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Team

Roshanak Mehdipanah

Director

Roshanak Mehdipanah is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education in the School of Public Health. She completed her PhD at the University of Pompeu Fabra, Spain and her MS from the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo, Canada. Her research focuses on how urban policies, particularly related to the built environment, impact health and health inequities of individuals, neighborhoods and cities. Dr. Mehdipanah has brought particular attention to how housing policies and real estate markets shape health inequities among individuals and across neighborhoods. Through community-based participatory research that is supported through grants from the NIH, the WHO, and foundations, she has developed an understanding of how housing is a determinant in health, and has established how housing instability exacerbates health risks.

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Mara Cecilia Ostfeld

Faculty Research Advisor

Dr. Mara Cecilia Ostfeld is the Faculty Research Advisor of the Housing Solutions for Health Equity initiative. She also serves as the Associate Faculty Director of Poverty Solutions, the research director at the Center for Racial Justice, and an Assistant Research Scientist in the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. In addition, Mara is a faculty lead at the Detroit Metro Area Communities Study - an ongoing representative survey of Detroit households that asks residents about their expectations, perceptions, priorities and aspirations. She is an expert in survey research and the analysis of public opinion, with a particular focus on the relationship between race, gender, media and political attitudes. Her work has been published in journals that include Social Forces, Political Behavior, Political Psychology and Political Communication, and been funded by places including the National Science Foundation and the Russell Sage Foundation. Mara is the primary investigator of the Puerto Rico Public Opinion Lab with the University of Puerto Rico in which they are implementing the first representative study of political attitudes in Puerto Rico. During national elections, Mara also works as an analyst at NBC and Telemundo.

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Jamison Koeman

Program Manager

Jamison Koeman is the Program Manager of the Housing Solutions for Health Equity initiative (HSHE). Jamison received his MPH in Health Management and Policy from the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Prior to working at HSHE, he worked as a Legal Assistant at the United Community Housing Coalition, where he drafted legal documents for eviction cases and enrolled qualifying Detroit renters in the federal Coronavirus Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) program. As a graduate student, he co-led several projects with Dr. Mehdipanah, including a paper on health system investment in housing services published in Population Health Management and a book chapter on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 for the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies. He also interned at the Government Accountability Office (GAO), where he collaborated on congressional reports addressing Graduate Medical Education and Insurance Payments for Anesthesia Services.

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Victoria Fisher

Research Communications Assistant

Victoria Fisher serves as the Research Communications Assistant for the Housing Solutions for Health Equity initiative. A second-year MPH student in the epidemiology department, her research explores the relationship between racial residential segregation and biologic (epigenetic) age acceleration. Previously, Victoria worked in communications and marketing teams for architecture and design firms, during which time she became passionate about the built environment as a canvas for social change.

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Kiana Bess

Doctoral Candidate

Kiana Bess is a Doctoral Candidate in the Health Behavior and Health Education program at The University of Michigan's School of Public Health.  Broadly, her research agenda focuses on advancing health equity through social and structural determinants of health. She is particularly interested in using a mixed-methods approach to examine neighborhood and housing influences on children and adolescent health outcomes, who reside in metropolitan geographical areas. She has worked on multiple housing projects with Dr. Mehdipanah as it relates to segregation, childhood obesity, childhood stress, and child behavior.  Kiana received her MPH from The George Washington University School of Public Health in Washington, DC.  Prior to matriculation into University of Michigan's doctoral program, she worked at The Virginia Department of Health, Duke University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on various health equity research projects.

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Hannah Rubens

Research Assistant

Hannah Rubens is a graduate student in the University of Michigan School of Public Health’s Health Behavior and Health Education program. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Health Science from Santa Clara University where she was involved in numerous research projects and community-facing work opportunities related to health equity and health education. Her interest in the built environment as a key driver of health disparities ignited during her time working for Santa Clara County at the COVID-19 Emergency Operations Center. Her work involved assisting in the development of a county-wide case management program to provide resources to families most impacted by the pandemic. Stemming from these experiences, her research interests center the role of place within the social and structural conditions that impact health and behavior, as well as the relationship between urban planning, public policy, and public health to structurally mitigate spatial health inequities.

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Esha Bingi

Research Assistant

Esha Bingi is an undergraduate at the University of Michigan College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. She is currently a research assistant for the Reducing Impacts of Housing Discrimination on Health project. She has experience working on research with food insecurity at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and interned as a medical assistant over the summer at Trenton Total Health Care.

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Caitlin Lynch

Research Assistant

Caitlin Lynch is a second-year undergraduate student majoring in Program in the Environment with minors in Urban Studies and Spanish. Caitlin became interested in homeownership policy after interning at Bridging Neighborhoods, an organization that runs housing and home repair programs for people in Southwest Detroit who are affected by environmental justice. In this role she researched Community Benefits Agreements, conducted interviews of residents in English and Spanish, and worked on program evaluation. Prior to this, she worked as an Educator at the Leslie Science and Nature Center. Caitlin also has experience in political organizing. She has interests in climate resiliency, environmental justice, and urban heat islands.

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Kyra Powers

Research Assistant

Kyra Powers is a Second-Year MPH candidate at University of Michigan’s School of Public Health with a concentration in Health Behavior & Health Education. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Biology from Michigan State University where she worked with a Street Medicine Organization that bridged the gap between healthcare and people experiencing homelessness. Her time working with Spartan Street Medicine sparked her interest in studying public health and housing insecurity. Through her master's program, she has worked on a variety of projects related to best clinical practices, surgical research and creating health education materials. In the fall, she will be attending medical school with the goal of serving patients in uninsured and unhoused communities.

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Eliyas Asfaw

Research Assistant

Eliyas Asfaw is a medical student at the University of Michigan. He has a Bachelor of Science in Public Health from the University of Michigan. During undergrad, he conducted research on modeling risk factors of HPV infections under Dr. Rafael Meza. He also studied COVID-19 impact on undergraduate students under Dr. Roshanak Mehdipanah. He has worked as a management consultant in the banking and manufacturing space for a year. He has interest in modeling key determinant of health dynamics and their interactions with each other.

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Devishi Suresh Kambiranda

Research Assistant

Devishi Suresh is a graduate student at the University of Michigan majoring in Electrical and Computer Engineering. She is interested in the application of computer science to real world problems. Her research at the Susan B. Meister Child Health Evaluation and Research Center in Michigan Medicine over the summer helped her gain experience working with health data and her research at the CSDT Lab in the School of Information focused on developing statistical models for the promotion of indigenous arts. She also learned a broad overview of Health Informatics while working with Medical School and School of Informatics professor Dr. Allen Flynn.
 

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