I am currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Psychiatric Epidemiology Training Program at Columbia University.
I received my PhD in Epidemiology from McGill University in 2018. My dissertation research investigated the effect of women’s empowerment and social context on mental distress in rural Rajasthan, India. My dissertation research was part of a cluster randomized impact evaluation study that evaluated the effect of an affordable daycare program implemented by the grassroots non-governmental development organization Seva Mandir.
I received a Masters of Public Health from Oregon Health & Sciences University in 2013. My thesis used data from the Oregon Health Study to examine the association between neighborhood conditions and depression in low-income adults. For this work, I received the School of Medicine's Outstanding Master's Thesis Award.
Before pursing an academic career, I worked for over a decade in the violence prevention, substance abuse, and community development fields in Oregon and Namibia. In Oregon, I provided intensive advocacy, support and education to survivors of domestic abuse (2001-2005) and families at risk of child abuse (2005-2006). I also conducted substance abuse research and analyzed patient data to improve clinical outcomes at a methadone clinic (2010-2013). In Namibia, I mentored community leaders to help them set up community-based programs for orphans and vulnerable children (2007-2009).
These experiences shaped my understanding of how social and structural factors affect well-being, especially among the socio-economically disadvantaged. This understanding shapes my academic research agenda, which is to understand how social and structural factors affect mental health, and to identify structural interventions to improve the mental health of populations.