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Current PhD Students

(This is an opt-in listing and does not include all students in the department)

PhD Candidates

  • I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, working under the mentorship of Professor Becca R. Levy. I am interested in aging and mental health topics. Specifically, I am involved in projects related to 1) understanding the effect of social determinants of health in cognitive aging and treatments outcomes in older adults, and 2) the design and evaluation of treatments to improve healthy longevity outcomes in people with dementia and mental health conditions, with an emphasis on non-pharmacological interventions.
  • I am a fifth year doctoral student (degree expected in 2024) in the Dept of Social and Behavioral Sciences and am being advised by Dr. Yusuf Ransome. I am passionate about addressing the commercial determinants of health (i.e., private sector activities that influence health) in a range of industries but especially the food & beverage industry. My dissertation research focuses on understanding how we can measure corporate activities that influence population health and how we can use the investment sector to nudge companies towards health-promoting practices. In the past, I have conducted research in the areas of health communication, global health, and medical education. I completed my MSc in Global Health and BSc in Kinesiology at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. I then worked as a Research Assistant for the Dept of Family Medicine and Undergraduate Medical Education program at McMaster, where I conducted research on the medical admissions process. I am trained in both qualitative and quantitative methods, including in advanced methods such as policy modelling, scale construction, spatial analysis, and causal inference. I am passionate about ensuring that my research can inform public health policy and practice. I enjoy writing and have previously worked as a Strategic Communications Fellow with the Yale Jackson School and as a freelance journalist with the Arts Paper in New Haven, CT.
  • Whitney (she/her/hers) is a second-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.
  • Ashley is a first year Doctoral Student at YSPH in the Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) Department. She has a background in Medical Anthropology and her current research examines the intersections between racial & gender ideologies, knowledge production and Black maternal mortality within the United States. Prior to arriving at Yale, she worked as a Clinical Research Assistant at Boston Children’s Hospital Brazelton Touchpoints Center, where she collaborated with external partners to develop resources for underserved families.
  • Gul Saeed is a second-year PhD student in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Yale School of Public Health. She is also a Research Assistant at the Center for Methods in Implementation and Prevention Science, where she conducts suicide prevention research in low-resource settings in South Asia. Gul’s research primarily focuses on global mental health, perinatal mental health, and implementation science. She also conducts research in the areas of health systems strengthening, global access to medicines, as well as anti-corruption. Before coming to Yale, Gul worked with the World Health Organization on multiple research projects focused on promoting good governance and anti-corruption in health and pharmaceutical systems. Gul completed her MPH in Social and Behavioral Health Sciences with a specialization in Global Health from the University of Toronto. She also holds a Bachelor's degree from McGill University, where she pursued psychology and double minored in behavioral sciences and social studies of medicine.
  • Bryce Puesta Takenaka, MPH, CPH (he/him) is a second-year PhD student in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Yale School of Public Health and a NIMH T32 Predoctoral Research Fellow in the Yale AIDS Prevention Training Program at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS. His scholarship grounds critical praxis to illuminate and interrogate structural violence and different manifestations of discrimination through geography and technology that shape HIV and health inequities among Black and Brown queer communities. Bryce centers Black and Brown queer voices through his work using geospatial mixed-methods and epistemic justice-oriented placemaking of health to inform responsible storytelling. 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 of Science in Public Health from Lindenwood University. With a 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 to foster and 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.