Skip to content

IAPHS Student Committee

The IAPHS Student Committee is focused on bringing together the next generation of population health scientists as friends, colleagues, and future collaborators. Recognizing the wide array of students in population health, this committee seeks to bridge gaps in the field by bringing these students, often from varied departments across the nation, together for professional and academic development as well as networking.

The student committee organizes and hosts events year-round. During the annual meeting, held every fall, we host a professional development activity/event, promote student talks and posters, and organize an informal social activity. These events provide an opportunity for students to connect with academically like-minded peers while developing skills to prepare us for our next career steps.

Throughout the rest of the year, the student committee focuses on other training opportunities including webinars, workshops, and panels. Some recent highlights been:

The student committee consists of chairs and co-chairs covering: the student committee as a whole, webinar activities, conference activities, secretary and social media, and diversity and membership outreach. In addition to these core members, the student committee consists of a number of general members interested in building IAPHS. Brief biographies of the current chairs/co-chairs can be found below. We’re always looking for new members and chairs, and if you’re interested in joining us please contact Sue Bevan at If you’re not a member of IAPHS, but a student who is passionate about population health, we encourage you to join to stay in the loop on upcoming events!


Do you have a new paper, award, or other accomplishment? The IAPHS community would leave to hear about it! Accomplishments of student members will be highlighted on our blog every two months. Click ‘Highlight Accomplishment’ to submit the information!


Sandte Stanley, Co-Chair

Sandte Stanley is a first-generation Black and Native American (Muscogee (Creek))doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at Washington State University(WSU). Broadly, Sandte studies racial and ethnic health and mortality disparities as they relate to social determinants of health, racism, and discrimination. Currently, her dissertation explores the association between the high mortality burden among racial and ethnic minorities and experiences of historical racial trauma and social inequities in Washington state. She has also spent much of her career investigating and publishing research pertaining to the prevention of breast, colorectal, and cervical cancer. Read more


Rae Anne Martinez, Committee Co-Chair

Rae Anne Martinez is currently an Epidemiology PhD student at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Martinez is broadly interested in how the built environment and social interactions are embodied through biological processes and how this embodiment impacts health across the life course. Specifically, her dissertation research focuses on the embodiment of childhood adversity via the accumulation of epigenetic alternations and links to depression and anxiety in adulthood. She is also interested in exploring historical and contemporary conceptualizations of race and ethnicity in health scholarship and the relationship of these social constructs to health. Her work is currently supported by the Biosocial NIH T32 Training Program at the Carolina Population Center, which emphasizes interdisciplinary training and collaboration in order to foster unique, innovative approaches to public health. Read more


Kelley Akiya, Webinar

Kelley Akiya is a doctoral student in Public Health Policy and Management at the NYU School of Global Public Health. She studies the relationship between unmet social needs and health care use and the integration of social care into health care delivery. Her dissertation is focused on understanding the longitudinal association between food insecurity and health care use among older adults in the U.S. She has also conducted research on primary care-based social work and care navigation services for older adults with complex health needs. Read more


Natalie Smith, Webinar

Natalie Smith is a cancer prevention postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. Her work aims to prevent cancer in the US by increasing the implementation of evidence-informed health policies. To do this, she pursues research geared towards (1) simulating the comparative health and economic effects of public health policies, and (2) improving how researchers disseminate findings to policymakers. Prior to beginning her postdoc she earned her PhD in Health Policy and Management at UNC Chapel Hill where she was supported by a T32 predoctoral training program at the Carolina Population Center. 

acollins-anderson (2)

Akilah Collins, Conference

Akilah Collins-Anderson is a PhD student in the Public Health Sciences program and NIMH T32 Predoctoral Fellow at Washington University in St. Louis. Her research interests include mental and behavioral health disparities, social determinants of health, chronic disease, and health education. Before starting her doctoral studies, Akilah provided research support for the New York State Psychiatric Institute and NYC Department of Education. She also led research studies for the Department of Family & Social Medicine and the Rose F. Kennedy Children’s Evaluation & Rehabilitation Center at Albert Einstein College of Medicine located in Bronx, New York. Akilah is specifically interested in contributing factors, evidence-to-action plans, and implementation strategies around high-priority Black health issues. Read more


Julene Kemp Cooney, Conference

Julene Kemp Cooney is currently a PhD student at Syracuse University studying sociology.  She holds master’s degrees in statistics, sociology, and community and economic development.  Her research is dedicated to improving population health by expounding the effects of education, environmental and social policy, and gender on health outcomes.  For her dissertation she is studying the impact of state gender equality, state educational stratification, and chronic physical limitation/pain trends on suicide rates in the United States.  Before studying at Syracuse University, Julene had a fruitful career in the private manufacturing sector, followed by several years in postsecondary education teaching math and statistics. 


Nathaniel Anderson, Secretary/Social Media

Nathaniel W. Anderson is a fifth year doctoral student in Health Policy and Management at UCLA. His research interests are in population health, health equity, and child and youth well-being. For his dissertation, he is exploring methodological improvements to indices of child well-being and applying these indices as tools for assessing how public policy impacts population health. He has also worked on several projects aimed at quantifying trends in health equity within the U.S. population.

Previously, he worked for the UCLA Center for Health Advancement’s Win-Win Project since August 2015, building simulation models for how various interventions impact health and other outcomes, including health equity. Prior to that, he was a research associate for the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center. He completed his B.A. in mathematical economics from Pomona College.


Kent Jason Cheng, Secretary/Social Media

Kent is currently a PhD Social Science student and a holder of a Master of Arts in Economics degree from the University of the Philippines Diliman. He is interested in population health, health and aging, and intergenerational relations. Prior to enrollingin Syracuse, Kent worked as a health policy researcher at the premier health sciences center in the Philippines, the University of the Philippines Manila. Some of his notable involvements in Philippine health research include the cost-effectiveness of dengue vaccination, cost-effectiveness of influenza vaccination, modelling offlu mortality, drug procurement policy, and smoking behavior.His recent works appear in peer-reviewed journals like PLOS One, Preventive Medicine, and World Medical and Health Policy and he also contributes to the Lerner Center Population Health Research Brief Series.


Brooke Staley, Diversity/Membership

Brooke S. Staley is currently a Ph.D.student in Epidemiology at the University of North Carolina –Chapel Hill. Broadly, Brooke is interested in amplifying the voices of marginalized individuals from underserved and historically underrepresented populations in health research within and beyond the academy. More specifically, her research interests include understanding health disparities to promote health equity through biosocial processes, intergenerational health, and life course frameworks. She explores the intersections between social, mental health, and genetic epidemiology through her research focused on childhood adversity on mental health across the life course, social determinants of mental health disparities, and social and genetic interactions on race and gender differences in health outcomes. Read more


Gabriel Benavidez, Diversity/Membership

Gabriel is a 3rd year PhD student and NIGMS T32 Predoctoral fellow at the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health in the department of epidemiology and biostatistics. He is also a member of the Robert Wood Johnson Funded and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health led Health Policy Research Scholar program. He is currently a research fellow at the Rural and Minority Health Research Center funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy where a large portion of his work aims to examine how geography, race, and socioeconomic status intersect to impact health outcomes. Read more


Myah Houghten, Resource Library Liaison

Myah Houghten is a PhD Candidate in Prevention Science at Washington State University. Myah’s work in program evaluation and support of trauma-informed professional development motivated her to develop a research agenda that focuses on communitywide risk and protective factors that support school achievement. The research positions a cumulative risk and protective factor perspective within the socioecological theory of human development to explore dynamics that strengthen or hinder schoolwide outcomes. Read more

General Members

Mónica Gutiérrez
Kelsey Shaulis
Connor Martz