October 15, 2015

Former Fellows


Kathleen McInvale Trejo, Ph.D.

Kathleen is a Health Promotion and Disease Prevention scholar whose research focuses on childhood obesity prevention. She is currently serving as a Global Health Equity Scholar Postdoctoral Fellow under the guidance of Dr. Purnima Madhivanan. She has worked in Lima, Peru since 2016 on research exploring the parental perceptions of nutrition and physical activity for the prevention of overweight and obesity in preschool aged children. Her current research builds upon her previous work, examining the societal and lifestyle factors associated with overweight, obesity and hypertension in the Peruvian population.


Karl Krupp, MSc, PhD(c).

Karl Krupp completed his Master’s Degree in Public Health at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in London, England. He is currently a PhD candidate in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at the Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work (RSCPHSW) at Florida International University in Miami, Florida. His current research interests are cardiovascular disease, international health, health disparities and research ethics. Prior to his current degree program, he worked for more than a decade in infectious disease in developing countries and has more than forty peer-review papers in high impact journals including AIDS, BMJ, Vaccine, and Preventative Medicine. Under the mentorship of Drs. Khurram Nasir and Arun Srinivas, Karl’s current study will focus on the prevalence and correlates of coronary heart disease among slum dwellers in Mysore, India.


Sheila McKinney, PhD, MA.Sheila McKinney currently serves as a Global Health Equity Scholars Postdoctoral Fellow under the guidance of Consuelo Beck-Sague, MD, FAAP, Florida International University and Samantha Stonbraker, PhD, MPH, RN , Clínica de Familia La Romana in La Romana, Dominican Republic.  She has worked in South Florida since 2010 on several community-based studied in both Dade and Broward Counties.  Her research has investigated the influence of culture, ethnic identity, and social cohesion on behaviors and attitudes of ethnically diverse Black women to complete a mammogram.  She has also explored screening behaviors, access, utilization, and health-related knowledge regarding colon cancer and HIV among ethnically diverse populations of African descent, women, and men who have sex with other men.  




caity-headshot-9_2016Caitlyn Leonardson-Placek, Ph.D. E-mail: caitlyn.placek@gmail.comCaitlyn is a biomedical anthropologist whose research broadly focuses on women’s health at the intersection of environment, culture, and biology. She is currently serving as a Global Health Equity Scholars Postdoctoral Fellow under the guidance of Dr. Purnima Madhivanan. She has worked in South India since 2011 on research related to pregnancy diet, religion, and substance use. Her current research investigates risk factors leading to HIV, specifically substance use and risky sexual behaviors among adolescents and emerging adults in Mysore, India.




Anand Siddaiah, M.Phil., Ph.D.

Anand Siddaiah is a Child Psychologist and a research fellow at Public Health Research Institute of India (PHRII), Mysore, Karnataka, India. He received his Master’s in Psychology in Learning Disability, and a Doctoral degree in Psychology from University of Mysore. He completed the Junior and Senior Research fellowship at the University of Mysore working on a project on “Screening for dyslexia phenotypes and their molecular genetic analysis in South Indian population” funded by the Development of Science and Technology, New Delhi, India (2009-2012). He has served as a guest faculty in Psychology at Mysore Medical Nursing College (2015) and worked collaboratively with Samveda Research and Training Center for children with Specific Learning Disability (SLD) in Davanagere, Karnataka, India. Under the mentorship of Dr. Purnima Madhivanan (US) and Dr. Ramprasad Attur (India), Anand’s current research focuses on examining the role of postpartum depression in attachment patterns of mother and infant, and its effect on infant development (Physical, Motor and Cognition) in rural India.




Prajakta Adsul, M.B.B.S., M.P.H., Ph.D.

E-mail: dr.padsul@gmail.com
Fellowship Site: Mysore, India
Project Title: Addressing Cervical Cancer Screening Health Disparities Using Community Based Participatory ResearchPrevious research studies from the US have identified several socio-demographic and health care system factors as causes for health disparities in cervical cancer.However, there is insufficient evidence for these associations in developing countries such as India. The overall goal of the project is to explore the knowledge and beliefs that can increase cervical cancer screening uptake among women in the community and identify linkages within local health care settings using a community-based participatory research approach in order to promote adaptation of interventions.The specific aims of the project are:1. To elucidate the pathways through which social, cultural and health care system related factors influence the behavioral intentions of women to seek, and health care workers to provide cervical cancer screening in the tribal communities of Mysore district.2. To determine behavioral risk factors for cervical cancer in women from tribal communities.3. To identify elements of the social, cultural, and health care system related context of tribal communities that can be integrated into pre-intervention capacity development with health care providers to maximize their effectiveness in providing cancer-specific educational and navigational services.

Hod Tamir, Ph.D., M.A. 

E-mail: htamir@gmail.com
Fellowship Site: Public Health Research Institute of India

Project Title: Understanding Social Networks as it Relates to HIV Positive and non-HIV Women in Mysore District, Karnataka, India

The objective of the study is to evaluate perceptions about the social support available when addressing physical and mental health concerns. Specifically, the study addresses changes in support networks for women with HIV.

Given the high incidence of HIV in Southern India, the increased stigma among women with HIV, and unique uses of support at varying stages of the lifespan, the population of interest is defined as southern Indian young adult (ages 18-40) women.

The proposed study seeks to identify:
a) Women’s perceptions of what support is available to them.
b) Utilization of formal and informal social networks as a tool for coping with health concerns.
c) Factors influencing their usages or rejection of social networks identified.

This study will recruit a total of 300 young adult female to complete a survey through two sites; the Public Health Research Institute (PHRI) and the Ananda Jyothi Positive Network. Approximately 60 (30 HIV+ and 30 non-HIV) of those women will be invited to participate in a Focus Group Discussion (FGD).


Elena Cyrus, M.P.H., Ph.D.

Fellowship site: IMPACTA, Lima, Peru
Mentoring US institution: Florida International University and Yale University
Research interest: HIV Risk behavior among transgenders in Lima, Peru

During her doctoral training at FIU, Elena worked at an NCMHD Center of Excellence mentored by Drs. Mary Jo Trepka and Mario De La Rosa. Her dissertation focused on social capital, HIV risk behavior and substance-use among Latino immigrants. She worked with FHI360 on microbicide trials and completed the University of Michigan Population Fellowship at EngenderHealth/Ghana. Elena published, and presented at conferences including: Caribbean Health Research Scientific Council, Triangulating on Health Equity in the Caribbean, American Public Health Association, and Coalition for Advancing Multipurpose Innovations. She aims to become a global health researcher on sexual risk behavior and women’s health.

Elena will spend her fellowship year at la Asociación Civil Impacta Salud y Educación (IMPACTA) in Lima, under the mentorship of Purnima Madhivanan, MD, MPH and Frederick Altice, MD, MA. Her research will focus on secondary data analysis on a longitudinal survey specifically on sexual risk behavior among transgender individuals in Lima.



Shirali Pandya, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Fellowship Site: Public Health Research Institute of India, Mysore India

Project Title: Characterization of the Vaginal Microbiome and the Molecular Basis of Bacterial Vaginosis

Shirali spent her fellowship year at the Public Health Research Institute of India (PHRII) in Mysore under the mentorship of Dr. Purnima Madhivanan. Her research focused on the etiology and molecular basis of bacterial vaginosis, a prevalent condition with ramifications for maternal and neonatal health. During her fellowship year, she also implemented molecular methods to characterize the vaginal microflora of reproductive-aged women in Mysore.

The project had 3 main aims:

1.     To use culture-independent molecular techniques to more comprehensively describe the vaginal microbiome in a population of healthy and unhealthy women in Mysore, India. This will be the first time such techniques are used to characterize the vaginal microbiome in India.

2.     To explore the hypothesis that lactobacillus bacteriophage are an important etiological agent in bacterial vaginosis.

3.     To diagnose and treat low-income women in Mysore for bacterial vaginosis and other sexually transmitted infections.

Shirali earned her PhD in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from UC Berkeley and also holds an MPH in Global Health from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Her career interests lie in directly applying her training in the biological sciences to advance understanding of sexually transmitted diseases and women’s health problems.


Kelly Winter

Home Institution: Florida International University
Fellowship Site: KEMRI/CDC, Kisumu, Kenya
Research Topic: Maternal and child health disparities between rural and urban areas of Kenya


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