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Center Staff

Mary Wolfe, PhD

Mary Wolfe, PhD

Research Scientist

Mary Wolfe, PhD, is a Research Scientist at the UNC Center for Health Equity Research. She earned her PhD in City & Regional Planning from UNC-Chapel Hill, where she investigated transportation access to health care as well as innovative solutions to transportation barriers to care. Before coming to UNC-Chapel Hill, Dr. Wolfe was a Fulbright scholar at the Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research. Her research centers on connections between the built environment and health to understand disparities in health care access and health outcomes.

Rachel Quinto

Center Manager

Rachel Quinto serves as the Center Manager for the UNC Center for Health Equity Research and is the Program Manager for Clinical Scholars funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Her experience at the UNC School of Medicine includes coordination of the medical school LCME accreditation, as well as four years of recruitment, pre-health advising, and pipeline programming through the Office of Special Programs. She is a Producer for “A Different Kind of Leader” Podcast hosted by Dr. Giselle Corbie-Smith which captures insights from diverse leaders so organizations are in a stronger position to grow, innovate, and meet the challenges of the day. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology in 2010 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Stephanie Hoover, PhD

(919)966-1649

Stephanie Hoover, PhD

Assistant Director of Research

Stephanie Hoover, Ph.D., is the Assistant Director of Research at the UNC Center for Health Equity Research. Stephanie earned her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Utah, where she investigated social justice training for mental health service providers. Her research interests include culturally adapted interventions for Latinx youth, social justice training for mental health service providers, and participatory and qualitative methods.

Jamie Sue Ede

(919) 843-8271

Jamie Sue Ede

Center Administrative Associate

Jamie Sue Ede serves as the Center Administrative Associate for the UNC Center for Health Equity Research. Her experience at the UNC School of Medicine includes both finance and administrative work, in addition to qualitative research on various grants. She is currently working on her Masters of Library Science with an interest in representation and diversity in library collections and research. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 2012 from the Texas A&M University.


Project Coordinators

Bukola Adeshina, MPH

Bukola Adeshina, MPH

Associate Project Leader

Bukola Adeshina is the Associate Project Leader for the Evidence Academy and North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences (NC TraCS) Institute at The University of North Carolina, working in conjunction with Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics Underserved Populations (RADx-UP).

She completed her MPH in 2020 with a concentration in Leadership in Practice from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. She has experience designing and conducting research focused on identifying and addressing health disparities, particularly affecting women of color.

She is passionate about achieving health equity and cultural competency through community leadership and engagement strategies and incorporating community feedback in problem-solving and effective solutions.

Forrest Behne

Policy Analyst

Forrest Behne is a policy analyst at the Re-Envisioning Health and Justice Lab. In 2014, he earned a BS in Biology from Washington & Lee University and had spent six years in the beer industry as a brewer and microbiologist. He was incarcerated for nearly two years because of a little-understood medical condition. Since being released through clemency by Ohio’s governor, he is inspired to help those affected by the criminal justice system. His research interests now include criminal justice reform, penology, and the collateral consequences of incarceration.

Angela Benson

Research Assistant

Angela Benson is a Research Assistant at the Center for Health Equity Research in the Re-Envisioning Health and Justice Lab. She received her B.A. in anthropology and public health from the University of Rochester in 2019. Her undergraduate research activities took her to field sites across India, including Kerala – where she led an independent project exploring casteism in Christian communities. Her research interests include racial and caste equity, HIV prevention, and community-based health.

Chris Corsi

Chris Corsi

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Chris Corsi

Research Assistant

Chris Corsi serves as a research assistant at the Center for Health Equity Research. Previously, he has worked in health promotion, education, and prevention of violence and disease. In 2018, he earned his BA in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research interests include HIV and LGBTQ health disparities.

Mariah Cowell, MSW

Mariah Cowell, MSW

Research Assistant

Mariah Cowell is a Research Assistant for the Center for Health Equity Research in a the Health & Justice Lab. Her past work experience includes community engaged research, project management, and program evaluation.  She received her Master’s Degree in Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her research interests include hyper-incarceration and the criminal justice system, racial equity, and incorporating anti-oppressive frameworks into practice.

Maura Drewry, MPH

(336) 324-5338

Maura Drewry, MPH

Social/Clinical Research Assistant

Maura Drewry (she/her/hers) serves as a Social/Clinical Research Assistant for the UNC Center for Health Equity Research. She earned her MPH in Health Behavior from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health in 2020, and she earned her BS in Health Sciences from Furman University in 2017. Her prior work experience includes a variety of community-engaged efforts focused on chronic disease prevention, mental health, anti-racism, and Adverse Childhood Experiences. Her research interests include racial equity, social determinants of health, systems-level public health solutions, holistic health promotion, and community-based participatory methods.

Patrick Matherly

(919) 619-1314

Patrick Matherly

Data Engineer

Patrick Matherly is a data engineer at the Re-Envisioning Health and Justice Lab. He graduated from UNC in 2017 with a B.A. in Computer Science. Prior to joining the lab, Patrick worked in affordable housing at NYC Housing Preservation and Development and education research at Columbia University. Patrick is interested in data science and how incarceration creates racial health disparities.

Sarah Morgan, MSW

(919) 843-8270

Sarah Morgan, MSW

Project Coordinator

Sarah Morgan serves as a Project Coordinator for the Center for Health Equity Research.  In 2012, she earned her Master of Social Work from the Joint Master of Social Work Program through North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her research interests include Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and their effects on developmental trajectories and outcomes throughout the lifespan.  In 2009, Sarah completed her BA in Psychology and English at the University of North Carolina.

Nastacia Pereira, MPH

Nastacia Pereira, MPH

Research Specialist

Nastacia Pereira (she/her/hers) is a Research Specialist in the RISE lab and helps to support various ongoing projects in the lab from monitoring study progress to data analysis. Nastacia earned her MPH in Health Behavior from the Gillings School of Global Public Health and her Bachelor’s in Psychology from Agnes Scott College. Her research interests include the implications of racism and discrimination on health, applied solutions to reduce racism and close gaps in health disparities, and community-based participatory research.

Meghan Peterson, MPH

Meghan Peterson, MPH

Project Director, COVID Prison Project

Meghan Peterson is the Project Director for the COVID Prison Project. She is interested in using health research methods to understand and ultimately eradicate the prison-industrial complex. Her past research has focused on criminalization of substance use disorders, sex workers’ rights campaigns, and access to medications for addiction treatment.

Hannah Potter, MPH

(704) 690-1488

Hannah Potter, MPH

Associate Project Leader

Hannah Potter serves as the Associate Project Leader for Community and Health Systems Engagement with Radx-UP (Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics Underserved Populations). She comes to CHER with varied experiences at the intersection of health equity and community centered work through various roles as a doula and in organizing around health access. She received her MPH in 2019 from the Department of Maternal and Child Health at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC. While in her MPH at UNC, she received a FLAS award for the study of Arabic from the UNC Center for Middle East Studies and served as a GRA with the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute. Her research interests are health equity, reproductive justice, and community based participatory methods.

Nicole Robinson-Ezekwe

Nicole Robinson-Ezekwe, MA, MPH

Nicole Robinson-Ezekwe, MA, MPH

Social/Clinical Research Specialist

Nicole Robinson-Ezekwe serves as a Project Coordinator for the University of North Carolina (UNC) Center for Health Equity Research. She received her MPH in Health Behavior in 2016 from UNC. Nicole has previously earned a B.S. from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) in Environmental Science in 2009 and in 2011 earned an M.A. in Geography from the University Maryland, College Park. Her research interests include the built environment’s role in the development, prevention, and management of chronic diseases in minority communities and also applying GIS and spatial analysis methodologies in public health.

Gabrielle Schust, BA

(573) 777-0495

Gabrielle Schust, BA

Graduate Research Assistant

Gabrielle Schust is a first-year Master of Public Health Student in the Global Health concentration at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. She received her B.A. in International Studies and Spanish from the Croft Institute for International Studies at the University of Mississippi in May of 2020, where she did her senior thesis on the comparative role of nuns as providers of healthcare and social services across time and place. Her research interests include US health law and policy, sexual and reproductive rights and justice, and healthcare inequities for refugee and recent immigrant populations in the US.

Shikira Thomas, MSPH

(318) 834-7577

Shikira Thomas, MSPH

Research Program Manager

Shikira Thomas is a Research Program Manager in the Center for Health Equity Research for the New IDEAS study, under the supervision of Peggye Dilworth-Anderson, PhD and Stephanie Hoover, PhD.

She is a recent MSPH graduate of Health Behavior from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, and received a BS in Biology from Xavier University of Louisiana. Her research interests are in colorism, racism, and discrimination as upstream determinants of chronic disease in African Americans. Shikira’s master’s thesis focused on the association between skin color and hypertension for college-educated African Americans.

Recently, Shikira has served as a Project Manager for a HRSA-funded Health Workforce Research Center at the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, as well as a Project Coordinator for a NIDA-funded study investigating the role of neighborhoods, daily stress, stress hormones, and substance use among young adult Black males in Durham county.

 

Madelene Travis

Madelene Travis

Site Coordinator

Madelene Travis is a site coordinator of the JCOIN TCN-Paths study at the Re-Envisioning Health and Justice Lab. She graduated from Colorado College in 2017 with a B.A. in Sociology, with a focus on the sociology of health and medicine. Broadly, her research interests include the social determinants of health, how individuals and families cope with chronic illness, and the intersection between the criminal justice system and opioid use.

Craig A. Waleed, EdD.

Craig A. Waleed, EdD.

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Dr. Craig Waleed is an Educator, Counselor, Certified Restorative Practices Group Facilitator, author and, Motivational Speaker dedicated to excellence in teaching and scholarship and disrupting the community-to-prison pipeline. Dr. Waleed is devoted to educating and motivating others to challenge and overcome many of life’s impediments and living a more rewarding experience.

Dr. Waleed completed his doctoral studies in Executive Leadership from St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY. His career journey includes:

  • Serving as a substance abuse counselor.
  • Developing and managing reentry initiatives for post-incarcerated citizens.
  • Teaching mental health counseling and communication courses at The College at Brockport State University Of New York, and Monroe Community College in Rochester, NY.

Dr. Waleed’s passion has led him to work closely with student bodies on several college campuses and participate in several community panels exploring carceral matters. His accomplishments include:

  • Guest speaker at TEDx SingSing 2020.
  • Several podcast guest appearances.
  • Leading Restorative Practices Training.
  • D.E.I. (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) consultant for various organizations.
  • Releasing his autobiography (August 2, 2020) entitled “Prison to Promise: A Chronicle of Healing and Transformation.”

Miranda Rain Wenhold, M.S.Ed.

Miranda Rain Wenhold, M.S.Ed.

Research Project Manager

Miranda Rain Wenhold, M.S.Ed (LPC and NCC Eligible) is a Research Project Manager at the UNC Center for Health Equity Research. Miranda earned her master’s in School and Mental Health Counseling from the University of Pennsylvania and is a Pennsylvania Certified School Counselor (PreK-12).

While at the University of Pennsylvania (U.Penn), Miranda worked as a Project Manager and primary writer on the publication Planning for Uncertainty: An Educator’s Guide to Navigating the COVID-19 Era, providing educators with a decision-making framework with mental wellness and equity concerns at the forefront. Additionally, Miranda worked as a Research Project Liaison at U.Penn, working alongside school district stakeholders to engage in needs assessment, data collection, and capacity-building processes to establish access to optimal development opportunities for all students.

Miranda has also had experience providing 1:1 and group counseling in public schools, alternative schools, and community-based counseling centers. Miranda’s eclectic counseling orientationintegrating existential, feminist, family systems, and psychoanalytic principlesis reflective of her interest in understanding individuals within their unique familial, societal, and cultural contexts.

Her foremost areas of research interest lie at the intersection of education, mental health, and criminal justice reform.

Jenny Williams, PhD

Jenny Williams, PhD

Research Coordinator

Jenny Williams earned her PhD in anthropology in 2013 from the University of Kentucky.  Her research interests focus on the biological and social causes and consequences of health inequity, particularly for under-served populations.  Jenny has worked in a variety of contexts including sub-saharan Africa, Northern Europe, and the United States.  Her particular areas of interest include: nutritional health disparities, trauma and gender-based violence, and community-led responses to health inequities.


Clinical Scholars

Gabrielle Diekmann

(919) 843-1349

Gabrielle Diekmann

Communications Specialist

Gabrielle Diekmann is the Communications Specialist for the Clinical Scholars Program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Gabrielle has over 5 years experience helping small businesses and nonprofits grow through integrated marketing communication strategies. She came to UNC from Southeast Missouri State University, where she served as a Project Coordinator for the Economic and Business Engagement Center’s grant-funded research and programming. She received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Marketing with minors in Mass Communications and Professional Selling in 2012 from the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

Melissa Green, MPH

(919)843-3304

Melissa Green, MPH

Deputy Director for Communication and Recruitment

Melissa is the Deputy Director for Communication and Recruitment for the Clinical Scholars Program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and is affiliated with CHER. Melissa’s experience includes 15 years managing research intervention studies in community settings using principles of community-based participatory research with and for African American and Latino populations. Her research interests include health disparities across the cancer continuum, peer support interventions, disease prevention, and factors that influence participation in health research. She received her Masters of Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health in Health Behavior and Health Education.