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Population, Family and Reproductive Health

Current Students

Meet some of our current students. Learn why students chose Hopkins, the research they’re pursuing and their experiences while in the program.  

Khudejha Asghar Khudejha Asghar, PhD Student

My primary research interests include prevention and response to violence against historically marginalized and vulnerable populations, with a particular focus on relationships between social norms, gender, and the life course in the public and private spheres. I am looking forward to gaining a deeper understanding of research methods and advocacy strategies from the interdisciplinary faculty and staff in the PRFH department. Prior to starting at JHSPH, I worked at the intersection of violence against women and children in humanitarian contexts, and projects include a mixed-methods randomized controlled trial evaluation of an adolescent girls’ empowerment and violence prevention program in DRC, Ethiopia, and Pakistan; qualitative research on social norms affecting family violence in DRC and Myanmar; qualitative participatory research on drivers of household violence in Colombia; and cognitive interviewing to assess applicability of the Violence Against Children Survey in Colombia.

Anvita BhardwajAnvita Bhardwaj, MSPH Student

I chose JHSPH specifically because of the Population, Family and Reproductive Health department and the women’s health focal area. I knew that by joining the MSPH program I would have the chance to learn and establish strong quantitative research skills by taking courses in biostatistics and epidemiology, all while understanding the field of women’s health ranging from the biological to policy level. I was also drawn to the internship component of the MSPH program that will allow me to apply what I have been learning in my courses.

I am primarily interested in the intersection of reproductive health and mental health and using mobile health technologies to study this intersection. I hope to engage in activities throughout my time at JHSPH and future career that promote gender equity in the field of global health. Prior to starting at JHSPH, I worked as a research associate and focused on reducing stigma towards mental health disorders among primary care workers in Nepal and using mHealth platforms to increase referrals to care and treatment adherence for common mental health disorders in rural Nepal.

Danielle Gaskin, MSPH StudentDanielle Gaskin, MSPH Student

With research interests that focus on both domestic and international populations, choosing to enroll in the Johns Hopkins PFRH department was an easy decision.

During my time at Brandeis University, I studied maternal and child health in Chiang Mai, Thailand for a semester. The field placement component of the MSPH program offers me the opportunity to study maternal and child health abroad was an additional incentive for me to join the PFRH Department. My area of interest is Maternal, Fetal, and Perinatal Health.

I also hope to study Child Health. I have interests in Black American maternal and infant mortality and humanitarian health. I look forward to beginning my studies and exploring the many opportunities a Hopkins MSPH education has to offer.

Dana Sarnak, PhDDana Sarnak, PhD Student

My education and experience reflect my commitment and passion to sexual and reproductive health and demography, particularly their intersection around fertility. Broadly, I’m interested in what conditions and policies support women achieving their child- bearing and spacing goals. I want to study how fertility changes affect societies and populations.  I’m particularly interested in the links to contraception and how these are related to women and their roles in society.

Bianca Smith, PhD StudentBianca Smith, PhD Student

My decision to attend Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health was based on the Department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health (PFRH)'s commitment to social justice and health equity. University-affiliated institutes, such as the Urban Health Institute, highlighted the impact PFRH was making not only in the research world, but also in the Baltimore community. My research interests surround the impact of structural racism on health outcomes in African American adolescents and young adults.

MSPH Campbell VeaseyCampbell Veasey, MSPH Student

I was intrigued from the start in a public health program that first and foremost grounds its research and practice in the best interests of the surrounding community. Bloomberg’s community practicum, the community-based public health certificate, and the work coming out of the Urban Health Institute all helped me choose Hopkins. 

As for PRFH, the ways in which families and communities keep each other healthy and well is of special interest to me. I chose the department to gain an in-depth training on the many factors affecting a family’s health, and hopefully some introspection on the tools and resources families draw upon to stay healthy. 

I just graduated from McGill University in Montreal, studying Anthropology and a bit of cell biology on the side. In my fourth year I was given a teaching award for mentoring first years in McGill’s large physics courses. Surviving a 600+ person lecture can be tough, and I really enjoyed navigating the massive lecture hall and helping students learn the material in a more personalized, one-on-one format. 

My academic area of focus is population and health. I’m excited to learn about the complex and very human intersections of migration, demographic change, and wellbeing. My main research interests are community-based health programs. I’m looking to learn more about community health worker (CHW) models to increase patient autonomy and access to care, especially among vulnerable populations. 

Carrie Wolfson PhD StudentCarrie Wolfson, PhD Student

My primary research interests are the health vulnerabilities associated with poverty uniquely experienced by women. Within this broad area, I am interested in exploring reproductive health at the population level, particularly disparities in outcomes among vulnerable communities and across racial/ethnic subgroups within the US. I further plan to examine the role of government programs and policies in reducing or exacerbating such inequities. I chose the PFRH department at JHSPH because of the faculty -- they have the expertise to help me further develop the topical and methodological skills I need to explore these pressing issues.

Abeer Yaksan, MSPH StudentAbeer Yakzan, MSPH Student

I am pursuing a Master’s of Science in Public Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in order to strengthen my analytical and research skills and broaden my knowledge about the biological, geographical, and societal influences that impact reproductive health. I am excited to take courses regarding contraception, abortion, communication strategies for sexual risk reduction, and reproductive epidemiology. I graduated from the University of California, Davis with a Bachelor's of Science in Global Disease Biology in 2017. During my Senior year I conducted research to assess the reproductive health needs of students at UC Davis and student opinions regarding the lack of abortion services offered by the student health center. The resulting research paper, "Abortion and Student Health Services, Expanding the Conversation with Student Perspectives," was recently published in Contraception Journal.