People

Marie Lynn Miranda

Marie Lynn Miranda

Director, Professor of Applied Computational Mathematics & Statistics, and Charles and Jill Fischer Provost

Dr. Marie Lynn Miranda specializes in research on environmental and public health, especially how the environment shapes health and wellbeing among children. She is the founding director of the Children’s Environmental Health Initiative, a research, education, and outreach program committed to fostering environments where all people can prosper. She is a leader in the rapidly evolving field of geospatial health informatics. She is also Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics at Duke University and Baylor College of Medicine.

Miranda has applied spatial analytic approaches to a wide range of scientific issues. She maintains an active research portfolio, with a funding history that includes the USEPA, NIH, CDC, the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, the USDA, the State of North Carolina, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Wallace Genetics Foundation, the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, and The Duke Endowment. Her research group received the 2008 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Justice Award.

Miranda is a Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude graduate of Duke University, where she earned her A.B. in mathematics and economics and was named a Truman Scholar. She has a Ph.D. and M.A. from Harvard University, where she held a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of Sigma Xi. She currently serves as the Charles and Jill Fischer Provost of the University of Notre Dame since July 1, 2020, the fifth provost at Notre Dame since the position was established in 1970. In addition to her responsibilities as provost, she is a professor of applied and computational mathematics and statistics at Notre Dame, maintaining an active research portfolio which focuses in the joint effects of social and environmental exposures on the health outcomes of racial and educational residential segregation.

Carolina Avendano

Carolina Avendano

Director of Research Operations

Carolina Avendano serves as the Director of Research Operations for the Children's Environmental Health Initiative (CEHI) where she is responsible for leading the research efforts of the CEHI team. She works closely with and supports the director in managing program priorities, initiatives, and activities. Carolina holds a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from Texas A&M University, and a B.S. in Chemistry from Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI. She is excited to put to use the skills developed during the last decade in leading various research and administrative units at Rice University to identifying, characterizing, and understanding how physical, chemical and social environmental factors correlate with the health outcomes of a community with the goal of promoting policies that foster social and environmental justice.

Mercedes Bravo

Mercedes Bravo

Research Affiliate

Mercedes Bravo serves as a Research Scientist Affiliate at CEHI and as an Environmental Epidemiologist at RTI International. Her research focuses on identifying and characterizing relationships between social and environmental exposures and disparities in health and developmental outcomes. Mercedes received her Ph.D. in Environmental Science (2014) from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and also has a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science (Chemistry minor) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Rashida Callender

Rashida Callender

Research Associate

Rashida Callender is a research associate at CEHI and project manager for the Texas Flood Registry and COVID-19 Registry. She is involved in protocol development and management, survey design, community outreach, and statistical analysis. Rashida received her Master of Public Health in Biostatistics from UTHealth School of Public Health and her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from MIT.

Joally Canales

Joally Canales

Community Outreach Coordinator

Joally Canales serves as a Community Outreach Coordinator at CEHI. She is responsible for community outreach and organizing efforts for the Texas Flood Registry and the COVID-19 Registry. She builds relationships with stakeholders to advance these projects and ensure that underrepresented communities are included in future solutions. Joally received her Bachelor of Science in Radio-TV-Film with a concentration in Environment and Sustainability from The University of Texas at Austin. She is passionate about communication strategies that educate diverse audiences on environmental health.

Brandi Gih

Brandi Gih

GIS Technician

Brandi Gih serves as a GIS Technician for the Children's Environmental Health Initiative. She is responsible for assisting with data management, providing technical support for GIS research projects, and supporting GIS training efforts. Brandi has been a member of the CEHI team for 8 years, first at the University of Michigan and then Rice University before following CEHI to Notre Dame. Brandi holds a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and American Studies as well as a Masters of Public Policy from the University of Northern Iowa.

Max Grossman

Max Grossman

Research Scientist

Max Grossman is a CEHI research scientist focused on designing and developing IT infrastructure and computational/analytical techniques for current and future CEHI projects. Max's publications focus on scalable approaches to problems in big data and big compute, particularly for novel large scale scientific, engineering, or statistical workloads. Max completed a PhD in Computer Science at Rice University in 2017.

Jocelyn Johnston

Jocelyn Johnston

GIS Analyst

Jocelyn Johnston serves as a GIS Analyst at CEHI. Her responsibilities include supporting training efforts and providing technical support for GIS projects. She is interested in leveraging spatial analysis to better understand the relationships between environmental and health, especially in cases of health inequity. Jocelyn received her Masters of Health Science as well as Bachelors of Science in Environmental Engineering from Johns Hopkins University.

Ruiyang Li

Ruiyang Li

GIS Analyst

Ruiyang Li is a GIS analyst at CEHI, a certified Geographic Information Systems Professional (GISP). He graduated as a Master student from School of Natural Resources & Environment, University of Michigan in 2014. He is interested in the application of spatial analysis in public health and automation of daily tasks at CEHI. He is excited to be a part of CEHI team; and wants to contribute in improving the health quality of various communities.

Aaron Lilienfeld-Asbun

Aaron Lilienfeld-Asbun

Research Analyst

Aaron Lilienfeld is a research analyst active in a wide range of CEHI projects. His goal is to support the CEHI research team and projects dedicated to finding the causal links between environmental factors and people’s health. He is mainly interested in working with data at both the individual and group level, with an emphasis on R programming. Aaron graduated from the University of Houston with a double major in Economics and Political Science and magna cum laude honors.

Risa Myers

Risa Myers

Data Scientist

Risa Myers servers as a data scientist at CEHI and a full-time assistant teaching professor at Rice University, where she teaches databases and data science. Her research interest is predicting outcomes from healthcare data. Risa received her Ph.D. in Computer Science from Rice University, her Masters of Science in Computer Science from Stanford University and her Bachelor's degree from MIT in Computer Science and Engineering.

Claire Osgood

Claire Osgood

Data Manager

Claire Osgood is CEHI's Data Manager. She graduated from Duke University with a double major in Computer Science and Economics. She is involved in the acquisition, processing, and maintenance of data used by CEHI, with an emphasis on SAS programming. She also manages access to CEHI's restricted data, and works closely with IT staff on infrastructure to ensure data security. Her goals are to use data and her programming skills to help affect positive change in our community

Joshua Tootoo

Joshua Tootoo

Director of Training and Geo Sci

Joshua Tootoo serves as CEHI's Director of Training and Geospatial Sciences. His work and responsibilities involve the coordination of CEHI's GIS capacity building efforts and the management of the group's geospatial projects. A certified Geographic Information Systems Professional (GISP), he completed his Masters in Environmental Planning from the University of Rhode Island and also holds dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Botany and Forest Ecology from North Carolina State University.

(Pierre) Dominique  Zephyr

(Pierre) Dominique Zephyr

Statistician

Dominique Zéphyr serves as a statistician at CEHI. His responsibilities include supporting the development and application of statistical methods to assess how environmental and social exposures affect health and developmental outcomes across time and space. He is involved in the design, planning, and implementation of research projects and data analysis. Before joining CEHI, from 20012 to 2020, he worked as a Senior Data Analyst in the Applied Statistics Lab (ASL), a unit of the Dr. Bing Zhang Department of Statistics at the University of Kentucky. He has been a core research team member of the National Longitudinal Survey of Public Health Systems (NALSYS) and the National Health Security Preparedness Index, projects funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). At the Applied Statistics Lab, he also provided statistical support to faculty and graduate students across campus. From 2006 to 2012, Dominique Zéphyr worked as a Chief Data Analyst and Research Coordinator for the Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP), a unit of the Political Science Department at Vanderbilt University that carries out public opinion surveys in 26 countries in the Americas, including the United States and Canada. He has received specialized training on survey sampling, analysis of complex sample survey data, multi-level modelling, structural equation modeling, and analysis of experimental and non-experimental data at the University of Michigan. He completed his graduate studies at Vanderbilt University, where he obtained two Master’s degrees, one in Economics, and the other in Latin American Studies.