Dr. Ndidiamaka N. Amutah-Onukagha (she/her)
Dr. Amutah-Onukagha is the Julia A. Okoro Professor of Black Maternal Health in the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine. Her current research interests include maternal health disparities, reproductive health and social justice, infant mortality and HIV/AIDS in Black women. Dr. Amutah-Onukagha also serves as the inaugural Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Public Health and Professional Degree Programs.
Ndidiamaka is the Principal Investigator of two multi-year studies on maternal mortality and morbidity, an R01 funded by National Institutes of Health and an interdisciplinary grant on health equity funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Additionally, she is a member of the MA-COVID 19 Maternal Equity Coalition and was honored with the American Public Health Association’s Maternal and Child Health Section’s Young Professional of the Year Award in 2019. She is in the 2020-2021 class of the top 40 under 40 Minority Leaders in Healthcare, an annual award given out by the National Minority Quality Forum. Ndidiamaka is a life-long member of the American Public Health Association and is currently the co-chair of the Perinatal and Women’s Health committee in the Maternal and Child Health section. Finally, Dr. Amutah-Onukagha is the Founder and Director of the Maternal Outcomes for Translational Health Equity Research Lab, (MOTHER) a research lab comprised of 35 students from undergrad to postdoc with a keen interest in reducing maternal health disparities as experienced by Black women.
Dr. Amutah-Onukagha is the founder, director, and mother of the MOTHER Lab. She lives in the Greater Boston area with her husband and two beautiful sons. More information on Dr. Amutah-Onukagha can be found at www.ndidiamutahphd.com
Dr. Vanessa Nicholson
Dr. Vanessa Nicholson is a community health practitioner with over 10 years of experience in the field of public health. Her formal training in the field began during her undergraduate years at Mississippi State University’s Longest Student Health Center where she trained as a peer health educator. Shortly after, she began working at the Department of Health while completing her Master’s in Public Health degree at Jackson State University. During this time, she led a team whose work resulted in a statewide plan for addressing the needs of HIV positive Mississippians. Once she received acceptance to the University of Texas Health Science Center, she acquired several roles in research development and grant writing, while also developing partnership with the community via outreach initiatives. Dr. Nicholson completed her doctoral program in 2017 and currently serves as a part-time Health Professor. She has instructed several courses surrounding her areas of expertise in health program planning, health care administration, quantitative methods, health disparities research, and working with vulnerable populations.
Research & Grants Committee
Keri Carvalho (she/her)
Keri Carvalho is a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Psychosocial Determinants of Health Lab in the Department of Community Health at Tufts University. Her research primarily uses quantitative methods to examine the role of psychosocial stress (e.g. discrimination, financial strain, relationship strain) on health outcomes, with a particular focus on obesity. Other research interests include the intersectionality of race and weight, and psychosocial factors that contribute to health and racial disparities. She received her PhD from Tufts University in Experimental Psychology and has extensive teaching experience in psychology and community health undergraduate courses. When Keri is not researching or teaching, you can find her exploring her passions for baking, yoga, and running.
Blessing Chidiuto Lawrence (she/her)
Blessing is a Data Coordinator at Partners in Health and also serves as a Research Associate for Amaka Consulting & Evaluation Services. She earned her Master of Public Health in Epidemiology & Biostatistics from Tufts University School of Medicine. Her current areas of interest are centered on improving systems of care, addressing disparities in maternal & child health, and promoting effective contextualization and interpretation of scientific data. As such, she has conducted independent and collaborative projects in line with her interests.
Inspired by her experience as an international student, she is passionate about promoting innovation through diversity and inclusion- as is evident in her role in helping create the Tufts Black Student Alliance, serving as a peer-mentor for first generation college students, and vice-president of the public health and professional degree programs student senate at Tufts.
As an aspiring future physician, she has a strong commitment to create lasting social impact through addressing health and wellness from the perspective of the individual as well as the community. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, pretending to be an influential blogger, and putting her non-existent vocal skills to good use- only from the comfort of her home!
Candace Stewart, MPH (she/her)
Candace Stewart, MPH is a graduate of Philadelphia University, now known as Thomas Jefferson University (2011), and completed her Master of Public Health with a concentration in Health Policy and Management in 2016 at Stony Brook University. Candace has worked in research since 2009, where she worked as a Quality Improvement Research Associate for the Yale-New Haven Stroke Center. While she pursued her master’s degree, she worked as a Research Program Coordinator for the World Trade Center Health and Wellness Program in Long Island, NY. Here, her research focused on investigating the relationship between post-traumatic stress disorder and pre-mature cognitive impairment in 9/11 responders. After spending years researching trauma in police officers, Candace made the move to Boston where she currently works as a Clinical Research Manager for the Department of Otolaryngology and Communication Enhancement at Boston Children’s Hospital. In addition to her work in research, Candace hopes to join a medical school program where she can pursue a dual doctoral degree in medicine and philosophy with a focus on Health Policy and Management. Her ultimate goal is to work for an academic medical institution as an MD/PhD dividing her time between pediatric trauma surgery and health policy research in an effort to eliminate health care disparities.
Anna Kheyfets (she/her)
Anna Kheyfets is a dual-degree MD/MPH candidate (’24) at the Tufts University School of Medicine. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. Her research focused on maternal and childcare health disparities and hospital quality, as well as the impact of racism and discrimination in maternal health care. This experience influenced her decision to pursue an MPH in medical school, with the hope of conducting research in public health and health policy throughout her medical career. She learned a lot serving as co-chair of the research and grants committee for 1.5 years and is excited to see where the lab grows and to continue to mentor undergraduate students looking to pursue a career in medicine. She is keenly interested in health equity, reproductive justice, immigrant health, and OB/GYN.
Shubhecchha Dhaurali (she/her)
Shubhecchha Dhaurali (pronounced Sue-betcha Dur-all-e) is from Medford, MA attending Tufts University as a first-generation student originally from Kathmandu, Nepal. Career and academic aspirations of Shubhecchha’s include pursuing an MD/PhD degree in Clinical and Translational Science to become a Physician Scientist involved with public and community health. Shubhecchha believes it is important that trained professionals such as doctors not only treat individual patients’ problems, but that they implement interventions and prevention programs that fight the root causes of disease such as poverty, inadequate housing, and lack of employment opportunities. Shubhecchha is double majoring in Community Health and Biology, therefore the intersectionality of medicine, technology, science, and society are exciting and necessary fields of exploration for her! As a South Asian minority and an immigrant woman of color, Shubhecchha feels it is important for her to become the representation she does not see in addressing, advocating, and one day, eradicating socioeconomic and health challenges BIPOC populations face.
Alison Moky (she/her)
Alison Moky is an MPH candidate at Tufts Medical School with a concentration in Health Management and Policy. She currently resides in Westchester County, NY, New York City’s backyard. Her passion to become the intersection of women’s health in third world countries stems from her Cameroonian culture and educational background. With this foundation, Alison co-founded the Benevolence Outreach Inc allowing her to provide solicit donations, school supplies, and toiletries for underprivileged children in Cameroon, Africa. Amongst her passion to help others, Alison immersed herself within the Tufts community throughout her undergraduate career as a research assistant, dancer, and athlete. Alison has a strong passion for research and has worked in the Kao lab at Tufts University using songbirds as a model system in order to study the neural mechanism underlying vocal learning. As an African dancer on COCOA (Children of Cultures of Africa), she created different dances with her team drawing inspiration from different parts of the African diaspora to perform on stage. When she was not on the stage performing with her dance team, you can find her running up and down the lacrosse field as well as competing on the Track & Field team in her undergraduate years at Tufts.
Marwah Kiani (she/her)
Marwah Kiani is an undergraduate student at Tufts University, studying Community Health and Religion on the pre-medical track. Born and raised in the Bronx, she was lucky enough to be a part of Prep for Prep, a pipeline program geared towards low-middle class children of color in NYC. Through this program, she was able to attend the Dwight-Englewood School for middle and high school. She has always been interested in pursuing medicine, but her senior year thesis presentation on healthcare delivery to cancer patients piqued her interest in public health. After enrolling in a class called “Women and Health” in her first semester at Tufts, she realized her passion for women’s and maternal health. At Tufts, she is involved with Peer Health Exchange as a health educator, teaching health classes to students in Boston Public Schools. She is also a member of Strong Women Strong Girls, through which she mentors girls in 3rd-4th grade from the surrounding Tufts community. In her prior research experience, she has worked in many biology labs, assisting in projects ranging from the effects hyper-profusion in rats, to Natural Killer cell development. These experiences have sharpened her critical thinking and quantitative data analysis skills. She recently interned at the New York Academy of Medicine, where she assisted the Center for Evaluation and Applied Research in their public health work, working on literature reviews and coding projects. Through her work with MOTHER, she hopes to gain a stronger understanding of maternal health disparities and inequities in the United States, sharpen her research and qualitative data analysis skills and apply her knowledge through action In the future, she hopes to pursue an MD/MPH, where she hopes to implement that she has learned and will learn towards equitable practices in healthcare delivery. In her free time, Marwah enjoys spending quality time with friends and family having goofy and/or intellectual conversations. Her guilty pleasures include bad quality reality TV, HGTV and comedy specials. In quarantine, she hopes to also start writing spoken word poetry again. She is very thrilled and grateful to be a member of the MOTHER lab team!
Maria Gabriela Ruiz (she/her)
My name is Maria Gabriela Ruiz, but I go by Gabby. I am a first year MPH student at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, and I am in the Maternal and Child Health program. I have a BSc in biology with a concentration in molecular cell physiology, as well as a minor in gender studies. These areas of study have prepared me to pursue my passion for public health and closing healthcare disparities for women and families of color both domestically and around the world. My internship experiences have been in women’s health, specifically in the medical field, so I have a solid understanding of the clinical, biological, and technical aspects of health.
My main interests in public health are maternal and infant mortality, reproductive health, and female genital mutilation. Though narrowing my career choices down has been difficult because I want to do it all, I would probably like to go into something like research and policy, consulting, or even start my own NGO one day.
Being a first-generation college student as well as a first-generation American has given me a significant toolkit to deal with the issues concerning women and families today, like my ability to communicate with a broad range of people. I am fluent in both English and Spanish and can do my best with some remedial French. My hobbies include spending time with my family, going for long walks, and trying my best to learn new languages (I am on Italian right now!). I am so excited to be a part of the MOTHER Lab and I plan on learning as much from this amazing team.
Rauta Aver Yakubu, MHA, MPH (she/her)
Aver is a public health doctoral candidate at Saint Louis University’s College for Public Health and Social Justice in the Department of Health Management and Policy in St. Louis, MO. Some of her research interests include the influence of organizational policy on patient outcomes, maternal and child health mortality/morbidity, health equity, community based participatory research and access to care. Prior to starting her doctoral program, Aver was manager at the leading maternal child health community-based organization in St. Louis where she led their perinatal behavioral health initiative and developed/ launched a multi-sector screening and referral network for mood and anxiety disorders. While manager she also contributed to the development/ launch of a community led collective impact initiative to reduce Black infant mortality in St. Louis. In her free time, Aver likes to travel, shop, read novels, watch rom-coms and explore new restaurants.
Kobi Vanessa Ajayi, MPH, MBA (she/her)
Kobi Ajayi is a second-year Ph.D. student in Health Education at Texas A&M University. She earned her Master’s in Public Health from the School of Public Health at Texas A&M University in 2020. She is interested in global maternal and infant health, including maternal mental health. She is the Founder and President of Aggie Pregnant and Parenting Student Organization, a student-run organization at Texas A&M University catering for pregnant and parenting students. She is also the Founder and Director of EDEN Foundation Nigeria, a non-profit organization that aims to improve the health outcomes of preterm infants and maternal mental health in Sub-Saharan Africa. Kobi volunteers her time as the Board Secretary of 2020 Mom. When she is not working, she spends quality time exploring with her daughters.
Siwaar Abouhala (she/her)
Siwaar Abouhala is a third-year undergraduate student at Tufts University studying Arabic, community health, and biology. Siwaar is the Founder & President of Maternal Advocacy and Research for Community Health (MARCH), the first maternal health student organization at Tufts University. She also serves as Chair of the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Journal Club at Tufts University School of Medicine, and Research Assistant in the Research and Grants Committee of MOTHER Lab. Her research interests include Arab American health, maternal health, reproductive health, racial and ethnic health disparities, and the health of survivors of forced migration.
Marketing, Communications, & Events Committee
Brenna Miller, MPH (she/her)
Brenna Miller is a Public Health Analyst/Advisor contracted with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, working on the COVID-19 response at the Boston Quarantine Station. She holds an MPH from Tufts University School of Medicine as well as a BS in Psychology from Clemson University. Throughout her undergraduate career, she focused extensively on clinical research in the mental health field, starting in 2016 with the RI State Government Internship Program examining recidivism rates among inmates with mental illness and continuing on to investigate media representations of autism spectrum disorders at the ARC Lab at Clemson University. In 2018 she served as the Research Coordinator intern at Planned Parenthood in Providence, RI, where she found her passion for reproductive health and women’s health. She credits these research and clinical experiences with motivating her to pursue public health. Her final capstone project for graduate school focused on developing a bilingual cardiovascular health program for homeless and marginally housed women on behalf of Health Care Without Walls in Boston, MA.
Her ultimate goal is to use reproductive health research to help inform policy and eliminate inequities within the field. Her dream career is one that combines her clinical passions with her love for social justice work so she can help make her community a better place. In her free time you might find her cruising around Boston on her electric scooter or taking a kickboxing class.
Paige Feyock (she/her)
Paige Feyock is a rising junior at Wellesley College double majoring in Sociology and Africana Studies on the pre-medicine track. At Wellesley, she is involved in the Lambda Upsilon chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., serves as Vice President of Ethos, Wellesley’s organization for Students of African Descent, and is Treasurer of Tau Zeta Epsilon, an arts and music society. Paige’s post-graduate plans include obtaining a Masters in Public Health and then matriculating into medical school and specializing in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Her passions lie within health equity and reproductive justice and actively advocates for better health outcomes for Black people in the current medical system. She is currently interning at NextGen Jane, a data-driven healthcare company known for inventing a smart tampon system that offers insight into individual’s reproductive health systems. In her free time she enjoys making playlists and pursuing Netflix.
Kelechi Offor (she/her)
Kelechi Offor is a senior at Tufts University majoring in Biopsychology, and a first year MPH candidate at Tufts Medical School with a concentration in Behavioral Science and Health Communication. She is originally from Nigeria, but currently lives in Atlanta, GA. Passionate about helping marginalized and underserved populations, especially Black women, Kelechi aspires to pursue an MPH and become an OB/GYN to implement effective ways to improve Black maternal mortality rates. She is a firm believer in ensuring that the mothers within a community are healthy because if the mothers are not healthy then the community is not healthy.
On campus, Kelechi is co-president of Tufts’ African Student Organization, co-captain of Tufts’ African dance team, Children of Cultures of Africa (COCOA), a mentor for Strong Women, and was a research intern in Dr. Sasha Fleary’s Child Health Equity Lab that aims to understand risk and protective factors for preventive health and mental well-being for children. This summer, Kelechi has been able to intern at a national and global non-profit, Birthing Projects USA, committed to providing and distributing PPE and safe birth kits to Black women affected by COVID-19.
Kelechi is extremely excited to gain real-world maternal health research experience in the MOTHER Lab and join this team of passionate individuals. In her free time, she enjoys dancing, watching movies, and spending time with family and friends.
Beverly Udegbe (she/her)
Beverly Udegbeis a current undergraduate student at Tufts University majoring in Community Health on the Pre-Medical track. Her main academic interests include learning about health disparities, specifically amongst the Black population with emphasis on Black women and low-income communities. She is additionally focused on promoting civic engagement by closely working with organizations on community projects. At Tufts, some of Beverly’s favorite involvements are her leadership role as Public Relations Chair for the African Student Organization, her membership in the Tisch Scholars for Civic Life program: which focuses on hands-on community fieldwork combined with class seminars addressing social justice issues, and her role as a stepper on Envy Tufts Ladies Step Team. Outside of Tufts, Beverly is a volunteer with the Resilient Sisterhood Project: an organization dedicated to educating Black women on illnesses that affect them at disproportionately high rate, a mentor through the College Ambassadorship Program at The Student Science Innovation Network, and a Content Curator for the Global MILCC Box which provides Community Leaders with resources and a toolbox for success. Beverly is also a proud first generation Nigerian American and values all the unique aspects that make up her culture. In her limited spare time, Beverly loves to try out new baking and cooking recipes, even when they turn out a flop. She also loves to stay active outdoors, swimming, and has a newfound love for yoga. In the future, she hopes to travel around the world learning about new cultures. Beverly is extremely grateful to be a part of the MOTHER lab and excited to have an impact on changing the narrative when it comes to maternal health.
Divine Ogieva (she/her)
Divine Ogieva is a sophomore at Tufts University and she plans to double major in Sociology and Africana Studies. She is a first-generation Nigerian and a proud New Yorker. She is passionate about reproductive health and health disparities, specifically amongst Black women and low-income communities.
At Tufts, she is the co-communications chair for Black Student Union, Social/Interactive Media Intern for the Africana Center, a member of MARCH: Maternal Advocacy and Research for Community Health, and a Health Careers fellow.
By working with Dr. Amutah-Onukagha, she hopes to bring more awareness to issues regarding Black maternal health and actively participate in the movement to eliminate these health disparities.
Lily Schneider (she/her)
Lily Schneider is an MPH candidate at the Tufts School of Medicine with a concentration in Behavioral Science and Health Communication. She received her BA from Kenyon College. For the past few years, she has been working in New York doing Broadway musical casting. She is from Connecticut and currently resides in Somerville, MA.
Her passion and focus both in the academic and volunteer setting has been the field of maternal and child health equity. She firmly believes that maternal health is the foundation of the health of the entire country. She loves working with kids and families and hopes to work in youth advocacy upon graduating from Tufts. She is honored to join the MOTHER Lab team and be a part of the essential work that they are doing in this field. In her free time, she can be found cooking pasta or talking on the phone with her own mother.
Ryiah Barnes (she/they)
Ryiah Barnes is an undergraduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, planning to study Community Health. She is interested in reproductive justice and maternal health. Over the summer, she’s worked in an urgent care clinic as a patient care technician, where she found her passion for women’s sexual and maternal health. She is also a Birth Doula working towards DONA certification and plans on working closely with Chicago Volunteer doulas. She’s excited to be a part of MOTHER Lab. She also hopes to apply all the tools and knowledge gained to her future endeavors.
Hadiya Severin (she/her)
Hadiya Severin is a Master’s in Public Health candidate at Tufts University School of Medicine with a concentration in Behavioral Science and Health Communication. She holds a BS from Oakwood University, an HBCU in Huntsville, AL, and is a certified doula and lactation specialist. This has informed her research work on doula program implementation at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. There is no better teacher than experience and Hadiya believes to become the mother she wants to be, she must help pave the way for those who also want to bring life into the world.
As a strong advocate for Black maternal health and public health disparities, Hadiya hopes to empower her community through proactive, integrative policies. She aspires to earn her Ph.D. in Maternal Health and Birth Justice, with the ultimate goal of bringing her knowledge and skills to her parent’s home island, St. Lucia. As a first-generation American who loves her St. Lucian and Guyanese culture, she celebrates it any chance she gets and spends as much time with her family as possible. She loves educating young people and supporting black excellence.
Joining the MOTHER lab has been an aspiration of Hadiya’s since starting her public health journey at Tufts’. Being under the mentorship and guidance of Dr. Amutah-Onukagha has been and continues to be an irreplaceable experience for her. She believes, this team is an amazing group of diverse powerhouses that are revolutionizing the world as we speak, and she is honored to be a part of this amazing team.
Community Engagement, Advocacy, & Policy Committee
Eimaan Anwar (she/her)
Eimaan is a junior at Tufts University majoring in Community Health and Biology. For most of her life, she was raised in Bahrain, a small island in the Middle East. Eimaan is passionate about helping underserved communities and addressing racial and ethnic disparities, particularly in maternal health. Her research interests include disparities in pre and postnatal care, barriers to maternal healthcare services, and the impacts of doula care on birth outcomes. After graduation, she hopes to go to medical school and use her skills and knowledge in the public health field to help improve access to health care and quality of health education, especially for minority groups.
At Tufts, Eimaan is part of Project SHARE, Birthing Project USA, the Shultz Lab and is also currently fighting to target COVID-19 misinformation in rural India. She also volunteers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and enjoys interacting and engaging with patients. In the past, she has also traveled to South East Asia and performed fieldwork to investigate maternal health standards by conducting verbal and social autopsies, assisting in focus group discussions, and analyzing qualitative data. Eimaan has also worked at local health centers and interned at governmental hospitals in Karachi, specifically in the OB-GYN department, to provide the utmost help she could.
In her free time, Eimaan enjoys baking, reading, and hanging out with friends. Eimaan also loves ice cream and tries to go somewhere new every week! Her favorite place so far is Honeycomb Creamery in Porter Square.
Lauren Cohen (she/her)
Lauren is a senior at Tufts University double majoring in Biology and Child Study and Human Development. Her interests include reproductive health, pediatrics, oncology, and genetics, and she is currently working on a senior thesis studying the experiences of young adults who grew up with siblings with chronic medical conditions for her Child Development major. She has interned at the HaSET research program at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, which aims to improve maternal, infant, and child health in Ethiopia. Lauren also worked at a biotech company, an organ procurement organization, and as an undergraduate research assistant in the Freudenreich lab at Tufts, where she investigated the effects of structure-selective endonucleases on the fragility rate in the yeast genome. She hopes to ultimately work in biotech or as a genetic counselor. At Tufts, Lauren is the co-director and a student choreographer with Tufts Tap Ensemble, a vice president on the student board of Tufts Hillel, and a member of Project Sunshine.
Iman Ali is a senior at Tufts University studying Community Health and Arabic. At her core, she believes that equity and social justice are foundations for building an overall healthy world and that a public health approach is necessary for achieving these goals. Since July 2020, she has worked as a Research Assistant at the Maternal Outcomes for Translational Health Equity Research (MOTHER) Lab. The mentorship and experience she has gained through the MOTHER Lab, especially in helping plan the 4th Annual Black Maternal Health Conference, have inspired her future trajectory in public health towards pursuing birth work as a licensed nurse-midwife.
Inspired by her roots and identity as a Black, Muslim, first-generation college student, Iman has also had a passion for community building and engaging in social impact work that has inspired her extracurricular activities. On-campus, she is a leader in faith-based and cultural event planning and organizing, as a co-President of the Muslim Students’ Association and member of the Tufts Africana Advisory Alliance.
Born and raised in Malden, Iman is a proud Mass resident. In her free time, she enjoys exploring coffee shops with friends.
Elizabeth Bolarinwa is a Sophomore, Clinical Laboratory Sciences Major on a Pre-Med Track at Howard University.She hopes to become a physician practicing internal medicine with a specialization in infectious diseases, however, Black Maternal Health has always been of interest and concern to her as a Black Woman. As an African-American woman pursuing healthcare, she understands and has experienced the urgent need for the eradication of medical racism. Her passion is health equity for all and she has started a platform, @projectalafia, on instagram to discuss health equity and encourage learning, advocacy, and conversation around topics like biases, healthcare racism and inequities and more.
Sereena Jivraj (she/her)
Sereena Jivraj is a second-year medical student at the TCU & UNTHSC School of Medicine in Fort Worth, Texas. She graduated from Emory University with a B.S. in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology in 2019. Sereena has had a longstanding interest in Maternal and Child Health as well as surgery and obstetrics. In recent years, from both the media and working alongside an OB/GYN, she’s become frustrated with high U.S. maternal mortality rates, especially given our country’s status as a first-world nation. As such, she hopes to help tackle these disparities as well as general disparities faced by those in lower socioeconomic classes throughout her medical career. Sereena hopes her experiences with the MOTHER Lab will provide her with the knowledge and tools to educate others on implicit biases and the vital topic of maternal health disparities.
Claire Kinnel (she/her)
Claire is a graduate of Connecticut College where she received her BA in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and was also a part of the Public Health Pathway. She grew up in Newtown, Pennsylvania, and plans to pursue an MPH in the near future. Her interest is in using community health data to inform policymaking around social determinants of health. She is also in training to work as a doula and believes strongly in the ability of compassion to effect positive change in the world of health and beyond. She has been working part-time as a barista, and in her free time plays very amateur guitar and tries to spend quality time with her people.
Ameya Menta (she/her)
Ameya Menta is a sophomore at Tufts University studying Community Health. After her experience working in a lab with predominantly white males, she has always stressed the importance of having POC role models and leaders within a community. Her interests include combating racial disparities in health care delivery, maternal health inequalities, and focusing on equity within the clinical health education system. During the summer of 2021, she worked in a group focusing on removing racial barriers to the admissions process at Tufts University. This experience has helped her to shape her experiences with policies and advocacy work. She is currently studying to become an EMT and hopes to use that knowledge to get her certification as a practicing doula.
In the future, she hopes to use her background in public health to go to medical school or work in the policy sector of healthcare. At Tufts, she is involved in Project SHARE, a mentor with Strong Women Strong Girls and tutor through Tufts LCS. She loves to stay active by participating in JumboRaas (a North Indian style dance team), and boxing classes. Outside of school, she loves to bake, read, run, and babysit! She hopes to use her time at the lab to learn more valuable information about maternal health inequities and work on projects that affect the broader scope of public health.
Stephanie Saintilien, MPH, CHES (she/her)
Stephanie Saintilien serves as a Special Assistant for the Bureau of Health Equity and Capacity Building at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. In her role, she ensures the efficient operation of equitable programs implemented by the city. Stephanie’s background in public health is focused on health policy and global health. Her areas of interest are food security, mental health, global health, and sexual and reproductive health.
Stephanie’s interest in promoting doula practices led her to the MOTHER Lab. In addition to her work with The MOTHER Lab, she serves on the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Emerging Leaders Committee and the UAlbany SPH Climate & Inclusion Committee. Her goal is to advocate for social change within the cultural climate of the school. Stephanie is a Queens, NY native and enjoys spending time with loved ones. Her other interests include film photography, adventure hikes, yoga, urban gardens, and traveling.
Rachel Jackson, BA, MPH candidate (she/her)
Rachel Jackson, BA, MPH (candidate) holds a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University in Community health and a masters’ degree in public health with a concentration in Health Services Management and Policy from Tufts University School of Medicine’s Public Health Programs. She is currently working for a life science consulting company, Trinity Life Sciences. She demonstrates strong skills in stakeholder engagement, communication, policy analysis, survey development, and leadership skills. Recently, she worked at the New York Academy of Medicine and helped with a project called “The East Harlem Action Collaborative,” (EHAC). The purpose of the project is to allow residents to identify solutions to seemingly entrenched problems in East Harlem to achieve optimal child health and well-being in their community. Ms. Jackson’s responsibilities included grant writing, compiling a database of formal community assets, and conducting community presentations and discussions to advance policy recommendations to elected officials and community board officials. She also developed surveys to ask families about their experiences with lead poisoning and housing discrimination conflicts as part of a research project at Boston Medical Center. In addition, Ms. Jackson worked at Sydenham Health Center to promote the “Health at Home” program: a program that provides free care management and coordination services to high needs patients with chronic diseases, regardless of their insurance status. She worked with outreach specialists and care coordinators and organized weekly meetings to develop ways to improve the program. Outside of her work and studies, she enjoys cooking Caribbean dishes and trying new recipes. She is from Jamaica and Guyana. She also loves to swim and often practices her strokes during the summer.
This internal committee is dedicated to bringing light and love to the Lab throughout the year, sending birthday cards, social media shout-outs, and gift baskets for accomplishments to our members as they progress through their personal and professional lives.
If you’d like to contribute in bringing light to the Lab, visit our Make a Difference page