Jennifer Bleck is doctoral student in the Department of Community and Family Health at the University of South Florida. She has an MPH in Evaluative Sciences from Stony Brook University and a B.A. in Psychology from Brandeis University. Jennifer’s research interests include eating disorders, specifically the relationship between ADHD and disordered eating behaviors as well as intimate partner violence. She has previously conducted research on emergency contraception use and care-seeking post gender-based violence in developing countries. Jennifer’s interest in women’s health stems from a desire to improve secondary prevention of mental illness in a female friendly and specific manner.
Nolan Kline, M.A.
Nolan Kline is a PhD student in the department of Anthropology and an MPH student in Community and Family Health. He holds a MA in Applied Anthropology from the University of South Florida, and a B.A. from Rollins College. Nolan's research interests include social determinants of health, health disparities, immigrant health, oral health, the political economy of healthcare, and the syndemic interaction between numerous health conditions. Nolan's interest in women's health stems from a broader interest in vulnerable populations' disparate access to health services, increased burden of health problems, and higher rates of poverty hindering access to healthcare. Worldwide, women experience a higher burden of poverty in addition to a higher burden of disease than men for numerous health concerns. At the CTR-WH, Nolan's work is informed by a critical medical anthropology perspective. As a dual degree PhD/MPH student, Nolan's training is transdisciplinary in nature, and he embraces collaborative research.
Laura Merrell, M.P.H., C.P.H.
Laura Merrell, M.P.H., C.P.H.
Laura Merrell is currently a fourth year doctoral student in the Department of Community and Family Health at the University of South Florida. She has an MPH in Global Health from the University of South Florida and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Laura’s research interests lie in maternal and child health. Her interests include health literacy, health information-seeking behavior in pregnancy, and medical intervention in childbirth. . Also interested in global health, Laura has done research on obstetric fistula in Niger and the role of village health workers to provide community based primary care in rural India. She first became interested in women’s health as an undergraduate political science student learning that poor health, lack of education, and disenfranchisement not only affected women, but prevented the achievement of sustainable development. Along with her enthusiasm for women’s health and passion for women’s rights, Laura brings a systems thinking approach to the center.
Erika Thompson, M.P.H.
Erika Thompson is currently a doctoral student in the Department of Community and Family Health at the University of South Florida. She earned a Bachelors degree in Health Science and a Masters in Public Health with a concentration in Epidemiology from the University of Florida. While conducting research at UF, she discovered her interests in women’s health and maternal and child health. Erika believes that women's health is an important cornerstone to our public's health. Her specific research foci include: HPV and HPV vaccination, physical activity during pregnancy, oral-systemic health, and women’s reproductive health. Erika has been with the CTR-WH since January 2012 and collaborated on a plethora grants, manuscripts, presentations, and projects. She has enjoyed the opportunity to work with diverse and unique perspectives, all with the ultimate goal of improving women’s health.
Maryouri Avendano is a Master of Public Health student in the Department of Community and Family Health focusing on Maternal and Child Health. She received her B.S. from the University of South Florida in Public Health. As an undergraduate student, she discovered her interests are disparities in infant mortality rates, premature birth, and disparities in female reproductive cancers. She hopes to contribute to research in order to reduce health disparities and improve minority health. By reducing the gap, everyone can have the chance to live a long and healthy life.
Ina Hysi is a current Master of Public Health student with a focus in Health Education. She has a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Florida. Her passion for women’s and adolescent health emerged during her 3 years of service as a Peace Corps volunteer in the country of Panama. As a Community Organizer and Regional Coordinator, Ina worked with the Panamanian Ministry of Health to develop HIV/AIDS literacy materials, workshops and seminars. Most of her work was done with indigenous and rural area adolescent girls and women. Her research interests include pregnancy and STI prevention in teens, positive youth development, and sexual and reproductive health in Latina women. She brings her deep understanding and appreciation of the Latin culture as well as her experience in grass root development to the CTR-WH.
Rudith Laine is a Master of Public Health student in the Department of Community and Family Health, focusing in Maternal and Child Health. She has a B.S. in Biology from Georgia State University. Her research interests include perinatal health, STIs, family planning, international women’s health, and adolescent health. Rudith has a passion for empowering women to live up to their potential, and believes having access to quality health care, as well as knowledge and resources to make well informed decisions for ones’ health are paramount. Her experience working vulnerable populations, including refugees, have geared her interest in global women’s health. She contributes experience in community development and outreach to CTR-WH.
Coralia Vázquez-Otero J.D., M.P.H., C.P.H.
Coralia is currently a doctoral student in the Department of Community and Family Health at the University of South Florida. She holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Puerto Rico School of Law and a MPH in Socio-Health Sciences from the University of South Florida. Her research interests are related to the cultural, social and policy level factors pertaining to women’s health issues, health inequities, cancer prevention, and the HPV vaccine.
Lynn Le is in her senior year at USF. She is currently working on acquiring her Bachelor’s Degree of Arts and Sciences in Cell and Molecular Biology with a minor in Public Health. Her fascination in oral health has inspired her to be a part of Dr. Vamos’s research team while also completing her honors thesis in public health. Lynn plans on attending dental school after USF.
Elizabeth Lockhart is a 3rd year PhD student in the department of Community and Family Health. She came to USF from the University of Michigan, where she obtained an MPH, and Kalamazoo College (Michigan), where she obtained a BA in Economics and Business. Her academic areas of interest include expanding healthcare access, specifically via community health workers, and sexual health – HPV and HIV. She is currently working on an American Cancer Society grant that intends to identify assets and barriers to increasing access to the HPV vaccine in Florida with Dr. Cheryl Vamos.
Shana is a third year CFH doctoral student. Shana earned her bachelor's degree in anthropology from Howard University. While in undergrad she interned at Reproductive Health Technologies, The AIDS Institute and Advocates for Youth, which sparked her interests in sexual and reproductive health for youth. After, she earned her MPH from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Her master's thesis focused on HPV vaccination for immigrant Caribbean girls. Since studying at USF, she has focused on the intersection of technology and sexual health for young adults. Her dissertation will focus on young adults who use the Internet to find sex partners and their risk for HIV and other STIs. Within CTR-WH, Shana is the project lead for the NIH STTR grant to implement a provider-focused technology to increase their ability incorporate oral health into prenatal health.
Taylor Caragan is a Master of Public Health student concentrating in Maternal and Child Health. She received her B.S. in Public Health from the University of South Florida. Since she was a little girl she knew she would one day work with mothers and babies, she just did not know how. During her undergraduate adventure she started with a goal to become a labor and delivery nurse. She soon learned about the public health field and started taking introduction courses. In her Junior year she realized that she wanted to make a career out of public health and her path changed. After graduating, Taylor knew her future was bright and that more education was in front of her. She took a year off from school, and began preparing for graduate school. Taylor chose to only apply to USF because of the fantastic experience she had in her undergrad and because she knew that the USF College of Public Health was one of the best in the nation. It did not take her long to realize that maternal and child health would be her focus. Taylor hopes to be an educator for anything maternal and child health related. During her first year as a master’s student she has volunteered on several projects that focused on finding trends in the high rates of cesarean sections in the state of Florida, increasing breastfeeding awareness and acceptance, and increasing HPV vaccination rates in the Tampa Bay Area. Taylor looks forward to bringing her excitement and passion for maternal and child health to the CTR-WH.
Ericka Duncan, BS
Ericka is a master’s student in the Department of Community and Family Health at the University of South Florida (USF), College of Public Health. Her research interests include community-based health promotion and program evaluation specifically aimed in adolescent behavior health. Ericka received her B.S. in Health Administration from Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, IL. Currently, Ericka is a Graduate Research Assistant with USF’s Center for Transdisciplinary Research on Women's Health. She provides assistance and support with center projects STTR and the Women's Health Collaborative.
Ja’Quavia Walker is currently a third year undergraduate at University of South Florida. She is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Health Science with the ambition of attending Physician Assisting School, to become a licensed physician assistant working in a pediatrics office. She provides assistance and support with center projects.
Raven Burrell is a current Master of Public Health student in the Department of Community and Family Health, concentrating in Maternal and Child Health. She receive her B.S. in Public Health Sciences from the University of California, Irvine. Women's reproductive health is her study of interest, particularly eliminating reproductive health disparities in African American women. Most of her current research has focused on the social, economic, and racial determinants that influence high outcomes of preterm birth in African American women. Raven is currently a Peer Health Ambassador advocate for preconception health with the Preconception Peer Educators (PPE). At the CTR-WH, she contributes her experience in peer counseling and community outreach.
Stacey Griner, MPH, CPH
Stacey Griner is a doctoral student in the Department of Community and Family Health at the University of South Florida. She has an MPH in Social and Behavioral Sciences from the University of Florida and Bachelors in Dental Hygiene Education from St. Petersburg College. She has a clinical background and is a registered Dental Hygienist. Stacey’s research interests include sexual assault and consent, perceptions of body image, oral health, gender inequality, feminist theory, and the social and policy level factors that influence women’s health issues. Her previous research to evaluate the physical dating violence and forced sexual intercourse experiences of middle school students in Florida and was applied through development of a sexual health education training program for Florida’s teachers. Stacey’s work at the CTR-WH is informed by a long-time passion for women’s rights, a local focus, and a desire to generate change within her community.