Faculty/Staff

CoRAL Division of Chronic Disease Research Across the Lifecourse






CoRAL

 

Contact: Chelsea Jenter, MPH
Phone: (617) 867-4984
Email: chelsea_jenter@harvardpilgrim.org


Faculty 

 
Associate Professor
Associate Director, CoRAL
(617) 867-4841
 
Associate Professor
(617) 867- 4505
 
Assistant Professor
(617) 867- 4850
 
Vice Chair
Professor
Director, CoRAL
(617) 867-4879
 

Research Scientists
 

Research Scientist
(617) 867-4312
 
Research Scientist

(617) 867-4218
karen_switkowski@harvardpilgrim.org

Fellows
 

Research Fellow
 
Andrea Damaso, MSc, PhD
Visiting Faculty
Research Fellow
 
Diana Juvinao-Quintero
Research Fellow
(617) 867 - 4317
diana_juvinao-quintero@harvardpilgrim.org
 
Research Fellow
(617) 867- 4240
p_lin@harvardpilgrim.org
 
Mohammad Rahman, MD
Research Fellow
 

Staff
 

Molly Ahern
Administrative Specialist
Molly is joining CoRAL as an Administrative Specialist and will support multiple faculty as well as overall CoRAL operations. Molly most recently worked as a Clinical Administrative Support Specialist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in the Center for Cancer Genetics. She is a graduate of UMASS Amherst and brings some social media and public relations experience to this new role.
Phone: 617-867-4827
 
Victoria Bemis
Research Assistant
Victoria joined Project Viva in February 2019. She is currently finishing up her junior year at Boston University as a Nutritional Sciences major. In her time at Boston University, Victoria has worked alongside professors in neuro-anatomy labs as well as interned with orthopedic surgeon at Sports Med North and Mass General. She currently volunteers for Community Servings and Red Cross Food Pantry. She hopes to combine her interests for medicine and nutrition/fitness as she goes on to her clinical practicum and research next fall, with the hopes of attending medical school in the future.
Phone: 617-867-4982
 
Jenna Bensko
Research Assistant
Jenna Bensko, BS, joined Project Viva as a Research Assistant in June 2019. She recently graduated from Cornell University, where she studied Nutritional Science and worked as a Teaching Assistant for Public Health Nutrition. Last summer, Jenna worked as a Research Trainee with the Brigham and Womens STARS Program bioprinting in vivo models of heart valve tissue calcification to identify potential points of therapeutic intervention. Her research interests include food access disparities, maternal health, and breastfeeding.
Phone: 617-867-4968
 
Inbar Brenner
Research Coordinator
Inbar Brenner, MA is a Project Coordinator in Project Viva. Inbar will help coordinate Project Viva’s participation in the NIH Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Program, including working with Emily Oken on the ECHO-wide protocol implementation. Inbar has an MA in psychology from Boston University and is a Certified Wellness Coach. She was most recently a Project Manager at Boston University and worked on improving health behaviors in patients with arthritis. In addition to research and wellness coaching, Inbar also has experience in marketing and business development.
Phone: 617-867-4968
 
Esrat Bristee
Research Assistant
Esrat Bristee joined Project Viva as a full-time Research Assistant in May 2018; however she has been working with the group since 2014 as a work-study student. Esrat received her BS in Human Physiology from Boston University in May 2018. During her time at BU, Esrat was involved with a series of volunteer programs at Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center including with Obstetrics, Emergency, and Neurosurgery Departments. In the future, she hopes to attend medical school.
Phone: 617-867-4521
 
Lauren Cleveland, MS, MPH
Research Associate
Lauren Cleveland, MS, MPH is a Research Associate for the Division of Chronic Disease Research Across the Lifecourse (CoRAL). Prior to working at CoRAL, Lauren coordinated a longitudinal study at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College that investigated young children's food choices, media use and parent shopping practices. Her broad interests include U.S. food policy, nutrition and health communication, and maternal and child health. She completed her MS at Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition where she focused on food policy and nutrition interventions and her MPH at Tufts University School of Medicine, Public Health and Professional Degree Programs where she concentrated in health communication.
Phone: 617-867-4419
 
Hannah Fuller, BS
Research Assistant
Hannah joined Project Viva in June 2019 as a Medical Record Research Assistant. She received her BS in Environmental Science from the University of Michigan in May 2019. At Michigan, she was involved in the Sustainable Food Program and Student Advocates for Nutrition. Between her Junior and Senior year she did an internship at Boston University SPH. During the internship, Hannah assisted a professor in the environmental health department with her research on lead exposure in children. This experience inspired Hannah to pursue research in public health. In her free time she loves to cook, play tennis, and watch Michigan sports!
Phone: 617-867-4974
 
Chelsea Jenter, MPH
Division Administrator
Chelsea Jenter, MPH, works closely with Dr. Emily Oken and Dr. Jason Block to oversee the operations of the Division of Chronic Disease Research Across the Lifecourse (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
 
Alyssa Jones
Research Assistant
Alyssa joined Project Viva in June 2017 as a Research Assistant. She received her BS in Biological Sciences from the University of Connecticut in May 2017. While at UConn, Alyssa was involved with a series of studies examining the use of exercise as therapy for high blood pressure, and was also able to complete an independent research project using a subset of data. In the future, she hopes to further her education in the field of epidemiology.
Phone: (617) 867-4967
 
Kathryn 'Katie' Jones
Research Associate
Kathryn 'Katie' Jones, MPH, CIP is joining CoRAL as a Research Associate with the ECHO program. Prior to joining CoRAL in late May 2019, Katie worked as a Senior Institutional Review Board analyst at the Boston University Medical Campus and Boston Medical Center IRB since November 2011. She reviewed a variety of research studies as an analyst, ranging from longitudinal cohort studies to Phase 1 drug studies. Katie earned a BA in English and Theology with a concentration in ethics from Merrimack College and an MPH in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from Boston University. Her academic interests include healthcare policy, maternal and child health, infectious disease, and health equity.
Phone: (617) 867-4875
 
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
 
Jessica LeBlanc, MA
Project Manager
Jessica LeBlanc, MA, is a Project Manager for the Division of Chronic Disease Research Across the Lifecourse (CoRAL). Before joining the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care institute in 2018, Jessica worked for many years as a survey researcher at The University of Massachusetts Boston, developing questionnaires and research protocols and coordinating public health research projects. She earned a BA in Sociology and International Affairs from the University of New Hampshire in 2011, and an MA in Applied Sociology from The University of Massachusetts Boston in 2015. Her academic interests have always been focused on public health and medical sociology, as well as quantitative research methodology. 
Phone: (617) 867-4915
 
Kathleen Lynch
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.
Phone: 617-867-4954
 
Marleny Ortega
Project Coordinator/Phlebotomist
Marleny Ortega is a Project Coordinator for the Division of Chronic Disease Research Across the Lifecourse (CoRAL). She began working at the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute in 2012 as a Research Assistant for Project Viva, a longitudinal study of pre- and perinatal predictors of maternal and child health outcomes. She received her BA in Psychology from Southern New Hampshire University and is currently working on her Master's in Public Health.
Phone: 617-867-4918
 
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
 
Alec Shostek
Research Assistant
Alec Shostek, BS,  joined Project Viva as a Research Assistant in September 2018. He recently graduated from the UNiversity of Massachusetts, where he worked as a research assistant in the Behavioral Medicine Lab examining the mental and physical effects of physical activity stealth interventions. His research interests include public health interventions, food access disparities, and biomechanics.
 
Denise Simon, MPH
Project Manager
Denise Simon, MPH, is a Project Manager for the Division of Chronic Disease Research Across the Lifecourse (CoRAL), Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute. Ms. Simon has experience in research study design, data collection, project oversight and finances. Her interests include the connection between maternal and child health, healthcare policy, community health education, and obesity prevention. She received a BS in Health Science from Boston University, and her MPH from Boston University School of Public Health concentrating in Maternal and Child Health. She joined CoRAL in 2009.
Phone: (617) 867-4905
 
Zaria Starfeldt
Research Assistant
Zaria Starfeldt joined Project Viva as a Research Assistant in September 2018. Over the past year she has worked as a Research Assistant in the Center for Human Growth and Development at Michigan Medicine, collecting data with mothers and infants to investigate precursors to childhood obesity. Zaria received her BA in Biopsychology, Cognition and Neuroscience and minor in Community Action and Social Change from the University of Michigan in 2017. Her research insterests include health disparities, prenatal care, and diet and nutrition.
Phone: (617) 867-4322
 
Szilvia Szegedi
Project Coordinator
Szilvia Szegedi, Project Coordinator in the Division of Chronic Disease Research Across the Lifecourse (CoRAL), provides faculty support to Dr. Emily Oken and Dr. Jason Block and coordinates in pre-award research administration. She also coordinates the CoRAL Blog - WeighingInBlog.org - with Jennifer Thompson and Jason Block. She earned her BA in Communications/Marketing from Boston College. After working seven years as a marketing manager in the non-profit sector focusing on diversity and multiculturalism in the hospitality industry, she joined the Institute in January of 2014 as an Administrative Specialist and advanced to her current position. 
Phone: (617) 867-4879

Jennifer Thompson, MPP
Project Manager
Jennifer Thompson, MPP, is a Project Manager for the Division of Chronic Disease Research Across the Lifecourse (CoRAL), Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute. She has worked on a wide variety of research projects, ranging from health care quality and accessibility in rural Ethiopia to variations in Medicare Part D prescription drug plan formularies. As part of CoRAL, she manages large, multi-center trials focused on the influence of early childhood nutrition and environmental exposures on childhood and young adult health outcomes. She received an AB in History from Harvard College and an MPP in health care policy from the Georgetown University Public Policy Institute. She joined the Department of Population Medicine in 2012.
Phone: (617) 867-4941

 

Taylor Wensley
Research Assistant
Taylor joined Project Viva in June 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 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