Meredith HallingMeredith Halling

(414) 955-8597 |
Faculty advisor: Terri deRoon-Cassini
Year Entered MCW: 2014
Previous Education: MS in Neurobiology and Physiology, University of Connecticut; BS in Biological Engineering, Utah State.
Dissertation Title: Investigating the link between socio-environmental factors, biological vulnerability, and PTSD after traumatic injury among racial and ethnic minorities.

Jared OlsonJared Olson

(414) 955-8720  |
Faculty advisor: Kirsten Beyer, MPH, PhD
Year Entered MCW: 2014
Previous Education: BA in History and Political Science, Bates College.
Research Interests: My long-term research goals focus on bridging the often-present gap between scientific findings and community knowledge. Dissertation Title: Community Gardens and Nutritional Behaviors in Milwaukee, WI.

Thant Ko KoThant Ko Ko

(414) 955-6870  |
Faculty advisor: Julia Dickson-Gomez, PhD
Year Entered MCW: 2014
Previous Education: BA in Chemistry, Bard College.
Research Interests: Social Determinants of Health, Global Health, Urbanization and Health, Systems Theory, Employment and Health, Community Engagement.
Dissertation Title: Street Food Vending in Yangon (Myanmar): An Exploratory Study.

Benjamin Holmes, DCBenjamin Holmes, DC

(414) 955-8661  |
Faculty advisor: Laura Cassidy MS, PhD
Year Entered MCW: 2014
Previous Education: Doctor of Chiropractic, Western States Chiropractic College; BA in Philosophy, Brigham Young University.
Dissertation Topic/Title: Spinal Health.

Amin BemanianAmin Bemanian

(414) 955-7509  |
Faculty advisor: Kirsten Beyer, PhD
Year Entered MCW: 2015
Previous Education: BS in Biomedical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis.
Dissertation Topic/Title: Investigating the Relationship Between Racial Residential Segregation and Hepatocellular Carcinoma. The goal of my work is to look at applying quantitative and multidisciplinary approaches towards the understanding of the structural factors that drive health disparities in communities and finding interventions which can mitigate them.

Linda FraunhoferLinda Fraunhofer

(414) 955-8037  |
Faculty advisor: Laura Cassidy MS, PhD
Year Entered MCW: 2015
Previous Education: BS, Molecular Biology, Winona State University; MS in Biotechnology, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Dissertation Topic/Title: My research interest involves clinical decision support, which is the customized pairing of patient lab results with current guidelines and recommendations and the effectiveness these programs have of improving patient outcomes.


Mara LordMara Lord
Faculty advisor: Laura Cassidy MS, PhD
Year Entered MCW: 2015
Previous Education: : MBA at UWM; Ethics and Comparative History of Ideas, University of Washington.
Dissertation Topic/Title:


Darius CarrDarius Carr

(414) 955-4911  |
Faculty advisor: Laura Cassidy MS, PhD
Year Entered MCW: 2015
Research Interests: MY research interests lies on issues of complexity science, gun – related violence, food injustice, globalization, Sino-American relations, community participation, museum studies, public health policy, ethnography, and power.



Michael TotoraitisMichael Totoraitis

(414) 955-8663  |
Faculty advisor: Laura Cassidy MS, PhD
Year Entered MCW: 2015
Previous Education: BA, Criminology and Law Studies, Marquette University.
Research Areas: Social Networks, Violence Prevention and Child Welfare Resiliency.


Ronald AnguzuRonald Anguzu

(414) 955-7384 |
Faculty advisor: Laura Cassidy MS, PhD
Year Entered MCW: 2017
Previous Education: MD, MPH; Makerere University, Uganda.
Research Areas/Interest: Sexual and Reproductive Health, Health Behavior and Health Economics.


Lora DaskalskaLora Daskalska

(414) 955-8683 |
Faculty advisor: Laura Cassidy MS, PhD
Year Entered MCW: 2017
Previous Education: BS in Biology, Certificate in Environmental Studies, Certificate in Global Health; University of Wisconsin - Madison.
Research Interests: I am interested in epidemiologic methods to evaluate how a variety of environmental factors influence health.


Maureen LyonsMaureen Lyons

(414) 955-8037 |
Faculty advisor: Laura Cassidy MS, PhD
Year Entered MCW: 2017
Previous Education: BS in Molecular, Cellular, and Integrative Biology from Beloit College.
Research Interests: My research area of interest is how health and culture intersect, and how to provide culturally appropriate health information and health interventions.

Abdul Shour Abdul Shour

(414) 955-8394 |
Faculty advisor: Laura Cassidy MS, PhD
Year Entered MCW: 2017
Previous Education: MS in Sustainable Peacebuilding (MSP)-University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. BS in Social Science - Fourah Bay College-University of Sierra Leone.
Research Interests: Pediatric Trauma, Social Determinants of Infant mortality and Public Health Policy.


Antoinette Spector, DPT, OCSAntoinette Spector, DPT, OCS

(414) 955-7386 |
Faculty advisor: Laura Cassidy MS, PhD
Year Entered MCW: 2017
Previous Education: BS Kinesiology (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee); Doctor of Physical Therapy (Concordia University Wisconsin).
Research Areas/Interest: I am interested in conducting research that examines health inequities, and the social structures that create them. I am also interested in researching how structural interventions impact the health outcomes of marginalized populations.


Student Accomplishments

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Azam, L., Flynn, K., Scanlon, M., Asan, O. (2016). Bedside Nurses’ Perceptions of a Novel HIT in Pediatrics ICU: A Qualitative Study. Poster will be presented in April at the Human Factors and Ergonomics in Health Care: Shaping the Future Conference. San Diego, CA.


Barry, C., Jackson, T., Azam, L., Neslon, D., Meurer, J. (2016). Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction for Aid in Diabetes Management in Low-Income Neighborhoods. Poster presented in June at the American Diabetes Association’s 76th Scientific Sessions. New Orleans, Louisiana.


Bemanian A, Zhou Y, Beyer K. Breast Cancer and Local Racial Residential Segregation in the Milwaukee Metropolitan Area. American Public Health Association 2016 Annual Meeting and Expo. October 30, 2016. Denver, CO.


Bogar S, Weaver E, May T, Gaudreau K, Johnson S. Navigating Ethics & Equity in CBPR. American Public Health Association 2016 Annual Meeting and Expo. November 1, 2016. Denver, CO.


Halling M. Beyer K. Nieto FJ. Malecki K. Embodied stress: Pathways between neighborhood environment and increased cardio-metabolic risk. American Public Health Association 2016 Annual Meeting and Expo. November 1, 2016. Denver, CO.


Ko Ko T, Dickson-Gomez J. Providers' perspectives on employment services for housing residents in Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) programs in a large metropolitan city. American Public Health Association 2016 Annual Meeting and Expo. October 31, 2016. Denver, CO.


Olson J, Carter A, McCollow T, Beyer K. Making Community Data Count: A community-academic partnership investigating the impact of community places on vacant lots. American Public Health Association 2016 Annual Meeting and Expo. October 31, 2016. Denver, CO.




Beyer, K. M. M., Zhou, Y., Matthews, K., Hoormann, K., Bemanian, A., Laud, P. W., & Nattinger, A. B. (2016). Breast and Colorectal Cancer Survival Disparities in Southeastern Wisconsin. Wisconsin Medical Journal, 115(1), 17–22.

Beyer KMM, Zhou Y, Matthews K, Bemanian A, Laud PW, Nattinger AB. New spatially continuous indices of redlining and racial bias in mortgage lending: Links to survival after breast cancer diagnosis and implications for health disparities research. Health Place 2016;40:34-43.


Cassidy LD, Olaomi O, Ertl A, Ameh EA. Collaborative Development and Results of a Nigerian Trauma Registry. J Registry Manag 2016;43(1):23-28 PubMed ID 2719599


May, T, Byonanebye J, Meurer JR. The ethics of Population Health Management: Collapsing the traditional Boundary Between patient Care and Public Health. Population Health Management. 2016





Azam, L. Adams, S., Rusch, M., Wallace, J., Meurer, J. (2015). Determinants of Unhealthy Behaviors Following Bariatric Surgery. Poster presented at the 24th Annual Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.  Research Poster Day, Medical College of Wisconsin. Milwaukee, WI.


Azam, L., Staci, Y., Meurer, J., Cui, C., Hill, R. (2015). Influence of Patient and Provider Communication on Diabetes Care Delivery. Presented at the Annual Wisconsin Public Health Association Conference. Milwaukee, WI.


Bemanian, A. Beyer, K.M.M. (2015). Quantification of segregation in southeastern Wisconsin as a marker for economic disadvantage. In 143rd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (October 31-November 4, 2015).


Beyer, K. M. M., Zhou, Y., Matthews, K., Bemanian, A., Laud, P. W., & Nattinger, A. B. (2015). Cancer and Disparity in the Context of Residential Racial Segregation: Evidence from Southeastern Wisconsin. In Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers (April 2015).


Bogar S., Woodruff, S., Garrett, T., Johnson, S. (October 24th, 2015). Environmental Health Perceptions & Priorities: Navigating Balance in a Youth CBPR Partnership. Midwest ECO Regional Conference: Forwarding Inquiry & Action for Social Change, Madison, WI.


Bogar, S,. Beyer, KMM. (March, 2015). Green Space, Violence & Crime: A Systematic Review. Trauma, Violence, and Abuse.


Bogar, S., Woodruff, S., Johnson, S. (November 3rd, 2015). Navigating & Growing Youth Inclusion in CBPR. American Public Health Association, Chicago, IL.


Ertl, A., Cassidy, L.D. (2015, November).  Statewide Analysis of Racial Disparities and Assault in Pediatric Trauma Patients.  Poster Presentation at the 143rd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition.


Ertl, A., Groner, J.I., Cassidy, L.D. (2015, September).  Characteristics of Pediatric Assault Patients: A Statewide Assessment. Poster Presentation at the Annual Meeting of American Association for the Surgery of Trauma and Clinical Congress of Acute Care Surgery.


Ertl, A., Yuhong, Z., Beyer, K., Tarima, S., Groner, J.I., Cassidy, L.D. (2015, November). The Spatial Epidemiology of Pediatric Trauma: A Statewide Assessment. Oral Abstract Presentation at the Pediatric Trauma Society Meeting.


Halling, Meredith; Cassidy, Laura; Ertl, Allison; Piatt, Joseph; Groner, Jonathan. “Transfer of Children with TBI for Definitive Care, Particularly Without Airway Control, is a Powerful Risk Factor for Mortality,” presented at the Medical College of Wisconsin’s 25th Annual Gradual School Research Poster Session. Milwaukee WI, 22 October 2015.


Holmes B. Factors in patient responsiveness to directional preference-matched therapies for cervical discopathy with or without radiculopathy. 25th Annual Graduate School Poster Session, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI. October 2015.




Mavis AM, Ertl A, Chapman S, Cassidy LD, Lerret SM. Vulnerability and chronic illness management in pediatric kidney and liver transplant recipients. Prog Transplant. 2015;25(2):139-146.


Quinn K, Ertl A. Social and sexual risk factors among sexual minority youth. Journal of LGBT Youth. 2015;12(3):302-322.


Tarima S, Ertl A, Groner JI, Cassidy LD. Factors associated with patients transferred from undesignated trauma centers to trauma centers. J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2015;79(3):378-385.


Mina Farahzad presented three posters at APHA titled Female sex workers as mothers, Contraception in Uganda: Does religion matter?, and A Comprehensive Seek, Test, and Treat Project in a Detention Facility: Preliminary Findings.


Katherine Quinn presented “Love the sinner, hate the sin”: Examining black faith leaders' perceptions of homosexuality and HIV at APHA.


Sandy Bogar presented Community Based Participatory Research Student Field Placements at part of a Student Roundtable Presentation at APHA.


Rebekah Angove has accepted the position of Engagement Manager at the Louisiana Public Health Institute. She will manage a team responsible for the patient and provider engagement components of the Louisiana Clinical Data Network. Rebekah will graduate in May 2014.


Dina Garcia will serve as a tertiary mentor for the Student Mentorship Program for Hispanic Health Research (sMPH2r)—the nation’s first web-based mentorship program for individuals interested in Hispanic health research sponsored by the Hispanic Serving Health Professions Schools (HSHPS). Alongside Dr. Lisa De Camp from Johns Hopkins University and Dr. Patricia Becerra from the NIH, Dina will help mentor two students during 2014.


Laila Azam published: Hariharan, J., Tarima, S., Azam, L., & Meurer, J. (2014). Chronic Care Model as a Framework to Improve Diabetes Care at an Academic Internal Medicine Faculty-Resident Practice. The Journal of Ambulatory Care Management, 37(1), 42-50.


Mina Farahzad presented a poster at the 23rd Annual Research Poster session sponsored by the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. The title of her abstract was "Contraception in Uganda: Does religion matter?" She also presented an abstract titled Prevalence and Disability Associated with Inguinal Hernia in Sierra Leone: Results of a Nationwide Survey at the World Congress of Surgery, Obstetrics, Trauma, and Anesthesia in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. Mina was also selected as a recipient of The Kinsey Institute Student Research Grant Award 2013-2014.


Dina Garcia presented a poster at the 23rd Annual Research Poster session sponsored by the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. The title of her abstract was "Key Roles, Characteristics and Barriers Faced by Latino Community Health Workers Delivering a Sexual and Reproductive Health Home Health Party Educational Intervention". Her research abstract, titled Periodontal Disease and Glycemic Control in Diabetes was accepted for a poster presentation at the American Association of Dental Research/Canadian Association of Dental Research Annual Meeting & Exhibition in Charlotte, NC in March 2014.


Katherine Quinn, a third year student, gave an oral presentation at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting. The title of her presentation is "Raw down: HIV risk among adolescent gang members". She has also had an abstract accepted for a poster presentation at the North American Housing and HIV/AIDS Research Summit to be held in Montreal, Quebec. Her presentation is entitled Housing access and neighborhood choice as HIV care and prevention.


Sandra Bogar, a second year student, had an abstract entitled Green Space, Violence and Crime: A Systematic Review accepted for presentation at the 2013 International Medical Geography Symposium at Michigan State University.


Allison Ertl presented an abstract titled The Incidence and Prevalence of Musculoskeletal Disease in Sierra Leone: Results of a Population Based Survey at the World Congress of Surgery, Obstetrics, Trauma, and Anesthesia in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

ALUMNI 2012 - 2017

Alumni - 2017

Joseph Byonanebye
Dr. Byonanebye is an Assistant Professor at Marquette University in their College of Health Sciences. His dissertation was titled Characteristics, regional trends and determinants of teenage pregnancy in Uganda.

Alumni - 2016

Allison Ertl, MS, PhD
Dr. Ertl is now an Epidemiologist for the Mortality Surveillance Team in the Division of Violence Prevention at the CDC. Her dissertation was titled Neighborhood Context and Racial Disparities in Pediatric Violence.

Laila Azam, PhD
Dr. Azam is an Assistant Professor at Carroll University.

Sandra Bogar, PhD
Dr. Bogar is a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Institute for Health and Equity at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Her dissertation was titled Roots: Growing Environmental Health Literacy through Youth Engagement.

Alumni - 2015

Dina Garcia, MPH, PhD
Dina's dissertation is titled, The Oral Health Status and Dental Care Utilization of Mexican-origin Latinos. Dr. Garcia is completing a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry to continue her research.

Mina Farazhad, PhD
Mina's dissertation is titled The Impact of Motherhood on the Mental Health & Substance Use of Women Who Trade Sex. Mina is part of the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) at MCW and returned to MCW's Medical School to finish her medical degree. Dr. Farazhad is now completing her medical residency at Emory in Atlanta. 

Katherine Quinn, MSW, PhD
Dr. Katherine Quinn joined the Center for AIDS Intervention Research (CAIR) at MCW as an Assistant Professor after completing her doctoral work. Katherine's dissertation was titled The role of the Church in the lives of young, Black, men who have sex with men.

Alumni - 2014

Rebekah Angove, PhD
Rebekah now serves as the Community Engagement Manager at LACDRN. She was awarded a 2015 PECORI grant titled Patient Engagement in PCOR: a MedEd Training. Project Summary

Rebekah's dissertation is titled Screening for Childhood Exposure to Violence in Pediatric Primary Care:Provider Practices and Perspectives. Rebekah Angove Abstract (PDF)

Rebekah took a position at the Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI). She is the Engagement Lead for the Louisiana Clinical Data Research Network (LACDRN).

Alumni - 2013

Emily Hall Ganos, PhD
Emmy is working at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as a Program Officer. She joined RWJF in 2013 as Program Associate. She works on the Foundation's efforts to advance a Culture of Health, where our economy is less burdened by excessive and unwarranted health care spending, and where the health of the population guides public and private decision making.

Her dissertation is entitled Physicians' Cultural Norms and Health Care Intensity.
Emily Hall Ganos Abstract (PDF)

Alumni - 2012

The PhD Program in Public and Community Health graduated its first cohort of students in 2013. They began their journey to a PhD degree in 2008. On May 18, 2012, Kaija Zusevics, Elizabeth Duthie, and Annie Nguyen graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy degree.

Kaija Zusevics, PhD
Dr. Zusevics is now an Adjunct Assistant Professor in Institute for Health and Equity at MCW and teaches in the MPH Program. She is also an Associate Researcher at the Center for Urban Population Health in Milwaukee, WI.

Kaija Zusevics completed her post-doctoral fellowship with the Program in Genomics and Ethics in the Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities in the summer of 2014. 

Kaija's dissertation was entitled Testing an Intervention to Impact Student Engagement and Hope among Urban Students: A Social Determinants of Health Framework. Kaija Zusevics Abstract (PDF)

Elizabeth Duthie, PhD
Dr. Elizabeth Duthie is now a Research Scientist within the Center for Patient Care Outcomes Research at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Elizabeth’s dissertation was entitled The Unbearable Lightness of Being Pregnant: Patient and Provider Perspectives on Pregnancy Weight Gain. Elizabeth Duthie Abstract (PDF)

Elizabeth accepted a postdoctoral fellowship sponsored through the Center for Patient Care and Outcomes Research at the Medical College of Wisconsin. She worked on an NIH-funded project (R21) following couples as they go through treatments for infertility to better understand their decision-making about which treatments to pursue.

Annie Nguyen, PhD
Dr. Annie Ngyen is now an Assistant Professor at the USC Keck School of Medicine and continues to study Gerontology.

Annie’s dissertation was entitled Cultural Perspectives, Lifecourse, and the Social Ecology of Successful Aging: The Views of Chinese and Hmong Elders. Annie Nguyen Abstract (PDF)

2012: She accepted a gerontology Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of California-Irvine School of Medicine in the Department of Family Medicine/Geriatrics.