga instructor.

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.

Dustin Moore

Dustin Moore,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Yunxia Lu

As a registered dietitian, I have a particular interest in health and wellness as they relate to dietary behaviors and practices. For this reason, my research focuses on nutrition-related public policy, cultural practices and beliefs pertaining to food, and empowering individuals to integrate and adopt healthier behaviors. I completed my BS in Dietetics from Brigham Young University, after which my wife and I moved to California to pursue graduate work as well as opportunities to serve within our community. 

Ngozi Genevieve  Nwosisi

Ngozi Genevieve Nwosisi,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: David Timberlake

My research interests are broadly in smoking cessation among the HIV-positive persons. Specifically, I am interested in understanding the challenges to smoking cessation that people living with HIV face as a barrier to achieving high quit rates. Key factors that I will be studying include risk perceptions, motivations, and health beliefs of patients. I will also analyze patient-provider health communication, in particular, physicians' adherence to the 5As intervention method as recommended by the Public Health Service Clinical Practice Guideline for Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence.

Brandon Osborn

Brandon Osborn,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Annie Ro

My current research interest focuses on the social epidemiology of diet. I have recently been studying food security and its implications for diet and disease risk among Latina/os. Prior to my arrival at UC Irvine, I worked as a program assistant at the Center for Health Equity Research (CSU Long Beach). During this time, I helped evaluate a variety of place-based programs including Building Health Communities and multiple CalGRIP projects aimed at decreasing gang involvement and human trafficking. In the community, I have volunteered as a research & evaluation coordinator for the UC Irvine Mobile Food Pantry. I also served as the health education coordinator for the Orange County Transitions in Health Program, during which I developed a health and resource education curriculum for inmates pending release from the Orange County Jail System.

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.

Victoria E. Rodriguez

Victoria E. Rodriguez, MSW, MPH

Ph.D Student

My research interests encompass inequities in women’s sexual and reproductive health. I am interested in the structural, racialized, and gendered processes that contribute to women’s health outcomes. Specifically, I am focused on Latina women’s quality of life and social and health-related experiences after surviving gynecologic and breast cancers.

Ian Tang

Ian Tang,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Veronica Vieira

My research interests primarily revolve around toxicology, environmental health, and birth defects. I am also very interested in modeling the spatio-temporal trends of environment exposures such as air pollution, proximity to wells, and water contamination. My current research looks to better understand the etiology of birth defects, which is not well understood, by modeling and mapping environmental exposures in the context of their geographic locations. My prior research experiences explored PBDEs, air pollution, and the spatial distribution of Lyme disease. 

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.

Nik Warren

Nik Warren,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Jun Wu

My main interests revolve around access and use of blue and green spaces by the immunocompromised population and how Covid19/Pandemic has impacted this population. I’m interested in stress perceptions, health outcomes, and primary immunodeficiency diseases, while also considering secondary diseases and immunosuppression. Social ecology and diseases fascinate me. Through this work, I also hope to reiterate the vital need for, and access to, protected blue and greenspace. I have a great love of animals and have several in my family. I hope to apply my findings in ways that improve the lives of critters. In addition to my main focus, I also work on research that looks at college students and greenspace.

Robert Weltman

Robert Weltman,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Rufus Edwards

Robert is a Public Health PhD student in the global health concentration at UCI. Robert achieved his MS in environmental health sciences from UCI in 2017 for his thesis, "In-field Emissions from Rural Indian Households". After achieving the MS, Robert has continued working at UCI, primarily to study the pollutant emissions of solid-fuel burning cookstoves. Robert has co-authored several peer-reviewed publications, where has contributed knowledge on epidemiology, GIS mapping, analytical chemistry, hazardous air pollution, and both indoor and outdoor cooking.

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.

Ph.D. in Public Health
Current Students

Last Name First Name Title
AllenBarrettPh.D Student
BautistaJayveeritzPh.D Student
BlissBishopPh.D Student
CervantesMaribelPh.D Student
ChaBibliaPh.D Student
ColcordKatherinePh.D Student
DasAbheryPh.D Student
DraysonOliviaPh.D Student
DuongHuong (Theresa)Ph.D Student
FanWenjunPh.D Student
FieldsEmiliaPh.D Student
GainesAlexisPh.D Student
GarciaSamanthaPh.D Student
GarlandHarwoodPh.D Student
GlendeningNatashaPh.D Student
GoodmanSaraPh.D Student
GuerraAlexisPh.D Student
GussinGabriellePh.D Student
HalkiaGeorgiaPh.D Student
Hok Yee ChoyElizabethPh.D Student
HuynhMichaelPh.D Student
JeangBrookPh.D Student
JeanmarieLa KeishaPh.D Student
JiaoAnqiPh.D Student
JohnsonRebeccaPh.D Student
JungYerinPh.D Student
KeyMeganPh.D Student
LiJiaruiPh.D Student
LiMengyiPh.D Student
LiuXiaochenPh.D Student
LlaveKarenPh.D Student
MallotKelliPh.D Student
MarikoHawaPh.D Student
MavadiyaHemangiPh.D Student
McFarlandRachelPh.D Student
MerwinSamanthaPh.D Student
MeyErikaPh.D Student
MinhazulMohsinPh.D Student
Monterrosa-MenaJessicaPh.D Student
MooreDustinPh.D Student
NolenShantellPh.D Student
NwosisiNgoziPh.D Student
OsbornBrandonPh.D Student
RebelloVidaPh.D Student
RheeJoshuaPh.D Student
RobinsonD'ArtagnanPh.D Student
RodriguezVictoriaPh.D Student
SimonLewisPh.D Student
SmithSarahPh.D Student
StiversNicolePh.D Student
SunYiPh.D Student
TangIanPh.D Student
TorresIvyPh.D Student
ValenciaConniePh.D Student
ValladaresKarenPh.D Student
VidalJaniellePh.D Student
VuAndrewPh.D Student
WarrenNikPh.D Student
WasburnKamekoPh.D Student
WeltmanRobertPh.D Student
WhitleyMargaretPh.D Student
YuanKunPh.D Student
ZhuYachenPh.D Student

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