USC
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2017    Master of Public Health, Global Health Leadership Track, Keck School of Medicine of USC
2014    B.A., Molecular and Cell Biology – Neurobiology, University of California, Berkeley

Bita is a mixed-methods researcher who has spent her graduate career committed to interdisciplinary studies. She holds a B.A. in neurobiology from the University of California, Berkeley, where she minored in history of art. While at Berkeley, Bita worked under Dr. Zachary Rosner on his doctoral research investigating the generation effect.

During the MPH, Bita held various resource and program development internships across Los Angeles, including at International Medical Corps, generosity.org, and the F.H. Foundation. She completed a capstone research assignment under the supervision of Dr. Mellissa Withers, where she traveled to Samoa to lead a gap analysis of the national non-communicable disease policy through data analysis and stakeholder interviews. In her short time at the Samoan Ministry of Health, she presented her findings to top ministry officials and prepared the framework for the next national plan of action.

In her first year in the Population, Health and Place Ph.D. program, Bita worked with various research groups at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Under Dr. Laura Ferguson’s supervision, Bita conducted a qualitative analysis of interview data to evaluate an international maternal and child health intervention. With Dr. Megan Herting and Dr. Daniel Hackman, she researched various correlations between the Area Deprivation Index (ADI) and selected early brain development measures in the Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development (ABCD) dataset.

Under the guidance of her co-chairs Dr. Darren Ruddell and Dr. Jennifer Unger, Bita put together a dissertation committee of diverse interests with Dr. Alison Dundes Renteln, Dr. Paul Adler, and Dr. Orhun Aydin. Given her neurobiology background and an interest in program development, Bita’s dissertation focuses on the relationship between natural environmental determinants of early cognitive development throughout Los Angeles County. With a discussion equally invested in human rights, regression models, and integrating community voices, her research maintains a spatio-temporal and interdisciplinary focus. She believes this mixed-methods work will further children’s universal rights and improve inter-generational equity conditions.

Bita is currently working closely with Dr. Aydin on developing discrete and continuous spatio-temporal regression models of longitudinal environmental exposure. She serves as a teaching assistant for SSI’s SSCI 165: Sustainability Science in the City course and volunteers with TreePeople to improve greenspace throughout Los Angeles.