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The 2024 Program in Medical Sociology

The Project Leadership Team
Ashley Mui
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Ashley Mui is a junior at UCLA with an interest in medical ethics and healthcare law. She has previously performed research as part of NYU’s Emerging Leaders Program. She assessed risk factors for respiratory health in NYC’s low-income communities and engineered a particulate matter filtration design for the NYC MTA. She is interested in the sociocultural factors affecting healthcare access, particularly amongst underserved communities. Ashley is the Editor of our newest book, on mental health, being published in 2024 and has contributed to our other books, as well.

Julianna Celestin
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Julianna Celestin is an ambitious-driven graduate from Florida State University, where she has obtained degrees in Family & Child Sciences and Public Health with a Minor in Child Development. She is currently pursuing a Master of Health Services Administration in Healthcare and later a Juris Master with a specific concentration in Healthcare. Her aspiration is to become a Healthcare Administrator and Researcher focused on strengthening systems solutions to public health, comprehensive health systems, and health care problems. Julianna's focus is improving access to healthcare. She is passionately committed to progressively improving the social efficiency and quality of healthcare services that are being provided and not provided to those in the underserved, underrepresented, and vulnerable populations. Julianna is one of the major authors of our books, and also wrote for Today's Patient.

Elizabeth Linden
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Elizabeth Linden is a retired special education teacher with 25 years of experience. She has a bachelor’s degree in Special Education and a master’s degree in Health Psychology. Liz has been an advocate for the educational needs of special education students throughout her career as well as an advocate for her own medical needs as a person with a rare headache disorder. Out of necessity, she learned that she needed to become an expert regarding her own medical condition. She is pleased to be a part of our broadcast team and believes passionately in the importance of trust in the doctor-patient relationship and for the patient to feel empowered to give feedback. She also strives to encourage patients and to learn about their treatment and ask for more help when we need it. Liz was also a major contributor to Today's Patient. She is also one of the major authors of our four books.

Anooshka Shukla
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Anooshka Shukla has a Bachelors of Science and with a major in Public Health from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) and is currently pursuing Masters of Public Health from the same university, with plans to graduate this summer. She worked as a Teaching Fellow for Citizen School in Boston, MA which works to help inner city students achieve their full potential. She assisted senior citizens in an adult day care center providing health care information. Anooshka also volunteered in a local pharmacy assisting with logistics and customer service. Being passionate about public health, Anooshka is always excited to empower patients, especially in mental health area. Anooshka is also one of the major authors of our books.

Our Team
Asma Farhana, Senior Researcher

Asma Farhana is a certified health education specialist. After completing her bachelor's degree in public health at UC Berkeley, she completed her Master's in Health Education at Purdue Global University while doing an externship at West Oakland Health Council WIC. At West Oakland Health, Asma connected pregnant and postpartum patients with WIC services to increase their access to nutrition programs and breastfeeding support. Asma believes that highlighting the needs of vulnerable populations is important for improving community health outcomes at large, and is passionate about reducing health disparities. 

Gifty Dzeagu, Senior Researcher
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Gifty Dzeagu is a public health student at the University of Texas at Arlington. She is planning to graduate in fall 2023. She has worked as a teacher and an interpreter in the past, and experiences she has gained have increased her skills in communication, team leadership, research, and computer among others.

Caitlin Laska, Senior Researcher
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Caitlin Laska is currently a student at Northeastern University earning her Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in public health with a focus on health disparities, education, and global health. She speaks Spanish and Portuguese. Caitlin has taught English as a second language to refugees in Jordan, and she has studied abroad in Greece, UAE, Jordan, Egypt, Ghana, and Australia during her undergraduate years. She has also interned at Harvard Medical School in continuing education and United Planet in program development. She is passionate about health equity and education. 

Claire Timon, Senior Researcher 
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Claire Timon is originally from Erie, PA. She graduated from Baylor University in May of 2023 with a Bachelors of Science in Health Science Studies. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Science in Medical Physiology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Claire has extended experience in the clinical work including working as a medical scribe and aspires to attend medical school in the future.

Naman Kumar, Senior Researcher
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Naman Kumar is a graduate student at Johns Hopkins, pursuing a master’s degree in biotechnology. He completed his bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences with a minor in sociology at the University of South Florida. He has many healthcare experiences volunteering, shadowing, and working in a research lab. He believes these experiences play a significant role in who he is today.

Evetta Zagorin, Senior Researcher
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Evetta Zagorin is a junior at Pace University majoring in Health Policy and Advocacy, with a concentration on pre-optometry. Her unrelenting pursuit of knowledge and passion for patient advocacy and delivering quality patient care was the driving force behind joining the undergraduate program at Pace. As a member of Sigma Delta Tau, she has volunteered for THON and LifeLink, and worked with pharmacists and optometrists in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania communities. Evetta is passionate about public health advocacy and wants to proactively address the current challenges in the health systems. Her future commitment is to ensure healthier communities by guiding patients through their medical care, influencing policy changes, and decreasing health disparities.

Snehaa Krishnan, Senior Researcher
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Snehaa Krishnan is an epidemiologist with an MPH from Emory University. She has always had a passion for medicine and healthcare, especially for educating and advocating for patients. She has extensive experience volunteering in healthcare and medical research, and hopes to use these skills to further her career with the goal of patient well-being.  

Farmin Shahabuddin, Senior Researcher
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Farmin Shahabuddin graduated from University of Maryland, College Park in August of 2023 with a Bachelor of Science in Public Health Science. She is now pursuing a Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in Global Health at Rutgers University. Farmin is currently an intern for the Behavioral Health Administration Systems Management at Maryland Department of Health, and her future goal is to work for an international health organization as a global health policy analyst or a researcher so that she can advocate for and address the existing barriers that exist in the health system globally.

Maha Mustensir, Senior Researcher 
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Maha Mustensir is a freshman at Rutgers University School of Arts & Sciences, currently enrolled in the Honors Program. She aspires to double major in Cell Biology, Neuroscience & Cognitive Science on the pre-med track. Maha is passionate about the intersection of medicine, humanities, and behavioral health. She is always eager to delve into different aspects of the healthcare industry, focusing on initiatives that improve patient care and accessibility. In her free time, Maha enjoys reading, writing, playing tennis, and occasionally crocheting.

Maria Zampetoulas, Senior Researcher 

Maria Zampetoulas is a mental health and wellness advocate who has worked primarily within the special education and mental health fields. She has extensive experience working with children, adolescents, and young adults in various clinical settings. Maria has provided therapeutic services to several underserved and marginalized populations within acute levels of care and has a strong background in group facilitation. She is passionate about the delivery of humanistic, heart-centered care and believes that storytelling and compassionate witnessing are the greatest vehicles for healing within the therapeutic relationship. Maria holds a Bachelors degree in Psychology with a minor in Anthropology from Ramapo College as well as a Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology from Felician University. Her background in research includes experiences at both the undergraduate and graduate levels in addition to a research assistantship at Ramapo College for an NIH funded study. Maria is passionate about the research process and delivering new insights and information which further health and wellness outcomes for patients. Her own personal journey as a patient as well as her professional work within the mental health field have led to a deep desire and commitment to enhancing the patient experience through education and advocacy, but most importantly, to advocate for providers to see the person beyond the title of patient. 


Ritz Battula, Senior Researcher

Ritz Battula recently completed her undergraduate studies at Baylor University, majoring in Baylor Business Fellows and Human Resource Management, accompanied by a Leadership in Medicine Minor on the Pre-Medical Track. Throughout her academic journey, she demonstrated exceptional leadership skills by holding seven officer roles in four different student organizations, earning her the distinguished Excellence in Student Involvement Award from Baylor University. Ritz’s engagement extended beyond the classroom, encompassing clinical experience, community service, and research, fostering a well-rounded understanding of the intricacies within the realm of healthcare. Her early exposure to healthcare barriers prompted her desire to be a conscientious and effective agent of beneficial change in the healthcare industry and be a leader within the medical profession. Ritz’s goal is to use her skills and values to ameliorate the lives of those who just need a little bit more hope and care as a compassionate physician.

Misha Bukkasagaram, Senior Researcher
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Misha Bukkasagaram is a sophomore at the University of Evansville in Evansville, Indiana. There, she is part of their 8-year Baccalaureate to Doctor of Medicine program, majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Public Health and Biology. Her primary research focus has been postpartum heart health, but she also hopes to explore cardiology across various marginalized populations. In her free time, she enjoys writing for her blog, RisingEcho, which is centered around spreading the stories of people working to make a positive impact on the world. She also plays pickleball and loves to read! In her future, she hopes to serve as an advocate for patients through a career in medicine!

Ariana Cheng, Senior Researcher
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Ariana Cheng is a senior at the University of California, Los Angeles majoring in Human Biology & Society with a minor in Anthropology.  With various exposure to research, healthcare services, and Digital marketing, she looks forward to pursuing a Master's in Healthcare Administration or within public health. Her interests include Digital Media, marketing, & writing. Some of her hobbies include Dance, Traveling, and trying new foods.

Faith Widen, Senior Researcher
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Faith Widen recently graduated in December from the University of Missouri – Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. During her final semester, she completed an independent study that analyzed recent data on American citizen’s opinion of teaching sex education in public schools. She has a special interest in medical sociology, and she aspires to better her community by using research to create a better understanding of how our society operates. In addition, Faith is interested in gender studies, the sociology of food, and settler colonialism. 

Alexandra Collins, Senior Researcher
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Alexandra Collins graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2024 with a B.A in Sociology and a B.A in Anthropology. She transferred from Berkeley City College (BCC) with an A.A in Liberal Arts: Social and Behavioral Sciences, A.A-T in Sociology, and an A.A-T in Psychology. Alexandra is a Mentor for the Youth Mental Health Academy program. She plans on taking a gap year before pursuing a Ph.D. in Sociology and becoming a professor. Additionally, she recently wrapped up her role as a Research Assistant at the Heart Equity & Access Research Treatment (HEART) Lab. 

Liya Moges, Senior Researcher
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Liya Moges is a graduate from Georgia State University majoring in Biomedical Science and Enterprise, with a minor in Chemistry and Pre-Med concentration. She currently works as a Medical Scribe at Northside Hospital and uses this opportunity to not only shadow physicians, but to understand the importance of medical care in the form of preventative medicine. While working alongside healthcare professionals, and her past internship experience with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Liya continues to foster a strong passion towards health equity, cultural competence in medicine, and awareness for public health measures. Liya's desire to educate the public on these manners has led to her growth and interest in the field of medical journalism, which she has cultivated during the last 2 years as a volunteer Senior Contributor for Today's Patient and our books. 

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