Center for Opioid Epidemiology & Policy Students & Fellows | NYU Langone Health

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Center for Opioid Epidemiology & Policy Center for Opioid Epidemiology & Policy Students & Fellows

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.

Doctoral Students

Bennett Allen, MPA

Bennett'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.

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 Langone, 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 at Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México.

Postdoctoral Fellows

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.

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.

John Pamplin, 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 Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

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.

Tarlise Townsend, PhD

Dr. Townsend studies pain, disability, and opioid use in the United States. Much of her research examines intended and unintended consequences of policies to address the ongoing drug overdose crisis, with an emphasis on racial and ethnic disparities. She also studies trends in and consequences of the use of opioids to manage cancer-related pain. In other work, she examines 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 at the University of Michigan. Dr. Townsend is 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.

Former Students and Fellows

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.

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 now a medical device epidemiology research associate at Johnson & Johnson.

Madeline Renny, MD

Dr. Renny is a pediatric emergency medicine physician and medical toxicologist who previously worked at NYU Langone’s Department of Pediatrics. She was also a postdoctoral fellow in the T32 Population Health Science Scholars Program. Her work focuses on pediatric poison prevention and medication safety on an individual, institutional, national, and global level. Her current research investigates the medication storage behaviors of parents who have young children in the home and trends in opioid prescribing practices for children, adolescents, and young adults.

Dr. Renny completed her toxicology fellowship training at the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Emergency Medicine at NYU Langone and the NYC Poison Control Center, her pediatric emergency medicine fellowship training at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, and her pediatric residency at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Renny is now assistant professor of pediatrics at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Contact Us

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