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



This December, research assistant Tanya Libby graduated from the Strategic Analysis, Research & Training (START) Center’s training program. After graduating from START Tanya will continue her Epidemiology PhD coursework and begin drafting her aims for her dissertation proposal. In the short-term, she will design and complete an analysis assessing mediators of the association between air pollution and dementia.

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


Tanya is a PhD student in Epidemiology at the University of Washington. Before joining START, Tanya worked as an Epidemiologist for the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet), a component of CDC’s Emerging Infections Program, providing technical consultation to CEIP staff and local health jurisdictions on foodborne outbreaks and epidemiologic research methodology, including reviewing protocols, proposals, survey instruments, reports, presentations and manuscripts. She is highly analytical, detail-oriented, and dedicated to achieving global health equity. She is an experienced data analyst with a passion for using data to inform public health interventions. She has skills in statistical analysis, data visualization, program monitoring and evaluation, spatial analysis (ArcGIS), epidemiologic methods, study design, and outbreak response.

Tanya worked on six projects during her year and a half engagement at START, acting as the Project Manager for two of them. Below are highlights from three of the projects Tanya worked on:

  • Nutrition Recommendations for Pregnant Women: The START team reviewed the evidence supporting IOM and WHO recommendations on 19 micronutrients for pregnant and lactating women and girls. The team began with a high-level landscaping of nutritional omics, with particular focus on recent work in metabolomics and proteomics. After this review, the team turned their focus to a comprehensive review of iron needs during pregnancy and lactation, paying particular attention to anemia diagnosis cut-points and other clinically significant gaps in the literature. Finally, we reviewed the evidence related to 18 other micronutrients: calcium, phosphorous, copper, iodine, selenium, zinc, choline, and vitamins A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folate), B12, D, and E. Per client request, the team categorized the nutrients as high-, medium-, or low-priority for future research investment.
  • Systematic Review of Social Media Behavior Change Interventions: In spite of the wealth of evidence regarding effective behavior change techniques when using digital interventions to target residents of high-income countries (HICs), there is limited information of a similar nature for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The goal of this review was to identify and describe the available literature regarding effective social media-based behavior change interventions within LMICs. The team conducted a systematic review in concordance with the 2009 Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines in order to understand what behavioral interventions have been implemented using social media in LMICs, as well as to characterize the evidence of their effectiveness.
  • Mapping the long-term sequelae of acute Shigella infection in young children: The START team conducted a systematic review following PRISMA guidelines to identify literature on the long-term sequelae of Shigella infection in children less than five years of age in low- and middle-income countries. They convened a panel of subject matter experts to ensure priority outcomes, and data elements were captured in this review. In addition to documenting the longer-term consequences of Shigella infection, the START team’s analysis identified evidence gaps and opportunities for data standardization that can be addressed in future studies. By the end of the project, the team developed a manuscript for publication. Tanya served as the project manager for this project.

Reflecting on her experience with START, Tanya said “START provided a unique and supportive environment to grow my leadership skills while developing expertise in new content areas and methods. From systematic literature reviews to qualitative interviews, it was rewarding to see our hard work contribute to timely and high-impact decision-making. I particularly valued the opportunity to learn from and alongside such inspiring and talented peers and faculty mentors.”

Tanya 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.