Former Fellows

Melissa Slavin, PhD, Post Doctoral Fellow

Dr. Slavin received her Doctorate of Philosophy (2019) and Master of Arts (2017) in Clinical Psychology from the University at Albany.  She completed her predoctoral internship at the Veterans Affairs Connecticut Healthcare System in West Haven.  Prior to this, she received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice from the University of Connecticut.  Dr. Slavin is passionate about advocating for drug policy reform that reduces overcriminalization of non-violent offenses.  Her research has focused on identifying intrapersonal (e.g., cognitive expectancies, motivational states, personality traits) and interpersonal (e.g., sexual abuse, physical violence) factors associated with substance misuse and addictive behaviors, including problematic gambling and compulsive sexual behavior.  She intends for her research to inform prevention measures and harm reduction interventions that can be used as alternatives to incarceration. Her dissertation examined the effects of harsh restrictions on “psychological reactance”, a motivational state characterized by negative affect and cognition that may influence individuals’ substance use.  Dr. Slavin would like to continue research on personal and environmental risk and protective factors for addiction, particularly among justice-involved individuals. Dr. Slavin was recently award a K01 grant Adaptation of a Digital Group-Based Intervention to Reduce Drug Use and Increase Contraceptive Use among Reproductive-Aged Women Involved in Criminal Justice Systems funded by NIDA.

Ariel Richer, Pre Doctoral Fellow

Ariel Richer is a doctoral student at the Columbia University School of Social Work working within the Social Intervention Group (SIG). Her focus is on intimate partner violence and access to relevant services for Black and Indigenous women who experience structural stigma related to drug use, involvement in the criminal-legal system, sexuality, and race. Additionally, she engages in community-based participatory research and works collaboratively with Indigenous and Native communities, as well as women who are involved with the justice system. She works under the direction of Professor Louisa Gilbert, PhD on project eWORTH  (Multimedia HIV/STI Intervention for Black Drug-Involved Women on Probation in New York City) and project WINGS  (Computerized service tool to address partner abuse among women in drug court).  As of February 2022, she was awarded an F31 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Individual Predoctoral Fellowship to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research through the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), 1F31MD017132-01, Understanding typologies of IPV and access to services among drug-involved Black women with criminal-legal involvement who have sex with women and men. Institution: Columbia University.

Previously, she worked as an Impact Evaluator at the federal agency, Administration for Native Americans within Health and Human Services working directly with community-based organizations developing logic models, evaluation plans, data collection tools, and processes at a community level, assisting communities determine what success looks like on their terms. She is fiercely committed to addressing gender-based issues at large, especially gender-based violence, and has over seven years of experience within domestic violence organizations, sexual assault resource centers, and economic enhancement programs for survivors of trafficking and domestic violence. Ariel is a co-founder and Chief Executive Officer for the Urban Indigenous Collective, an Indigenous-led non-profit committed to the mental health of Urban-living Native and Indigenous folks in the NYC tri-state area. Finally, she is a co-founder of ShockTalk, a telehealth app to connect Indigenous folks with Indigenous mental health providers.

She earned her Master of Science in Social Work, Social Enterprise Administration from Columbia University School of Social work in 2015 and is a Licensed Master Social Worker.

Christina M. Aivadyan, Pre Doctoral Fellow

Christina is a doctoral student at the Columbia University School of Social Work who conducts policy-relevant substance use and HIV prevention research tailored to the developmental context of adolescents and young adults. Her research explores social determinants of substance use and sexual risk behaviors, and the ways in which public health laws and policies may serve as structural drivers of HIV transmission for young people. 

During her pre-doctoral training, Christina evaluated the ways in which age and developmental stage differentially affect the relationship between substance use and sexual risk behavior among Black men who have sex with men at disproportionate risk for HIV and examined the association between state laws and policies relevant to equality for sexual minorities and suicide attempts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and questioning adolescents in the United States. Most recently, Christina received a Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Mental Health (F31MH128107) to utilize a mixed-methods approach to examine the influence of state-level laws related to confidentiality in sexual health services on U.S. adolescents' HIV testing practices.

Christina has extensive clinical and epidemiological research experience focused on substance use and co-occurring psychiatric disorders. Prior to her doctoral studies, Christina was a Project Director at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, where she managed numerous large-scale research projects, including a validation study of DSM-5 alcohol, drug, and psychiatric disorders in the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions-III, a FDA-mandated validation study of a version of the Psychiatric Research Interview for Substance and Mental Disorders designed to assess DSM-5 opioid use disorder among chronic pain patients, and a longitudinal study of the reliability and validity of DSM-5 substance use disorder criteria in community and patient samples. Additionally, as a Study Coordinator and Counselor in the Columbia University Department of Psychiatry, Christina contributed to the development of a motivational interviewing-based brief technological intervention for alcohol and marijuana use and sexual risk behaviors among homeless young adults and oversaw the randomized controlled trial evaluating its feasibility and preliminary efficacy. 

Christina received her Master of Science degree in Social Work from Columbia University in 2013, her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from New York University in 2007, and is a Licensed Master Social Worker in the state of New York. Contact info: [email protected]

Anindita Dasgupta, Ph.D. Post Doctoral Fellow

Dr. Dasgupta received her Doctorate in Public Health (Global Health track) in 2015 from the University of California San Diego, and San Diego State University (‘15), where she was a NIDA T32 pre-doctoral fellow on HIV, and substance use at UCSD (PI: Steffanie Strathdee), and pre-doctoral fellow at the Center on Gender Equity and Health. Prior to this, Dr.Dasgupta received her Master of Public Health from Boston University (‘10), and her Bachelors of Arts from Mount Holyoke College (‘08). Dr. Dasgupta’s dissertation research examined the intersection of gender based violence, contraception use, and risk for unintended pregnancy among married women in Maharashtra, India. Since 2009, Dr. Dasgupta has worked as a project manager on multiple NIMH-funded HIV risk-reduction interventions in India (married women) and Boston, Massachusetts (unemployed/homeless black men), as well as an NICHD-funded family planning intervention for couples in India (PI: Anita Raj). Dr. Dasgupta’s current research interests involve understanding how women who are engaged with the criminal justice system contend with HIV risk (via unsafe sex and drug use), and gender-based violence.

Yves Jeanty, Ph.D., MPH Post Doctoral Fellow

Dr. Jeanty received his Doctorate in Epidemiology (’11), Master of Public Health (’99), and Baccalaureate (’96) from the University of Miami. He was responsible for the direction of several multidisciplinary research studies focused on the prevention of new HIV infections among at-risk populations and improving the health status of the medically underserved, including persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), persons dually-diagnosed with mental illness and drug use disorders and incarcerated populations. Most recently, Dr. Jeanty served as an Associate Director with Gilead Sciences, Inc. in Government Affairs where he established and funded collaborative partnerships with healthcare organizations to routinize HIV testing in Miami-Dade County, FL in alignment with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s expanded HIV testing policy. Prior to this position, he was responsible for the oversight of a multi-site, longitudinal, clinical drug trial assessing the efficacy of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis to prevent new HIV infection among high-risk, men who have sex with men. Dr. Jeanty’s current research interests include how policies in the criminal justice system impact the prevention and/or treatment of HIV and HCV infection among incarcerated and recently paroled populations. Dr. Jeanty is currently Director of Data and Technology at the Mental Health Innovation Lab at the NYC Dept of Health and Mental Hygiene. Tragically, Dr. Jeanty passed away June 2020. He leaves behind a wife and two children.

Brandy F Henry, Ph.D. Post Doctoral Fellow

Dr. Henry is a clinician scientist who uses her years of practice experience to inform her research which aims to improve the health of criminalized populations. Her unique combination of research and practice experience led to her appointment by the Governor of Massachusetts to the state’s Restrictive Housing Oversight Committee which oversees housing conditions in Massachusetts’ prisons and jails. Dr. Henry has also served on the board of directors of multiple grass roots non-profits which provide direct services to incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people. Her work in these roles has grounded her research in the complexity of translating research to inform policy and practice. 

Dr. Henry received her Doctorate in Social Policy (Behavioral Health track) in 2019, and her Master of Arts degree in Social Policy (Behavioral Health track) in 2017 from the Brandeis University Heller School for Social Policy and Management.  While at Brandeis, she was awarded a Brandeis University Heller School Doctoral Fellowship (2018-2019), a Harvard Kennedy School Rappaport Institute Public Policy Summer Fellowship (2016), and a Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (2015-2018). Dr. Henry also received a Master of Social Welfare degree from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2012, and is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) in the state of Massachusetts.  She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in the field of Psychology, with minors in Statistics and Biology at Boston University (2006). 

Dr. Henry uses both qualitative and quantitative methods and has expertise in collecting data via in depth interviews with currently incarcerated people, policy-makers, and clinicians. She has also conducted big data analysis of a secondary data using latent class analysis and structural equation modeling. Her work has documented social determinants of incarceration with a focus on the role of trauma for incarcerated people  with mental health, and substance use disorders She has also been involved with NIDA funded Juvenile Justice Translational Research on Interventions for Adolescents in the Legal System (JJ-TRIALS) studies. Her work on these studies has examined implementation of organizational supports for screening, assessment, and referral to substance use, mental health & HIV treatment in juvenile justice systems  and costing of behavioral health interventions. Dr. Henry has also published in the areas of private prisonsHepatitis C drug pricing, and drug courts

At Columbia Dr. Henry was involved with the HEALing Communities, Intersecciones, and PACT studies, as well as the CHOSEN Center. While at Columbia, Dr. Henry published on COVID-19 and its intersections with prescriber wellnessoverdose and incarceration . Dr. Henry is currently an Assistant Professor at The Pennsylvania State University College of Education and where she is also an affiliate at the Consortium on Substance Use and Addiction

Karli R. Hochstatter, PhD, MPH Post Doctoral Fellow

Karli Hochstatter, PhD, MPH, is an epidemiologist and health services researcher focused on the intersecting epidemics of substance use disorders, infectious diseases, and mass incarceration. Prior to completing her postdoctoral fellowship at the Columbia University School of Social Work, she received her PhD in Population Health Sciences with a PhD minor in Criminal Justice Health and Master of Public Health from the University of Wisconsin Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. As a predoctoral candidate, Dr. Hochstatter was also a scholar in the NIDA-funded Criminal Justice Research Training Program on Substance Use, HIV, and Comorbidities at Brown University.  Dr. Hochstatter’s research aims to improve the understanding and health of disadvantaged populations with substance use disorder, with a special focus on incarcerated populations and people living with HIV and hepatitis C virus. She has worked on several NIDA-funded projects, including prevention and linkage-to-care intervention studies that use patient navigation, mobile health technology, and other computerized interventions to improve the health of people who use drugs. Dr. Hochstatter uses both quantitative and qualitative research methods and has significant expertise conducting epidemiological investigations and examining social and viral transmission network data.

While at Columbia, Dr. Hochstatter continued her research in these areas and was involved in the PACT Study, WORTH Study, and HEALing Communities Study. She also collaborated with machine learning experts at Columbia’s Data Science Institute to better understand the behaviors and needs of people who use drugs. Her postdoctoral research highlights the need for innovative strategies that are responsive to the unique challenges that people with substance use disorder experience accessing care, such as social exclusion and marginalization and difficulty navigating complex systems of addiction treatment. Dr. Hochstatter is currently a research scientist at Friends Research Institute, where she is continues to develop, implement, and disseminate innovative strategies to prevent the negative consequences of the opioid epidemic and improve treatment engagement among justice-involved adults. You can find contact information and a list of her publications here.

Kimberly Levin Pre Doctoral Fellow

Kimberly holds an MSW from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research interests include women’s health, specifically surrounding sexual assault and violence. Kimberly’s previous research includes a study on the intersections of substance abuse, intimate partner violence and the presence of children in the home, as well as a study on pressure for graduate students.

Phillip Marotta Pre Doctoral Fellow

Phil Marotta holds a Master of Public Health (Population and Family Health) and a Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University. After graduating from Columbia University, he completed a post-MSW clinical training fellowship through Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry where he worked with persons with serious mental illness in acute psychiatric crises. He has worked on research projects for the Center for Latino and Adolescent Family Health at New York University, the Department of Population and Family Health at Mailman School of Public Health, Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice, the Urban Justice Center, the Mayors Office to Combat Domestic Violence, and the Yale University Violence and Health Group. His most recent position was interim director for two juvenile justice programs through the Center for Court Innovation on Staten Island, NY. Phil Marotta is interested in developing and evaluating programs that incorporate law enforcement officers into public health interventions for vulnerable populations. As a trained Crisis Intervention Team Clinician, this includes research into encounters between law enforcement officers and persons with severe mental illness, substance use disorders and dual diagnosis. Broadly, his research is situated at the intersection of stigma, mental illness, substance abuse and HIV-risk among incarcerated and justice-involved populations. In 2014, Phil was awarded a NIDA funded F31 grant Criminal justice involvement and HIV Risks among migrant and non-migrant market workers in Barakholka Market, Almaty Kazakhstan. He is currently an Assistant Professor at Washington University in St. Louis, Brown School.You can find the link to his faculty page here.

Seth J. Prins, Ph.D. MPH Post Doctoral Fellow

Dr. Prins received his doctorate in epidemiology (2016) and master in public health (2010) from Columbia University. He received a bachelor of arts from McGill University (2004). Dr. Prins is a psychiatric and social epidemiologist who studies the medicalization of crime, the criminalization of mental illness, and the effects of relational social processes such as class, race, and gender on mood disorders. His dissertation tested the methodological and conceptual assumptions of criminogenic risk assessment in the criminal justice system. Prior to his doctoral training, Dr. Prins was a senior policy analyst at the Council of State Governments Justice Center, where he worked on local, state, and national projects to improve collaboration between criminal justice and mental health systems. He is Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University. You can find the link to his faculty page here.

Tracy Pugh Pre Doctoral Fellow

Tracy is interested in understanding the intersections of policy, punishment, and stigma. Prior to Columbia, she worked to advance a public health approach to drug policy for New York at the Drug Policy Alliance and, before that, at the New York Academy of Medicine. She has extensive experience engaging in policy research and advocacy related to health disparities and social justice in partnership with nonprofits, government agencies, community stakeholders, advocates, and policy makers. Tracy received her MHS in Health Policy from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and her BA from Cornell University.

Karen Shiu-Yee Pre Doctoral Fellow

Karen is a public health sociologist with research expertise in HIV care and prevention, particularly among populations with substance use problems. Karen’s work combines the principles of public health and social sciences to advance equitable healthcare and to reduce health disparities. She is also a seasoned data analyst and program evaluator who has over a decade’s experience on health improvement projects in academia, hospital systems, non-profit and community-based organizations, local government, and the private sector. Karen holds a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University. She also has a Master of Public Health (MPH) in Infectious Disease and Vaccinology from the University of California Berkeley, a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of California Davis, and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Economics also from UC Davis. Karen is currently a health services research postdoctoral scholar with The Ohio State University College of Medicine.

Kristi Stringer, Ph.D. Post Doctoral Fellow

Dr. Stringer received her Doctorate in Medical Sociology (2017) and her Master of Arts degree in Sociology (2012) from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). She earned her Bachelor of Science in the field of Psychology at Middle Tennessee State University in 2009. During her tenure at UAB, Dr. Stringer was an AHRQ pre-doctoral fellow at the Center for Outcomes and Effectiveness Research and Education in UAB’s Division of Preventive Medicine and was awarded a Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Individual Predoctoral Fellowship (F31) from the National Institute of Drug Abuse in 2014. Dr. Stringer’s research agenda focuses on the impact of health related stigmas on the HIV treatment cascade and the development of stigma reduction interventions aimed at increasing HIV prevention and treatment adherence behaviors. Her dissertation research utilized a mixed-methods approach to understand the adverse effects of substance use stigma and HIV-related stigma on adherence to antiretroviral medications and retention in HIV care among drug involved people living with HIV (PLWH). During her post-doctoral training at Columbia University, Dr. Stringer plans to adapt a stigma reduction intervention to address health related stigmas experienced within healthcare environments among drug involved PLWH in Kazakhstan through Columbia’s collaboration with the Global Health Research Center of Central Asia (GHRCCA). Kristi is currently an Assistant Professor at Middle Tennessee State University. You can find the link to her faculty page here.

Ciara A. Torres, Ph.D. Post Doctoral Fellow

Dr. Ciara A. Torres received her B.S. in Biology (’07) from the Universidad de Puerto Rico, followed by an M.A. (’09) and M.Phil. (’10) in Cellular, Molecular and Biomedical Studies, and a Ph.D. (’14) in the area of Neuropsychopharmacology from Columbia University. She also completed Postdoctoral Research Studies in both Columbia University’s Department of Neurology and the School of Social Work. Her previous research focused on understanding the molecular effects of recreational drugs in laboratory animals. Some of Dr. Torres’ current interests include teaching courses on recreational drugs at Columbia University’s Department of Psychology and investigating how social determinants of health mediate consequences related to drug use and the impact of drug-related policies on pregnant women and mothers.  Dr. Torres, has recently published a study to critically review the entire body of literature examining the long-term effects of prenatal cannabis exposure on cognition. We found little evidence that children that were prenatally exposed to cannabis are cognitively different than those that were not exposed. Interestingly, in a small number of cases, cannabis exposure was actually associated with improved cognition. In general, this data is inconsistent with prevailing views in the scientific community and the general population about the effects of prenatal cannabis exposure.

[email protected]

Alexandra Wimberly, Ph.D. Post Doctoral Fellow

Dr. Wimberly’s research focuses on supporting the health and well-being of people with substance use problems and criminal legal system involvement. She is particularly interested in mind and body healing approaches, such as yoga and mindfulness. Alexandra has her Ph.D. in social welfare from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice. She received her master’s in public health from Harvard, her master’s in social work from Simmons, and her bachelor’s in art studio from UCLA. She is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work.