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Meet the Team

Marilyn Aguirre-Molina, Ed.D., M.S.

Founding Executive Director
Phone: 718-960-6928
Location: Gillet Hall, Room 417B

Marilyn Aguirre-Molina is Professor of Public Health, at the City University of New York - School of Public Health/, where she teaches health equity and social justice, and leadership for public health in the master of public health and doctoral programs.  In addition to teaching responsibilities, she is the Founding Executive Director of the CUNY Institute for Health Equity (CIHE). The focus of Dr. Aguirre-Molina’s work at the CIHE is on applied research and policy development that address the social determinants of health among underserved populations. Prior to CUNY, she was Professor of Population and Family Health at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University in New York City. 

At Columbia University she established and directed the Columbia University and Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo (UASD – Dominican Republic) Academic/Research Exchange Program.  In 2007, she received an honorary teaching appointment at the UASD Graduate School of Medical and Health Sciences.

Before Columbia, she was the Executive Vice President of the California Endowment, and Senior Program Officer at The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation where she directed the public health portfolio.  Preceding this work she was Associate Professor, UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Department of Environmental and Community Medicine.  In this capacity she taught within the MD/MPH program and conducted community-based public health research focusing on ethnic/racial communities.

The Robert Wood Johnson commissioned a study and resulting monograph entitled, Latinos’ Barriers to Primary and Preventive Services.  In addition, she and Carlos Molina edited the seminal book, Latino Health in the US – A growing challenge. In addition, with Carlos Molina and Ruth Zambrana, edited, Health Issues in the Latino Community (2001), and, in 2003 the book Latina Health: A Public Health Reader (2003). With grant support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, she directed a study group at Columbia University addressing, this resulted in the book,  The Social and Structural Factors Affecting the Health of Latino Men in the US (2011), which was published by Rutgers University Press, Inc. Additionally, the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA) commissioned a study of AIDS, Poverty and Gender Inequality in Latin American and the Caribbean, which entailed work in Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and Colombia.

Dr. Aguirre-Molina has served on numerous national boards and committees. Among them the Institute of Medicine/National Academy of Sciences panel on Underage Drinking; the Centers for Disease Control, Board of Scientific Advisors; National Institutes of Health - National Advisory Council of the NIAAA; and, elected to the Executive Board of the American Public Health Association.  Membership in APHA also entailed active participation on various committees and, joining with other colleagues in the founding of the AHPA Latino Caucus.

As a Kellogg Foundation Fellow, she studied the political economy of selected countries, and traveled extensively in Latin American, Cuba, Sweden and South Africa.

A native New Yorker, Marilyn received a Bachelor of Science degree (cum laude) in Health Sciences from Hunter College-CUNY, and was awarded a fellowship to attend Columbia University where she obtained a Master of Science degree in Community Public Health and a Doctorate in Health Education and Administration.


Gina Arias

Project Coordinator
Phone: 718-960-2468

Gina Arias holds a dual Master's degree in Public Health and International Affairs from Columbia University. She has been working in the field of public health for over 20 years both locally and abroad beginning with her Peace Corps service in Niger from 1994-1996. She returned to West Africa to conduct program evaluation in Benin for The Carter Center's Guinea worm disease eradication program. In New York City she has worked at Alianza Dominicana, Gay Men's Health Crisis, Housing Works, and the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Within local academic institutions she has directed a training program for front line HIV/AIDS community health workers at Hunter College and taught health education at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. Her professional focus has been in training/education, program development/management, and  policy/advocacy primarily in the areas of community health, HIV/AIDS, and sexual and reproductive health. As part of her advocacy work on microbicide developement she participated in the International Microbicides Conference in  Cape Town, South Africa and New Delhi,India. In 2008 she received the Barbara Seaman award from the National Women's Health Network. She is currently completing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at SUNY Downstate. In her role at the CIHE she provides support and guidance to the Institute's research scholars and interns. 


Jo-Marie Aquino

Jo-Marie Aquino is currently a senior at Lehman College, majoring in Speech and Language Pathology with a pursuit in obtaining a master’s degree in Occupational Therapy. She has been working for the CIHE as well as with the Office of Health Sciences in Lehman College for several months as an Administrative/ College assistant and continues to learn about the many different factors that take part in the Public Health Field. On her off time, she is devoted to her love of volleyball; playing collegiately as well as coaching young girls who are trying to pursue the same dream. Upon graduating, she is hoping to take a year to intern in clinics as well as travel to different places to be more culturally diverse.


Affiliated Faculty

Andrew Maroko, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Health Sciences
Phone: 718-960-7452
Location: Gillet Hall, Room 325

Professor Andrew Maroko's research interest in health geographics centers on the spatial analysis of environmental health and equity issues. He received his Ph.D. in earth and environmental sciences, with a specialty in geography/GISc, from the CUNY Graduate Center. He earned his undergraduate degree in biology from Rutgers College. He now teaches in Lehman College's Department of Health Sciences /M.P.H. program, which is a consortial member of the CUNY School of Public Health. Professor Maroko is the associate director of the Urban GISc Lab at Lehman and is also active with the Research Core of the CUNY Institute for Health Equity. He writes about environmental justice, exposure assessment, pollution modeling, geo-statistical analyses, computational geography, urban health geographics, accessibility, and geovisualization.

Juan DelaCruz, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Economics and Buisness
Phone: 718-960-8159
Loation: Carman Hall, Room 379

Professor Juan J. DelaCruz earned his undergraduate degree in international relations from the National Autonomous of Mexico University.and his Ph.D. in economics from the New School for Social Research. In addition to teaching at Lehman, he holds a faculty appointment the CUNY Graduate Center's M.P.H. program. His research focuses on health economics, with an emphasis on HIV/AIDS and its effects on human capital. Professor DelaCruz's latest research is on the effects of incarceration on HIV rates among Hispanics and African-Americans in New York. His research is transitioning toward the use of micro-data and community-based research to address health inequalities for minorities living in New York City.

Peter Arno, Ph.D.

Distinguished Fellow

Peter S. Arno, Ph.D., is a health economist and has recently joined the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He was Professor of Health Policy and Management at New York Medical College (NYMC; 2007-2013) and the founding director of the doctoral program in Health Policy and Management (2008-13) and the Center for Long Term Care Research & Policy at NYMC (2011-13). Before coming to NYMC, Dr. Arno was the director of the Division of Public Health and Policy Research in the Department of Epidemiology and Population Health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center (1988-2007), and has had a distinguished career in health policy and health services research. He received his doctorate in economics at the New School for Social Research and was a Pew Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute for Health Policy Studies and the Institute for Health and Aging at the University of California, San Francisco; a scholar of the American Foundation for AIDS Research, and a recipient of the Investigator Award in Health Policy from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. His book Against the Odds: The Story of AIDS Drug Development, Politics & Profits (New York: HarperCollins) was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Dr. Arno’s recent work includes studies on food insecurity and the elderly; economics of informal caregiving and long-term care; social and geographic determinants of obesity; regulation and pricing practices of the pharmaceutical industry and the impact of income support policies such as Social Security and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) on population health and health disparities. Dr. Arno has testified before numerous U.S. House and Senate committees on areas related to his research.

Ernesto Vasquez de Aguila, Ph.D.

Scholar in Residence
American University, Washington, DC

Dr. Vasquez del Aguila is an anthropologist with experience in Masculinity, Sexuality, Global Health, and Migration. He has published on sexual and reproductive health; sexuality; equality; and masculinity. His latest book is entitled “Being a Man in a Transnational World: The Masculinity and Sexuality of Migration” (Routledge 2014). In 2009, he received the Award for Excellence in Global Health, from the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. He earned his PhD in medical anthropology from Columbia University, New York City.

Justin T. Brown, PhD(c), MPhil, MA

Assistant Professor, Department of Health Sciences
LaGuardia Community College, CUNY
Location: E-300CC
Phone: 718-349-4094, voicemail box: 3501

Professor Justin T. Brown earned a Master’s of Arts and Master’s of philosophy in critical social-personality psychology from the CUNY Graduate Center, where he is currently preparing to defend his doctoral dissertation in the same program of study with an emphasis on health. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Indianapolis with a dual major in psychology and Spanish along with a minor in biology. Professor Brown is a new assistant professor at LaGuardia Community College in Health Sciences where his primary teaching load centers on courses in public health. Professor Brown’s background is in program development and intervention evaluation. His research focuses on addressing health inequities among GLBT, ethnic minority, and youth populations through asset-based approaches. Currently, his dissertation is focused on investigating the implications of the Positive Youth Development (PYD) model on GLBT youth of color. Furthermore, Professor Brown is exploring the potential utility of asset-based models, in lieu of traditional deficit-based approaches used to address population-based health concerns. Prior to his appointment at LaGuardia Community College, Professor. Brown worked as the executive research associate and program director at the (CIHE).

Monique Guishard, M.S., Ph.D.(c)

Lecturer in Psychology
Bronx Community College/CUNY

Phone: 718 289-5659

Monique A. Guishard is a CUNY educated interdisciplinary scholar committed to community-academic research conducted with accountability, transparency and ethics of solidarity.Guishard is a graduate of Bronx Community College, Herbert H. Lehman College, and a soon to be graduate of the Graduate Center's Critical/Social Psychology Ph.D program. Monique's research interests are: research ethics, participatory action research, indigenous theories & research methods, Black & Latina feminism, public health, and education research. Monique is currently a Lecturer of Psychology with a Certificate of Continuous Employment at Bronx Community College within the Social Sciences Department. Guishard also a founding and advisory committee member of The Public Science Project (PSP) .

Monique’s dissertation research investigates the social representation of appropriate ethical conduct in research from the perspective of academic participatory researchers, community researchers, IRB members, and federal ethical regulations as a means of addressing ethical concerns about ownership, interpretation, self-determination, rights, and social justice that are present in all scientific inquiry. Guishard’s current work also aims to endarken (employ Black, Latina, and Indigenous feminist theories) the fracture points between conventional Institutional Review Board centered ethics and De-colonial participatory action research (DPAR) stances to ethical practice. Her writing has appeared in the Urban Review, The Harvard Family Research Digest, and the Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation. 

Teresa A. Booker, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Phone: 212 237-8090

Teresa A. Booker is a tenured Assistant Professor of Africana Studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a member of the doctoral faculty of Criminal Justice at the Graduate Center of The City University of New York. She holds a doctorate in political science from the Graduate Center and graduated with an honors B.A. from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her areas of expertise straddle two distinct subfields: international relations and public policy. Within the former, her research interests include peacekeeping, peacemaking and restorative justice. Within the latter, she focuses on the implementation and evaluation of policy.

Dr. Booker is a co-author of Walking with Indigenous Philosophy: Justice and Addition Recovery (2014) and editor of two books: Race and the Urban Community and Keeping it Holy, Southerners, the South, and Themes of Justice, both under review by university presses. She has published in the peer-reviewed journals The National Journal of Urban Education and Practice, The International Journal of Restorative Justice, The Journal of Pan African Studies, and The International Journal of Regional and Local Studies.

In addition to evaluating programs while at a national research and consulting firm, Dr. Booker has held senior positions of leadership at two different college-preparatory programs and has directed a post-baccalaureate program funded by the U.S. Department of Education.