Center for Opioid Epidemiology & Policy Students & Fellows
NYU Langone’s Center for Opioid Epidemiology and Policy is dedicated to training the next generation of researchers in epidemiology and public policy. Our doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows, under the aegis of the Department of Population Health, are working to develop sound scientific evidence on the nature, causes, and consequences of the opioid overdose epidemic.
Ignacio Borquez Infante, MA
Ignacio's research focuses on evaluating and designing policies for hidden populations, such as children in foster care; individuals with substance use disorders, severe mental health disorders, or both; or people involved in the criminal justice system. His current work seeks to understand longitudinal patterns of healthcare services usage among patients with substance use disorders and how different trajectories affect later social and health outcomes. Before joining the doctoral program at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, Ignacio worked as a researcher at the Center for Studies on Justice and Society at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and in the Early Psychosis Intervention Program at Horwitz Psychiatric Institute, Chile. He earned his BA and MA in sociology from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.
Samantha M. Doonan
Samantha's research focuses on evaluating how substance use policies, including cannabis legalization, impact health equity. She is a predoctoral fellow in the T32 Behavioral Sciences Training in Drug Abuse Research program at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing. Prior to joining the doctoral program at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, Samantha worked as a research analyst at the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission. She earned her BA in health: science, society, and policy from Brandeis University.
Allison Perry, MHS
Allison’s research interests lie at the intersection of opioid use and chronic pain, and in applying epidemiologic methods to leverage large real-world healthcare databases. Her current work focuses on understanding risks associated with chronic pain and various treatment modalities, as well as the role of chronic pain in accessing treatment for opioid use disorder. Prior to joining the doctoral program at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, Allison worked as a healthcare analytic consultant at IBM Watson Health, where she gained expertise in MarketScan claims data to research medication safety and effectiveness. She earned her MHS in epidemiology and BA in public health studies from Johns Hopkins University.
Ariadne E. Rivera Aguirre, MPP
Ariadne’s work focuses on understanding how socioeconomic inequalities translate in health inequalities, with a particular focus on substance use, violence, social determinants of health, and related policy evaluation. Prior to joining the doctoral program at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, Ariadne worked as a data analyst and project coordinator at the Center for Opioid Epidemiology and Policy and the Violence Prevention Research Program at University of California, Davis. She earned her MPP at Duke University and her BA in economics from Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México.
Navin Kumar, PhD, MPhil, MA
Dr. Kumar received his PhD in sociology from Yale University. He studies the relationship between identities and health. His recent research centers on how vape/e-cigarette users produce and consume health misinformation. Related work explores how altruism among gay and bisexual men can be used to improve health outcomes. Dr. Kumar also earned his MPhil and MA degrees from Yale University.
Former Students and Fellows
Bennett Allen, PhD, MPA
Dr. Allen's research focuses on the evaluation of supply-side policy responses to the opioid overdose epidemic, the use of predictive analytics for public health practice, and public health ethics. Prior to joining NYU Langone, he worked in drug policy for the New York City government. He holds an MPA in public policy and a BA in comparative literature from NYU. He earned his PhD in epidemiology from NYU Grossman School of Medicine. Dr. Allen is currently an assistant professor at the Center for Opioid Epidemiology and Policy focused on the evaluation of New York City's overdose prevention center initiative.
Leah Hamilton, PhD
Dr. Hamilton’s work seeks to improve substance use disorder identification, treatment, and health outcomes for both justice-involved populations including probationers, drug court participants, formerly incarcerated individuals, and youth under community supervision, and medical populations (primary care and other medical settings). Her policy research focuses on the role of state Good Samaritan laws on the rates of fatal overdose and understanding the comparative and combined impact of multi-policy approaches to reducing the opioid epidemic. Dr. Hamilton was one of our center’s 2020 Pilot Project Grant Program awardees. She earned her PhD in criminal justice from Temple University and is currently a research scientist at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute.
Spruha Joshi, PhD, MPH
Dr. Joshi’s research focuses primarily on the public health effects (cannabis use and arrests) of cannabis legalization, with particular importance on reducing racial and ethnic disparities. Additionally, her work involves the evaluation of both state- and local-level opioid laws and their impact on reducing harms related to the opioid crisis. Methodologically, her work focuses on the issues and solutions for measuring and evaluating local-level laws. She earned her PhD in epidemiology from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and her MPH in epidemiology from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Dr. Joshi is currently an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.
John R. Pamplin II, PhD, MPH
Dr. Pamplin's research studies the consequences of structural racism and systemic inequity on mental health and substance use outcomes, with a specific lens on the relationships between the criminal legal system and the health of populations of color. His current work focuses on understanding how enactment and enforcement of policies designed to curb the opioid epidemic impact rates of fatal overdose for Black people and other people of color. Dr. Pamplin received his MPH and PhD in epidemiology from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and completed postdoctoral training as a Provost's Postdoctoral Fellow with the Center for Opioid Epidemiology and Policy and the NYU Center for Urban Science and Progress. He is currently an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.
Nelou Rahai, PhD, MPH
Dr. Rahai's work focused on the role of housing in opioid use and overdose among emergency department patients. She was a Healthcare Delivery Science and Population Health T32 predoctoral fellow at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. She earned her MPH in global health from the University of Pennsylvania and her BA in nutrition and dietetics from NYU Steinhardt. She is currently a medical device epidemiology research associate at Johnson & Johnson.
Madeline Renny, MD
Dr. Renny is a pediatric emergency medicine physician and medical toxicologist whose work focuses on pediatric poison prevention and medication safety. Her current research investigates trends in opioid-prescribing practices for children, adolescents, and young adults in order to inform targeted interventions to ensure safe and appropriate opioid prescribing to this population. Dr. Renny completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the T32 Population Health Science Scholars Program at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, toxicology fellowship training at the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Emergency Medicine at NYU Langone and the New York City Poison Control Center, pediatric emergency medicine fellowship training at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, and pediatric residency at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. She is currently an assistant professor of emergency medicine, pediatrics, and population health science and policy at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
Julian Santaella-Tenorio, DVM, DrPH, MSc
Dr. Santaella-Tenorio’s work focuses on substance use and related harms, injury and violence prevention, policy research, and the intertwine of these fields to understand how they shape the health of populations. He is currently conducting research on how improved access to medication for opioid use disorder may be associated with reductions in different health outcomes. He earned his DrPH in epidemiology from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Dr. Santaella-Tenorio was our 2022 Pilot Project Grant Program awardee for his project, "Impact of Access to Medication for Opioid Use Disorder in Overdose Rates in New York State." He is currently associate professor of epidemiology at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Cali, Colombia.
Tarlise Townsend, PhD
Dr. Townsend studied pain, disability, and opioid use in the United States. Much of her research examined intended and unintended consequences of policies to address the ongoing drug overdose crisis, with an emphasis on racial and ethnic disparities. She also studied trends in and consequences of the use of opioids to manage cancer-related pain. In other work, she examined demographic trends in disability and the pathways underlying educational disparities in disability. She earned her joint doctorate in health services organization and policy and sociology from the University of Michigan. Dr. Townsend was one of our center’s 2021 Pilot Project Grant Program awardees for her project, "Pathways to Racial Disparities in the Effects of Good Samaritan Laws: A Mixed Methods Study."
If you are interested in learning more about doctoral and postdoctoral opportunities with NYU Langone’s Center for Opioid Epidemiology and Policy, join our mailing list or contact Caroline Barnes, MPH, senior program manager, at email@example.com.