Meet our Newest DrPH Students



L. Esther Aranda
Global Health

BA, Harvard University
MA, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MPH, The George Washington University

Prior to her MPH studies, Esther was an urban planner, with an anthropology background, working in the field of disaster risk reduction. During her first year of study, she will be a graduate assistant.

While Esther has many interests in public health, one of those areas is child health and the role nutrition plays in the development of children into healthy, productive adults.

Esther is originally from a small town in the Yucatan State in Mexico and is very excited about the enormous opportunities that exist to improve the delivery of public health programs and services. She is particularly excited about measuring and evaluating program effectiveness and outcomes through the use of existing datasets and developing novel research approaches.



DaRel Barksdale
Health Behavior

BS, Morehouse College
MPH, Emory University

DaRel began his career with laboratory-based research positions at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, the Schering-Plough Research Institute, the Wadsworth Center (New York State Department of Health) and the United States Department of Agriculture.  He decided to formally pursue his graduate education in public health at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University.

His interest in public health was first piqued through an elective course during his senior year at Morehouse College. One of DaRel’s progessors brought public health to life while speaking on topics such as health disparities, research ethics, and the need for more minority leaders in the field of public health. 

DaRel is originally from Washington, DC and is interested in the ways in which messaging can be used in addition to addressing structural factors to eliminate health disparities, especially with regards to the prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).


Noah Bartlett
Global Health

BA, Bowdoin College
MA, Columbia University
MPH, Columbia University

Noah Bartlett has spent his entire career in the field of international public health data. For over 15 years, he has provided technical assistance to the field and policy-level guidance at headquarters on issues surrounding data collection, access and use. He believes in a strong role for data use in all areas of global health and development, in terms of strategic planning, monitoring progress towards goals, program evaluation, and accountability.

In 2008, Noah joined USAID as the surveillance and surveys technical advisor for the Office of HIV/AIDS. He is part of the team that oversees and directs the DHS program and is co-chair of PEPFAR’s Surveillance and Surveys Technical Working Group. Currently, Noah is USAID’s agency lead for PEPFAR’s Interagency Collaborative for Program Improvement (ICPI), a team of data analysts from several U.S. Government agencies charged with analyzing PEPFAR data, including HIV-related site-level targets and results, program quality, and budget data.



Morgane Bennett
Health Behavior

BS, Dickinson College
MPH, The George Washington University

Following her undergraduate studies,  Morgane worked as an AmeriCorps volunteer case manager at a non-profit community health clinic in Denver, CO, assisting homeless patients in accessing health care and other social services. The experience of working closely with underserved individuals suffering from chronic conditions and struggling to access necessary treatments highlighted, for her, the importance of health promotion and disease prevention efforts. This interest led Morgane to pursue an MPH in Health Promotion at GW.

Originally from Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Morgane is excited about the opportunity to influence young people to make good choices when it comes to their health, and develop positive health behaviors, in order to instill positive health behaviors and set them on a trajectory towards a life of good health and well-being.


Univer Blake
Environmental and Occupational Health

BA, College of Wooster
MS, American University

After receiving her MS in Toxicology, Uni worked as an environmental consultant, in the permitting and regulatory space. Eventually she transitioned to advocacy work mostly to develop and implement risk communication strategies. Uni has always been fascinated with how environmental regulations that are protective to health are developed – the mix of public opinion, science and policy. She will continue to work  as a Scientific Advisor for a trade association in Washington, DC, while pursuing her DrPH.

Uni is originally from Nairobi, Kenya, and is most excited about the idea that working as a public health practitioner will provide her with opportunities to help different communities realize their potential.



Joya Chowdhury
Health Policy

BA, University of Maryland – Baltimore County
MPH, The George Washington University

Joya currently is the Senior Coordinator for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Program at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, where she provides administrative, scientific and logistical support for the USPSTF.

Her interest is in working with vulnerable populations in primary care settings to improve access to care, increase quality of care, improve health outcomes, and decrease health disparities through prevention and use of evidence-based strategies.

Joya was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh and grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and is excited about the quality of life improvements that are made possible through simple interventions, not only at the individual level but also at the population level.



Alexandra Greig
Health Policy

BHB, MBChB, University of Auckland (New Zealand)
MPH, Harvard University

Alexandra is a physician who has worked in a variety of medical roles in rural and metropolitan centers in New Zealand and Australia. She completed her Masters of Public Health with a concentration in Health Policy at the Harvard School of Public Health, and upon her return to Australasia, completed her medical specialty training. She currently works as a Public Health Physician for the District Health Boards of Auckland and Waitemata in New Zealand.

Originally from Aotearoa, New Zealand, Alexandra is excited about the opportunity and possibility to make a real difference in the lives of others. She loves the diversity of work in public health and the constant challenge and intellectually stimulation from her work.



Ichhya Pant
Health Behavior

BA, CUNY – Hunter College
MPH, Georgia State University

After completing a Master of Public Health degree at Georgia State University, Ichhya was excited to work on public health projects that focused on collaborative prevention and community health promotion efforts across sectors and topic areas. These projects often involved technological approaches to solve emerging public health challenges with ingenuity.

While pursuing her DrPH degree, Ichhya will continue working in her current role as a Senior Associate at ICF International serving the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Prevention Communications Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Ichhya is originally from Kathmandu, Nepal and has had the privilege of traveling to or living in over twenty countries.  She is excited about the transformative technological advances that currently provide established and emerging public health practitioners a critical window of opportunity to broaden their horizons and set the agenda to harness these capabilities to its fullest potential.



Chulwoo Park
Global Health

BS, University of Utah
MS, Johns Hopkins University

Chulwoo graduated with two bachelor’s degrees in Biology and International Studies at the University of Utah and a master’s degree in International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. During and after his master’s study, Chulwoo worked with several non-governmental organizations – World Vision, International Rescue Committee (IRC), and Palladium – where he was able to travel to five African countries, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to monitor and evaluate the World Vision’s maternal and child health projects.

Chulwoo is an international student from South Korea and came to the United States to pursue a university education.  He is motivated by his personal belief that public health must serve everyone, so that people living in even the remotest villages can also access health services at any time.



Adrienne Phifer
Environmental and Occupational Health

BS, University of Georgia
MS, Cornell University

Prior to becoming a DrPH student, Adrienne was an Associate at Booz Allen Hamilton where she had the opportunity to serve in several meaningful roles for clients at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).

Adrienne aims to provide meaningful contributions to the field of Environmental and Occupational Health by helping to shape key policies, practices and programs within the field.

She is originally from Atlanta, Georgia and has always wanted a career in which her passion for helping others could be paramount while still leveraging her background in environmental health, food science, and consulting for the federal government.



Brent Sandmeyer
Health Policy

BA, New York University
MPH, Portland State University

For the past five years, Brent has been working in health services research and policy at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), where he oversees a large research grant portfolio, supporting hundreds of health services researchers at dozens of institutions across the country.   He will continue to work there while pursuing his DrPH.

Before starting his career in public health, Brent was a political organizer, helping elect progressive candidates at the local, state and national level who enacted important health care reforms such as the Affordable Care Act and the Oregon Health Authority.

Brent is originally from Evanston, Illinois and is interested in improving the quality, accessibility, equity, and affordability of health care, particularly for people with low income.


Erica Sedlander
Health Behavior

BA, University of California – Santa Cruz
MPH, University of California – Berkeley

Prior to beginning her doctoral studies at George Washington University, Erica was a Research Coordinator in the Department of Population Health at New York University (NYU) School of Medicine where she managed several qualitative and mixed methods studies.

During her doctoral studies, Erica is working on a study to understand the barriers and facilitators to modern contraception use in Ethiopia. She is interested in improving health for underserved women and incorporating their voices into programs and policies.



Hanna Tessema
Health Behavior

BA, University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
MA, University of Michigan
MPH, New York University

Before becoming a DrPH student, Hanna began her public health career conducting research on the social determinants of HIV infection among young women in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. Shortly afterwards, and started working on maternal child health and infant mortality reduction in the South Bronx with women of childbearing age.  She spent the last 9 years working for ACRIA in New York City on a first-of-its-kind program on HIV & Aging, where she is now Director of Policy & Advocacy and leading the agency’s expansion efforts into Washington DC.

Originally from Ethiopia, Hanna is excited by the possibility of improving lives and health outcomes for communities most affected by preventable disease.



Aubrey Villalobos
Health Behavior

BS, Bates College
MA, Ed., Christian Brothers University
MPH, The George Washington University

Aubrey’s background is in biological chemistry, cancer control and health education. Before beginning her MPH in Health Promotion at GW, she worked at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital coordinating a school-based cancer prevention outreach program. Prior to her time at St. Jude, Aubrey taught high school biology at a school for girls in Memphis, TN

While studying, Aubrey will continue serving as Director for Comprehensive Cancer Control at GW Cancer Institute, the patient-centered initiatives and health equity arm of the GW Cancer Center, where she will lead a team of seven focused on education, cancer control and health equity.

Aubrey has lived all over, but is originally from New Jersey.  She is most excited about steadily growing evidence that suggests that many cancers can be prevented and the opportunities to be a part of the critical interventions at multiple socioecological levels that may help modify many of the behaviors that lead to some of the largest chronic diseases.