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



This June, three research assistants and two global innovation fellows graduated from the Strategic Analysis, Research & Training (START) Center’s training program, three of whom completed their graduate degrees. Cami Rencken is an Epidemiology PhD candidate and working to complete her dissertation.  Justy Antony Chiramal completed her research assistantship and graduated with a Master of Science (MS) in Epidemiology. Priyanka Shrestha, a PhD candidate in Implementation Science, completed her research assistantship and is now working to complete her dissertation. Angela Yang, MBA, completed her research assistantship and graduated from the Foster School of Business. Kavya Niranjan, MBA, completed her research assistantship and graduated from the Foster School of Business, where she was also the Executive VP of Operations for the MBA Association.

Below, learn more about our impressive graduates and the work they completed while engaged with START.



Angela received a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience at the University of Michigan and conducted research focused on neurodegenerative diseases. After her undergraduate degree, she spent time in southeast Michigan working in clinics and hospital systems. She has experience with Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement centered around healthcare quality improvement and surgical outcomes. Most recently, Angela spent four years in Washington D.C. as a management consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton. There she worked with the Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and Center for Disease Control clients on healthcare strategy, value-based care policy, and business acquisition strategy.

Angela worked on five projects during her time with START, acting as the Project Manager for two of them. Below are highlights from two of the projects Angela worked on:

  • Economics of Academic Publishing (EAP): The START team conducted landscape analysis on the Open Access publishing environment and delivered placemats summarizing trends in the Open Access research and manuscript publishing landscape as well as potential policy opportunities that the Foundation can integrate into their current Open Access policy.
  • Business Exemplars of Good Jobs: The Economic Mobility and Opportunity division asked START to develop four case studies that demonstrate how businesses implemented the Good Job practices, what incentivized them to do so, and what has the impact been on their businesses’ bottom line and resiliency as well as on the economic mobility of their low-income workers.

Reflecting on her time at START, Angela said,  “My time with START has exceeded my expectations on multiple levels: personal growth, professional experience and learning, and community building. The opportunity to work with the Gates Foundation on 5+ research and policy projects over one year has been an incredible privilege, especially when thinking about the potential impact of these projects. The experience gained from collaborating with such intelligent, caring, and passionate individuals—on the faculty, staff, and on the student sides has been unmatched.”



Cami Rencken is an Epidemiology PhD student at the University of Washington. Since receiving her Master of Science in Population Medicine (ScM) from Brown University, she worked at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Boston developing computer-based instruments to measure the long-term biopsychosocial outcomes in children after injuries. Her research interests include global injury and violence prevention, using epidemiologic data to inform public health policy and practice, and improving access to healthcare through evidence–based interventions with a particular focus on LMICs.

Cami worked on nine projects during her two-year engagement at START, acting as the Project Manager for three and being the START Center’s Flex RA. Below are highlights from two of the projects Cami worked on:

  • Private Sector PrEP Delivery Policy and Regulatory Landscaping in Sub-Saharan Africa: The primary objective of this project was to conduct a landscape assessment of regulatory and policy barriers to PrEP (oral and long-acting) delivery through private sector pharmacies and clinics across Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Water Reuse Standards & Regulations: The objective of this project was to better understand the scope of existing water reuse standards and regulations in LMICs. The WSH team has collaborated with START to conduct a landscape analysis of the existing or adopted standard and regulations for reused/recycled/reclaimed/treated water in LMICs.

Reflecting on her time at START, Cami said, “I will always be grateful for my time with the START Center. The START community welcomed me from my first day at the UW and gave me a community in which I could learn, grow, and develop both professional and personal relationships that I hope to continue building long after my time at the START Center has ended. Over the last two years, I have improved my communication, management, and leadership skills through consistent and intentional engagement with my teams and clients. I look forward to watching the START Center grow over as I transition from being an RA to an alumna, and will continue to support the students, staff, and faculty as I progress through my career. Thank you to all that were a part of my time with the START Center!”

Cami is continuing research for her dissertation as an Epidemiology Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Epidemiology.



Justy is a trained and experienced Internal Medicine Physician who has more than 7 years of clinical practice in Bangalore and Vellore, India. She also worked as a clinical advisor for for 4 years prior to her graduate studies and was instrumental in deploying Artificial Intelligence based software for automated interpretation for Chest X-rays and CT brain scans in resource limited healthcare settings in India. She holds her MBBS and MD-Internal Medicine degrees from the Christian Medical College, Vellore, India and a DTMH (Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene) from the Cayetano Heredia University, Lima, Peru. After her MS, she has been motivated to use her skills in epidemiology and global health and leverage her clinical expertise to improve healthcare access in rural and remote settings in low- and middle-income countries using technology.

Justy worked on seven projects during her two-year engagement at START, acting as the Project Manager for two of them. Below are highlights from two of the projects Justy worked on:

  • MNCH Home Births: The START team conducted a literature review, a dataset review, and key informant interviews to research the differential mortality outcomes between facility and home births and related home birth interventions, first in India, Ethiopia, and Nigeria, and then in other geographies in sub-Saharan African and South Asia.
  • Serotype Epidemiology of Invasive Pneumococcal Disease (IPD): The START team conducted and updated a literature review of published research to abstract IPD serotype data, and updated the existing IPD tool. Then the team presented the findings of analysis of epidemiology and PCV coverage analysis to the members of the Pneumonia Pandemic Preparedness Team.

Reflecting on her time at START, Justy said, “I am so grateful for the opportunity to work at the START center with some of the most hardworking and sincere students, staff and faculty. Even my children felt welcomed as part of the START family. In my time here, I got to work in 7 projects that spanned across doing systematic reviews to developing mathematical models, with some great clients at the Gates Foundation and Abbott Labs. As a student representative and international student I was also able to be a liaison between students and leadership. START also provided great mentorship and training opportunities that helped me develop skills in project management, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion frameworks, job club, and interview skills. START helped me dedicate protected time for work, and provided funding for my MS. I am so glad that I chose UW and START among the various options that I had for my higher studies!”

Justy graduated with an MS in Epidemiology in June and is the Director for Product Analysis and Adoption at



Kavya Niranjan received her MBA from the Foster School of Business in 2023. Prior to Foster, she spent two years as a project manager for an engineering consulting firm in the Bay Area, and has experience providing GIS services for both utilities and renewable energy sectors. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley, and is passionate about addressing the complex sustainability challenges that face the business community today.

Kavya worked on seven projects during her time with START, acting as the Project Manager for four of them. Below are highlights from two of the projects Kavya worked on:

  • Advancing Equity and UHNW Philanthropy: The START team conducted key informant interviews and literature review in order to recommend definitions for three core types of equity giving: racial, gender, and SDG-aligned; the team also presented adaptations of these definitions for the India and China geographies, as well as an assessment of where in the philanthropic lifecycle the proposed definitions should be used and measured against.
  • National Climate Finance Plans: The START team conducted a review of key documents and held key informant interviews to gain a clearer picture of existing national climate finance plans and their key features, strengths, and weaknesses.

Reflecting on her time with START, Kavya said, “I stumbled across the START GIF opportunity somewhat unexpectedly but am so glad I made the decision to join over the summer. Beyond working on impactful projects that I felt personally committed to, I was able to fine-tune my consulting and project management skills, engage with inspiring clients who were excited about our work, collaborate with intelligent and hard-working teammates from various disciplines, and experience excellent mentorship from the faculty and leadership. START has become my second home outside of the business school, and I’m certain that my year with the Center has set me up for even more exciting opportunities down the road.”



Priyanka is a PhD student in Implementation Science at the University of Washington Department of Global Health. She has an undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences from the Asian University for Women in Bangladesh, and an MSc degree in Control of Infectious Diseases from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). After her master’s degree, she assisted in multiple projects at the International Diagnostics Centre at LSHTM, researching diagnostics quality and policy importance for public health emergencies, one health, and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Besides research, she has also served in project management and capacity building roles at the World Health Organization to advance social innovations in health in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Most recently, she engaged with a global health consultancy to employ interdisciplinary research and community-based participatory methods for vector borne disease projects. Her research interests include community-based health research, health system inequities, health innovations, and implementation science.

Priyanka worked on seven projects during her two-year engagement at START, acting as Project Manager for two of them. Below are highlights from two of the projects Priyanka worked on:

  • Serotype Epidemiology of Invasive Pneumococcal Disease (IPD): The START team conducted a literature review of published research, reviewed country-level data from Colombia and Burkina Faso as well as from posters presented at the ISPPD-12 conference to abstract IPD serotype data, and updated the existing IPD tool. In addition, the START team delivered an oral presentation at the ISPPD-12 in Toronto, Canada, where it also identified and reached out to numerous researchers for future collaboration.
  • Household Water Use in LMICs: The main objective of the project was to identify the domestic level water consumption patterns, reuse information and factors influencing water consumption in urban and informal settings in LMICs.

Priyanka had this to say about her time with START, “START has been an incredibly enriching journey, providing me with invaluable opportunities for growth and development, both in my professional and personal capacities. START has allowed me to expand my horizons, develop critical skills, and cultivate lasting connections. I am immensely grateful for the remarkable experiences and unwavering support I have received from the faculty, peers, and leadership team, and I look forward to the profound impact START will continue to have on my professional path.”

Priyanka completed her research assistantship with START, and will continue with her PhD program.


These five START graduates will continue to engage with START’s extensive alumni network, established in 2011. START often invites alumni to share their experiences after graduating from the training program at all-team meetings and, additionally, taps into the alumni network for content expertise on projects. The alumni network is comprised of highly skilled START graduate professionals employed in global health, business, and consulting across disciplines.