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October 6, 2009

Center for a Livable Future Names Predoctoral Fellows for 2009-2010

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for a Livable Future (CLF) has awarded predoctoral fellowships to 16 students for the 2009-2010 academic year in its Farming for the Future and Eating for the Future programs.

Recipients of the Farming for the Future Predoctoral Fellowships are: Carmen Arriola, a fifth year student in International Health; Ricardo Castillo, a first year student in Epidemiology; Julia DeBruicker, a third year student in Health, Behavior and Society; Beth Feingold, a third year student in Environmental Health Sciences; Jillian Parry Fry, a third year student in Health Policy and Management; Kristen Gibson, a fourth year student in Environmental Health Sciences; Lisa Krain, a second year student in Epidemiology; and D’Ann Williams, a part-time DrPH student in Environmental Health Engineering.

Recipients of the Eating for the Future Predoctoral Fellowships are: Lauren Gibbons, a third year student in Health Policy and Management; Jennifer Hartle, a second year student in Environmental Health Sciences; Holly Henry, a second year student in Health, Behavior and Society; Nkemdiri Iruka, a second year student in Health, Behavior and Society; Seung Hee Lee, a second year student in International Health; Riina Raudne, a third year student in Health Behavior and Society; Andrea S. Smith, a fifth year student in Health, Behavior and Society; and Patti Truant, an incoming first year student in Health Policy and Management.

Each predoctoral fellowship provides one year of support in an amount up to $60,000 to be used for tuition, stipend, and/or research expenses depending on individual needs. Students are eligible for support during any stage of their doctoral program. Students must be enrolled in any one of the divisions of Johns Hopkins University in a PhD, ScD, or DrPH program. The CLF Predoctoral Fellowship Program, now in its seventh year, is made possible by a generous donor.

Center for a Livable Future Predoctoral Fellows

Carmen Arriola, DVM, is a veterinarian with a DVM degree from San Marcos Major National University in Lima, Peru. A third year CLF Fellow, she is concerned about the vulnerability of human populations to the health and economic impacts of zoonotic (animal to human) diseases. Arriola's proposed research is the first systematic study of the environmental and public health impact of the porcine industry in Peru. She hopes to apply her research findings to practical uses, especially for underserved populations around the world. Her doctoral advisor is Lawrence Moulton, PhD, professor in the Department of International Health. Her project advisors are Robert Gilman, MD, also a professor in the Department of International Health, and Ellen Silbergeld, PhD, professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences.

Ricardo Castillo, DVM, is originally from Lima, Peru, where he received his DVM degree and first became interested in the overlap between veterinary medicine and public health. He participated in research on several zoonotic diseases in Peru, where he learned about the close interactions between animals and humans and the health problems related to those interactions. He plans to continue researching these interactions, especially as they play out in the chain of food production, and hopes to work closely with policymakers to use research and science to minimize the health risks generated by animal production. His faculty advisor is Dr. William Moss, associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology.

Julia DeBruicker, MHS, a fourth year CLF Fellow, is examining how the market for meat in the United States is evolving in light of emerging standards such as free range, organic, grass fed and natural meats. Her goal is to learn how farmers who raise livestock to meet these new specifications, why they choose this profession, and how they fare within a landscape resonant with social movements, relationships, economics and policy. Through an ethnographic study in Indiana, she will prepare a blueprint for how the movement surrounding these classes of meat, and its underlying determinants, can contribute to the agricultural and food policy agenda that the field of public health is developing. Her faculty advisor is Peter Winch, associate professor of Social and Behavioral Interventions in the Department of International Health.

Beth Feingold, MPH, a second year CLF Fellow, plans to use satellite remote sensing to locate Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) based on the spatial and spectral signatures of the animal houses and manure lagoons in order to better estimate their contribution to large scale ecosystem and human health burdens of pollution and disease. In addition to her MPH, Feingold also holds a Master of Environmental Science degree from Yale University, and a bachelor’s degree in Geology from Vassar College. Her advisor is Ellen Silbergeld, PhD, professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences.

Jillian Parry Fry, MPH, a second year CLF Fellow, received her undergraduate degree in Biobehavioral Health from the Pennsylvania State University and her master’s degree in public health from the University of New Mexico. Her current research interests include analyzing policy options aimed at addressing the impact of industrial food animal production in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Robert Lawrence, MD, CLF director and professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, serves as her doctoral advisor, and her faculty advisor is Daniel Webster, MPH, ScD, associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management.

Lauren Gibbons, MS, received her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and her master’s degree in clinical and health psychology from the University of Florida. Her current research interests include examining associations between the local food environment and childhood obesity, with a specific focus on how public policy can be used to create healthier communities. Her doctoral advisor is Keshia Pollack, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management.

Kristen Gibson is interested in the environmental and public health impacts of industrial animal production through surface and groundwater transport of emerging human and animal pathogens. Over the past six years she has conducted research within the Johns Hopkins Center for Water and Health and has been involved in projects addressing some of the public health consequences of industrial animal production. As a fourth year doctoral student and a fourth year CLF Predoctoral Fellow, she plans to develop new methods to investigate emerging pathogens and their persistence and transport through surface and groundwater sources potentially impacted by industrial animal production. Gibson earned her bachelor’s degree in microbiology and molecular biology from the University of Central Florida. Her doctoral advisor is Kellogg Schwab, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences.

Jennifer Hartle, MHS, is interested in the environmental impact of the global food system. As a second year CLF Predoctoral Fellow, she will focus her research on developing measurement methods to quantify the environmental burden of food production. Her goal is to design metrics that can be utilized to inform policymaking and consumer choices and to transform the current food production system. This system would be one that is designed to allow all consumers, regardless of their race and socioeconomic status, the ability to participate in and support a healthy and sustainable food system. Hartle earned her BA in environmental science at the University of California, Berkeley, and her MHS in environmental health engineering at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is also a Certified Industrial Hygienist and works to apply these years of experience to her research. Her doctoral advisor is Robert Lawrence.

Holly Henry, MHS, will examine interview data from parent-child pairs in Baltimore to answer three research questions: Are self-reports of social cohesion and neighborhood satisfaction an important influence on children’s diet and physical activity? How are child and parent descriptions of the food and activity environments similar and how do they differ? What role does media use play in the lives of the parent-child pairs and how might it influence dietary intake and levels of physical activity? Henry received a BA in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University, and an MHS from the Bloomberg School. Her academic advisor is Dina Borzekowski, assistant professor in the Department of Health, Behavior and Society. Her faculty advisor is Jonathan Ellen, professor in the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health and the Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine.

Nkemdiri Iruka, MPH, is interested in the contribution of unhealthy eating, both as a behavioral and as a structural problem, to disparities in cancer, especially as it affects African Americans in urban settings. While in Baltimore, she hopes to engage in the design and evaluation of community-based interventions that will promote better access to healthy foods and foster healthier eating behaviors among Baltimore City residents. Iruka is a graduate of Tufts University, where she received a BS in psychology and community health and an MPH in health services management and policy. Her advisor is Dr. David Holtgrave, professor and chair of the Department of Health, Behavior and Society.

Lisa Krain, ScM, is currently investigating the role of industrial livestock farms in animal-to-human disease transmission and antibiotic-resistant infections in rural U.S. communities. Krain plans to examine whether residential and occupational exposures to large farms are linked to increased risk of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections. In addition to standard epidemiologic approaches, she plans to use spatial techniques to model exposure to large farms, as well as laboratory tests to determine whether some of the human infections are caused by livestock-associated MRSA strains. Krain earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, where she studied anthropology and geoscience. She holds an ScM degree in epidemiology from the Bloomberg School. Her doctoral advisors are Ellen Silbergeld, and Kenrad Nelson, MD, professor of Epidemiology.

Seung Hee Lee's previous research in individual weight management counseling revealed the importance of environmental intervention to fight obesity. As a second year PhD student in the Center of Human Nutrition in the Department of International Health, Lee’s research interest lies in preventative approaches, specifically increasing healthy food options in low-income neighborhoods in Baltimore. She received her BS in food and nutrition and her MS in nutritional sciences from Ewha University in Seoul, South Korea. Her academic advisor is Joel Gittelsohn, an associate professor in the Department of International Health.

Riina Raudne, MS, originally from Estonia, pursued her studies in the UK graduating from Durham University with a BA in sociology and from Oxford University with an MS in comparative social policy in 2005. After her studies, Raudne returned to Estonia and worked for the National Institute for Health Development leading a United National Development Programme-funded qualitative study on the vulnerabilities of people living with HIV in Estonia and Kaliningrad. In 2006, she founded a social enterprise, Health Estonia Foundation, which offers workplace-based HIV awareness campaigns for employers and to promote private sector involvement in HIV prevention efforts in Estonia.  At Johns Hopkins, she continues to explore the role of private sector and social enterprises in disease prevention and health communications. As a CLF fellow, she will be working on evaluating the various strategies for nutrition education and communication. Her academic advisor is David Holtgrave.

Andrea S. Smith, MPH, MA, is focusing on behavioral and cultural factors, social constructs, and environmental factors that influence health behavior change, as it relates to chronic disease prevention and food insecurity. Her dissertation research builds on her research experience in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Rutgers University and at Mathematica Policy Research. In it she examines the coping behaviors used by food insecure individuals when they are worried about having enough food for themselves or their households and explores the relationship of these food acquisition practices to socio-demographic influences and mediating and modifying mechanisms. Smith earned her MA in English literature from Columbia University and her MPH from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Her doctoral advisor is Carl Latkin, PhD, professor in the Department of Health, Behavior and Society.

Patti Truant, MPH, is an incoming first year PhD student in the Department of Health Policy and Management who is deferring her study until fall 2010 to take advantage of a one-year public health fellowship. In September 2009, she started work as a fellow with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Research and Development in Washington, D.C., focusing on the health, safety and environmental effects of biofuels. She received an undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Maryland in 2005, and a Master of Public Health degree from Johns Hopkins in 2009. While working on her master’s degree, she also worked as a research assistant for the Center for a Livable Future. Her faculty advisor is Thomas Burke, associate dean for Public Health Practice and Training and professor in the departments of Health Policy and Management and Environmental Health Sciences.

D’Ann Williams, MS is a part-time DrPH student at the Bloomberg School of Public Health working within the Division of Environmental Health Engineering and a third year CLF Fellow. She received her bachelor’s degree in Natural Sciences from Towson University and her master’s degree in Environmental Sciences and Policy from the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University. Working with Professor Patrick Breysse and the Center for Asthma in the Urban Environment, her primary focus is environmental sampling to evaluate source exposure and environmental determinants of asthma. Alison Geyh is her faculty advisor and current research interests include community exposures to contaminants emitted by dairy Confined Animal Feeding Operations in Yakima, Washington, traffic-related pollutants, environmental allergens, bioaerosols, and GIS spatial analysis.

Public Affairs media contact for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Tim Parsons at 410-955-7619 or tmparson@jhsph.edu.