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Chronic disease control branch

California Epidemiologic Investigation Service Fellowship (Cal-EIS) Fellows

2021-2022

JBuckmanJoseph Ryan Buckman, MPH

Ryan graduated with his Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Public Health from the University of Louisville in 2019, and a Masters in Public Health (MPH) in Epidemiology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2021. While working on his MPH, he previously worked as a Researcher II at the Children's Hospital of Alabama and UAB Medicine performing research centered on identifying socioeconomic and geographical disparities in pediatric cardiovascular health and surgical outcomes in the Deep South. His practicum focused on mapping disparity in antenatal diagnosis of Congenital Heart Disease within the state of Alabama, focusing on rurality, race, economic status, and distance to prenatal care. His work in pulmonary toxicology as an undergraduate led him to be interested in environmental epidemiology, specifically with regards to human-environment interaction and cardio-pulmonary health. He is excited to work as a Cal-EIS fellow in Richmond at the Environmental Epidemiology Section at California Department of Public Health's (CDPH) Environmental Health Investigations Branch. 

KConwayKimberly Conway, DVM

Kim received her B.S. in Health Science and B.S. in Biological Science from California State University, Fullerton, and her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) School of Veterinary Medicine. During veterinary school, Kim worked with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on the 2015 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza outbreak in Iowa, and completed externships with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) One Health Office, USDA Center for Epidemiology and Animal Health, and USDA APHIS Veterinary Services. Since graduating veterinary school in 2018, Kim has been practicing small animal medicine, working at community vaccine clinics, working with UC Davis faculty and veterinary students to open a new free veterinary clinic for pets of the homeless, and completing her MPVM (Master of Preventative Veterinary Medicine) degree at UC Davis. Her MPVM research project involved collecting canine and feline patient blood samples, testing the samples for seven different vector-borne diseases, administering questionnaires to homeless and housed pet owners, and analyzing the laboratory and questionnaire data to assess the benefits, disease prevalence, and public perceptions of pet ownership within the Sacramento and Yolo County homeless communities.

Kim has always been interested in epidemiology, particularly diseases that are shared between animals and humans such as zoonotic spillover events and food-borne illness. She is looking forward to working with the CDPH Food and Drug Branch as a Cal-EIS fellow and hopes to continue working in veterinary public health and epidemiology at the local or state level in the future.

SEzenwugoSean Ezenwugo, MPH

Sean received his B.S. in Biology from University of California, Los Angeles. He went on to complete his MPH with a focus in Epidemiology at UC Davis.  Prior to starting graduate school, Sean worked as a special projects coordinator with a wellness organization in Los Angeles, which sparked his interest in public health. During his time at UC Davis, he worked as a graduate student researcher with Healthy UC Davis, an organization that promotes a culture of health and well-being for the campus community. For his MPH practicum project, Sean worked with the Public Health Institute to evaluate the current access to clinical and social services for sickle cell disease patients in Alameda County. Sean will complete his Cal-EIS training at the Solano County Public Health Division within the Health & Social Services Department. 

RGhanbariRozhan Ghanbari, MPH

Rozhan Ghanbari received her B.S. in Public Health from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and her MPH in Epidemiology with a minor in Public Health Emergency Preparedness from Drexel University. Her Master's thesis utilized the DC Area Survey data to determine if there is an association between institutional trust and depressive symptoms. Rozhan was also a Dornsife Fellow where she worked on a project that focused on state mental health authorities priorities and factors that may influence their priorities for children's mental health as well as refining the delivery of evidence-based care in health systems. She also had the opportunity to work with the Center for Firefighter Injury Research & Safety Trends regarding the Stress and Violence in fire-based Emergency Medical Services responders project. These experiences strengthened Rozhan's research interests in violence prevention, mental health, and emergency preparedness. Rozhan will complete her Cal-EIS fellowship at CDPH  within the Injury and Violence Prevention Branch in Sacramento, CA. She is looking forward to learning more about the intersection between violence prevention and public health! 

Narjara GrossmannNárjara Grossmann, MPVM

Nárjara is a Brazilian Veterinarian with a Masters in Zoology from Universidade de Brasília and an MPVM from UC Davis. Her interests include population dynamics, infectious diseases, one health and geospatial analyses. For most of her career she worked mitigating conflicts in the human-animal interface. This allowed her to have a broad view of population management and a better understanding of the complex relationships between wildlife and people. This also allowed her to engage in policy making and to work alongside public institutions to solve real world problems. During her first masters she sought to see the impacts of fire on host-parasite ecology and epidemiology. During her MPVM she had an opportunity to travel to Madagascar to apply participatory surveys among hunting communities and perform epidemiological investigations during an outbreak of African Swine Fever. This experience cemented her desire to pursue a career in epidemiology. Her MPVM project focused on understanding the environmental factors associated to avian influenza cases in wild birds and improve surveillance efforts by proposing risk-based surveillance strategies. As a CAl-EIS fellow at the Napa County Health Department, she has worked on the ongoing COVID-19 response, specializing in outbreak investigation and infection prevention in congregate settings. She continues to work with this in her second year, as well as tracking disease severity data, responding to outbreaks of other infectious diseases and opioid surveillance. 

AGuzmanAndrea Guzman, MPH

Andrea is originally from California but in the past five years has lived in South Carolina, New York, Connecticut, Maine, and New Hampshire. She has a B.S. in Health Science from California State University, Chico, and an MPH. from the University of New Hampshire. Before attending graduate school, Andrea's focus was on health education in high schools and colleges regarding intimate partner violence and consent. She wanted to focus on program planning in graduate school but discovered an undeniable interest in epidemiology and policy instead. While in New Hampshire, Andrea worked for the New Hampshire Public Health Association as the Workforce Development Coordinator, and later as the COVID-19 Equity Task Force Coordinator.  She did a legislative internship with Planned Parenthood Action Fund and completed her MPH practicum with the State of New Hampshire's Division of Public Health Services. For her practicum she was responsible for collecting and analyzing survey data for New Hampshire's Therapeutic Cannabis Program, to discern if there was a link between access to therapeutic cannabis and decreased reliance on prescription opioids for New Hampshire's therapeutic cannabis patients. Andrea also joined New Hampshire's Equity Leaders Fellowship, which allowed her to promote equity as a temporary board member for the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute. She has accepted a position as a Cal-EIS Fellow with the CDPH Tobacco Control Program, which allowed her to finally move home to California where the plan is to continue her career. She is looking forward to working with and learning from the Tobacco Control team. 

SHashmiShumaila Hashmi, MBBS, MPH

Shumaila Hashmi pursued MPH at Portland State University (Now Oregon Health and Science University-Portland State University, School of Public Health), Portland, Oregon (OR). She obtained her medical degree and subsequent residency and fellowship training, in Obstetrics and Gynecology, at Nishtar Medical University and Teaching Hospital, Pakistan.

Shumaila recently finished volunteering at the CDPH Chronic Disease Control Branch. During this period, she assisted with planning and implementation of CDC's "Prevention Forward" program as well as the "Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Program". Prior to this, she gained clinic administrative experience working as clinic manager for a Community Health Center in Portland, OR, before moving to California in 2019.

During graduate studies, she worked as a research assistant at the Institute on Aging, Portland State University, to evaluate interdisciplinary education and training programs for health care providers, for improving methods of care of older adults. Moreover, her internship at Oregon Health and Science University provided her with the opportunity to evaluate the "Let's Get Healthy" program aimed at promoting better understanding of the relationship between genetic and epigenetic factors, and lifetime risk of chronic disease.

Shumaila's professional experiences have amplified her interest in the study of social determinants of health, health inequities and lifestyle factors influencing health outcomes in diverse communities, especially in populations with high risk and high burden of disease. She is truly excited to join the prestigious Cal-EIS fellowship program at the CDPH Office of Oral Health and looks forward to learning from the experts, and leaders in the field of Epidemiology. She aspires to strengthen her applied epidemiologic competencies and leadership skills during the Cal-EIS training for a future role, as an epidemiologist, in the public sector.

Natalie Hurlock 1Natalie Hurlock, MPH

Natalie received her B.A. in Human Health and Mathematics and her MPH in Epidemiology from Emory University. She completed her first year as a Cal-EIS fellow at CDPH in the Injury and Violence Prevention Branch and is excited to stay on board for a second year of the fellowship to continue to support the Essentials for Childhood (EfC) Initiative and other violence prevention programs. Natalie supports the EfC Initiative and stakeholders from over 80 organizations across California in their mission to prevent and reduce Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) through primary prevention strategies that strengthen economic supports, create social normal change, and promote safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for children and families in California. Natalie has contributed to increasing statewide data collection on ACEs and positive childhood experiences (PCEs), created resources and assisted with facilitating webinars to raise awareness about the availability of ACEs and child wellbeing data and how to utilize data to educate about the need for policy change, and prepared a scientific manuscript and presented findings at a conference hosted by the University of Michigan about trends in youth suicide in California using data from the California Violent Death Reporting System (CalVDRS). In the next year, Natalie will contribute to program evaluation efforts, opportunities to strengthen child death reporting in California, a shared risk and protective factors framework for violence prevention, and data briefs about ACEs and family experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. Natalie's research interests include preventing violence among youth, maternal and child health, and chronic disease. After completing the fellowship, Natalie hopes to work as a Research Scientist and continue to address health disparities and reduce rates of violence and chronic disease among Californians.

MMartinezMelinda (Mindi) Martinez, MPH, CPH

Mindi received her B.S. degree in Kinesiology from San Francisco State University. After working in healthcare for many years, Mindi returned to school to obtain her MPH from Touro University California (TUC). Healthcare led Mindi to pursue a career in public health due to her developed interest in focusing on preventative disease measures and population health, as well as her passion to address health disparities and promote positive health behaviors. Her interests include infectious disease, maternal and child health, and health equity. While attending TUC, Mindi engaged in many learning opportunities, including work as a research assistant examining the relationship between anal HPV, HIV, and aging, conducted a program evaluation on three programs for one of the largest national community-based organizations that advocates for and serves adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, became an Epidemiology teaching assistant, and worked as a data and grant intern for a non-profit organization serving women and children impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. Her Master's thesis focused on factors associated with motherhood among female sex workers in Cambodia. Mindi will be completing her Cal-EIS fellowship with the Napa County Public Health Department and is excited to further develop her skills as an epidemiologist while working on projects related to COVID-19, chronic diseases, and health equity. After her fellowship, Mindi aims to continue working with the diverse communities within California as an applied epidemiologist.

ASyedAmal Syed, MPH

Amal will be completing her Cal-EIS fellowship with the Mariposa County Health and Human Services Agency. She received her B.S. in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior and her MPH with an emphasis in Epidemiology, both from UC Davis. Prior to entering graduate school, Amal served as a board member on Shifa Community Clinic, a free clinic in Sacramento that serves the uninsured population, and worked with the CDPH Health Office of Refugee Health in helping new refugee families access healthcare in Sacramento. These experiences helped her develop her interests in health disparities, maternal and child health, and environmental exposures. During her MPH program, Amal worked as a COVID-19 contact tracer and case investigator for Yolo County and completed her practicum project with Yolo Healthy Aging Alliance. She developed a comprehensive Older Adult Fall Prevention Program and completed data analysis on fall-related hospital data in collaboration with Yolo County Health and Human Services. Amal has worked in many different areas within public health which have all enforced her passion for epidemiology. She is excited to further develop her skills and explore more areas of epidemiology during her fellowship. After completing Cal-EIS, Amal hopes to work as an epidemiologist at the state or local level to continue serving the public.  

KWalkerKristen Walker, MPH

Kristen is from West Lafayette, Indiana, where she completed her B.S. in Biology and MPH in Health Statistics at Purdue University. During her MPH program, Kristen served as the President of Purdue's Public Health Student Association, contributed to Indiana's COVID-19 response as a Contact Tracer, and worked part-time as the Overdose Surveillance System Data Analyst at the Indiana Department of Health. She has broad epidemiological interests, including infectious diseases, environmental health, and health equity; however, her MPH practicum project, which involved analyzing Indiana's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey data to assess the prevalence of Adverse Childhood Experiences and their association with various health outcomes among Indiana adults, sparked her passion for injury and violence epidemiology in particular. Kristen is very excited to work at the Sutter County Public Health Department as a Cal-EIS Fellow this year, where she plans to provide epidemiological support across a variety of health areas. After her fellowship, Kristen hopes to continue reducing health disparities through epidemiological practice and leadership at a local level.

FWuFrank Wu, MPH

Frank was born and raised in San Francisco, CA, received his B.S. in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and his MPH with an emphasis in Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Prior to graduate school, Frank worked at the Gladstone Institutes where he studied host immune responses following viral infection in the mucosa, and at Gilead Sciences where he interrogated the function of novel small molecules for the purpose of HIV cure. His MPH thesis sought to understand how patterns of healthcare use in people who inject drugs, and how diagnoses commonly associated with this group may inform healthcare providers with temporal patterns of infection with HIV, HCV, or drug overdoses.  In his fellowship year, Frank will serve at the CDPH Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. He is excited to use this opportunity to further hone his practical skills in public service epidemiology.


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