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2003 SUMR Scholars

Kristy L. Alvarez
Tufts University, Class of 2007
Major: Biology and Community Health


A Philadelphia native, Kristy began college with the desire to enter the medical profession, but the Community Health Program at Tufts shifted her focus. The CHP emphasis on policy sparked her interest in the research that contributes to it. Her SUMR research project, with LDI Senior Fellow Eileen Lake, Ph.D., R.N., involved the investigation of public health policy, its effect on communities, and outcomes research.

Kristy works as a Research Study Coordinator in the Department of Health Policy at Jefferson Medical College.

Tanilla L. Brown
University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2007
Major: Biology (Concentration: Molecular Biology)


Tanilla has worked in scientific laboratory settings both here in the University of Pennsylvania's Chemistry Department and at the University of North Carolina's Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her SUMR project, with LDI Senior Fellow Ira Harkavy, Ph.D. (Director of Penn's Center for Community Partnerships), focused on Penn-West Philadelphia partnerships as case studies for what could be done to improve urban community health generally and reduce minority health disparities particularly. While at Penn, she co-founded the Penn Women's Biomedical Society.

Tanilla was accepted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Medicine and Masters in Public Health Program.

Nicolas D. Rodriguez
University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2004
Major: Political Science (Concentration: Comparative Politics)


From Sanger, CA, Nico has focused his studies at Penn on International Political Models, particularly in Latin America. He is interested in pursuing further work in Latin American studies and public policy, with a great interest in social service and educational policy as it effects minority and immigrant populations in the US and possibly abroad. As a SUMR scholar, he worked with LDI Senior Fellow Daniel Polsky, Ph.D., on the Mexican Health and Aging Survey, using the MHAS data set to analyze patterns in health service access toward a better understanding of health insurance in Mexico.

Nicolas id working as an aide to Congressman Xavier Becerra (Ca-31) and will begin his Masters in Public Administration at Columbia in Fall 2011.

Melani L. Sherman
University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2005
Major: Health & Societies (Concentration: Public Health)


In the past, Melani has done obesity research at Rockefeller University in NY, but during her first two years at Penn she has enjoyed a wide range of courses from biology to economics to medical anthropology to sociological research. She is concentrating in public health and wants to expand her knowledge of health policy. For the SUMR program, she explored issues relating to clinical decision making and trust/distrust of physicians and the health care system with her mentor, LDI Senior Fellow Katrina Armstrong, M.D., MSCE.

Melani studied Medicine at Howard University. She began applying for Residencies in Emergency Medicine.


J. Deanna Wilson
Swarthmore College, Class of 2004
Major: Sociology/Anthropology Minor: Biology


Over the first three years of her undergraduate experience, Deanna moved from a more biological understanding and approach to medicine and science issues to a more sociocultural one. For SUMR, she worked with LDI Senior Fellow Barbara J. Turner, M.D., on deciphering the impact of various cultural and social beliefs on various aspects of health care. In 2004-2005, Deanna was an Emerson National Hunger Fellow with the Congressional Hunger Center. She worked with the Boston Medical Center (BMC) Grow Clinic and the American Dietetic Association, authored The Children’s Sentinel Nutrition Assessment Program Advocacy Toolkit, and produced two briefs: Hunger and Food Insecurity among American Children: Consequences and Prevention and Protecting Children from Hunger and Food Insecurity in 2005-2006.

Deanna studied Medicine at Yale University. She is currently an Internal Medicine-Pediatrics Resident at Johns Hopkins.

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