2023 Population Scholars

About the Population Scholars Program

The MPC Population Scholars Program is an intensive grant proposal writing program that runs from January 2023 through Fall 2023 NIH and NSF submission deadlines. This annual program trains a cohort of five scholars--both from the University of Minnesota and from the broader population studies research community--in grant proposal writing and introduces them to the grants process. Participants have opportunities to network with MPC leadership and their fellow scholars. 

The overarching goal of the MPC Population Scholars Program is to develop and foster a vibrant nationwide community of diverse scholars doing critical population health research.

2023 Scholars

Picture of Ka Ip

Ka Ip

Ka is an Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota Institute of Child Development. His research focuses on the development of emotion regulation in typical and at-risk populations, examining the ways that cultural contexts shape emotion regulation, and how early adversity, racism and neighborhood inequalities “get under the skin” to confer risk and resilience for the development of mental health problems among children and adolescents. 

As a MPC Population Scholar, his goal is to develop an R grant proposal to probe stress-induced neural pathways that link upstream neighborhood adverse exposures to the development of adolescent mental health outcomes, and to connect other with Population Scholars that address issues relate to social inequalities and health disparities.

Picture of Adriana Corredor Waldron

Adriana Corredor-Waldron

Adriana Corredor-Waldron is an economist studying health disparities and mental health in the United States. She is an Assistant Professor of Economics at North Carolina State University. 

Her research uses quasi-experimental designs and spatial data to investigate how healthcare providers and public policies shape medical treatment and access to care. As an MPC Population Scholar, she plans to develop a grant proposal to study how reproductive health varies across the U.S. 


Picture of Alexandra VanBergen

Alexandra VanBergen

Alexandra (Alex) VanBergen is a Senior Data Analyst within the Minnesota Population Center at the University of Minnesota, and the Project Manager of the National Couples’ Health and Time Study (NCHAT). Her research examines (1) demographic, social, and institutional factors underlying mental health disparities, and (2) interpersonal factors in suicide risk among bisexual, pansexual, and queer adults. Alex’s work is guided by family systems theory, the interpersonal theory of suicide, life course theory, intersectionality theory, and minority stress theory. Alex earned her PhD in Human Development and Family Science at the Ohio State University. As an MPC population scholar, she hopes to submit an R03 or R21 to support her work examining social connectedness as an underlying mechanism in bisexual and bi+ mental health disparities.

Picture of Juan Del Toro

Juan Del Toro

Juan Del Toro is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Psychology at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. As an applied developmental psychologist, Juan examines how specific perpetrators of ethnic-racial discrimination (e.g., peers, school adults, and law enforcement) shape children’s life course trajectories. The goal of specifying perpetrators is to inform setting-specific policies and interventions working to improve the well-being of all youth. As part of the MPC Population Scholars program, Juan will be developing a proposal to fund research using behavioral genetic methods to understand how parents’ socialization practices instill children with resilience following ethnic/racial discrimination events. Webpage: juandeltoro.com

Picture of J'Mag Karbeah

J’Mag Karbeah

J'Mag Karbeah is an Assistant Professor in the department of health policy and management at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. Dr. Karbeah is a health services researcher who uses mixed-method and community-informed research methods to interrogate and dismantle structural racism's impact on maternal and child health inequities. Her program of research leverages theories and methods from population health science as well as health services research to identify the complex and multidimensional ways through which racism impacts health. Her current research focuses on evaluating the impact of police contact on adolescent mental health and the potential role that ethnicity may play in this relationship. 

UMN Website: https://directory.sph.umn.edu/bio/sph-a-z/jmag-karbeah

Personal Website: jmagkarbeah.com

Picture of Lai Sze Tso

Lai Sze Tso

Lai Sze Tso is a Research Professor (Population Studies and Demography), Assistant Professor in Sociology and Anthropology, and Faculty Affiliate in Scandinavian Studies and Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies at Gustavus Adolphus College. Lai Sze Tso is deeply committed to excellence in education and instruction. Her social outreach and research projects contribute to social justice, community, service, equity, and inclusion by improving healthcare outcomes for vulnerable populations and by building health infrastructure in low-resource settings. Internationally, she is a part of Mobile Medical Materials Working Group, a collective of academics, practitioners, policy makers, and healthcare system users focused on addressing the mobility and blockages of medical care, supplies, technologies, pharmaceuticals, and related critically needed materials.

Website: https://gustavus.edu/profiles/ltso