Team

Director

Staff

Lara Balian, MPH
Lara joined the lab in 2020 as a Research Associate focused primarily on the project, Enabling Community-Based Cervical Cancer Screening. Lara earned her Masters in Public Health from UNC-Chapel Hill and has extensive experience in public health research and project management. She has worked in a variety of areas including cancer prevention, nutrition, and aging. Lara specializes in integrating evidence-based strategies in behavior change, design, technology, and communications to tailor public health interventions to community and individual needs.

Raquel Castro, RN, BSN, CHW
Raquel is by profession a Registered Nurse who joined Purdue in March of 2021. She has overseen and trained Community Health Workers (CHWs) for many years. She is a strong advocate of CHWs and joined our team to serve in that role and to promote and leverage CHWs. She serves on the project, Enabling Community-Based Cervical Cancer Screening, addressing multilevel barriers to cervical cancer screening among the Hispanic community in Lake County. Raquel also serves to promote Purdue’s Community Health Workforce Development Institute and as part of the Indiana Community Health Worker Association (INCHWA).

Nicholas Nagel
Nicholas is a 2009 graduate from St. Joseph’s College with a B.A. in History. Nicholas has been part of the lab since 2020 and is currently based at LTHC Homeless Services as a Community Health Worker where he assists the homeless population with various healthcare needs. Nicholas also conducts COVID-19 rapid testing on site as well as COVID-19 education. He will soon be conducting self-testing for HIV/AIDS education. Nicholas has a passion for helping others and plans to continue to assist the vulnerable population. 

Students

Luke Patrick Brennan
Luke is a PhD student at the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University as a part of the Medical Scientist Training Program at IU School of Medicine. Luke joined the lab in 2020 to design a more accessible way to screen for cervical cancer in the United States by amplifying HPV DNA that might be present in patient samples and showing this result in a small handheld device. Luke has conducted interviews with physicians about what they would want in such a device, written and analyzed a survey, and is currently working on creating the device in the Linnes lab. After the program he hopes to use engineering principles and technology to address problems in global public health.

Lexi Lahey
Lexi is a rising 3rd year student at Purdue’s College of Pharmacy. She joined the lab in May 2020 to explore how the COVID-19 pandemic affects underserved populations and how that can inform future health crises. After Lexi graduates, she wants to work as an ambulatory care pharmacist and help vulnerable populations manage chronic diseases.

Rebecca Martinez
Rebecca is a second-year Anthropology graduate student interested in the application of social theory and methods to understand health as it is situated in culture, society, and people’s lived experiences. As an applied cultural/medical anthropologist, Rebecca joined the lab in August 2020, working on the COVID-19 and Homelessness project. She is currently working on this project and a project for her MS thesis looking at the menstrual health experiences of people experiencing homelessness. After she graduates, she hopes to continue working across disciplines on reproductive health policies, organizational needs, and design and innovation applications.

Jordan Mick
Jordan recently graduated from Purdue University with a degree in Public Health and will be attending the University of Michigan to earn an MPH in Epidemiology. Jordan has been part of the lab since January 2021 and works on the qualitative aspects of the Enabling Community-Based Cervical Cancer Screening project. In the future she hopes to work as a chronic disease epidemiologist to continue addressing existing health disparities.

Francesca Kimera
Francesca is a second year student pharmacist. She joined the lab in January 2021 and currently works on the Community Health Workforce Development project. After graduation she hopes to work within medically underserved populations and carry on the fight against health inequity.

Justin MacNeill
Justin recently graduated from Purdue University with a degree in Biomedical Engineering. He joined Dr. Rodriguez’s lab in May 2020 and has since worked on multiple projects including the COVID-19 Homelessness project and work examining the landscape for people living with HIV during the pandemic. Justin is currently working on both qualitative and quantitative aspects of the families experiencing homelessness project. He recently started applying to medical schools in June and hopes to continue serving vulnerable populations in both the clinical and research settings.

Nina Elizabeth Teo
Nina is a third-year professional student in the College of Pharmacy at Purdue University. Her interest in reducing health inequities began through her community outreach and her engagement with underserved populations throughout her professional school career. She joined this lab in June of 2020 and conducted a gray literature review, performed interviews with service providers, and analyzed and coded interviews with organizations and people experiencing homelessness. After graduation, she plans on pursuing a fellowship with a pharmaceutical company to focus on expanding access to quality healthcare by bringing new medications to vulnerable populations.

Cealia Tolliver
Cealia is a 2nd year professional student in the Purdue College of Pharmacy. She joined the lab this past spring, April 2021, and is currently working on the COVID-19 Homelessness project. Upon graduation, Cealia intends to pursue an ambulatory care residency in hopes of becoming a Women’s Health Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, practicing in an outpatient setting. The COVID-19 Homelessness Project fosters her passion for health equity through the analysis of current inequitable structures and the development of targeted approaches in order to better serve the homeless community.

Andres Torres
Andres is a nursing student at Universidad Nacional de Colombia and a visiting scholar at Purdue University. He joined Dr Rodriguez’s lab in February 2020 and is currently working on a project to address multilevel barriers to cervical cancer screening among the Hispanic community in Lake County.

Hope Young
Hope recently graduated from Purdue University with a degree in Public Health. Hope has been a part of the lab since January 2021 and is currently working on the Individuals Experiencing Homelessness and the Families Experiencing Homelessness teams. Hope has a passion for vulnerable populations and her career goal is to find a job working with vulnerable populations and centered around health education. 

Contact Us

Matthews Hall, 218
812 West State Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907
natalia@purdue.edu
(765) 494-8287