Newest Additions to the MOMS Partnership® Team

Nafeesa Abuwala, Research Intern

Nafeesa Abuwala, BA/MPH candidate, is working with MOMS to implement interventions for monolingual Spanish speaking mothers. Nafeesa is an undergraduate at Yale University, majoring in anthropology with a concentration in medical anthropology and is in the Global Health Scholars program. She is also a candidate for a Master’s of Public Health with a concentration in chronic disease epidemiology in the five-year BA-MPH program. On campus, Nafeesa is on the student executive committee of Dwight Hall—Yale’s Center for Community Service and Social Justice— and volunteers as a Community Health Educator. Through Dwight Hall, she participates in Students for Autism Awareness at Yale, which partners with New Haven high schools to provide additional programming for students with autism spectrum disorder. Last summer, Nafeesa conducted a ten-week mixed methods study in San Pedro, Ecuador, with a fellow undergraduate, focusing on the nutritional and physical development of children. Under the umbrella of women's health, she is primarily interested in maternal and neonatal health and the impact of chronic, non-communicable diseases, such as mental illness, on these populations.

Andrea Diaz Stransky, Clinical and Research Fellow

Andrea Diaz Stransky, MD, is a clinical and research fellow in the Integrated Adult and Child Psychiatry Training program out of the Yale Child Study Center. Her research has focused on childhood mental health spanning from genetics to neuroimaging and clinical trials. Her main interest is developing interventions to overcome barriers to care among vulnerable populations, to improve the mental health of children and their families. She developed a culturally-informed intervention for Hispanic immigrant mothers and their children to be offered through the MOMS Partnership. Her education includes a Bachelor in Health Sciences from McMaster University in Canada, a Medical Degree from Tec de Monterrey in Mexico, and a Research Fellowship in Behavioral Neuroscience from Johns Hopkins University/Kennedy Krieger Institute.

Olivia Dixon Herrington, Research Intern

Olivia Herrington, BA, MD candidate, is a first-year medical student and a research intern for the MOMS Partnership Parenting D.A.N.C.E. intervention. She received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University in History & Literature, focusing on traumatic memory, and is looking forward to incorporating that background into this research. She is passionate about improving outcomes for children who are experiencing adversity, particularly related to poverty and trauma. She loves spending time with kids and has been lucky enough to do so in various capacities and locations, from New York City to Vermont to rural Tanzania.

Samantha C. Holmes, Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Samantha C. Holmes, PhD, is a first year T32 postdoctoral fellow at The Division of Prevention and Community Research, Department of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine and is contributing both as a researcher and clinician to the MOMS Partnership. Sam is trained in counseling psychology. Her program of research is focused on the ways in which interpersonal trauma and oppression impact women’s mental health (i.e., PTSD, disordered eating, depression, anxiety) with the ultimate goal of developing empirically-supported prevention and intervention programs.

Yvette Odom, Clinical Research Fellow

Yvette Odom, MSW, is working with the MOMS Partnership on clinical research projects around fidelity of MOMS interventions. Yvette is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who works as a clinician in the Yale Outpatient Clinic for Children and Families. Yvette completed a postgraduate social work fellowship in the Intensive In-home Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Service (IICAPS) program at Yale Child Study Center. She graduated with a MSW at University of South Carolina Columbia and has experience providing psychiatric treatment to a diverse clientele, including children, adolescents, and families. Yvette enjoys reading, spending time with family, and visiting quiet, scenic places in her spare time.

Caroline Posner, Special Assistant, Center on Policy Innovation for Family Mental Health

Caroline Posner, BA, is a postgraduate associate and the Special Assistant at the Center on Policy Innovation for Family Mental Health, contributing to research and communications. 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. Her research experience includes 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 interrelationships of government, culture, and the research and practice of psychology and psychiatry, and how critical examination of these relationships can strengthen scientific investigation and health policy.

Stephen Raynes, Technology Research Intern

Stephen Raynes, BA, MRes candidate, is working with MOMS on MoMba and other projects to harness the power of technology to improve maternal mental health. Stephen is a second year Master’s of Research student in Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology. This two-year program is an international collaboration between the Yale Child Study Center, University College London, and the Anna Freud Center. He earned his undergraduate degree in psychology with a concentration in business management from Columbia University, where he was Captain of the Men’s Swimming & Diving team and an Honorable Mention Academic All-American. In addition to his academic pursuits, he has professional experience at companies including Emotech Ltd., Crossix Solutions Inc., and J.P. Morgan. He is broadly interested in the intersection of mental health and technological innovation, and how such interdisciplinary collaborations can contribute to increasing the happiness of humankind.

Meha Semwal, Research Intern

Meha Semwal, BS, MD/MPH candidate, is working with MOMS on data pertaining to maternal mental health policy and medical-legal interventions to support the wellbeing of families. Meha completed her undergraduate studies in Neuroscience and English at the College of William & Mary and then taught English for a year in Japan. She is currently a rising fourth year medical student at the Colorado University School of Medicine and working on her MPH degree at the Yale School of Public Health, intending to match into psychiatry. She completed her third year rotations at Denver Health, an urban underserved safety net hospital, taking care of patients longitudinally in the school-based mental healthcare system as well as acute inpatient care, and has an interest in continuing to work with the psychiatric needs of vulnerable populations experiencing healthcare disparities such as racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants and refugees, low SES patients, those with Medicare/Medicaid or who are uninsured, LGBT* patients, and children/adolescents. She is interested in advocacy work, and working with policy and the law to help patients overcome barriers to health. She is also a published poet and an avid reader and writer of fiction.

Kunmi Sobowale, Research Fellow

Kunmi Sobowale, MD, is a psychiatry resident at Yale School of Medicine. He has explored increasing access to mental health care in Vietnam, Japan, Hong Kong, mainland China and with low-income populations in the United States via micro-finance and digital health interventions. His interest is in the use of financial services and digital health to alleviate the burden of disease of mental illness for vulnerable populations including women, children, and adolescents. His education includes University of Chicago (MD), Stanford Inter-University Center for Japanese Studies, and Yale University (BA: Behavioral Neuroscience).

Sonia Taneja, Fellow: New York City and Bridgeport

Sonia Taneja, MSc, MD candidate, is a current student at the Yale School of Medicine and the MOMS Fellow for New York City MOMS and Bridgeport MOMS (Connecticut). She received her BA in Psychology from Yale College and her MSc in Public Health (Health Services Research) from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. As a Yale Parker Huang Fellow to India, she studied the social determinants of mental health in women engaged in intergenerational, coercive sex work. Her other significant prior experiences include studying the mental health of gynecologic cancer patients in India, working with South Asian community-based domestic violence organizations in New York City, and incorporating health justice in medical education at Yale. She plans to pursue a career that combines clinical practice and community-based participatory research at the nexus of reproductive and mental health for women and adolescents.

Janet Yim, Racial Equity Fellow

Janet Yim, BA, MPH candidate, is the Racial Equity Fellow for the MOMS Partnership® at the Center for Policy Innovation on Family Mental Health. She is a second year Master of Public Health student at the Yale School of Public Health, concentrating in social and Behavioral Sciences, and her passions lie in making health equity a reality, focusing on addressing the social determinants of health— especially class and race disparities. Throughout her time on campus, she has led the Mental Health and Wellness Pod at the Asian American Cultural Center, creating culturally modified mental health resources for the Asian American community at Yale through a partnership with Dora Wang, MD, a Yale School of Medicine alum. Additionally, she sits on the Student Advisory Board of the Good Life Center, Yale's official student wellness center. Outside of school, you can find Janet attempting to teach herself how to play acoustic guitar, singing at Vox Church on Sundays, and scoping out the coffee shop scene in New Haven.