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



The Strategic Analysis, Research, & Training (START) Center is thrilled to introduce the ten newest team members joining our Center this fall. The team includes five PhD students in Implementation Science and Epidemiology, one master of public health in epidemiology student, and two master of business administration students.

In addition to the eight research assistants joining our team, START has also engaged two faculty leads to begin this fall. Learn more about each of these impressive new team members below.




Mohamed Albirair is a physician from Sudan and a Global Health Implementation Science PhD student in the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington. After receiving his Master of Public Health in Global Health from the University of Washington, he continued to build his work experience in health systems research, where he joined the Public Health Institute in Khartoum and participated in evaluating Universal Health Coverage in Sudan. In his current position as an M&E officer at the Global Fund Prospective Country Evaluation Project in Sudan, he evaluates the Global Fund’s contribution to the national health indicator targets, the Global Fund’s business model, and strategic priority themes. Appreciating the importance of data, he seeks to enhance systems for data capturing and reporting, and promote the culture of data use to inform decision making for health programming. His research interests include health information system, enhancing infection control to prevent infection-related cancers, and innovations to improve country ownership to sustain and finance interventions and transition from external funds.



Wei-Ming Chen is a second-year MBA student at Foster Business School at the University of Washington. He received his bachelor’s degree in Finance from National Taiwan University. Before joining the START team, he co-founded the world’s first DIY watch brand, managing product development and finance. His business acumen and skills in cross-functional collaborations led the company to achieve the goal of growing 100% annually for two consecutive years. With a strong passion for technology and entrepreneurship, he decided to pursue his MBA at Foster to develop his next innovative start-up. During the summer of 2019, he interned at a Seattle based smart home company as a product manager to build the mobile app platform integrating numerous IoT smart home devices.




Morgan Friedman is a second-year MBA Candidate at the Foster School of Business. She received her bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Texas. While in school, she interned for Deutsche Börse – MNI where she helped prepare economic indicator reports on the BRIC countries. After graduating, she worked in client service, enterprise strategy, and new product development for a start-up professional services company. Post-MBA, she intends to pursue a career in management consulting, focused on technology innovation and social impact.





Aldina Mesic is a Global Health Implementation Science PhD student in the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington. Aldina holds an MPH in Monitoring and Evaluation and Maternal and Child Health from Boston University and a BS in Biology from Northeastern University.  Aldina has worked on research studies focused on gun violence in the U.S., intimate partner violence in low income countries, and HIV among adolescents. Most recently, Aldina worked as a Senior Research Associate at Innovations for Poverty Action in Zambia. During that time, she worked on a study that sought to address barriers to safe delivery services in rural villages. Her research interests include the development and evaluation of interventions focused on shifting gendered social norms, increasing access to reproductive and maternal care, and decreasing the risk of intimate partner violence.




Jessie Seiler is a doctoral student in the Epidemiology department at the University of Washington. She served as a Peace Corps Volunteer and later worked with USAID in Senegal, where her focus was on malaria. Jessie has also worked in behavior change communications with domestic and global health non-profits and the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention. She earned her MPH from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, where her research interests coalesced around humanitarian emergencies and race- and gender-based violence.





William Sheahan is a first-year MPH student in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Washington. He received his bachelor’s degree in biology at the College of William and Mary in Virginia. While in school, he worked as part of a research team developing geospatial-referenced indices of social vulnerability to increase the effectiveness of foreign aid programs. After graduation, he worked in Kathmandu, Nepal as a summer fellow building capacity of local organizations in GIS and data analysis. Since returning to the United States, he has worked as a senior research analyst at the Lewin Group, performing analysis of domestic health care policy for clients including the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.





Kate Troja is a PhD student in Epidemiology at the University of Washington. Most recently, Kate completed her Master of Public Health in Epidemiology at the UW with a concentration in Maternal and Child Health. As a master’s student, Kate worked as an undergraduate teaching assistant and her research focused primarily on high-risk HPV infection in mid-adult women. Prior to returning to graduate school, Kate conducted HIV/STI research with the Department of Defense’s Infectious Disease Clinical Research Program, where she led a multi-site, longitudinal study examining long-term neurologic effects of HIV infection. Kate’s research interests include infectious disease epidemiology, reproductive health, and the relationship between stress and infection.





Alison Wiyeh is a PhD student in Epidemiology at the University of Washington. She received a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Buea, Cameroon and a Master of Science in Clinical Epidemiology from Stellenbosch University, South Africa. Prior to joining the START Center, she worked as a senior scientist at Cochrane South Africa, a unit of the South African Medical Research Council. Alison’s experience includes the conduct of systematic reviews and the use of evidence from systematic reviews to inform health policies. Her research interests include epidemiologic methods, vaccine implementation, and infectious disease epidemiology.






Dr. Akhtar Badshah received his DipArch from the School of Architecture and Planning, CEPT, India in 1981. He received his SMArchS in 1983 from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he also received his PhD in Environmental Studies in 1993. Dr. Badshah is focused on exploring the changing social impact space and its impact on the nonprofit and social development space. He also looks at the intersection of technology, especially exponential technologies and its impact on societies and how nonprofits can effectively utilize these technologies. Dr. Badshah also launched Accelerating Social Transformation, an executive leadership development course for mid-career professionals working in the social impact space.

A seasoned executive with over 30 years of experience in international development managing a corporate philanthropic program and co-founding a global nonprofit on social enterprise. Dr. Badshah has also taught architecture and urban development at MIT and is a published author, and an acclaimed international speaker. His expertise is in the area of social entrepreneurship, corporate social responsibility, information technology for development (ICT4D) and creating opportunities for youth.



Dr. Barclay Stewart is a practicing surgeon at UW Medicine, Harborview. He spent two years as an NIH–funded Northern/Pacific Fogarty Global Health Fellow working to improve surgical care in low– and middle–income countries (LMICs). Dr. Stewart’s research focused on pragmatic solutions to enhance care of the injured, burned and those in need of emergency surgery in health facilities in Ghana. He did this through systematic assessment of resource need, characterization of disease burden and modeling the effect of strategic interventions. In addition, he studied surgical epidemiology in complex humanitarian emergencies and from population–based studies of surgical need and injury burden in Nepal, Sierra Leone, and Iraq. Dr Stewart is pursuing a career in trauma, burns, and acute care surgery with attention on LMICs and aims to bring evidence–based decision making to humanitarian aid and surgical capacity development in LMIC health systems.