Aspiring academics, researchers explore public health challenges and publish at Mason  

In This Story


The discipline of public health continues to grow and influence other health fields, and its areas of research are growing exponentially. Mason students have been significant contributors as evidenced by PhD students Kevin Cevasco, Nora Cleary, Amara Orji, Meghana Varde, and Cheyu “Sarah” Zhang who have all recently published studies in various public health journals. The Journal of Public Health and Surveillance, Journal of Cancer Education, Journal of Reproductive Toxicology, Journal of Virological Methods, and International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics all now boast articles authored by doctoral candidates in the College of Public Health.  

George Mason University College of Public Health’s Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Public Health cultivates researchers that unearth health mysteries and pave the way for innovation. With the assistance of doctoral advisors, PhD students achieve high-level research on topics including hepatitis testing, potential causes of premature births, cancer screening for individuals with disabilities, disease contact tracing, and interpersonal violence (IPV). The students are guided by faculty experts in the topics they are studying. 

Findings from research published by Mason students will inform policy decisions, health care delivery, and public health practice.  

Kevn Cevasco
Kevin Cevasco

Cevasco, under the mentorship of Professor of Public Health Amira Roess, studied the effectiveness of digital contact tracing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cevasco’s paper Adaptation and Utilization of a Postmarket Evaluation Model for Digital Contact Tracing Mobile Health Tools in the United States: Observational Cross-sectional Study was published in Public Health Surveillance in March 2023. 

Amara Orji
Amara Orji

Students also collaborate to conduct and produce research. Orji and Cevasco, both concentrating in epidemiology, worked together to identify barriers to cervical cancer screenings for women with disabilities. Cevasco and Orji’s joint research Disparities in Cervical Cancer Screening by Disability Types: a Systematic Review was published in the Journal of Cancer Education March 2023. 

Varde’s published work explores the association of glyphosate with premature births under the guidance of Michael Bloom, Associate Professor of Public Health. Glyphosate exposure and preterm birth: A nested case-control pilot study was published in April 2023 in the Journal of Reproductive Toxicology. 

With Jhumka Gupta, associate professor in the Department of Global and Community Health, Zhang’s research shed light on how disabled women are more accepting of IVP in partnerships than non-disabled women. Zhang’s paper “The association between women's disability and acceptance towards intimate partner violence among women and their male partners: A multi-country analysis” was published in the International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics in April 2023. 

Cleary performed work to observe viral hepatitis analyses. Her work, A virus assay for whole-genome sequencing, was published in February 2023 in the Journal of Virological Methods. 

On behalf of the College of Public Health, congratulations to all the PhD candidates who have had their work published and we look forward to the great work you are sure to accomplish in the future!