Health beyond the headlines


The2x2project aims to inform the health conversation through timely and effective communication of emerging public health science. Epidemiology, the science of public health, cannot and should not be limited to the scientists and practitioners with access to the scientific literature. Our goal through the2x2project is to engage a broader audience—including thought leaders and policy makers from outside the discipline—to help translate scientific findings into practice.

The2x2project is sponsored by the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.



Dana March, Editor-in-Chief, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health. Her research addresses the ways in which our social lives and where we live shape population health and how we respond to interventions. She has particular interests in urbanization and the social fault lines of health, like race and class, with projects in the United States, the United Kingdom, and China. She also directs the Communicating Health and Epidemiology Fellowship of the2x2project, which trains future public health science communicators. March received her Ph.D. in epidemiology with distinction from Columbia University in 2010. Her academic publications have addressed approaches to conceptualizing the social environment for scientific research, the intersection of physical and mental health, priorities for global mental health research, and the intellectual history of epidemiology. March has written for Newsweek and USA Today, and has been an expert commentator for Al Jazeera America. Her work has been featured in Scientific American. She is a 2014-15 Op-Ed Project Public Voices Fellow at Columbia University Medical Center. Follow her on Twitter @Dana_March. Email her at


Abdul El-Sayed is a social epidemiologist and physician-in-training. His over three-dozen academic publications explore how our social realities make us sick. Abdul graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science (Highest Distinction) in Biology and Political Science in 2007. He was named a Rhodes Scholar in 2009, completing a D.Phil. in Public Health at Oxford University in 2011. Currently, he is completing his M.D. at Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons while pursuing post-doctoral research at the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia’s Mailman School. Abdul is also Fellow at Dēmos, a non-partisan public policy center in New York. His commentary, which has been featured in The Guardian, CNN, Al JazeeraHealth Affairs BlogHuffington Post, and the Spotlight on Poverty, engages healthy policy questions in the US and globally, with a particular focus on social inequalities and disease prevention in light of health trends. Follow him on Twitter @elabdul. Email him at


Karestan Koenen, Editor Emerita, is the founding Editor-in-Chief of the 2×2 project, overseeing its successful launch in 2012.  Karestan is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health and Leader of the Psychiatric-Neurological Epidemiology Cluster where she does research and teaches about psychological trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder. She is a licensed clinical psychologist and epidemiologist who uses a developmental approach to examine the interplay of genetic and environmental factors in the etiology of stress-related mental disorders, such as posttraumatic stress disorder and depression. For this work, she was awarded the Chaim Danieli Young Professional Award from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and the Robins-Guze Young Investigator Award from the American Psychopathological Association. She has published over 150 scientific papers and co-authored several books including Treating Survivors of Childhood Abuse: Psychotherapy for the Interrupted Life with Marylene Cloitre and Lisa Cohen. She has received over 10 million dollars in research funding from the National Institute of Mental Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Kaiser Family Foundation. Karestan is currently President Elect of the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies. She is also an experienced clinician who specializes in working with women with posttraumatic stress disorder. She received her B.A. from Wellesley College, her M.A. from Columbia University, and her Ph.D. from Boston University. Follow her @KarestanKoenen. Email her at


Jordan Lite is a writer and journalist specializing in health. Jordan has served as an editor for the 2×2 project and currently trains our Fellows. She spent five years covering medicine for the New York Daily News, and prior to that was a general assignment reporter for the Associated Press, first in Des Moines and then San Francisco. Jordan also was the lead writer for Scientific American’s first news blog, 60-Second Science. Her freelance work has been published in Newsweek, The Nation, Prevention, SELF, Scientific American MIND, Psychology Today, Miller-McCune (now Pacific Standard), Wired News, GOOD and iVillage, among other publications. Jordan holds an A.B. with honors in biomedical ethics from Brown University, and received her M.P.H. in Sociomedical Sciences in 2013 from the Mailman School of Public Health. Follow her on Twitter @jordanlite. Email her at


Elaine Meyer is a journalist and communications specialist. She graduated in 2009 with an M.S. from the Columbia School of Journalism and spent two years covering legal and education news for the websites Law360 and News21 and has been published on the Pacific Standard and Forbes. Elaine is currently the associate director of communications for Columbia’s Department of Epidemiology, where she works to translate population health science to the  public. She contributes regularly to the 2×2 project, trains Fellows, and edits some contributor content. She also works as a writer and editor of the department’s print publication 2×2, manages the department’s social media, and coordinates marketing and outreach for special programs and degrees. Elaine earned a B.A. with honors in history from Northwestern University in 2006. During college, she studied health policy and public health abroad at France’s Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris. After college she worked at the Federal Trade Commission as a paralegal in the bureau of consumer protection. Follow her on Twitter @emeyer5 and follow the Department of Epidemiology @cuepidemiology. Email her at


Josh Brooks, a member of Cohort 1, is the Senior Fellow at the 2×2 project, also known as Top CHEF.  He received his M.P.H. in Global Health and Epidemiology in 2012 from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. He holds a BA in Environmental Population and Organismic Biology from the University of Colorado-Boulder and has since worked as a research associate at the Institute of Behavioral Genetics, a biotechnician at Genentech, writer at ESPN, associate editor at TransWorld Skateboarding Magazine and a managing editor at Global Public Health Journal. His most recent public health work has been with sidHARTe in rural Ghana, where he helped complete a reliability study to assess emergency wards, mapped clinics and hospitals for a pre-hospital health system and helped plan an outpatient mortality study of insured and uninsured patients. His research interests include technology and health, social inequalities and disease, obesity, international emergency care assessment in resource-poor settings, disaster medicine, referral and public health applications of emergency medical care and health systems improvement. Follow him on Twitter @JoCushBro. Email him at



Cohort 3, 2014-2015

AmberHsiaoAmber Hsiao received her M.P.H. in health policy in 2011 from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, and currently works as a research analyst and project manager in the Department of Health Policy & Management. Her master’s thesis examined current issues in Medicaid and its intersections with the ACA, SCHIP, and welfare reform. Amber’s primary research interest is in evaluating the impact and cost-effectiveness of social programs on the health of low-income communities to better inform and improve policymaking. She is also interested in nutrition, chronic disease, and health care utilization and access. She holds B.A.s in Public Health and Mass Communications from the University of California, Berkeley. Email her at



Florence Lee is a second year Masters student in Epidemiology and Public Health Informatics at the Mailman School of Public Health. Her primary area of interest is psychiatric epidemiology, and she has previously studied the impact of diagnostic criteria alterations on children and adolescents at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Outside of academia, Florence is enthusiastic about using words, data, and graphic design to improve health information dissemination. She has recently worked for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Clinton Health Matters Initiative and is currently a freelance graphic designer for nonprofit organizations. Florence holds a B.A. in Public Health with an emphasis in Biostatistics from the University of California, Berkeley. Follow her on Twitter @flrnclee. Email her at

ShathaElNakibShatha El Nakib is a first year MPH student in the Epidemiology department at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. Shatha received her bachelor’s degree in Biology and Chemistry from the American University in Cairo where she also pursued her graduate diploma in Public Policy as a fellow in the School of Global Affairs. Before coming to Mailman, she worked in Lausanne, Switzerland in the Global Health Institute at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. She also worked for the International Organization for Migration in Cairo where she assisted victims of trafficking and vulnerable Sudanese, Eritrean, and Ethiopian migrants transiting Egypt. Shatha’s research interests are in the field of Global Health with particular interest in surveillance systems in complex emergencies and humanitarian contexts.


Cohort 2, 2013-2014

Kathleen Bachynski is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health.  She is studying the history and ethics of public health, with a focus on injury prevention.  She is also researching when and how policymakers use research evidence to formulate policies related to HPV vaccination and preventing childhood obesity. Kathleen holds an M.P.H. in epidemiology with an interdepartmental concentration in genetics from the University of Michigan. Her master’s thesis examined the epidemiology of migraine headaches among college students, comparing athletes with non-athletes. Her previous work experience includes researching DNA testing for colorectal cancer at the Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System, working for the French Ministry of Education as an English teaching assistant, and serving as an epidemiology fellow at the U.S. Army Public Health Command’s Injury Prevention Program.  Her academic publications have addressed suicides in the U.S. military, tobacco control policies, motor vehicle collisions, and sports-related injuries. Email her at

June Kim is a second year doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, with a primary interest in substance abuse epidemiology. While working towards his master’s degree at Johns Hopkins (and moonlighting as a hack cab driver), June was involved in a neighborhood study where he collected data on dilapidated homes, drug paraphernalia, and the “rolling weaves” of Baltimore. His current research interests include the temporal role of alcohol craving in substance use disorder nosology as well as the function of policy and price in marijuana use. He is also deeply interested in utilizing social media to both crowdsource data as well as to disseminate valuable public health information. Follow him on Twitter @June_theMonth. Email him at


Patches Magarro is a communication professional with experience in the corporate and political sectors. She has been working closely with Newark Mayor and U.S. Senate candidate Cory Booker for 15 years. She has served as his press secretary, special advisor for the Newark Peace and Education Summit over which His Holiness the Dalai Lama presided, and consultant for the Let’s Move! Newark campaign for which she received an invitation to the White House to serve as a Twitter correspondent. She holds a B.A. and a Masters in Communication and Information Studies from Rutgers University with a concentration in international and intercultural  communication. Her Masters thesis compared cultural communication styles among the French, German, and Japanese. Follow her on Twitter @patchesmagarro.


Chris Tait is a second year M.P.H. student in Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. He received a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology, Health & Society from Cornell University in 2011 while pursuing minors in French Studies and Exercise Science. Chris has worked as an English teacher in Lyon, France where he began his journey into the world of public health. He developed an anti-smoking/smoking cessation program for French middle school students while advocating for improved physical activity in schools within the French Ministry of Education. His research interests are in chronic disease epidemiology with a strong focus in analytical approaches to public health. Chris is currently conducting research on the prevalence of multiple chronic disease risk factors in specific populations across low-middle income countries. He is also working with a research team in Mauritius in designing a randomized controlled trial with interventions combating the high prevalence of diabetes in this developing nation. Follow him on Twitter @CeeTait. Email him at


Cohort 1, 2012-2013

Larkin Callaghan received her doctoral and master’s degrees in Health & Behavior Studies from Columbia, with a program focus in public health education and specialization in women’s and adolescent health. Her dissertation explored the associations between high-risk sexual behaviors, disordered eating, violence and victimization, substance abuse, and depression and suicidal behavior among adolescent girls. She has worked as an analyst at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, as an independent consultant for global health groups, in research roles on various studies including the uptake of the HPV vaccine, and as a United Nations Correspondent covering global health, social and gender issues in developing countries. Her writing has appeared on Sociological Images, Jezebel, and About-Face, she has been featured as an adolescent health commentator on television and radio. Larkin completed her B.A. in Gender Studies at the University of Southern California. Her research interests include social and behavioral epidemiology, reproductive health, global health, and gender disparities in disease and access to care. She currently manages the education and training programs at the Center for Innovation in Global Health at the Stanford University School of Medicine, overseeing multiple fellowships, rotation sites, residency programs and international research partnerships in 14 countries throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America. Follow her on Twitter @LarkinCallaghan. Email her at


Arti Virkud completed her M.P.H. in Epidemiology at Columbia in 2013.  Arti graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience and minor in Public Policy.  She has worked at several neuroscience research labs and currently has two publications exploring advances in understanding neurological disorders.  Follow her on Twitter @Virkud.  Email her at


Lauren Weisenfluh completed her M.P.H. in Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health in 2013. She is interested in emerging infectious disease, how climate change is affecting public health, and the use of social media to predict pandemics. A proud graduate of the University of California, Davis, Lauren has studied ecological sciences and evolutionary biology at some fascinating locations, including the Bodega Marine Laboratory (Northern California) and Monteverde Institute (Costa Rica). In pursuit of conservation incentives, she discovered public health—the ultimate incentive to take care of our planet. Lauren has written for the Schoodic Education and Research Center (SERC) Institute in Acadia National Park, Maine, dabbles in medical writing, and is a contributor to a children’s book. Follow her on Twitter @LaurenWeisenflu. Email her at


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