Team Members

Jesse E. Bell, PhD - Executive Director 

Dr. Bell is the Claire M. Hubbard Professor of Water, Climate, and Health and Director of the Water, Climate, and Health Program at UNMC. In addition, he is the Director of Water, Climate, and Health at the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska. His expertise is focused on understanding the impacts of changes in the environment and climate on human and natural processes. His goal is to help prepare our communities for the threats of climate change and other changes in our environment. 

Eleanor G. Rogan, PhD - Associate Director 

Dr. Rogan serves as the Interim Assistant Director of the Water, Climate, and Health Program, Professor and Chair of the Department of Environmental, Agricultural, & Occupational Health. Her research has focused on mechanisms of activation of carcinogens, including the role of estrogen-DNA adducts in the initiation of cancer and eye disorders. Presently, she is also using a watershed network approach to investigate the potential role of waterborne contaminants in pediatric cancer, birth defects and Parkinson’s Disease in Nebraska. 

Meghan Langel, MPH - Director of Operations

Meghan manages the administrative and operational aspects of the Water, Climate, and Health Program. She holds a BA in Psychology from Creighton University and a master's degree in Public Health (Health Promotion) from UNMC. She was the lead coordinator of two large, federally funded clinical trials, and has expertise in pre and post award research administration. Most recently Meghan was the Director of Research for the College of Allied Health Professions at UNMC. Meghan is interested in the intersection of emergency preparedness and climate change.

Rachel Lookadoo, JD  - Director of Public Health Policy

Rachel Lookadoo, JD, is the Director of Public Health Policy for the Water, Climate and Health Program and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology. Ms. Lookadoo’s background is as an attorney, and she focuses on the various legal and regulatory issues that can arise in emergency preparedness. She specializes in quarantine law, public health effects of climate change, crisis standards of care, infectious disease response, and general legal preparedness. Ms. Lookadoo also conducts emergency preparedness trainings and assessments for public health departments and healthcare facilities nationally.

Yeongjin Gwon, PhD - Director of Biostatistics

Bayesian statistical methodology, Bayesian computation, Network meta analysis, Latent class modeling, High-dimensional data, Longitudinal data, and Survival data analysis.... 


Kristina Kintziger, PhD - Claire M. Hubbard Professor of Health and Environment

Dr. Kintziger is the Claire M. Hubbard Professor of Health and Environment. Her general research area focuses on the application of advanced epidemiologic and interdisciplinary methods to improve public health practice in environmental epidemiology. More specifically, she is interested in the impacts of weather and climate change, and the interaction of these impacts with human or system-level vulnerabilities, on morbidity, mortality, and other public health outcomes.

Siddhi Munde, MS - Research Data Analyst

Siddhi Munde joined the College of Public Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) as a research data analyst in 2020. She works on water quality and health outcomes research. She is responsible for data engineering, visualizations, spatial data analysis and machine learning based modeling. Her research interest is integration of geo-information analytics and public health. Siddhi holds a Master’s in Geoinformatics from ITC-University of Twente, Netherlands, and Bachelor’s in Engineering in Information Technology (IT) from University of Pune, India.

thumbnail_jalazadeh-fard.jpgBabak J. Fard, PhD- Postdoctoral Researcher 

Babak is an environmental data scientist with an interdisciplinary engineering graduate degree. He works to use different methods and tools to help improve the understanding of the effects of climate on health. He makes statistical and machine learning models that incorporate different intermediary factors into the models that connect the climatic variables to health outcomes. He values research that uses advanced analyses, while providing practical results for different interested groups.  

Laura Nagengast, MPH - Extension Educator - Source Water Protection

Laura is the Source Water Protection Extension Educator at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Natural Resources. She holds a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Michigan and a Master’s of Public Health (Administration and Policy) from UNMC. Laura collaborates with the Water Climate and Health Program to increase awareness and education on water quality issues in Nebraska and their impact on human health. She works to serve as the link between the science and the community understanding of the health impacts related to consumption of contaminated water. Laura is interested community engagement, outreach/education, and public health advocacy.

Jessenia Hincapie - Master of Public Health Student

Jessenia is a Master of Public Health student with a concentration in Epidemiology. She is originally from Brooklyn, New York but was raised in Nebraska City, Nebraska. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Biology from Peru State College. Previously, she conducted research in rural communities of Costa Rica. Her research focused on developing a technology-enabled control tool against Dengue Fever. This study sparked her interest to further pursue her career in Public Health.

Ruth Mencia - Master of Public Health Student

Ruth Mencia of Grand Island, NE is a recent graduate of Chadron State College where she acquired a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work, minoring in Human Biology and General Business and Administration. Although her passion of service began early on, her interest in public health catalyzed in the midst of a global crisis. During the pandemic, Ruth worked as a bilingual COVID-19 contact tracer assisting in bridging the gap of communication to further promote the health and safety of Nebraska residents, igniting a passion of international public health along the way. This upcoming fall, Ruth will begin her path in pursuing a Master of Public Health with a concentration in Health Promotion in aim of expanding her skillset globally.