Institute Associates

Branka Stamatovic Gajic, MD, PhD.

 Associate Professor, Psychiatrist, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist, Faculty of Health, Legal and Business Studies, Singidunum University

Her previous work was mainly in Serbia, where she worked as a clinical psychiatrist, but also as an external surveyor/evaluator for the Serbian Agency for Accreditation of Healthcare Institutions. She actively participated in Serbia Health Project funded by the World Bank, dealing with health care reform in Serbia, and implementing it in Valjevo Hospital. She is affiliated to the Singidunum University, Faculty of Health, Legal and Business Studies, in Valjevo, Serbia, with several undergraduate courses as an Associate Professor. Her research activities are related to clinical issues, but also to quality improvement efforts in the field of mental health. In her teaching work she includes the promotion of mental health awareness in other professions, and the dissemination of mental health information. She is a member of several professional organizations (Serbian Medical Society; Serbian Psychiatric Association; Association of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapists of Serbia; Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions, Serbia; American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry). 


Tomislav Gajic, MD, PhD

 Assistant Professor, Psychiatrist, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist, Faculty of Health, Legal and Business Studies, Singidunum University, Serbia

Dr Gajic is a physician from Serbia. He was as a External Investigator and Affiliated Faculty member at the Global Institute for Health and Human Rights University at Albany SUNY with professor Kamiar Alaei. He worked as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist for more than twenty years, served as Head of Department of Psychiatry General Hospital Valjevo, worked in private practice and later as Assistant Professor at University of Singidunum in Serbia. He collaborated with Indiana University, USA in 2004 and 2005 as coinvestigator in two research projects about subjective expirience, physical activity and social support among people with mental illness. He is active in many national and international professional NGO organisations. He served as member of the Presidency of the Serbian Medical Society, Former Vice Presidant of Serbian Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Association, Delegate in European Federation of Psychoanalitic Psychotherapy and as member of the National Comission for Mental Health Serbia. He published his research in national and international peer reviewed journals.


Julia Runte

Julia holds a BA of anthropology from the George Washington University (2004), an MA in urban education from the New Jersey City University (2010), and an MA in human rights and democratization from the European Inter University Center (2018), where her thesis regarding stigmas and reintegration of child soldiers is a forthcoming publication. She has worked as a primary school teacher, mainly with English language learners, in high poverty schools in Washington, DC and domestic private/international schools in Shanghai, China. She held an internship in Prishtina, Kosovo in 2018 working with the Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptian minorities and currently is an intern at the Venice office of UNESCO. Additionally, she has worked as a freelance editor and researcher for over 10 years for individuals, professors, and the American Counseling Association. 


Afaf Moustafa

After moving from Southern California, Afaf graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2016, where she studied Biological Basis of Behavior and English. Upon graduating, she spent two years coordinating a clinical research study on nicotine addiction. Outside of work, she spent her gap years publishing a paper on the lack of national funding for addiction precision medicine, and also working on a study regarding healthcare policy and access to naloxone for those at risk of an opioid overdose. In 2018, she began medical school at New York Medical College. Afaf’s career interests include addiction medicine, global and population health, and mental health policy. In her free time, Afaf enjoys baking, cooking, playing tennis, and visiting her two sisters. 


Krista Bennett

Krista Bennett is a graduate of the Columbia School of Social Work in New York City. Currently, she is a Social Worker at St. Peter's Health Partners in Albany, NY where she works on a clinical level as a behavioral health counselor. She was a research assistant with the Global Institute for Health and Human Rights from 2016-2018, where she conducted a full range of activities required to prepare, submit, and manage grant proposals on issues including health, human rights, and sustainable development. She also designed and directed a project that provided legal information to prisoners in their native language.

Krista has extensive volunteer experience with both domestic and international agencies including but not limited to the National Association of Social Workers, Lion's International, Obama for America,, Amnesty International, Code Blue Emergency Shelters, and Samaritan's Purse Disaster Relief. 


Mira Chaykin


Mira graduated from Brandeis University with a Bachelor of Science in biology and a minor in health policy, and is currently pursuing her medical degree at New York Medical College. Mira has previously worked as a research assistant in a medical microbiology lab, and as a medical assistant for HIV/AIDS specialists. She has also worked as a data and policy analyst for Acumen, LLC, a health policy consulting firm, where she evaluated programs intended improve medical outcomes or reduce healthcare costs for beneficiaries of Medicare, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Mira is currently the president of NYMC’s Physicians for Human Rights chapter and a member of the Chairman’s Roundtable on Health Policy.


Hedayat Ghazali

 Hedayat Ghazali has BSs in psychology and MSc in Educational Psychology and Methodology State University of New York at Albany. Currently, he is a PhD student in Educational Psychology and Methodology with a concentration on Human Development. Before joining UAlbany, he studied Psychology in Allameh Tabatabaei University in Tehran. He was Kurd student activist and he published several articles about mother tongue, psychological problems of Kurd people in student publication at Tehran University. However, unfairly he was expelled from university and prisoned just because of his activities. Now, he is also the human right activist and works as the research consultant on human rights violation in Iran especially execution and economical, psychological, social impacts of execution on victim’s families.   


Reza Sayeed

 "Reza Sayeed B.A. Reza completed his undergraduate coursework at Boston University’s Pardee School of Global Studies studying Economics and International Relations in 2018. Since graduating, he has begun working in public health consulting, tackling challenging Medicaid transformation initiatives in states along the East Coast. He has always been drawn to the arena of policymaking, interning for the British Labour Party’s Shadow Foreign Ministry and for the New York State Department of Health’s Medicaid office through 2017. He has intentions of further studies in the field of international political economy, furthering his grasp of the implications and intricacies of policy decisions in the lives of people across the globe. Reza has a particular inclination to learning the history of the Middle East and can be found reading avidly in his spare time. "