Tonia Poteat, PhD, PA-C, MPH | she/her/hers

Tonia Poteat  is Associate Professor of Social Medicine at UNC-Chapel Hill, as well as core faculty in the UNC Center for Health Equity Research. After completing her PhD at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Poteat served for two years in the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator as the Senior Advisor for Key Populations. Since returning to academia in 2014, Dr. Poteat’s research, teaching, and practice have focused on HIV and LGBT health disparities with particular attention to the health and well-being of transgender communities. Her current work attends to the health consequences of stigma based on multiple marginalized identities. Dr. Poteat is a certified HIV Specialist by the American Academy of HIV Medicine and has devoted her clinical practice to providing medically appropriate and culturally competent care to members of the LGBTQ community as well as people living with HIV. In 2018, she was selected for the Simmons Scholars Program which provides support for underrepresented faculty in medicine. Email:

Jenny Williams, PhD | she/her/hers

Jenny Williams earned her PhD in anthropology in 2013 from the University of Kentucky.  Her research interests focus on the biological and social causes and consequences of health inequity, particularly for under-served populations.  Jenny has worked in a variety of contexts including sub-saharan Africa, Northern Europe, and the United States.  Her particular areas of interest include: nutritional health disparities, trauma and gender-based violence, and community-led responses to health inequities. Email:

Mannat Malik, MHS | she/her/hers

Mannat Malik  is a Senior Research Program Coordinator at the Center for Public Health and Human Rights at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH) and supports the RISE Lab from Baltimore. Mannat received her MHS at JHSPH in the Department of Health, Behavior, and Society. She works on survey development and database management for the LITE Plus Study and conducts data analysis for several other community-based transgender health studies. Mannat has a background in community-engaged and qualitative research methods. Her research interests include transgender health needs and disparities, health impacts of multi-level violence, and LGBTQ community resilience. She is committed to health research that centers community perspectives and incorporated a human rights lens.

Theo Beltran, MPH | he/him/his

Theo Beltran is second-year doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He currently supports the RISE lab by working on drafting and editing papers for dissemination, supporting project management with the LITE plus study, and creating an all-encompassing database of surveys. Theo previously completed his MPH in Health and Social Behavior at UC Berkeley and has previously worked at the San Francisco Department of Public Health as a research associate and project coordinator. His research interests include highlighting racial health disparities experienced by transgender and gender non-conforming populations, structural inequities and its impact on health, and utilizing mixed methods research to contextualize the experiences of marginalized populations.

Huijun “Jean” Jiang, MS | she/her/hers

Jean is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Biostatistics at the Gillings School of Global Public Health where she also received her Master’s degree. Currently, she works in the Center for Health Equity Research as a graduate research assistant for the project: Combining Cohorts for Equity: Understanding Comorbidities in Diverse Women. Her responsibilities include data management of datasets from different cohort studies and statistical analysis for the research project in better understanding of modifiable factors to improve health equity among diverse women with HIV. Outside of HIV research, she also provides data analysis support for the collaborative research in biomedical fields. She is also very interested in the development of novel statistical methods for the classification, estimation, and modeling of recurrent events that frequently appear in biomedical studies.

Ashleigh Rich, PhD, MPH | she/her/hers

Ashleigh Rich is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Social Medicine at UNC-Chapel Hill, supervised by Dr. Tonia Poteat, affiliated with the Center for Health Equity Research. She is a social epidemiologist with a PhD in Population and Public Health from the University of British Columbia. Ashleigh’s research focuses on sex/gender, health inequities, and LGBTQ populations, with particular focus on HIV and transgender health. Her dissertation research investigated the epidemiology of chronic illness for trans people living with and without HIV in the US and Canada. Other areas of interest include minority stress, structural stigma, mental health, and methods and measurement issues in sexual and gender minority health research.


Ash Humphrey, BS | they/them/theirs or she/her/hers

Ash Humphrey studied Psychology at UNC Chapel Hill and minored in Women’s and Gender Studies. Their work experience includes eating disorder research, interpersonal violence prevention, and domestic violence research. She is a Research Assistant at the RISE Lab and supports the LITE Plus study as well as other research projects. Ash is a North Carolina native and grew up in coastal NC before moving to the Triangle for college. Email:



Dominique Ellerbe | she/her/hers

Dominique Ellerbe is the Community Engagement Specialist for the UNC RISE LAB. She has been an LGBTQIA and Human Rights Advocate for over 15 years. Her accomplishments include successfully advocating for gay and transgender prisoners and facilitating self-help groups for LGBT+ incarcerated individuals. The groups focus was on successful depression and anger management during incarceration and teaching self-acceptance. Dominique specializes in Human Resource Management and Communications and has a degree in Aquacultural Science and is a Horticultural Specialist. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture which will help her achieve her goal of teaching community members to grow and care for their own food. This will provide them with the dual benefit of supplementing their food supplies while also being involved in an activity that can improve mental health, focus, and concentration.


Hedyeh Ahmadi PhD | she/her/hers

Hedyeh Ahmadi earned her postdoc from University of California, Irvine in 2021 and Ph.D. in Measurement, Evaluation, and Statistics from Columbia University in 2019. She completed her M.S. in Statistics at University of California, Irvine in 2016. Her research focuses on applying and testing of methods for analyzing repeated measure/longitudinal growth models in the context of Neuroscience, Salivary Bioscience, Psychology, and Education. In addition to exploring new methods, Hedyeh teaches advanced statistical methods to researchers via intensive training workshops. More broadly, she is interested in the use of regression models – particularly in the areas of meta-analysis and with censored salivary data. To learn more about Hedyeh’s research please see


Shawn Luby, MS, MLS(ASCP)CM he/him/his

Shawn Luby is an Assistant Professor with the Division of Clinical Laboratory Science at the University of North Carolina.  He is an alum of the Clinical Laboratory Science program at UNC-Chapel Hill and received a Master of Science in Microbiology and Cell Science from the University of Florida. Prior to joining the UNC-CLS faculty in 2018, he worked as a medical laboratory generalist with UNC Healthcare’s McClendon Clinical Laboratories, performing patient testing in the coagulation, hematology/body fluids, urinalysis, toxicology and blood gas diagnostic laboratories. Shawn’s research interest explores the impact of electronic health record access on laboratory testing and result interpretation, and the role of the medical laboratory as an education source for patients receiving clinical laboratory services.