People

Lindsay Kobayashi, PhD

Principal Investigator

My research focuses on the social epidemiology of cognitive aging from a global perspective. I primarily use data from internationally harmonized longitudinal studies of aging, including older populations of England, Canada, the United States, and South Africa. My current research is on the life course social and economic determinants of cognitive aging in rural South Africa using longitudinal and randomized exposure measures. I am also investigating the population health implications of continually improving cancer survival rates at older ages in the United States. The goal of my research program is to inform policy solutions to improve cognitive health and health equity among low-income older populations.

Outside of work, I enjoy long-distance running, traveling, playing with my dog Zola, and being outside as much as I can!

Ashly Westrick, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

I earned a B.S. in microbiology from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, an MPH in epidemiology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and a Ph.D. in epidemiology from the University of Miami.

My current research interests include epidemiological methods, health inequalities in cancer, social determinants of health, and the influence of the neighborhood environment on health outcomes.  

In my downtime, I like to travel, read, and get outside to enjoy nature and be active.

Megan Mullins, PhD, MPH

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

I completed my MPH and PhD at the University of Michigan School of Public Health in the Department of Epidemiology. My dissertation work focused on racial disparities in ovarian cancer care. I am interested in understanding barriers to the receipt of quality cancer care including patient characteristics, structural barriers and the comparative effectiveness of treatment modalities.

My postdoctoral work will focus on generating evidence to identify gaps in the quality of cancer care among cognitively impaired older adults and understanding functional aging trajectories among cancer patients. More broadly, I am passionate about care for gynecologic cancers with a focus on disparities among racial and sexual/gender minorities. 

In my spare time, I enjoy playing tennis and growing succulents.

Brendan O’Shea, MPH

Research Associate

I am a recent MPH graduate in Epidemiology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. I began working with Dr. Kobayashi during my Masters program where she served as my Capstone project advisor looking at the impact of adverse childhood experiences on the rate of memory decline in mid-to-later life. I joined the Kobayashi Research Group following graduation and took part in launching the COVID-19 Coping Study. I currently serve as the main data analyst for the COVID-19 Coping Study.

My research interests include impacts of early-life environment on adult behaviors, and fundamental causes of health inequities.

In my free time, I enjoy photography, acrylic painting, and spending time outside.

Haeyoon Chang, MPH

Second Year PhD Student

My name is Haeyoon Chang, and I’m a second-year PhD student in Epidemiology at University of Michigan. I received my MPH in Chronic Disease Epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health, and my Bachelor’s degree in Biology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

I served in the Peace Corps Tonga 2013-2015 where I collaborated with a local medical provider on developing accessible skill-building materials on nutrition to combat the local obesity issues. Additionally, I’ve developed an appreciation for global health research from experiences such as investigating challenges to cardiometabolic management in rural Uganda and examining cardiometabolic disparities among American Indian elders using mixed-methods at Partnerships for Native Health located in Seattle, WA.

Outside of work, I enjoy exploring nature, critiquing ice cream, crafting, and cooking!

Xuexin Yu, MSc

First Year PhD Student

I earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology and a master’s degree in Hospital Management and Health Policy, both from Sichuan University, China. I served as a Research Associate at Biomedical Big Data Center, West China Hospital, Sichuan University for two years before joining Dr. Kobayashi’s research group in the fall of 2021.

I am interested in social epidemiologic patterns of brain health across low-, middle-, and high-income countries. During my doctoral studies, I plan to investigate the cumulative effects of socioeconomic trajectories on cognitive aging among older adults, primarily using international harmonized survey data from South Africa, China, and United States.

I enjoy traveling outside of work.

Tsai-Chin (TC) Cho, MSc

First Year PhD Student

I am a first-year PhD student in Epidemiology at University of Michigan. My research interests revolve around social and contextual determinants of within- and between-country health disparities in older adults; and impacts of neighborhood characteristics on health outcomes and healthcare utilization. I am currently participating in the project focusing on how social and economic factors influence cognitive functions using cross-national comparative longitudinal studies.

Outside of work, I like to read, enjoy tasty coffee with pleasant aftertaste, and go for a walk.

Carly Joseph, MPH

Third Year Medical Student

Carly is a 3rd year medical student at Central Michigan University who completed her MPH in Epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health in 2021. For her MPH capstone project, she investigated the relationship between social isolation and mental health in older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. She is now continuing work with the research group centered around isolation and mental health throughout the aging trajectory. Her research and clinical interests include social determinants of health in geriatrics, oncology, and rural medicine.

Outside of work and studying, she enjoys mountain biking, skiing, and spending lots of quality time with her cat Sandra.

Sarah Gao, BA

Second Year Master’s Student

I am currently pursuing my MPH in Epidemiology at the University of Michigan after receiving a Bachelor’s degree in History and the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality from Rice University. I am working with the KRG for my MPH capstone project, which uses HAALSI data to explore the relationship between distance to adult children and cognitive health.

I am interested in social and spatial epidemiology, as well as the impact of structural inequalities on health across the lifecourse.

In my free time, I enjoy rock climbing, yoga, and walking my dog, Sasha!

Maya Sabbagh, BS

Second Year Master’s Student

I am currently a 2nd year Epidemiology MPH student at the University of Michigan. I graduated with my B.S. in Public Health from the University of South Carolina in 2018 and worked in clinical research before starting my Masters.

My research interests include social epidemiology (I will be completing my certificate in this!) as well as cognitive decline and the aging population. I am working with Dr. Kobayashi for my Integrated Learning Experience where I am using the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) dataset to examine the relationship and timing of reported depressive symptoms after experiencing a maternal death as an older adult.

Outside of school, I love spending time with my friends and family, doing yoga, and enjoying Ann Arbor!

Mansi Verma, BS

Second Year Master’s Student

I am currently a 2nd year Epidemiology student at the University of Michigan. I graduated with a B.S in Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience and an additional B.S in Psychology with minors in Bioethics and Cognitive Science at Michigan State University in 2019.

My research interests primarily focus around psychiatric epidemiology as well as the social determinants of health that impact neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders. I am working with Dr. Kobayashi for my MPH capstone project where I am using data from the HAALSI study to explore the relationship between depression and household expenditures within an older population.

In my free time, I enjoy cooking, traveling and exploring Ann Arbor as often as possible!

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