Faculty/Staff

CoRAL

Faculty

Jason Block, MD, MPH, Co-Director
Associate Professor
(617) 867-4835
jblock1@partners.org

Emily Oken, MD, MPH, Director
Vice Chair
Professor
(617) 867-4879
emily_oken@harvardpilgrim.org
Marie-France Hivert, MD, MMSc
Associate Professor
(617) 867-4505
mhivert@partners.org
Izzuddin Aris, PhD
Institute Faculty
(617) 867-4239
izzuddin_aris@harvardpilgrim.org
Peter James
Assistant Professor
(617) 867-4850
peter_james@harvardpilgrim.org

Staff

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
Inbar Brenner, MA | Project Manager
Inbar Brenner is a Project Manager for CoRAL. She has been working with Project Viva Team and the ECHO Program since Fall 2017. Inbar has an MA in Psychology from Boston University, and is also a Certified Wellness Coach. Before her time with CoRAL, she was a Project Manager at Boston University and worked on studies improving health and 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
Email: inbar_brenner@harvardpilgrim.org
Esrat Bristee, BS | Research Assistant
Esrat joined CoRAL as a work-study student in 2014 but became a full-time Research Assistant in 2018. She received her BS in Human Physiology from Boston University. During her free-time, she is involved with a series of volunteer programs at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, mainly in the Obstetrics, Emergency, Pathology and Neurosurgery Departments. Esrat absolutely loves the health care field and can also be found working as a Medical Scribe in the Emergency Department at MGH. She aspires to be a physician in the future.
Phone: (617) 867-4521
Email: esrat_bristee@harvardpilgrim.org
Lauren Cleveland, MS, MPH | Project Manager
Lauren Cleveland is a Project Manager, supporting a variety of chronic disease related studies and conducts research on obesity prevention policy. She joined CoRAL in February, 2017. Lauren 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
Ruby Fore, BS | R Programmer/Analyst
Ruby received her B.S. degree in Statistics from Brown University and is eager to apply her knowledge of statistics to better solve health-related questions. Ruby is CoRAL’s R Programmer/Analyst and is working on innovative projects utilizing Fitbit data from a mobile health study with Peter James. She is also working with genomic and epigenetic data from Gen3G and Project Viva under the direction of Dr. Marie-France Hivert. Ruby’s research interests include using interpretable statistical methods to answer human health-related questions. She loves R programming, inference and genomics, as well as running and cooking from scratch.
Phone: (617) 867-4828
Email: ruby_fore@harvardpilgrim.org
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
Email: hannah_fuller@harvardpilgrim.org
Chelsea Jenter, MPH | Division Administrator
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
Alyssa Jones, BS | 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 the data. In the future, she hopes to further her education in the field of epidemiology.
Phone: (617) 867-4967
Email: alyssa_jones@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 | 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 | 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
Email: kathleen_lynch@harvardpilgrim.org
Marleny Ortega, MPH | Senior Project Coordinator/Phlebotamist
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
Jeff Osman, BS | Research Assistant/Phlebotamist
Jeff joined Project Viva as a Phlebotomist in June of 2019. He received his BS in psychology from Boston College in 2016 and is currently enrolled as a graduate nursing student at Boston College, specializing as a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. Prior to joining Project Viva, Jeff worked as a Phlebotomist and Research Assistant at Massachusetts General Hospital. In his free time, he enjoys backpacking, cycling, triathlons, golf, and learning chess.
Phone: (617) 867-4915
Email: Jeffrey_osman@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
Karen Ruderman, MPH/MS | Project Manager
Karen joined Project Viva as the Project Manager in December 2016. Her background is in Public Health and Social Work, with a focus on women’s health, cancer prevention and health care access. Karen received her B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from Haverford College, and her MPH/MS in Maternal and Child Health from Columbia University. Prior to joining Project Viva, she worked at Partners HealthCare, in the areas of Population Health Management and Behavioral Health Integration with Primary Care, and at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, on a community mobile mammography program. Outside of work, Karen enjoys spending time with family and friends, cycling, cooking, scuba diving and traveling!
Phone: (617) 867-4925
Email: karen_ruderman@harvardpilgrim.org
Alec Shostek, BS | 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.
Phone (617) 867-4204
Email: alec_shostek@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
Zaria Starfeldt, BA | Research Assistant
Zaria Starfeldt joined Project Viva as a Research Assistant in September 2018. Over the past year she 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 a minor in Community Action and Social Change from the University of Michigan in 2017. Her research interests include health disparities, prenatal care, and diet and nutrition.
Phone: (617) 867-4322
Email: zaria_starfeldt@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
Jennifer Thompson, MPP | Project Manager
Jennifer Thompson, MPP, is a Project Manager in 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 team, 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
Email: Jennifer_Thompson@harvardpilgrim.org
Taylor Wensley | 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

Fellows

Véronique Gingras, RD, PhD
Véronique Gingras is a research fellow (Pyle Fellowship Awardee) at the Division of Chronic Disease Research Across the Lifecourse (CoRAL) working with Marie-France Hivert and Emily Oken. She received her undergraduate degree in nutrition and her Master of Science from Laval University in Quebec City, and her PhD in nutrition from Montreal University. Her previous research experiences include examining dietary patterns associated with cardiometabolic risk and developing effective strategies to improve the adoption of a healthy lifestyle in individuals with type 1 diabetes. Her research at the Department of Population Medicine will look at the influence of in utero and early childhood dietary patterns and other lifestyle exposures on future risk of developing diabetes. Véronique is originally from Montreal, Canada.
Email: Veronique_gingras@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
Marcia Pescador-Jimenez, PhD
Marcia Pescador-Jimenez joined CoRAL as a postdoctoral fellow. Her research focuses on addressing the influence of geographic contextual factors throughout the life-course, including access to green space, on cardiovascular health and health disparities. In related research, Marcia aims to understand the multi-level and multi-factorial determinants of chronic diseases and their differential risk of mortality. Prior to coming to Harvard, Marcia graduated with a PhD in Epidemiology from the Brown University School of Public Health. She has conducted research at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies. She holds a Master of Statistics from the Katholieke Universiteit in Leuven, Belgium and a Master of Sociology from Northeastern University, where she was research associate and data manager for the Center for Population Health and Health Disparities.
Email: Marcia_Pescador_Jimenez@harvardpilgrim.org
Joshua Petimar, ScD
Joshua Petimar, ScD is a research fellow working with Jason Block to evaluate 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 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.
Email: Joshua_petimar@harvardpilgrim.org
Mohammad L. Rahman, ScD, MBBS, MPH
Mohammad L. Rahman, ScD, MBBS, MPH, received his medical degree from Dhaka Medical College of University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, and his master’s degree in environmental health from Texas A&M University Health Sciences Center and Doctor of Science degree in environmental epidemiology from Harvard University TH Chan School of Public Health. His research looks at early life environmental exposures and their complex interplay with genetic, epigenetic, and nutritional factors to understand developmental origins of health and disease.  He is currently working with Marie-France Hivert and Emily Oken on research projects focused on epigenetics and environmental epidemiology. Before joining Harvard Medical School, Mohammad completed his post-doctoral fellowship at Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health. He is originally from Bangladesh.
Email: Mohammad_rahman@harvardpilgrim.org
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