Our Team


Dr. Lisa Benz Scott

Lisa Benz Scott, PhD 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

Dr. Mary Ellen LaSala

Mary Ellen LaSala, PhD, RN is a Clinical Assistant Professor and the Chair, Undergraduate Studies at Stony Brook University School of Nursing.  Dr. LaSala teaches Population Health in the undergraduate department.  Dr. LaSala’s contribution to nursing research, education and clinical practice is grounded in advocacy for individuals who cannot fend for themselves. Her work in supporting 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.

Leah Topek-Walker

Leah-Topek Walker, LCSW-R 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.

Jessica Koos

Jessica Koos, MLS 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.

Carol Della Ratta

Carol Della Ratta, PhD, RN, CNE 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.

Amy Hammock

Amy Hammock, PhD 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.


Gabriella Pandolfelli

Gabriella Pandolfelli has completed her first year as a Master’s in Public Health Student concentrating in Health Policy and Management. She is the program coordinator for the Healthy Libraries Program.

Philip Massaro

Philip Massaro is a senior in the School of Nursing at Stony Brook University working toward becoming a Nurse. Certified as a Health Education Specialist, AHA CPR Instructor, NYS Firefighter and Critical Care EMT.

Gwenyth Mercep

Gwenyth Mercep is a junior studying health science at Stony Brook University with professional interests in epidemiology. She is a research writer for the scientific review on campus and a health equity intern currently organizing COVID-19 response strategies at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.​