2009-2011 Cohort – Community Track

Joshua Garoon completed his PhD in Health, Behavior and Society at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in August 2009. Josh also earned an MPH (2004) from Hopkins, and holds an AB (1998) in Biochemistry, Technology, and Public Policy from Harvard College. Prior to his graduate studies, Josh served as a volunteer with the United States Peace Corps’ Community Action for Health Program in Chipangali, Zambia. Josh’s doctoral fieldwork returned him to Zambia. Supported by a J. William Fulbright grant, he conducted an ethnographic study of how environmental conservation is affecting health in a community on the outskirts of North Luangwa National Park. This research focused on implementation of community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) strategies, and approached CBNRM as a microcosm of a global challenge: balancing ecological stewardship with the increasing resource demands of nations staking their claims to modernity. Over the course of his graduate programs, Josh has also engaged in a range of urban health efforts in Baltimore, and has developed special interest in how urban health and urban planning intersect. As a Kellogg Health Scholar at Johns Hopkins, Josh plans to pursue this interest by conducting community-based participatory research employing both ethnographic and epidemiologic methods.


Chris Heaney
Chris Heaney earned his M.S. in environmental health microbiology and virology and his Ph.D. in epidemiology at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health in 2008. Generally, his research interests are in the areas of environmental epidemiology, infectious disease, and health disparities. His dissertation examined associations between sand contact, concentrations of fecal microbial indicator organisms in sand and risk of gastrointestinal (GI) and non-GI illnesses. His current projects include community-driven exposure monitoring of air and water contaminants in neighborhoods bordering landfills, industrial hog operations, and sewage sludge land application sites in North Carolina, a case-series of patients with environmental nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) colonization and disease in North Carolina, and the application of microbial source tracking techniques to community-driven environmental exposure assessment and health effects studies. Through collaborative partnerships with community-based organizations in North Carolina (the West End Revitalization Association, Rogers-Eubanks Neighborhood Association, the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network, and the Rural Empowerment Association for Community Help), he is implementing a novel community-driven research approach (community-owned and managed research) to address environmentally-mediated health disparities due to poor water quality, household sanitation conditions, and air quality in low-income, people of color communities. Dr. Heaney is a Kellogg Health Scholar at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health.


Shalon MauRene Irving
Shalon MauRene Irving became the first student to earn the dual-title PhD in Sociology and Gerontology from Purdue University in 2006. In her dissertation she explored the adult health status and health care utilization patterns among individuals who reported being physically or emotionally maltreated in childhood. Dr. Irving became interested in the health outcomes of individuals exposed to adversity as an undergraduate student at Hampton University where she earned her BA in Sociology in 2001. After two years at Hofstra University as an Assistant Professor, Dr. Irving decided to focus her energies on the development of evidence-based public health interventions to improve the health outcomes of African-American women especially in adolescence through middle-adulthood. She completed coursework for her Master in Public Health at Johns Hopkins University in May, 2009. Given her knowledge of the life course, Dr. Irving believes in the necessity of creating positive health and behavioral trajectories. She is particularly dedicated to using her research skills in applied settings and has recently begun exploring the utility of community-based participatory research in addressing the health concerns of marginalized groups. Her specific area of interest is the reduction of HIV related risk behavior and the improvement of sexual health among adolescents. She currently volunteers with People’s Community Health Centers providing HIV testing and counseling. Dr. Irving is a Kellogg Health Scholar at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland.


Jessica Ruglis
Jessica Ruglis received her PhD in Urban Education from the Graduate Center of The City University of New York in May 2009. A former teacher, she also holds an MPH in Urban Public Health/Community Health Education from Hunter College, a Masters of Arts in Teaching in Secondary Science Education from Union College, and BS in Human Biology from University at Albany. Jessica’s dissertation is a mixed method, youth participatory action research project that investigates the connections between schooling, education and health; and which culminates in positing schooling as a social determinant of health. Jessica’s work also (re)theorizes school dropout and introduces a new critical theory of school non-completion. Her research experience includes community based participatory research projects that study corporate disease promotion practices; the intersections between the education, health, and criminal justice systems in New York City; and the role of a school based health center in academic achievement and community health. With an interest in policy, Jessica has served as a legal consultant for State Supreme court cases on issues of educational inequity and consequences of diploma denial due to implementation of high stakes exit exams, as well as for a New York City court case dealing with child welfare. Jessica is a Kellogg Health Scholar at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD.


Terri Williams
Terri Williams completed her PhD in Community Psychology at DePaul University in June 2009. Her work centers around issues related the educational, emotional, physical, mental and community health of adolescents. As a community psychologist, she holds firmly to the values of social justice and citizen participation as tools to guide her research and scholarly activism. Her career goals are driven by her pursuit to decrease the discrepancy between theory and practice so that all members of our society, especially youth, have the opportunity to grow and thrive. From working with datasets as large as 20,000 and as small as 25, she realizes that, regardless of size, all well-designed research plans have value; each have a role in the research literature and help us create and implement better policies and procedures. Terri’s dissertation was an empirical investigation of the conceptualizations of parental involvement in education in an urban, low-income African American community. To support her research, she was awarded two research grants by the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues and the Social Science Research Council. Terri is eager to gain more experience in community-based research designs and advanced statistical analysis techniques at the University of Michigan.