Madina Agénor, ScD, MPH , Director

Photo credit: Whitney Waddell

Madina Agénor, ScD, MPH (she/her) is the inaugural Gerald R. Gill Assistant Professor of Race, Culture, and Society in the Department of Community Health at Tufts University. She is also Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Tufts University School of Medicine and The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health.

A social epidemiologist, Dr. Agénor investigates health inequities at the intersection of sexual orientation and heterosexism, race/ethnicity and racism, and gender identity and cissexism. Specifically, she uses quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods research to elucidate the structural and social determinants of sexual and reproductive health and cancer screening and prevention among marginalized U.S. populations, especially lesbian, bisexual, and queer women, Black women, transgender and gender diverse young adults assigned female at birth, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people of color. As the Principal Investigator of a K01 career development award from the National Cancer Institute, she is examining how provider- and policy-level factors influence sexual orientation and racial/ethnic disparities in human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination among U.S. women.

Prior to joining the Tufts faculty, Dr. Agénor was Assistant Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH). She holds a Doctor of Science (ScD) in Social and Behavioral Sciences with a concentration in Women, Gender, and Health from HSPH and was a postdoctoral fellow in the Harvard Educational Program in Cancer Prevention. She also holds a Master of Public Health (MPH) in Sociomedical Sciences from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and a bachelor’s degree (AB, magna cum laude with Honors) in Community Health and Gender Studies from Brown University.

Ashley Pérez, MPH, Graduate Research Assistant

Ashley Pérez (she/her) is a PhD candidate in Medical Sociology at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). She is interested in gender, sexual orientation, and racial/ethnic inequities in sexual health, sexual health care, and cancer prevention. Ashley received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Brown University, where she worked as a research assistant on several studies focused on HIV prevention. In the SHARE Lab, she serves as the lead quantitative data analyst for studies examining sexual orientation identity and racial/ethnic disparities in HPV vaccination, cervical and breast cancer screening, contraceptive care, health insurance and access to health care, and patient-provider interactions. 

Emily Unger, Graduate Research Assistant

Emily Unger (she/her) is an MD/PhD student at Harvard Medical School and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.  Her doctoral work in social epidemiology focuses on gender, uncompensated caregiving, and the impact of social policy on caregivers’ health.  Prior to beginning graduate studies, she worked as a paralegal at the New York Legal Assistance Group, where she advocated for low-income elderly and disabled people’s access to health benefits and home care through Medicare and Medicaid.  In the SHARE Lab, she is the lead quantitative data analyst for a study examining how state Medicaid expansions affected HPV vaccination and other sexual and reproductive health services use among young women, especially in relation to sexual orientation and race/ethnicity.

Florence Almeda, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Florence Almeda (she/her) is a sophomore at Tufts University majoring in Community Health and Sociology. She is interested in sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health inequities related to gender, sexual orientation, and race/ethnicity. Previously, she was an immunology research assistant at Loyola University Medical Center and conducted research analyzing the interplay between multilingualism and STEM education among young children as a part of the The Readiness through Integrative Science and Engineering (RISE) Project at Tufts. In the SHARE Lab, Florence conducts literature reviews and provides assistance with qualitative data analysis and manuscript and grant preparation.

Amanda Wilhoit, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Amanda Wilhoit (she/her) is a sophomore at Tufts University studying Community Health and Food Systems & Nutrition. Her interests include health disparities among LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly in terms of access to sexual education and clinical care. In the SHARE Lab, Amanda conducts literature reviews and provides assistance with qualitative data analysis and manuscript and grant preparation.

Allison Rhodes, Graduate Research Assistant

Allison Rhodes (she/her) is a third year MD/MPH student at Tufts University School of Medicine. She is interested in investigating health inequities in the LGBTQ population and improving healthcare outcomes for sexual and gender minority youth. She has experience advocating for LGBTQ medical education reform on the AMA Medical Student Section’s Committee on LGBTQ issues and as Chair of the GLMA Health Professionals in Training’s Curricular Reform Committee. In the SHARE Lab, she is leading a qualitative research study examining the HPV vaccination attitudes and experiences of transgender and gender diverse young adults assigned female at birth. 

Alexis Griffin, MD, Resident Research Assistant

Alexis Griffin (she/her) is an Obstetrics and Gynecology Resident Physician at Tufts Medical Center. She is interested in the intersection of racial disparities, sexual health, and cancer prevention. Her other interests include access to healthcare, maternal morbidity/mortality in the United States, and the influence of culture on reproductive health dialogue. Alexis obtained her Bachelor’s of Arts at Wellesley College and her Medical Degree at the University of South Alabama College Of Medicine. Her prior research experience includes an examination of African American adolescents’ experiences with Nexplanons. Since starting her residency at Tufts, Alexis co-founded the Diversity, Equity, and Social Justice Committee, which seeks to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in medicine in an effort to mitigate racial disparities in health. In the SHARE Lab, she serves as a research assistant for a qualitative study examining healthcare provider decision-making in cervical cancer prevention among women who are sexual and/or racial minorities.

Dougie Zubizarreta, Graduate Research Assistant

Dougie Zubizarreta (he/they) is a Master of Science student in Epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He is interested in the social determinants of sexual and reproductive health among marginalized U.S. populations, especially unhoused and low-income youth, youth of color, LGBQ/T youth, and youth at the intersections of these identities. In the SHARE Lab, they are contributing to the preparation of several manuscripts examining the social determinants of sexual and reproductive health care among transmasculine young adults of color.

Elle Lett, MBiostat, Graduate Research Assistant

Elle Lett (they/them) is a Black, genderqueer, physician-scientist in training. They are in their third year of the PhD Program in Epidemiology and fifth year overall as an MD-PhD Candidate at the University of Pennsylvania. Their work focuses on intersectionality, specifically engaging transgender/gender minority and racial/ethnic minority communities. They hold a bachelor’s degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Harvard College and a master’s degree in Biostatistics from Duke University. They plan to pursue residency training in Emergency Medicine and use health services research and social epidemiology to motivate policy changes that help achieve health equity for marginalized populations in the United States. In the SHARE Lab, they are conducting quantitative analyses examining how gender identity and racial discrimination influence the sexual health of transgender and gender-expansive U.S. young adults of color.

Cynthia Smith, MS, Qualitative Research Coordinator

Cynthia Smith (she/her) is an early career professional who earned her M.S. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She currently works as a Mental Health Counselor in New Jersey, specializing in working with eating disorders and LGBTQ+ populations with an emphasis on gender affirming care for trans and gender expansive clients. She has experience in working with trans and gender expansive individuals as both a clinician and researcher. In addition to these experiences, Cynthia is passionate about health equity and social justice, which she integrates into her counseling practice and research projects, including a current project on the experiences of eating disorders and body image concerns among trans and gender diverse populations as influenced by their access to gender affirming care. In the SHARE lab, she is the Qualitative Research Coordinator for a qualitative study that explores the consideration of LGBTQ+ and racial equity in the development and implementation of cervical cancer screening guidelines using in-depth interviews with health care equity leaders.

Merrily LeBlanc, Qualitative Research Assistant

Merrily LeBlanc (she/her) studied Sociology & Psychology at Stony Brook University and is currently a research assistant at The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health. Her research interests include investigating the impact of bias and discrimination on health and wellness, with a focus on issues specific to the LGBTQ+ community. Merrily has experience working directly with patients and strives to both minimize health inequities and improve the quality of care for structurally marginalized communities in her work. In the SHARE Lab, she serves as a research assistant for a qualitative study that explores the consideration of LGBTQ+ and racial equity in the development and implementation of cervical cancer screening guidelines using in-depth interviews with health care equity leaders.

Raquel Jones, Research Assistant

Raquel Jones (they/them) is passionate about reducing health disparities among the LGBTQ+ community and other marginalized U.S. populations. They are interested in health inequities related to gender, sexual orientation, and race/ethnicity. In the SHARE Lab, Raquel conducts literature reviews and provides assistance with manuscript preparations. They are currently working on a study examining discrimination and the health care experiences of transgender and gender diverse young adults of color. Prior to joining the SHARE lab, Raquel worked as a research assistant at Dana Farber Cancer Institute where they explored lung cancer screening disparities among sexual and gender minority older adults. Raquel has earned their Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from University of Massachusetts Boston. 

Tara Ahmadi, MPH, Graduate Research Assistant

Tara Ahmadi (she/her) is a medical student at Tufts University School of Medicine, interested in advocacy, research and medical education. She received her undergraduate degree in chemical biology from UC Berkeley. After working for a few years, she studied public health with a concentration in global health at Tufts University School of Medicine. Tara has been involved in different research projects with a public health focus during her time in medical school. Tara’s research interests are health inequities and medical ethics, reproductive health and rights, and health in LGBTQIA+ and immigrant populations. In the SHARE lab, she is contributing to a qualitative research study examining HPV vaccination attitudes and experiences among transgender and gender diverse young adult assigned female at birth.