Our Team

Marni Sommer, Associate Professor of Sociomedical Sciences, Director of GATE 

Marni Sommer, DrPH, MSN, RN, has worked in global health and development on issues ranging from improving access to essential medicines to humanitarian relief in conflict settings. Dr. Sommer's particular areas of expertise include conducting participatory research with adolescents, understanding and promoting healthy transitions to adulthood, the intersection of public health and education, gender and sexual health, and the implementation and evaluation of adolescent-focused interventions.  Dr. Sommer's current research focuses on the intersections of gender, health and education for girls and boys transitioning into adulthood in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.

 

Maggie Schmitt, Associate Director

Maggie Schmitt, MPH, is the Associate Program Director for the GATE Program. Maggie has been at CU MSPH for over 10 years, working on a range of menstrual health and hygiene, WASH, adolescent health and health systems strengthening research programs in low-income and humanitarian settings. Most recently, her work has focused on the inclusion of menstrual hygiene within humanitarian emergencies, in collaboration with the International Rescue Committee. Maggie also leads the Growing Girls USA project, a national puberty and menstruation study exploring the experiences of low-income girls growing up in urban areas across the US.

 

Caitlin Gruer, Program Manager

Caitlin Gruer, MPH, is a Program Manager for the GATE Program.  Her current work focuses on the use of participatory research methods to capture the lived experiences of girls and women related to menarche, menstruation, and pubertal transitions.  This includes translating research into practical resources for girls and women, implementing organizations, and policy makers.  Previously, she worked at Plan International USA and Helen Keller International Cambodia leading initiatives related to menstrual hygiene management (MHM), water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), and integrated WASH and nutrition. 

 

Denita Utami, Research Assistant

Denita Utami is a first-year MPH student in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences with a certificate in Health Promotion Research and Practice. She graduated from the University of Melbourne, Australia and University of Indonesia with a combined Bachelor of Medical Science/Medical Doctor degree. Her interests include health education for girls, health communication in the new media, and outbreak management and preparedness. Before pursuing her MPH, Denita worked as a primary care physician in hospitals and community health centers, and a Program Manager for a medical crowdfunding start-up serving uninsured and underserved populations in Indonesia. As a research assistant for the GATE program, Denita will be working on the research project exploring the implications of the management of menstruation during an Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak and how humanitarian responders can improve response efforts.

 

Christine Hagstrom, Lerner Research Fellow

Christine Hagstrom is an MPH candidate in the Department of Population & Family Health with a certificate in Sexuality, Sexual and Reproductive Health. Prior to coming to Mailman, she worked as a Community Health Educator for Planned Parenthood where she designed and implemented sexual health education in schools and conducted trainings for teachers and parents. She is passionate about destigmatizing sexual health and supporting adolescents through advocacy and education. As a Lerner Center Research Fellow, Christine will be working with the GATE team and supporting efforts of the Growing Girls USA project, which seeks to enhance learning on how girls growing up in low-income urban areas across the United States experience puberty and menarche.

 

Tegan Stuart, Illustrator

Tegan Stuart is an MPH candidate in the Sociomedical Sciences Department, earning her certificate in Health Communication. She completed her undergraduate studies at Saint Mary's College of California, where she studied Allied Health Science and Creative Writing. Tegan has a passion for non-profit work and patient advocacy. Since 2017, she has completed internships at the Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, Women's Earth Alliance, and most recently the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Tegan loves both illustration and writing and hopes to merge these passions with public health as her career continues. Her dream: to promote health literacy through words and images. Tegan is working with GATE to illustrate menstrual stories from girls across the USA.