Brown School Welcomes 2019 PhD Students

Public Health; Social Work; Students

The Brown School is proud to introduce our newest cohort of doctoral students. These 17 outstanding scholars have far-ranging research interests that include mental and physical health disparities, poverty, institutional responses to sexual violence, prenatal care, and dissemination and implementation science.

New Students in Social Work

Enoch Kordjo Azasu earned the McDonnell Academy Award in Ghana in 2017 and his MSW from the Brown School with a mental health concentration and a research specialization. Enoch is the founder of STAY Ghana, a nonprofit that focuses on suicide prevention among Ghanaian youth. Enoch’s area of interest is in mental health, specifically suicide prevention.

Jun-Hong Chen earned his MSW in social work from New York University.  He recently co-authored a paper titled “Who Are Asset Poor in China? A Comprehensive Description and Policy Implication,” which was published by the Journal of Social Policy. Jun-Hong’s research focuses on poverty prevention and alleviation as well as its impacts on child and family well-being.

Jacquelyn Coats recently worked as an evaluation fellow at the CDC in Atlanta, where she supported evaluation of intimate partner and sexual violence prevention programs and provided technical assistance to state-funded domestic violence coalitions. Jacquelyn’s research interests include mental and physical health disparities among Black Americans. She earned her MSW/MPH from the Brown School.

Fithi Embaye, born and raised in Eritrea, received her MSW from Ohio University. She worked in southeast Ohio with rural populations before enrolling for her doctorate at the Brown School.  Her research interests include child therapy, global mental health, and social determinants of health for displaced populations.

Dominique Horton earned her MSW from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale and worked with Chicago Public Schools for nine years, focusing on the socio-economic needs of children on the south side of the city. She also held an internship at the White House during the Obama administration. Her current research is focused on school equity for African American children.

Tzu-Hsin Huang worked as a child protective services social worker at the Taipei City Center for Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. She then earned her MSW from the Brown School. She is interested in the well-being of minority and traumatized youth.

Xuan Huang earned her MSW from the Brown School. Her research is focused on bullying prevention, childhood trauma and resilience. She is trained as a journalist and works with an NGO that works to find solutions to bullying in Chinese contexts.

Molly McLay focuses on the role of creative writing interventions for gender-based violence. After receiving her MSW from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, she worked as the assistant director of the Women’s Resource Center at the University of Illinois, where she co-created three new peer-led, gender-based violence prevention programs.

Deidi Olaya Rodriguez received her MSW from University of Texas at Austin, and worked as a full-time research project manager on campus-wide and statewide sexual assault prevalence studies in Texas after graduation. Her primary research interest is institutional responses to sexual violence.

Nancy Pérez-Flores researches physical and mental health disparities among racial and ethnic communities, specifically the Latinx community. She hopes to influence policies and impact the social work pedagogy to reduce health and racial inequities. She received her MSW from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.

Katie Shires earned her MSW from the University of Texas, and most recently worked as a therapist specializing in co-occurring mental health and substance-use disorders with women in residential treatment. Her research interests include intergenerational trauma and trauma-informed interventions, child maltreatment, and child/adolescent mental health.

Peter Sun has worked with older adults in rural Taiwan since he earned his MSW from the University of Washington. His research focuses on productive engagement in later life, aging in place, and minority aging.

New Students in Public Health Sciences

Eugen Resendiz Bontrud works to promote a stronger multidisciplinary work between public health and urban research by using methodologies from both study areas. Eugen earned her master of public policy (MPP) from Universidad Iberoamericana.

Akilah Collins-Anderson focuses on mental health, child welfare, and dissemination and implementation science. After earning her MPH in sociomedical studies from Columbia University, she led and supported a range of research studies for the Department of Family & Social Medicine and the Rose F. Kennedy Children’s Evaluation & Rehabilitation Center.

Tyler Frank earned his MPH from the Brown School and transitioned to work with Washington University’s School of Medicine, studying the protective role of different proteins in the brain. His research interests include mental health, neuroepidemiology, dissemination and implementation science, and health disparities.

Najjuwah Walden earned her MSW from the Brown School. After graduation, she worked with the Institute for Public Health as a consultant for Next Steps: Sexual Health and served as the project director for Silos of Silence, a seminar series on the political economy of sexually transmitted infections. Her research interests include maternal child health and STI prevention, and she is a DONA-trained birth doula. 

Callie Walsh-Bailey focuses on dissemination and implementation science, chronic disease prevention, and social determinants of health in her research. After earning her MPH from Oregon State University, she worked with Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute on various primary care quality improvement and implementation studies.