Start Center - Strategic Analysis, Research & Training Center
START Center

A Warm Welcome to our Incoming Research Assistants, Fall 2016

A Warm Welcome to our Incoming Research Assistants, Fall 2016

The Strategic Analysis, Research, & Training (START) Center is thrilled to introduce the five newest team members joining the University of Washington and our Center in the the fall. These talented and highly-motivated graduate students will work closely with our current research assistants and faculty team, alongside three incoming Global Innovation Fellows from the Foster School of Business.

Welcome to START!


Ronit AbramsonRonit Abramson

Ronit Abramson is an incoming MPH student in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Washington. She received her B.S. in Biology from Yale University, completing thesis work on viral evolution. Prior to joining UW, she worked as a Science Policy Analyst at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at the National Institutes of Health, leading policy analyses and reporting on the public health applications of genomics research. Her portfolio included HIV/AIDs research, genetic discrimination, genomic data sharing policies, and minority health & health disparities. Her interests include genomics, infectious disease, and addressing health disparities.

Andrew KwistportraitAndrew Kwist

Andrew Kwist is entering the University of Washington in autumn 2016 as an MPH student in the Department of Epidemiology with a Global Health track. Andrew graduated from the University of Denver with a B.A. in International Studies, concentrating in International Health and Development. Since then, he has been working for an international NGO that focuses on health systems strengthening through deliveries of repurposed medical supplies and equipment, in addition to specialized medical training programs for the beneficiaries of the medical shipments. He is excited to begin working with the START Center as well as beginning his MPH studies at the University of Washington.

Brienna Brienna NaughtonNaughton, MPH

Brienna Naughton is an incoming Global Health Implementation Science Ph.D student in the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington. After receiving her MPH in Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases and Global Health from Yale School of Public Health, she worked in clinical trials at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and in research and health care delivery at Partners In Health in Rwanda. Over her three years in Rwanda, she managed a large health systems strengthening intervention, supported numerous research activities, and was closely involved in strategizing for and then launching PIH’s innovative initiative, the University of Global Health Equity. Brienna has also conducted health-related research in South Africa and Ireland. She is interested in using scientific methods to bridge the gap between knowledge and effective implementation of high-quality healthcare in resource-limited settings.

Danae spencer headshotDanae Spencer, MPH

Danae Spencer is an incoming PhD student in Epidemiology at University of Washington. Danae is currently a research analyst for Truven Health Analytics and conducts health outcomes research projects for pharmaceutical customers. She provides data analysis and client support by conducting literature reviews, developing analysis plans, and drafting posters, manuscripts and final deliverables. Her work with Truven’s Life Sciences team primarily focuses on utilization and cost outcomes among U.S. Medicare and Medicaid patient populations.

Danae received her Master’s in Public Health in Global Health Epidemiology from The George Washington University. During her master’s level studies, she worked as an assistant study coordinator for the Kenya Medical Research Institute and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducting a diagnostic TB trial among children under five. Danae’s interests include tuberculosis, global health and infectious disease epidemiology.

D TordoffDiana Tordoff

Diana Tordoff is an incoming MPH student in the Epidemiology Department at the University of Washington. Diana received her B.A. in Mathematics and Economics at Vassar College. Prior to joining UW, Diana has worked as a data analyst at NERA Economic Consulting, with an emphasis on healthcare economics. Diana also has over three years direct service experience, supporting IDU, homeless youth, and at-risk LGBTQ communities in San Francisco, California. While working at Larkin Street Youth Services, Diana advocated for and provided instruction for at-risk and homeless youth, ranging from college readiness to sexual health education. Her interests include health disparities, STIs, LGBTQ and minority health.