Meet some of our current students. Learn why students chose Hopkins, the research they’re pursuing and their experiences while in the program.
Meagan Byrne, MSPH Student
The unique PFRH Department set JHSPH apart from other graduate schools I was considering during my application process. I am interested in a variety of topics within sexual health, including abortion, contraception, and safe delivery practices, and the PFRH Department's course offerings, professors, and institutes made JHSPH the ideal place to get my Master’s degree. While at JHSPH, my research has touched on different aspects of sexual and reproductive health, from stigma-mitigating interventions targeting key populations affected by HIV in Senegal to parental perspectives on gender and sexuality among adolescents in Burkina Faso and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Susan Christiansen, PhD Student
Susan Christiansen is applying her passion for reproductive health and economics to her research. She hopes her dissertation will focus on making an economic argument for increased family planning access.
Rebecca Hamilton White, MSPH Student
I chose JHSPH because of the PFRH department. I wanted to focus on Women’s Health while still having the support and opportunities to pursue coursework in epidemiological and biostatistical methods. The PFRH department provided both of these aspects that I was searching for in an MSPH program. My current research is in household air pollution in rural, high-altitude Peru. The project is focused on following women from pregnancy through their child’s second birthday to assess pregnancy-related outcomes, such as pre-eclampsia incidence and birth weight, and incidence of severe pneumonia in the child. In the PFRH MSPH program, I have been able to work with professors in the department on a literature review, take a wide range of methods courses, and gain international experience working on a public health project relevant to my interests.
Maisha Huq, MSPH Student
I enrolled at Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health because its Population, Family, and Reproductive Health (PFRH) department was the best fit for me. I was seeking both not only seeking an academic foundation in public health program implementation and evaluation research –I was and am also seeking important context. The department provides through its focus on adolescent health and the life course perspective –foci which other public health programs are not able to offer in the same way. The program also offers access to Baltimore County community. I envisioned joining the Hopkins Center for Adolescent Health here and learning from the mentorship of faculty including Dr. Beth Marshall.
I am currently a student of adolescent health including courses such as Schools & Health and the Social Determinants of Adolescent Health. I’ve been providing research support on the Rales Center for the Integration of Health and Education project, which is a pioneering effort to integrate mental health services and prevention into the school setting, at KIPP Baltimore this year. In addition, I recently joined the PMA2020 research project, where I’m looking forward to building my family planning foundation as well as my data analysis experience.
Jessica Jones, PhD student
I have a commitment to the health of children in the United States. My research to date has focused on critical child health issues such as breastfeeding, medical home access, systems of care for children with special health care needs, and autism. Through my work as a project officer at the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, I expanded grant programs to increase analytic capacity among state and local MCH programs. Additionally, I worked extensively to preserve and improve the National Survey for Children’s Health, as it provides invaluable data on the health of children within the United States.
Neisha Opper, PhD Student
I am interested in novel determinants of sexual and reproductive health, particularly among marginalized and underserved populations. Prior to starting in this program, I taught research methods at an academic medical center in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. My research has been broad in scope, ranging from very clinical questions about ovarian stimulation protocols to very broad questions about reducing bias in our legal system. I am looking forward to spending the next few years focusing on questions related to contraceptive access and use in a domestic context.
Matthea Roemer, MSPH Student
My decision to enroll in JHSPH was heavily influenced by the unique extended internship component of the Masters of Science in Public Health (MSPH) program in the PFRH department and, specifically, the opportunity to participate in global health work during this time. I have had the opportunity to participate in diverse research opportunities at JHSPH within the PFRH department, including working as a research assistant with the Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health on the PMA2020 project as well as working with Dr. Kristin Voegtline in the Hopkins Early Neurodevelopmental Lab (HENLab) on the Prenatal Indicators of Child Self-regulation (PICS) study.
My focal areas are sexual and reproductive health and maternal and perinatal health.
I completed my field placement through the Global Health Established Field Placement (GHEFP) program. I spent 6 months working with Jhpieo’s Burkina Faso country team on their effort to provide women in Burkina Faso access to long-acting FP immediately following childbirth through the Sustainable Scale-up of Postpartum Family Planning project.
For my master's essay, I am working with the Gates Institute's PMA2020 project on a methodological analysis exploring the influence of the addition of probing questions on women's reporting of current contraceptive use.
Amirah Wahdi, MSPH Student
My decision to choose JHSPH was influenced by its reputation as the best public health school in the country. As somebody who is in an early stage of the public health career with a medical background, PFRH equips me with knowledge, skills, and networking that could be broadened and developed easily as your career moves forward. The department curriculum offers a flexibility that enables me to be certified in both Maternal and Child Health and Epidemiology. PFRH is also an intersectional department where you could learn public health problem-solving mechanism from many perspectives. Besides working as a student researcher in Boston Birth Cohort during my field placement, I also had the pleasure of working with the faculties and scientists in the various projects, both domestic and international. I am currently assessing the risk of preterm birth following past abortion as my Master Essay topic.
Shannon Wood, PhD Student
My research interests surround the intersection between violence and adverse reproductive and sexual health outcomes among vulnerable populations in low-resource settings. My research to date has addressed empowerment self-defense training among school girls in Malawi; safety decision-making and care-seeking behaviors for women experiencing intimate partner violence in Kenya; and women’s sexual and reproductive health empowerment in Uganda, Ethiopia, and Nigeria. I am committed to producing research that can be directly applied toward reducing violence and improving women’s and girls’ health worldwide.
Yousra Yusuf, PhD Student
My work centers around sexual and reproductive health and maternal health in under-served and marginalized communities globally and in the US. My current research investigates decision-making related to contraceptive use and subsequent maternal and birth outcomes. I plan to continue working as a researcher who represents the voices and interests of community members in the fields of maternal and women’s health. In this work, I intend to combine rigorous research methods while prioritizing and centering voices of marginalized groups to ensure communities benefit from my research. Most importantly, I hope to disseminate and give back to communities that continue to help us, researchers, in our endeavors.