Who's Involved

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Lauren E. Gulbas, Ph.D.


As a medical anthropologist and Assistant Professor in the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at The University of Texas, my research integrates a unique conceptual lens with advanced qualitative and ethnographic methodologies to understand how people navigate complex sociocultural landscapes in the pursuit of mental health. One of the most exciting elements of my research is the opportunity to collaborate across disciplines to address salient disparities in health and mental health.


Maria de los Angeles Villarreal

Research Assistant

Maria is a third-year Social Work major pursuing a certificate in Creative Writing. She is from the border towns of Eagle Pass, Texas and Piedras Negras, Mexico. Growing up in these diverse environments rooted in her an interest in social justice. She is currently a research assistant and part of the Community Engagement team for the Adolescent Self Harm study. Aside from working in the Advanced Qualitative Lab, she is a Content Creator on the Communications team for TEDxUTAustin and the Community Service Coordinator for the Latin Economics and Business Organization. She is also a Social Work Education Enhancement Program mentor to help facilitate freshmen transitions to UT.


Briana Ortiz

Research Assistant

Briana Ortiz is a BSA biology major with a certificate in social inequality, health, and policy from Laredo, Texas. She is currently working on the Adolescent Self harm study and is involved in creating a community newsletter that will share information with both families and physicians on self-harm behaviors. Her aspirations include attending medical school where she hopes to apply what she has learned towards becoming a great physician.


Lauren Rosa

Research Assistant

Lauren graduated with a B.S.A in Human Development and Family Sciences from UT.  She is currently pursuing her MSSW at UT and hopes to practice private therapy. Lauren works full-time doing remote research at the Little Learners Lab at Vanderbilt University. She is passionate about raising awareness for mental health issues, their effects on minority communities, and their interaction with the social justice system. In her free time,  Lauren  enjoys watching plays, going to concerts, volunteering, and skiing.


Isabel Cesani

Research Assistant

Isabel Cesani is a third-year Public Health major from Temple, Texas. She works on the People’s Community Clinic project as a qualitative data analyst and data collector. She is currently working on a B.S in Public Health with plans of getting a Master’s of Public Health. Later in life, she has hopes of attending medical school.


Amanda Ladd

Research Assistant

Amanda Ladd is a third year BSA Human Development and Family Sciences major at UT Austin. She is minoring in Health Communications and plans to be a pediatric PA in the future. She is originally from Belton, Texas. Amanda is a qualitative data analyst on the People’s Community Clinic team. The focus of this project is coding and analyzing data related to attitudes held by adolescents towards their pre-health screenings.


Madeline Moore

Research Assistant

Madeline Moore is a fourth year  Biology major from San Antonio, Texas. She is currently working on the Adolescent Self Harm project. The projects primary goal is the identification of behaviors common in young women of color in order to gain a better understanding of their experience to hopefully provide better treatment and care in the future. Madeline hopes to graduate next spring with a Biology BSA and attend medical school to pursue a lifetime of providing care to those who need it most.


Jordan Bremer

Research Assistant

Jordan Bremer is a senior at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is pursuing  a degree in  Biology. He currently works on the Adolescent Self Harm Study within the lab, with a focus on studying the secondary effects of stress amongst those who research traumatic data. He plans on a future in health care, wherever it may be.


Sierra Wood

Research Assistant

Sierra Wood is a third-year BSA Biochemistry major with a minor in Health Education at UT Austin. She is a member of the DHMC team, which seeks to identify issues third-year medical students face in resolving ethical conflicts. Originally from San Antonio, Texas, she plans to attend medical school after undergrad, with the goal of becoming a fetal surgeon.

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Adam Wesevich

Research Assistant

Adam Wesevich, from San Antonio TX, is a third year undergraduate Psychology BS major at UT Austin with hopes of attaining his MD and pursuing Psychiatry. He is a member of the DHMC team that is seeking to identify and categorize the different ethical conflicts and struggles found within the Dartmouth Medical School academic hospital rotations in hopes of analyzing the root concerns of the issues in question by collecting shared experiences and opinions surrounding the impacts that being witness to these issues has created. This study will then be used to accelerate the creation of a proposed curriculum that would both better prepare these students to be well equipped for the challenges that they may face in their own professional lives and to also serve as an initial deterrence for the continuation of unethical practices and principles by informing the next generation of medical professionals on topics and issues that were previously seen as atypical or unremarkable.


Lori Woo

Research Assistant

Lori Woo is a third-year Social Work and Plan II major from Austin, TX. Her interests in qualitative research, maternal mental health, and social determinants of health led her to join the Advanced Qualitative Lab. She currently works on the PATH Project with the University of Texas System, focusing on the experiences of women accessing healthcare and insurance coverage during pregnancy and postpartum. Outside of the lab, Lori is a Mental Health Peer Educator for the Longhorn Wellness Center and peer mentor for the Steve Hicks School of Social Work.

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Kate Gist

Research Assistant

Kate Gist is a third-year Health & Society major at UT with a certificate in Spanish for Medical Professions. She is currently a Spanish-speaking assistant for the People’s Community Clinic project, which analyzes qualitative data regarding adolescents’ attitudes toward pre-health screenings. Kate plans to attend medical school after she graduates, and as a doctor, she will aid in breaking down linguistic and cultural barriers in clinical settings to secure a better quality of healthcare for ethnic and linguistic minority groups.


Iris Rentería

Research Assistant

Iris Rentería is a first year Mechanical Engineering major at Johns Hopkins University from Austin, Texas. Iris is currently an assistant on the Postpartum Access to Healthcare Project with UT System, focusing on doula support and other pregnancy and postpartum healthcare. Aside from work with the Advanced Qualitative Lab, Iris has interned with Abrémod Operations Research Analysts, launching their website and developing training material.

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Kaya Epstein

Research Assistant

Kaya Epstein is a second-year Cellular and Molecular Biology major at UT with a minor in Government and certificate in Environment and Sustainability. She previously interned as a wet-lab research assistant at MD Anderson Cancer Center Science Park, studying histone lysine modification in adult stem cells. This past year, she worked as a research assistant in the Georgiou Lab at UT Austin, working on the development of cancer therapeutics via enzyme engineering. Now, she is a research assistant on the PATH project, participating in qualitative data analysis of interviews with women on healthcare experiences and access.