Skip Navigation

Center for Public Health and Human Rights

Desmond M. Tutu Professorship in Public Health and Human Rights


Please join us in congratulating the 2021 Tutu Fellows.

Carrie Lyons, MPH is a third year PhD student at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health studying Infectious Disease Epidemiology. She joined the PhD program in 2019 and completed a two-year (2019-2021) fellowship with the NIH/NIAD T32 HIV Epidemiology and Prevention Training Program. Carrie has worked with the Center for Public Health and Human Rights since 2014; first joining as a Research Assistant while pursuing her MPH in Epidemiological and Biostatistical Methods for Public Health and Clinical Research. She then served as a Research Program Coordinator II for the Key Population Program, where she managed protocol development, ethical approvals for human subject research, primary data collection, and analyses for studies across Sub-Saharan Africa and the United States. In 2019, she was awarded the IAS/ANRS Lange/Van Tongeren Prize for Young Investigators with the top abstract in Implementation Science at the 10th International AIDS Conference on HIV Science. Prior to joining the Center for Public Health and Human Rights, Carrie worked in public health program implementation at JSI in Washington DC. She also spent over two years serving in the United States Peace Corps in Nicaragua as a sexual and reproductive health educator.

Her overarching research goal is to support effective and efficient evidence-based approaches to address health disparities in infectious diseases with focus on HIV. Her research to date has focused on measuring structural level factors affecting the health of marginalized populations; stigma measurement and interventions; understanding engagement in healthcare among marginalized populations; innovative methods for measurement and interventions for marginalized populations. Her full publication list can be found:

Dr. Jean Olivier Twahirwa Rwema is a PhD Candidate in Infectious Diseases Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins School of Public of Public Health (JHSPH). Previously, he completed a Medical Degree at the National University of Rwanda and a Master of Public Health at JHSPH. Dr. Twahirwa Rwema has been an affiliate of the Center of Public Health and Human Rights for the last four and half years. 

Before coming to JHSPH, Dr. Twahirwa Rwema oversaw the Rwanda national prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV program from 2014 -2016. During this time, the country met the global targets of reducing the HIV vertical transmission rate to less than 2% nationally. In 2018, he led the implementation of a large epidemiological study among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender women (TGW) in Kigali, Rwanda. The study provided estimates of the population size of MSM/TGW and characterized the epidemiology of HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Infections among MSM/TGW in Kigali. Dr. Twahirwa Rwema’s current research focus is on understanding the gaps and challenges in HIV and STI programming for key populations in Rwanda and across sub-Saharan Africa to propose evidence-based interventions that are suitable to the context of different countries and respectful of human rights. He will continue to work with Drs. Chris Beyrer and Stefan Baral and other faculty members of the Center. 

Please join us in congratulating the 2020 Tutu Fellows.

Lauren Dayton is a doctoral student in the Department of Health, Behavior and Society at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH). She completed her BS in neuroscience at the University of Michigan and her MSPH at JHSPH. Before attending Johns Hopkins, she worked as a special education teacher for the Navajo Nation through Teach for America and as a GED instructor at the Gallatin Valley Detention Center.

Lauren’s research focuses on trauma and harm reduction. She works with Native American/Alaskan Native communities to improve access to trauma prevention and treatment services for families. In Baltimore, Lauren’s work concentrates on reducing opioid overdose and increasing access to drug treatment and harm reduction materials. In recent months, her programmatic and research work has also included COVID-19 prevention focused on vulnerable communities including incarcerated people, people who use opioids, seniors, and Native American/Alaskan Native communities. 

Henri Garrison Desany is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Epidemiology in the Genetics track. Henri graduated from Harvard College in Human Evolutionary Biology and Mathematical Sciences in 2016, where they worked on a multi-country qualitative research project assessing community health worker systems. Henri also worked in peer counseling settings, including founding a peer counseling organization for undergraduate students of color. Henri came to Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and earned a Master's of Science in Public Health in Global Disease Epidemiology and Control in 2018. Their thesis investigated psychosocial outcomes among widows in Nepal, who are often marginalized and excluded from society, funded by the Center for Global Health and the Center for Health and Human Rights and in collaboration with the Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO), Nepal and Women for Human Rights (WHR). 

Henri is currently a Sylvia and Eddie C. Brown Scholar in Community Health. Their dissertation investigates the effect of genetic and epigenetic risks on the relationship between prenatal substance exposure and ADHD in children among a multiethnic birth cohort. Henri has worked on research projects based in Mali, Kenya, Mozambique, Lesotho, Swaziland, South Africa, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Qatar, Nepal, Spain, Switzerland, and Baltimore and Boston in the US. They are committed to understanding both the biological and social risks to mental and behavioral health across the lifespan, especially among marginalized populations, in order to use a framework of global solidarity to pursue health equity for all. 

Rachel Strodel is a first-year medical student at JHUSOM. She graduated summa cum laude from Yale College with a B.S. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. During college, she studied barriers and facilitators to diabetes prevention among a Latinx community in New Haven, CT. Before starting medical school, she spent a year on the Navajo Nation collaborating with Head Start preschools and community health workers to improve nutrition education and access to healthy food on the reservation. Strodel works on advocacy with the Maryland Prisoners’ Rights Coalition on issues related to incarceration and health, and volunteers at the Commodore John Rodgers school with a program providing fruits and vegetables to families and community members.

Please join us in congratulating the 2019 Tutu Fellows.

Kevon Jackman, DrPH, MPH, received his MPH in Epidemiology from the University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions (2008) and his DrPH from the Morgan State University School of Community Health and Policy (2016). Dr. Jackman's research interests focus on addressing racial disparities in HIV/STIs among Black youth using Health IT innovations. His focus is inspired through experiences of providing HIV post-test counsels to Black youth in Miami, FL as a Disease Intervention Specialist with the CDC Public Health Associate Program. In 2014, Dr. Jackman wrote a mixed-methods research proposal to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which awarded him a $40,000 R36 dissertation grant. Using qualitative and quantitative research methods, Dr. Jackman explored perceptions among college-aged Black youth on using patient portals for managing HIV/STI test results and to share electronic results with sexual partners. He was awarded the inaugural School of Community Health and Policy Trail Blazer Award in 2017.

Jackman began work as an HIV Epidemiology and Prevention Sciences Postdoctoral Fellow in 2017 with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Department of Epidemiology. Here he worked to develop psychometric scales as determinants of willingness to adopt the use of patient portals to manage HIV/STI laboratory test results and in health communication with sex partners. Scales have been adapted to local and national surveys conducted among MSM. Dr. Jackman's research interests expand to substance use, sexual behavior stigma, fairness in research participation, and trauma. He is a Fellow of the Brown University Clinical and Community-Based HIV/AIDS Research Training Program. Dr. Jackman aims to develop a career as a scientist focused on better equipping all youth to engage in their sexual and reproductive health.

The Center for Public Health and Human Rights is delighted to announce the 2019-20 Tutu fellowship awardees, Rachel Gicquelais, PhD and Tyler Adamson. These are junior colleagues with passionate commitment to human rights, to public health, and to key populations. Please join us in congratulating Rachel and Tyler! 

Rachel Gicquelais, PhD our 2019 Tutu Doctoral Fellow, and she is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is a fellow in the HIV Epidemiology and Prevention Sciences training program. Previously, she completed her MPH in Hospital and Molecular Epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. She then spent two years at the Arkansas Department of Health as a CDC/CSTE Applied Epidemiology Fellow in infectious diseases. Before joining Johns Hopkins as a postdoctoral fellow, she completed a PhD in Epidemiology, also from the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

Gicquelais’ research focuses on substance use. Her interest in this area began during her time in Arkansas, where she developed the state’s current hepatitis C surveillance system and authored their first epidemiologic profile outlining the prevention, testing, and treatment needs of Arkansans who use drugs and other groups at risk of hepatitis C. These data were used by lawmakers and other public health practitioners to expand the health department’s capacity for hepatitis C testing and treatment among key populations. Gicquelais’ dissertation research focused on the opioid crisis in Michigan, particularly around injury, infections, and recovery from opioid use disorders. She is currently mentored by Shruti Mehta, Becky Genberg, and Carl Latkin and pursues research that characterizes risks for overdose and HIV and hepatitis C virus infections among people who use and inject drugs

Tyler Adamson, our 2019 Tutu Scholar, is a 2nd-year part-time MPH student in Health Policy & Management. He grew up in Washington State, and then went on to graduate from the University of Washington with a BA/BS in molecular biology and anthropology, and after spent the last few years working in biotech on diagnostic test and vaccine development. He has since learned the error of his ways and come back to pursue a career in public health.

As an LGBTQ person of color, his interests lie at the intersection of identity, policy, and human rights, particularly among underrepresented and underserved communities. He's been honored to work with Professor Beyrer on a few projects, and looks forward to continuing this work in the future. When he's not studying you can find him at the local bookstore, hiking, baking, riding his bike, baking, or taking cooking classes throughout the city.

The Center for Public Health and Human Rights is delighted to announce the 2018 Tutu fellowship awardees, Jean Olivier Twahirwa Rwema, MD and Cody Chicowitz, MS-IV. These are junior colleagues with passionate commitment to human rights, to public health, and to medicine.  Please join us in congratulating Olivier and Cody!

Jean Olivier Twahirwa RwemaJean Olivier Twahirwa Rwema, MD our 2018 Tutu Doctoral Fellow, in an in-coming doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology at the Bloomberg School. He will also be an affiliate of the Johns Hopkins HIV Epidemiology and Prevention Sciences Training Program, led by CPHHR Director Chris Beyrer, where he will bring an international perspective and his medical expertise. Previously, he was a post-doctoral fellow in Epidemiology at the Center of Public Health and Human Rights working with Dr. Stef Baral in the Key Populations Program. His research focus was on understanding the distribution of HIV risks and implementation of HIV prevention and treatment programs for key populations across Sub-Saharan Africa. Before coming to JHU, Olivier led the implementation of an integrated Behavioral and Biological survey and population size estimation for Men who have Sex with Men in Kigali, Rwanda.

Twahirwa Rwema is a Rwandan medical doctor with both public health and clinical work experience. He oversaw the Rwanda national prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV program for 2 years (2014- 2016), during which the country met the global targets of reducing the HIV vertical transmission rate to less than 2% nationally. He also worked as a general practitioner in hospitals in Rwanda. He previously obtained a master’s in public health from Hopkins. As a doctoral student, Twahirwa Rwema will be working on understanding the gaps and challenges in HIV programming for key populations in sub-Saharan Africa to propose evidence based interventions that are suitable to the context of sub-Saharan Africa and respectful of human rights. He will work with Stefan Baral and other faculty members of the Center and the school. We are delighted to continue our Center’s relationship with Twahirwa Rwema.

Cody CichowitzCody Cichowitz, our 2018 Tutu Scholar, is a medical student at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and is currently obtaining his master’s in public health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health as a Sommer Scholar. Cichowitz received his bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He has an extensive research background that has focused on varying topics, including sickle cell disease and HIV. From 2014-2016 he worked on multiple infectious disease related projects in South Africa, focused on understanding the transition back to community-based primary care after acute hospitalization and discharge. More recently, he spent a year working in Tanzania as a Doris Duke International Clinical Research Fellow, using an implementation science approach to improve postpartum retention in HIV care.

Cichowitz is very active in not only the Hopkins community, but the local community as well. He is a representative on the Johns Hopkins Student Governing Board of the Student Outreach Service Center (SOURCE), which seeks to build collaborations between Baltimore-based non-profits and Hopkins students and faculty. He currently coaches soccer through the Living Classroom Foundation and has served as a mentor for the Medical Education Resource Initiative for Teens (MERIT) in Baltimore.

Cichowitz will be working on human rights interventions with myself, and center faculty member Dr. Andrea L. Wirtz. His work has focused on drawing attention to the abusive and medically unsound practice of using forced anal exams to investigate and prosecute same-sex behavior in countries. He is currently supporting a project for Physicians for Human Rights focused (PHR) on assessing mortality and human rights violations in the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar.

After completion of his medical education and public health training, Cody plans to pursue a career in academic medicine focused on public health, human rights, and medical education. We are thrilled to welcome him to the Center.

The Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health and Human Rights is delighted to announce the inaugural Desmond Tutu Public Health and Human Rights Professorship Scholar and Fellow, Cassia Wells, MD and Jordan White. Wells and White embody a passion and commitment to social justice and to health care access that is vital in confronting health and human rights challenges around the world. Both Cassia and Jordan attended the 21st International AIDS Conference this month in Durban, South Africa, and their awards were recognized at the IAS President’s Center reception.

Cassia WellsCassia Wells, MD has been named as the inaugural Desmond Tutu Professorship Scholar at the Center for Public Health and Human Rights. She was raised in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, where she completed high school before attending Stanford University in California for her undergraduate education. She went on to obtain a Master’s in Social Psychology from Stanford, before attending. Stanford Medical School. After obtaining her medical degree she completed a residency in internal medicine, with a focus on primary care, at NYU/Bellevue Hospital in New York City. She is currently a resident in the General Preventive Medicine Residency at the Johns Hopkins and recently completed her Master’s in Public Health at the Bloomberg School of Public Health with a concentration in Social and Behavioral Sciences. Cassia will be working for 3 months with the Human Sciences Research Council in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. During this time she will be assisting with projects focused on increasing access to care for HIV positive female sex workers and MSM. Congratulations Cassia and welcome to the Center family!

Jordan WhiteJordan White, our inaugural Tutu Policy Fellow, is currently a third year PhD student in the Department of Health, Behavior and Society at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. From 2014-2016 Jordan was a U.S National Institutes of Drug Abuse pre-doctoral fellow, focusing his research on substance use, HIV risk and resiliency among young gay and transgender men. White is also the Program Manager for the Baltimore Collaboratory within the Johns Hopkins Center for AIDS Research, where he manages community partnerships and capacity building activities for HIV prevention and care. For more than a decade, Jordan has worked to develop innovative policy solutions, community engagement, mobilization initiatives, and pilot programs intended to advance education and justice in marginalized populations. Prior to joining Johns Hopkins, Jordan was a Leadership Fellow at the Center for American Progress, where he led briefings to educate community leaders about criminal justice issues, health care reform and LGBT marriage equality.

Jordan sits on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM) of Color Advisory Team, Baltimore City Police Commissioner’s LGBT Advisory Committee, the Baltimore City Open Data Commission and the Center for Black Equity Baltimore – Advisory Board. Jordan is also a founding member of the Young Black Gay Men’s Leadership (YBGLI) Initiative, launched in 2011, where he remains an active advisor. YBGLI is the only national organization solely dedicated to issues that disproportionately impact young black gay, bisexual, and transgender men in the U.S.  Jordan will be working on HIV policy with myself, and with Center faculty member Tonia Poteat, PhD.