MHIRT 2018-19 Grantees

MHRT Participants Short Bios


Maryam Jawid

Maryam is a junior double majoring in Public Health and Biochemistry with a minor in Exercise Physiology. Her primary research interests lie in addressing disparities in chronic disease among minority populations, with a particular focus on type two diabetes mellitus. After finishing her undergraduate education at the University of Miami, she hopes to spend one to two years abroad in Asia as an English Teacher for children in rural communities. Afterwards, Maryam will return to the United States to pursue her MD/MPH degree. Ultimately, Maryam plans to practice medicine and work to improve health services and infrastructure in underserved communities.In her free time, Maryam enjoys cooking, pottery, gardening, and going to the gym. At UM, she works as an academic mentor for freshman students and is president of the CommUnity Garden Organization.

During the MHRT Program, Maryam traveled to Santiago, Chile and conducted research with the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. She worked on designing and implementing a tobacco cessation program for hospitalized patients and analyzed the relationship between smoking status of healthcare professionals and their level of engagement in tobacco preventative behaviors with hospital patients.


Kemika Lundy

Kemika Lundy is a senior at UM of Haitian descent. She is currently double majoring in biology and nursing with a minor in psychology through a partnership program from the University of Miami (UM) and Florida Memorial University (FMU). She is currently a part of the Jackson Health System/University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies Care Partners Program. She wishes one day to become a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner with a Post-Masters in Family Practice. This summer she participated in the MHRT grant program and conducted research in the impact of physical activity on depression in older Australian women. Through the program, she learned that research is something she certainly wants to incorporate in her career.

Kemika has also participated in other summer internship including a volunteering internship with the Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2015, The Jackson Miracle Summer Internship through the commissioner Barbara J. Jordan office in 2017, and Pulse summer internship with Cooper Medical School of Rowan University in Canden, New Jerseyin 2018. Kemika is the oldest of 8 children. Both her parents were deported when she was eleven, although her circumstance she pushed throughand dedicated herself to being an example for her siblings. She believes that her circumstance challenged her determination. A quote she lives by is: “It’s not who you are that holds you back from brilliant success. It’s who you think you are not that holds you back”-Simone T. Bailey. Coming from a disadvantaged background she is thankful to the MHRT program and the mentors in the US and Australia for allowing her to advance her career while abroad and guiding her through the process.

Amir Davoodi

Amir Davoodi is a current senior double majoring in public health and sociology at the University of Miami. Growing up in New Jersey as the son of two immigrant parents, Amir holds a strong sense of community values and developed a passion in advocating forminority populations. His research interests include public health initiatives that focus on treating the social determinants of health and health sector management. He aspires to study medicine and become a physician that serves in underprivileged communities. During his free time, he fervently follows soccer, enjoys spending time with friends and traveling.

Maya Symes

Maya Symes is a Juniorat the University of Miami majoring in Public Health and English with a minor in Political Science. Her main research interests are global health disparities and reproductive health. After completing her undergraduate career, she hopes to pursue a master’s in global health and anthropology and eventually a PhD. in global health. Her dream is to overhaul America’s sex
education and implement universal, comprehensive sex education in America’s school systems.

Elena Acevedo Extrand

Elena Extrand is a Junior Civic Scholar at the University of Miami majoring in Public Health with minors in Health Sector Management and Policy and Political Science. During her timeabroad,she researched the health assets of a population of Roma women in Alicante, Spain. Her research interests include reproductive health, health policy, and global health. After completing her undergraduate career, she hopes to attend graduate school and gether dual degree in public health and social work.

Belen Hervera

Belén Hervera is a senior at the University of Miami pursuing a B.A in Psychology with minors in Public Health and Social Science and Medicine. Originallyfrom Santiago, Chile, Belén and her family moved to Miami, FL when she was 8 years old. Belen is interested in geriatrics and is currently a research assistant with the Department of Health Psychology’s FAMILY LAB which focuses on the dyadic effects of disease-related stress and health related quality of life in cancer survivors and their caregivers. There she has learned how biological, environmental, and cultural factors influence health and hopes to explore how health disparities and social determinants of health may influence disease outcomes. After graduating, Belén will pursue a Ph.D in Clinical Health Psychology.

Through the MHRT program, Belén was able to return to her country of birth and conduct research in the top university in Latin America, Pointificia Universidad Catolica de Chile. She was able to be a part of an anti-tobacco intervention targeted toward hospitalized patients. If found effective, the intervention will be implemented in all public hospitals in Chile. Being part of a study with tremendous public health and policyimplications, Belén witnessed firsthand the importance and value of research and interventions and her love forresearch was reinspired.

Patricia Emelle

Patricia Emelle is a rising senior Hammond Scholar and Foote Fellow from Auburndale, Florida. She isa Public Health major with minors in Political Science and Health Sector Management and Policy. She is primarily interested in maternal and infant health disparities, and strives to increase and improve access to health services for minority and vulnerable populations. In the future, she hopes to attain her MPH in Health Policy and Management, and continue to conduct research on health disparities. While in Jamaica, her study focused on estimating the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in Jamaican adults living in rural areas.

Megan Page

Megan Page is a Juniorat the University of Miami originally from NY. She is currently majoring in Computer Science and Public Health with a minor in Interactive Media. She plans to combine her computer engineering skills and her public health knowledge and experience from MHRT working with vulnerable populations to create user-friendly computer interface platforms to communicate health interventions and initiatives on a global scale. With increasing use of computer technology, Megan thinks Artificial Intelligence can help break the daunting boundary between daily life and Health and Medicine by implementing technologies that allow society to become more aware of public health issues through platforms that effectively relay health information.

Tracey Agyeiwaa-Piasare

Tracey Agyeiwaa-Piasare was born in Ghana, but currently resides in Clermont, Florida. She is a senior majoring in Public Health and aspires to work with various communities in the future. This past summer, she conducted research with the Australian Catholic University research team. The research focused on physical activity and how it impacts depression and anxiety in the Australian cohort.

Jayden Pace Gallagher

Jayden Pace Gallagher is from San Francisco, California. She is a senior majoring in Public Health with minors in Climate Science and Policy and Ecosystem Science and Policy. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in climate and health through the University of Miami. Her hope is to focus future research on how climate change is impacting human health and wellbeing around the world and identifying the most at-risk populations. She is specifically interested in the future of global food security as climate change continues to alter the crop growth as we’ve always known it.