Public Health Doctoral Student Biographies
Amarilis Cespedes is fifth year doctoral candidate in the public health program. She was born and raised in New York City. Amarilis earned her B.A. in English at Haverford College, with a concentration in Latin American & Iberian Studies. In 2006, she earned her MPH at Columbia University's Mailman School of public health with a concentration in Health Promotion. Her research interests include Latino and immigrant health, particularly in relation to sexual and reproductive health, and obesity outcomes. Currently, she's working on her dissertation proposal to examine the relationship between acculturation and asthma outcomes among Latinos.
Pricila is a third year doctoral candidate in the Public Health Program. She is originally from Brazil and has worked on implementation and research of the Brazilian national health policy, with emphasis in primary healthcare, child health and program evaluation. In 2012, she earned her MPH from NYU. Her research in the doctoral program focuses on income related inequalities in the use of healthcare. She is currently working on research project, involving US and Brazilian researchers, that study inequalities in healthcare utilization.
Shilpa Patel is a third year doctoral student in Public Health in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health. Shilpa is originally from New Jersey, and earned her BS from Rutgers University with a double major in Public Health and Psychology. In 2007, she earned her MPH from Columbia University, with a concentration in Effectiveness and Outcomes Research. Shilpa is interested in research that evaluates how health services and policies affect health outcomes, particularly among vulnerable populations. Currently, she is finishing up her coursework and is working on her dissertation proposal which focuses on how variations in Medicaid affect racial and ethnic disparities in cancer outcomes.
Melissa Pflugh Prescott is in her third year of the Public Health Doctoral Program. She is a registered dietitian and currently works as a Research Assistant at NYU’s Institute of Education and Social Policy. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, she was the Program Manager for Healthy Schools Healthy Families, an obesity prevention program serving seven elementary schools in Harlem and Washington Heights. She has also worked as a nutrition and wellness consultant for many schools and afterschool programs. Melissa received her MS in Clinical Nutrition from New York University and her BS in Food Science and Human Nutrition from the University of Florida.