2018 Practica Profiles

2018 Practica Profiles

Sarah Forthal

SF Photo

Sarah Forthal is a first year MPH student in the Department of Epidemiology completing a certificate in Applied Biostatistics. She will be spending her summer at Addis Ababa University conducting mentored research on factors associated with stigma and discrimination among people with severe mental disorders in Ethiopia. Her research will be in collaboration with the PRogramme for Improving Mental health carE (PRIME) in building an evidence base to scale up the mental health care system in Ethiopia.


Nicho Gonzalez



My name is Nicho Gonzalez, a soon-to-be second year medical student, and I am very excited to be a part of this program.  I was born in Miami, but moved up to NJ in 2005, where I still reside.  I studied Neuroscience at NYU, and went to Phillips Exeter Academy for high school.  Academically, I am most interested in studying Autism.  Clinically, I think I’d like to be some type of neurosurgeon, but I am not sure of that detail yet!  My social interests are very diverse, including playing music, acting (when I can), and volunteering, but my main passion is soccer (my favorite team is FC Barcelona).  I follow almost every top league in the world.  This summer, I am going to Brazil to perform chart reviews of 1,292 interviews of the families of pre-k aged children (most with autism) and screen for methods of autism treatment in Brazil, and see how these methods are similar or different from methods used in America.  I can’t wait to meet everyone, and I can’t wait to get started!

Farah Hussain



A dual degree MPH/MSW student in Mailman’s department of Population and Family Health and Columbia’s School of Social Work, Farah Hussain is spending her summer doing research at Sangath, an Indian NGO that bridges the treatment gap for mental health disorders by training lay counselors on culturally appropriate evidence based practices in order to provide professional healthcare services. She will work with a research team on a study looking at the experiences and support needs of survivors of domestic violence in families affected by alcohol use disorder. She brings to her practicum 13 years of experience in both development and academic settings, where she has worked to build local capacity of health care workers in under-resourced communities; delivered programs on stress management and resilience training for suicide prevention; and conducted research on psychosocial support for low-income pregnant women and assessed the impact of gender based violence on adolescent girls. Farah is enthused to contribute her professional experience and skillsets to a research project that allows her to learn about perceptions and attitudes towards mental health in India and support families and children in communities with limited access to care.

Stephanie Izzard

Stephanie Izard

Stephanie Izard is a second year MPH student in the Mailman School’s Department of Epidemiology completing a certificate in Applied Biostatistics. For her summer practicum, she will be in Brazil at the Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP) working on an ongoing research project on trauma, mental health, and early childhood development. She will primarily be performing data analysis related to the identification of protective factors in alleviating negative mental health and developmental outcomes. “I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to explore my passion for the application of statistics to mental health in this psychiatric epidemiology study, and I can’t wait to get started!”