Meet the Team
Katie's research interests are in identifying and understanding the underlying risk factors for social inequities in HIV/STIs and developing behavioral interventions to reduce risk among racial, sexual and gender minorities and those in resource limited settings, both domestically and globally. Specifically, her primary areas are: 1) using novel and complex methods to better understand social and structural factors that cause inequities in HIV/STI risk among racial and sexual minority groups; 2) developing and testing HIV primary and secondary prevention interventions, including HIV testing, PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis for the prevention of HIV in uninfected individuals) and antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence intervention trials, and 3) global HIV research in settings with limited resources and among marginalized and stigmatized populations at elevated HIV risk, including gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) and male sex workers.
Jackie is a social epidemiologist with expertise in epidemiology, behavioral science, and mixed-methods (qualitative and quantitative) research. Her research examines the individual, interpersonal, and structural drivers of health inequities, with a focus on the impact of stigma on the health of sexual and gender minority populations, people who use drugs, and those living with HIV. Her research also includes the development and testing of bio-behavioral interventions to prevent and treat substance use disorder, HIV, and poor mental health in diverse populations domestically and internationally.
Vanessa Silva is a project manager at Brown University Center for Health Equity and Health Promotion and a graduate student in Boston University's Social Work program. She has a background in social sciences, cardiovascular health and social and behavioral health and my research interests lie in socioeconomic and racial impacts on health outcomes and one's mental health. She hopes to one day take the skills she has learned in medical and social science research and apply them to research in social sciences. In addition to research, she enjoys gardening, running and organizing local community efforts.
Stephanie Vento, BS
Stephanie Vento is a Project Coordinator for the POINTS Study. She graduated from Northeastern University with a B.S. in psychology and has previously worked as a research assistant at UCSF’s Memory and Aging Center and in the Women’s Health Sciences Division of the National Center for PTSD. While she has experience working across disciplines, her main research interests center on criminology and the perpetration of violent crime. When she’s not working, Stephanie loves traveling, reading, and re-watching New Girl.
Lance Nelson is a sex worker rights advocate and research assistant on the PrEPare for Work study. A graduate of Columbia University, where he wrote his thesis on peer-led outreach to male sex workers, he worked previously as a research and advocacy intern with the Sex Workers Project of the Urban Justice Center. He has organized expert panels on the decriminalization and destigmatization of sex work, and worked as a project advisor at Black and Pink, where he helped build a healthcare toolkit for current and former sex workers. He also enjoys camping, hiking, reading, and horror comedies.
Olly is a Research Assistant and study Navigator within the FRESH Lab. They received their BSc in Psychology and Criminal Justice & Criminology (minor in Political Science) from Loyola University Chicago. Prior to joining the FRESH team, Olly worked as a Clinical Research Assistant with justice-involved youth and autistic youth/young adults, respectively. He is particularly interested in research examining the experiences of those who’ve endured complex trauma, as well as the development of psychometric instruments. In their personal life, Olly fosters cute animals and fervently enjoys all forms of art.
Yohansa Fernández, PhD, LMSW
Yohansa Fernández is a postdoctoral scholar at Brown University and mentee of Dr. Jackie Hughto. She earned a PhD in Social Work from New York University, an MSW from Hunter College, and a BS in Human Development from Binghamton University. Yohansa has over a decade of clinical practice experience and an extensive research background. Her research primarily focuses on the individual, interpersonal, community, and societal mechanisms that exacerbate health-related disparities. Yohansa was recently named the up-and-coming awardee by the Society of Behavioral Medicine. Outside of academia, Yohansa enjoys traveling and spending time with her family.
William Lodge II, MSc
William Lodge II is a fourth-year doctoral student focused on HIV primary and secondary prevention research—both domestically and in resource-constrained settings across the globe. His research interests include investigating barriers and facilitators to suboptimal antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence among gender and sexual minorities living with HIV. His dissertation research uses syndemic theory and intersectionality to understand the impact of substance use and other psychosocial factors on ART adherence among transgender women in India. Before Brown, he worked for several years at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School on a range of research projects such as knowledge and attitudes on polio immunization, Ebola and Zika viruses, quality of surgical care, and cost-effectiveness of a national immunization program. While his work has primarily been focused in South Asia, he has also worked on projects in Tanzania, Somalia, Guinea Bissau, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the United States.
Siena Napoleon earned her BA in Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences and Psychology from Wellesley College and her MPH in Health Policy and Management from Boston University. Siena has diverse practical experience in multiple sectors of public health. Currently a PhD student in Behavioral and Social Sciences at Brown, she is advised by Drs. Katie Biello and Rosemarie Martin. Her main research interests include implementation science and the neurocognitive impact of stimulant use in young adulthood. Outside of school, Siena loves cooking, outdoor sports, and spending time with her daughters.
Patrick Kelly, MPH
Patrick (Pat) Kelly (pronouns: he/him/his) is a first-year doctoral student focused on the psychosocial and structural factors that influence medical decision making among LGBTQ populations and people with substance use disorder(s). He created the makeshift medicine framework that aims to understand how people meet their healthcare needs when excluded from formalized healthcare systems. Pat primarily contributes to data collection and qualitative analysis for the POINTS Study. He holds an MPH in Social and Behavioral Sciences from Temple University, and is advised by Drs. Hughto and Biello.
Madeline Noh, BA
MPH Student, Graduate Research Assistant
Madeline “Maddy” Noh is a Research Assistant supporting a study on preventing opioid overdoses involving stimulants. She is also experienced in research and advocacy around racial inequities, sexual health disparities, LGBTQ+ issues, and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. She is personally and professionally passionate about prioritizing community engagement and intersectionality in public health. She is completing her MPH at Brown, where she also got her BA in Public Health and Anthropology. She intends to pursue a career in law to bring perspectives from health justice into legal advocacy.
Arnelle Toffey, BA
Arnelle earned her BS in Public Health with a concentration in Global Health from Kent State University and is anticipated to graduate in May '23 from Brown University with her MPH in Health Justice and Policy. She currently serves as a Research Assistant with Brown University Center for Health Promotion and Health Equity. Her main research interests include policy evaluation concepts through a health equity-based lens, measuring the quality of health care delivery for vulnerable populations with chronic diseases and its application to improving minority health. Outside of academia, Arnelle enjoys traveling and making TikToks.
Madison Davis, BA
Madison Davis is a master's in public health candidate concentrating in health services, policy, and practice. She is the Chair of Communication and Advocacy on the Graduate Student Council and a Teaching Assistant in the Biostatistics and Epidemiology Department. She has worked as an EMT under the Los Angeles Department of Health as a part of a street medicine team bringing healthcare to the unhoused population and in the emergency department through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tyler Alexander, BA
Tyler Alexander is a Master of Public Health (MPH) student and Health Equity Scholar at Brown. She is concentrating in interdisciplinary studies that focus on epidemiology and health services research. She is a research assistant with the FRESH Lab under the supervision of Dr. Katie Biello where she works primarily on the PrEPare for Work study. Tyler completed her undergraduate degree in Chemistry at Xavier University of Louisiana. Her research interests include sexual and reproductive health, health equity, and gender and sexual minorities.
The FRESH team is not currently hiring.
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