ISGMH Pilot Postdoctoral Training Program
ISGMH is committed to training the next generation of SGM health scholars. To that end, it has developed a pilot postdoctoral training program with the goal of providing its postdoctoral fellows with ongoing training in SGM health research and professional development. The program includes several training activities such as:
- A “work-in-progress” meeting where fellows can present preliminary ideas and analyses for manuscripts and grants in order to get feedback from their peers;
- A “big issues” meeting to discuss major conceptual advances and issues in the field of SGM health research;
- Seminars focused on diverse topics related to grant writing and professional development.
At their discretion, ISGMH postdoctoral fellows will invite ISGMH or other faculty to these meetings to provide key expertise in these areas.
These postdoctoral training activities supplement existing educational events at ISGMH, such as the “Current Issues in LGBTQ Health” lecture series, which showcases current work in the field of SGM health. Additionally, while the program is intended to provide broad training in SGM health research, it is also designed to be flexible in nature in order to accommodate the diverse interests and goals of the current postdoctoral fellows. As such, the training program is led and facilitated by a lead postdoctoral fellow with faculty input and oversight.
Current Postdoctoral Fellows
Ashley Kraus, Ph.D., (she/her) is a postdoctoral research fellow at ISGMH. She received her Ph.D. in Mass Communications from Indiana University. During her graduate training Ashley’s research generally focused on the intersection of media, mental health, gender, and sexuality. More specifically, Ashley explored the effect of body-positive media on discrete emotions, self-discrepancies and body-image outcomes. At ISGMH, she works on the Looking and ASAP projects. Additionally, Ashley is interested in the role media and technology play in regards to health disparities in SGM youth as well as the potential for media as a tool to help repair these disparities.
Dennis Li, M.P.H., Ph.D., (he/him) is a postdoctoral research fellow at ISGMH. He received his M.P.H. in Health Promotion and Health Education and Ph.D. in Behavioral Sciences from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health. During his graduate training, Dennis was heavily engaged in adolescent sexual health research, directing a study of HIV and social networks among young men who have sex with men and helping to design a web-based decision-support system for implementing evidence-based sexual health education programs in schools. At ISGMH, he works across multiple projects, including the SMART Program, RADAR, and FAB400, to continue to characterize the epidemiology of and develop interventions for HIV among adolescent and young men who have sex with men as well as to expand into new areas such as substance abuse/misuse, longitudinal data analysis, and the health of sexual and gender minorities who are assigned female at birth. More broadly, Dennis is interested in positive youth development and resiliency among sexual and gender minority youth and the development, evaluation, and implementation of primary prevention interventions for these individuals. He currently co-chairs the Adolescent and Young Adult Health Committee within the Maternal and Child Health Section of the American Public Health Association.
Melissa Marzán-Rodríguez, Dr.P.H., (she/her) completed a DrPH degree with a major in Epidemiology at Ponce Health Sciences University. She also holds an MPH in Epidemiology from the UPR-SPH and a BA in Anthropology from the UPR-Río Piedras Campus. She is Certified in Public Health by the National Board of Public Health Examiners. Dr. Marzán-Rodríguez has vast experience in the implementation of national and local HIV-related studies. As part of her post-doctoral training, she will be collaborating with the SMART Project to develop implementation science competencies in the implementation of HIV prevention eHealth interventions targeted to young MSM under the mentorship of Dr. Carlos E. Rodríguez-Díaz at the UPR-SPH and Dr. Brian Mustanski at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.
Ethan Morgan, Ph.D. (he/him) is a postdoctoral research fellow at ISGMH. He received his Ph.D. in Epidemiology from The University of Chicago. During his graduate training, Ethan focused on the development of new methods to combine HIV transmission networks with social networks in a sociomolecular approach towards HIV prevention among young black MSM in Chicago. At ISGMH, he works on the RADAR project with a focus on understanding the longitudinal epidemiology of HIV among young men who have sex with men. In addition, he is continuing to work on the development of network-based HIV interventions using phylogenetic analytic techniques with the Chicago CFAR. More generally, Ethan is interested in how sexually transmitted infections, especially antibiotic resistant STIs, move through networks of at-risk individuals, the use of spatial epidemiology to inform disease intervention, and global public health.
Bálint Néray, Ph.D., (he/him) is a postdoctoral fellow, working with Dr. Michelle Birkett across several projects related to Network Science and disparities in HIV. He completed his Ph.D. in Sociology at the Corvinus University of Budapest and worked as a research associate at the Social Network Analysis Research Center at the Università della Svizzera italiana. In 2014 he completed a Fulbright Research Fellowship at Duke University. In his earlier work he utilized advanced network methods to study racial and ethnic identity formation, its consequences on interpersonal tie-formation and relational integration among school kids. He hopes to contribute to the analysis of ego-centric networks that is essential in understanding the social mechanisms through which HIV-spread operates.
Elissa L. Sarno, Ph.D., (she/her) is a postdoctoral research fellow at ISGMH. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park. During her graduate training, Elissa’s research focused on psychosocial functioning of sexual minority individuals and basic affective and cognitive processes related to sexual health among men who have sex with men. At ISGMH, Elissa is works primarily on 2GETHER, an innovative HIV prevention and relationship education program for young male couples that integrates group and individual couples sessions to address the needs of HIV-positive and HIV-negative young men. Additionally, Elissa is interested in the role that perceptions of sexual partners play in the likelihood of engaging in sexual risk behaviors, particularly when using phone applications to find sexual partners.