Lucia Leone, PhD
Lucia is an Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health and Health Behavior at the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions. As Director of the Community Health Interventions Lab, Lucia works with community and small business partners to develop and test sustainable interventions to increase access to healthy, local and affordable food. She has expertise in evaluating community-based interventions to increase access to healthy food in lower-income and underserved communities.
Leah Vermont, MA
Assistant Director of Partnership and Outreach
Leah has experience in clinical and community-based research focusing on substance use, mental health, and health behaviors. She is interested in the social determinants that drive health outcomes and disparities, as well as the evaluation of community-based initiatives. Leah is happiest backpacking in the mountains with her family.
Anne Lally, PhD
Assistant Director of Research and Evaluation
Anne received her PhD in cultural anthropology from the University at Buffalo in 2017; her research engages multispecies ethnography in food systems, agricultural and rural anthropology, and landscape and identity in field sites located in Iceland and the Allegany Territory of the Seneca Nation in the Southern Tier of New York. Anne has worked previously as a research director in the private sector healthcare market, served as a research assistant on a NIH-funded alcohol intervention study at the UB Center for Social Research, and coordinated non-profit public health programs serving women and children in New Jersey. Her background working at a vegetable farm and market in rural New Jersey, along with her dissertational fieldwork conducted on dairy, horse, and sheep farms in Iceland, further informs her real-world perspective on food systems and desire to work towards increasing access to fresh, local fruits and vegetables in all communities.
Jill Tirabassi, MD, MPH
Faculty research collaborator
Jill is a K12 faculty scholar clinical assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine a board-certified physician in both family medicine and preventive medicine and public health. Her research looks to improve health outcomes through understanding, assessing, and utilizing interventions in food and physical activity environments. She also practices clinically at the ECMC Family Medicine Center, teaching family medicine residents and medical students. She enjoys hiking, gardening, and spending time with her family.
Christina Kasprzak, PhD
Christina is a post-doctoral associate in the Department of Community Health and Health Behavior (CHHB) at the University at Buffalo. She completed her PhD in the Fall of 2021 from CHHB. Prior to her doctoral work, she earned a Master of Science in Nutrition Science and worked in the public health nutrition field for nearly a decade. Her interest in designing and evaluating community-based interventions to improve the nutrition status of lower-income populations is rooted in her years of experience as a nutritionist for the Federal nutrition assistance programs WIC and SNAP. Although a mixed methods researcher, she has a particular expertise in qualitative methods and burgeoning expertise in dissemination and implementation science. She is also an active partner in school-based health initiatives in the local public school district. A native Buffalonian, Christina enjoys volunteering, hiking, concerts, spending time with her daughter, and of course anything related to food!
Assistant Director of Operations
Sue Arnold joined the Veggie Van Study in November 2018. She is responsible for post award administration which includes personnel and account management, subcontracts, and consultants agreements for this program. Sue brings her previous experience with the University at Buffalo’s Center for Assistive Technology and the NSF Industry/University Center for Biosurfaces to our project.
Community Partner Coordinator
Sam has experience working in food access and food system development. His work in southwest Virginia included launching and scaling a mobile produce market, leading a regional network of farmers markets offering SNAP incentives, opening a food hub, and operating a shared commercial kitchen. As a former pastry chef, Sam loves good food and believes in the power of food to bring people together and transform communities. When not working, Sam loves running, hiking, breadmaking, and exploring his new residence of Phoenix, AZ.
Alicia Claudio, MPH
Alicia, a native of Buffalo, recently graduated with her MPH from the Department of Community Health and Health Behaviors. Additionally, Alicia holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a concentration in Health and Wellness from the University at Buffalo. Her public health interest includes addressing health disparities among low income and underserved communities. Alicia has been part of the CHIL lab since 2018, working on various projects such as the DUFB program, The Healthy Corner Store Initiative, and is currently involved with data collection for the Veggie Van Study. She was hired full-time as Research Data Coordinator in the summer of 2021. In her free time, she enjoys farmer's markets, yoga classes, hiking, and music.
Angélica Tutasi, MPH
Angélica is a doctoral student in the Department of Community Health and Health Behavior. She is a public health and food science professional from Ecuador, holds an MPH from Columbia University, and has worked in the field of food policy and public health since 2011. Angelica developed and implemented interventions and policies to improve the nutritional status of low-income communities in her country, as well as, participated in several initiatives to combat overweight and obesity in Latin America. She is interested in being an active member of the Buffalo community, especially when it comes to healthy eating.
Monisha Afrooz, MPH
Monisha, a devoted doctoral student in Community Health and Health Behavior, aims to address global disparities through extensive research, sustainable practices, and community interventions. Originally from Queens, NY, Monisha holds a B.A. and MPH from Cornell University. Driven by a passion for positive change, she is pursuing a PhD, believing true success lies in enhancing individuals’ quality of life. Monisha actively seeks innovative solutions to societal issues, combining her advocacy for policy change with a commitment to making a lasting impact through problem-solving and an entrepreneurial drive. Beyond academia, she finds joy in nature, travel, and immersing herself in diverse cultures.
Rosmery Landaverde Deras
Graduate Research assistant
Rosmery, a native from Long Island graduated from the University at Buffalo with a B.S in Public Health and a minor in nutrition. She is beginning her Master's of Public Health degree this fall (2022). She will be in the Individualized concentration of the program, but plans to focus in Community Health and Health Behavior and Health Services Administration. She hopes to one day combine her Public Health knowledge and apply it to a nursing career in the future. She is always seeking ways to become more involved in the community and has participated in diversity programs within UB and is currently a research assistant for the Veggie Van Study. She enjoys volleyball, cooking, and trying new things that are challenging and exciting.
Graduate Research Assistant
Hannah has been with the Lab for over a year. She is a first-year graduate student in the School of Public Health and Health Professions here at UB. She hopes to pursue a career in healthcare administration once graduating. Her interests include maternal health and cancer survivorship. In her spare time she enjoys watching Grey's Anatomy and testing her cooking skills.