Doctoral Fellows

  • RWJF Center for Health Policy Doctoral Fellow

    Melina was born and raised in a small, rural, farm community in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Her parents are Mexican immigrants from Guanajuato, Mexico who have inspired and pushed her to continue her education.
    She received her B.A. in political science from California State University, Stanislaus and completed her M.A. in Trans-Atlantic Politics at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Her M.A. thesis explored South-North migration with a focus on Mexico-U.S. and Morocco-Spain immigration issues. Her thesis analyzed push-and-pull factors of immigration, immigration policies, and the politics behind reclassifying immigrants as economic refugees.
    Along with her academic work, Melina is also an active part of her community. She is part of the Raza Graduate Student Association and various grassroots organizations and campaigns that tackle issues relating to immigration/immigrant rights, ethnic studies and education access, and LGBTQ issues.

  • RWJF Center for Health Policy Doctoral Fellow

    Yoshira D. Macias Mejia is a doctoral student in the department of political science. She is a first generation Mexican American and Southern California native. She graduated from California State University, Northridge with her bachelor’s degree in Political Science. She also holds a M.A. in American Politics and Public Policy from the University of New Mexico. She has been graduate intern at the New Mexico State Department of Health. Through this internship she was able to gain insight as to how health policies affect non-English language speakers in New Mexico. This informs her research because she is able to use this knowledge for her future field work in New Mexico. Her rationale for pursuing health equity issues stem primarily from personal experience with family members.

  • RWJF Center for Health Policy Doctoral Fellow

    Kristina Piorkowski is a doctoral student in the Department of Economics at the University of New Mexico. She recently earned her Master’s degree in Economics in spring of 2015 and obtained her Bachelors in Economics in 2013, also at the University of New Mexico. Her undergraduate honors thesis focused on rural health in Nepal, specifically on the factors affecting birthing location decisions. Her interest in health equity issues began in high school when she decided she wanted to be a medical doctor to provide care to underserved populations. After discovering she had a squeamish stomach and, eventually, a passion for economics, she decided to use her research in health economics as a tool to analyze and inform policy to eliminate health disparities.

  • RWJF Center for Health Policy Doctoral Fellow

    Patricia Rodriguez Espinosa, M.S., is a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Psychology at the University of New Mexico and Dissertation Fellow at the RWJF Center for Health Policy. Ms. Rodriguez Espinosa is pursuing a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology as well as Masters of Public Health in the School of Medicine. A native of Habana, Cuba, Patricia moved to the United States in 2007, going on to graduate with a B.S. in Psychology in 2010 and immediately starting her doctoral degree. She received her Master’s in Science degree in Psychology in 2013 after defending her thesis with distinctions in the Department of Psychology at UNM. Patricia’s direct experiences with immigration have become the starting point for her research agenda focusing on immigrant and Latino health in the United Stated. 

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