I conduct research in partnership with a brilliant team at Drexel and other universities in Canada and the U.S.

Current lab members include:

Heather Santos, MPH, Graduate Research Assistant (Our Health Matters)

Heather completed her MPH in epidemiology at Drexel University. Prior to her graduate studies, she obtained a BS in Physics from Penn State, and then worked in quantitative epidemiology under Dr. Matthew Ferrari modeling the global burden of measles. She will begin a PhD in epidemiology in Fall 2022 and plans to pursue a research career in mental health and psychiatric epidemiology

Aakanshya Aryal, Dornsife International Research Fellow (Our Health Matters)

Aakanshya is currently pursuing an MPH with a major in Epidemiology at Drexel University. In Nepal, she worked as a Research Assistant and traveled to remote areas in the country, which motivated her to contribute to the health of communities at a larger scale. Aakanshya was awarded an Dornsife International Research Fellowship by the Dornsife School of Public Health. Her research interests include mental health, substance abuse, HIV, LGBT health, and urban health.  

Bisola Hamzat, Graduate Research Assistant, Western University (Advancing Intersectional Discrimination Measures)

Bisola is a master’s student in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Western University (London, Canada). Her research interests include intersectionality, health equity, and social determinants of health. Bisola aspires to bridge the gap of health inequities by incorporating intersectionality into public health practice, policy, and research.   

Kelly Courts, MPH, Project Manager (Advancing Intersectional Discrimination Measures)

Kelly Courts calls St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children home base but is involved with a variety of studies led by Drexel PIs, including our lab’s current work on the Intersectional Discrimination Index (InDI). Kelly is a data nerd who is happiest when organizing ideas and information into timelines, workflows, and actionable steps. She will try to convert you to R if given the chance and will never make a pie chart unless forced. As Director of Hunger-free Initiatives at St. Chris, she collaborates with multi-disciplinary teams to improve processes for screening and addressing social needs in the clinical setting and leads the employee DEI Council. As the the site coordinator for Children’s HealthWatch Philadelphia, whose data collection site is St. Chris, she leads a team of staff and students as part of this long-running study that informs policy decisions to improve the health of young children and their families.  Finally, she serves as a REDCap consultant for the Biostatistics Scientific Collaboration Center at Drexel. She spends her spare time running, riding with friends on Zwift, and occasionally sitting down and reading a book. Kelly received her BS in Biology from Bucknell University and her MPH from the University of Pennsylvania.

Past lab members include:

Tanner Nassau, PhD

Tanner began his PhD in Epidemiology at Drexel University in 2018 and began working with Ayden in 2019. His doctoral dissertation uses data from OiSIS-Toronto to examine the impact of supervised consumption sites on injection equipment sharing, while also using advanced epidemiological techniques to assess how bias and contextual factors impact observed associations. After finishing his PhD, Tanner hopes to continue working in HIV care and prevention with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.  

Luwam Gebrekristos, MPH, Graduate Research Assistant (Advancing Intersectional Discrimination Measures)

Luwam is a PhD student in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Drexel University. Her interest lies in examining the social and structural factors that drive racial and gender health inequalities. Her dissertation will integrate spatial and non-spatial data to examine the impact of multilevel drivers of HIV risk among adolescent mothers in sub-Saharan Africa. She hopes to address knowledge gaps related to marginalized populations in order to inform tailored HIV prevention interventions and policies.