Wei is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Gillings School of Global Public Health. With a background in economics, public health, and social work, she conducts cross-disciplinarily population research and evaluates interventions in maternal, sexual, and reproductive health. Her dissertation applies econometric and machine learning methods to assess the impacts of abortion laws, contraceptive prices, and HIV self-testing on the wellbeing of women and girls. Before coming to UNC, she conducted costing and cost-effectiveness analyses for HIV trials in Kenya, Uganda, and the US for the University of California at San Francisco. Wei’s work aims to improve women’s agency through producing and synthesizing research evidence for policy decisions in low-resource settings.
Dissertation Title: Decision-making power for women and girls: Evaluating interventions in sexual and reproductive health in low- and middle-income countries
Research Interests: Interventions and evaluation, Sexuality, Reproduction, Fertility, and Families, Gender; Health Policies and Systems; Randomized controlled trial; Knowledge translation
Marlous de Milliano
Marlous is a PhD Candidate in Public Policy focusing on social and economic policy in low- and middle-income countries. In her dissertation she analyzes the relationship between childhood stunting, school readiness and school attendance in Zambia, and the impact of large-scale national cash transfer programs on social support coming from family, friends and community members in Ghana and Malawi. The first paper uses a seven-year panel dataset on rural vulnerable households, while the other two papers use mixed-methods data from the impact evaluations of the programs. Prior to coming to Chapel Hill, Marlous worked for nearly four years at the UNICEF Office of Research in Italy, where she focused on issues concerning social protection, education and child poverty. Currently she is part of the Transfer Project team and is a predoctoral trainee at the Carolina Population Center.
Dissertation Title: Three Essays on Household Economics in sub-Saharan Africa
Research Interests: Inequality, Mobility, and Well-Being, Interventions and evaluation, Social protection programs in low-income settings
My research in human biology focuses on how child health and development is shaped by household and environmental contexts. I incorporate an interdisciplinary perspective into my work based on my graduate training in human biology and anthropology a perspective that has informed my approach to research as a Pre-Doctoral Trainee at the Carolina Population Center, a research affiliate with the Instituto de Investigación Nutricional (IIN) in Lima, Peru, and collaborator with mentors and colleagues in Medicine, Public Health, and Nutrition. I apply quantitative, qualitative, and laboratory methods to my research, allowing for a holistic understanding and approach to the study of health and wellbeing. I structure my work within health research by focusing on mechanisms that link wider contexts to health proposed in evolutionary models through analyses of social and physical environments and biological outcomes.
My current project investigates iron deficiency and anemia in Peruvian pre-school aged children living in a low-income, peri-urban community. With funding from a variety of external sources, including the National Science Foundation and Fulbright Program, I collected qualitative and biological data from 102 children living in the San Juan de Lurigancho district of Lima over a period of 11.5 months. For this project I use an adapted critical ecological model to identify context-specific risk factors for anemia, apply evolutionary medicine theory to examine the dual impact of high anemia rates and adiposity on child immune function, and employ an integrative approach to examine the effects of supplementation on the intestinal microbiome as an underlying pathway linking nutritional deficiencies and disease ecology. This research combines laboratory, anthropological and epidemiological approaches in order to explore the effects of early environments on child health and development.
Dissertation Title: Iron, Infection, and Malnutrition: An exploration of childhood anemia and iron deficiency in a peri-urban community in Lima, Peru.
Research Interests: Biomarker collection and testing, Inequality, Mobility, and Well-Being, Interventions and evaluation, Links between Health and Social and Economic Productivity, Longitudinal/Life-Course Research, Population Health and Environment
George is a Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a predoctoral trainee at the Carolina Population Center. His research focuses broadly on religion, family, and adolescence, and his dissertation work focuses on measuring and modeling religiosity. George’s additional research interests include demography and quantitative methods.
Dissertation Title: Searching for Meaning: New Methods, Measures, and Modeling Approaches in the Study of Religiosity
Research Interests: Demography, Longitudinal/Life-Course Research, Measurements and methods for population data, Sexuality, Reproduction, Fertility, and Families, Religion
Hannah is a doctoral candidate interested in the reciprocal relationship between social, environmental, and physiological interactions in health and development. Specifically, she is interested in how the perinatal environment, including maternal mental health and experience, shapes fetal development and long-term health risks. Her work focuses on epigenetics of the placenta as well as infant HPA axis and gut microbiome development. Hannah conducted her dissertation field work in the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador in 2018 and is now writing up the results. Hannah’s work is supported by the National Science Foundation and Fulbright-Hays.
Dissertation Title: Madres Sanas, Bebés Sanos: The Intergenerational Effects of Maternal Stress in the Galápagos Islands
Research Interests: Biomarker collection and testing, Longitudinal/Life-Course Research, Measurements and methods for population data, Population Health and Environment, Race/Gender/Age/SES, Sexuality, Reproduction, Fertility, and Families
Allison Maria Lacko
Allison Lacko is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Nutrition at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, with a concentration in Epidemiology. She is interested in understanding the systemic causes of diet and health disparities in the U.S. and how to enact public health policy that is scalable and equitable. Currently, she is working on her dissertation research to understand trends and disparities in the nutritional quality of household packaged food purchases over time and across states and the impact of local and state-level policies on food purchases. Her work integrates methods from nutrition science, epidemiology, econometrics and spatial analysis. Outside of research, Allison is one of the student leaders of Amigas en Salud, a group under UNC SHAC that supports health and wellness among Latinas in Orange County. She is also involved in the Orange County Food Council’s Food Access Workgroup. Before coming to UNC, she served as a Peace Corps volunteer (Costa Rica 2012-2014) and worked for a community health center in her home state of NJ. Allison received her BA in Economics-Political Science from Columbia University. When not eating or studying food, Allison can be found finding her tumbao on the salsa floor.
Dissertation Title: Disparities in the nutritional quality of household purchases: evaluating the role of state policies and local sugar-sweetened beverage taxes
Research Interests: Inequality, Mobility, and Well-Being, Interventions and evaluation, Population Health and Environment, Nutrition and Epidemiology
After growing up in the great state of Nebraska and receiving my bachelor’s degree in Sociology and German from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, I moved to UNC to pursue my PhD in Sociology. I’m interested in pursuing a career as a survey statistician or data analyst. I have a deep passion for sports.
Dissertation Title: Migration, Integration, and Adolescence in Contemporary Germany
Research Interests: Biomarker collection and testing, Demography, Longitudinal/Life-Course Research, Measurements and methods for population data, Survey Methodology