Graduate student training is seen as a vital step towards developing the next generation of the population health workforce. The goal is to dedicate 10% of UT Population Health funds to employ and train graduate students through our Population Health Scholars Program.  

Population Health Scholar placements are available from the undergraduate through post-doctoral level. Most of our scholars are in paid positions, but there are also opportunities for unpaid internships, practicums, and keystone projects. Placements are available year-round, with evaluation on a semester-by-semester basis. Scholars will work closely with their mentor team to tailor the program curriculum and core competencies to their academic discipline, stage, and interests.

There are currently two open positions, in the research and data systems tracks, but we accept resumes for all tracks, and may contact students when placements become available. To be considered for future positions, send us a resume, and subscribe to our population health scholars mailing list for announcements of new openings.  

Current scholars

Hari Athreya is a recently graduated with his MPH and MD from the McGovern Medical School in Houston. He has interests in chronic disease prevention and global health. In addition to his clinical background, he brings experience with the World Health Organization, Americorps, and the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship to the Population Health team. In June 2017, he joined the Healthy Families project and will be working on improving access to prenatal care in rural regions of Texas.
MentorDivya Patel
Project: Healthy Families

Eun Me Cha is a doctoral student in the division of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences at the UTHealth School of Public Health in Austin. She is interested in the design, implementation, and evaluation of programs related to diet and obesity prevention especially among adolescents. Eun Me received her MPH from University at Albany School of Public Health with a concentration in epidemiology. 
Mentor:  Eileen Nehme
Project: Community Health Indicators / Small Area Mapping   

Caroline Covington is finishing up her master's in journalism at UT Austin. She is particularly interested in mental health and health care reporting, and plans to go into public radio broadcasting. She brings experience from a variety of fields to her work in communications, including a previous career in marketing for the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries, a master's degree in French studies, and work in a marine biotechnology lab as an undergraduate. Through her reporting, she hopes to decrease stigma and broaden the public’s understanding of mental health.
Mentor: Daniel Oppenheimer
Project: Texas Health Journal

Jacqueline Elliott is a graduate student studying for her MA in the Stan Richards School of Advertising at UT Austin. Her interests are graphic design, consumer behavior and creative strategy. She joined the Population Health team to aid communication planning and visual communication strategies.  She received her bachelor’s degree in Digital Advertising from Louisiana State University.
Mentor: Daniel Oppenheimer
Project: Population Health

Katharina Hathaway joined the Texas Health Improvement Network (THIN) in February, 2017.  She is working with the Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) group.  She is a non degree student with UTHealth's School of Public Health.  She is interested in population health and the intersection between data and improving healthcare delivery.  She received a BS in Chemistry from Texas State University, San Marcos and an MD from UT Health Science Center San Antonio. 
Mentor:  Eileen Nehme
Project: Texas Health Improvement Network

Ashley Hill is a second year doctoral student in Epidemiology at Texas A&M University School of Public Health focusing on reproductive epidemiology and interactions of social, environmental and biological factors that contribute to sexually transmitted infections. As a GRA with UT System Population Health, Ashley works under Divya Patel focusing on immediate postpartum contraception.
MentorDivya Patel
Project:  IP-LARC

Shelby Knowles is a graduate student pursuing her MA in Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. Before joining Population Health, Shelby was a photo intern on the Science Desk at NPR in Washington, D.C., and a year-long photo editing fellow at the Texas Tribune. She holds a nutritional science degree from Texas A&M University. In 2017, she joined the Population Health communications team to produce content for the Texas Health Journal.
Mentor: Daniel Oppenheimer
Project: Texas Health Journal

Kaulie Lewis is a graduate student pursuing her MA in Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. She has previously worked as an editorial assistant and contributing writer for publications including the Missouri Review, The Millions and Texas Music Magazine, and now reports on cultural and political life in Texas. In 2017 she joined the Population Health communications team to produce content for the TCHMB newsletter and the Texas Health Journal. 
Mentor: Daniel Oppenheimer
Project: Texas Health Journal

Kyser Lough is a PhD student in the School of Journalism at The University of Texas at Austin. Prior to coming to UT, he worked in health communication at a rural city/county-owned hospital and before that as a photographer/reporter for a daily newspaper. His research focuses on visual communication and solutions journalism. He has an MA in Mass Communication and a BA in Public Relations (Minor in Photography), both from Murray State University in Murray, Ky. 
Mentor: Daniel Oppenheimer
Project: Texas Health Journal

Matthew Myers is a graduate student on track for his MPH in Epidemiology at The University of Texas School of Public Health Austin Regional Campus. His interests lie within clinical epidemiology and infectious disease. He received his bachelor’s degree in Biology from Albion College in 2016. 
Mentor:  Dorothy Mandell
Project: Texas Safe Babies

Ana Navarro is currently an MPH in Epidemiology candidate at the UT School of Public Health, Austin Regional Campus. Her research interest include post-partum depression, prenatal care interventions, infectious disease, and molecular epidemiology. In 2013, she graduated from the University of Texas-Pan American with a BS in Biology and BA in History. 
MentorDivya Patel, Nagla Elerian
Project: Texas Collaborative for Healthy Mothers and Babies

Paromita (Paro) Pain joined the communications team in 2017 as a Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) under the mentorship of Daniel Oppenheimer. Paro has two Masters Degrees, both in journalism, from the University of Madras (India) and the University of Southern California (USC). A Phd candidate in the Department of Journalism, The University of Texas at Austin, her research focuses on alternative media and its potential to empower resource poor communities. She has previously worked for The Hindu Newspaper, one of India’s most respected English language newspapers, and written for The Guardian, Al Jazeera and various other international media projects.
Mentor: Daniel Oppenheimer
Project: Texas Health Journal

Emilie Potter is a graduate student in the Landscape Architecture program at The University of Texas School of Architecture. She is interested in how design can be a solution to the challenges that communities face around physical, mental, and social well-being.  Currently, she is working with Population Health on various mapping and visualization projects. She received her bachelor’s degree in Geography from The University of British Columbia in 2014.
Mentors:  Eileen Nehme, Daniel Oppenheimer
Project: Texas Health Improvement Network

Rachel Rana is a graduate student of Epidemiology at The University of Texas School of Public Health.  Her research interests land at the intersection of crime and health, focusing on the health impacts of persistent interaction with the criminal justice system, both at the individual and the community level. Rachel received her B.A. in Political Science from North Carolina State University, and worked as a lobbyist and political advocate prior to enrolling in graduate coursework at UT Health. 
Mentor:  Dorothy Mandell
Project: Texas Safe Babies

Meliha Salahuddin joined the Texas Collaborative for Healthy Mothers and Babies in Spring of 2017 as a post-doctoral research fellow. She earned her PhD in Epidemiology from UTHealth School of Public Health Austin Regional Campus in 2016. Her research interests focus on understanding risk factors of chronic diseases and maternal and child health.
MentorDivya Patel
Project: Texas Collaborative for Healthy Mothers and Babies

Michelle Tran joined the Texas Health Improvement Network (THIN) in Spring of 2017 and is currently an MPH in Epidemiology candidate at the UT School of Public Health, Austin Regional Campus. Her interests include preventive medicine and clinical epidemiology. She received her BS in Human Biology with a minor in Psychology from The University of California, San Diego in 2014. 
Mentor:  Eileen Nehme
Project: Texas Health Improvement Network

Former graduate students

Sara Barge worked for the Obstetrics subcommittee under the Texas Collaborative for Healthy Mothers and Babies. She analyzes risk factors for cesarean deliveries. Barge received her MPH in Epidemiology with a concentration in global health from the University of Texas School of Public Health in the spring of 2016. She received her undergraduate degree in Human Biology from The University of Texas at Austin.

Onyema Greg Chido-Amajuoyi is a master of public health (MPH), Epidemiology, candidate at the University of Texas Health Science Center, School of Public Health (UTHealth SPH). He holds a bachelor of medicine, bachelor of surgery (MBBS) degree and practiced both clinical medicine and public health in his home country, Nigeria, prior to enrolling at the UTHealth SPH. Onyema’s research interests lie predominantly in child and global health; particularly use of vaccines and prevention of chronic diseases. He joined the UT System Population Health team in January 2017 and has been working with Dr. Dorothy Mandell in her efforts to advance child health.

Michelle Delphia joined the Community Health Plan Collaborative in August of 2016 as a Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) and is under the mentorship of Eileen Nehme and Divya Patel. Michelle earned her BS in Criminal Justice and Psychology from Sam Houston State University in 2013. Her previous research includes substance abuse policies, mental health, disabilities, and health equity. She previously worked with the City of Austin on strategic planning and quality improvement initiatives for the upcoming Strategic Management System Plan. She is currently a graduate student at the UT Health School of Public Health-Austin Regional Campus and is a Masters of Public Health candidate. 

John Flynn is pursuing a Master's in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin Moody College of Communications. As a freelance photographer, he has photographed protests, firefighters, park rangers, paramedics and politicians. He interned as a writer and web producer with The Texas Standard, a radio show produced by Austin NPR-affiliate KUT.  He graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and History.

Nora Greene recently graduated from the BFA Design program at The University of Texas at Austin. She is a founding member of wkrm, a faculty-led, student-run, design agency and is drawn to the complex and growing relationship between social justice and anti-oppression issues within design. She joined the Population Health team to do graphic design projects for various initiatives including Safe Babies, TCHMB, and THIN, and is now working in developing an app for fathers as part of the Texas Safe Babies project. 

Em Karimifar recently graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with an MFA in design. He now works for UT System Population Health as full-time graphic designer.