Current Research Team Members
I am a first year medical student at Tufts University School of Medicine. I received my Bachelors degree in Biology and a Masters degree in Bioethics, with a focus on reproductive ethics, from Case Western Reserve University located in Cleveland, OH in 2016. I am a new graduate research assistant and look to aid in work particularly dealing with reproductive health disparities in areas of lower socioeconomic status, as well as in developing countries, particularly Nigeria. As an aspiring physician, I hope to incorporate this research into my education in a way that allows me to actively practice in these areas and affect change. My research focus centers on the determination of factors of maternal health care with the highest priority and the highest level of feasibility. Assessing the factors that meet both of these criteria is important because of the general lack of resources designated to the population of the women of study. Hopefully, this knowledge will expose viable factors to address in order to affect the greatest amount of change in maternal-fetal health, while taking into account the environments that shape their circumstances.
I am a first year medical student at Tufts University School of Medicine and am also pursuing a Master’s in Public Health. I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in International Health at Georgetown University in 2015. From 2014 to 2015, I worked at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist in the Global Women’s Health division organizing training materials on balloon tamponade for Ob/Gyn’s and midwives working in Zambia and Uganda; and the Women’s Partnership Division setting up maternal patient safety bundles to standardize care women receive if they have a venous thrombosis, obstetric hemorrhage, preeclampsia, and hypertension in pregnancy. Currently, I am working as a sexual reproductive health counselor at the Sharewood Project in Malden, MA providing STI and pregnancy counseling. I am interested in maternal health issues, particularly respectful maternal care and maternal mortality in underserved populations and developing countries such as Haiti. I hope to combine the knowledge I will gain in my research involvement with Dr. Amutah-Onukagha, public health degree, and medical degree to research and implement effective ways to improve maternal mortality in minority women both nationally and internationally.
Ijeoma Opara is a doctoral student and a research fellow for the Department of Family Science and Human Development at Montclair State University. Ijeoma is also a pre-doctoral fellow for the Behavioral Sciences Training (BST) in Drug Abuse T32 program funded by the National Instituteon Drug Abuse (NIDA) at New York University Rory Meyers College of Nursing. Ijeoma and Dr. Amutah-Onukagha have collaborated on many projects involving health outcomes for African American women living with HIV/AIDS and other projects related to addressing racial/ethnic disparities in maternity and child health. Ijeoma has gained valuable experience from being a part of Dr. Amutah’s research team by working on both qualitative and quantitative studies pertaining to women’s and adolescent health. Ijeoma has a Master’s in Social Work from New York University and a Master’s of Public Health in Epidemiology from New York Medical College. During her time at NYU, Ijeoma was selected as the recipient of a SAMHSA/HRSA fellowship where she worked on improving behavioral health outcomes for women experiencing homelessness and living with comorbid disorders. Ijeoma was also a former Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) fellow at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine where she conducted research on the effects of environmental tobacco smoke on asthma morbidity in inner city African American youth in Baltimore, Maryland. Ijeoma is a licensed social worker in both New Jersey and New York and has previously provided youth and family therapy to court involved youth in New York City. Her current research interests includes examining sexual risk behavior in adolescent girls of color and HIV/AIDS & substance abuse prevention. Ijeoma has received numerous awards for her work including the 2017 Population Health Scholar by AcademyHealth, New Writers Fellow by the Family Process Institute, Outstanding Doctoral Student at Montclair State University and was recently recognized as one of the top 100 women to end the HIV epidemic by POZ magazine.
I am pursuing a PhD at Northeastern University. I currently practice as a nurse case manager at Health Innovations, a mobile health clinic implemented entirely by expert public health nurses; focusing on prevention and screening for infectious disease caring for underserved communities at high risk for contracting HIV. I am particularly interested in the care of patients who have been exposed to discrimination in the healthcare system due to race, socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation. I hope to explore new and inclusive approaches to addressing barriers to HIV care complicated by intersectionality within communities of color and marginalized communities.
Maame Araba Assan
I am a first year graduate student at Montclair State University Department of Public Health. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Public Health with a concentration in Community Health Education at Montclair State University in 2017. During my undergraduate years, I had the opportunity to be a part of Dr. Amutah-Onukagha’s research team working on qualitative studies dealing with traditional birth attendants and maternal and child health in Nigeria. Working with Dr. Amutah- Onukagha has allowed me to enhance my research skills with qualitative studies, thus leading to have my first published article in a professional public health journal. I am from South Jersey, but I currently live on campus at Montclair State University. Currently, I am a graduate assistant (GA) at Montclair State University Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) conducting mental health outreach events and increasing awareness of the services provided at CAPS. I am interested in health disparities among communities of color and low-income communities with a focus on determinants of health, accessibility to maternal and child health for women of color and sexual and reproductive health among adolescents. My research interests include societal and cultural factors that contribute to the underutilization of mental health services among women of color, maternal and child health care issues for low-income women, and the quality of reproductive health services among women of color. I plan to use the knowledge gained from my research experience and my public health degree to create policies and implement strategies to address barriers to health care services and improve health outcomes for communities of color and other marginalized communities.
I am currently a graduate student at Boston University School of Public Health. I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Spelman college, located in Atlanta, Georgia in 2017. I am passionate about helping others and reducing health inequalities especially within the black community. My research interest focuses on the epidemiology of infectious and chronic diseases in underserved populations, specifically African American women of low socioeconomic status in the U.S. As an aspiring physician, I hope to practice excellent primary care and merge my knowledge in the public health field to help implement change in health outcomes for a variety of people including minority groups. Working with Dr. Ndidiamaka Amutah will enable me to leverage my knowledge and expertise to implement new research methods to solve for the causes of different chronic diseases.
I am a senior at Tufts University majoring in Community Health. I’m originally fromGhana and I live in Lynn, MA. My public health interests include, health education specifically sexual health, racial and ethnic health disparities, mental health, reproductive health and healthcare policy. After I graduate, I aspire to work in a hospital or healthcare center in a role that allows me to work with patients and connect them to resources to improve their health care access, quality and cost. In addition, I hope to pursue my Masters in Public Health and obtain a dual degree in Health Services Administration and Policy and Health Education and Behavior. Currently, I am working with Dr. Amutah-Onukagha on a project in collaboration with the Boston Public Health Commission’s Peer Leadership Institute. I am developing and adapting a curriculum on HIV that highlights different methods of prevention such as PrEP and PEP. This curriculum will also focus on reducing the risk of HIV among Black/African-American youth in the Boston area.
Former Research Team Members
I obtained my undergraduate degree at Montclair State University. I majored in sociology with minors in Spanish and Child Advocacy. I look forward to graduating with my Masters in Public Health in May 2017. I am currently working on transcribing maternal health focus groups and literature reviews for grant proposals. As an experienced child caretaker, I have a strong passion for child and maternal health issues specifically nutrition and child rearing. I aspire to gain experience in program evaluation and one day develop centers nationally and internationally that promote healthy lifestyles for mothers and children by access of resources and stability.