How do academics – at all stages of their careers – form effective partnerships? How can students and early career faculty engage in research in Global South communities? How can students contribute to building equity? Teams of mentors and mentees will reflect on these questions alongside their community partners. 

Throughout this series, participants will:

  • discover how co-produced knowledge can promote health equity for individuals;
  • understand the importance of training students to ethically and responsibly work with community partners;
  • learn how to develop reciprocal partnerships early on in academic careers;
  • discuss barriers to educating students on how to co-produce knowledge.

Through presentations and discussions, we will evaluate current research and teaching practices about co-produced knowledge, and identify best practices for educating and engaging students in co-produced scholarship and action. 

Virtual Seminar Series Schedule

Seminars will be held from 3-4:30 p.m., Eastern Time, one Thursday a month. 

Microcredential: Big Ideas to Promote Global Health Equity

Attend our seminars and earn a Digital Badge in the Co-Produced Knowledge for Global Health Equity.

A digital badge is a new type of credential that allows you to show specific skills that you have gained through learning experiences. A digital badge is an icon but it is not a static image. It is clickable and houses information such as the issuing institution, the date earned, the criteria required to earn the badge and the evidence that shows that you have met the required criteria. Digital badges are dynamic credentials that YOU own, so you can decide how you want to use them. Once you earn a badge you own it, so you may use it however you wish. Digital badges can be put on social media sites, such as LinkedIn, added as a link on your digital resume, embedded in your e-portfolio and more.

Anyone can complete this not-for-credit digital badge - whether you are a student at UB, a student at another institution, or an external professional. Full requirements and details are listed on our website.  We are accepting two participants for our Digital Badge program for the 2021-2022 academic year. 

September 23rd at 3:00 p.m.

Conducting Research in US-based African Immigrant and Refugee Communities: Ethical Implications and Cultural Considerations

Kafuli Agbemenu, Assistant Professor, School of Nursing

Gloria Aidoo-Frimpong, PhD Student, Department of Community Health and Health Behavior

Kafuli Agbemenu.

Kafuli Agbemenu is an alumna who earned her BS from UB School of Nursing.  She went on to earn an MPH with a focus on behavioral and community health science and global health, as well as her MS and PhD in Nursing from the University of Pittsburgh. Her research areas of interest include adolescent reproductive health and women's health in the African immigrant population.  She teaches NSG 410, Public Health Nursing for Population Health, and NGS 509, Ethics for Healthcare Professionals, in both the undergraduate and graduate programs.

Gloria Aidoo-Frimpong.

Gloria Aidoo-Frimpong is a 4th-year Ph.D. Candidate and a Schomburg Fellow in the Community Health and Health Behavior Program at the University at Buffalo. She holds a master's degree in international studies and a Master's of Public Health from Ohio University, Athens. Miss Aidoo-Frimpong's research focuses on HIV/AIDS (pre-exposure prophylaxis), global health, and sexual and reproductive health, with a critical focus on African immigrants and refugees.

October 21st at 3:00 p.m.

Equity in Our Definitions: What Characterizes 'Neighborhood Disadvantage' in Different Contexts?

Kasia KordasAssociate Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health, UB

Seth Frndak, PhD Student, Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health, UB

Gabriel Barg, Titular Professor, Neuroscience and Learning Department, Catholic University of Uruguay

Kasia Kordas.

Kasia Kordas is fascinated by several questions in the field of environmental epidemiology. First, environmental exposures do not occur in isolation. Most often, humans are exposed to multiple chemicals so over time my research has evolved from studying lead to studying multiple metals. Now, I am interested in exposures even more broadly, increasingly incorporating measures of pesticide exposure or air pollution, to understand the effects of the totality of such exposures on children's health. Second, environmental exposures occur in a broader context, whether it be family, school or community. As children grow up in these social environments, I am interested in understanding how they intersect and interact with chemical exposures to affect child development. Third, environmental exposures interact with underlying biological vulnerabilities, such as genetic risks or nutritional deficiencies. Understanding these interactions, particularly with nutritional factors, and whether we can use them to prevent or improve the effects of environmental exposures on children's health has been an important driver behind my research.

I work predominantly in international settings, with my primary research site being located in Montevideo, Uruguay. Together with colleagues and excellent research team from the Catholic University of Uruguay and the University of the Republic of Uruguay, I have been developing a research program in pediatric environmental epidemiology since 2006. We are conducting a longitudinal study called Salud Ambiental Montevideo (SAM), to understand the cognitive and behavioral effects of low-level exposure to multiple chemicals in school children.

Seth Frndak.

Seth Frndak received his master’s degree in educational psychology and quantitative methods from the University at Buffalo in 2014. After publishing on food deserts and child academic achievement, Seth became increasingly interested in how neighborhoods impact child development. In 2019, Seth travelled to Montevideo, Uruguay to implement a qualitative, photovoice study in partnership with the Universidad Católica del Uruguay. “Mi Barrio” was a chance to expand the research already underway as part of Salud Ambiental Montevideo (SAM), led by Dr. Katarzyna Kordas. Seth’s dissertation will expand upon his preliminary work by examining: the role of neighborhoods to predict environmental exposures (such as lead), construct validity of neighborhood disadvantage measures and the potential for neighborhoods to modify the impact of environmental exposures on child behavior problems. 

Seth is also interested in applying novel quantitative techniques to answer epidemiologic questions. In 2019, he used latent profile analysis to create cognitive performance profiles of children exposed to low levels of lead. While a distinct cognitive profile did not emerge for lead-exposed children, lead was non-linearly related to general cognitive performance. He is currently working with epidemiologists and biostatisticians to create a framework that integrates machine learning with causal inference thinking to improve analysis of high-dimensional environmental data. In the future, Seth hopes harness machine learning to predict lead exposure in children both in the U.S. and abroad.

Outside of academic work, Seth loves exploring the hidden gems of western New York by hiking, kayaking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing.

Gabriel Barg.

Dr. Gabriel Barg is a researcher interested in the different dimensions of psychological development, including healthy and pathological trajectories. He began his career working at an NGO working with children of low socioeconomic status to understand the cognitive and learning difficulties related to this vulnerability. During his PhD studies, Dr. Barg received training in neuroscientific techniques, more specifically electroencephalographic event-related potentials, to study the interaction between emotion and cognition. At present, he is Titular Professor of the Neuroscience and Learning Department at the Catholic University of Uruguay and director of the Psychophysiology Laboratory.

For the past 10 years, he has served as co-director and supervising psychologist for the Salud Ambiental Montevideo (SAM) cohort. Participating in SAM projects allowed him to study neurocognitive development of children from different points of view, focusing on environmental factors. From a neuropsychological perspective, he has studied the relationship between toxic metal exposures and the development of executive functions. From a neuroscience perspective, he has measured electrical brain activity associated to inhibitory processes in children exposed to lead. Finally, he has worked with schools and community members disseminating information on environmental contamination and neurodevelopment. Working in such integral framework, collaborating with national and international colleagues, has enriched Dr. Barg’s vision of scientific production and its social function.

November 18th at 3:00 p.m.

Training the next generation of co-producers of knowledge: Experiences from the Transfer Project and a Zambian Ph.D. student

Tia Palermo, Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health 

Muloongo Simuzingili, Fellow, Center for Disease Control

Tia Palermo.

Tia Palermo joined the Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health as an associate professor in August 2019. 

Her research examines the impacts of social policy on population health. She is currently co-principal investigator of studies in Tanzania and Ethiopia examining the impacts of government social protection programs linked with other services and complementary interventions on health and well-being. She was co-principal investigator on a recently completed study in Ghana examining the impacts of a government initiative integrating a fee waiver for the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) with Ghana’s Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) 1000 cash transfer program on maternal and child health and well-being. On these studies, she works closely with UNICEF country offices and local research partners [including Frontieri (formerly BDS Center for Development Research in Ethiopia); EDI Group (in Tanzania); and the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) and Navrongo Health Research Centre (in Ghana)] to implement large impact evaluations through a range of experimental and quasi-experimental designs.

Before joining UB, Palermo was a social policy manager (Social Protection) with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) at the UNICEF Office of Research–Innocenti in Florence, Italy, where she led research on the impacts of social protection on child and adolescent well-being in sub-Saharan Africa and was actively engaged in facilitating evidence uptake in government decision-making. She was previously assistant professor at Stony Brook University in the Department of Department of Family, Population and Preventive Medicine and has also worked at international NGOs, including Ipas and Family Care International (now FCI Program of Management Sciences for Health), on issues related to sexual and reproductive health globally. Palermo is a member of the following Research Consortia: The Transfer ProjectSPARKS Network for Health and Social Protection, and The Cash Transfer and Intimate Partner Violence Research Collaborative.​


Muloongo Simuzingili holds a Ph.D. in Healthcare Policy and Research from the Virginia Commonwealth University and a Masters in Applied Economics from the University of Cape Town. Her research includes evaluating the health impacts and cost-effectiveness of cash transfer programs on children’s health in sub-Saharan Africa. She has conducted economic and climate assessments related to the response and impact of the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out programs in the East Africa region for the World Bank. She is currently working with the University of Wisconsin-Madison analyzing the expansion of public health insurance programs on women’s health. Her work has comprised varying methodological approaches including quasi-experimental methods, econometric modeling, and cost-effectiveness analyses using statistical and markov models, and data analysis using survey, panel and health insurance (Medicaid) claims data. She has previously worked as a Country Economist for the International Growth Center and as a Program Manager for the Civil Society for Poverty Reduction in Zambia.

December 2nd at 3:00 p.m.

Reflecting on the Wounded Warriors Colombia Project

Korydon Smith, Professor, Department of Architecture

Michael Lundquist, Executive Director, Polus Center for Social & Economic Development

Nicole Sarmiento, M.Arch Student, Department of Architecture


Kory Smith.

Korydon Smith, professor and chair of architecture at UB works at the boundaries of the field, where opportunities exist to challenge convention and make unexpected connections. Applying dual training in architecture and higher education leadership, he works across disciplines - from planning to anthropology - to build design solutions for those who have been traditionally marginalized or excluded from decisions about the design of their built environment.

Smith’s educational philosophy is highly collaborative, advising thesis projects on the design of refugee settlements and housing for homeless populations, and working intensively with students through exploratory learning and team-based problem-solving. He finds that the most exciting moments are with first year undergraduates, when “struggles transform into breakthroughs, successes, and confidence.”

He joined UB's architecture faculty in 2012 from the University of Arkansas, where he served 11 years as professor in its Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design. He has taught a wide range of undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral courses in architectural design, theory, and research methods, as well as study abroad in four countries. He is frequently consulted by architecture firms, municipalities, universities, and non-government organizations on the design of buildings, processes, and policies related to design for people with disabilities and other populations.

While Smith's research has taken him to locations around the globe, he draws upon his roots in rural and impoverished Chautauqua County in Western New York. Reflecting on his experience working on farms, in car repair shops and on demolition and road construction projects, Smith says: "Rural life builds an array of skills useful in architectural design – tenacity, resource-constrained innovation, technical know-how, and attunement to the sensory environment.”

An acclaimed scholar and respected academic leader, Smith was appointed chair of the department in 2018. He served as the school’s associate dean for academic affairs from 2014 to 2018.

Michael Lundquist.

Michael Lundquist has worked for more than thirty years in community-based human services and developed the Polus Center’s international programs beginning in 1997. He holds a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS) in Education, Bridgewater State University and a Masters of Education, Cambridge College with a concentration in administration and management.

Nicole Sarmiento.

Nicole Sarmiento is a graduate student in the Master in Architecture program at the University at Buffalo and a research assistant with the Wounded Warriors Colombia project. Nicole is a professional licensed in Ecuador and graduated from the University of Cuenca. During her time in the bachelor's and master's programs, Nicole has worked in various teaching and research related roles across the department.

February 24th at 3:00 p.m.

Adversity and Whole-School Well-being: A Critical Race Analysis of New York State Social-Emotional Learning Policy

Melinda Lemke, Assistant Professor, Educational Leadership and Policy

Anthony L. White II, Doctoral Student, Graduate School of Education and Social Studies Teacher, Buffalo Public Schools

Social emotional learning (SEL) programs in education aim to promote student well-being, cross-cultural understanding, and healthy relationships – goals underscored by the COVID-19 pandemic and global protests over racial violence and injustice. This study utilized a Critical Race Theory policy analysis framework to examine recent New York State SEL policy guidelines that seek to promote student, educator, and school whole health and well-being. The purpose of our analysis was to critically investigate guideline textual content and how if implemented in practice, the guidelines might operate to actualize or constrain SEL core aims. Our findings build on research suggesting that the embeddedness of white middle-class norms in SEL policy threatens to undermine the realization of such aims. Specifically, the failure to address structural factors driving student adversity maintains white privilege and supremacy within policy and practice, as well as decreases overall well-being for Black students and communities. Implications for research, policy, and practice also are offered.

For a published version of the study please see:  Lemke, M. & White, A. (In press, expected spring 2022). Student adversity and leader stress: A critical race contextualization and analysis of state social emotional learning policy. In B. W. Carpenter, J. Mahfouz, & K. Washington (Eds.), Supporting leaders for school improvement through self-care and well-being (pp. TBD). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.


Melinda Lemke.

Melinda Lemke is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy. An interdisciplinary, qualitative educational policy researcher, her body of work focuses on the politics of education, and how public education addresses societal violence to center the wellbeing of historically underserved populations – namely women and girls. The first area is concerned with how power and normative values affect educational policy development and implementation toward the end of understanding for whom do these processes work. The second investigates educational actor decision-making and youth schooling experience with the aim of making visible the complex and nuanced ways neoliberal sociopolitical culture shapes both. Situating her work within critical and feminist theoretical traditions, Melinda has examined curriculum policy reform and implementation; gender violence and prevention; human trafficking policy; and trauma and refugee resettlement in U.S. urban spaces. At UB, Melinda is affiliated with the Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention and Gender Institute, and is the CGHE Refugee Health and Wellbeing co-Lead. She also is affiliated with the University of Huddersfield, International Advisory Group for the Ni3 Centre for the Prevention of Gender-based Violence, which is funded through the UNICEF End Violence Against Children Fund. Before joining the faculty at UB, Melinda held a postdoc at the Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law, at Swansea University, Wales, UK, and had a prior career in U.S. urban secondary public education.

Anthony L. White II.

Anthony L. White II is a doctoral student in SUNY at Buffalo's Graduate School of Education and a Social Studies teacher in the Buffalo Public School District. His research interests include African-American education, leadership, literacy, and Critical Race Theory.


March 10th at 3:00 p.m.

Public Health Messaging in the Other 6000 Languages: Developing a Collaborative Framework to Disseminate Public Health Information to Minority Linguistic Communities

Jeff Good, Professor, Linguistics

Vasiliki Vita, MPhil/PhD Student, SOAS University of London

Ndokobai Dadak, SIL International

Jeff Good.

Jeff Good is Professor in the Department of Linguistics. His language interests center around comparative and typological investigations of Benue-Congo, in particular its Bantoid sub-branch, with a documentary focus on the languages of the Lower Fungom region of Northwest Cameroon in the context of the KPAAM-CAM project. I have also done significant work on Saramaccan, an Atlantic creole.

Vasiliki Vita.

Vasiliki Vita is an Onassis Scholar and a postgraduate researcher in Linguistics at SOAS, University of London. She is also the Social Media Coordinator of the virALLanguages project, a super-volunteer for the Endangered Languages Project and a Linguistics Consultant for language projects organised by the Young Historians of Sonsorol. Her academic interests include Language Documentation and Description with Revitalisation and Maintenance in mind, and Applied Linguistics in general. She is a professional teacher of modern languages, including English and Greek, and a freelance translator.

Ndokobai Dadak.

Dr. Ndokobai Dadak is a Linguistics consultant with SIL International. His work focuses on language documentation and description and language development. He received his PhD from Leiden University on 2021 for his grammar of the Cuvok language of Cameroon, and this work was supported by a grant from the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme.

April 7th at 3:00 p.m.

Perinatal Exposure to Hepatitis C Virus in Children Less Than Five Years of Age in Western New York

Oscar Gómez, Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics

Ndeye Licka Dieye, Master's Student, Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health

Oscar Gómez.

Oscar Gómez is a leader in childhood infectious gastrointestinal diseases. His overall goal is to help decrease the morbidity and mortality of childhood infections through excellence in research, education and patient care. As chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Pediatrics, he provides excellence in patient care locally and abroad, and oversees patient care services, infection control and antibiotic stewardship programs.

Gómez established and lead a global health research program, the International Enteric Vaccines Research Program (IEVRP), on the epidemiology, pathogenesis and vaccine development of childhood gastrointestinal infections. This program is dedicated to biomedical research, scientific training and international collaborations in Latin America, Southeast Asia and the United States. His collaborative scientific achievements with IEVRP include developing rapid diagnostic tools for diarrheal disease surveillance, identifying the most prevalent diarrheal pathogens and detecting emergent intestinal pathogens. He also worked on vaccine development research studies on pediatric infectious diseases associated with a high burden of disease. A long-term goal of these studies is to facilitate public health interventions for managing and preventing common infection diseases in children. 

He oversees the pediatric infectious diseases fellowship program and teach trainees in medicine and biomedical research. His clinical trainees include medical students, residents and fellows. Gómez also teaches and mentors research trainees at different career levels, including undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty. His academic leadership has been instrumental in fostering the careers of numerous American and international trainees in basic, translational and clinical infectious diseases research.

Licka Dieye.

Ndeye Licka Dieye is a student pursuing a master's degree in Epidemiology. Her background is about Biology-Ecology with a concentration in Parasitic and Infectious Diseases. She has had the opportunity to work on various topics such as Lyme Disease, arboviruses (chikungunya, dengue, zika), brucellosis and Covid-19. Her master thesis project focuses on Hepatitis C, a condition caused by a viral agent. Along with Dr. Gomez and other collaborators, they are interested in determining the burden of perinatal transmission of hepatitis C virus in infants in Western New York.

May 5th at 3:00 p.m.

Building Capacity for Food Equity Research in Crisis

Samina Raja, Professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning

Athar Parvaiz, Independent journalist

Insha Akram, Master's Student, Department of Urban and Regional Planning

Samina Raja.

Samina Raja, professor of urban planning, associate dean for research and inclusive excellence, principal investigator of the Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab (the “Food Lab”), and co-director of UB's Community for Global Health Equity (CGHE), focuses on understanding the role of planning and policy in building sustainable food systems and healthy communities.

In addition to being a leading scholar in her field and active leader in shaping food systems policies for healthier communities in Western New York, Raja is also an invaluable mentor for students. As director of the master of urban planning Community Health and Food Systems specialization, Raja engages her students in the classroom and through graduate studio courses that have worked to develop food systems plans alongside community partners in Buffalo and Trivandrumpuram, India.

Through Raja's scholarship and teaching, she emphasizes the necessitiy for equitable and inclusive planning processes. “It is important that local governments exercise reflection about how policy and planning processes amplify, or dampen, marginalized voices in planning for community food systems.”

Athar Parrvaiz.

Athar Parvaiz is an award-winning researcher and writer based in Kashmir in the Himalayan region of South Asia. Mr. Parvaiz's prolific writings illuminate environmental, health and agricultural challenges in the Global South with a special focus on the Himalayan region in South Asia. He has written about the ways in which the Himalayan region is adapting to changes posed by climate change. 

His writings are based on grounded and detailed reporting from regions where there is limited availability of data, and data is hard to gather. As a writer, Mr. Parvaiz connects his understanding of locally-embedded environmental issues to global policy responses: In 2009 and 2015, he reported on global climate change negotiations from Copenhagen and Paris with a focus on the implications for the Global South. 

Mr. Parvaiz's work is routinely featured in international, national and regional venues including Thomson Reuters, Mongabay, Inter Press Service, HUFFPOST, Scidev.Net,, Scroll, IndiaSpend, Down to Earth, The Wire and Kashmir Observer. 

Mr. Parvaiz is currently conducting research and writing about the value of localized food systems in the Global South through a collaboration with the Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab and the Community for Global Health Equity. 

Insha Akram.

Insha Akram is an independent and self-motivated aspiring Ph.D. scholar in food systems and planning from Kashmir Valley and an incoming MUP student for fall 2022. She holds an MBA in Logistics and Supply Chain Management from Presidency University, Bangalore and a Bachelor’s in Science from the University of Kashmir. In her previous roles, she has worked in multiple capacities, from an IT Analyst at Mercedes Benz research and development to Logistics and inventory manager for a food company in Bangalore, India. Currently, she is working as a QA Analyst at Wipro limited India. She is associated with UB Food Lab where her work focuses on small holder farmers and women farmers who are associated with growing indigenous collard greens in Kashmir.

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