Research Assistants

Jake Abrahams

Jake Abrahams, 2020-2022

Jake Abrahams completed his MPH in Public Health Administration and Policy. His thesis examined the effectiveness of the Minnesota Department of Health’s COVID-19 Vaccine Connector. After graduation, Jake will be working for the US Department of Health and Human Services doing policy analysis in the Office of the Secretary. He was drawn to the UMN School of Public Health to strengthen his public health policy skills to address health equity issues at the federal level.

stefani aleman

Stefani Aleman, 2018-2020

Stefani Aleman was the graduate assistant for the Health Equity Work Group during the 2018-2020 academic years. She graduated with an MPH in Epidemiology and has a deep interest in exploring the role of the built environment and social determinants of health on chronic disease and community health. While at the University of Minnesota, she worked with Prof. David Haynes to understand the role of community-based organizations (both density and type) on chronic disease morbidity. Currently, Stefani is an epidemiologist and is applying to medical school. She hopes that as a physician, she can integrate her public health knowledge and lived experience to increase health care access and achieve health equity for populations who have been pushed to the margins of society.


Sundal Hashwani, 2016-2018

Sundal Hashwani is the current graduate assistant for the Health Equity Work Group, starting in August 2016. She is in her second year of herMPH with a focus in Public Health Administration and Policy. She is interested in the intersection of emergency preparedness, health equity, and policy. Before coming to the University of Minnesota, Sundal completed her Bachelor of Science in Biology and Neuroscience at Loyola University Chicago in 2016. After interning at a NGO for the Syrian refugee crisis, she became drawn to how policy change may impact diverse populations and emergency preparedness.


Hannah Gary, 2014-2016

Hannah completed her MPH with a focus on Community Health Promotion in 2016. Her MPH culminating experience examined whether or not Health Impact Assessments in Minnesota consider the mental health impacts of built environment projects. She is currently completing a Master’s of Urban and Regional Planning at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs with a focus on equitable urban design through participatory processes. Much of this work centers around arts-based and creative engagement strategies. She was drawn to this intersection of public health and urban planning because of the impact the built environment has on population health.


Nicole Kast, 2012-2014

Nicole Kast is a Community Health Promotion MPH student.  Before returning to graduate school Nicole lived in Oaxaca, Mexico for four years where she collaborated with a number of community-based organizations and worked for two years in disability policy and services in rural and indigenous communities. Nicole was drawn to the University of Minnesota SPH because of its focus on health disparities and community-based practice and its opportunities for interdisciplinary research and collaboration. Nicole’s geographic focus is Latin America with a thematic interest in disability studies and the intersection of community health promotion and the arts.

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