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Yale Team

Leadership

  • Principal Investigator (PI); Founder, PI, and Executive Director, MOMS Partnership®

    Megan V. Smith, MPH, DrPH, is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry & the Child Study Center at the Yale School of Medicine and in Social & Behavioral Sciences in the Yale School of Public Health where she conducts research and teaches and mentors students. Dr. Smith’s longstanding research interest has been in community-partnered research in the area of maternal and child mental health and racial, ethnic and gender-based disparities in mental health and illness. A major component of this work has included translational and community-partnered research in the occurrence and treatment of mental illnesses in pregnancy and the postpartum period, and their impact on pregnancy outcome and mental health across the life course. Dr. Smith is the Founder and Director of the MOMS Partnership®, a novel, two generational approach to promote the mental health of overburdened and underserved mothers that began in New Haven, Connecticut and is currently being replicated in additional locations across the U.S. In addition to her work on MOMS, Dr. Smith is the principal investigator on several federally-funded grants focused on depression, trauma and smoking interventions in pregnancy, the postpartum period, and the parenting years and is co-Director of the Yale Parent and Family Development Program, a center dedicated to the promotion of mental wellbeing for families throughout their parenting years. Dr. Smith is a former recipient of a Building Interdisciplinary Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) career award from the National Institute of Health, Office of Research on Women’s Health and early investigator awards from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression and the North American Society for Psychosocial Obstetrics & GynecologyDr. Smith serves on the board of the Connecticut Association for Human Services and the National Diaper Bank Network.

  • Executive Director

    Hilary Hahn, EdM, MPH, is a Research Scientist at the Child Study Center at the Yale School of Medicine. Ms. Hahn comes to the Elevate team from the Childhood Violent Trauma Center at Yale, where she was the Project Director for Yale’s site of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. Dedicated to early intervention and a strong believer in building innovative forms of social support, Ms. Hahn has led training initiatives in trauma-informed policing and supported national dissemination of the Child and Family Traumatic Stress Intervention (CFTSI). Ms. Hahn holds a Master’s in Educational Administration and Social Policy from Harvard and a Master’s in Public Health. Ms. Hahn is currently serving on the Elevate team as the Executive Director.

  • Senior Research Scientist

    B. Suzi Ruhl, JD, MPH, is a Senior Research Scientist at Elevate Policy Lab and an Assistant Clinical Professor at the Yale Child Study Center. Ms. Ruhl joins Elevate from her previous position, Senior Counsel for the US EPA Office of Environmental Justice, where she served as Co-Chair of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Committee of the Federal Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice (EJIWG), Co-Chair of the Rural Communities Committee of the EJIWG, and as Chair of the Subcommittee on Place Based Efforts for the EJIWG. Her work has focused on advancing triple bottom line (i.e. environmental, health and economic) justice by integrating environmental justice in agency decision-making, supporting community-based action, and fostering administration wide action that promotes healthy, equitable, resilient, and sustainable communities for overburdened and underserved populations. Ms. Ruhl co-founded Brownfields to Healthfields (B2H), a community driven, multi-stakeholder approach to transform contaminated properties into community spaces that meet essential needs (e.g. health care, food security, physical activity).  She also co-produced an analytical methodology for advancing consideration of environmental justice, including the human environment, in environmental reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act. See Promising Practices for EJ Methodologies in NEPA Reviews.

     

    Suzi brings her expertise on triple bottom line and community driven approaches to the Elevate team with a focus on centering environmental justice in the lab’s mission to promoting social and economic mobility for families living in poverty.  

     

    In addition to her law degree, Ms. Ruhl has a master’s degree in Public Health (Epidemiology). She is admitted to the bars of the Northern District of Florida and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Core Staff

  • Research Manager

    Laura Callinan, MPH, is the Research Manger at Elevate. Ms. Callinan comes to the Elevate team after supporting the MOMS Partnership’s® work in New Haven through data collection, organization, management and analysis. Ms. Callinan earned a Master of Public Health from Emory University where she worked with the Centers for Disease Control in infectious disease research. She is excited to continue her work with the MOMS Partnership as Elevate expands programming.

  • Operations Manager

    Kari Cifarelli, MPH, is the Operations Manager for Elevate Policy Lab and the New Haven MOMS Partnership. Kari has worked in the research field for the past 12 years focusing on women’s mental health. Kari manages the overall operations of the office, and is responsible for supporting organizational processes, and to assist with the quality, productivity and efficiency of Dr. Megan Smith’s programs. Kari also supervises the research mission of the New Haven MOMS Partnership and works to provide the utmost of leadership to research staff. Kari is passionate about this work because she believes that mental health is critical at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence, through adulthood.

  • Special Assistant

    Sneha Mittal, BA, is a Special Assistant at Elevate, working closely with the Executive Director on a range of projects and responsibilities. Her interests lie in the intersection of mental health care and communities. As an undergraduate, Sneha served as a First-Year Counselor and involved herself with the Asian American Cultural Center at Yale. She also previously worked with Elm City Communities/the Housing Authority of New Haven. Sneha received her undergraduate degree in Sociology (concentration in Health and Society) from Yale College, where she wrote her thesis on approaches to racial diversity in mental health care settings.

  • MOMS Partnership® Research and Evaluation Administrator

    Caroline Posner, BA, is an Administrator of Research & Evaluation for MOMS Partnership® Scaling at Elevate, coordinating research and evaluation work for scaling MOMS to new sites. Previously Caroline served as a Special Assistant at Elevate, contributing to research, communications, and administrative activities. Caroline earned her undergraduate degree in psychology with a concentration in neuroscience at Yale, where she engaged in activism for campus mental healthcare reform and published about her own experiences with mental illness and healthcare. Prior to Elevate, her research experience included laboratory work in the neuroscience of decision-making as well as adolescent cognitive development, in addition to work on the comparative history of the brain sciences in the United States and Soviet Union. Caroline is interested in the relationships between social exclusion, mental health, and the social reproduction of inequality, and is passionate about community-driven approaches to research and evaluation.

  • Special Assistant

    Allie Silverglate, BA, is a Special Assistant at Elevate, working closely with the Executive Director on a range of projects and responsibilities. Previously Allie worked at Resilience Education, a non-profit based out of Charlottesville, Virginia that breaks the cycle of incarceration by improving employment outcomes through high quality business education. With an undergraduate degree in Spanish and economics and a minor in psychology from Wake Forest University, Allie seeks to improve the conditions of vulnerable populations such as those living in poverty.

  • Senior Specialist for Policy Innovation and Impact

    Caroline Simmons, MA, is the Senior Specialist for Policy Innovation and Impact at Elevate, where she leads Elevate's policy portfolio to create a supportive policy environment to enhance the goals of the MOMS Partnership. Caroline is also currently serving in her third term in the Connecticut General Assembly as a State Representative from Stamford, CT. Caroline previously worked at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as Director of Special Projects in the Office of the Counterterrorism Coordinator, and at the Women's Business Development Council in Stamford, CT as a Program Specialist supporting entrepreneurial training programs for women across CT. She has also served as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Public Policy at Wesleyan University, where she taught State and Local Government. Caroline holds a BA in Government from Harvard University and an MA in Middle East Studies from George Washington University.

  • Scaling Project Specialist

    Maria Sperduto, MPH, is the Scaling Project Specialist at Elevate, tailoring and establishing the implementation of the MOMS Partnership® model with government and community partners in emerging scaling sites. Maria earned her MPH in Social and Behavioral Sciences from the Yale School of Public Health, during which she also worked for the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence to develop and conduct research on an app-based program for young adults. Previously, Maria was a Presidential Fellow at Dartmouth College, where she helped launch The Student Wellness Center to advance campus-wide, research-based, wellbeing interventions. She became the first Wellness Program Coordinator there. Maria is also a Program Consultant to the Good Life Center at Yale. She is interested in interventions to nudge psychosocial and democratic wellbeing, build social capital across identity divides, and transform population level trends in mental health. Maria holds a certificate in Political Psychology from Stanford University and a BA in Sociology modified with Global Health from Dartmouth College.

  • Special Assistant

    Isabel Torres, BA, is a Special Assistant at Elevate, working closely with the Executive Director on a range of projects and responsibilities. Isabel provides support for scaling the MOMS Partnership® to new sites, specifically in Washington D.C. and New York City. Isabel earned her undergraduate degree from Williams College in Critical Health Studies, a self-designed interdisciplinary major focused on engaging health and medicine in and through fields such as neuroscience, sociology, and philosophy. She has experience conducting neuroimaging research on complex psychiatric disorders; however, her primary research interests lie in science and technology studies, having completed an ethnographic honors thesis on fMRI and psychoanalysis in that vein. Isabel has previously taught science curriculum in elementary schools, working with peers and community leaders to develop and broaden conversations on context-specific and trauma-informed approaches to education. She is also passionate about reproductive health and justice, serving as a doula in her local community.

  • MOMS Partnership® Research and Evaluation Administrator

    Elizabeth Yeh, PhD, is a MOMS Partnership® Research and Evaluation Administrator at Elevate, where she helps drive the research and evaluation work of scaling MOMS outside of New Haven. She is a developmental psychologist with deep experience in research, assessment and program evaluation. During her career, Elizabeth has evaluated publicly funded programs for low-income populations in both the academic and private sectors. She earned a Ph.D. in Child Psychology at the Institute for Child Development at the University of Minnesota. She has co-authored several articles in peer-reviewed journals such as Child Development and Social Development. Elizabeth has a passion for using data to better the lives of parents and children in underserved populations.

Fellows & Interns

  • Elevate Program Intern

    Chidera Emeto, BS, MA candidate, is interning with Elevate as a program intern for the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters. She is currently pursuing a master's in community psychology with a concentration in program development. Chidera moved to New Haven after completion of a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Religion & Cultural Studies at the University of Nigeria Nsukka.

    Chidera has gained relevant work experience serving as a Fellow with the WE Lab for Health Equity and Advocacy, working as a Clinical Coordinator for Student Counseling and Psychological Services, as well as a Learning Assistant for the Accessibility Resources Center. She has also been an active member of the University of New Haven Community, serving on the Graduate Student Council as the Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion, the Treasurer of the Community Psychology Club, and on the Executive Board for the African Graduate Student Association.

    Some of her interests include program development and evaluation, maternal mental health, intersectionality, and health disparities.

  • Elevate Postdoctoral Fellow

    Jennifer Morone, PhD, MA-ATR, BS-RN, is a post-doctoral fellow and VA scholar in the National Clinician Scholars Program at the Yale School of Medicine. Dr. Morone is a pediatric trained nurse scientist, and former mental health clinician, devoted to the pursuit of social justice and health equity for all families. Her program of research seeks to assess and address structural and systemic barriers and social determinants that contribute to pediatric racial health disparities through community-based participatory approaches, policy development and evaluation, and practice change. Focal areas of work include examining provider discrimination, enhancing social capital in vulnerable families, and the use, evaluation, and payment of community health worker approaches with vulnerable families. Dr. Morone joins the Elevate team as an Elevate Post-Doctoral Fellow.

  • Elevate Postdoctoral Fellow

    Keitra Thompson, DNP, MSN, APRN, is a post-doctoral fellow and VA scholar in the National Clinician Scholars Program at Yale School of Medicine. As a family nurse practitioner, community-engaged researcher, and advocate, Keitra is committed to health equity and understanding the impact of social determinants of health across the lifespan. Her program of research is focused on the role of poverty and inter-generational trauma on maternal and child health outcomes. Keitra joins the Elevate team as an Elevate Post-Doctoral Fellow.

  • Elevate Intern

    Sherrie Wang is an Elevate Intern, focusing on research and evaluation work of the MOMS Partnership® as it scales to and with new communities. She is an undergraduate at Yale University interested in pursuing prospective majors in Political Science and Public Health. On campus, Sherrie serves as a board member of the Yale Layer, an undergraduate mental health publication, and enjoys writing for The Politic on a range of political issues. She is currently a volunteer for the Social Services department of HAVEN Free Clinic, where she helps connect New Haven residents with valuable resources for addressing the social and economic factors of health. Before attending Yale College, Sherrie assisted the Sichuan Center for Disease Control in researching and conducting therapy methods for parasitic diseases among rural Chinese communities, as well as collaborated with Myanmar refugee community leaders in Buffalo, NY to design a healthcare passport that would help overcome cultural and language barriers to healthcare and foster greater health literacy. In her free time, Sherrie enjoys long bike rides, reading fiction, and cooking Asian recipes.

Elevate-Affiliated Researchers