School of Public Health Community Celebration

We celebrated our graduates and alumni with awards, student speakers, special guests and more.

Friday, May 24, 2024 | 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.

List Art Center Lawn | 64 College Street

Welcome to the School of Public Health’s 2024 Community Celebration, honoring our graduates and returning alumni. A catered reception followed the speaking program below. Share your stories with the hashtag #Brown2024!

SPH Community Celebration


Watch the video of our school's Commencement celebration.


Ashish K. Jha M.D., MPH

Dean, School of Public Health

Dean JhaAn accomplished and practicing physician, Dr. Jha is recognized globally as a trusted expert on major issues impacting public health, and a catalyst for new thinking and approaches. A long-time leader on pandemic preparedness and response, from directing groundbreaking research on Ebola to serving on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response, he has led national and international analysis of key issues and advised local and federal policy makers around the world.

President Joe Biden appointed Dr. Jha as White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator in March 2022, describing him as “one of the leading public health experts in America.” Dr. Jha led the work that increased the development of and access to treatments and newly formulated vaccines, dramatically improved testing and surveillance, facilitated major investments in indoor air quality measures, and put in place an infrastructure to respond to current and future disease outbreaks more effectively. He has received bipartisan praise for his pragmatic approach to public health that, in the words of President Biden, “translates…complex scientific challenges into concrete actions” that help improve millions of lives.

Before joining the Brown University School of Public Health, Dr. Jha was a professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School. He was the faculty director of the Harvard Global Health Institute from 2014 until 2020 and has held other various leadership roles at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

2024 Alumni Impact Award

The Alumni Impact Award recognizes one exceptional master’s or doctoral alumnus or alumna making a significant impact on their community and/or in their field.

Chima Ndumele MPH, Ph.D. ’13

Chima Ndumele

For his work redefining health care policy and delivery for America’s low-income populations, Chima Ndumele MPH, Ph.D.’13, associate professor of health policy at the Yale School of Public Health, is the recipient of the Brown University School of Public Health’s 2024 Alumni Impact Award. A distinguished alumnus of Brown’s doctoral program in health services research, Ndumele’s insights into health insurance and health care systems have positioned him as a leading figure in the field, influencing state and federal policy and working to streamline the administration of safety-net programs.

Ndumele’s research focuses on the organization and delivery of services under Medicaid, health insurer for over 90 million Americans, and the extended social safety net. Amid concerns that the federal expansion of Medicaid would increase demand for services without a parallel increase in the number of physicians, Ndumele was the first researcher to calculate that expansion was unlikely to compromise access or reroute care to emergency rooms.

His contributions include groundbreaking studies examining “ghost providers” in Medicaid networks (which claim to take Medicaid coverage but deliver little to no care to recipients); the relationship between social services availability and utilization and health outcomes; and inefficiencies and persistent disparities within the U.S. health care system. Recognized as an Emerging Scholar by the National Academies of Medicine in 2023, he has been cited over 2500 times in peer-reviewed literature.

Currently, Ndumele is leading a multi-state initiative aimed at designing a smarter, more integrated safety-net for low-income households, while also embedding a data science team from Yale within the Connecticut Department of Social Services to cultivate evidence-based policy improvements. 

Presentation of Student Awards

Jesse Yedinak Gray MPA

Assistant Dean of Education, School of Public Health


Dean Yedinak's research is focused on applied epidemiology, using a community-engaged approach to research and policy impact by working collaboratively with community-based and state agency partners. As part of that process, she studies implementation science, health & data literacy, and plain language communication. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology and a member of the People, Place and Health Collective (PPHC) at the School of Public Health. Working with the PPHC team, Dean Yedinak studies issues ranging from the nation’s overdose crisis to the effects of overlapping infectious disease and substance use epidemics in Rhode Island and beyond.

We thank Rosenny Taveras for her translation assistance during a portion of this evening’s program.

Student Speakers

Student speakers, selected by their peers, shared their reflections on their experiences at Brown. Learn more about these outstanding graduates:

Meehir N. Dixit ’24 AB

Concentration in Public Health


Meehir Dixit is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in public health. He aspires to be a physician and a health services researcher with a focus on improving access to health care for underserved populations and identifying solutions for high value care delivery. During his time at Brown, Dixit conducted research on Medicare Advantage contracts and Puerto Rican home health care, was editor-in-chief of the Brown Undergraduate Journal of Public Health, co-led the Connect for Health program, participated in the Health Data Science Fellowship and was named a Top Undergraduate Poster winner at Brown’s 2024 Public Health Research Day.

After graduation, Meehir will remain at Brown's School of Public Health as a research assistant in the Center for Advancing Health Policy through Research and the Center for Gerontology and Healthcare Research, while applying to medical school.

Corban Jackson MPH ’24

Health Equity Scholar | Health Services Concentration


Corban Jackson is a Health Equity Scholar, earning her MPH in the Health Services Concentration. Her research focuses on the association between access to mental health services for children before and during the COVID-19 pandemic by household income and level of difficulty accessing care.

During her time at Brown she has participated in research involving stigma and bias in sickle cell disease, program evaluations for state plans aiming to reduce HIV transmission rates, and race correction and kidney failure.

After Brown, Jackson hopes to return to her home state and continue her public health research and advocacy toward increasing access to high quality, equitable healthcare for vulnerable and underrepresented communities.

William Washington Lodge II Ph.D. ’24

Behavioral and Social Health Sciences


William W. Lodge II M.Sc., Ph.D. ’24 is graduating with a doctoral degree in behavioral and social health sciences. His research is focused on advancing HIV primary and secondary prevention efforts in low-resource settings, with a particular emphasis on gender and sexual minority health. His dissertation, funded by NIH, was grounded in syndemic theory and intersectionality. Using a multimethod approach, his research aimed to explore the complex interplay of individual, interpersonal, and structural barriers and supportive factors that affect HIV medication adherence among transgender women living with HIV in Mumbai and New Delhi, India.

He has been appointed as an assistant professor of health equity and public policy at the Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy at Cornell University.

Congratulatory Remarks

Ronald E. Aubert Ph.D., MSPH

Senior Associate Dean of Education, School of Public Health

Ronald Aubert

Dean Aubert, an epidemiologist, is a dedicated teacher and accomplished administrator. He directs Brown's Presidential Scholars Program which focuses on attracting and mentoring high-performing undergraduate students from historically underrepresented groups interested in STEM, social sciences, and the humanities to provide them the support to realize their full academic potential. During his tenure as interim associate dean of diversity and inclusion at the School of Public Health, Dean Aubert focused on increasing the diversity of students enrolled in master’s and doctoral programs and helped to advance several strategic priorities, including the School’s partnerships with HBCUs.

Join Us Tonight!

Campus Dance is on the College Green and Ruth Simmons Quadrangle, starting at 9 PM.

campus dance

Visit the School of Public Health table MB-420 tonight at Campus Dance and enjoy the night dancing under paper lanterns lighting the skies.

This event will be photographed and video recorded for archival, educational, and related promotional purposes.