Students & training

The Wallace Center is committed to training and mentoring new leaders through fellowships, summer internships, undergraduate and graduate student research positions, and postdoctoral opportunities

MCAH postdoctoral fellowships

We train postdoctoral fellows with a transdisciplinary perspective that includes advanced training in MCAH epidemiology and technology and innovation.

Current Fellows

The Wallace Center is currently co-mentoring Dr. Rachel Berkowitz and Dr. Linh Bui, UC Berkeley Sutter Health Research Fellows in Health Equity & Implementation Science in partnership with the UC Berkeley Center of Excellence in Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health. The fellows are assessing the impacts of the change of care delivery modality (i.e., from in-person visits to telehealth encounters or other non-in-person modalities) as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic on prenatal care, postnatal care, birth outcomes, and maternal outcomes in the Sutter Health System in the Bay Area.

Past Fellows

Dr. Rebecca Reno completed her postdoctoral fellowship training with the Wallace Center from 2018-2020. Dr. Reno’s research focused on bi-directional translational research, including the development and evaluation of culturally grounded interventions to address social and structural determinants of health contributing to disparate birth outcomes. Dr. Reno worked on several projects while at the Wallace Center including developing a proposal to conduct app-based research with Wildflower assessing pregnancy outcomes for publicly insured women. She also worked with partners at UCSF to conduct a design sprint with low-income Black women on their readiness and responsiveness to telehealth visits and develop an implementation science study based on the findings. Dr. Reno has an MSW and PhD in social work from Ohio State University, and a MA in education policy.

Dr. Christiana von Hippel was a postdoctoral fellow with the Wallace Center in partnership with the Center of Excellence in Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health from 2018-2020. Dr. von Hippel’s research focused on diverse communities of women innovate (User Innovation) to solve sexual and reproductive health problems when interventions designed by healthprofessionals are inaccessible or insufficient to meet their needs. Her work while at the Wallace Center included analyzing 2 million user-generated comments from social networks (e.g.Reddit) to assess the pregnancy, postpartum, and newborn care concerns of new mothersand the behavioral product innovations developed by women. Dr. von Hippel also assessed how women discuss and cope with contraceptive side effects through user innovation and digitalethnography methods. Dr. von Hippel earned her doctorate in Social Epidemiology from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and her MPH from Indiana University Bloomington School of Public Health. She is currently a Research Scientist at For Goodness Sake.

MPH traineeship awards

The Wallace Center provides fall traineeship awards to incoming Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health MPH students with experience in technology and innovation.

Current Trainees

Lauren Dinsmore (MPH ‘22) is a current first-year MPH student who previously worked in technology education providing support to adult learners on higher education. While at UC Berkeley, Lauren hopes to study education equity, childhood health outcomes, and the inter-section of technology in public health.

Hannah Hecht (MPH ‘22) is a current first-year MPH student who previously worked in non-profit organization implementing and evaluating strengths-based, psychosocial intervention for mothers and children for low-income, Latino communities. While at UC Berkeley, Hannah hopes to better understand the incorporation of state-of-the-art technology into methods for studying and researching maternal-child health outcomes.

Past Trainees

Sarah Johnson (MPH ‘21) is a Wallace Traineeship recipient who completed a 2020 Wallace-sponsored summer internship with the Gobee Group, a social innovation design consultancy that transforms ideas into action. Sarah has a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Biostatistics, and previously worked as a software engineer for companies such as LinkedIn, VMWare, and Cisco Meraki.

Graduate Student Researchers

The Wallace Center provides Graduate Student Researchers (GSR) opportunities on an array of faculty research projects.

Current GSRs

Sarah Han (MPH ‘21) is a current second year in the MCAH MPH program. Since fall 2019, Sarah has worked on a variety of strategic planning and communication projects with The Wallace Center.  Sarah previously conducted research at Berkeley Media Studies Group, a media advocacy organization, to understand how public health issues are represented in the news and on social media. Most recently she redesigned and developed The Wallace Center website.

Elizabeth Pleasants (MPH ‘19) is a current first year in the DrPH program and has worked with The Wallace Center since 2017 when she was completing her MPH in MCAH. Elizabeth worked with Dr. Sylvia Guendelman and Dr. Ndola Prata using customized Google APIs to characterize the landscape of internet searches related to birth control and abortion, with a focus on states with poor reproductive health outcomes and restrictive legal policies on abortion. Currently, Elizabeth is working alongside faculty to help train undergraduate students in this methodology and further use these methods to use search engine data to assess other MCAH outcomes.

Grace Krueger (MPH ‘21)  is a current second year in the MCAH MPH program. She is working with Dr. Kim Harley and Dr. Sylvia Guendleman on research assessing telehealth and remote monitoring for pregnant patients during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. 

Julia Ryan is a first year doctoral student in the Doctorate of Public Health Program. She is currently working with Dr. Ndola Prata and Dr. Julianna Deardorff to use a discrete choice experiment to conduct sexual and reproductive health service planning for adolescents. Prior to this project, Julia also worked with Dr. Cassondra Marshall utilizing online data and data science to advance family planning research.

Andrea Mackey (MPH ‘21) is a current second year in the Health and Social Behavior MPH Program. She is working with Dr. Coco Auerswald and Dr. Ndola Prata to use google search engine data to give voice to the needs of California youth experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cheng Ren is a doctoral student in the School of Social Welfare PhD Program working with Dr. Cassondra Marshall. Cheng brings their data science training and natural language processing skills to work on our analysis of online communication about contraception on Reddit, a popular social news aggregator and media website.

Erin Hubbard (MPH ’21) is a current second year in the MCAH MPH program. She is currently working with Dr. Cassondra Marshall on multiple projects, including gathering stakeholder perspectives on research about community doula care in California.

Past GSRs

Aurora Chavez (MPH ‘22) is Master in City Planning and Master in Public Health student with a focus on Health and Social Behavior who worked with The Wallace Center from 2019-2020. While at The Wallace Center, Aurora worked in partnership with Innovations for Youth to research innovative uses and examples of technology in adolescent reproductive health programs and interventions.

Nikki Lanshaw (MPH ‘19) was a Health and Social Behavior MPH student who worked with The Wallace Center from 2017-2018. She led various communication projects, conducted literature reviews on period and fertility tracking apps, and set the foundation for the Wallace Data Repository for student capstone projects.

Hmellisa Mlo (MPH '17) was an MCAH MPH student who worked with the Wallace Center from 2016-2017. She worked with Dr. Sylvia Guendelman on the The Listening to Communities study and led focus groups of pregnant women and mothers in the Bay Area.

Doctoral dissertation awards

The Wallace Center provides doctoral students with funding for dissertation research related to MCAH and technology and innovation.

Summer internships

The Wallace Center provides graduate students with summer internship placements and funding opportunities to gain additional skills in public health research, program planning, and evaluation.

Summer 2020

In the Summer of 2020, The Wallace Center partnered with 8 organizations to place 9 current and graduating MPH students for summer internships. The placement descriptions and student reflections of their internships can be found here.

Laura Atukunda

Project:

Human-Centered Insights to Drive Demand and Use of BCS+ Toolkit

Organization:

Gobee Group

Sarah Johnson

Project:

Human-Centered Design in Domestic Violence and HIV Prevention

Organization:

Gobee Group

Mayela Gillan

Project:

Community Education & Engagement Around Arsenic in Kings County, CA

Organization:

Health Research for Action

Dani Behonick

Project:

US Abortion Support Worker Perspectives on the Safe Abortion Mobile Application

Organization:

Hesperian Health Guides

Kate Walrath

Project:

Comparing In Person and Virtual Navigation in light of COVID 19

Organization:

Find Connect

Michaela Taylor

Project:

Addressing Racism & Racial Maternal Health Disparities in San Francisco

Organization:

Expecting Justice

Elle Ford

Project:

Creating Equitable Health Outcomes for Moms and Babies

Organization:

MOMentum Park

Andrea Mackey

Project:

Empowering Youth to Assess the Impact of Covid 19 on Youth Experiencing Homelessness and through the Youth Advocacy Program

Organization:

Innovation for Youth (i4Y)

Minx Manuel

Project:

Environmental Justice and Adverse Birth Outcomes

Organization:

FRESNO Grows

Undergraduate students

The Wallace Center provides volunteer and research assistant opportunities for undergraduate students across the UC Berkeley campus.

Current undergraduates

Nika Darvish is a third-year undergraduate student studying Public Health and Molecular & Cell Biology. Nika is working with Dr. Jaspal Sandhu to examine the future of maternal healthcare in the United States by conducting stakeholder interviews with expectant mothers, doulas, midwives, and technology innovators. 

Past undergraduates

Anne Zepecki (BS ‘19) worked with the Wallace Center while completing her degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Anne developed a methodology to analyzes Google Search data, clinical data, and census data to learn more about the demand for and availability of reproductive health services across the United States. Anne is currently a software engineer at Bloomberg LP. 

Anika Khetrapal (BA ‘20) worked with the Wallace Center while completing her degree in Public Health. While at the Wallace Center, Anika worked in partnership with Innovations for Youth to research innovative uses and examples of technology in adolescent reproductive health programs and interventions.

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School of Public Health
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