CoRAL Division of Chronic Disease Research Across the Lifecourse



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


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

Research Scientists

Research Scientist
(617) 867-4312
Research Scientist

(617) 867-4218


Research Fellow
Andrea Damaso, MSc, PhD
Visiting Faculty
Research Fellow
Jiajin Hu
Research Fellow
(617) 867 - 4317
Research Fellow
(617) 867- 4240
Mohammad Rahman, MD
Research Fellow
Diana Soria Contreras, MSc
Research Fellow
(617) 867 - 4974


Inbar Brenner
Research Coordinator
Project Viva is excited to welcome Inbar Brenner, MA to the team as a Project Coordinator. 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
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: 617-867-4982
Audra Hite, BS
Research Assistant/Phlebotomist
Audra Hite, BS, joined Project Viva in January 2019 as a Research Assistant/Phlebotomist. She previously worked for the MIND trial at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health as a Clinical Research Assistant II/Phlebotomist focusing on the effects of nutrition as it relates to brain health. Her academic interests vary from sports medicine to oncology. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, traveling and spending time with family. 
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. White 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
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. 
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 BS 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 interest has 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 degree in Public Health.
Phone: 617-867-4918
Nicholas Radigan
Research Assistant

Nicholas Radigan joined Project Viva within the Division of Chronic Disease Research Across the Lifecourse (CoRAL) in October 2016 as a Research Assistant. Earlier this year, Nick received his BS in Biology from Saint Joseph’s University. At SJU, he was involved with their Institute of Clinical Bioethics where he assisted with their health promoter project and conducted his own research about chronic kidney disease in Nicaraguan sugarcane workers. In the future, he hopes to attend medical school and possibly work in internal medicine.
Phone: 617-867-4803
Email: nicholas_radigan@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
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
Senior Administrative Specialist
Szilvia Szegedi, Senior Administrative Specialist in the Division of Chronic Disease Research Across the Lifecourse (CoRAL), provides faculty support to Dr. Emily Oken and Dr. Jason Block and assists with a variety of CoRAL-wide administrative tasks. 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. 
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