PTBi Postdoctoral Fellows


Dr. Afulani obtained her MPH and PhD in Public Health from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, Department of Community Health Sciences. She is a medical officer from Ghana, and obtained her MBChB from the University of Ghana Medical School. Her research interests include how the quality of care in health facilities can shape reproductive, maternal, neonatal, and child health. Her current work focuses on examining sources of disparities in the use and quality of maternal health services and how these translate into disparities in maternal and fetal outcomes. As a PTBi Fellow, Dr. Afulani has developed a tool to quantitatively measure women’s perceptions of the care they receive in health facilities during childbirth in Migori County, Kenya. She has collected more than 1200 interviews with women, family members and providers to examine factors underlying disparities in the choice of delivery place, the quality of care received, as well as disparities in pregnancy outcomes. She is now extending this research to address health provider stress and unconscious bias to improve quality and person-centered dimensions of maternal healthcare. Learn more >>



Dr. Altman graduated from the University of Vermont with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing, and concurrently completed a Master of Nursing Science in Nurse-Midwifery and a Master of Public Health in Maternal-Child Health Epidemiology at the University of Washington. She completed her PhD in Nursing at Washington State University, examining the comparative effectiveness of certified nurse midwives (CNMs) to obstetrician/gynecologists in the hospital setting. Dr. Altman’s postdoctoral research uses interpretive qualitative research methodologies to examine the experience in pregnancy and birth—particularly around interactions within the health care system—for childbearing women at risk for preterm birth. Other areas of research have included the examination of preterm birth and health care delivery using methodologies across both quantitative and qualitative realms. She brings twelve years of clinical practice experience in the obstetric setting as a nurse-midwife, both in the United States and in developing countries such as India, Haiti, and South Sudan.



Dr. Chambers obtained her PhD in Community Health Education from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Her dissertation research applied ecosocial theory to quantitatively examine the association of indicators of structural racism and adverse birth outcomes experienced by African American and White women residing in California. Dr. Chambers’ research aims to merge critical and public health theories to increase sexual and reproductive health equity among marginalized populations. Her research to date has spanned various sexual, reproductive, and maternal and child health issues across the reproductive life span, utilizing quantitative and qualitative methodologies. As a PTBi fellow, she will be working closely with the Saving Our Ladies from early births And Reducing Stress (SOLARS) Study and continue her work to understand how structural racism operates to produce inequities in adverse birth outcomes among African American women residing in California.



Dr. Felder obtained an MA and PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Colorado, Boulder and conducted her pre-doctoral clinical internship at Duke University Medical Center. Dr. Felder’s research interests include understanding the relationships between antenatal sleep disturbance, depression, and preterm birth. Poor sleep quality increases the risk of preterm birth and depression, but few studies have examined interventions to improve sleep during this vulnerable time. As a PTBi Fellow, Dr. Felder is addressing this issue with the UCSF Research on Expecting moms and Sleep Therapy (REST) Study, a randomized controlled trial comparing a digital cognitive behavior therapy to standard care in pregnant women with insomnia. This will provide preliminary data to examine whether an intervention to improve sleep during pregnancy reduces the risk of preterm birth, with the ultimate goal of developing more targeted and parsimonious behavioral interventions to improve the mental health and wellbeing of perinatal women and their offspring. Learn more >>



Dr. Karasek obtained her MPH and PhD in Epidemiology at the University of California, Berkeley. Drawing from social epidemiology and behavioral economics, her work is dedicated to understanding the structural and behavioral determinants of reproductive health outcomes, including preterm birth. Her recent research examines how decision-making and economic uncertainty affect contraceptive method use and risk of unintended pregnancy. Prior to her doctoral studies, she worked as a researcher with Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) at UCSF.



Dr. Madadi received both his medical training and PhD at the University of Nairobi. He is currently finishing up a Fogarty Global Health Fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco and is a senior lecturer at the University of Nairobi in the department of Human Anatomy and Obstetrics and Gynecology. His main areas of interest include translational science, vascular anatomy and biology, metabolic disorders, clinical obstetrics and gynecology, the science of preterm placentation, and other aspects of complicated pregnancies. Dr. Madadi's Fellowship will focus on placental biology and preterm birth.



Dr. Musana obtained a bachelor of medicine and surgery as well as a masters of medicine in obstetrics and gynecology from the University of Nairobi. He holds an advanced diploma in sexual and reproductive health and rights from Lund University in Sweden and has received an advanced training certificate in clinical research from UCSF. He serves as a consultant in obstetrics and gynecology and is an assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Aga Khan University, Nairobi, Kenya. Dr. Musana is interested in how maternal psychosocial health and stress influences birth outcomes. As a PTBi Fellow, Dr. Musana has launched a cohort study in Kenya to characterize the relationships between prenatal stress and gestational length in vulnerable populations of pregnancy women. He is correlating hair cortisol levels—an innovative biological marker of stress—with self-report measures of stress in order to predict gestational length at birth.