Our Team


Lisa Benz Scott, Ph.D.

Dr. Lisa Benz Scott is the director of the Program in Public Health at Stony Brook University and is an Associate Dean in Health Sciences. She earned a Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health in the Department of Health Policy and Management’s Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences in 2000. Her interests are in community based participatory research and gender/race ethnic disparities.

View more about Dr. Benz Scott here.

Leah Topek-Walker, LCSW-R

Leah-Topek Walker is a licensed clinical social worker in the state of New York. For the past 11 years she has been providing psychotherapy and behavioral interventions to individuals, couples, families and groups facing a variety of challenges. She graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in social work in 2005; before that she studied liberal arts and creative writing at the New School for Social Research.​ She is a field education coordinator at the Stony Brook University School of Social Welfare.

View more about Leah Topek-Walker here.

Jessica Koos, MLS

Jessica Koos is a Health Sciences Librarian with subject expertise in a variety of disciplines. She is the library liaison to the School of Medicine, the Program in Public Health and the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Stony Brook. Her research interests include information-seeking behavior, health sciences education, consumer health, open access and research data management.

View more about Jessica Koos here.

Carol Della Ratta, Ph.D., RN, CNE

Dr. Carol Della Ratta completed a Doctor of Philosophy degree at Adelphi University, a Master of Science degree at Stony Brook University, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at the College of New Rochelle. With 25 years of experience teaching in undergraduate basic, accelerated, and RN to BS programs, Dr. Della Ratta’s most recent efforts focus on the implementation of active learning strategies such as on-site and distance team-based learning, and simulation experiences. She has participated in the design and piloting of an interprofessional simulation experience for senior nursing and medical students. Her research interests include new graduate nurses’ transition to practice and preceptor development. Since 2007, Dr. Della Ratta has served as nurse resident facilitator at Stony Brook Medicine, Vizient/AACN Nurse Residency Program.

View more about Dr. Della Ratta here.

Amy Hammock, Ph.D.

Dr. Amy Hammock is a Core Faculty Member of the Program in Public Health and an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Welfare. Her academic interests are prevention and response to intimate partner violence; youth development; community-level prevention programming; community-based participatory research; and qualitative research methods.

View more about Dr. Hammock here.

Lynn Timko-Swaim

Lynn Timko-Swaim, MS, PA-C

Professor Timko-Swaim received her first Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Technology from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh in 1983. She worked in the field of medical technology for seven years while completing her Masters of Science degree in Medical Technology at St. John's University. Lynn then changed career paths, attending the Stony Brook PA program and graduated in 1992. She worked clinically as a PA in both inpatient and outpatient internal medicine and joined the Stony Brook faculty in 1993 as a Clinical Assistant Professor. She was promoted to the academic rank of Clinical Associate Professor in 2012 and appointed to the position of Vice Chair in 2020. She supervises the PA students involved in HeLP on-site at the public libraries.

View more about Professor Timko-Swaim here.

Gerald Simons

Gerald Simons, MPAS, DFAAPA, PA-C

Gerald Simons is a Clinical Assistant Professor and an award-winning PA located at Stony Brook Southampton. He has a passion for community outreach, and has been an advocate for public health programs in Eastern Long Island for over 20 years. He has a particular interest in the prevention of tick borne disease, especially in underserved populations.

View more about Professor Simons here.

Mary Ellen LaSala

Mary Ellen LaSala, Ph.D., RN

Dr. Mary Ellen LaSala is a Clinical Associate Professor and Director of Special Projects, Stony Brook University School of Nursing. Dr. LaSala is the liaison for Nursing with the Healthy Libraries Program. Dr. LaSala's contribution to nursing research, education and clinical practice is grounded in advocacy for individuals who cannot fend for themselves. Her work supports those at risk for poor health outcomes as well as those in need of assistance in accessing educational resources. Her interest in advocacy stems from a diverse career in nursing. She has worked across the spectrum from critical care (neonatal, pediatric, and adult intensive care units) to pregnant adolescents and community health initiatives. Her experience in clinical nursing, education, and administration affords knowledge in system negotiation to obtain resources and services for individuals in need. She believes it is ethically imperative to identify and assist people to reach their potential in terms of health, education, or services.  

View more about Dr. LaSala here.


Gabriella Pandolfelli

Gabriella Pandolfelli, MPH

Gabriella is completing her PhD in Population Health and Clinical Outcomes Research. She is the program coordinator for the Healthy Libraries Program.