I am interested in aging and mental health topics. Specifically, I am involved in projects related to 1) the evaluation and design of treatments to improve healthy longevity outcomes in people with dementia and mental health conditions, with a special focus on non-pharmacological interventions, 2) understanding the effect of social determinants of health in cognitive aging and treatments outcomes in older adults. I own a Master's degree in Aging and Quality of life from the University of Chile, and a Fulbright-CONICYT Scholarship for Ph.D. studies.
Current PhD Students
(This is an opt-in listing and does not include all students in the department)
- I am a doctoral student in the Dept of Social and Behavioral Sciences and am being advised by Dr. Yusuf Ransome in the STRETCH Lab. I am interested in the commercial determinants of health and finding ways to improve the impact that corporate activities can have on population health. I also conduct research in the areas of health communication, global health, and medical education. In the past I have worked as a Research Assistant for the Dept of Family Medicine at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada where I conducted research on medical school admissions procedures. I completed my MSc in Global Health and BSc in Kinesiology at McMaster, where I conducted research on gender and health in South Africa.I am trained in both qualitative and quantitative methods and have been expanding my statistical toolbox to include advanced methods such as spatial analysis and causal inference. I am passionate about ensuring that my research can inform public health policy and practice. I enjoy writing and currently work as a Strategic Communications Fellow with the Yale Jackson School, and have previously worked as a freelance journalist with the Arts Paper in New Haven, CT.
- Whitney (she/her/hers) is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Department. After completing her MPH at YSPH in 2020, she joined the Housing and Health Equity Lab, directed by Dr. Danya Keene. Whitney has worked on multiple projects in the lab, including Project ReSIDe, a mixed-methods, longitudinal R01 investigating the impacts of rental assistance and diabetes, and the COVID Eviction Project, a series of interviews investigating the impacts of rental moratoria during the pandemic. She is committed to understanding how housing can impact mental and physical health equity. Her dissertation research will focus on how housing displacement due to extreme climate events impacts individual and community health.
- Anthony (Tony) Maiolatesi is a combined-degree Ph.D. student in the Departments of Psychology and Public Health (Social and Behavioral Sciences). His research aims to understand the causes of persistent and wide-spread inequalities in mental health and social functioning across sexual orientation groups. As a social psychologist, he is particularly interested in the social-cognitive and perceptual mechanisms that might be shaped by developmental exposure to various forms of sexual minority stigma and contribute to sexual orientation disparities in mental health and well-being. His emerging research program addresses a diverse range of basic and applied questions from a multilevel perspective, integrating theoretical and methodological approaches from experimental social psychology, cognitive science, public health, and psychophysics. His primary goal is to advance psychological theory on the role of social experiences, especially adversity and social stigma, in shaping human cognition and to inform interventions aimed at reducing public health problems disproportionally affecting sexual minority individuals.
- Bryce Puesta Takenaka (he/him) is a first-year PhD student in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Yale School of Public Health. His research interests focus on the intersection of place, space, health, and different manifestations of discrimination to understand how to reduce new HIV infections, while increasing pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) uptake among young sexual minority communities. Bryce holds a Master of Public Health (MPH) in Epidemiology from the College for Public Health and Social Justice at Saint Louis University and a Bachelor's of Science in Public Health from Lindenwood University. Prior to starting at Yale, he was involved with various geospatial health research projects that ranged from using Twitter as a measure for COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, the geographic patterns in mental health, as well as rigorous evidence syntheses to unpack how spatial methodologies are used jointly with One Health approaches. With true passion for uplifting current and rising scholars in public health, Bryce is also the Founder of the Public Health Student Network (PHSN) where he facilitates student-led workshops and opens a platform for underrepresented students in academia build relationships.
- Thi Vu is a PhD student in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Yale University. Prior to coming to Yale, she led various projects at the UNC Center for AIDS Research, Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases, and the UNC School of Nursing. She has experience in qualitative methods and community-engaged research in the areas of PrEP, HIV/AIDS, safety in assisted-living, and transitional care for persons with dementia. She is interested in psychosocial aspects of aging and caregiving among older adults with HIV/AIDS and older adults with dementia, and is currently working with Professor Joan Monin at the Social Gerontology Health Lab.
- Shannon Whittaker is a 4th year PhD student in Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Yale School of Public Health. Her research interests lie at the intersection of place, race, and health where she studies how social and political processes such as gentrification and redlining impact the health of marginalized communities of color. Before Yale, she worked in healthcare advertising at Omnicom and as a health policy coordinator for the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. She holds a B.A with honors in Community Health from Brown University and an MPH from the Brown University School of Public Health.