top of page

MEET THE TEaM

Together, we bridge the gap between research and policy. 

We invite you to learn more about our team and discover the passion and commitment we bring to our shared mission. Together, we are making strides towards a more evidence-based, equitable, and impactful future, where health policy decisions are informed by robust behavioral science research. Each member of our team brings a unique set of skills and perspectives, creating a vibrant environment for collaboration and exploration.  

Marissa_Hall_headshot_web.jpg

Director

Marissa G. Hall, PhD

Marissa G. Hall, PhD is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Behavior at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and a faculty fellow at the Carolina Population Center and Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her overarching career goal is to design and evaluate evidence-based food, tobacco, and alcohol policies. Much of her research focuses on policies in retail environments, including warning labels, marketing restrictions, and excise taxes. Dr. Hall applies a range of methodological approaches to explore policy-related research questions, including online experiments, randomized trials, qualitative studies, and structural equation modeling. Dr. Hall uses in-person and online retail laboratories to experimentally evaluate an array of regulations on consumer behavior. Her food policy research has a focus on anticipating the potential impact of policies on Latino populations. Her research has been funded by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, the National Cancer Institute, and Healthy Eating Research, a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Dr. Hall co-leads a national working group focused on promoting evidence-based front-of-package food labeling policies. She partners with the Global Food Research Program at UNC on her food policy research. Dr. Hall is committed to centering diversity, equity, and inclusion in her research, teaching, and service; she currently leads the Health Behavior Department’s Equity Task Force. In her free time, Dr. Hall enjoys spending time with her husband and two kids, hiking, running, reading, and watching both high- and low-brow TV.

  

FUN FACT: Marissa is aspiring to visit all 41 state parks in NC (as of 2023, she has been to 17, so there’s still some work to do!)  

Callie.heic

Project Manager

Callie Whitesell, MPH

Callie received her B.S. in Psychology from Berry College and her M.P.H. with a concentration in Health Behavior from UNC Chapel Hill. She has experience in health communications related to mental health, tobacco, and alcohol use. She is passionate about research that promotes health equity, especially in the LGBTQ+ community. In her free time, Callie enjoys baking, making pottery, reading, and walking on local trails. 

FUN FACT: Unironically loves the movie Gremlins all year round (but yes, it does count as a Christmas movie!)

Cristina Lee_profile.jpg

Research Associate

Cristina Lee, MPH

Cristina is both a Research Associate here at the UNC Health Policy Lab and Stanford School of Medicine Food Policy lab. Her research interests lie at the intersection of food systems, public health, and climate change with a focus on food policy, food labeling, behavior change, and food equity. She previously worked as a data analyst at the NYC Department of Education being involved in the implementation and monitoring of school meal programs and policies. She was also a Forefront Fellow with the Urban Design Forum developing policy recommendations and community-based projects to advance food equity in NYC. Cristina received her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy-Biochemistry from Universidade de São Paulo and her MPH from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

 

FUN FACT: Cristina likes calligraphy. In an alternate universe, Cristina wouldn't mind being a scribe in medieval times.

Vereen_Rhyan_PhD.jpg

Postdoctoral Trainee

Rhyan Vereen, PhD, MPH

Rhyan N. Vereen is a postdoctoral trainee in the Cancer Health Disparities Training Program at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. She uses health communication as a tool to address health disparities. Her research focuses on the development of culturally relevant health messages and leveraging digital platforms, like social media, to increase positive engagement with evidence-based health information and encourage behavior change for chronic disease prevention. Dr. Vereen holds a PhD in Media and Communication from UNC-Chapel Hill, a MPH from Emory University, and a BS in Public Health Studies from East Carolina University. Prior to her PhD, Dr. Vereen worked as an Associate Scientist II on the Population Science team (formerly the Behavioral and Epidemiology Research Group) at the American Cancer Society. In her spare time, Rhyan enjoys listening to audiobooks under her fuzzy weighted blanket (aka her 2 dogs). 

 

FUN FACT: Rhyan is fascinated by the sky. Once upon a time, she wanted to work for NASA. She loves watching big fluffy clouds drift by, gazing at cotton candy-colored sunsets, and pointing out constellations in the night sky. She named her first pet, a cat, Starr.... yes, with 2 'R's because why not?

Aline.png

PhD Student

Aline D'Angelo Campos, MPP

Aline received a Master of Public Policy from Duke University and a BA in International Relations from the University of São Paulo, Brazil. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Health Behavior from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Her research interests include social and structural determinants of dietary behavior, dietary disparities, and food policy. Her current research is focused on front-of-package labeling policies, weight stigma, and food assistance programs in the US and Latin America. Her previous experiences include positions at the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, the World Bank, the Getulio Vargas Foundation, and the City of São Paulo.

FUN FACT: Her spirit animal is the capybara and she is trained in Irish step dancing.

Ruggles_Headshot.jpg

PhD Student

Phoebe Rose Ruggles, M.S.

Phoebe is a doctoral student in the Department of Health Behavior at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Her research centers on the impact of unhealthy product marketing (e.g., alcohol, tobacco, food/beverage) on health behaviors, with the overall goal of preventing cancer and other chronic diseases. She received her B.A. in Health & Societies from the University of Pennsylvania, where she worked as a research assistant at Penn’s Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science. She received her M.S. in Health Behavior & Health Education from the University of Texas at Austin, where she studied the outdoor food and beverage marketing environment near schools.

 

FUN FACT: Phoebe grew up on a small farm and can answer basically any question you may have about goats.

thumbnail_APCR_photo.jpg

PhD Student

Ana Paula C. Richter, MSc, MPH

Ana Paula is a doctoral student in the Department of Health Behavior at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC Chapel Hill. She is interested in nutrition policy and childhood obesity prevention interventions that bring positive changes to the food environment. Prior to starting her PhD, she worked as a research assistant at the Center for Studies on Tobacco and Health at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation and at the Secretariat of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Ana Paula has a BA in Pharmacy and Biochemistry from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, a MSc in International Relations from Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals, Spain, and an MPH from Johns Hopkins University, USA. In her free time, Ana Paula enjoys taking long walks, having coffee with friends, and backpacking.

 

FUN FACT: Given a choice, Ana Paula could survive on tahini.

IMG_8039.PNG

Consultant

Chisom Ojukwu, MPH

Chisom received her B.S. in Public Health Science from the University of Maryland, College Park, and her M.P.H. with a concentration in Health Behavior from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She currently works as a User Experience Researcher and Designer at The UNC Connected Health for Applications & Interventions (CHAI) Core and assists in Dr. Hall’s lab part-time. She is passionate about reducing health disparities and designing equitable health interventions. Her previous research was focused on tobacco control, youth vaping prevention, the concept of health identity, and human-centered design.

 

FUN FACT: Chisom has an identical twin sister, and no, they are nothing alike.

Emmanuel.jpg

Consultant

Emmanuel Saint-Phard, MPH

Emmanuel received his B.S. in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience from the University of Michigan and M.P.H. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He currently works as a research analyst at Mathematica and assists in Dr. Hall's lab part time. In his free time, he likes to cook, go to the gym and catch a movie at the theater or a happy hour after work. His public health interests include qualitative methods, social determinants of health, health disparities, and health equity (particularly access to care, maternal and child health, and chronic disease management among others). 

 

FUN FACT: If he’s not on a trip, planning a trip, or buying a ticket for a trip happening within three months, he’s not okay…check on him… 

Mirian.png

Research Assistant

Mirian Avendaño-Galdamez

Mirian is a part-time research assistant for the Bridge Lab. She received her undergraduate degree in Psychology with a minor in Spanish from NC State University in Raleigh N.C. Her past experience is working for small nonprofits in the research triangle area focused on community outreach. Her favorite previous job was being a preschool teacher which is where she gained an interest in public health policies and the importance of parent education programs. 

FUN FACT: Mirian is an avid snowboarder, and she is currently learning how to kiteboard and surf after moving to the beach! She is also obsessed with buying new houseplants despite her ability to keep them alive! 

Screenshot 2022-12-01 at 3.38.14 PM.jpg

MPH Student

Sarah Sutter

Sarah is a 2nd-year MPH student in the Department of Health Behavior at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Her interests in public health lie in behavioral science and policy interventions, specifically in prevention of non-communicable diseases and the influences of marketing. She also loves systems thinking and human-centered design. She is fascinated by the intersection of health and human behavior and how we can leverage behavioral insights to understand health outcomes through the way people live, act, and think. She previously worked in community-led development through Outreach International as well as youth education through the AmeriCorps, working to facilitate sustainable change in both fields. Sarah received her Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Science from Auburn University. In her free time, she enjoys taking care of her houseplants, hiking with her dog, and having movie nights with friends. 

FUN FACT: Sarah was on the Travel Channel for peanut butter…yes, peanut butter…She also has a dog named Aspen and will do everything in her power to show you a picture of her (or maybe a few more!).  

Screen Shot 2023-07-02 at 12.13.42 PM.png

Undergraduate Student

Quinn Errico

Entering the third year of his undergraduate degree in Biostatistics and Global Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill, Quinn is fascinated with community-based research. His experience includes data collection for nutritional health research at the Carolina Population Center and he is interested in data analytics and improving public health among Latino populations. They are passionate about Spanish language studies, reducing health inequalities and computer science. 

FUN FACT: Quinn's favorite conversation starter is the appointment he has next week to dye his hair. Quinn also has no appointment booked, no intention to do so, and a fear of bleach. Updates coming soon! 

bottom of page