Emily Oken, MD, MPH, Director
Vice Chair
(617) 867-4879
Jason Block, MD, MPH, Co-Director
Associate Professor
(617) 867-4835
Izzuddin Aris, PhD
Assistant Professor
(617) 867-4239
Brittany Charlton, MSc, ScD
Assistant Professor
(857) 218-5463
Marie-France Hivert, MD, MMSc
Associate Professor
(617) 867-4505
Peter James
Associate Professor
(617) 867-4850
Davene Wright, PhD
Assistant Professor
(617) 867-4530


Molly Ahern, BA | Administrative Specialist
Molly joined CoRAL in April 2019 as an Administrative Specialist and supports multiple faculty as well as overall CoRAL operations. Previously, Molly worked as a Clinical Administrative Support Specialist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in the Center for Cancer Genetics and Prevention. She is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a B.A. in Communication and a minor in Education. Molly also brings some previous social media and public relations experience to her role.
Phone: (617) 867-4827
Email: molly_ahern@harvardpilgrim.org
Ayisha Bhuttor, BSA | Research Assistant
Ayisha is a research assistant with Project Viva. She joined CoRAL in January 2020. Ayisha received her BSA in Biology and she worked as a research assistant at the University of Texas at Austin assisting and overseeing research projects involving hormone signaling, stress response and chromatin regulation in the nucleus.
Phone: (617) 867-4803
Email: ayisha_bhuttor@harvardpilgrim.org
Nicole Bornkamp, BA, MPH | Project Manager
Nicole Bornkamp joined the ECHO team as the Project Manager in March 2020. She had previously joined the Institute in July 2019 as the Project Coordinator for the Project Viva team. She graduated from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in 2019 with a Master of Public Health in Infectious Disease Epidemiology. Her research at Columbia, and previously at Princeton University throughout her undergraduate career, was focused on antibiotic resistance and its impact on coinfection rates of HIV and gonorrhea in vulnerable populations. Previously, Nicole worked for NYU Langone Medical Center’s Division of Rheumatology researching Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, specifically focused on the heterogeneity of molecular signatures in lupus nephritis patients through single cell RNA sequencing of kidney and skin.
Phone: (617) 867-4803
Email: nicole_bornkamp@harvardpilgrim.org
Lauren Cleveland, MS, MPH | Project Manager
Lauren Cleveland is a Project Manager supporting chronic disease related studies and conducts research on obesity prevention policy. Lauren studied English at the University of New Hampshire and puts her undergrad degree to use as an editor for the Weighing in Blog and organizing CoRAL's book club. She received her MPH from Tufts School of Medicine, where she focused on health communication and her MS in food policy from Tufts Friedman School. Prior to HPHCI, she coordinated a longitudinal study for Dartmouth College's Geisel School of Medicine that investigated the impact of food marketing on young children.
Phone: (617) 867-4419
Email: lauren_cleveland@harvardpilgrim.org
Sarah Cohan, PMP | Program Manager
Sarah joined the Project Viva team in June 2020. She was previously the Lab Manager for the Vision Sciences Lab in the Harvard Department of Psychology, collaborating on research exploring the spectrum of human face recognition abilities, and developing and validating online cognitive assessments. Following that she was a project and portfolio manager with the Football Players Health Study at Harvard Medical School, developing and managing studies of former NFL player behavioral and physical function. She received her BA in Theatrical Stage Management and Psychology from the University of Vermont, and is a certified Project Management Professional. Outside of HPHCI, she is the HR manager for Company One Theatre (www.CompanyOne.org), sings with the Boston Symphony, is a graduate student in Management with a focus on Organizational Behavior, bakes at www.TheSweeteryBoston.com, and loves playing with her baby boy, born in March 2020.
Phone: (857) 636-0904
Email: sarah_cohan@harvardpilgrim.org
Samuel Edwards, BA, MA | Research Assistant
Sam joined Project Viva as a full-time CoRAL Research Assistant in September 2020. Prior to joining the Institute, he served as a Rural Family Health Educator with Peace Corps-Belize teaching health and physical education courses as well as helping implement community projects designed to sustainably improve maternal, neonatal, and child health outcomes and prevent non-communicable disease. Sam earned his Bachelor and Master of Art degrees in 2018 and 2019 at Vanderbilt University as part of an interdisciplinary, dual degree program in Medicine, Health, & Society. He has a wide array of interests including sports, food, Netflix docu-series, and staying up to date with hip-hop music, fashion, and dance. Same hopes to eventually earn an impactful career as a physician and global health professional.
Email: samuel_edwards@harvardpilgrim.org
Olivia Giordano Kean, BS, MPH | Project Manager
Olivia joined CoRAL in October 2021 as the Project Manager for Project Viva women’s health grant portfolio, as well as Dr. Charlton’s sexual orientation, gender identity, and health grants. Previously, Olivia worked as a Project Manager for the federal Healthy Start program’s Technical Assistance and Support Center within the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality. Prior to that, Olivia worked as a Project Manager in the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Office of External Affairs. Olivia graduated from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health with a Master of Public Health in Sociomedical Sciences with a concentration in child, youth, and family health. She also earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Global Public Health and Food Studies from New York University.
Phone: 617-867-4925
Email: Olivia_Giordano_Kean@harvardpilgrim.org
Emily Goldsmith, BS, MA | Project Manager
Emily joined CoRAL in June 2020 as the Operations Project Manager for Project Viva. Previously, she worked for two global health organizations, Pathfinder International and Management Sciences for Health, where she managed reproductive health and maternal and child health programs. In addition, she managed community health projects while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Togo. She holds an MA in Law and Diplomacy from Tufts University and a BS in Development Sociology from Cornell University. Outside of work, Emily enjoys hiking, running, skiing, and spending time with friends and family.
Email: emily_goldsmith@harvardpilgrim.org
Chelsea Jenter, MPH | Director of Operations
Chelsea Jenter, MPH, works closely with Dr. Emily Oken and Dr. Jason Block to oversee the operations of CoRAL within the Department of Population Medicine. Ms. Jenter has managed many research projects, spanning from IT interventions to large-scale interventions to nation-wide consortia. Ms. Jenter received her AB from Smith College and her MPH in Health Policy and Management from Boston University. She has worked in the Department of Population Medicine twice: first in the early 2000s, and then again starting in 2011.
Phone: (617) 867-4984
Email: chelsea_jenter@harvardpilgrim.org
Kathryn Jones, MPH, CIP | Research Associate, ECHO Program
Kathryn ‘Katie’ Jones is a Research Associate, supporting the data related projects for the ECHO program based within Project Viva and cohort infrastructure enrichment activities. She joined CoRAL in May 2019 after graduating from Boston University School of Public Health with an MPH in Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Katie has a background in research ethics, research compliance, and mixed-methods research. She most recently worked at the Boston University Medical Campus and Boston Medical Center Institutional Review Board, where she reviewed a variety of research studies as an analyst, ranging from longitudinal cohort studies to Phase 1 drug studies. Her academic interests include healthcare policy, maternal and child health, infectious disease, research ethics, and health equity.
Phone: (617)867-4875
Email: kathryn_jones@harvardpilgrim.org
Ana Kantorowski, MPH | Data Manager
Ana Kantorowski, MPH, joined CoRAL as a Data Manager in September 2018. Previously, she worked as a Clinical Project Coordinator at Harvard Medical School’s Programs in Research at VA Boston examining relationships between physical activity and respiratory health outcomes in persons with COPD. Ana earned a BS in Psychology from the University of Michigan in 2007 and an MPH in Epidemiology from Boston University in 2013. Her academic interests are public health focused and include reproductive epidemiology, infectious disease and health equity.
Phone: (617) 867-4988
Email: ana_kantorowski@harvardpilgrim.org
MollyAn Killingbeck | Senior Research Assistant
MollyAn Killingbeck joined CoRAL and the Project ECHO team as a Research Assistant. She graduated from Wellesley College, where she majored in Math and Chinese. In the past, MollyAn has worked as a Pharmacy Technician at Maine General Health and on the Compensation team at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. In her free time, she likes to play Spikeball and Ultimate Frisbee.
Phone: (617) 867-4814
Email: mollyan_killingbeck@harvardpilgrim.org
Kathleen Lynch, BS | Senior Research Assistant
Kathleen joined Project Viva in June 2017 as a Research Assistant. She received her BS in Public Health from Syracuse University in May 2016. At Syracuse, Kathleen was given many opportunities to engage in service learning, including an internship with the American Red Cross, in emergency preparedness. After college, she went on to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA in Philadelphia. Her future goal is to obtain her Master’s in Public Health. She is a part-time graduate student at Boston University, working toward her Master's in Public Health.
Phone: (617) 867-4954
Email: kathleen_lynch@harvardpilgrim.org
Shahzor Makhdoom, MPH | Research Analyst
Shahzor Makhdoom is a research analyst supporting data management and data analysis for Dr. Charlton’s sexual orientation, gender identity, and health grants. Shahzor will also provide assistance preparing data and papers for publication as well as developing related grant proposals. Shahzor studied at the University of Connecticut for his MPH concentrating on infectious disease epidemiology and biostatistics where he focused on malaria. Prior to HPHCI, he worked at Massachusetts Department of Public Health as a contract epidemiologist collecting and analyzing data on COVID cases in elder facilities.
Phone: (617) 867-4974
Email: Shahzor_Makhdoom@harvardpilgrim.org
Georgia Okolita, BN | Administrative Specialist
Georgia joined both CoRAL and CHeRP in November 2021 as an Administrative Specialist. She provides administrative support for both Brittany Charlton and Ann Wu as well as providing support within the hiring process for both CoRAL and CHeRP. Georgia graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science. Upon graduation, Georgia worked at the Neurosciences Center at Brigham and Women's Hospital as a Practice Assistant. She then went on to join the Department of Genetics and Population Sciences at Dana Farber Cancer Institute where she worked as a Genetic Testing Coordinator for the last three years.
Email: Georgia_Okolita@harvardpilgrim.org
Marleny Ortega, MPH | Senior Project Coordinator/Phlebotomist
Marleny joined Project Viva in September 2012 as a Research Assistant/Phlebotomist. She received her BA in Psychology/Child and Adolescent Development from Southern New Hampshire University and her MPH in 2019 from the same school. Prior to joining the Viva team, Marleny was a data collector at New England Research Institutes. In her free time, she enjoys reading, spending time with her family, and traveling.
Phone: (617) 867-4918
Email: Marleny_ortega@harvardpilgrim.org
Rebecca Paige, BS | Research Assistant/Phlebotomist
Rebecca joined Project Viva in September 2020 as a Research Assistant/Phlebotamist. She graduated from the University of Vermont with a B.S. in Biological Sciences in 2014. Before joining the Institute, she worked as a phlebotamist at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire and hopes to pursue a degree in genetic counseling in the future. Outside of work she enjoys time with friends and family, hiking, and playing rugby.
Email: rebecca_paige@harvardpilgrim.org
Joshua Petimar, ScD | Research Scientist
Joshua Petimar, ScD is a Research Scientist within the Department of Population Medicine at the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute and Harvard Medical School. His work is focused on the effects of public health nutrition policies on diet quality. His current work primarily uses sales data from food retailers and longitudinal data from large cohort studies to investigate research questions related to calorie labeling, nutrition assistance programs, and the effects of the food environment on diet and health. He pursues answers to these policy-relevant questions using natural experiments and epidemiologic methods for causal inference. He received his joint doctorate in Nutrition and Epidemiology from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where he previously studied relationships between diet, obesity, and cancer.
Phone: (617) 867-4518
Email: joshua_petimar@harvardpilgrim.org
Alicia Pham, BS | Research Assistant
Alicia joined CoRAL as a work-study student for Project Viva in February 2020 and became a full-time Research Assistant in May 2020. She received her BS in Health Sciences at Boston University. During her undergraduate career, she interned as a Research Assistant at Massachusetts General Hospital and worked part-time as a Receptionist at an eye clinic in Cambridge. In Alicia's free time, she enjoys traveling, spending time with friends and family, and arts and crafts projects.
Email: alicia_pham@harvardpilgrim.org
Anjali Rao, BA | Research Assistant
Anjali Rao is a Research Assistant in the Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute. She graduated from Tufts University and received her BA in Community Health. Prior to joining the Institute, Anjali worked in the dining services office at tufts and was also a completed a communications internship at the Center for Women’s Health & Human Rights. Anjali contributes to data curation associated with the many data cleaning and entry projects for Dr. Jason Block’s grant aiming to bring New Insights into the Federal Calorie Labeling Law.
Phone: (617) 867-4871
Email: Anjali_rao@harvardpilgrim.org
Sheryl Rifas-Shiman, MPH | Senior Research Associate
Sheryl L. Rifas-Shiman, MPH, is a senior research analyst/biostatistician in the Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute.  She is involved with many projects at the DPM including observational epidemiology, surveillance, and randomized interventions.  Her research interests include nutrition and other exposures that occur during pregnancy and childhood, and the influence of these experiences on the health of both mother and child.  Sheryl has led several analyses in the area of research methodology and predictors of childhood obesity.  As an educator, she has advised many research fellows and graduate/medical students on their research projects.
Phone: (617) 867-4824
Email: sheryl_rifas@harvardpilgrim.org
Melissa Sidote | Senior Research Assistant
Melissa joined CoRAL as a Senior Research Assistant on ECHO. She will primarily be working on data projects for external ECHO requests, helping to streamline internal data management and processing, and eventually work on survey development and recruitment. Melissa recently graduated with her MPH from the University of Miami. For the past several years, she worked at a violence prevention non-profit in Miami where she assisted in the development and implementation of research-based violence prevention strategies. Additionally, Melissa was part of the Social & Health Inequality Research Lab, where she contributed to research about household water insecurity in Ghana. Outside of the office, Melissa enjoys reading and cooking/baking.
Email: Melissa_Sidote@harvardpilgrim.org
Denise Simon, MPH | Project Manager
Denise Simon, MPH, is a Project Manager in the Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute. After receiving a BS in Health Science from Boston University, she went on to earn her MPH from Boston University School of Public Health with a concentration in Maternal and Child Health. Her research experience has involved research study design, data collection, and project oversight of epidemiologic research studies. She also participates in budgetary preparations for research grant proposals and ongoing financial monitoring for funded projects. Her interests include maternal and child health, wellness, healthcare policy, and community health education.
Phone: (617)867-4905
Email: Denise_Simon@harvardpilgrim.org
Joanne Sordillo, ScD, MS | Research Scientist II
Joanne Sordillo, ScD, MS, is an asthma epidemiologist with a background in clinical laboratory science, environmental exposure assessment, and the microbiome. Dr. Sordillo specializes in gene by environment interaction studies, and is PI of an NIH-funded study, An Integrative Genomics Approach to Gene by Environment Interactions in Asthma. She is a member of the Center for Healthcare Research in Pediatrics (CHeRP), and a co-investigator on the Age-Dependent Pharmacogenomics of Asthma Treatment (ADAPT) study, which aims to uncover how genomic determinants of asthma treatment response vary by age. Her research interests are in environmental health, pharmacogenetics, and pediatrics. Dr. Sordillo received her ScD from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell (Department of Work Environment). She was previously an Assistant Professor in the Channing Division of Network Medicine where she also conducted her research fellowship. Prior to entering academia, she worked in a biopharmaceutical characterization lab, and in the proteomic department at the Harvard Partners Center for Genetics and Genomics.
Phone: (617) 867-4580
Email: joanne_sordillo@harvardpilgrim.org
Karen Switkowski, PhD, MPH | Research Scientist
Karen Switkowski, PhD, MPH, is a Research Scientist in the Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute. Her background is in nutrition science and epidemiology, and she is primarily interested in researching associations of early-life nutrition, including maternal diet and nutritional status during pregnancy and infant and child nutrition, with child health outcomes. Dr. Switkowski works primarily on Project Viva, a longitudinal study of mother-child pairs. She was the Project Viva Project Manager from 2012-2016, and before coming to DPM, she worked as an Epidemiologist at the Tufts Clinical and Translational Science Institute. Dr. Switkowski received her PhD in Nutritional Epidemiology and MS in Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition from the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, as well as an MPH in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from the Tufts School of Medicine, Public Health and Professional Degree Programs.
Phone: (617) 867-4218
Email: Karen_Switkowski@harvardpilgrim.org
Szilvia Szegedi, BA | Project Coordinator
Szilvia joined CoRAL as an Administrative Specialist in January of 2014. Currently she is a Project Coordinator focusing on pre-award research administration, while also providing faculty support to Dr. Emily Oken and Dr. Jason Block. She also coordinates the CoRAL Blog - WeighingInBlog.org – and the CoRAL monthly newsletter. She earned her BA in Communications/Marketing from Boston College, where she played on the Division I varsity tennis team for 4 years. Prior to joining the CoRAL team, she worked as a marketing manager in the non-profit sector focusing on diversity and multiculturalism in the hospitality industry. She enjoys running, reading and cooking and she spends most of her free time with her husband and their two young sons.
Phone: (617) 867-4879
Email: szilvia_szegedi@harvardpilgrim.org
Jeff Verly | Financial Analyst
Jeff joined CoRAL as a Financial Analyst for the Project Viva team. Jeff brings knowledge and experience from both non-profit and for-profit financial institutions. During the summer of 2019, Jeff was an Internal Audit Intern with Harvard Pilgrim Health Care corporate in Quincy, MA. Jeff received his Bachelor's from Lasell College and his Master of Science in Finance from UMass Boston.
Email: jeff_verly@harvardpilgrim.org
Taylor Wensley | Senior Research Assistant
Taylor joined Project Viva in June of 2017 as a Research Assistant. Before that, she worked at Partners HealthCare in Population Health Management, working to integrate behavioral health in the primary care setting. She has also worked as a Research Assistant at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute for a large cohort study of young women with breast cancer.
Phone: (617) 867-4872
Email: taylor_wensley@harvardpilgrim.org


Nidhi Ghildayal, PhD
Prior to joining the Institute as a post-doctoral research fellow, Nidhi received her PhD in Health Services, Research, Policy and Administration, with a focus on Health Decision Science. Her background is in the study and modeling of infectious disease transmission. Her research interests include efficient interventions against infectious and chronic diseases, and she hopes to study strategies that can benefit vulnerable populations in the future.
Email: nidhi_ghildayal@harvardpilgrim.org
Anna H. Grummon, PhD, MSPH
Anna Grummon is a David E. Bell Fellow at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies and a research fellow at the Division of Chronic Disease Research Across the Lifecourse (CoRAL). Prior to coming to Harvard, Anna received a PhD and MSPH in Health Behavior from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a BA in Human Biology from Stanford University. As a behavioral scientist, Anna’s research integrates randomized experiments with mathematical modeling to examine whether nutrition policies like warning labels, soda taxes, and food assistance programs affect what we eat and how healthy we are. At CoRAL, she is working with Dr. Jason Block to examine whether companies reformulate products in response to the recent federal mandate that requires food retailers to post calorie information. Anna is originally from East Lansing, Michigan.
Email: anna_grummon@harvardpilgrim.org | agrummon@hsph.harvard.edu
Pi-I (Debby) Lin, MS, ScD
Debby began as a research fellow in CoRAL in 2017. Her research uses population-level data to study the impact of environmental and chemical exposures on health outcome across the life-course. Her research had span across heavy metals (arsenic, lead, mercury, cadmium, manganese), phthalate, and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). One of her research specialty is to apply diet-wide association studies (DWAS) to evaluate the relationship between diet and chemical exposure. Using DWAS,  she had uncover several previously unidentified dietary sources of exposure to PFAS and arsenic.  Prior to joining the Department of Population Medicine, Debby earned a Doctoral of Science in Environmental and Occupational Molecular Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, a Master of Science in Epidemiology and Public Health at Kaohsiung Medical University and a Bachelor of Science in Genetics and Cell Biology from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Debby grew up in Taiwan and is of Amis and Hakka descent; her Indigenous name is Lapic Kalay. In her spare time, Debby enjoys cooking, biking, hiking, swimming and scuba diving.
Email: debbie_lin@harvardpilgrim.org
John Merriman, MD
John joined the Institute and CoRAL as a fellow in the Harvard Medical School General Medicine and Primary Care program. Prior to joining the Institute, John attended medical school at the University of Alabama and completed his Internal Medicine residency at Case Western Reserve University, where he participated in the Centers of Excellence program for primary care. He then completed a Chief Resident year at Case, focusing on Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) education for residents. He will be working with Jason Block during his fellowship and is interested in obesity medicine, vulnerable populations, and barriers to care. In his spare time, John enjoys hiking, playing bocce, and tacos.
Email: john_merriman@harvardpilgrim.org
Diana Soria-Contreras
Diana Soria-Contreras is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute. She received her MSc from the University of Alberta, Canada, and her PhD from the National Institute of Public Health. Her research interests include the impact of pregnancy and maternity in the development of obesity and chronic diseases, as well as the impact of women's reproductive history on these outcomes.
Email: dianacsc@gmail.com
Allison Wu, MD
Allison Wu is a Research fellow at CoRAL. She is also a Clinical Fellow in Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition at Boston Children’s Hospital. Alli is originally from Santa Monica, California. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and majored in Biological Basis of Behavior and Hispanic Studies. She worked in management consulting and global health prior to attending medical school at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. She completed her pediatric residency at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital. Her research interests include pediatric nutrition, obesity, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. She is investigating DXA-measured abdominal adiposity and its association with cardio-metabolic health in Project Viva.
Email: Allison_wu@harvardpilgrim.org