PRIDE: Cohort 4

Anthony Estreet PhD, LCSW-C, LCADC: Dr. Estreet is currently an Assistant Professor at Morgan State University. In addition to developing the addiction concentration within the MSW program, he is the current Chair of the school social work program. His current research interests include the examination of behavioral health substance use and mental health) treatment outcomes among black minorities utilizing a community based research approach, specifically, in relation to psychosocial determinants such as exposure to violence and trauma affect treatment initiation, retention, and related outcomes. Additional research interests include the epidemiology of behavioral health conditions (substance use, abuse and dependence), as well as on individual psychosocial determinants and community factors associated with substance use disorders in the US general population. Dr. Estreet is especially interested in the development and testing of culturally specific creative interventions to improve treatment related outcomes among the substance using population.

Chandra L. Jackson, PhD: Dr. Jackson is an Epidemiologist and Research Associate in the Population Health Research Program at the Harvard Catalyst Clinical and Translational Science Center. She is interested in translating epidemiologic evidence into interventions, policies, and practices that improve population health and address health disparities. To this end, she has served as an evaluation team member of the Boston Racial/Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) Demonstration Project and the Massachusetts Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund. As a former White House Intern working in both the National Economic and Domestic Policy Councils during the Obama administration, she researched and synthesized public health evidence that informed program decisions for the First Lady’s Let’s Move! Campaign. Her research focuses on social determinants of suboptimal diet and sleep health as major modifiable contributors to costly and preventable racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in chronic disease. Her research has been presented at national scientific conferences and published in both academic journals like JAMA Internal Medicine and the American Journal of Epidemiology as well as major media outlets including US News & World Report and The New York Times.

Stephanie Pickett, PhD, RN:: Dr. Pickett is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, School of Nursing in Greensboro, North Carolina. Her research interests include understanding psychosocial factors that influence weight management among young African American women such as weight beliefs, perceived stress, depression, and eating behavior patterns.

Dustin T. Duncan, ScD: Dr. Duncan is Assistant Professor in the Department of Population Health at the New York University (NYU) School of Medicine, where he directs the Spatial Epidemiology Lab. At NYU, he is a faculty affiliate at: College of Global Public Health, the Population Center, the Center for Data Science, the Center for Health, Identity, Behavior, and Prevention Studies, the Center for Drug Use and HIV Research, and the Broome Street Residential College. Dr. Duncan is a social and spatial epidemiologist, studying how specific neighborhood characteristics influence population health and health disparities. He is an Associate Editor of Behavioral Medicine and is on the editorial board of Spatial Demography. Dr. Duncan completed both his doctorate and the Alonzo Smythe Yerby Postdoctoral Fellowship, in Social Epidemiology, at Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Idia B. Thurston, PhD: Dr. Thurston is a licensed clinical psychologist and assistant professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Memphis. She holds an adjunct assistant professor position in the Department of Pediatrics at UTHSC/Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. She graduated from the University of South Florida with her Ph.D in clinical psychology. She continued her training via two postdoctoral fellowships at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School: a clinical postdoctoral fellowship in Leadership Education in Adolescent Health (LEAH) and a two-year National Institute of Mental Health-funded health disparities research fellowship. Dr. Thurston has long-standing research and clinical interests in decreasing obesity- and HIV-related health disparities in traditionally underrepresented adolescents, young adults, and their families. She has numerous publications and has obtained several grants and awards for her work.

Lissette Jiménez, MD: Dr. Jimenez received her MD from the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine and has recently started as Chief of Neurology at the VA Caribbean Medical Center in San Juan. Her goals include the establishment of a Sleep Medicine Training Program and developing research projects in the area of sleep. The center has a large patient population with high prevalence of sleep, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular pathology. She would like to participate in the PRIDE program to get mentorship and to establish working relationships that will help her attain these goals.

Marie A. Bragg, PhD: Dr. Bragg is Assistant Professor in the Section on Health Choice, Policy and Evaluation in the Department of Population Health at the NYU Medical School. She also has a faculty appointment at the NYU Global Institute of Public Health. Dr. Bragg’s research interests focus on identifying and affecting environmental and social factors associated with obesity, food marketing, and health disparities. Prior to joining NYULMC, Dr. Bragg completed an APA-accredited clinical internship at Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center where she conducted individual and group psychotherapy and psychiatric assessments in a variety of settings (e.g., outpatient clinic, inpatient unit, emergency room, substance abuse program, transplantation center, etc.). She holds a doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Yale University. Dr. Bragg is also passionate about mentoring and teaching the next generation of public health researchers and practitioners, with an emphasis on developing culturally diverse student research teams and working with first generation students and young women in science. She has co-supervised over 100 undergraduate, masters-level, and graduate students since 2006 and received the Yale University Psychology Department Teaching Award and Yale University Jane Olejarczyk Award for her role in teaching and mentoring students.

Selena Nguyen-Rodriguez, PhD: Dr. Nguyen-Rodriguez is Assistant Professor of Health Science at California State University, Long Beach. She earned her PhD in Preventive Medicine from the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine. During that time she also completed her MPH in Biostatistics and Epidemiology. Her research interests lie in improving health outcomes for minority populations, based on the principles of health psychology. Her research focuses on psychosocial (e.g., stress) and cultural (e.g., values) predictors of health behaviors (such as diet and sleep) and outcomes (e.g., well-being, obesity) among minority populations. As a faculty research associate of the NCLR/CSULB Center for Latino Community Health, Evaluation & Leadership Training (the Center), she plays a central role in procuring research funding for development of community-based health programs for underserved populations and evaluation of these programs. These grant efforts also aim to secure research training programs for underrepresented students. She teaches courses in health behavior theory, statistics, and research methods, which provide the opportunity to highlight the importance of research in public health outcomes in our communities. Also, she provides a number of student research-related trainings as part of her work with the Center. She finds that these small-scale and individual-level student interactions are the most rewarding and fulfilling aspects of being a professor.

Sabrina Pickens, PhD: Dr. Pickens is a faculty member at the University of Texas - Houston School of Nursing, where she also received both her MSc and Ph.D. in Nursing. Her dissertation focused on the assessment of executive function in elders who self-neglect. Her research interest is in older adults suffering from cognitive impairments and how it pertains to living safely and independently. Prior to pursuing her Ph.D., she was involved in more than 20 clinical trials both at Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. As a research nurse, she recruited study subjects and carried out the study design, as well as managed several of the clinical trials. One of the studies, Consortium on Elders who Self-Neglect in Texas, involved older adults who self-neglect, from which she authored or co-authored many of the publications. She makes home visits on vulnerable adults reported to adult protective services residing in the community.

Darren D. Moore, PhD: Dr. Moore earned his Ph.D. in Human Development: Marriage and Family Therapy from Virginia Tech University. His short-term goals include working on publications regarding obesity and health disparities, conducting future research, working with his research mentor on research collaborations, applying for additional research funding, presenting at national and international conferences, and engaging in activities to promote professional development such as auditing a series of courses in the Master of Public Health program. His long-term career goals include becoming a well-noted researcher-scholar regarding health disparities, obesity, and African-American populations. He plans to develop quantitative research projects regarding health disparities among minority populations with a focus on exploring ways in which he can work on decreasing the current obesity epidemic specifically as it relates to African American populations.

Tabitha M. Hardy, PhD: Dr. Hardy earned her Masters and Ph.D at Indiana University School of Medicine (IUSOM). While there, she gained further teaching experience as a teacher’s/lab assistant for Microbiology. Additionally, she conducted several research investigations including ones exploring human papillomavirus, Co-activator Associated Arginine Methyltransferase-1 (CARM1) and the XPC DNA repair protein. In 2010, she earned her PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from IUSOM. She then attained an adjunct faculty position at Ivy Tech Community College where she taught Microbiology. Dr. Hardy began her post-doctoral experience at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, entering the MERIT (Mentored Experiences in Research Instruction and Teaching) program which is tailored to provide training and experience in teaching at the undergraduate level while emphasizing scholarly research. Her postdoctoral research was performed in the laboratory of Dr. Trygve Tollefsbol and involved cancer, epigenetics and aging. Dr. Hardy has also taught Advanced Molecular Genetics and has given numerous guest lectures. She holds a Class AAAA Teaching Certificate in Biology for grades 7-12 in the state of Mississippi and has Fellow, Practitioner and Scholar certifications from the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL). She is currently an Assistant Professor at Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, AL, where she is committed to teaching and training the next generation of STEM professionals.

Felicia Jefferson, PhD: Dr. Jefferson is Associate Professor at Spellman College. She began her collegiate studies at the age of 16, majoring in biotechnology and German language. Upon graduation, she worked at Procter & Gamble and Schering-Plough (now Merck), where she conducted research in the areas of toxicology, toxicogenomics, and environmental mutagenesis. Dr. Jefferson completed an M.S. in molecular genetics and biochemistry and a Ph.D in biomedical sciences and neurobiology. She has received funding to pursue her research interests from the Society for Toxicology, NIH/NINDS, and NIH/NIGMS, and has received various awards and/or accolades from the Society of Toxicology, Environmental Mutagenesis Society, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, Sleep Research Society, NIAID, NCMHD, and NINDS. Dr. Jefferson has peer-reviewed publications in the areas of toxicology, environmental mutagenesis, and neurobiology. Her current research interests are the effects of urban pollution on sleep and circadian rhythms and the overall effects disturbances to sleep and circadian rhythms by chronic light, noise, and environmental pollutants pose to human health.

Juliet Iwelunmor, PhD: Dr. Iwelunmor received her Ph.D from Penn State University. As a researcher who is a native of Nigeria, she witnessed deep flaws in the way evidence-based public health interventions are implemented in low-resource settings, often with little or no attention to factors that facilitate or limit their sustainment over time. As a result, she is dedicated to finding ways to increase the long-term sustainment of evidence-based public health interventions implemented in low-resource settings. With her doctoral training in the Department of Bio-behavioral Health at Penn State University and subsequent work experience both as a program specialist at UNESCO, Paris, she is currently a tenure-track Assistant Professor in Community Health at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she uses her extensive experience to conduct research that enhances the health outcomes of individuals, families, and communities and reduces health disparities in low-resource settings. Currently, she works with researchers implementing evidence-based public health interventions in West Africa. The first research is a cluster-randomized trial of task-shifting and blood pressure control in community health centers (CHCs) and district hospitals in Ghana. The second research is a cluster randomized trial that tests the comparative effectiveness of a congregation-based Healthy Beginning Initiative (HBI) versus a clinic-based approach on the rates of HIV testing, and mother-to-child transmission of HIV among a cohort of church attending pregnant women and their partners. K-award funding is sought to gain education in systems science methodologies that would allow me to become an expert in conducting research focused on applying these methodologies to increase the sustainment of evidence-based public health implementations in low-resource settings.

Tatiana Oliveira, MD: Dr. Oliveira has always been extremely interested in Behavioral and Sleep Medicine. This interest has greatly grown since she started working in a longitudinal research project on adults with cerebral palsy in a large cohort of 400 patients who were evaluated since childhood. Her particular field of interest is the combination of epilepsy and cerebral palsy, and the secondary health outcomes resulting of such a pairing over the years, especially in the behavioral/sleep and cardiovascular/metabolic profile of those patients. The PRIDE Training would be of immense help in her project and help her optimally evaluate patients’ behavioral and sleep alterations, and help her design future studies furthering the understanding of the patterns of behavior and sleep in this particular population of adults with cerebral palsy and epilepsy. These individuals suffer during their transition from pediatric care to adult care, without a cohesive follow-up from health professionals, who are not properly informed in the specific needs and features of such patients. Her goal is to provide original data from her study to develop better and complete protocols aiding health professionals to deal with the myriad of secondary health outcomes in these patients, and improve their quality of life with control of behavioral/sleep problems.