PhD Program

Columbia University School Of Nursing Ph.D. Program

Our program offers a Ph.D. program in Nursing Science with a focus on LGBT health. The Columbia University School of Nursing PhD program is a full-time, research-intensive curriculum that prepares nurse scientists to conduct research in clinical outcomes and health policy, both independently and as part of interdisciplinary teams.


Doctoral Students


April J. Ancheta, BS, RN


April J. Ancheta is a PhD in Nursing student at Columbia University and a Jonas-Blaustein Scholar. April earned her Bachelor of Science from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. During her undergraduate career, April was president of the Rutgers Student Nurses’ Association, vice president of New Jersey Nursing Students, Inc., and served as a research assistant to Dr. Shirley A. Smoyak, RN, PhD, FAAN, exploring the attitudes and practices in regards to high energy drinks, with and without alcohol, among individuals with mental illness. April also served as a Peer Instructor, teaching her own course titled Exploring Nursing. April was awarded the RUSON Distinguished Service Award and was also recognized as Nursing Student of the Year by the March of Dimes NJ Chapter. Clinically, April works as a bedside nurse for two major health systems in the NY metro area on thoracic/vascular and spine stepdown units, providing passionate and clinically-competent care to some of the city’s most vulnerable populations. April’s research interest focuses on physical health disparities faced by sexual minority women (SMW, e.g. lesbian, bisexual), such as obesity and other chronic diseases, and the specific minority stress and social factors that influence them. She is currently working with Dr. Tonda Hughes, PhD, RN, FAAN.


Joseph Belloir, MSc, PMHNP-BC


Joseph Belloir is a first-year PhD student at Columbia University School of Nursing. He received his Bachelor of Science from the University of San Francisco studying biology, chemistry, and psychology. Prior to obtaining his Master of Science in nursing at Boston College, Joseph worked as a research assistant at 3 different universities and co-authored 2 research papers. He also has years of teaching experience in the sciences. He continues to work part-time as a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner at Bowery Residents’ Committee treating homeless men and women with mental illness and substance abuse. He is mentored by Dr. Bockting, and his research interests include serious and persistent mental illness in sexual and gender minorities.


Kelseanne Breder, MS, Psychiatric/Mental Health NP


Kelseanne Breder is a PhD in Nursing candidate at Columbia University and a National Institute of Health T32 predoctoral funding recipient for researching health disparities and informatics. Prior to embarking on her nursing career, Kelsea earned a BA in theater and a BS in psychology. She worked as a musician and participated in research exploring the effectiveness of art therapy for pain reduction at the Arts in Medicine program of Shands Hospital at the University of Florida. Kelsea also has a background in religious studies from Yale Divinity School, where she participated in drama therapy interventions for persons incarcerated in the justice system. Following the 2016 Zika virus outbreak, Kelsea investigated and reported on the global health crisis, publishing work with Yale Law School and the Center for Reproductive Rights. Kelsea went on to earn her BSN and MS at Columbia University School of Nursing. She works clinically as a psychiatric / mental health nurse practitioner, serving the homeless and formerly homeless populations of New York City. Kelsea’s current research focuses on characterizing the social support networks of older adults who identify as sexual minorities.


Anthony Pho, MSN, MPH, ANP-C


Anthony Pho is a PhD student and Robert Wood Johnson Future of Nursing Scholar at Columbia University School of Nursing. He earned his BA from UC Berkeley and his BSN, MSN, and MPH degrees from Johns Hopkins University. He started his nursing career as an RN in emergency medicine and subsequently worked as an NP in internal medicine. He continues to practice part-time as medical provider at Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, an FQHC that serves the LGBT community in NYC. He is dedicated to promoting clinical training and excellence in LGBT health. He has taught nursing and NP students, medical students, and residents and is currently on the program planning committee for the LGBT Health Workforce Conference. He is mentored by Suzanne Bakken and his dissertation research focuses on HPV vaccination in transgender and gender nonconforming individuals.


Kodiak Soled, MSN

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Kodiak Soled is a Ph.D. nursing student at Columbia University, a Jonas-Blaustein Scholar, and the 2018-2019 Health Professionals in Training Co-Chair on the executive board of GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality. Soled earned her Bachelors of Arts in International and Intercultural Studies at Pitzer College and her Masters of Science in Nursing from Johns Hopkins University. During this time, she served as on the executive board of Out for Business. This team received the 2018 Diversity Recognition Award for outstanding contributions and demonstrable efforts in advancing diversity and inclusion at Johns Hopkins University.

Soled's research interest includes perinatal health disparities in sexual and gender minorities. Most recently, she worked under the direction of Tonia Poteat, Ph.D. to understand provider knowledge gaps of transgender health. She is currently working with Walter Bockting, Ph.D. to understand family building desires and experiences in transgender and gender non-conforming people. She is particularly passionate about using feminist theory to challenge normative discourses that privilege heternormativity in research and clinical practice. Soled seeks to build a foundation of research that makes sexual and gender minorities health disparities visible and promotes health equity for individuals and families in this community.


Sarah Zollweg, RN, BSN


Sarah Zollweg is a PhD student at Columbia University School of Nursing and serves as budget officer of the Nursing Section of GMLA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality. Zollweg earned her BA in Spanish and her BSN from the University of Michigan. Zollweg has practiced in oncology, med/surg, ortho, and dermatology. Most recently, Zollweg was a health educator at MHealthy at the University of Michigan and a research assistant at the University of Michigan Center for Sexuality and Health Disparities (SexLab), studying PrEP adherence under Dr. Rivet Amico. Zollweg is working with Dr. Tonda Hughes and her research focuses on LGBTQ+ health disparities, in particular the intersection of sexual minority women’s health and policy.


Doctoral of Nursing Practice (DNP) Students


Ian Chiu, RN


Ian is a Doctoral of Nursing Practice (DNP) student at the Columbia University School of Nursing, specializing as a Family Nurse Practitioner. Ian has previously worked on a medical-surgical step down unit caring for post-operative patients including individuals who had gender-affirming surgery. He has a strong passion for working with the LGBTQ community and his primary research focus is related to the coming out stories of transgender individuals of different cultural backgrounds and on the development of resilience.