Technical Advisors

The technical team are experts around the globe in various child health and education related issues. Their major role is to provide scientific and programmatic guidance for the Center. They ensure the scientific integrity of the Center’s research activities, support the Center's in writing/reviewing grants, publishing papers, developing programs and interventions.


Elizabeth Weage, MD

Dr. Elizabeth Wage is a board certified physician in the Southwestern Medical Clinic of Niles, Michigan. She specializes in family medicine. Dr. Weage is also affiliated with Lakeland Community Hospital.

Dr. Weage’s work at the Southwestern Medical Clinic is with a group of Christian providers, who share a commitment for internal missions. She has been practicing medicine for four years. She is passionate about improving the health of young children and pregnant women, and pursues related research.

Dr. Weage graduated from the Wayne State University School of Medicine in 2012. She completed her residency at the University of Cincinnati/The Christ Hospital. She served as chief resident during her final year.

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Katherine Lee, PhD, MA

Dr. Katherine Lee conducts mixed methods research employing both quantitative and qualitative methods, with a focus on applied research in community settings. Her research interests center on health communication for the global prevention of non-communicable chronic disease to identify innovative strategies to support health behavior change. Her dissertation work investigated pregnancy as a teachable moment for healthy eating promotion with low-income Central American immigrants.

Dr. Lee’s prior research roles include serving as data coordinator for a National Cancer Institute RO1 randomized clinical trial on behavioral strategies for weight management at Stanford University. She has previously conducted qualitative interviews with health providers and mothers to improve parent--child communication in pediatric primary care. She has also conducted a global review of social and behavioral interventions around reproductive health, nutrition, and maternal and child health through the Gates Foundation.

Dr. Katherine Lee received her PhD in Social and Behavioral Sciences from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She received her MA from Stanford University in 2006, and much of her research draws from her background in psychology and sociology.


Richmond Aryeetey, PhD

Dr. Richmond Aryeetey is a Senior Lecturer in the University of Ghana’s School of Public Health, where he has been on the faculty for the past 9 years. His research interests are multidisciplinary and cuts across food security, HIV, nutrition transition, infant and young child feeding, and e-Learning.

Dr. Aryeetey serves on several National Committees including the National Salt Iodization Committee, and the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement Technical Committee. At the international level, Dr. Aryeetey is currently, Vice President of the Federation of African Nutrition Societies (FANUS). He has also participated in several international conferences as a invited speaker and panelist on key issues of food and nutrition significance but particularly focusing on capacity building and research in nutrition. He has authored more than 35 peer reviewed journal articles and a book chapter on various subjects spanning his diverse research interests.

Dr. Aryeetey received his PhD in Nutritional Sciences from Iowa State University, and his MPH from the University of Ghana.

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Larissa Jennings, PhD

Dr. Larissa Jennings is currently an Assistant Professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is primarily affiliated with the Department of International Health, in the Social and Behavioral Interventions concentration.

Dr. Jennings has vast experience with research and the design and evaluation of maternal, newborn, and HIV-related health behavioral programs. She has recently also been pursuing research that focuses on the design and evaluation of small-scale economic strengthening activities to address sexual and reproductive health disparities among adolescents and young adults living in the U.S. and in developing countries. Much of Dr. Jennings’ work has been done with Kenyan young adults, Congolese youth, Native American adolescents, and African-American youth.

Dr. Jennings’ received her PhD from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2009. She also received her MHS from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2005, and her BA from Harvard University in 2001. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including most recently the NIH Research Scientist Career Development Award in 2015 and the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2014.

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Matthew Burkey, MD, PhD, MPH

Dr. Matthew Burkey is a practicing child & adolescent psychiatrist and a public health researcher. He is an Associate in the Department of Health, Behavior, and Society at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and a Clinical Assistant Professor in Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver). He currently practices psychiatry in rural British Columbia, Canada. His research interests include child behavioral and developmental disorders and child mental health service delivery.

Dr. Burkey’s doctoral dissertation research characterized the burden and cultural aspects of externalizing child mental health problems in a community in rural Nepal. His current research focuses on training non-specialists to provide mental health services in primary care. From 2011 to 2015, he was a research fellow in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Dr, Burkey received his MD from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and completed his psychiatry residency and child & adolescent psychiatry fellowship at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.

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Amos Laar, PhD, MA, MPH

Dr. Amos Laar is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health at the University of Ghana. He has been an Academic Senior Member for six years at the University. He also conducts research at the institution that is related to the socio-ethical aspects of HIV/AIDS, reproductive health, and nutrition-related non-communicable diseases, and maternal and young child nutrition.

Dr. Laar has also served as a health consultant for both local and international development agencies, including the United Nations World Food Program, the Accra Office of the Population Council in New York, and the National Development Planning Commission. He is also currently coordinating the Ghana Academic Platform in support of Scaling up Nutrition.

Dr. Laar received his PhD from the University of Ghana’s School of Public Health, and his MA in Bioethics from the University of Minnesota

Allison Ruarke, PhD, MPH

Dr. Allison Ruarke is a social epidemiologist. In over a decade of working in global public health, Dr. Ruarke has held positions at Harvard University and the World Bank, as well as worked with small, community- and faith-based organizations in a number of countries in Africa.

Dr. Ruarke has a broad inter-disciplinary perspective in her work, including training in anthropology, qualitative, and mixed-methods research. Her works revolved around determining the social, cultural, and structural determinants of health. She has focused on the socio-behavioral aspects of HIV prevention in southern Africa. She has a particular interest in risk and protective factors for health at couple and family levels, and how the dynamics of couple relationships impact physical, emotional, and mental health, including HIV outcomes.

Dr. Ruarke received her PhD from the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is currently a post-doctoral Research Associate in the Department of Medicine at Brown University.


Mufaro Kanyangarara, PhD, MPH

Assistant Scientist, Department of International Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Mufaro Kanyangarara is an Assistant Scientist in the Department of International Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she completed a PhD in International Health focused on Global Disease Epidemiology and Control.

The overarching objective of her research has been to generate evidence to improve public health programs and policies. Her research portfolio has spanned a diversity of global health projects encompassing two areas: infectious diseases and maternal and child health (MNCH). She brings to CLCD an extensive training in epidemiology and biostatistics, expertise applying advanced research methods to address global health challenges and knowledge of the sub-Saharan Africa


Esther Malm, PhD, LMFT

Dr. Esther Malm is a Developmental Psychologist with a master’s degree in clinical psychology. She is also a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Her research focuses on the impact of family functioning and parenting on child, adolescent and college outcomes (risk and protective behaviors) including bullying, prosocial behaviors, delinquency, academic achievement, depression, and other psychosocial functioning. She is also interested in cross-cultural research related to family dynamics, the resilience of parents and children. She believes that healthy parents and healthy parenting are needed foundations for healthier children and nations. Her current cross-cultural projects include the examination of marital conflict and satisfaction among Ghanaians home and abroad and Resiliency among parents of children with developmental disabilities in Ghana.

Dr. Malm has experience in quantitative and qualitative research as well as program evaluation research. She also supervises undergraduate and graduates projects. Dr. Malm has served as Co-PI on several extramural and intramural grants and serves as a reviewer of several high impact journals in the area of developmental and clinical psychology. She is currently a senior advisor to ResilienceCon, an international conference focused on highlighting resilience in individuals, families, and communities across the lifespan. This conference is hosted annually in Nashville, Tennessee, USA.

Dr. Malm received her PhD from Georgia State University, Atlanta, and her master’s degree from the University of Ghana. She is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Murray State University, Kentucky.