SPHHP students, alumni among first WNY COVID-19 Collaborative public health fellows

Published October 21, 2022

Environmental Portrait of Eugene Morse,Professor, Chair and Associate Dean for Clinical Education and Research, Department of Pharmacy Practice Photographer: Douglas Levere.
“Working together, they could reduce the health inequities and public health challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic intensified. ”
Gene D. Morse, SUNY Distinguished Professor and co-director
Western New York COVID-19 Collaborative

The Western New York (WNY) COVID-19 Collaborative, which includes UB and more than a dozen regional organizations, has expanded its team with the addition of more than 60 fellows through the New York State Public Health Corps Fellowship Program.  Among them are numerous School of Public Health and Health Professions (SPHHP) students and alumni. All will complete a full-time training program under the direction of academic and civic leaders, all funded by New York State.

The SPHHP students and alumni are:

  • Parveen Attai, MPH ‘22
  • Brian Benson, MPH '22
  • Joshua Bernstein, BS ’22 (public health)
  • Mykalah Brumfield, MPH ‘22
  • Adam Hawco, MPH student
  • Sadat Khan, MPH ‘22
  • Jenna Matson, MPH ‘22
  • Zhuoxing Liao, MPH student
  • Syed Rahman, MPH student
  • Stephanie Saia, BS ’22 (public health)
  • Sadia Rifah, MPH student
  • Kevin Wang, MPH student

UB faculty mentors include Sarahmona Przybyla, assistant dean and director of undergraduate public health programs, and Lina Mu, associate professor and director of the Office of Global Health Initiatives, both in SPHHP.

All fellows will work to advance the Regional Equitable Health Infrastructure Network of Western New York, an initiative formed through the collaborative that aims to create new models to address inadequate health care access. Fellows will also participate in mentorships and biweekly conferences facilitated by regional experts. Benson's work will focus on vaccine hesitancy; Rahman, on project data management; and Wang, on comparative air quality.

The WNY COVID-19 Collaborative is an interdisciplinary group of community organizations, health care providers, academic centers and businesses that partner on vaccine promotion, infection-prevention strategies, and COVID-19 testing and treatment in Erie and Niagara counties. Formed in April 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the collaborative serves as a bridge to community organizations and underserved communities within Western New York.

“This workforce development program will prepare a new cohort of professionals for public health research, program development and related areas,” says Erie County Commissioner of Health Gale Burstein.

“Working together, they could reduce the health inequities and public health challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic intensified,” adds Gene D. Morse, WNY COVID-19 Research Collaborative co-director, SUNY Distinguished Professor and director of the Center for Integrated Global Biomedical Sciences, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Members of the WNY COVID-19 Research Collaborative include Buffalo Medical Group, Catholic Health, Circuit Clinical, Frontier Science, Great Lakes Health System, Jericho Road Community Health Center, Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, UB, UBMD, Urban Family Practice, WNY Medical and You First Services. Partnering organizations include the African American Health Equity Task Force, Buffalo Center for Health Equity, COVID-19 Community Response Project and WNY STEM.