Meet our Current Graduate Students Current Students Peyton Baker - MA Student Close Peyton Baker - MA Student Peyton Baker joined the Institute for Bioethics & Health Humanities in 2023 to pursue a master's degree. Peyton graduated from Augustana University with a Bachelor of Arts in biology and minors in government and international affairs and medical humanities. In her undergraduate career, Peyton founded the Medical Humanities Club to establish interdisciplinary collaboration between politicians, physicians, healthcare professionals, and students. Peyton’s professional background is in genomic research which she would like to translate to healthcare policy. Tiffany Bystra, MS, OTR, CHSE - PhD Student Close Tiffany Bystra, MS, OTR, CHSE - PhD Student Tiffany Bystra is a PhD student in bioethics and health humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch. Tiffany holds an MS in occupational therapy and a BS in interdisciplinary health services from Western Michigan University, as well as a Certificate of Professional Achievement in Narrative Medicine from Columbia University. Tiffany has clinical experience in the acute care setting and holds a primary interest in optimizing care delivery for the oncology population. In addition to her work as a practitioner, Tiffany has experience in academia in both classroom and fieldwork instruction in rehabilitation sciences.Research interests: Psychosocial oncology, decision making with serious illness, health humanities, compassionate use, telos of healthcare, liminality and phenomenology, end of life, and research on the recently deceased. Hannah Carpenter - PhD Student Close Hannah Carpenter - PhD Student Hannah Carpenter is a second-year PhD student in bioethics and health humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch. Hannah is from England and holds an LLB in law from the University of East Anglia and an MA in medical law and ethics from Kings College London. Hannah has a professional background in healthcare law and policy. Hannah is passionate about women’s health and justice and since joining the IBHH, she has held leadership roles in Students for Choice at UTMB and the SPPH Student Association. Her research focus is on reproductive healthcare justice and ethics, public health policy, and clinical ethics.Research Interests: Reproductive ethics, healthcare and justice, public health policy, public health ethics, and clinical ethics. Klarissa Garza - MPH Bioethics Track Student Close Klarissa Garza - MPH Bioethics Track Student Klarissa Garza is an MPH student on the Bioethics track at the University of Texas Medical Branch. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Texas A&M University and is on the pre-med track. Research Interests: Women's Health, Neurology, Cancer, Understudied/Medically underserved populations, Clinical and Public Health Ethics Grayson R. Jackson - MD/PhD Student Close Grayson R. Jackson - MD/PhD Student Grayson R. Jackson joined UTMB in 2020 and the IBHH in 2022 as an MD-PhD student. He holds an interdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts from Baylor University, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. Grayson is a Student Scholar in the John P. McGovern Academy of Oslerian Medicine at UTMB and an alum of the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship of Houston–Galveston, where he now serves on the board of directors. He is passionate about health advocacy and has held leadership roles in Allies in Health, UTMB's LGBTQ+ student organization, and the Texas Medical Association. Research interests: LGBTQ+ health, clinical and public health ethics, and the intersection of ethics with health policy. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Grayson-Jackson-2 Georgia Loutrianakis - PhD Student Close Georgia Loutrianakis - PhD Student Georgia Loutrianakis is a third-year PhD candidate in bioethics and health humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in neuroscience and a Master of Arts in bioethics and medical humanities from Case Western Reserve University. Georgia’s dissertation is focused on the intersection of ethical conceptions of trust and reproductive healthcare.Research Interests: Clinical ethics, reproductive healthcare justice and ethics, and feminist trust theories. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Georgia-Loutrianakis Deborah McNabb, MD - PhD Student Close Deborah McNabb, MD - PhD Student Deborah McNabb is a retired gynecologist. Her medical training was at Baylor College of Medicine, followed by an OB/Gyn residency at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. Following training, she was a private practitioner in San Antonio, TX.Her book chapter, “The Changing Face of Obstetric Practice in the United States as the Percent of Women in the Specialty Has Grown,” was recently published in The Anthropology of Obstetrics and Obstetricians. Because of her interests in public policy, she has done a wide range of media interviews on behalf of Planned Parenthood and the Committee to Protect Health Care, as well as advising candidates for public office on reproductive health care.Research interests: Marginalized and stigmatized patient groups, reproductive health care, and medical humanities in health careers education. Ginika Oguagha - PhD Student Close Ginika Oguagha - PhD Student Ginika Oguagha is a PhD student at the Institute for Bioethics & Health Humanities. She holds a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree from Ebonyi State University and a Master of Laws (LLM) degree in healthcare, law and ethics from the University of Dundee. Her professional experience lies in the areas of internal medicine and cardiovascular diseases. She is also a fellow of the West African College of Physicians.Research interests: Health law, cardiovascular health, social justice, clinical and research ethics, African bioethics, ethics in underrepresented populations, health policy, and public health ethics. Corisa Rakestraw, MS - PhD Candidate Close Corisa Rakestraw, MS - PhD Candidate Corisa joined the Medical Humanities PhD program in the fall of 2017. She received an A.A. degree at Cottey College, a BA in Philosophy and a BA in World Languages – German at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and an MS in Health Care Ethics from Creighton University. Corisa also completed a semester of study at the Philipps-Universität Marburg in Marburg, Germany. Her interests are clinical ethics, particularly pediatric ethics, and the promotion, or defining the limitations, of adolescent autonomy. Corisa is also concerned with exploring the use of animals in medicine, including their value in the process of healing. Her dissertation research focuses on the role of therapy dogs in the healing process for hospitalized patients and the ethical considerations of this kind of patient-centered care. Corisa aspires to impart an elevated awareness of therapy dogs and service dogs to the field of medical humanities. Vishnu Subrahmanyam - PhD Student Close Vishnu Subrahmanyam - PhD Student Vishnu Subrahmanyam is a PhD student at the Institute of Bioethics and Health Humanities, University of Texas Medical Branch. Their research interests include public health ethics, queer bioethics, and critical theory. Before beginning at UTMB, Vishnu was an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at PVS College of Arts and Sciences, Calicut (India), their hometown. Vishnu was also engaged in a public health program to assess the healthcare needs of the LGBTQIA+ community and women in sex work in rural and urban Karnataka. They received an MSc in Bioethics from KU Leuven and an MSc in Chemistry from Pondicherry University. Outside of academia, Vishnu enjoys cooking, exploring bookstores and being miserable at trivia nights. Lorenah Vasquez - MA Student Close Lorenah Vasquez - MA Student Lorenah Vasquez is currently a Master of Arts student in bioethics and health humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch. Lorenah attended the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, where she received a Bachelor of Science in biology and a Master of Science in Health Science with a concentration in healthcare informatics.Research interests: LGBTQI+ bioethics, medical ethics and health care within marginalized communities, and disability justice. D. Mike Vaughan, JD, LLM, MPH, BAIS - PhD Candidate Close D. Mike Vaughan, JD, LLM, MPH, BAIS - PhD Candidate Mike joined the Institute for the Medical Humanities as a joint JD/PhD student in 2015. He graduated from Texas State University with a BAIS in International Relations. Mike received an MPH focused on Public Health Ethics from Columbia University. Mike holds both JD and LLM (Health Law) degrees from the University of Houston Law Center and is licensed to practice law in Texas.Mike’s work focuses on the gaps between the truths we would claim and those that actually appear to be available to us. He tries to think about ways that ethical health care and ethical health policy might feasibly be made real in a world that seems to be “after morality.” Mike’s other interests include: ethical substance use policy, the limits of justification, medical futility and clinician conscience, moral injury, ethical concerns around human life extension and aging understood as a disease, enhancement ethics, the ethics of rhetoric, the questions of whether empathy can be taught, judicial moralizing, and any/the relationship between ethics and law. Johnna Wellesley - PhD Student Close Johnna Wellesley - PhD Student Johnna Wellesley is a Ph.D. student with the Institute of Bioethics and Health Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch. Johnna holds a Master of Theological Studies from Duke University, and the Certification of Professional Achievement in Narrative Medicine from Columbia University.Research interests include: ethics of end-of-life care, truth and truth-telling, medical decision-making, moral injury, and narratives of dying. Brandy Wright, MD - PhD Student Close Brandy Wright, MD - PhD Student Brandy Watson Wright, MD is an Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and faculty at the University of Texas Medical Branch. She is also board-certified in Hospice & Palliative Medicine and co-directs the UTMB School of Medicine’s Mindfully Evolving, Thriving & Advocating (META) course. Brandy is pursuing her PhD in Bioethics to focus on the effects of grief, health inequity, and biophilic design on medical decision making in the Black community. Brandy is a native of Detroit, a Michigan State University alum, and a graduate of The Wayne State University School of Medicine.