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Lab Members


  • Lab Director

    Associate Professor of Public Health (Social and Behavioral Sciences)

    Danya Keene is an Associate Professor of Social Behavioral Sciences at the Yale School of Public Health. Her research examines housing and housing policy as determinants of population health equity. Moving beyond a focus on housing and individual health, her work considers how an ongoing history of racially discriminatory housing and urban policies have constrained housing access for non-white Americans, and thus contribute to racial health equity. Her work has examined a range of topics including public housing demolition, home foreclosure, the stigmatization of  marginalized communities, and the housing experiences of formerly incarcerated individuals. Much of her current work is focused on examining the population health implications of the affordable rental housing crisis. For example, she is using local and nationally representative data to explore whether and how access to federal rental assistance can improve type 2 diabetes management and outcomes. In other work, she is investigating  the impact of eviction prevention policies during the COVID 19 pandemic. Dr. Keene is recognized as an expert in qualitative methods and frequently employs both qualitative and quantitative approaches in her work. She teaches a core MPH course called Social Justice and Health Equity and is the founding director of YSPH's US Health Justice Concentration.
  • Lab Manager

    Program Administrator

    Penelope is the Lab Manager for the Housing and Health Equity Lab.  She has worked on a variety of research projects that examine structural inequalities and health disparities.  She is interested in the promotion of social justice.

PhD Students

  • Postgraduate Associate

    Whitney (she/her/hers) is a second-year Ph.D. student in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Department. After completing her MPH at YSPH in 2020, she joined the Housing and Health Equity Lab, directed by Dr. Danya Keene. Whitney has worked on multiple projects in the lab, including Project ReSIDe, a mixed-methods, longitudinal R01 investigating the impacts of rental assistance and diabetes, and the COVID Eviction Project, a series of interviews investigating the impacts of rental moratoria during the pandemic. She is committed to understanding how housing can impact mental and physical health equity. Her dissertation research will focus on how housing displacement due to extreme climate events impacts individual and community health.

  • Kyra Rost is a PhD student in the Department of Sociology at The Ohio State University. Her research interests broadly include black pop culture, intergroup-conflict and cooperation, health outcomes, and criminology. Her current research focuses on using hip-hop music to combat mental health stigmas, enact reliance, and influence health policy. Kyra has earned the Distinguished Graduate Enrichment Fellowship and the Patrick S. Osmer Fellowship from The Ohio State University’s Graduate School.

  • Doctoral Student, Urban Planning

    Carolyn Swope is a doctoral student in urban planning at Columbia University, and also holds an MPH in sociomedical sciences from Columbia University. Broadly, her research interests focus on the relationship between housing and health disparities, with particular attention to historical housing policies producing present-day housing inequities. Currently Carolyn is working on her dissertation, which examines how gentrification’s connection to other forms of racialized dispossession informs its effects on health for Black residents in Southwest Washington, DC.

  • Postgraduate Associates

    Shannon Whittaker is a doctoral candidate in Social and Behavioral Sciences at Yale School of Public Health. Her research interests lie at the intersection of place, race, health and history where she examines how social, structural, and political processes such as gentrification impact the health of marginalized communities of color, in particular Black communities. Most of her current work evaluates how systemic forms of racism, discrimination, and dispossession have evolved and how these systems of oppression affect neighborhoods and their residents. Before Yale, she worked in healthcare advertising at Omnicom Health Group, tv and film production at Atlantic Pictures, and as a health policy coordinator for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Post Graduate Associates

  • Postgraduate Associate

    Gaby Olea Vargas (she/her) is a postgraduate associate in YSPH’s Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences. She is currently working with the Housing and Health Lab under Dr. Danya Keene’s mentorship providing support on multiple projects in the lab, including the Right to Counsel (RTC) Study and Project ReSIDe (learn more about these on the website).

    Gaby also works under Dr. Annie Harper’s mentorship on projects surrounding energy affordability, energy efficiency, climate-smart technology, and their intersection with health. Her research interests focus on housing and its influence on the health of Latine/x, immigrants, and undocumented communities.

  • Postgrad Associate

    Charlie is a recent graduate of YSPH and is passionate about medicine, public health, public service, and health equity and pursuing related opportunities, especially those that concern improving healthcare access and quality across marginalized communities.

  • Frank is a second year Master of Public Health candidate at the Yale School of Public Health within the Social Behavioral Science department. His research interest focuses on how healthcare systems can better address homelessness, health equity, and other social determinants of health.

    Before coming to Yale, Frank completed a master’s degree in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University and worked for Goddard Riverside, a nonprofit organization contracted by New York City as part of the Manhattan Outreach Consortium to conduct homeless outreach, as a housing specialist.

Alumni Lab Members

  • Kaylia Carroll
  • Allison Steele, MPH
  • Shannon Carter, MPH
  • Anna Kapolka, MPH
  • Leah Robinson, MPH
  • Emma Tran, MPH
  • Melody Tullier, PhD
  • Sascha Murillo, MD
  • Kendra Hanlon, MPH
  • Mariana Henry, MPH, MD Candidate
  • Ann Sarnak, MSc
  • Monica Guo, MPH