DIRECTOR:

DUSTIN T. DUNCAN, SCD  is an Associate Professor in the Department of Population Health at the New York University (NYU) School of Medicine, where he directs NYU’s Spatial Epidemiology Lab. At NYU, he is also a Faculty Affiliate at NYU Abu Dhabi, the College of Global Public Health, the Population Center, the Center for Data Science, the Center for Health, Identity, Behavior, and Prevention Studies, and the Center for Drug Use and HIV Research. Dr. Duncan is a Social and Spatial Epidemiologist. His research broadly seeks to understand how social and contextual factors, especially neighborhood characteristics (such as the built environment and the social environment), influence population health, with a particular focus on HIV epidemiology and prevention and emerging work on sleep epidemiology and promotion. Dr. Duncan work has an emphasis on minority health and health disparities, especially among sexual minority populations and in particular gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM). His research has a strong domestic (U.S.) focus, but recent work is beginning to span across the globe (including studies in Paris, London, Shanghai and Abu Dhabi). Methodologically, his research utilizes a geospatial lens to apply spatially explicit approaches such as computer-based geographic information systems (GIS), web-based geospatial technologies, real-time geospatial technologies, and geospatial modeling techniques. For instance, his work applies emerging geospatial technologies such as Global Positioning System (GPS) devices and smartphones to, in part; examine mobility and social networks in neighborhoods. His research and that of the field of spatial epidemiology is summarized in his forthcoming co-edited book Neighborhoods and Health (2nd edition) with Ichiro Kawachi (Oxford University Press, 2018). Dr. Duncan’s research appears in leading public health, medical, geography, criminology, and demography journals. He has over 100 publications and book chapters, and his research has appeared in major media outlets including the US News and World Report, The Washington Post, The New York Times and CNN. His work also extends out of the research world and into classrooms through invited talks, multiple guest lectures across institutions, and his courses including “Connecting Neighborhoods and Health: An Introduction to Spatial Epidemiology”—offered at NYU Abu Dhabi, and “Assessing Neighborhoods in Epidemiology”—offered at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Dr. Duncan’s recent work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Verizon Foundation, Aetna Foundation and HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN). He is an Associate Editor of Behavioral Medicine and is on the Editorial Board of Spatial Demography, Geospatial Health, the American Journal of Health Promotion, AIMS Public Health and the Journal of Public Health and Emergency. Dr. Duncan completed his doctorate and the Alonzo Smythe Yerby Postdoctoral Fellowship, both in Social Epidemiology, at Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

NYU School of Medicine Profile   / Google Scholar Profile / Dr. Duncan’s CV

SENIOR STAFF:

BRANDON BROOKS, MPH is the Research Coordinator for NYU’s Spatial Epidemiology Lab. Originally from Denver, Colorado, Brandon’s career interests are focused at the intersection of public health, social disparities, and policy. He is managing the lab’s R01-project funded by the National Institute on Mental Health focused on understanding social contextual drivers of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) uptake and adherence among Black men who have sex with men (MSM). Brandon has previously conducted research at BOOM!Health, Hunter College’s Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies & Training (CHEST), the University of Pennsylvania, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, Drexel University, Access Matters, and the Denver Public Health Department, with significant experience conducting HIV research among MSM populations. Brandon completed his M.P.H. at Drexel University and a B.S. in Integrative Therapeutic Practices at Metropolitan State University of Denver.

SU HYUN PARK, PHD, MPH is a Data Analyst in NYU’s Spatial Epidemiology Lab, where she is predominantly assisting on our R01-project focused on PrEP uptake and adherence among Black MSM. Dr. Park and Dr. Duncan have published multiple papers together, including papers among a sample of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men in the Paris (France) metropolitan area who use geosocial networking applications. Dr. Park recently lead a study co-authored with and Dr. Duncan, published in Nicotine and Tobacco Research, examining state-specific prevalence and regional differences in hookah use among adults in the United States. She led another study co-authored with Dr. Duncan, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, investigating the individual characteristics and state-level prevalence of U.S. adults who have switched to e-cigarettes from traditional cigarettes. Dr. Park also works with Drs. Scott Sherman and Michael Weitzman, where she examines emerging tobacco products such as hookah and e-cigarettes among various U.S. populations, including college students.

SEANN REGAN, MA is a Geospatial Analyst in NYU’s Spatial Epidemiology Lab and an experienced GIS analyst and geographer with a focus on bringing the tools of computer aided mapping and a geographic perspective to issues of public health. To this end, he has worked at the top ranked MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas as a GIS analyst on health disparities and health inequality, the Baylor College of Medicine on issues of environmental health, exposure to airborne pollutants and environmental toxins, and with the Texas Department of State Health Services as a senior GIS specialist on a wide range of topics. Seann continues to consult with various organizations and works closely with the Dr. Duncan and NYU’s Spatial Epidemiology Lab. He is a contributing author to multiple academic publications, and is a strong advocate for enhancing geographic literacy in the public health domain. He earned his MA in Geography from Miami University in Oxford, OH.

RESEARCH ASSISTANTS:

YAZAN A. AL-AJLOUNI is a third year undergraduate student at NYU Abu Dhabi majoring in Biology and minoring in public health on the pre-medical studies track, and is a research assistant at NYU’s Spatial Epidemiology Lab. He was born in New York and raised in Amman, Jordan. He is interested in medical and public health research, and has previous research experience in Imperial College London Medical School, Sydney University Interdisciplinary Photonics Labs, and NYU Langone Health’s Emergency Department. He ultimately plans to pursue a medical degree and become a physician, specializing in sports medicine while continuing research in various health fields, with a focus on public health in order to understand the different health behaviors between populations.

SAMUEL DUBIN, BS is a second year medical student at NYU School of Medicine and a research assistant in NYU’s Spatial Epidemiology Lab. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University and is interested in a career addressing disparities in LGBTQ health. During the summer of 2017 with NYU’s Spatial Epidemiology Lab, he worked on a qualitative study to understand the neighborhood context of health among transgender and gender non-conforming individuals in New York City as well as a manuscript on PrEP among gay, bisexual and other MSM.

JIMMY EASZOR, BS is a native of Centennial, CO, where he attended Regis Jesuit High School. He went on to attend Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT, majoring in Biology and Psychology, concentrating in Neuroscience while playing five years of varsity lacrosse, captaining the team in his fifth year. During undergrad as a research assistant, he was part of a team that analyzed Gibbons primate mating calls. This group was the first team to successfully quantify a dialogue between male and female Gibbons that led to the production of the female great call, or mating call. After college he spent a year teaching high school general and honors chemistry. He now attends NYU’s College of Global Public Health, studying for a Masters of Public Health with a concentration in Epidemiology. In addition to his internship in NYU’s Spatial Epidemiology Lab, he works as a research technician in NYU Langone Health’s pediatrics and environmental health departments doing research regarding secondhand smoke exposure.

SALEM HARRY, BA is a rising second year medical student and Urban Health Scholar at the UCONN School of Medicine. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry with a minor in English from Bowdoin College. He is also a research assistant in NYU’s Spatial Epidemiology Lab, and, during the summer of 2017, he worked on a qualitative study to understand the context of health among transgender and gender non-conforming individuals in New York City as well as assisted as a co-author on several lab papers. Prior to medical school Salem worked as a college admission officer at Connecticut College, overseeing disadvantaged regions of Houston, New York, and Baltimore. These experiences sharpened his interests in health care to focus on frontline medicine and health disparities, specifically racial and sexual minorities. At UCONN he serves as the Vice President of the Latino Medical Student Association and leads community health outreach efforts in the Greater Hartford area. An aspiring emergency medicine physician and teacher, he plans to work in a metropolitan hospital, pursue a Masters of Public Health degree, and remain heavily involved in community work and urban health issues.

RHODES HAMBRICK, BS is a current 4th-year student at the NYU School of Medicine. He hails from Georgetown, Kentucky, where he lived until he started undergrad at Furman University, a small liberal arts school in Greenville, South Carolina, where he studied biochemistry and played the trombone. He started medical school with the intention to go into pediatrics, and after three years of toil, he is in the process of realizing that dream by applying into pediatrics in Fall 2017. During medical school, he has pursued an interest in LGBTQ+ health through co-leading the LGBT(+) People in Medicine group, organizing a conference with other NYU graduate schools on LGBTQ-related topics, and working as a research assistant in NYU’s Spatial Epidemiology Lab since August 2016, focusing on projects related to sexual risk behavior and drug use among men who have sex with men (MSM), including publishing a paper in AIDS & Behavior. He was drawn to do work in population health as a way to unite observations made in clinical settings with work examining forces that shape behavior on a larger scale.

ILGAS HISIRCI is a fourth year undergraduate student at New York University pursuing a B.A. in Global Public Health/Sociology and minoring in Environmental Sciences. She is interested in epidemiology, particularly how diseases arise and spread in a given population and the production of vaccines. Additionally, she is interested in the international and community development and cooperation to facilitate innovations, locally driven solutions, research, and policies to levitate impoverish communities into greater opportunities and better, healthier lifestyles. She hopes the research she conducts and collaborates on as a research assistant to the lab will help policy makers make informed decisions to tackle the health disparities persistent in communities around the globe. Eventually, Ilgaz hopes to earn a master’s degree in public health with a concentration in epidemiology.

TABITHA F. JULIEN, MPH is a first-year doctoral student at the NYU School of Medicine – Sackler Institute and a research assistant in NYU’s Spatial Epidemiology Lab. After completing her Bachelor of Science at CUNY Brooklyn College with a major in Biology, she went on to major in Epidemiology School of Public Health. After completing two HIV behavioral internships at the NYS Department of Health (NYS DOH) in the Bureau of HIV/AIDS, Tabitha decided to take a job opportunity with the NYS DOH within the Center for Environmental Health. Through her work with childhood lead poisoning, her passion for “place-based” research flourished. By the end of 2015, Tabitha continued her quest for environmental research at the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene. Within the Division of Disease Control, she was able to complete a research study that assessed the neighborhood-level risk factors of pneumonia associated hospitalizations in NYC using spatial methods and open data. Broadly her interests include contextualizing “place” and how it relates to health outcomes using novel modeling techniques and elucidating the intersections of policy changes and health behaviors. After graduating with her doctorate Tabitha would like to pursue a career in spatial and social epidemiology to bring justice to underserved populations and also serve as mentor and guiding light to other West Indian-American researchers.

AISHA KHAN, BS Graduated from NYU with a degree in Global Public Health and Anthropology. Currently, she is a JD/MPH candidate at Northeastern University School of Law and Tufts University School of Medicine. Aisha is particularly interested in understanding how current health policies in place impede vulnerable populations’ ability to make healthy choices and decisions. She has been working in NYU’s Spatial Epidemiology Lab since June 2015 on rewarding qualitative projects examining the health disparities public housing residents and transgender/gender non-conforming New Yorkers face in various health outcomes such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, mental health, and sexual health. She hopes that the research she conducts as a research assistant at NYU’s Spatial Epidemiology Lab helps policymakers make informed decisions that keep the needs and health outcomes of marginalized populations in mind, when enacting policies. These experiences have led Aisha to law school in order to be equipped with the tools in order to help and represent clients who need help navigating the complex healthcare system, reducing their medical debt, or accessing health services.

RAIYA MALLICK, MBBS is a research assistant at NYU’s Spatial Epidemiology Lab. She received her Bachelors in Medicine and Surgery from Ziauddin University in Pakistan and wishes to pursue a career as a Cardiologist. She conducts medical outreach programs in the rural areas of Pakistan and is interested in setting up health care centers in remote villages that focus on Preventive Medicine and patient education. Her goal is to introduce public health projects like the “Million Hearts Initiative” in developing countries starting from Pakistan and research effective methods of health communication for populations that are removed from education and technology.

HAYDEN MOUNTCASTLE was born in St. Petersburg, Florida, but has also lived in Riyadh, Barcelona, and Singapore. He is a third year undergraduate student at New York University in Abu Dhabi, majoring in Biology with a minor in Social Research and Public Policy (SRPP). Hayden met Dr. Duncan in January of 2017, when he took Dr. Duncan’s class, “Connecting Neighborhoods and Health: An Introduction to Spatial Epidemiology”, and soon after began volunteering with the Spatial Epidemiology Lab, designing and writing a grant for measuring the relationship between stress and sleep among MSM in New York City, using biomarkers as indicators of stress. He is particularly interested in applying biological methods to social research in order to study underprivileged urban populations. Prior research includes working in the NYUAD Marine Biology Lab in Abu Dhabi, which uses the Arabian Gulf as a natural laboratory, which examines the effects of extreme environments on coral and other marine life as indicators for the potential ecological effects of climate change. In the future, Hayden plans to pursue a career as a physician, while continuing to carry out research, particularly as an avenue to both understand and ultimately help underprivileged populations.

LILI SUAREZ is a fourth-year undergraduate student on the Pre-Medical track at NYU majoring in Psychology and minoring in Chemistry. Lili is interested in studying the intersection of cultural identity and providing individualized care for those of marginalized identities. After medical school, Lili plans to return to Anaheim, California where she will open her own clinic to serve her community.

STEPHANIE WU, BA hails from Carmel, Indiana, Stephanie completed her undergraduate studies at Duke University, where she studied visual arts. There, she conducted research at the intersection of trauma studies and visual and media culture. Specifically, her research entailed an examination of U.S. conservative talk radio within a framework of trauma. Not wanting to be a starving artist, however, she has since moved to New York City to attend medical school. At NYU School of Medicine, she has been working with Dr. Veronica Ades and the EMPOWER Lab to study the consequences of sexual trauma on women’s health. She is excited to be working with Dr. Dustin Duncan and NYU’s Spatial Epidemiology Lab to explore her interests in social determinants of health and sexual and gender minority health. In her spare time, she loves creating art, hiking, reading, and listening to Bob Dylan.

SOPHIA ZWEIG, B.S. received a B.S. in Biology with honors from Case Western Reserve University, and was born and raised in New York City. Sophia previously conducted research at the Cleveland Clinic, Case Western, Columbia University Medical Center, and the New York Blood Center. Her work with HIV testing, advocacy, homeless outreach, and epidemiology has made her eager to contribute to research on improving health disparities.  She hopes to pursue a public health or medical degree and work to help people affected by health disparities.

RESEARCH AFFILIATES:

WILLIAM GOEDEL, BA is a doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology at the Brown University School of Public Health. He graduated from New York University’s College of Arts and Science and College of Global Public Health with a Bachelor of Arts degree in global public health and sociology. As an undergraduate student, he received $10,000 in independent research grants from the College of Arts and Science Dean’s Undergraduate Research Fund, conducting several studies on the health of sexual and gender minority communities. He began his time with NYU’s Spatial Epidemiology Lab as a research assistant in Summer 2014 and served as the group’s program manager from May 2016 to August 2017. He currently works as doctoral research assistant at the Centers for Epidemiology and Environmental Health at Brown University’s School of Public Health under Dr. Brandon D.L. Marshall, where he uses agent-based modeling to optimize the implementation of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) programs among men who have sex with men (MSM) and people who inject drugs (PWID) in urban settings. To date, he has published 25 peer-reviewed publications focusing predominantly on HIV infection and related risk factors among MSM. His interests broadly related to the epidemiology, prevention, treatment, and control of sexually transmitted infections and sexual health promotion among sexual and gender minority populations.

OFOLE MGBAKO, MD is a current internal medicine resident at the NYU Internal Medicine Residency Program. He received his MD from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and his B.A. in History and Literature from Harvard University. His research interests include HIV and HIV co-infections (including tuberculosis, hepatitis, and other sexually transmitted diseases), sociocultural factors influencing HIV infection, and global healthcare delivery systems for HIV infection. He has worked with Physicians for Human Rights, American Foundation for AIDS Research and the New York Academy of Medicine. He has also worked extensively abroad in global public health, particularly in the realm of HIV. He has done public health/clinical work in Ghana, South Africa, Botswana, Dominican Republic, and Uganda. He recently received the Rudin Fellowship in Medical Ethics and Humanities from the Department of Medical Humanities at NYU and is currently working on a project with Dr. Duncan to explore the experiences of HIV-positive Black men who have sex with men in New York City and identify barriers to care and treatment.

DIANA SHEEHAN PHD, MPH is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work at Florida International University (FIU). Her research focuses on racial/ethnic and socioeconomic HIV disparities, particularly those that occur along the HIV/AIDS continuum of care, and those that occur among Latinos. In addition, much of her work has focused on the contribution of residential neighborhood to HIV disparities. More recently, she has begun conducting research on the impact of neighborhoods and risk networks on sexual risk behaviors. Dr. Sheehan’s work has been funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN), and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She holds a PhD in Epidemiology from FIU, and a Bachelor of Science and Master of Public Health degrees from Boston University.

LAB ALUMNI:

Maliyhah Al-Bayan, MD | Samantha Bennett | Jermaine Blakley, MPA | Forrest Brooks, MS | Udisa Chowdhury | Gladyne Confident, MD | Shivali Devjani | Chrystel Dol, BS | Shilpa Dutta, MPH | Rochelle Frounfelker, MPH, MSSW | Thomas Gepts, BA
 | Brittany Gozlan, MD | Daniel Hagen, MPH |
 Kimberly Jones, MSW | Noah Kreski, BA | Gina Leipertz | Thayane Moreira | Jace Morganstein, MS
 | Kenneth Pass, BS | Gabriel Figueroa Torres, BS | John Twarog, MPH | Jonathan Varghese, BS | James Williams, MD | Lucy Yang
Abebayehu Yilma, PhD, MPH