Research Assistants


Erin Anderson Goodell, SM: Erin is a doctoral student in the Department of Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her research interests include risk and protective factors for substance use and violence in military populations, focusing on reserve component personnel and interactions with their families and social groups. Erin has seven years of experience working in military health studies, including work as a research assistant for Army STARRS through Harvard Medical School and research associate for RTI International’s Substance Abuse Epidemiology and Military Behavioral Health program. Prior to beginning her doctoral degree program, Erin received her master's degree in epidemiology from Harvard University’s School of Public Health and a bachelor's degree in public health from the University of North Carolina’s School of Public Health

Kathelyn Benson, BS: Research Assistant on Operation: SAFETY. Ms. Benson is pursuing a Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in Community Health and Health Behavior at SUNY at Buffalo. She graduated in 2016 from Denison University with a degree in Biology. Her research interests include molecular biology, mental health, substance use disorders, and preventive medicine. 

Rachel Hoopsick, MS, MPH, CHES: Rachel is a research assistant on Operation: SAFETY. She is pursuing a doctoral degree in community health and health behavior at the University at Buffalo (UB) School of Public Health and Health Professions, with an interest in evidence-based treatment and prevention of substance use disorders. Prior to beginning her doctoral program, Ms. Rizzo completed her master's degree in epidemiology (2012) and Master of Public Health in health services administration (2013) at UB. Ms. Rizzo is a Certified Health Education Specialist with several years of experience in public health research, teaching, and practice in WNY.


Operation: SAFETY would like to thank previous staff for their contributions:

  • Mary K. Bennet, MD, FACEP
  • Melissa Cirina, MPH
  • Kristina Cummings, MA
  • Rachel Daws, MSW/MPH
  • Julia Devonish, MD PhD
  • Meredith Eggert, MPH
  • Aylin Erdogan
  • Mazie Feenstra- Swensen, MPH
  • Jennifer Garcia-Cano
  • Sarah Cercone Heavey, PhD MPH
  • Carly Nichols, MSW/MPH
  • Eric Read, MPH
  • Celina Rodrigues
  • Emily Schaffstall
  • Erika van der Kloet, MPH
  • Natalie Voos