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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!


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


Allen Mallory, Committee Co-Chair

Allen Mallory is a Presidential Postdoctoral Scholar at The Ohio State University in the Department of Human Sciences. Allen received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in Human Development and Family Sciences where he was also a trainee at the University of Texas Population Research Center. Allen’s research takes an intersectional approach to understanding the health and well-being of sexual and gender minorities. Specifically, he studies processes tied to multiple minoritized identities, such as discrimination, to understand how they intersect to affect health and well-being of sexual and gender minorities as well of has how health disparities vary across multiple marginalized identities for sexual and gender minorities and factors that explain the disparities.


Matthew Lee, Webinar

Matthew Lee, MPH is a DrPH candidate in Sociomedical Sciences at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. His primary areas of focus are in social and behavioral health, intervention design and evaluation, and implementation science, with an emphasis on addressing community-level health disparities and sustaining health equity. Matthew’s current research projects use mixed and qualitative methods to examine the equitable implementation and sustainability of tobacco control policies, meaningful integration of participatory implementation science approaches with community-based systems science methods, cultural adaptation of evidence-based instruments and programs for underserved communities, uptake of opioid education and naloxone training in higher education, de-implementation of low-value and harmful practices, and capacity building for community-based organizations and health systems. Read more


Natalie Smith, Webinar

Natalie Smith is a PhD candidate in Health Policy and Management at the UNC Chapel Hill. Natalie works to promote the implementation of strong, evidence-informed policies to improve population health. 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. Her dissertation work focuses on each of these areas of research, with a specific focus on policies todecrease sugary drink consumption.

Natalie’s work has been supported by a T32 Biosocial Training Program at the Carolina Population Center for the past three years. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, she earned her master’s in Biostatistics at UNC Chapel Hill in 2017 and bachelor’s in Interdisciplinary Science from Purdue University in 2015.


Adam Lily, Conference

Adam Lilly is currently a PhD student in the Department of Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is broadly interested in how social/environmental, genetic, and other ‘omics factors work together to influence cardiometabolic health. Specifically, his dissertation research seeks to identify eicosanoids (inflammatory metabolites) that mediate the relationship between chronic perceived stress and diabetes incidence. He is also interested in quantitative methodology, specifically limited information estimators for structural equation models. He is a predoctoral trainee in the Biosocial Training Program at the Carolina Population Center, which trains scientists to conduct interdisciplinary population health research that draws on both the social sciences and biological sciences. Read more


Wyatt Bensken, Secretary/Social Media

Wyatt Bensken is a PhD candidate in Epidemiology and Biostatistics in Case Western Reserve University’s Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences. Wyatt’s dissertation focuses on health disparities and health inequities for people with epilepsy; specifically using traditional and novel statistical approaches to identify key drivers of these disparities and inequities at the individual, treatment, and community-level. In addition to this work, Wyatt has ongoing research looking at health-related social needs and social determinants of health in large administrative and clinical data.

Wyatt has his B.S. in Public Health from American University and served as a Research Fellow at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke before beginning his doctoral education.


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. Currently supported by the Genetic Epidemiology T32 Training Program, her dissertation research is exploring a social metabolomic approach to improve understanding of disparities in Type 2 Diabetes. Read more


Sandte Stanley, Diversity/Membership

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


Julene Kemp Cooney, Conference Activities Co-Chair

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. 

Myah Houghten, Resource Library Liaison

General Members

Mónica Gutiérrez
Elizabeth B. Jelsma
Connor Martz
Muntasir Masum