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Meet The Team: Meet the Team

Founders

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Jenell Coleman, MD, MPH
she/her/hers

Co-Founder, CMO and Medical Director

Dr. Coleman is an OB/GYN with 20 years of experience as a physician. Her areas of clinical expertise include comprehensive gynecologic care of women from adolescence to menopause, with a large focus on STI and HIV prevention. Her hope to create a platform like Violet stemmed from a desire to serve young girls and women in the Baltimore area and beyond and support them in having a reliable place to learn about their sexual and reproductive health, reach providers, and have access to free and confidential reproductive healthcare to protect their futures.

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Saumya Sao, BA
she/they

Co-Founder, CEO and Creative Director

Saumya Sao is a researcher and social entrepreneur with a passion for transforming access to healthcare and healthcare service delivery. Saumya studied Global Health and Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies at Duke University. She conceptualized the Violet brand, built the website, and developed Violet's community-oriented initiatives such as the Youth Community Advisory Board and Violet Patient Volunteering. Saumya now primarily mentors the student team, procures funding, does graphic design and video production, and generates areas of expansion for Violet. Saumya also works with Dr. Coleman to conduct research in the field of adolescent sexual and reproductive health. Saumya hopes to spend her life improving equitable access to sexual and reproductive healthcare, and loves that Violet is doing exactly that for young people in Baltimore!

Violet Team

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Margaret Greer, MHS
Program Manager

Margaret (she/her) received her bachelor's in Gender and Health, with minors in Science, Technology, and Society, as well as Anthropology at University of Michigan. She then completed her Masters in Health Science, which focused on the Social Factors of Health, and an epidemiology certificate at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Margaret joined the Violet Project in November, 2023, and now runs the daily operations of the project - from running the social media to writing grants and coordinating partnerships. She is passionate about sexual and reproductive health and its intersections with health equity, and is excited to be working with the Violet Project to achieve its goals and support the youth in the Baltimore and greater Maryland area!

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Lillee Izadi
Content Creator

Lillee (she/her) is a Doctoral Diversity postbaccalaureate student at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She graduated from undergrad with a major in biology in 2022. She is a research assistant with the Division of GYN Specialties and creates content for the Violet Instagram and TikTok. She also supports multiple Violet research projects and is the Violet Patient Volunteering Clinical Lead for the Bayview Emergency Department site.

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Mira Bruce
Content Creator

Mira (she/her) is a high school student at The Bryn Mawr School. She is, on the Violet Youth Advisory Board, a Violet peer educator at her school and a Violet intern. She strives to spread knowledge about sexual and reproductive health to people of all ages. Through Violet she’s been able to learn more about reproductive health education and the importance of spreading it. In the future, Mira hopes to become an OB/GYN.

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Camille Shantz
Director of Violet Patient Volunteering 

Camille (she/her/hers) is a recent graduate of Johns Hopkins University and majored in math. Camille excitedly joined Violet as a patient volunteer in Fall of 2022 and served as the clinic lead for the Bayview ED site before transitioning to the director position. She’s passionate about furthering equitable access to sexual and reproductive health care and education. Outside of Violet, she’s engaged in research at the Johns Hopkins Fetal Therapy Center and the JHCC Pediatric and Congenital Heart Center; an intern with Future Doctors for Progress; and an officer in HOPthon, a fundraising organization for the JHCC. She hopes to pursue a medical career centered around equity, patient empowerment, and clinical research.

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Sadie Abboud
Web Design Manager

Sadie (she/her) graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a Bachelor's degree in Public Health Studies and Natural Sciences. Sadie has been with Violet since June 2021. She supports a variety of Violet research projects and has served as the Violet Store Manager for 2023. She is a Youth Advisory Board Facilitator and Violet Patient Volunteering Clinical Lead for the JHOC and Harriet Lane Clinic sites. Sadie does website design and creates educational infographics for the youth and for Violet clinic/school outreach. She joined Violet because she is passionate about improving the overall health of her communities. Sadie will continue working with Violet remotely while applying to medical school. 

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Miranda Jimenez
Community Engagement Chair

Miranda (she/her/hers) is an undergrad at Johns Hopkins University. She is majoring in molecular and cellular biology and Spanish and has the goal of attending medical school in the future. Miranda joined Violet during the 2022 summer and currently serves as the Community Engagment Chair. She organizes social events for the Violet Patient Volunteering program and packing parties for the greater Baltimore community. Miranda is interested in the role that sex and gender have on the quality of healthcare received, and she currently works in the Kelin Lab where she studies how sex hormones impact viral pathogenesis and vaccination. Miranda is also very passionate about being active and she leads hiking trips and fitness classes in her free time.

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Sonia Korn
Content Creator

Sonia (she/her) is a high school student at Baltimore City College. She was a member of the first Youth Community Advisory Board and began interning over the summer. She has become very involved in the Violet Project reviewing and creating educational materials. On top of Violet she is a part of her Science Olympiad team and is the president of her own Reproductive health club at City College. In the future, Sonia is interested in a career in archaeology and reproductive health equity.

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Alexandra Lombardo, BA

Alexandra (she/her) completed her 3rd year of medical school at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and is currently on a Fulbright scholarship studying global health in Taiwan. She loves working with adolescents and helps write content for the Violet website. She hopes to be a gynecologist in a future where everyone has access to health knowledge and resources regardless of where they live. 

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Runzhi Wang, MD, MHS

Runzhi Wang (she/her) is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Gynecology and Obstetrics Department. She earned her MD from Sun Yat-sen University in China and her MHS in Epidemiology from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her research interests include clinical epidemiology and evidence-based medicine. Her career goal is to become a physician and researcher to improve sexual and reproductive health among women.

Youth Social Media Influencers

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Don McClain

Don McClain (they/them), aka “Don the Don”, is a 17-year-old youth advocate, entrepreneur, and artist who attends the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute. At BPI, they hold numerous leadership positions. Outside of school, as someone who happens to be queer & non-binary, they use their voice and artistic ability to uplift their fellow youth & promote healthy community relationships! Part of their advocacy entails being an example for youth who want to do something other than the well-known jobs that interest everyone but them; they do this by advocating for young people as a member of JHU’s Center for Adolescent Health’s Youth Advisory Board! They also currently run their own social media management company, The D.O.N. Way, which is a platform for entrepreneurs BY entrepreneurs that aims to help people manage their social media presence and connect with their target audiences. They are an example of a “leader of leaders” and they want YOUth to know that it’s okay not to be OK!

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Sara Freeman

Sara (she/her) is a senior in high school at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute who creates content for our TikTok account. She aspires to one day become a pediatric surgeon. She started with The Violet Project in our youth advisory board to learn more about sexual & reproductive health. In her free time, she likes to read, crochet, and hang out with her friends.

Violet Patient Volunteering Leads

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Aastha Kapadia

Aastha (she/her) is a junior studying public health at Hopkins, looking to attend medical school! She has been a Violet volunteer for the past two years. Outside of academics, she loves being physically active, whether through going on hikes, lifting in the gym, or teaching F45 at the Hopkins’ rec!

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Elaine Yang

Elaine (she/her) is a senior at Johns Hopkins, majoring in Neuroscience as well as Medicine, Science and the Humanities, with a minor in the Writing Seminars. She joined the Violet Project as a Violet Patient Volunteer in the summer of 2022 and is now the Clinic Lead for the Pediatrics and OB/GYN clinics located at Yard 56. Elaine is passionate about Violet's missions to expand the accessibility of healthcare and promote educational equity, and she is also involved with Charm City Science League and Writers in Baltimore Schools to empower Baltimore youth.

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Sydney Santos, BA

Sydney Santos (she/her) graduated from Johns Hopkins in May 2022, majoring in Behavioral Biology. She is now getting her Masters of Science in Public Health at JHSPH, concentrating in Social and Behavioral Interventions. As an undergraduate, she was involved with increasing accessibility to sexual and reproductive health resources on the Johns Hopkins campus, including launching the first free barrier methods program with the Center for Education and Health and Well-Being. In Violet she is the patient educator clinic lead for the Family Planning Clinic at Bayview. In addition to reproductive health, she is also passionate about food systems and chronic disease disparities in Baltimore City, which is her primary research focus. After completing her MSPH, she is planning on attending medical school.

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Dianne Strauss

Dianne (she/her) is recent grad from Johns Hopkins University originally from Miami, Florida. She is double majoring in Neuroscience and Molecular and Cellular Biology with a minor in History with aspirations to attend medical school. Dianne joined Violet in the summer of 2022 and is serving as Co-Clinic Lead for Harriet Lane Clinic and Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center as part of Violet’s Patient Volunteering program. She was originally inspired to join Violet because of the ability to play a part in empowering patients to advocate for their health, and values continually learning about inequities in healthcare through the project. Outside of Violet, Dianne is a college advisor for low-income high schoolers with college-access nonprofit, Matriculate, and serves on the board for Agara Bio, a community lab at Johns Hopkins dedicated to independent undergraduate research.

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Faith Obilo

Faith (she/her) is a senior at Johns Hopkins University majoring in Public Health Studies and Natural Sciences. She is passionate about issues relating to women’s health, particularly gynecological disorders. Faith is interested in understanding the barriers that prevent young people in Baltimore from accessing quality and equitable healthcare and how she can effect change to bridge those gaps. Faith joined Violet because she resonated with the educational mission of Violet and desired to contribute to the efforts of destigmatizing sexual and reproductive health. Faith is the Violet Patient Volunteering clinical lead for the JHH Emergency Department. In her free time, she loves to dance, read, and re-watch Marvel movies in chronological order. Faith aspires to pursue an MD/MPH and eventually become a gynecologist equipped with the tools to provide compassionate care and be a patient advocate.

Previous Interns

Ellie Frisch

Ellie (she/her) was an intern with Violet during her senior at Towson High School in Baltimore, Maryland. In the Fall of 2022, she started school at Smith College. Ellie contribued to website content and social media. She is passionate about sexual health, education, and female empowerment. Her past experience includes being a Planned Parenthood Peer Educator and the co-chair of the Towson High Period Poverty Project. In the future, she plans to pursue Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist studies and the arts in college, and she hopes to work in social justice activism. 

Maddie Piona

Maddie (she/her) was an intern with Violet during her freshman year at Johns Hopkins University. She helped with social media and at-home STI testing kits for the Violet Project. She is passionate about working to fix health disparities that exist in the Baltimore community and loves working to provide sexual and reproductive healthcare for youth in Baltimore. She hopes to have a career where she can help provide equitable and high quality sexual and reproductive healthcare to those who need it. 

Ariel Balaban, BS, MHS

Ariel (she/her) is a PhD student at the University of Maryland after earning her Master's in Health Science from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She worked as a team member on a variety of harm reduction research projects in topics such as overdose prevention and response, tobacco control, COVID-19 prevention, strategies to address vaccine hesitancy and improvement of health outcomes for populations living with HIV. Her main focus is improving the accessibility of health information. With Violet, she was a Youth Community Advisory Board (YCAB) facilitator.

Fatima Baloul

Fatima (she/her) was an intern with Violet as a freshman and sophomore at Johns Hopkins University, pursuing a major in Public Health studies while on a Pre-Physician Assistant (PA) track. Fatima is highly interested in child and maternal health and addressing the health inequities that adversely affect underserved populations, specifically pregnant, marginalized women and children. She enjoys applying her creative mind in the context of health-care related projects. Fatima was heavily involved with the Violet Patient Volunteering program. Fatima hopes to be a pediatric or OB/GYN PA and to join an equitable health care practice.

Divya Nair

Divya Nair (she/her) was an intern with Violet during her senior year at Johns Hopkins University, studying Molecular & Cellular Biology and the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology. She hopes to serve her queer community by becoming an OB/GYN dedicated to healthcare equity in the future. With Violet, she worked to organize donations of products and educational materials to over 25 Baltimore middle schools, high schools, and community centers. Outside of Violet, she was involved in evolutionary genomics research, the Women’s Pre-Health Leadership Society, a mural art club, and the JHMI NICU.

Mia Weller

Mia (she/her) was one of the first Violet interns, joining us through YouthWorks in the summer of 2021. She continued working with Violet for two years until graduating from Baltimore Polytechnic Institute in June 2023! She created content for our social media accounts. Mia aspires to be an aid for the underserved in her community. While attaining her certificate in Community Health Work at the Morehouse School of Medicine, she became more aware of health disparities in Baltimore, and wondered how she could help. She hopes to continue learning how to help bridge the gaps in sexual and reproductive healthcare disparities. Mia received a FULL RIDE to attend Howard as a Karsh STEM scholar. She plans to pursue a career in medicine and public health as an MD-PhD. 

Natalie Mar Cordero

Natalie (she/her) was an intern with Violet as a senior at the University of Virginia, double-majoring in Global Public Health and Medical Anthropology on a pre-medical track. She has since started her MPH at Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health. She is passionate about alleviating inequities in healthcare faced by Black and Brown communities with a history of marginalization in the US and Latin America. She led drawings of the Violet icons and helped create content for the website. In the future, she hopes to become a physician who provides efficient and equitable care. 

Liliana Rodriguez

Liliana (she/her) was an intern with Violet during her junior and senior years at Johns Hopkins University, majoring in neuroscience. She has always been passionate about women’s health and reproductive health. In her free time, she loves Latin dancing. She helped develop content for the Violet Project and served as the social media team lead. 

Janya Budaraju

Janya was an intern with Violet during her sophomore and junior years at Johns Hopkins University, double majoring in Public Health Studies and Computer Science. As a member of the Violet team, Janya worked on content development with a focus on inclusivity & representation, furthering Janya's primary academic interests in technology, advocacy, and public health. In the future, Janya hopes to pursue an MPH and PhD with the goal of driving public health research centered around reproductive and social justice.

Ruoxi Yu, BA, MPH

Ruoxi (Roh-she) (she/her) is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and received her Master’s in Public Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is currently an OB/GYN resident at UCSF. She earned her Bachelor's in Anthropology at Yale, where she conducted ethnographic research on the experiences of women with infertility in China. Her current research focuses on issues of fertility counseling and access for reproductive aged women diagnosed with gynecologic cancer. With Violet, Ruoxi supported multiple research projects, helped facilitate the Youth Council Advisory Board (YCAB), research team, and helped manage the Ask Nellie column. She enjoyed engaging with Baltimore teens, learning about their perceptions and barriers to reproductive healthcare, and amplifying their voices.

Zoe Hong

Zoë Hong (she/her) is a junior at the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute. She is a Violet peer educator at her high school and was part of the Violet Voices program. She hopes to spread knowledge about sexual and reproductive health to people of all ages and genders, especially those involved in the Baltimore City Public Schools system. Through Violet, she has learned a lot about herself and others and wishes for more people to grow as she has.

Samantha Sarlin

Samantha (she/her) was a clinic lead for the Violet Project during the fall of 2023 as a senior at Johns Hopkins University, pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology and a minor in Music. She joined Violet due to her deep appreciation of Violet’s mission to provide access to sexual and reproductive healthcare products and educational resources for youth in Baltimore, and due to her desire to learn more about the current barriers that prevent equitable access to healthcare in Baltimore for many populations. Outside of Violet, Samantha engages in research at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, acts as Student Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Social Concern’s volunteering organization, Baltimore First, and enjoys running with friends. She ultimately hopes to pursue an MD following her undergraduate career.

Eve Bryner

Eve (she/her) was an intern with Violet as a high school senior in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She has since headed to college at American University. Eve did the original Violet video voiceovers as Violet! She hopes to study public health in college and become an epidemiologist. She is very excited to work with the Violet Project, which combines her passions of social justice and public health. 

Helen Taylor

Helen (she/her) was an intern with Violet during her junior and senior years at Johns Hopkins University, majoring in Public Health Studies and minoring in Spanish for the Professions. She aspires to be an OB/GYN. She is passionate about providing health access, education, and resources to Latine/POC women and gender minorities. With Violet, she supported content-writing and outreach for Spanish-speaking youth.

Michelle Nazareth

Michelle (she/her) was an intern with Violet during her sophomore and junior years at Johns Hopkins, studying neuroscience and philosophy. She is passionate about healthcare issues surrounding women’s health and neonatology. She is involved with research in neonatal memory in HI mice. Michelle helped write content for Violet and coordinate outreach. 

Alice Li

Alice (she/her) was an intern with Violet as a sophomore in high school at the Bryn Mawr School. She supported the outreach team with coordinating donation drops and event outreach. Alice became involved with Violet to further her knowledge and awareness in sexual and reproductive health disparities. She aspires to be an advocate for equity in health education and resources, and create change within her community.

Sanyukta Deshmukh, BS

Sanyukta (she/her) was an intern with Violet while a medical student at the  University of Maryland. She studied Bioengineering in undergraduate. She worked within the Children’s National Hospital’s Emergency Department for three years, overseeing several intervention projects focused on social navigation and reproductive justice for adolescent patients. With Violet, she supported the research team and elehealth infrastructure. In the future, she hopes to be a physician-advocate and contribute to the development of social justice oriented digital health initiatives!  

Jayda Harris

Jayda (she/her) was an intern with Violet during her senior year at Baltimore City College (high school). She has since begun college at Spelman college. Jayda aspires to be a change agent in her community and aid those that come from marginalized backgrounds. While attaining her certificate in Community Health Work at the Morehouse School of Medicine, her passion to help those that come from historically underserved communities grew stronger. She hopes to later become an Obstetrician and Gynecologist in order to provide high quality healthcare for women that come from  historically underserved populations and promote equal access to sexual and reproductive health. 

Claire Pince, BS

Claire (she/her) was a Youth Community Advisory Board (YCAB) facilitator during 2021-2022. She was a postbaccalaureate research fellow at the National Institute on Drug Abuse and will begin her PhD in Counselling Psychology at Colorado State University. As an undergrad, she engaged in peer education as a tutor and a workshop facilitator for Penn Violence Prevention. She loved supporting Violet by empowering teens to make informed decisions about their sexual health. 

Lyndsay Hastings, BS

Lyndsay (she/her) was a Youth Community Advisory Board (YCAB) facilitator during 2021-2022. She was a postbaccalaureate research fellow at the National Institute on Drug Abuse in Baltimore after graduating from Duke University, and will begin a Neuroscience PhD at the University of Pennsylvania in Fall 2023. She has written and facilitated STEM curriculum for middle and high schoolers. She got involved with Violet because she believes that educating young people on sexual and reproductive health is an essential step in improving reproductive health access and outcomes. 

Yordanos Degefe

Yordanos (she/her) was a Violet intern during her junior and senior years at Johns Hopkins University, majoring in Public Health Studies and minoring in Psychology on the pre-medical track. Yordanos helped secure product donations for Violet. She joined the team to be involved in a project that directly works to address the social determinants of health that prevent Baltimore youth from accessing sexual and reproductive healthcare. 

Sadhana Pani

Sadhana (she/her) is a recent graduate from Johns Hopkins University after double majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Medicine, Science, and the Humanities with a minor in Women and Gender Studies. Sadhana has been at the Violet Project since the summer of 2022, and has been a patient volunteer at both the main Johns Hopkins campus and at Bayview. Sadhana works as the Spanish Language Coordinator for The Violet Project, translating educational materials into Spanish and leading a team of Spanish translators. Sadhana is also a clinic lead for volunteers at the Johns Hopkins Bayview campus. Outside of the Violet Project, Sadhana has also worked on projects that helped provide free pads and tampons to menstruators at the Johns Hopkins Homewood campus, and also helps facilitate menstrual cup distribution to undergraduate students on campus. She is very passionate about improving accessibility and education regarding menstrual and sexual health and working towards a more equitable future in terms of reproductive justice as well.

Naima Gordon

Naima (she/her) was a Violet social media influencer as a junior in high school at Baltimore City College. Naima hopes help spread awareness to her peers through Violet. She has a passion for film and aspires to be a filmmaker in the future. In her free time, she loves to read, write short stories, edit content, and watch scary movies.

Michael Liew

Michael (he/him) is a senior at Johns Hopkins University double-majoring in Neuroscience and Applied Mathematics. Michael joined Violet in Summer 2022 and currently is a Violet Clinic Lead for volunteering at Johns Hopkins Bayview campus. He also has helped create content for social media. He is passionate about reducing the stigma around menstruation and improving knowledge around sexual health in adolescents.

Maclaine Barré-Quick

Maclaine (she/her) graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Health Studies and minor in Women's Studies (Class of 2023). She was one of the first students involved with Violet, starting in June 2021. Maclaine supported the research team on a variety of projects and supported Violet's effort to form partnerships with community-based organizations and schools in Maryland. She was also a clinic-based volunteer and Youth Advisory Board Facilitator. She is excited by the opportunity to work with the Violet Project to increase accessibility to sexual health resources and education in the Baltimore area for young people. Maclaine is currently an MSPH student in Population, Family and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and aspires to become a pediatric surgeon.

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