Building the future
…of global public health
Kavitha Ganesan is a second-year doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology and pre-doctoral fellow in the Global HIV Implementation Science Research Training Fellowship. Her research mentor is Dr. Andrea Low, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health who is currently the lead epidemiologist on the multi-country Population-Based HIV Impact Assessment (PHIA), and the Project Director for the Lesotho Violence Against Children Survey (VACS). Ms. Ganesan is working with Dr. Low on several projects using PHIA data on gaps in the HIV care continuum in addition to differences in condom use between PHIA data and Demographic Health Surveys (DHS). She has an MPH from George Washington University in Epidemiology & Biostatistics with a focus on infectious diseases. Her past research experiences include prevention of mother to child HIV transmission with the International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials (IMPAACT) and monitoring and evaluating Emergency Department HIV screening programs in pediatric facilities located in Washington, DC. Prior to starting the fellowship, Ms. Ganesan managed PEPFAR’s programmatic research portfolio partnered through the US Military HIV Program and Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Africa with a strong focus on key and priority populations. Projects under this portfolio include 1) the African Cohort Study (AFRICOS), 2) Basic Program Evaluations (BPE’s) in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and Nigeria, 3) Improving retention in HIV Care and treatment services through the development of a network of ART clinics within the fishing communities in Uganda; and 4) Feasibility of implementing pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) among HIV negative adolescent girls and young women sex works in Uganda. Ms. Ganesan’s research interests are in HIV implementation science and program evaluation among vulnerable populations in resource-limited settings.
Craig Heck is a second-year student in the Epidemiology Ph.D. program. His research mentor is Dr. Quarraisha Abdool Karim, Professor of Epidemiology at CUIMC and Associate Scientific Director of CAPRISA. Under Dr. Abdool Karim’s guidance, he is researching optimization strategies to improve the accessibility, availability, and usability of HIV prevention services and strategies for adolescents and young adults in South Africa. Currently, using CAPRISA 007 data, Mr. Heck is investigating discordance between perceived and actual HIV risk among secondary school students and how the location and concentration of community elements (e.g., bars, clinics, churches) influence HIV risk. In addition, Mr. Heck is examining initial findings from CAPRISA 084 to identify implementation bottlenecks and structural barriers that delay or prevent oral PrEP initiation. He is also exploring the utility of machine learning algorithms to illuminate behavioral and clinical phenomena in ICAP’s PHIA data and assisting Dr. Delivette Castor with the validation, refinement, and expansion of the VOICE risk score using CAPRISA 004 data. Prior to the Fellowship, Mr. Heck coordinated and facilitated capacity strengthening workshops and conducted analyses for implementation science studies under the DREAMS Partnership. He received a Master of Public Health degree in Population and Family Health, with a certificate in Public Health Research Methods, from MSPH in 2017.
Aleya Khalifa is a first-year student in the Epidemiology PhD program, with an MPH from the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Ms. Khalifa’s research focuses on the social and spatial factors that propagate HIV incidence in communities, and how implementation science can be used to translate this knowledge into effective and equitable HIV prevention programs. More specifically, Ms. Khalifa is interested in the impacts of climate change, food insecurity, mobility and migration on HIV transmission. Prior to starting the fellowship, Ms. Khalifa worked with the CDC and UNICEF on global HIV surveillance, population-based surveys, and epidemic models for the HIV response. Her previous work has been centered on children, adolescents and women affected by HIV.
Dr. Laracy is a first-year post-doctoral fellow in the Global HIV Implementation Science Research Training Fellowship during the 2020-2021 academic year. He received his MD from University of Virginia, gaining experience in the development and implementation of telemedicine communications links between his home institution and clinics in rural Guatemala. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Columbia University. He has international clinical and research experience at various sites in Southeast Asia and Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. As a first-year clinical Infectious Disease fellow here at Columbia during the COVID-19 pandemic, much of his current research has focused on analyzing the clinical outcomes of SARS-CoV-2 infection among people living with HIV and understanding how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted care delivery to people living with HIV in western Kenya. Other areas of active research include an analysis of vaccination rates of men who have sex with men seeking PrEP services.
Dr. Lori Miller is an epidemiologist and interdisciplinary researcher. Her career, spanning over 20 years working and living in low-resource settings, intersects global health, human rights, and international development. Dr. Miller’s work designing, implementing, and evaluating public health research and programmes has focused on vaginal microbicides for HIV prevention, sexual and reproductive health, gender and empowerment, capacity building in sub-Saharan Africa, participatory approaches, and research ethics in biomedical HIV prevention clinical trials. Her mixed-methods PhD research examined adherence to vaginal microbicides in clinical trials in Africa. She has extensive experience teaching and designing curricula using participatory methods. Dr. Miller received her PhD in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and earned her Master of Health Science in Disease Prevention and Control in International Health from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.
Domonique M. Reed, MPH is a second-year doctoral student in the Epidemiology Department and a first-year pre-doctoral fellow in the Global HIV Implementation Science Training Program. Her previous research at the U.S. Military HIV Research Program focused on the complexities of partner dynamics and the psychosocial implications of serostatus disclosure on engagement in HIV care services. In the first year of her doctoral program, Domonique worked with Dr. Jessica Justman to assess endorsement of inequitable gender norms as an effect modifier for HIV-infection in adolescent girls and young adult women in age-disparate and intergenerational partnerships using the Malawi Population-based HIV Impact Assessment data. Domonique is also interested in novel data science methods for fusing HIV-related population-based surveys and uptake of partner notification services and preferred methods with the scale-up of recency testing. She completed her B.S. in Community Health at the University of Maryland in 2014 and her MPH in Epidemiology at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in 2017.
Mr. Russell is a third-year doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology and a pre-doctoral fellow in the Global HIV Implementation Science Research Training Fellowship. He is a part of the Spatial Epidemiology Lab and is mentored by the lab’s director, Dr. Dustin T. Duncan. His research interests focus on HIV prevention in U.S. men who have sex with men (MSM), and specifically on the implementation of PrEP and TasP in this population. He has an MPH in epidemiology from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, where his master’s thesis explored the racial and ethnic disparities in Tuberculosis incidence among New York City’s U.S.-born population. Before returning to Columbia he was an epidemiologist with the Pediatric HIV/AIDS Cohort Study (PHACS), a longitudinal evaluation of the long-term effects of HIV infection and antiretroviral medication among perinatally HIV-infected or exposed children and young adults. As part of PHACS, his research assessed different treatment regimens and their impact on hearing and language, mitochondrial function, and oral health outcomes. Mr. Russell has served as a teaching assistant for the Department of Epidemiology for the following courses: Epidemiology I and II, and Infectious Disease Epidemiology.