Woo Baidal Team

Location and Contact Information

622 West 168th Street
Presbyterian Hospital Building, PH-17
New York, NY 10032
United States

Principal Investigator

​ Childhood Research in Obesity Prevention (CROP)

The Childhood Research in Obesity Prevention (CROP) group studies early-life etiologies and interventions to eliminate racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in childhood obesity and its co-morbidities, including nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Mission: To translate clinical, community, and epidemiologic research findings into innovative population-level interventions during pregnancy, infancy, and early childhood to prevent and treat childhood obesity and chronic diseases, particularly among health disparity populations

Lab Members

  • Morgan Finkel, MD, MS

    • Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at CUIMC

    Morgan Finkel, MD, MS is a board-certified pediatrician and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at CUIMC. She completed both her Pediatrics residency and a fellowship in Primary Care Research in Community Health at New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. Clinically she works as a primary care pediatrician within the NYP Ambulatory Care Network. Her research aims to elucidate the mediator and moderators of developmental disparities in low-income populations, with a current focus on infant sleep quality as an important modifiable driver of these disparities. Her long-term goal is to create innovative, reproducible interventions in pediatric primary care that close the socioeconomic developmental gap.

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  • Evianna Cruz Herrera, MD, MPH

    • Post-doctoral Fellow, Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition

    Evianna Cruz Herrera, MD/MPH is a clinical fellow in the Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition program at Columbia University/New York Presbyterian. She completed her Pediatric Residency at Brown University and obtained her MD/MPH at the University of Virginia. Her current research focuses on the impact of health-related social needs on obesity in the pediatric population. 

  • Ines M. Robles Aponte, MD

    • Post-doctoral Clinical Fellow in Medicine & Assistant Attending Physician

    Ines Robles Aponte is a board-certified internist and Post-doctoral Clinical Fellow in Medicine at New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. She is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Epidemiology at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. She completed her internal medicine residency at Icahn School of Medicine Mount Sinai Morningside/West. Her academic interests include health disparities and population health. Her goal is to practice and teach primary care medicine in medically underserved communities and explore ways to improve health access and utilization.

  • Rafia Khursheed, MPH

    • Scholar

    Rafia Khursheed, MPH is a senior research program coordinator at Columbia University’s Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center. She holds a Master’s in Public Health with a concentration in Epidemiology from Adelphi University. Her research interest includes using epidemiological methods to understand the burden of chronic diseases. She plans to pursue a doctorate degree focusing on cancer epidemiology.

  • Madeleine Love, BS

    • IHN Masters Student

    Madeleine Love graduated from the University of Arkansas with a BS in Biology and a minor in Spanish. She is a current Columbia Institute of Human Nutrition student and plans to attend medical school with hopes of eventually becoming a pediatrician.

  • Leslie Blanco

    • Undergraduate Student

    Leslie Blanco is an untraditional, undergrad student veteran, at Columbia University, pursuing public health with an interest in the research data aspect of this field. She is ambitious and curious to learn how we use data to create interventions and solutions for the community.

  • Ivette Partida, BS

    • Research Coordinator

    Ivette Partida is the research coordinator for the CROP team. She is a Bates College graduate who is interested in early life interventions to prevent childhood obesity and the social determinants of chronic disease. She plans to pursue a graduate degree in Epidemiology. 

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  • Amanda Figueroa-Nieves, BA

    • Research Assistant

    Amanda Figueroa-Nieves received her BA in History and Plan II Honors from the University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests include health equity, environmental health, and the medical humanities. She is interested in using mixed methods research to understand the impact of health-related social needs on chronic illness. Amanda plans on attending medical school and hopes to work in medically underserved communities.

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  • Ngoc Duong, BA, MSc

    • Data Analyst

    Ngoc Duong, BA, MSc is a recent graduate from the Mailman School of Public Health where he studied biostatistics. Prior to this, he obtained his BA from Vassar College. He is interested in applying statistical methods to answer questions in population health and health services research, with a focus on evaluating innovative early-life interventions to reduce socioeconomic disparities.

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  • Celine Bien-Aime, BA, MS

    • Data Coordinator

    Celine Bien-Aime, MS received her BA in Statistics and Biology from Mount Holyoke College and recently graduated from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health with a degree in Biostatistics. Her research interests include understanding the racial/ethnic, socioeconomic and genetic factors that contribute to health disparities in chronic diseases like obesity, and Alzheimer’s. She plans to pursue a doctorate in Biostatistics with a focus on statistical genetics. 

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  • Marian Mensah-Selby, BS

    • Administrative Assistant

    Marian Selby, BS graduated from the CUNY College of Staten Island with a major in Biology and Psychology and a minor in cinema production. Her research interests include the impact of nutrition on children with heath diseases and obesity. She plans to attend medical school in the near future and hopes to continue to serve communities.

Clinical Partners

  • Kristina Parkinson, MSN, NP, CPNP-PC

    • Pediatric Weight Management Nurse Practitioner

    Kristina Parkinson, MSN, NP, CPNP-PC is Pediatric Weight Management Nurse Practitioner in the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition. She sees patients in The Center for Adolescent Bariatric Surgery (CABS) Program and also works with patients in the Pediatric Weight Management Program. Her academic interests are in the early life determinants of obesity and bariatric surgery outcomes.

  • Elina Bank RDN, CDN, CSOWM

    • Clinical Nutritionist

    Elina Bank RDN, CDN, CSOWM is a registered dietitian nutritionist at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. She is certified as a specialist in obesity and weight management, working with pediatric, adolescent, and young adult patients. She sees patients in the Center for Adolescent Bariatric Surgery (CABS) program, as well as pediatric weight management.  She also works inpatient with pediatric and obstetric patients. Her professional interests include pediatric program development for weight management and lowering the barriers to entry for family, pediatric, and adolescent nutrition education.