Alumni - Where are they now?
100% of our graduates are employed in positions in academia, government, the private sector or as independent consultants.
As a result of their high achievement, our graduates have been highly sucessful on the job market. See below the PhD graduates of our programs along with the titles of their dissertations and their initial or current employment.
Kofo Williams graduated with her PhD in Social and Behavioral Sciences in May 2020. Dr. Williams research focuses on improving the overall health of African American men throughout their life course and their families, with an emphasis on mental health outcomes. Dr. Williams has accepted a post-doctoral position at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, Department of Preventive Medicine, Multidisciplinary Training Program in Digital Mental Health.
Jodi Winship graduated with her PhD in Social and Behavioral Sciences in December 2019. Dr. Winship's resereach focuses on clinician-team/patient communication and how inter-professional team based care impacts patient outcomes.
Ahmed Alquthami graduated with his PhD in Healthcare Policy and Research in August 2019. Dr. Alquthami's research focuses on health outcomes, quality and cost of care, health care access and health systems research. Dr. Alquthami is Director of Strategic Planning for the Directorate General of Health Services of the Ministry of Interior, Saudi Arabia.
Lauryn S. Walker graduated with her PhD in Healthcare Policy and Research in May 2019. Dr. Walker's resereach focuses on Medicaid populations. Dr. Walker is employed as a Senior Economic Adviser at the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services in Richmond, VA.
Steven P. Masiano graduated with his PhD in Healthcare Policy and Research in December 2018. His research focuses on policy-relevant questions addressing barriers to women’s health in low-income settings around the world. Dr. Masiano has returned to Malawi with his family and is employed as a Global Health Fellow in the Tingathe Global Health Implementation Science Fellowship through Baylor College of Medicine’s Foundation Malawi.
Carrie A. Miller, PhD, MPH completed her PhD in Social and Behavioral Sciences in December 2018. She employed as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the NCI-Funded T32 Cancer Prevention and Control Research Training Program in the Department of Health Behavior and Policy at Virginia Commonwealth University's Massey Cancer Center. Dr. Miller's research interests involve the intersection of health and social, behavioral, and psychological factors. She is particularly interested in health promotion and preventive services within cancer prevention and control. Dr. Miller is currently working with Dr. Bernard Fuemmeler and Dr. Sunny Kim on projects related to cancer communications, social media, and mobile/digital health. Her dissertation was facilitated by a Susan G. Komen Predoctoral Training Fellowship.
Mandar V. Bodas graduated with his PhD in Healthcare Policy and Research in August 2018. Mandar is currently employed by the CDC as a Postdoctoral fellow in the Steven M. Teutsch Prevention Effectiveness Fellowship (PE) hosted by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE).
Megan E. Peter graduated with her Ph.D. in Social and Behavioral Sciences in August 2018. She is currenly employed as a Project Manager by the Vanderbilt Specialty Pharmacy Health Outcomes and Research Program at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Her research focuses on medication adherence to improve patient care within the field of specialty pharmacy.
Robert T. Braun graduated with his PhD in Healthcare Policy and Research in August 2018. He is currently employed as an Instructor at Weill Cornell Medical College in the Department of Healthcare Policy and Research. Dr. Braun's research examines how consolidation of medical organizations influences provider behavior, cost, and quality of care.
Carrie Dolan graduated with her PhD in Healthcare Policy and Research in August 2017. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences at the College of William and Mary. Her research examines the allocation of health aid within the context of effectiveness, efficiency, and equity. Through combining household panels with geographically-referenced data, Dr. Dolan's research determines the contribution of health aid on key health outcomes.
Jeanine Guidry graduated with her Ph.D. in Social and Behavioral Sciences in August 2017. Dr. Guidry is an assistant professor at the Robertson School of Media and Culture at VCU, where she is continuing her research in how social media can be used in health, risk, and crisis communication, especially related to message development.
Anushree Vichare graduated with her Ph.D. in Healthcare Policy and Research in August 2017. She is employed as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the George Washington University. Her research examines the disparities in access to care, utilization of timely preventive care and quality of care among vulnerable populations such as low-income and racial and ethnic minorities. Dr. Vichare utilizes administrative claims data including Medicaid and population surveys to study the role of health policies in addressing health care disparities. Her dissertation was facilitated by a Susan G. Komen Predoctoral Training Fellowship.
Dana L. Ladd graduated with a Ph.D. in Social and Behavioral Sciences in December 2016. Dr. Ladd is employed as an associate professor at the VCU Medical Center Health and Wellness Library. Dr. Ladd oversees daily operations of the library, provides consumer health information services, teaches health information classes, and plans and coordinates health and wellness events. The Health and Wellness Library’s mission is to foster the advancement and development of health knowledge within the community.
Michelle Laws graduated with her PH.D. in Social and Behavioral Sciences in December 2016. Dr. Laws is employed as the Assistant Director, Consumer Policy & Community Engagement at NC Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse.
Laura Cartwright graduated with her Ph.D. in Social and Behavioral Sciences in August 2016. Dr. Cartwright is employed as a Manager of Research Science at the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). Her work addresses a broad spectrum of transplant-related issues, ranging from improving equity in access, analyzing impact of policy, statistical analysis of process and outcome measures, and the potential for behavioral science to help predict performance trends.
Jennifer St. Clair Russell graduated with her Ph.D. in Social and Behavioral Sciences in August 2016. Dr. St. Clair Russell is the Senior Vice President, Education and Programs for the National Kidney Foundation. Her work focuses on online instructional design, curricula development, health education, public health communication, adult learning, health literacy, training and group facilitation. Previously she was an Assistant Professor at Duke University.
Wafa W. Tarazi graduated with her Ph.D. in Healthcare Policy and Research in August 2016. Dr. Tarazi is employed by the CDC as a Postdoctoral fellow in the Steven M. Teutsch Prevention Effectiveness Fellowship (PE) hosted by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE). As a PE Fellow, Dr. Tarazi will be working on several research projects related to the early effects of the Affordable Care Act on different outcomes. Her dissertation was facilitated by a Susan G. Komen Predoctoral Training Fellowship.
Ali Bonakdar Tehrani graduated from VCU with his Ph.D. in Healthcare Policy and Research in 2016. He is currently employed as Manager, RWE Design & Analytics at Johnson & Johnson. Previously he was a Research Leader in Economic and Evaluation Research at IBM Watson Health. His research focuses on opioid prescribing and substance use disorder outcomes.
Anthony Molisani graduated with his PhD in Social and Behavioral Sciences in 2015. Dr. Molisani is employed as Group Manager, Advanced Analytics, Avanade.
Omar El Shahawy graduates with his PhD in Social and Behavioral Sciences in August 2015. Dr. El Shahawy is an assis tant professorat New York University, School of Medicine in the Department of Population Health: Section on Tobacco, Alcohol and Drug Use. His research focuses on tobacco control projects in the US and internationally. Dr. El Shahawy was a Hubert Humphrey fellow supported by the U.S. Department of State and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Cecilia Barbosa received her PhD in Social and Behavioral Health in 2014. Dr. Barbosa is the owner of cBe consulting and Founder/Director Orange Grove Fleet Solutions. She serves as Chair of the Virginia Latino Advisory Board, and serves on the Boards of the Jenkins Foundation and Dancing Classrooms of Greater Richmond, the Virginia Department of Health Institutional Review Board, and the Mayor of Richmond’s Breastfeeding Taskforce. She helped organize a VCU – University of Sao Paulo scientific collaboration and an event to promote Brazilian culture and trade in Virginia, and served on the Board of the Virginia Center for Latin American Art and the planning committee of the Latino Health Summit (2006). A citizen of Brazil and USA, she is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, and French.
Utkarsh Subnis graduated with his PhD in Social and Behavioral Health in December 2014. Dr. Subnis is a Senior Medical Science Liaison at Hanalytics Solutions.
Heather Morris graduated with her PhD in Social and Behavioral Health in 2014. Dr. Morris is an Assistant Research Scientist in the Department of Health Outcomes & Biomedical Informatics and the Institute for Child Health Policy in the College of Medicine at the University of Florida. Dr. Morris’ areas of research include doctor-patient communication with a particular interest in collaborative goal setting among patients with chronic illnesses. Dr. Morris currently oversees the research components of the Children’s Medical Service Network program evaluation team, which examines the quality of care delivered to children with special health care needs.
Ellyn Leighton-Herrmann Quinn graduated with her PhD in Social and Behavioral Health in May 2014. Dr. Quinn is Social Science researcher. Her research interests focus on nutrition, clinical interventions and disadvantaged populations.
L. Aubree Shay graduated with her PhD in Social and Behavioral Health in December 2013. Dr. Shay is an Assistant Professor in Health Promotion & Behavioral Sciences at the UTHealth, School of Public Health at San Antonio. Her research interests include, adolescent health, cancer, cardiovascular and chronic diseases, health education/behavioral sciences, health services/outcomes research and program evaluation.
Lindsey Saul graduated with her PhD in Social and Behavioral Health in May 2013. Dr. Saul is currently employed as the Lead Analytics Strategist for Strategic Data & Analysis at Defense Logistics Agency, Washington, DC. She work encompasses quantitative and qualitative research on the psychological, behavioral, social, cultural and policy factors that affect health.
Dannielle completed her M.P.H. at VCU with a concentration in Social and Behavioral Health. Dannielle was a research assistant for two different studies: An Easier Path: Simple Advice for Newly Cancer Patients Receiving Radiation Therapy and Feasibility of a Colorectal Cancer Survivor Registry and Repository that Integrates Clinical, Biomedical, Behavioral, Environmental and Other Patient-Level Risk Factors. Prior to starting the MPH program at VCU, she attended Arizona State University where she received a Bachelors degree in Communication with a minor in English. While at ASU she worked as an intern for the Center for the Convergence of Physical Science and Cancer Biology where she acquired her interest in cancer communication research, which she pursued at VCU. Dannielle is now attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she is pursuing a Ph. D. in Mass Communication focusing on her interest in cancer prevention and control through health communication.
Elizabeth is currently a Ph.D. graduate student studying Clinical and Translational Sciences (concentrating in Psychiatric, Behavioral, and Statistical Genetics) at the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics (VIPBG) here at VCU. Her current research interests include environmental and genetic risk factors for substance use disorders and substance use disorder comorbidity with other medical and psychiatric disorders across the lifespan. Previously, Elizabeth worked as a research assistant on multiple studies investigating preterm birth outcomes, health behaviors of adolescents, and substance use. She received her B.A. in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia in 2010 and subsequently graduated from VCU with her Masters in Public Health (MPH) with a concentration in Social and Behavioral Health in 2012.
Heather is Associate Professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Director of the Health Disparities Research Lab at Temple University. Her research interests lie at the intersections of interpersonal health communication, chronic kidney disease, and organ donation and transplantation. She is the recipient of a Career Development Award from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to develop and test an educational and communication skills intervention for patients with end stage renal disease who are awaiting kidney transplantation. She also serves as Co-Investigator on multiple federally-funded research studies to evaluate hospital development and behavioral communication interventions to increase solid organ donation and examine the ethical, legal and social issues of organ and tissue donation for transplantation and medical research/biobanking purposes. Across these areas of research, a primary goal has been to improve organ and tissue donation processes in the US and alleviate disparities in access to transplantation. More recently, she has partnered with the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger to evaluate an ongoing effort to bring healthy food options to local food pantries and has begun a line of research investigating the relationship between food insecurity and medical nutritional management of Type II diabetes, a leading cause of chronic kidney disease.
Heather earned a doctorate in communication from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 2006 and a Master’s in Public Health from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2012. She joined the faculty in VCU’s Department of Social and Behavioral Health in 2011 as Assistant Professor.
Laura received her MPH with a concentration in Social and Behavioral Health from Virginia Commonwealth University in December 2011. Laura has worked for VCU’s Department of Social and Behavioral Health since 2008. She is a currently a third-year, full-time PhD student.
Luisa is the multicultural outreach coordinator for the text4baby program at the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB). She coordinates outreach to multicultural communities and faith-based communities, as well as targeted outreach among designated partners whose work involves Spanish-speaking audiences. She also provides statewide technical assistance for Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Washington D.C., Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia; and she oversees the development, translation and editing of all of the bilingual materials, messages and resources. Luisa has extensive experience as a community advocate, interpreter and leader in public health. She has worked with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health, the Virginia Department of Social Services and the Virginia Governor’s Office as the Latino Liaison. Luisa was recently appointed to serve on the Commonwealth of Virginia Health Commissioner’s Minority Health and Health Equity Advisory Committee (MHHEAC) and she currently serve as a board member to Colaborando Juntos, a non-profit based out of Richmond, Virginia whose primary purpose is to connect service providers who cater to the Latino community.
Allison is a native of Birmingham, AL where she graduated from Samford University with a BS in Business Administration and a MA in Counseling Psychology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she also worked as a Health Education Coordinator in the UAB Department of Preventive Medicine. Upon relocating to Richmond, Allison began working as a Senior Research Specialist in the Department of Addiction Psychiatry, and later as a Research Manager in the Institute for Drug and Alcohol Studies. During her tenure at VCU, Allison concurrently pursued her MPH while working full time on multiple federally funded clinical trials focused on addiction and pregnancy, the application of evidence-based practices in community settings, health disparities, infant mortality, and health communication. Allison’s accomplishments during her time in the MPH program included being awarded the Social and Behavioral Award by the Institute for Women’s Health at the 6th Annual Women’s Health Research Day, first author on multiple APHA, CPDD, and Social Marketing in Public Health conference presentations, first author on a paper titled, “One Tiny Reason to Quit: A Coalition-based Smoking Cessation Campaign for Pregnant African American Women,” and co-author on multiple peer-reviewed publications. Allison currently resides with her husband and children in Chattanooga, TN, where she works as a Population Health Consultant for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.
Jennifer received a Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Marketing from the University of Virginia, and after working in financial analysis and technology consulting, completed a Master’s in Public Health with a concentration in Social and Behavioral Health at VCU in 2011. From VCU, Jennifer went to work for Virginia Health Information as a Data Analyst after graduation. Virginia Health Information (VHI), a non-profit, works with the Virginia Department of Health and other organizations to fulfill its mission of creating and disseminating health care information, promoting informed decision making by health care consumers, and enhancing the quality of health care delivery. Jennifer has worked on a wide variety of projects at VHI including reports on cardiac care, obstetrics, readmissions, HEDIS, health care pricing, and consumer oriented materials. Jennifer is currently the Program Manager for the Virginia All-Payer Claims Database (APCD) created by VHI on behalf of the Virginia Department of Health and operated as a collaborative effort with health care stakeholders. The aim of the APCD is to facilitate data-driven, evidence-based improvements in the quality and efficiency of health care in Virginia. In the fall of 2013, Jennifer begins the Doctoral Program in Health Services Organization and Research at VCU to provide her with advanced research skills in her current position.
Megan completed a Master's in Public Health with a concentration in Social and Behavioral Health at VCU in spring 2011. She received a BS at James Madison University in public administration with a concentration in public management. Following her undergraduate degree, Megan served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Namibia focusing her work on adolescent reproductive health and HIV prevention. She has dedicated her career to training and educating professionals and patients. While a graduate student at VCU, she worked for the VCU HIV/AIDS Center. Currently, Megan works at the Maryland State Department of Education with their nutrition programs leading the coordination of the Maryland’s Team Nutrition training grants. Most recently, Megan has led efforts to provide training to Maryland schools on the concepts of behavioral economics aiming to improve fruit and vegetable selection.
Tamara received her MPH from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2010. She completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Virginia and is originally from Lynchburg, Virginia. During her time at VCU, Tamara interned for Office of Minority Health and Public Health Policy where she developed health equity presentations for communities and assisted with the Mosby Court partnership. Tamara’s interests include mental and physical health disparities, primary care psychology and brief interventions. She is also interested in topics related to health equity. Currently, Tamara is attending the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where she is pursuing a Ph.D. in Health Psychology.