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Sonia Sosa

Sonia Sosa currently develops effective and affordable medical technologies for low-resource settings as a Global Health Fellow at Rice 360, where she leads the development of a low-cost Incubator and temperature monitor. She graduated in 2017 with a B.S in Engineering with a Biomedical Concentration from LeTourneau University. Sonia developed a passion for global health after traveling to Kenya for a research project involving user feedback for wheelchairs designed for underserved populations with mobility impairments. Following graduation, she spent 2 months in Rwanda with Engineering World Health receiving training in biomedical equipment repair and volunteering at Kibuye District Hospital. Sonia’s career goal is to improve quality healthcare services around the globe through technology, and hospital staff training on the use and maintenance of equipment.

Veronica Leautaud, PhD

Veronica Leautaud joined as Director of Education at Rice 360° in 2013. Prior to that, she worked as a Research Scientist at Rice University’s Department of Bioengineering, focusing on the development and clinical translation of imaging technologies and molecular diagnostics, with a special emphasis in making these technologies suitable for low resource settings. Dr. Leautaud’s previous training and teaching experience are in the areas of viral replication and cancer cell biology. She holds a B.S. in Human Nutrition from Universidad Iberoamericana, in Mexico City, and a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences in Public Health from Harvard University.

Christine Markham, PhD

Christine Markham, PhD, is an associate professor and associate department chair for the Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health, Houston, Texas, and Associate Director for the Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research. She has 25 years’ experience in child and adolescent health promotion. She has served as PI and Co-PI for multiple NIH-, CDC- and other federally-funded intervention studies across various health domains, including adolescent sexual health, childhood obesity prevention, and chronic disease management. These studies have been conducted in multiple settings (e.g., schools, clinics, communities, and homes) with diverse populations, including Hispanic, African-American, American Indian and Alaska Native, and HIV-positive youth. Much of her research focuses on the use of technology to increase the reach and implementation of evidence-based interventions (EBIs). Examples include It’s Your Game…Keep It Real, a multilevel, multimedia sexual health education curriculum for middle school students. Evaluated in two randomized controlled trials (Markham, Co-PI, PI), It’s Your Game is recognized by USDHHS Office of Adolescent Health as a teen pregnancy prevention EBI. Through dissemination efforts, It’s Your Game has been adopted by school districts across the U.S., reaching over 33,000 middle school students per year. She has extensive experience in Intervention Mapping (IM), a systematic, theory-, evidence-, and community-based framework for developing and adapting health promotion programs and implementation interventions. She is co-author of the IM textbook, Planning Health Promotion Programs: An Intervention Mapping Approach, 4th edition, and teaches graduate-level courses and workshops in IM nationally and internationally. Dr. Markham received her Masters of Arts degree in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania and her PhD in Behavioral Sciences from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health.

Aastha Sharma, MS

Aastha Sharma is a global public health professional focussing on health systems analysis, program design & implementation, urban primary healthcare, and monitoring & evaluation. Aastha holds an MS (Global Health & Population) from Harvard School of Public Health and MSW from Delhi University. Aastha has focused on strengthening health delivery mechanisms in the US, India, Nigeria, and Brazil. Prior to Harvard, she focused on research and advocacy with NGOs and development agencies in India.  Over the last five years, she has worked on policy formulation, implementation and monitoring of the National Urban Health Mission (NUHM), the first national scale urban primary healthcare services program in India, leading the implementation team at National Health Systems Resource Center, a technical advisory body to the Ministry of Health (India). Previously, she worked on a joint Harvard-NATO project, ‘A Comprehensive Response to Health System Strengthening’; and assessed the progress of USAID funded Targeted States High Impact Project (TSHIP) in Nigeria. She has also done short term projects and consultancies for ILO and UNICEF.

Kumar Alagappan, MD

Dr. Kumar Alagappan is Professor and Chair of Emergency Medicine (EM) at MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC), at the University of Texas. MDACC sees 26,000 ED patients and 95% of these patients have cancer-related visits. Dr. Alagappan was recently recruited from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Dr. Alagappan graduated from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (AECOM) and completed his Emergency Medicine Residency at Northwestern University, Chicago. He has been practicing Emergency Medicine for over 30 years. He was in New York City at LIJ and started as an Assistant Professor at the AECOM, and was a full professor when he left in 2013. He started the Combined EM/IM Residency and served as the Director for over 15 years. He also founded the International EM Fellowship at LIJ, He has co-chaired over 20 International meetings and has been involved with the development of Emergency Medicine in several countries, most notably in India. Dr. Alagappan was one of the Co-founders of AAEMI and also the Global Academy of Emergency Medicine (GAEM). Both organizations have been involved with the development and promotion of Emergency Medicine in India with their along with SEMI. Dr. Alagappan has several areas of research interest, but he is probably best known for his work with tetanus.

Benita Mahanta, MPP

Benita Mahanta currently serves as a planner with the Harris County Community Services Department and supports disaster recovery, affordable housing, data analysis, ArcGIS mapping, and planning and evaluation initiatives targeted to low-income communities in unincorporated Harris County. Prior to this, Benita served as a William J. Clinton Fellow with the American India Foundation (AIF), where she supported corporate environmental training efforts with WASSAN, a watershed development NGO in Secunderabad, India; as well as business development and financing activities with ONergy Solar, a solar energy social enterprise in Kolkata, India working to provide solar energy access to rural communities in East India. Prior to the AIF fellowship, Benita served as a Program Analyst supporting performance management initiatives with the Office of Planning, Analysis, and Accountability at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Washington, DC. During this time, she also served on a rotation as an EPA Environmental Careers Program Special Assistant with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Pacific Reefs National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Honolulu, HI. Prior to her work in the social sector, Benita worked to support business, technology, and operations initiatives as an Operations Analyst with WhiteFence in Houston, TX (now Allconnect in Fort Mill, SC) and a Benefits Analyst with Hewitt Associates LLC (now Aon Hewitt) in The Woodlands, TX. Benita received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management Information Systems from The University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Public Policy from The University of Chicago.