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PhD students Alein Y. Haro and Mahader Tamene named Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Research Scholars

We are proud to announce that two graduate students at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health have been selected to participate in one of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) leadership programs. These programs connect changemakers across the country—from every profession and field—to learn from and work with one another in creating more just and thriving communities.

Alein Haro, MPH, PhD candidate in health policy, population health, and Mahader Tamene, epidemiology PhD student, were both named RWJF Health Policy Research Scholars. Designed for doctoral students from historically marginalized backgrounds and populations underrepresented in specific disciplines, Health Policy Research Scholars helps researchers from all fields apply their work to policies that advance equity and health while building a diverse field of leaders who reflect our changing national demographics.

Haro’s research examines how systems create social conditions that affect health and create health inequities. These structural barriers adversely affect the health of immigrants, racial minorities, and individuals from low socioeconomic backgrounds throughout the life course. Haro specifically studies the association between occupational and non-occupational exposures to health among the most vulnerable workers, including immigrant day laborers. She seeks to use her research to build a more inclusive society for all.

An epidemiologist rooted in social theory, Tamene seeks to affect change in communities from which she came and beyond. Tamene’s research focuses on mental health disparities, particularly community-based interventions that address the structural forces driving these disparities. Utilizing both quantitative and qualitative methods in epidemiology, she investigates how structural determinants including racism, poverty, housing, community violence, migration, and trauma influence mental health both across the life course and intergenerationally.

To learn more about Health Policy Research Scholars and RWJF’s other leadership programs, and to meet other participants, visit