Our Team Susannah Anderson, PhD Research Fellow Elizabeth Aviña, BS Research Assistant Kelly Burgess, MPH Junior Research Analyst Hilary Demby, MPH Senior Research Analyst Gretchen Falk, MPH Junior Research Analyst Emma Foley, BA Research Assistant Alethia Gregory, LMSW Lead Research Analyst Stephanie Hall, MSW Study Coordinator Catie Henley, MPH Lead Research Analyst Eric Jenner, PhD Director of Research Lynne Jenner, MA Director of Projects Katie Lass, MPH, LMSW Lead Research Analyst Rebekah Leger, MPH Senior Research Analyst David Maddox, PhD Senior Research Analyst Elyse Mason, MPH Research Analyst Janice McFarlane, MPA Study Coordinator Noor Qaragholi, BA Junior Research Analyst Victoria Romo, BA Research Assistant Teresa Smith, MPH Research Analyst Jordan Stribling, MA Operations Manager Sarah Walsh, PhD Lead Senior Research Analyst Canine Operations Perkins Office Pup Luther Office Pup Brodie Office Pup Shakey Office Pup Podrick Office Pup Susannah Anderson PHD Research Fellow Susannah pursued interests in positive youth development and equity in education and healthcare throughout her doctoral work at Tulane University (PhD 2015). She brings experience with a variety of public health programs to program evaluations at PRG. She has worked to improve access to fresh food in urban areas, increase cancer screenings among older adults, reduce violence among New Orleans youth, and prevent pregnancies among older adolescent women. An interest in health and the life sciences led her to a BS (2006) in Neuroscience at the College of William and Mary, and she completed an MPH (2011) at Virginia Commonwealth University after shifting her focus to disease prevention. She also plays the fiddle, runs, and bikes to work in (almost) any weather. Hilary Demby MPH Senior Research Analyst A native of rural upstate New York, Hilary has lived in New Orleans since 2007 and joined PRG in 2009. She received her BA in art history from Tulane University (2001) and her MPH, with a concentration in health education and communication, from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine (2009). As a Senior Research Analyst, she oversees all research analysts and assistants, ensuring quality and consistency of research plans and protocols for multiple evaluation projects, including ongoing RCTs investigating the efficacy of teen pregnancy prevention interventions (her primary area of interest). She has extensive experience in grant writing, designing research protocols and data collection instruments, and developing data collection protocols and training materials. Prior to moving to New Orleans, Hilary lived in New York City for five years, working for a number of organizations, including the Greater New York Hospital Association Foundation’s Health Information Tool for Empowerment project. She enjoys spending her free time being outside walking and hiking as much as possible, partaking in the many festivals and live music options available in this spirited city, and traveling far and wide to experience new people and places. Alethia Gregory LMSW Lead Research Analyst Alethia received a BA (2006) from Loyola University New Orleans in Communications and an MSW (2012) from Louisiana State University. During her time as a social work graduate student, Alethia cultivated her interest in evaluation as a means of creating better social policies for disadvantaged populations. She is currently working on the evaluation of a collaborative agreement funded by the Administration of Children and Families that is implementing a new screen that identifies the mental health needs of youth from Louisiana’s child welfare system. She is also working on a randomized controlled trial of an innovative intervention that seeks to reduce the rates of unintended teen pregnancies among youth who have experienced trauma. When she’s not squinting at her computer, Alethia likes to spend time with her family (e.g., her adorable son), read books, cook, and listen to her jazz musician husband play music around the city of New Orleans. Eric Jenner PHD Director of Research Eric is a founding partner and the Director of Research at The Policy & Research Group. He met his future wife and partner, Lynne, on a sailboat in the Pacific Ocean, just off the coast of Central America. Thanks to his tenacity, and a hurricane at sea, she eventually agreed to marry him. Eric received an MMC and a PhD in political communications from LSU. In between, he worked for The New York Times and then briefly lived in Rome, where he started to really like pizza. An inveterate interdisciplinarian, Eric is motivated by empirical questions related to public policy and public affairs – he has published research in The Policy Studies Journal, Political Behavior, the Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, Foreign Affairs, and the American Journal of Health Behavior, among others. Recently, he has led studies that investigate the impact of innovative programs on public health and academic outcomes. When he isn’t preoccupied with questions of research design and analytic methods, Eric fixates on things related to point breaks, watts per kilogram, Shimano groupsets, narrative structure, and any type of boat. He is an enthusiastic vegan cook. Lynne Jenner MA Director of Projects After completing a BA in Sociology/Linguistics, Lynne and her future husband set off from her hometown of Victoria, BC, Canada for Louisiana State University in a twenty-year-old VW van, without air conditioning. She completed her MA in organizational communication with characteristic promptness, and then decamped for a much smaller Manhattan apartment with a much-loved but poorly behaved former street dog. Three years later she took a one-year appointment in Rome, Italy with a United Nations Organization, joined by her soon-to-be husband and the former street dog. After that, PRG seemed like the obvious choice. As one of the founding partners and the Director of Projects, Lynne works to keep the trains running on-time and to ensure excellence. She enjoys being active, whether running, cycling, yoga or weight lifting. She loves her New Orleans neighborhood and has, for the past ten years, spent much of her spare time completing a one-year renovation of her century-old New Orleans home. Elyse Mason MPH Research Analyst After completing her BA at Colorado College in 2008, Elyse worked as a policy analyst and children’s gardening educator. Five years later, after working in New York City and traveling abroad, her interest in food systems and social justice inspired her to study community health and nutrition at Tulane University (MPH 2015). At PRG, Elyse assists the Lead Senior Research Analyst, supports PRG’s teen pregnancy prevention studies, and manages the day-to-day evaluation of an after-school mentoring program in Baton Rouge. Outside of PRG, Elyse is interested in music, art, and all things food-related – gardening, cooking and eating. Kelly Burgess MPH Junior Research Analyst Kelly originally began her college career at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a pre-med student. Through her studies, she discovered she was much more interested in the wider social determinants of health than individual medicine. After completing her BS in Biology in 2012, she began pursuing her Master’s in Public Health at Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, where she graduated in 2015. During her time at Tulane and after graduation, she worked with a variety of community organizations in New Orleans that focused on everything from community gardening and nutrition to HIV and teen pregnancy prevention. At PRG, Kelly manages a Teen Pregnancy Prevention study that aims to measure the impact of school programs for 9th graders in North Carolina and New York City. Her work also includes the evaluation of two SAMHSA funded programs at a local New Orleans non-profit; one targets mental health and substance abuse among prisoners re-entering the community, and the second aims to expand the capacity of substance abuse programs for minority women at risk for HIV. In her free time, she is dancing whenever possible, cheering on UNC’s basketball team with sometimes scary intensity, and soaking up New Orleans’ incredible culture. Katie Lass MPH Lead Research Analyst Katie discovered her passion for the social sciences in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia as a JMU Duke, obtaining a BA in Psychology and Sociology in 2009. After relocating to New Orleans and working at a variety of mental health service agencies, she went on to obtain a Master of Social Work (2012) and Master of Public Health (2013) from Tulane University, where she developed an affinity for research and evaluation. Katie brings this multi-disciplinary perspective to her work at PRG as a Lead Research Analyst, handling the day to day tasks for a number of impact evaluations, including a randomized controlled trial of a Department of Labor-funded education and career enhancement program. In addition to project management, she supports the Research and Analysis Team at PRG by assisting with data management and checks for quantitative evaluation reports. Aside from her enthusiasm for Excel spreadsheets, Katie also enjoys traveling, visiting national parks, camping, reading, and keeping her colleagues up to date on the latest cat videos. Teresa Smith MPH Research Analyst Teresa received both her BS in Public Health (2013) and her MPH (2015) from Tulane University. While her Master’s studies focused on the management of health systems, she fostered an interest in social policy and programs after working at a local AIDS task force and as a peer health educator for a teen pregnancy prevention project. Teresa’s current work at PRG includes the evaluation of a Department of Education-funded project that aims to improve STEM achievement and engagement among fifth-grade students as well as the evaluation of a SAMHSA-funded project directed at expanding substance abuse treatment systems for minority populations. She also manages two projects aimed at increasing community health capacity in multiple states through accreditation initiatives and cross-sector coalitions. In her spare time, she can be found biking, reading, and admiring cute animals. Jordan Stribling MA Operations Manager Jordan earned her BA and MA in English Literature and Linguistics (2013), both from Mississippi State University. During her studies, she gained professional experience as a composition and linguistics instructor and researcher. Attributable to her professional and academic experience, Jordan brings to the table a drive for learning, organization, and efficiency, along with a considerable affinity for commas and the correct usage thereof. At PRG, Jordan manages all operational affairs on the business side of PRG, assists with project development, and is the in-house copy-editor. In addition to her role at PRG, Jordan is a plant enthusiast, bookworm, dabbling yogi, pizza fanatic, and animal lover. Sarah Walsh PHD Lead Senior Research Analyst Although posing as a normal human, Sarah has a near extra-terrestrial affinity for STATA, multivariate linear and logistic regression, longitudinal, multi-level, and mixed-effects modeling, time-series analysis, and survival analysis. As Lead Senior Research Analyst at PRG, Sarah oversees research design, data analysis, and reporting, working under the Director of Research. Her academic travels have made her an unwitting expert on all things related to SEC football, with degrees from the University of Tennessee, Ole Miss, and LSU. So, on fall Saturdays, her time is spent either loving or despising nearly every team that plays, which keeps her pretty busy. She is also kept busy by her two children and husband who seem to enjoy nothing more than dropping things on the floor, eating with their hands, and crying at random times. David Maddox PHD Senior Research Analyst David earned his PhD in Sociology from Louisiana State University in 2013 where he helped conduct a mixed-method and multi-level study of neighborhood recovery in New Orleans after the flooding following Hurricane Katrina. As a native of southeast Louisiana, David has strong cultural connections to the Greater Baton Rouge area, as well as to the Greater New Orleans area where he was an assistant professor of sociology at Tulane University. As a PRG Senior Research Analyst, David oversees nine Department of Labor evaluations. David’s research interests include community, trust, mentoring, childhood development, urban studies, natural disaster recovery and resilience. In order of priority, David is passionate about social justice, music, food, television, whiskey and movies. Rebekah Leger MPH Senior Research Analyst After graduating with a BA in Sociology from Centenary College of Louisiana, Rebekah dedicated some time to national service. She served two years with AmeriCorps, one in Chicago and one in Louisiana; then, she and her husband worked as Peace Corps Volunteers in East Timor. Her work as a health promotion volunteer sparked an interest in public health, so upon returning the U.S., Rebekah completed a Master of Public Health at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. While at Tulane, Rebekah enjoyed her evaluation and statistics classes, and, while enrolled, she began to work as a Research Assistant at PRG. Now a Senior Research Analyst, Rebekah is in charge of data management and also manages the daily operations for nine Department of Labor evaluations. While away from work, Rebekah gets her energy from the water; she enjoys swimming in it, skiing on it, and relaxing by large bodies of it. A Louisiana native, Rebekah now lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her husband and two children where they are learning to embrace long winters – after all, snow is just another form of water. Gretchen Falk MPH Junior Research Analyst An Iowa native, Gretchen first fell in love with New Orleans while on a service trip during her sophomore year at Luther College where she was earning a BA in nursing. Five years later, after gaining experience as a psychiatric nurse, she returned to the Crescent City to attend Tulane University where she received an MPH in health policy and a certificate in program management. While at Tulane, Gretchen’s work focused on Medicaid policy and jail diversion programs for people with mental health and substance use disorders. At PRG, she manages a Department of Education funded project aimed at improving outcomes for high school freshmen, and a teen pregnancy prevention program funded through the Office of Adolescent Health. Now she is a proud New Orleanian who spends her free time reading policy blogs, watching the Iowa Hawkeyes, and fiercely competing in the best pub trivia New Orleans has to offer. Stephanie Hall MSW Study Coordinator Stephanie received both her BA in Psychology (2014) and her MSW (2016) from Michigan State University. She became interested in women’s studies during her undergraduate career, and that interest grew throughout the pursuit of her graduate degree. Her focus during her MSW was in organization and community leadership in which she specifically focused on social welfare policy and programs having to do with social issues. From working with high school students and Kinship Caregivers, to studying policy in Finland, Stephanie hopes to pull her knowledge and ultimately help influence more effective policies and programs. As a PRG Study Coordinator, Stephanie assists in coordinating enrollment and follow-up with participants who have experienced trauma with the hopes of reducing unintended teen pregnancies and encouraging safe behaviors. When Stephanie is not catching up on the latest Netflix craze, she enjoys attending any music event available, Kayaking, staying active, online shopping, and, of course, cheering on her Michigan State Spartans. Perkins Office Pup Eric and Lynne found Perkins stopping traffic on Perkins Road overpass in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. At the office, Perkins prefers to sleep, unless someone approaches the kitchen. Though she can’t hear, Perkins has an acute sense of smell. Sometimes, when she isn’t sleeping, Perkins enjoys seeking out food wrappers in trash bins and generally reducing stress. At home, Perkins prefers to sleep unless someone approaches the kitchen. Perkins is a food enthusiast. Luther Office Pup The New Orleans SPCA called Luther up from the Terrebonne Parish animal shelter in February 2015. Lynne found him there and adopted him immediately, much to the surprise of her husband. At the office, Luther enjoys playing with his canine co-worker, Brodie, until he loses his bag. Then he takes a break. In his off-time, Luther enjoys long walks, retrieving, chewing debris, losing his bag, and sleeping on sofas, beds, and pillows. Luther has failed every obedience class in which he has been enrolled, but he enjoys the challenge. Brodie Office Pup Jordan brought young Brodie home in May of 2015. True to his Spaniel roots, he leads an active lifestyle, entailing anything from swimming, running, fetching, to general frolicking. But, he also enjoys a good nap. At work, he enjoys playing with his pup colleagues, investigating trash cans, and, in his younger days, chewing through important electrical cords. In his off time, Brodie loves cuddling with humans and trying to get street cats to play with him. He also likes to sit and stare for long periods of time. Noor Qaragholi BA Junior Research Analyst After graduating from the University of Virginia in 2010 with a BA in Government, Noor moved to Boston to follow a deep-rooted interest in biomedical ethics. While there, she worked for several years at the Center for Bioethics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital on research regarding the Affordable Care Act and issues of justice and resource allocation, as well as transparency in industry payments to physicians. After moving across the country to escape the snow, Noor began working at PRG, where she manages a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of a teen pregnancy prevention program, as well as assists in managing the evaluation of two SAMHSA-funded programs. Outside of PRG, her interests include going on adventures, playing tennis, putting together Ikea furniture, and getting her heart broken by the Washington Redskins. Shakey Office Pup Elyse found Shakey in Folsom, Louisiana in May 2016 and couldn’t resist his old man charm. In his professional life, Shakey, like his pup colleagues, prefers to sleep through the day. When awake, he seeks out regular belly rubs from his office mates and, when not receiving proper attention, jumps on office desks. Away from work, Shakey spends his time catching up on sleep, running around on the levee, doing yoga, and trying New Orleans street food. Janice McFarlane MPA Study Coordinator Janice is originally from New York City and is a bona fide “New Yawker,” accent and all. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Human Development at Binghamton University (2012) and her Master of Public Administration in Health Policy and Management from the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at New York University (2016). She dreams of becoming a health system executive one day. Janice joined PRG in 2016 and serves as a study coordinator, facilitating enrollment and follow up with participants in a teen pregnancy prevention study based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In her free time, Janice enjoys visiting Target (more often than any sane person should), experiencing the cultural, culinary and natural wonders of New Mexico, and spending time with her pet hedgehog, Chloé, and her rescued dogs, Bo and Charlotte. Podrick Office Pup When Jordan came into work one morning explaining that she would be leaving early to rescue a litter of adorable puppies from rural Mississippi, Katie and her husband, Kenny, decided they would just “come by to see the puppies” that evening. Unsurprisingly, young Podrick followed K & K home that evening. At the office, Podrick can most often be found snoozing in fellow office pup Luther’s bed, chewing on anything he can find, and supervising the flow of traffic into the conference room. At home, he enjoys chasing his feline sisters around the house, playing with his canine relatives, and eating lots of dirt in the backyard. Much like his namesake, Podrick is a loyal sidekick in training, eager to learn for the simple price of a treat. Emma Foley BA Research Assistant As an urban studies major at Vassar College, Emma worked as an intern with housing and homelessness nonprofits in her hometown of Charlotte, NC and in Poughkeepsie, NY. On a comparative urban studies trip during her junior year abroad, she fell in love with New Orleans and vowed to return. After receiving her BA in 2015, she settled here, continuing her work in the housing field, interning at a fair housing center and completing an Americorps term with an affordable housing organization. At PRG, Emma has dipped her toes into new research fields. She now assists research analysts with two randomized control trials that measure high school educational outcomes and teen pregnancy prevention outcomes for 9th graders. While she thoroughly enjoys organizing data and strictly adhering to research methodology by day, she can often be found letting loose at hip-hop and R&B dance classes by night. She also enjoys teaching sewing, cooking local veggies, and baking (mostly pie). Elizabeth Aviña BS Research Assistant Elizabeth graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in December 2014 with a BS in Molecular Environmental Biology and went to work at the California Department of Public Health with the Infant Botulism Treatment and Prevention Program where she combined her passion for public health and toxicology. From her desk she could almost see the San Francisco Bay but 40 years’ worth of baby pictures decorating the office walls more than made up for the view. After five years in Berkeley, this Central Valley native made the decision to return home as she truly missed the extreme heat, amazing Mexican food and her two long haired cats ruining every black shirt she owns. She’s excited to join the PRG team as a Research Assistant where she coordinates participant follow-up for a teen pregnancy prevention program in Fresno, CA. In her free time she enjoys yelling “Go Bears!” at unsuspecting passersby wearing in Cal gear. Karmel Reeves Intern Karmel is originally from Detroit, Michigan and is a city girl at heart. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies & Public Policy at Dillard University. She intends to pursue a Master’s degree in International Affairs following her graduation in 2018. She dreams of becoming a Foreign Diplomat one day. Karmel joined PRG in 2016 and serves as an intern, assisting the Operations Manager with general office duties. In her free time, Karmel enjoys traveling abroad, studying Spanish and sign language, serving her University as a member of Student Government Association, and spending time volunteering with her Sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Victoria Romo BA Research Assistant Victoria graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a BA in Sociology. After graduating, Victoria worked as a grassroots organizer in her hometown in the Central Valley of California. Through her work with powerful community leaders and change-makers, Victoria discovered an affinity for research-based, effective public policy. Victoria decided to further pursue her interests in policy and came on board with PRG in early 2017. At PRG, as Victoria helps coordinate a Teen Pregnancy Prevention program in Oakland, CA and supports other projects. On her free time, Victoria enjoys spending time with her family, hiking the East Bay hills, reading and listening to her favorite tunes in Spanish. Catie Henley MPH Lead Research Analyst Catie never anticipated developing roots in the South, but a military move to Mississippi by her significant other led her to the the Gulf Coast from 2011 to 2014 where she acquired a love for alligator sausage and swamp rats. Catie worked with PRG during this period as a Research Analyst. In mid-2014, Catie moved to Seattle with her husband and worked for two years, first, as a Program Manager and then as the Associate Director for Health Alliance International’s primary health care implementation and research projects in Mozambique. Catie couldn’t stay away from PRG and came back as a Lead Research Analyst in January 2017. She now works on study design, analysis, and reporting for four randomized controlled trials funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Adolescent Health that aim to prevent teen pregnancy. Catie has a BA in International Affairs from the George Washington University, an MPH in Epidemiology from the University of Washington, and is currently working on her PhD. in Epidemiology at the University of Washington. When not playing with Excel and Stata, Catie enjoys spending time outside biking, running, hiking, or doing yoga with her husband, son, and dog, Nola (named lovingly after PRG’s hometown).