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Principal Investigator

Dr. Alison Krentel

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Principal Investigator

Alison Krentel completed her postgraduate studies at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine receiving her PhD in Public Health (2008) and her MSc in Public Health in Developing Countries (1999). She is an Assistant Professor in the School of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Ottawa, a scientist at Bruyère Research Institute, and an Honorary Research Fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She is a Senior Research Fellow at the WHO Collaborating Centre for Knowledge Translation, Technology Assessment for Health Equity. Alison is one of the founding members and current chair of the Canadian Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases (www.cnntd.org).

Alison’s main area of research interest and expertise involves understanding and facilitating community acceptance of new health initiatives for the control and elimination of infectious diseases, specifically neglected tropical diseases. She is interested in identifying ways to improve community participation in public health programmes, understanding patterns of non-participation and crafting mixed methods research and interventions to improve uptake. Alison worked with the DOLF research group at Washington University in St. Louis (https://dolfproject.wustl.edu/) as part of a multinational team to assess the safety, efficacy and acceptability of a new treatment regimen for lymphatic filariasis in five countries, leading the acceptability study across the five sites. Her current research portfolio involves understanding the motivations and stressors faced by community health workers and how to build more supportive community programs to enhance their performance. She is one of the lead PIs for a study understanding the transition to scale of proven interventions to address female genital schistosomiasis (FGS) in Ghana and Madagascar (the FAST Package).

As a consultant, Alison has worked with the World Health Organization, for the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (WHO-TDR), the Pan American Health Organization, the Task Force for Global Health, UNICEF and the German government (GIZ).

THREADS Lab Team

Kazeem Arogundade

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Research Project Coordinator

Dr. Kazeem Arogundade is a public health enthusiast with progressive experience in clinical practice, research and  in the design, coordination, implementation of Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH), Family Planning, HIV/AIDS and Neglected Tropical Disease (Female Genital Schistosomiasis) programmes in sub-Saharan Africa. 

He graduated with a Master of Public Health Degree (MPH) degree from Staffordshire University, United Kingdom, medical degree from the University of Ilorin, Nigeria and Post Graduate Certificate in Applied Clinical Research at McMaster University, Canada.  Kazeem is passionate about utilizing evidence-based interventions to improve the lives of people, specifically women, young girls and children in resource-constrained settings.  

Currently, he works as the Research Project Coordinator at the Bruyere Research Institute, Ottawa (under Dr. Alison Krentel’s team) for the FGS Accelerated Scale Together (FAST) package project in Ghana and Madagascar, funded by Grand Challenges Canada.

Carol Vlassoff

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Adjunct Professor

Dr. Carol Vlassoff (PhD, Pune, India) is an Adjunct Professor with the School of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Ottawa and the Bruyère Research Institute, where she conducts research and teaching activities in the field of global health, gender, human rights and equity. Formerly, she worked with the World Health Organization for 17 years, including as Chief, HIV/AIDS (PAHO) in Washington, D.C., WHO Representative in Suriname, and Deputy Director, Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, WHO in Geneva, Switzerland. She has also held key posts in the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada, and the Canadian International Development Research Centre (now Global Affairs Canada). Dr. Vlassoff has more than 80 peer-reviewed publications in the areas of gender, health systems, reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, tropical diseases and human rights. She currently divides her time between Canada and Costa Rica.

Tina Lines

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Advocacy & Policy Officer

Tina has worked within the non-profit sector for more than 20 years, with nearly 10 years of proposal development & design experience including with international agencies such as Plan International Canada, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the International Development and Relief Foundation (IDRF), among others. She has worked in Kenya and Zambia, conducted training in Djibouti and Uganda and has visited many other countries in South America, Africa and Europe. She has experience developing multi-country programs, primarily in health and education in Sub-Saharan Africa. Tina loves the intersection between gender, health and human rights; knowledge translation in health; and learning from others in the global health community. Tina holds an Honours B.A in Political Science and Human Rights from Carleton University, and a post-graduate degree in International Project Management from Humber College, and is completing an MSc in Global Public Health from Queen Mary University London. Tina is really excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with such a bright, passionate and diverse team to advance the policy and advocacy agenda of the CNNTD.

Leshawn Benedict

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Community Manager

Leshawn Benedict is a Community Manager for iCHORDS (Improving Community Health Outcomes through Research, Dialogue and Systems Strengthening) Community of Practice. He received his Honours Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto, majoring in Biochemistry and Biology. He completed his Master of Public Health and Master of Science (Global Health Management) degrees at Western University and McMaster University. Leshawn is a Project Management Professional (PMP®) and is passionate about utilizing Project Management principles within Public Health and Global Health practice.

Afzaa Rajabali

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Research Assistant

Afzaa joined the Threads Lab as practicum student in 2020 and has continued to work here as a Research Assistant. She received her Master of Public Health degree from Western University and her Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery degree from the Manipal Academy of Higher Education. She currently works on an exploratory study that  aims to identify patterns of acceptability, availability, awareness, and hesitancy amongst community members across multiple public health campaigns. She also works on the treatment acceptability study for lymphatic filariasis in Papua New Guinea project. Previously, she was involved in the Stories of change project and campaign integration project. 

THREADS Lab PhD Students

Charles Thickstun

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PhD Student

Charles Thickstun is a Doctoral Candidate in Epidemiology at the University of Ottawa and a Research Assistant on the Threads team. He works closely with Dr. Krentel, in-country partners, and the Threads team to provide quantitative analyses of social acceptability measures for mass drug administration to inform public health messaging. Charles has also led on the ground training of data collectors for Threads projects in Guyana and Papua New Guinea.

Claudia Duguay

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PhD Student

Claudia is a doctoral student focusing her research on the spatial epidemiology of malaria and co-infections in children in Northwestern Tanzania. She completed her MPH in Epidemiology at Drexel University, where her thesis examined the association between environmental factors and the prevalence of hookworm infection among school aged children in Tanzania. She previously conducted fieldwork monitoring large mammals in Cameroon and worked on WASH-related projects in Zambia while completing a BS in Biomedical Engineering. Her main research interests are in spatial epidemiology, malaria, neglected tropical diseases and WASH. 

James Kotuah Sakeah

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PhD Student

James Kotuah Sakeah is a doctoral student in Epidemiology under the supervision of Dr. Krentel. His research revolves around community drug distributors or volunteer resilience over time, variations of resilience across health campaigns and the association with the mental health. James has previous work experience in health research in several studies at the Navrongo Health Research Centre in Ghana, and the Universities of Lethbridge and Calgary in Canada. He also worked as the research and evaluation lead for Primary Care in rural Alberta. James holds an MSc in Health Sciences from the University of Lethbridge and a BA in Sociology and Social work from the University of Ghana.

Katarina Ost

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PhD Student

Katarina is a Doctoral Candidate in Epidemiology at the University of Ottawa working under the supervision of Dr. Alison Krentel and Dr. Manisha Kulkarni. She completed her MPH at the University of Washington, where her thesis focused on the way in which sociodemographic characteristics modify the relationship between climactic variables and malaria in Kanungu, Uganda.  Currently her research focuses on strategies to prevent and control Lyme Disease in the Ottawa area and will incorporate elements of acceptability and feasibility research to help inform future interventions.

Moussa Sangare

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PhD Student

Moussa Sangare received his medical degree in 2011 from the University of Bamako in Mali and holds a Masters of Science in Disease Control from the Institute of Tropical medicine, Antwerp, Belgium. He is currently undertaking a doctoral degree in Population Health at the University of Ottawa. Moussa has an interest and passion for healthcare delivery in developing countries desiring to help in solving the problem of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). 

Moussa’s research has focused on lymphatic filariasis (LF), which is caused in Mali by the parasitic worm Wuchereria bancrofti. During the past 3 years, he has been involved in a multi-center, double-blinded, randomized, 24-month study to assess the efficacy of doxycycline in improving filarial lymphedema. In parallel, he and his team are interested in improving mass drug administration (MDA) coverage among vulnerable populations including nomadic communities, internally displaced persons, and seasonal workers.  

 

Moussa also participates in operational research, monitoring and evaluation that supports Malian National NTD Programs, including lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis and schistosomiasis, and the implementation of integrated strategy approaches. His research interests include neglected tropical diseases epidemiology in developing countries and how they modulate the host immune response.

THREADS Lab Graduate Students

Joses Robinson

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Graduate Student

Joses Robinson is a first-year Master of Public Health student at the University of Ottawa. He joined the Thread lab as a practicum student and has an interest in infectious diseases in low and middle income countries. Joses received his Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from Landmark University, Kwara state, Nigeria.

Kruti Patel

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Graduate Student

Kruti Patel is a first-year Master of Science in Epidemiology student at the School of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Ottawa. She is currently working under the supervision of Dr. Alison Krentel on the FAST Package Project, on which she will base her master's thesis project. Her research interests include the gender-based experiences of vulnerable populations and their access to healthcare. Kruti completed her Bachelor of Science in Honours Health Studies at the University of Waterloo. She completed an undergraduate honour's thesis project by conducting a systematic scoping review on the role of community health workers in supporting populations impacted by extreme weather events in low- and middle-income countries. Kruti's past research experiences include working at the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project and the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

Tavishi Weeraratne

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Graduate Student

Tavishi Weerartne is a candidate in the Master of Science in Global Health program at McMaster University. Tavishi received her Honours Bachelor of Health Science in Biology and Pharmacology from McMaster University. She is currently completing her practicum at iCHORDS (Improving Community Health Outcomes through Research, Dialogue and Systems Strengthening) Community of Practice under the supervision of Leshawn Benedict and Dr. Alison Krentel.

THREADS Lab Volunteers

Sazia Naz

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Volunteer

Sazia Farah Naz works with Dr. Alison Krentel in the Canadian Network of Neglected Tropical Diseases (CNNTD) group at Bruyère Research Institute, where she is responsible for writing policy briefs on NTDs. Ms. Naz’ research interests include Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), global health, health equity, and tuberculosis. She has also worked on two other systematic reviews of economic evaluations of a tuberculosis diagnostic tool with Dr. Alice Zwerling (School of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Ottawa).

 

Ms. Naz completed her medical degree and a master’s in public health and worked as a Research Physician at the ‘International Center for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR, B)’ where she experienced working in clinical trials.

 

In addition, Ms. Naz also like traveling, cooking, and spending time with her family and pets.

THREADS Lab Alumni

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Amy Davis

Advocacy & Policy Officer

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Daniel Dilliott

Research Assistant

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Jacie Liu

Graduate Student

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Jinisha Panjwani

Graduate Student

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Theodora Lufitha

Graduate Student

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Julienne Niyikora

Research Assistant

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Obaraboye Olude

Graduate Student 

 
 
 
 
 
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