Alana D'Alfonso, MS2, Presenting at 6th Annual Research Symposium

Under the NYUSOM Health Disparities Research Fellowship through the Office of Diversity Affairs, Alana has worked with Dr. Nathan Bertelsen in the NYU/Bellevue Program for Survivors of Torture.  Her research examined whether survivors of torture with a history of moderate to severe traumatic brain injury are clinically distinct from survivors of torture without a head injury. This was the first study to examine the significance of a self-reported history of moderate to severe traumatic brain injury in a sample of refugee survivors of torture, and the results may potentially help guide screening, clinical evaluation, assessment and treatment planning to advance treatment strategies and the development of symptom driven interventions that would address the needs of this high-risk population.

Alana will be presenting her research at the 6th Annual Research Symposium at the National Consortium of Torture Treatment Programs this year. 

Alana was raised in the Philadelphia area in a dual Italian-Jewish household.  She became the first in her family to attend college and matriculated at Princeton University, where she majored in Psychology, concentrated in Neuroscience and minored in Global Health and Health Policy. She graduated from Princeton Summa Cum Laude in 2011 and was the recipient of two thesis prizes for her work on the cross-modal neuroplasticity of the early visual cortex in the congenitally blind. Following graduation, Alana trained under the Intramural Research Training Award Fellowship at the National Institutes of Health, performing neuroimaging research within the Clinical Epilepsy Section. In Fall 2012, she matriculated at NYU School of Medicine. Here at NYUSOM, she has served as a Student Ambassador, as well as Vice President for both the Students Interest Group in Neurology and Neurosurgery and the Jewish Students Association.

Alana's passion for health disparities originates from her own family's struggle to obtain adequate healthcare access.  In the future, Alana hopes to pursue a career focused on health disparities within the fields of Neurology and Global Health.