Community Celebration

2023 School of Public Health Community Celebration

The School of Public Health’s 2023 Community Celebration was held on Friday, May 26, 2023, under a tent on the List Art Center lawn. Learn more about our students speakers and award winners below.

May 26, 2023


SPH Community Celebration

Faculty and Staff Speakers

Ronald E. Aubert Ph.D., MSPH

Interim Dean, School of Public Health

Ronald AubertDean 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.

With experience working in the academy, government sector, and health care organizations, Dean Aubert has a deep and unique background in public health. In addition to teaching at Brown, he has held academic appointments at the University of North Carolina, Rutgers University and Emory University. Early in his career, Dean Aubert worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, initially as an epidemic intelligence service officer and later as the chief of epidemiology in the Division of Diabetes Translation. While on assignment at the CDC, he was a commander in the U.S. Public Health Service. He later moved into a series of leadership roles focused on issues related to financing and delivery at health care organizations, including Bayer Healthcare, Medco Health Solutions, Aetna and Research & Evaluation Analytics.

Dean Aubert earned MSPH and Ph.D. degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and completed the Epidemic Intelligence Service fellowship at the CDC.

Jesse Yedinak Gray MPA

Assistant Dean of Education


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.

Student Speakers

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

Nelson Lin Sc.B. ’23

Asian American Health

Nelson Lin

The son of immigrants from China, Nelson is passionate about advocacy and community-engaged research that addresses health disparities faced by urban underserved populations, with a focus on Asian American health. During his time at Brown, Nelson co-authored policy reports on anti-Asian hate incidents alongside Stop AAPI Hate, co-led the Brown/RISD Asian/American Political Alliance and the Connect for Health program, and conducted research on Asian American health, substance use, and HIV. After graduation, Nelson will continue his work in Asian American health as a research coordinator at the NYU Center for the Study of Asian American Health, minimizing diabetes disparities faced by low-income Chinese immigrant populations in New York City.

Khiara Lee MPH ’23

Maternal and child health

Khiara Lee

Khiara Lee is graduating from Brown’s MPH program with a concentration in maternal and child health. She is a member of the inaugural cohort of Health Equity Scholars. During her tenure at Brown, she participated in research with Dr. Risica, and worked as a teaching assistant for the Department of Biostatistics. Ms. Lee presented her thesis research on national breastfeeding disparities at Brown’s public health research day, where she won the 2023 Centering Community & Cultures Award. After graduation, Khiara will continue her education at the University of Maryland, pursuing a Ph.D. in maternal and child health.

Kathryn Thompson Ph.D. ’23

Health services research


Kathryn Thompson is graduating with a doctoral degree in health services research from the Department of Health Services, Policy and Practice at the School of Public Health. Her dissertation focuses on policy initiatives to achieve health equity for Black mothers on Medicaid and is titled “What’s the Point of a Safety Net if it Doesn’t Catch Anyone? How Black Pregnant Women are Slipping Through the Cracks.” During her time at Brown, Kathryn served as the President of the Brown University Graduate Student Council, was an executive board member of the Nabrit Black Graduate Students Association, a Hassenfeld Institute Summer Scholar, and a DIAP Community and Nora Kahn Piore Award recipient. This fall, Kathryn will join the Boston University School of Public Health as an assistant professor.

2023 Alumni Impact Award

This competitive award recognizes one exceptional master’s or doctoral alumnus or alumna making a significant impact on their community and/or in their field.

Jeffrey Peipert ’82, Ph.D.’07

Clarence E. Ehrlich Professor and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Indiana University School of Medicine


Dr. Jeffrey Peipert, Clarence E. Ehrlich Professor and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Indiana University School of Medicine was selected for the 2023 Alumni Impact Award in honor of his exceptional work advancing reproductive health care. Dr. Peipert’s extensive research, including his work as a principal investigator on the Contraceptive CHOICE Project, has helped to promote innovative approaches to contraception and to reducing unintended pregnancies, infant and maternal mortality rates, and sexually transmitted diseases.  

Dr. Peipert’s contributions to women's health have been published in over 270 peer-reviewed publications. In addition to serving on the United States Preventive Services Task Force and the CDC's Expert Panel on the Treatment of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Dr. Peipert has mentored and advised future leaders in women's health, including Dr. Lori Boardman and Dr. Maureen Phipps, prominent figures in the field. Dr. Peipert's dedication and leadership have revolutionized reproductive health, making a significant impact on the lives of women globally.

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