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Principal Investigator

       

    

Roman Shrestha, Ph.D., MPH

Principal Investigator

Affiliations

Assistant Professor, University of Connecticut
Assistant Professor Adjunct, Yale School of Medicine
Visiting Senior Lecturer, University of Malaya (Malaysia)

Curriculum Vitae (CV)
Phone: 860-486-2446
Email: roman.shrestha@uconn.edu
Education

2017 Ph.D., Public Health (University of Connecticut)
2013 Master of Public Health (University of Connecticut)
2011 B.S. (Wiley College)

 

Dr. Roman Shrestha is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Allied Health Sciences and a Principal Investigator at the Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy (InCHIP). He completed his doctorate at the University of Connecticut and a postdoctoral fellowship at Yale School of Medicine. Dr. Shrestha’s research has primarily centered on interventions and implementation science at the interface of HIV and substance use with a particular focus on HIV prevention and treatment issues. Specifically, his work emphasizes on the design, delivery, and placement of biomedical and behavioral interventions for optimal use in various settings. More recently, his research has evolved to include the development, adaptation, and testing of mobile technologies (mHealth) apps to improve treatment outcomes in key populations, including PWID, sexually diverse groups (e.g., MSM, TGW), and migrant workers. He has conducted research in a range of settings, including community and healthcare, addiction treatment, and criminal justice settings, both domestically and internationally. He currently serves as the Principal Investigator on multiple NIH-funded and industry-funded grants. Dr. Shrestha is also an Assistant Professor Adjunct at Yale University and a Senior Lecturer in Medicine at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He regularly serves on the NIH and CDC grant review panels, reviews for a number of the top peer-reviewed journals in the field, and serves in an editorial capacity for multiple internationally recognized journals in public health (JMIR mHealth and uHealth, AIDS & Behavior, Frontiers in Public Health, and Frontiers in Digital Health).

Lab Manager

       

Kamal Gautam, MIPH (SRH)

US Based Lab Manager, Shrestha Lab

PhD Student
Health Promotion Sciences
University of Connecticut
Email: kamal.gautam@uconn.edu

Kamal holds an MSc in International Public Health specializing in Sexual and Reproductive Health from Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UK, with a Chevening scholarship. He was first introduced to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and HIV/AIDS issues as a youth activist in 2013. Since 2014, Kamal’s work has centred around SRHR program management, research, capacity strengthening, regional and international advocacy and partnerships that promote and advocate the rights to health care, especially for people of marginalized sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics. His research interests lie at the intersection of sexuality and health disparities with a primary focus on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment and access to sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Muhammad Daoud Butt, Ph.D

Malaysia Based Lab Manager

University of Malaya (Malaysia)
Email: dr.daoudbutt@gmail.com

Daoud, a Pharmacist and accomplished researcher, holds a master’s in Pharmacy Practice and a recent PhD in Social and Administrative Pharmacy from Universiti Sains Malaysia. Specializing in health economics and outcome research, particularly in Diabetes and Chronic Kidney Disease, he’s known for designing impactful health intervention projects. He integrates quantitative and qualitative research methods with adept health economics modeling. His commitment to evidence synthesis is showcased in leading pioneering mHealth intervention projects, aiming to enhance treatment outcomes and improve access to care, especially in key populations. His academic journey reflects a dedicated passion for advancing healthcare, bridging gaps, and shaping innovative solutions for public health challenges.

Project Coordinators

Antoine Khati

Antoine Khati, MD

Project Coordinator, Project SHIP (US)

MS Student
Health Promotion Sciences
University of Connecticut
Email: antoine.khati@uconn.edu

Antoine is a graduate research assistant at the Department of Allied Health Sciences at the University of Connecticut. He graduated from the American University of Beirut and earned his medical degree in 2020. He is also pursuing a master’s in Health Promotion Sciences at UConn. He is particularly attentive to research at the interface of infectious diseases and access to care in key populations, focusing on HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention and opioid use disorder. 

       

Md. Safaet Hossain Sujan

Project Coordinator, Project JomPrEP (Malaysia)

PhD Student
Health Promotion Sciences
University of Connecticut
Email: Safaet_Sujan@uconn.edu

Md. Safaet Hossain Sujan is becoming more prominent in the field of public health research with record publications and citations. He earned both his BPH and MPH from Jahangirnagar University in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Mr. MSHS is a young, dedicated, and ambitious public health researcher. Additionally, he is competent in advanced biostatistics, epidemiology, mental health, and other public health fields. His primary areas of interest range from innovative interventions that address the social and psychological aspects of living with HIV/AIDS to epidemiological studies of the spread of the virus among populations at high risk, such as transgender people, sex workers, men who have sex with men, and injection drug users. He’s a part of Dr. Roman Shrestha’s Digital Phenotyping (DP) research team right now.

       

Kiran Paudel

Project Coordinator, Project CINTAI (Malaysia)

MS Student
University of Connecticut
Email: kiran.paudel@uconn.edu

Kiran Paudel is an early career public health researcher who graduated from the Institute of Medicine, Tribhuvan University of Nepal. Kiran is a highly motivated, young, outcome-oriented, and diligent public health researcher. He is experienced in coordinating public health research projects, data analysis, scientific writing, and publication, and can work independently or in a team. He is currently working on research focusing on HIV prevention, mental health, and substance use utilizing mHealth platforms. He is also interested in researching the burden of non-communicable diseases among people living with HIV, LGBTIQA+, and people who inject drugs, which are often overlooked in these groups. 

Anushka Thapa

Research Associate, US

University of New Haven
Email: osmiumpaa@gmail.com

Globally-minded Anushka Thapa is a skilled nutritionist and public health advocate. She is well-equipped to promote positive change because she has a Master’s in Public Health from the University of New Haven, an undergraduate degree in Nutrition and Dietetics, and a rich academic background from Nepal. Her experience in acute malnutrition management and dietary recall further demonstrates her expertise. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) in Connecticut is just one of Anushka’s many internship experiences. She has devoted her research passion to projects such as “Improving Private Pharmacy Provision of Injectable Contraceptives in Nepal.” Anushka is a dynamic force committed to the intersection of public health and nutrition, proficient in SPSS and with aspirations of pursuing a Ph.D.

Nursahira Sahiba Mohd Sabri

Research Associate, Project JomPrEP (Malaysia)

University of Malaya (Malaysia)
Email:sahirasahiba94@gmail.com

Meet Sahira, a research associate for the mHealth initiative at the Centre of Excellence for Research in AIDS. Her fascination with social studies was ignited during her undergraduate studies in Anthropology Sociology at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak. After gaining valuable experience in the corporate world for nearly three years, Sahira courageously followed her passion for research. Her academic pursuits led her to achieve a Master’s in Social Science (Social Work Research) from Universiti Sains Malaysia, where she discovered her fervor to supporting vulnerable communities. Sahira’s enriching research experiences with these communities have not only been enlightening but also deeply fulfilling. Her focus lies in exploring health issues, particularly chronic illnesses, with a specific emphasis on young adults. She envisions her research contributing to an improved quality of life and overall well-being, empowering individuals to lead meaningful lives despite the challenges they may face. 

Jegatheswary Sivajothi

Research Associate, Project MyHero (Malaysia)

University of Malaya (Malaysia)
Email
: jegatheswary@um.edu.my

Jega is a research associate at the Center of Excellence for Research in AIDS, University Malaya. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Heriot-Watt University, showcasing a deep understanding of human behaviour and mental processes. Beyond academia, her dedication shines through in her experience as a special education teacher, where she worked with children facing learning disabilities and neurodevelopmental disorders. Jega’s affection for children and her commitment to their well-being underscore her desire to make a positive impact. Driven by a passion for helping those facing mental health challenges, she aspires to become a clinical psychologist and make a lasting positive difference. Her research interests centre around minorities, healthcare, and mental health, reflecting a comprehensive commitment to psychology.

Helena Adam

Research Associate, Project CINTAI (Malaysia)

University of Malaysia (Malaysia)
Email: helenaadam@um.edu.my

Meet Helena, a dedicated Research Associate with a passion for digital mental health. With a background in psychology from the University of Reading and a master’s in Applied Clinical Psychology from the University of Bath, Helena has showcased her expertise by presenting her published work at numerous international conferences. In addition to her academic achievements, Helena brings valuable practical experience as she has worked as an assistant psychologist in the UK. This role provided her with extensive experience in working with individuals experiencing severe mental health disorders, further enriching her contributions to the field.

Hazriq

Research Associate, Project NOQ and PNP (Malaysia)

University of Malaysia (Malaysia)
Email: hazriqjustinlim@um.edu.my

Haz is a research associate at the Centre of Excellence for Research in AIDS. He holds a Bachelor’s in Natural Sciences with a focus on virology and the sociology of medicine. Motivated by grassroots movements in HIV response and neocolonial challenges hindering medication access in the Global South, Haz engaged in hands-on work in the HIV response in Malaysia after his undergraduate degree. Now armed with a postgraduate degree in Global Health & Social Justice, Haz is dedicated to addressing structural violence in healthcare, driven by a passion to create a more equitable future for oppressed populations.

Research Assistants

Sana Gupta

Research Assistant

Undergraduate Honors Student
University of Connecticut
Email: sana.gupta@uconn.edu

Sana is an undergraduate honors student at the University of Connecticut. She is a Statistics major and a Mathematics minor. In the past, Sana has been involved with conducting research on the Mediterranean Diet and its impact on adolescents. Sana is a Nutmeg Scholar and she is also a coordinator for Peer Allies through Honors on campus. Sana is passionate about the intersections of health and data and looks forward to applying her computational coursework in a healthcare setting.

Haley Crim

Research Assistant

Undergraduate Student
University of Connecticut
Email
:
haley.crim@uconn.edu 

Haley is an undergraduate student at the University of Connecticut. She is currently working towards a dual degree in Allied Health Sciences and Communication. Haley’s interests include emergency medical care as well as HIV prevention in those who inject drugs. She is gaining healthcare experience by volunteering as an EMT. Through this, she has learned more about patient care and enjoys interacting with a variety of people. After graduation, Haley plans on pursuing nursing and eventually an APRN license.

Rosanna Mazzeo

Research Assistant

Yale University
Email: rosanna.mazzeo@yale.edu

Rosanna (Rosie) received her bachelor’s degree in public health in 2021 and is going to pursue her MPH in the Fall of 2023. She is currently a Research Assistant. She has a great passion for research, specifically minority research. Some of her work includes working with individuals with Substance Use Disorder, helping the minority population to prevent HIV with PrEP, and harm reduction. Rosie is determined to expand her knowledge, continue to conduct research and work to help minority populations.

Sihlelelwe Dlamini

Research Assistant

Undergraduate Student
University of Connecticut
Email: sihlelelwe.dlamini@uconn.edu

Sihlelelwe is a sophomore transfer student attending the University of Connecticut. She is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Molecular and Cell Biology. In the past, Sihlelelwe conducted research on water scarcity and the socioeconomic impact it had on individuals in Eswatini (formerly Swaziland). Most recently, she was awarded with the Top Original Research Project at Lindenwood University for her involvement in laboratory work that investigated the isolation of antibiotic-producing bacteria from local soil. After graduation Sihlelelwe plans to pursue medicine. Her current special interests involve women and HIV as well as non-communicable diseases.

Julia Bertollo Scuccuglia

Research Assistant

Undergraduate Student
University of Connecticut
Email: julia.bertollo_scuccuglia@uconn.edu

Julia is a third year student at the University of Connecticut. Julia is seeking a bachelor’s degree in Physiology and Neurobiology and wishes to attend medical school after graduation. On campus, Julia is a student manager at the Student Health and Wellness and serves as a Resident Assistant for the Women in Math, Science, and Engineering (WiMSE) Learning Community. Julia is passionate about women’s health and health equity. She hopes to learn more about the social determinants of health and their impact on infectious disease prevention and treatment access. 

Kevin Le

Research Assistant

Undergraduate Student
University of Connecticut
Email: kevin.2.le@uconn.edu

Kevin is an undergraduate student at the University of Connecticut. He is majoring in Allied Health Sciences with a concentration in Health Sciences. Kevin’s interests include exploring the influence that public policy has on disparities within healthcare systems, as well as the impact of systemic inequality on vulnerable groups, particularly in terms of their access to adequate healthcare. After graduation, Kevin plans on pursuing medicine, hoping to make a tangible impact on the healthcare landscape. 

Fiora Lena

Research Assistant

Undergraduate Student
University of Connecticut
Email: fiora.lena@uconn.edu

Fiora is an undergraduate honors student at the University of Connecticut. She is an Allied Health Sciences major and an English minor. Her interests include food insecurity and its implications on health through racial and economic disparities, specifically in Waterbury. She is gaining healthcare experience through being a CNA and volunteering at hospitals. After graduation, Fiora will be pursuing medicine. Fiora is excited to expand her knowledge of healthcare through research and ultimately making a difference.

Prabhjit Kaur

Research Assistant

Undergraduate Student
University of Connecticut
Email: prabhjit.kaur@uconn.edu  

Prab is an undergraduate honors student at the University of Connecticut. Currently, she is working towards a degree in Allied Health Sciences. After graduating from UCONN, Prab hopes to fulfill her passion for healthcare and attend Med School. She is interested in Emergency Medicine and works as an EMT as well. Other interests include the gym, food, and spending time with family and friends. Though she is fairly new to research, she’s very excited to learn and contribute to the team.  

Leo Ancy Trinita

Research Assistant

Undergraduate Student
University of Connecticut
Email: ancy_trinita.leo@uconn.edu  

Leo, Ancy Trinita is an undergraduate honors student pursuing her Bachelor of Science degree in Allied Health Sciences (health science concentration) with a double minor in Psychological Sciences and Molecular & Cellular Biology. Ancy is also a nationally registered EMT and aspires to attend medical school after graduation. She is passionate about the intersection of clinical and psychological issues, specifically in marginalized populations. She is interested in exploring the systemic barriers that hinder marginalized populations from accessing equitable and adequate healthcare. Beyond academics, her other campus involvements include Alpha Chi Omega and the DDI program at the Dodd Center. 

Yee Kee Tan

Research Assistant

University of Malaya (Malaysia)
Email
: tanyeekee@um.edu.my

Yee Kee is a research assistant at the Centre of Excellence for Research in AIDS at the University of Malaya. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from UCSI University, showcasing a solid grounding in the intricacies of human behavior and mental processes. Currently, she is also undertaking a Ph.D. in health psychology at the National University of Malaysia, where her research concentrates on the critical intersection of lifetime trauma and suicidality among university students. With a passion for mental health advocacy, she is keen to work with diverse populations and apply her knowledge in the pursuit of enhancing psychological well-being. 

Kirthana Puniamurthy

Research Assistant

University of Malaya (Malaysia)
Email
: kirthanapuniamurthy@gmail.com

Kirthana is a research assistant at the Centre of Excellence for Research in AIDS at the University of Malaya. She earned her Bachelor of Music from the University of Malaya majoring in violin. Currently, she is pursuing a Master of Medical Science at the University of Malaya which encompasses research centred on music as an intervention for the management of hypertension. Beyond her academic endeavours, Kirthana is deeply passionate about public health. Her multifaceted background in both music and medical science reflects a holistic approach to her academic and professional pursuits, showcasing a dedication to contributing meaningfully to the field of public health.

YuHang Toh

Research Assistant

University of Malaya (Malaysia)
Email
: yhtoh@um.edu.my

JYuHang (YH) is a research assistant as part of the mHealth initiative targeting HIV prevention and healthcare accessibility for trans women in Malaysia. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychological Science with Honours from Monash University where she was involved in research in Borderline Personality Disorder symptom presentation and Dialectical Behavior Therapy for sexual minorities. Having experience in working with different communities such as patients with chronic pain, the urban poor and guardians of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, YH is eager to bring a multifaceted perspective to the team in creating better healthcare accessibility for marginalised communities.

Annie Patricia

Research Assistant

University of Malaya (Malaysia)
Email
: annpatricialourdes@gmail.com

Annie Patricia earned her Bachelor of Health Science (Honours) Biomedicine from the University of Science Malaysia. She has a great passion for research, specifically public health research. She gained her research experience through being a research assistant at Clinical Research Centre and National Institute of Health, Malaysia. Currently, she is a research assistant at the Centre of Excellence for Research in AIDS (CERiA), University of Malaya. Annie is excited to further improve her research skills and be able to contribute in developing the nation in healthcare field.

Visiting Interns

Camille Aguilar

NIDA Summer Intern, 2022

Undergraduate Student
University of Miami
Email: cxa789@miami.edu

Camille is an undergraduate student at the University of Miami. She is currently working towards a degree in Public Health. Her post grad plans include a MPH/PHD program in Global Health and Epidemiology. She is interested in the interaction of infectious diseases with substance use and addiction. Her main interest in this research topic lies in learning how interventions can help with the multi-factorial problems that arise with the intersection of cultural and social identities, substance use and infectious diseases. Her past research experience has been on the use of social media to promote sexual health for at-risk populations in the United States.

Ali Ahmed, PhD 

Visiting Scholar

Postdoctoral Fellow
Monash University
Email: ali.ahmed@uconn.edu  

Dr. Ali Ahmed earned his Ph.D. in Pharmacy Practice (specializing in Pharmacoeconomics and Health Outcomes) from Monash University in 2023. He possesses extensive knowledge in evidence synthesis, utilizing both quantitative and qualitative research methods, as well as health economics modeling. Dr. Ahmed research focuses on designing interventions targeted at improving the health outcomes of key populations living with HIV, particularly LGBTQ+ communities.  

Alumni

Dr. Lindsay Palmer

University of Connecticut
Emaillindsay.palmer@uconn.edu

In 2022, Dr. Lindsay Palmer graduated from Penn State with a Ph.D. in Psychology and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality studies. Currently, she is a post-doctoral scholar in the Department of Allied Health Sciences. Broadly, her work focuses on social and health disparities with a special focus on LGBTQ+ communities.

Luzan JadKarim, MPH

Yale University of New Haven
Email: luzan.jadkarim@yale.edu

Luzan (Lu) is a recent MPH graduate student whose interest lies in minority research. She received her bachelors in biology, psychology, and neuroscience and plans to pursue a PhD soon. Luzan has a deep passion for healthcare and cognitive immunology along with a newfound fascination in machine learning and data analytics. Her hobbies include baking/cooking, working out, playing video games, knitting, and watching anime.

Wan Mohd Ikhtiaruddin

Wan Mohd Ikhtiaruddin

University of Malaya (Malaysia)
Email: ikhtiar_aziz@yahoo.com

As an advocate for HIV, STI and harm reduction programs focused on MSM, Wan actively engages with underserved populations through the Kelab Belia Kebajikan Setia Alam (KBKSA/JEJAKA) platform since August 2018. As a certified Community-based Testing (CBT) officer under the Ministry of Health-Global Fund Program, he has been instrumental in assisting hundreds of MSM clients in accessing HIV and STI testing and linking them to primary healthcare. He has been involved in consultations with the Ministry of Health in Malaysia with regards to hepatitis C treatment in prison settings in collaboration with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia, the Malaysian Prison Department and Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) key population representatives. He was also designated as a consultant for a Home-based Hepatitis C Self-Testing platform for key populations in Malaysia.

Azreena M.B, MSc (CH) 

University of Malaya (Malaysia)
Email
: ajina2907@gmail.com

Azreena graduated with a Master of Community Health Science, specializing in Family Health, from the National University of Malaysia (UKM). She has almost two and a half years of experience in the public health field, in both clinical and non-clinical settings, focusing on children and adults, especially the key affected populations (on sexual and reproductive health, HIV and AIDS, and gender identity). She led various research teams involving research plans, marketing, promotion, and educational material design. Coming across many vulnerable people on her path, she often sees how their well-being has been neglected and how this has affected their quality of life. As a result, she is passionate about promoting sexual and reproductive health by serving as a bridge between people’s rights and health. She also loves outdoor sports, pets, food, and traveling.

David Susai

University of Malaya (Malaysia)
Email
davidsusai98@gmail.com

David is currently a research assistant at the Centre Excellence for Research in AIDS (CERiA) at the University of Malaya. He has a bachelor’s degree in social science (Social Work Studies) from Universiti Malaysia Sarawak. His interest to work with marginalized communities at risk of HIV and STIs made him start his career at PT Foundation and eventually joined CERiA. He is passionate about advocating Sexual Health and the right to get treatment for Marginalized Communities. He is interested in finding out more about how technology is being used to prevent HIV and other infectious diseases in general. 

Arif Ramli (ARRA), BBMS

University of Malaya (Malaysia)
Email
: ariframli96@gmail.com

Arra is currently a research assistant at Centre of Excellence for Research in AIDS at Universiti Malaya. Graduated with Degree of Biomedical Science with honour from Universiti Kuala Lumpur and at this period of time, he is furthering his postgraduate study in Master of Science in Public Health at Universiti Kuala Lumpur. He has experience working directly with key population community with one registered NGO under Malaysian AIDS Council. He is enthusiastic to learn more and together working on the implementation of technology in the prevention of HIV/AIDS and infectious disease from spreading out.

Hamizuddin Subki, BSc

University of Malaya (Malaysia)
Email
: hamizuddinsubki2122@gmail.com

Hami is a research assistant at the Centre of Excellence for Research in AIDS at the University of Malaya.  He graduated with a Biomedical Science degree, with specialization in research at IIUM. He has experience in phlebotomy, working directly with marginalized communities at risk of HIV and STDs at the Community Healthcare Clinic (CHCC) under the PT Foundation. CHCC is one of the top providers of PrEP and PEP in Malaysia. He is keen to learn more on the implementation of technology in the prevention and management of HIV and infectious diseases in general.
Mohd Akbar

Mohd Akbar

University of Malaya (Malaysia)
Email: ezra.ceria@gmail.com

Mohd Akbar, fondly known as Ezra by his colleagues and acquaintances, has been working at the Centre of Excellence for Research in AIDS at the University of Malaya as a research coordinator for the past 11 years. His work mainly focuses on key populations at high risk of HIV infection including prisoners, sex workers, transgender women and men who have sex with men (MSM). As a person living with HIV himself, he is mostly concerned by the increasing number of new HIV cases among the MSM community. Therefore, his research also focuses on chemsex, suicidality among MSM, and PrEP uptake. His work as research coordinator under the MyPrEP study has provided crucial information on the PrEP situation in Malaysia. Currently, he is the study coordinator for mHealth Malaysia, a collaborative series of research studies between the University of Malaya, the University of Connecticut and Yale University that looks into the utilization of mobile applications and AI-powered Chatbots to increase PrEP uptake and HIV testing among the MSM community. He is also actively involved with local HIV-focused NGOs not only as a researcher, but also as a community member.

Beverly Bruno, BS

Brown University
Email: brunob@bu.edu

Beverly’s research focus includes structural inequalities that disproportionately compromise minority communities’ access to healthcare, consequent health implications, and how public health measures can work to better serve such populations. In her most recent role at the Center on the Ecology of Early Development (CEED), Beverly supported numerous maternal and child health-related studies, including the development of her own project focused on Black-White disparities in prenatal care quality, mental health outcomes, and maternal treatment-seeking behaviors. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Health Science with a minor in Biology from Boston University in January 2022, and will begin her Master’s of Public Health program at Emory University this upcoming fall.

Nabil Razali

Email: nabil.razali@yale.edu

Nabil is a current research coordinator at the mHealth Malaysia initiative. Her work focuses on improving HIV testing and PrEP access for transgender women through the use of mHealth. She is currently involved in a collaborative series of research studies between the University of Malaya, the University of Connecticut, and Yale University. One of her ultimate visions is to witness transgender women in Malaysia having all the necessary and essential services for their health and well-being.

Nick Copenhaver

University of Connecticut
Email: nicholas.copenhaver@uconn.edu

Nick graduated from the University of Connecticut with a degree in Economics and then continued his education at UConn in order to get his Master’s Degree. He is currently entering his second year of this Master’s Program, which is a 2 year coordinated Health Promotional Science program. Once he finishes with his degree, he hopes to become a Registered Dietitian. Chris enjoys the clinical side of Dietetics as well as the research aspect, and so he is excited to contribute to this research team!

Christopher Richter

APT Foundation
Email: cprichte@usc.edu

Chris graduated from New York University in 2020 with a Bachelors of Science in Neuroscience and a minor in Mathematics and is now currently pursuing his Masters of Public Health remotely through the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, concentrating on Biostatistics and Epidemiology. While at NYU, he assisted in research looking at the neural connectivity in aggression behaviors in mice and is now working at the APT Foundation researching how treatment for opioid use disorder impacts dietary habits and sugar intake among recovering addicts. Helping people is at the core of his beliefs and has traveled abroad to Haiti for clinical trips. He aspires to go to medical school after he finishes his masters degree and one day become a surgeon, while also conducting clinical trips to areas of need. Aside from his love in helping people, he also spends his free time volunteering at a local cat shelter.

Jerome Jacobs

Jerome Jacobs

University of Connecticut
Email: jerome.jacobs@uconn.edu

Jerome is an honors program student at the University of Connecticut. In addition to being a Rowe Scholar, he plans to study mental health issues of Asian Americans through public health and other care initiatives. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for dedicated intervention to support the unique needs of Asian American citizens, and Jerome is excited to explore innovative health care strategies and treatments. He received the Holster Research Scholarship to develop a wearable continuous blood pressure monitoring device to prevent cardiovascular diseases during the summer of 2020 and the Gilman International Scholarship to study abroad at the National University of Singapore in 2022.

Anders Kleinbeck

University of Connecticut
Email: anders.kleinbeck@uconn.edu

Anders is an honors student attending the University of Connecticut. He is studying to earn a bachelor’s degree in molecular and cell biology along with a minor in economics. In the past, Anders has conducted research in a laboratory studying the use of stem cell technology and genetic engineering techniques to prevent and treat autoimmune diseases. Anders plans to attend medical school following graduation and currently volunteers as an EMT in his free time.

Olivia Kennedy

University of Connecticut
Email: Olivia.kennedy@uconn.edu

Olivia is an undergraduate honors student at the University of Connecticut. She is currently majoring in Allied Health Sciences with a minor in Psychology with the intent to earn her bachelor’s degree. She is working towards her Masters of Physician’s Assistant Studies (MPAS) in the future by working in various healthcare facilities as a Patient Care Technician and holds various healthcare certifications to further her healthcare and patient care skills. She also works with the Center of Students with Disabilities through UConn to help students who need assistance in all aspects. By working in healthcare it has sparked an interest in preventative care amongst all individuals in efforts to work towards releasing more knowledgeable public health information.

Christopher S. Uyar

University of Connecticut
Email: Christopher.Uyar@UConn.edu

Chris is an honors and Allied Health student with a concentration in Health Sciences at the University of Connecticut. He is particularly concerned with the access to healthcare for the un/underinsured and other vulnerable populations. He enjoys engaging with his local community as a volunteer fireman and he hopes to attend medical school after completing his bachelor’s degree.

Sirish Chhetri, MLA

PN Health Institute
Email: sirish.chh1995@gmail.com

Sirish Chhetri is actively engaged at Cruiseaids City clinic as a Medical Laboratory Assistant in HIV/STI Prevention, treatment and care Centre for the key population of high risk people which includes Men who have Sex with Men (MSM), Male Sex Worker (MSW), Transgender women, female sex worker, priority people (Male & Female), drug users for over 5 years. He is currently involved in the Nepal Project at the University of Connecticut as a lab consultant. He will support the Nepal Project in Reactive cases for confirmatory tests of HIV and link positive cases to the ART center. His first priority is to save lives by connecting Positive cases to ART centers.

Kushal Nakarmi

Email: Ricknakarmi9@gmail.com

Kushal is a goal-oriented, well-organized, and motivated individual. A well-organized personality was well suited for a hospitality management-related job, so he completed his bachelor’s in Hospitality Management. He has always been a hard worker, leading him to work in various hospitality management jobs in big hotels including Hotel Annapurna, Radisson Hotel, Dwarika’s Hotel, Hotel Shangrila, Hotel Royal Singi, and Hotel Pabera. He’s gotten exceptional speaking and persuading skills and his interest in public speaking is undeniably beneficial for his career.

Manoj K. Panthi

Tribhuvan University
Email: manojpanthi@iom.edu.np

Manoj is a graduate from the Institute of Medicine, Tribhuvan University, Nepal, where they earned their degree in Public Health. They have worked, formally/informally as a volunteer, in the sector of SRHR, and the sexuality education and Queer rights advocacy. In the future, they aspire to work more rigorously in the intersection of Public Health and Queer rights through evidence generation, advocacy and interventions design to uplift the health of PoMGIESOSC in Nepal and around the globe.

Rabishek Chaudhary

Email: ravitkushmi@gmail.com

Rabishek is currently in the process of obtaining his bachelors of social sciences. He has experience working as a CBS and an online CBS which is about HIV, STI prevention and treatments. While working with the organization he has learned a lot of information that all relate to HIV, STIs and the LGBTIQ+ community. As a young adult he would like to contribute and expand his knowledge and time for the people.

Renuka Shahi, CMLT

Renuka has completed her school level in 2065 and 2075 in Nepal. After that she completed her school level certification receiving her certification in Medical Laboratory Technology. She has more than 6 years of experience as a laboratory technician in different hospitals and clinics within Kathmandu and Lalitpur valley. She is motivated to work on HIV/AIDS and STIs issues after her involvement at Chetana Swasthya Kendra; which conducts medical checkups, including HIV/AIDS tests for migrant workers. She does not only have experience here but she has worked in Alka Poly Clinic and Lalitpur Heart Clinic. Currently she is only working in the Lalitpur Heart Clinic.

Prashu Ram Chaudhari MBS, MA

Blue Diamond Society

Prashu is working for Blue Diamond Society (BDS) in Nepal as a Monitoring and Evaluation officer in the COVID 19 Program and the EpiC project which is supported by USAID. He completed his Masters in Business at Tribhuvan University of Nepal and his Masters in Sociology is in progress. In his journey, he took on various roles that were needed within his projects. Major projects include but are not limited to the gender base violence, anti-human trafficking, internal trafficking projects. He is also a community based officer and program coordinator in the HIV prevention program and the Early Childhood Development program along with many other organizations. Now he is a Gender Based Violence against activist and LGBTIQA++ activist of Nepal. Lastly, he is a board member of the Wearehealing Together Inclusive organization. He is very interested in the study of Microeconomic and Psychological status of LGBTIQA++ people living in the country Nepal.

Francesca Maviglia, MPH

Yale University

Francesca joined the Shrestha Lab driven by her interest in harm reduction, drug user health, and decriminalization and destigmatization of drugs. Previously, she worked on sex worker rights and harm reduction policy at both the local and state levels, as an acting Clinical Fellow with the Yale Global Health Justice Partnership. Francesca holds a BA in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) from Yale-NUS College and an MPH in Social and Behavioral Sciences from the Yale School of Public Health.

Aviana Rosen

Aviana O. Rosen, PhD Candidate

University of Connecticut

Aviana graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts from UConn in 2014 with a double major in Psychology and Human Development & Family Studies. She is currently a doctoral student in Health Promotion Sciences at UConn. In her time as a graduate student, Aviana was awarded a 3-year research fellowship with the Social Processes of AIDS T32 Training Program; and Best Oral Presentation, and Best Project of a Young Researcher at a Sexuality conference in Spain. Her research interests include HIV/STI prevention, health promotion among Latino and youth populations, substance use, and social/behavioral aspects of COVID-19.

William Eger

William Eger, MPH

Yale University

William is a Postgraduate Research Associate at the Yale University School of Medicine and an Adjunct Professor in the Health Sciences at the University of New Haven. Will’s primary research focuses on social vulnerability and infectious diseases using mixed methods and implementation science techniques. He has worked on several domestic and international projects related to the social determinants of health with a particular interest in HIV and other emerging and re-emerging infections. Will received his master’s degree from the Yale School of Public Health in Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Global Health in May 2021.

Sydney Osborne

Sydney Osborne

University of Connecticut

Sydney is an undergraduate student at the University of Connecticut. There, she is studying to receive her bachelor’s in Allied Health Sciences. Sydney is also working towards receiving a master’s degree in Public Health in a UConn 4+1 program. Upon completing her MPH, she intends to attend PA school to become a physician assistant. Before joining the lab in January 2021, Sydney had gained additional research experience by working on projects at the University of Connecticut Health and Yale School of Medicine.

Monique Kern

Monique Kern

University of Connecticut

Monique Kern is currently a senior at the University of Connecticut and working towards a degree in Allied Health Sciences with a minor in Psychology. Her post-grad plans include seeking her BSN through an accredited accelerated nursing program. She is deeply interested in the fields of oncology and women’s health, having previously conducted research in these specialties. Within the past year, she has gained experience working with older in-patient adults, primarily experiencing delirium or living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, at the University of Connecticut’s John Dempsey Hospital in Farmington, CT.

Jessica Lee

Jessica Lee, MPH

Yale University

Jessica is a Postgraduate Research Associate at the Yale University School of Medicine. She recently graduated from Yale with a Master in Public Health in Social and Behavioral Sciences with a Concentration in Global Health. She is interested in understanding barriers to healthcare access in underserved populations, having done prior work with low-income communities and those involved in the criminal-legal system. She hopes to gain further experience working with vulnerable populations and advocate for greater health equity through research!

Alma Jeri-Wahrhaftig

University of Connecticut

Alma is a senior Allied Health Science major with a concentration in public health and health promotion and has a minor in global studies. She is an ambassador for the College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources and is a CAHNR Scholarship recipient. Alma is particularly interested in the intersection of culture and health, and how cultural beliefs impact health-related behaviors. She hopes to pursue this interest in the future by working as an epidemiologist to create culturally competent and sustainable healthcare interventions for at-risk populations around the globe.

Rayne Kim

Rayne Kim, MPH

Yale University

In 2019, Rayne Kim graduated from the Yale School of Public Health with concentrations in Chronic Disease Epidemiology and Global Health. Rayne’s research interests are focused on the effects of conflict, health disparities, and risk factors for infectious diseases on the health outcomes of vulnerable populations. Her master’s thesis focused on associations between life-time history of violence and mental health outcomes among urban refugees residing in Kuala Lumpur. Along with her interests in refugee health, Rayne also worked as a Postgraduate Associate at the Yale AIDS Program, coordinating projects involving the interface of infectious disease, substance abuse and HIV risk behaviors. She hopes to cultivate a career centered in human rights.

Vincent Tee

Vincent Tee, MD

University of Malaya (Malaysia)

Vincent is a recent medical graduate from the Health Campus of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). He is currently pursuing a Master of Science (Research) degree at Universiti Sains Malaysia and is involved in research projects pertaining to functional gastro-intestinal disorders and Hepatitis B &C. He is also a registered Hypnotherapist in Malaysia and hopes to provide a more expansive treatment approach for his patients. He is actively involved in innovative competitions such as the Medical Innovation Idea Challenge (MIIC) and the Novel Research Innovation Competition (NRIC). His medical appointment scheduler application, the WAIT app, earned a Silver Award recognition in both competitions. He is also a recipient of the Young Investigator Award for the YSN-ASM International Scientific Virtual Conference (ISVC) 2021.

Asmita Basnet

Sam Houston State University

The Nepal native, Asmita Basnet, is an undergraduate student at Sam Houston State University majoring in Public Health. Finishing her senior year strong, she has recently started an internship with BroadStreet, a community-centered software company. As an Emergency Data Relief Intern, she collects county-level data on COVID-19 vaccinations administered across states. Asmita plans to pursue a master’s degree in epidemiology and global health. Her long-term goals are to work in public health on a global scale with the United Nations (UN), SAMHSA, or World Health Organization (WHO) in substance abuse and mental health issues.

Courtney DiCocco

Southern Connecticut State University

Courtney is a research assistant who is currently in a Master of Psychology program at Southern Connecticut State University. She graduated undergrad with a BA in psychology from Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) in 2018. After graduating from CCSU, she took a few years off to gain research experience in a variety of labs where she learned neuroimaging and behavioral assessments. Courtney enjoys hanging out with her friends and family and exploring new places and activities. Her favorite food is sushi and she loves coffee.

Jeffrey Luces

Jeffrey Ralph B. Luces

University of Philippines (Philippines)

Jeffrey is an instructor at the University of the Philippines Manila, and a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in Health Research Ethics at the University of Malaya. He is also a physical therapist specializing in health promotion and sports. As an amateur researcher, he shared his research in international and local conferences. He recently presented his abstract “Physical Activity and Exercise Interventions to Reduce Activity Limitations in Children with Down Syndrome: a Scoping Review” in the World Physiotherapy Congress 2021. He is particularly interested in ethical issues related to research and healthcare among populations at high risk of contracting HIV.

Adam Zhang

Yale University

Adam is an undergraduate junior at Yale University from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As a cognitive science major, Adam is interested in understanding the neural and behavioral aspects of social interactions, but he also has a passion to study the connection between medicine and society. Outside the Yale AIDS program, he is involved in local healthcare services, teaches local students, and is an active member of the Christian community. Additionally, Adam is currently involved in research at a Yale psychology lab that studies the risk factors for adolescent depression. He has had the opportunity to contribute to many publications and be a part of conference presentations as well.

Vadelia Forbes

University of New Haven

Vadelia Forbes is a Master of Healthcare Administration graduate student attending the University of New Haven. She obtained a bachelor’s in Public Health from Monroe College and her passion lies heavily in the area of community health. Her prior job roles include working as a clinical intern in a mental health clinic and working as a Case Manager. Vadelia’s new job role as a research assistant will provide her with the unique opportunity to collect data that will have a meaningful impact in Public Health and will add to her experience before attending Medical School.