Researchers + Staff

Program Director

Karen Freund, MD in 2020Karen Freund, MD, MPH

Karen M. Freund, MD, MPH is Physician-in-Chief and Chair of the Department of Medicine and Sara Murray Jordan Professor of Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine. She is trained and board certified as a general internist and primary care physician and is also board certified in preventive medicine. She joined Tufts Medical Center in 2012 and maintains an active practice in general medicine. Dr. Freund is a national expert in women’s health and health care to minority and low-income populations. She has an active research program with over 120 publications. She is recognized for her skills in mentorship and oversees mentorship programs within the department for medical educators and clinician scientists. 






Dr. Alysse Wurcel is an infectious disease specialist in Boston at Tufts Medical Center. Alysse Wurcel, MD, MS
Assistant Professor and Attending Physician, Geographic Medicine and Infectious Disease, Tufts Medical Center

Alysse Wurcel, MD is an attending physician in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine at Tufts Medical Center and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine. She is board certified in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases. A graduate of University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, she completed her Internal Medicine training at Massachusetts General Hospital, Infectious Disease fellowship at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital and Tufts Medical Center, and received a Masters in Clinical Research from the School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts University School of Medicine.

Dr. Wurcel  provides HIV and HCV care at Tufts Medical Center as well as six local county jails. She is the Infectious Diseases consultant to the Massachusetts Sheriffs Association for COVID19 prevention and mitigation strategies. She is currently funded through a K08 grant from AHRQ to work with stakeholders in the jails to improve access to HCV testing and treatment.


Amy LeClair, PhD, MPhilAmy LeClair, PhD, MPhil

Amy LeClair, PhD, MPhil is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at Tufts Medical Center and Tufts University School of Medicine. She is a medical sociologist who employs qualitative and mixed methods to conduct health services research with disadvantaged populations. She joined Tufts Medical Center in 2015 after earning her PhD in Sociology from New York University and completing a NIMHD post-doctoral training fellowship in mental health services research at Rutgers University’s Institute for Health, Healthcare Policy and Aging Research. Dr. LeClair is the course director for Health Services Research in the Clinical and Translation Sciences graduate program She collaborates with several interdisciplinary teams on topics including racial and economic disparities in breast cancer care, addressing health related social needs in medical settings, and improving pathways for Hepatitis C testing and treatment among incarcerated populations. Dr. LeClair is currently developing an implementation study to increase the collection of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data in health care settings to optimize patient-centered care.

Dr. Jana LearyJana Leary, MD, MS

Dr. Leary is an Assistant Clinical Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine and a pediatric hospitalist at the Tufts Medical Center at Tufts Medical Center. She completed her medical training at Johns Hopkins Hospital and is board-certified in general pediatrics and pediatric hospital medicine. In 2016, she was awarded a TL1 research fellowship with the Tufts CTSI, during which she obtained her Masters degree in clinical and translational science. Her primary research aims to improve hospital experiences and health outcomes for vulnerable pediatric populations such as the medically and socially complex. In 2020, Dr. Leary was awarded a KL2 career development grant, to gather stakeholder perspectives on screening for social determinants of health during pediatric hospitalizations, informing the development of an inpatient screening strategy that she will subsequently pilot. Dr. Leary’s long-term research goal is to implement social screening and intervention across various pediatric inpatient settings to reduce healthcare disparities and hospital utilization. Her full list of publications can be found here >


Dolma Tsering, BSDolma Tsering, BS 
Research Assistant 

Dolma received her BS in Psychology with a focus on Neuroscience and a minor in Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her research interests include addressing and reducing health disparities within vulnerable populations through community-partnered research and improving health care services. In the future Dolma hopes to pursue an MPH as a means to improve health outcomes and efficiency in health systems that address disparities in health and healthcare. Outside of work she loves reading, baking, hiking and camping. 



Marisa MizzoniMarisa Rizzoni, BA
Research Assistant

Marisa received her BA in Psychology and English Language & Literature from Smith College in 2021. Prior to joining CHER, Marisa worked as a neurofeedback technician. She is passionate about health equity and improving healthcare outcomes for rheumatology and arthritis patients. In the future Marisa hopes to pursue an MPH. Outside of work, Marisa enjoys reading, going to museums, and spending time with her cat.




Former Staff


Leena Rijhwani, BSLeena Rijhwani, BS
Research Assistant

Leena graduated from Boston College in 2020 with a BS in Biology and International Studies, with a concentration in Ethics & Social Justice. She is passionate about cultural competence in healthcare delivery and reducing barriers to care for vulnerable populations. Currently, Leena’s research with Dr. Leary focuses on screening for social determinants of health during pediatric hospitalizations. In the future, Leena hopes to attend medical school, and studying social determinants and broader health disparities will provide the foundation for the equitable, patient-centered approach to medicine she hopes to practice. Outside of work, Leena enjoys singing, dancing, and exploring Boston.




Julia Zubiago, MPHJulia Zubiago, MPH
Research Assistant

Julia received her Master’s in Public Health with a concentration in Health Services, Management, and Policy. Her research interests include addressing and reducing health disparities in vulnerable populations, particularly people with substance use disorder and/or history of incarceration. She is interested in identifying opportunities for systematic change towards health equity. Outside of work, Julia loves to read, run, hike, and listen to musicals.  





Danielle K.Danielle Krzyszczyk, BS
Research Assistant 

Danielle Krzyszczyk joined the research team in August 2018 after graduating from Harvard University with a BS in psychology. Her interests include retail therapy, memes, and Canadian candy. Danielle is currently pursuing her PsyD in clinical psychology at William James College with a focus in Forensic Psychology.





Carolyn Luk, BA, MPHCarolyn Luk, BA, MPH
Research Assistant

After leaving Tufts MC, Carolyn Luk went to pursue her MPH in Epidemiology from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. At Columbia, she was an Epi Scholar at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and wrote her master's thesis on social determinants of childhood asthma outcomes. After receiving her MPH in 2018, she was selected as a Presidential Management Fellow based in Washington DC, where she conducted research and evaluation studies on federal nutrition assistance programs at the USDA Food and Nutrition Service and implemented healthcare service delivery models at the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation. Since finishing the PMF program, Carolyn works on developing healthcare payment policy at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.    


Rubeen GuardadoRubeen Guardado, MPH 
Research Assistant 

Rubeen has an MPH with a concentration in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from Tufts University, and BA in Global Health form University of California San Diego. Previously Rubeen has worked abroad conducting small research projects investigating PrEP interest among MSM in Mexico and Anthropometric outcomes among indigenous communities in Guatemala. His current research interest include addressing gaps in healthcare access and other health disparities among marginalized populations, particularly people with substance use disorder and/or history of incarceration. In the future Rubeen hopes to continue doing research and applying what he’s learned into clinical practice as a clinical health provider. Outside of work, Rubeen enjoys singing, dancing, watching movies, and learning how to cook.