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



This December, two research assistants graduated from the Strategic Analysis, Research & Training (START) Center’s training program. Brooks Morgan, Epidemiology PhD candidate, completed his research assistantship and is now working to complete his dissertation. Emahlea Jackson, Nutritional Sciences MPH candidate and Epidemiology MS candidate completed her research assistantship and is now beginning clinical rotations and supervised practice experience in dietetics.

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


Brooks Morgan, MSPH

Brooks is a PhD student in the Epidemiology Department at the University of Washington.  Prior to enrolling at the UW, Brooks worked as a researcher for the Johns Hopkins Center for Global NCD Research and Training.  His work encompassed data analysis, programming, writing, student mentorship, and expert support for study implementation at the center’s international sites in Lima and Puno, Peru; Nakaseke, Uganda; and Bhaktapur, Nepal.  His interests include infectious disease, maternal/child health, climate change, and humanitarian emergencies.  He received his MSPH from the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where he studied Global Disease Epidemiology and Control.

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

  • Health System Strengthening Analysis: The START team developed two summary documents to inform strategic discussions for Gavi 5.0. The two summary documents focused on the global landscape of health support services supported from multilateral donors (specifically Gavi, World Bank, GFF, and Global Fund) and Gavi’s historical evolution. In addition, they produced an annotated bibliography of sources used in these two documents.
  • Birthing Suite of the Future: The START team researched birthing suites and practices in Sweden, Sri Lanka, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. They produced a case report for each country that allowed readers to compare the processes in each of the three countries.
  • COVID-19 Risk of Contacts Literature Review: The START team assembled research on COVID-19 secondary attack rates among households and community settings and conducted a rapid, basic analysis of the data.


Emahlea Jackson, NDTR

Emahlea Jackson is a dietetic intern, MPH candidate in the Nutritional Sciences Program, and MS Student in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Washington. She earned a bachelor’s degree in dietetics from Seattle Pacific University. While completing her undergraduate education, she assisted with studies related to nutritional epidemiology and the human microbiome at both the National Cancer Institute and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. She previously provided nutrition counseling as a Registered Dietetic Technician (NDTR) at Lahai Health, a free clinic dedicated to serving patients experiencing financial hardship. Most recently, Emahlea completed a thesis project that examined the relationship between household food security status and presence of disordered eating behaviors in youth and young adults with diabetes.

Emahlea worked on four projects during her six-month engagement at START. Below are highlights from two of the projects Emahlea worked on:

  • Nutritional 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.
  • COVID-19 in Pregnancy and Infancy Weekly Digest: During the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, the extent of its impact on vulnerable populations, including pregnant women, newborns and children under five, was largely unknown. As the pandemic evolved rapidly, relevant literature became available through peer-reviewed and grey literature channels. The START team was tasked to compile weekly digests summarizing newly available pregnancy- and young child-related literature on COVID-19.

These two 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.