General inquiries  |  

Research questions  | 

Media inquiries  | 

Program information (SAAF and SAAF-T) inquiries  |  


Steve Beach

Steven R. H. Beach, Ph.D.

706-425-2992 |

Dr. Beach is Director of the Center for Family Research and a Regents Professor of Psychology. He is a recognized expert on couple relationships and has conducted groundbreaking research on the role of social relationships in improving health and well-being. Dr. Beach is currently the PI for two large, longitudinal projects that examine the effects of Contextual Stressors and Resilience Promoting Processes on couple relationships and Parenting in African American families and co-investigator on multiple federally-funded R01 projects focused on health, health behavior, and substance use.

Dr. Anita Brown

Anita Brown, Ph.D.
Associate Director

706-255-9593 |

Dr. Brown is the Associate Director of the Center for Family Research. She directs the day to day operations associated with project management and provides fiscal oversight of all research accounts. Dr. Brown is the Principal Investigator on the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting contract funded through the Office of Prevention and Family Support (OPFS), Georgia Division of Family and Children Services, as well as the MIECHVEnhanced Engagement Protocol contract. She also serves as the Contract Lead on the Grants Management System Development, Technical Assistance, and Training contract with OPFS. Her professional research interests include the effectiveness of home visiting as a primary prevention strategy as well as gene-environment interaction and engagement/informed consent issues with regard to collection of genetic material from community samples. She received an M.S. and Ph.D. from the Department of Child and Family Development at the University of Georgia. Dr. Brown has worked at CFR since 1993.

Tracy Anderson

Tracy Anderson, Ph.D.
Assistant Director

706-425-3033 |

Dr. Anderson is the Assistant Director of CFR.  She provides direct oversight to the Data Collection, Intervention, and Recruitment Units and works closely with the staff who lead and support active research projects.  Dr. Anderson also oversees the dissemination of the Strong African American Families Program (SAAF) by promoting the program as well as coordinating training and providing technical assistance to organizations that purchase SAAF.  She has a BSED in Health Promotion, a Master’s in Social Work and a PhD in Adult Education.

Gene Brody

Gene Brody, Ph.D.
Founder and Director Emeritus 

Dr. Brody is Regents Professor, Founder, and Director Emeritus of the Center for Family Research. His research program has shown how family caregiving practices protects the health, neurodevelopment, and well-being of rural African American youth from a range of life stressors such as rural poverty, economic hardship, and racial discrimination. Dr. Brody and his colleagues translated these findings into three efficacious family-centered prevention programs for African American youth—these prevention programs are being embedded in communities across the nation.  See our feature article about Dr. Brody’s career and see his bio page.


Nichole Baker

Nichole Baker
Research Assistant

Nichole Baker works with the Health and Resilience Project – Transitions (HARP-T) and Health and Resilience Project – Foundations (HARP-F). She earned her BS in Psychology from the University of Georgia in 2022 and hopes to pursue a graduate degree in the future that will combine her interests in psychology and law.

Stacey.Barnum Photo

Stacey Barnum
Project Coordinator

Stacey Barnum is the Project Coordinator for The Family and Community Health Study (FACHS).  She has a BA in Psychology from the University of Virginia and a MEd in School Psychology from Howard University.

Kim Bennett

Kimberly L Bennett
Recruitment Coordinator

Kimberly Bennett is the Recruitment Coordinator for the Health and Resilience Project (HARP). She earned a BS Administrative Managment from Clayton State University and an MS in Youth Development Leadership from Clemson University.

Olive Conyers

Olive S. Conyers, M.P.A.
Recruitment and Retention Specialist

706-425-2989 |

Ms. Conyers is the Recruitment and Retention Specialist of CFR. She is interested in education and mental health policies for children and families.
She received a B.A. in Sociology, Piedmont College, and a Masters in Public Administration from Troy State University. Ms. Conyers has worked at CFR for 11 years.


Nicole Copeland
First Steps Georgia State Lead

706-202-5766 |

Nicole Copeland is the First Steps Georgia State Lead which is affiliated with the Georgia Home Visiting Program (GHVP).  She provides statewide technical assistance and training to uphold the First Steps mission to ensure a great start for all of Georgia’s children by providing families with accurate and up-to-date information about parenting and linking families to supports and resources to support the healthy development of their children.  Nicole earned her BS in Biology from the University of North Georgia in 2009 and joined the Technical Assistance and Quality Training team in October 2018.

Paige Ferrell

Paige Ferrell
Healthy Families Georgia State Coordinator

Paige Ferrell is the State Coordinator for Healthy Families Georgia (HFG), an evidence based home visiting program affiliated with the Georgia Home Visiting Program. In her position, Paige provides statewide technical assistance, formal quality assurance, and training. Through relationship-based services, she helps HFGadhere to the critical elements, principles, goals adopted by the HFG Network, and the contract requirements of the Office of Prevention and Family Support (OPFS), Georgia Division of Family and Children Services. Paige has a 10-year history with Healthy Families America at both the local and state levels in Georgia.


Katherine Flores
Research Assistant

Katherine Flores is a Research Assistant for the SAAF Healthy Adults Project (SHAPE) and Health and Resilience Project (HARP). She is responsible for daily tasks associated with implementation of data collection from participants involved in a 25-year longitudinal study. Katherine earned her BS in Psychology from the University of Georgia in 2020 and plans to earn her M.Ed. in Professional Counseling in the near future.


Jonique Y. Freeman, MPH, CHES
PACT Project Coordinator


Ms. Freeman is the Project Coordinator for Parents and Children Together (PACT). She is a public health professional with a passion for educating, motivating and empowering individuals, families and communities to achieve their fullest potential –  through advocacy, community development, continuous quality improvement, health promotion, research, program planning and training.

She was born and raised in Rochester, NY, but considers Georgia her second home – Georgia is where her love for community development, empowerment, program planning and public health grew. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Georgia State University; and a Master of Public Health with a concentration in Community Health Education & Social Behavior from Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health (JPHCOPH) at Georgia Southern University.

She is passionate about addressing social determinants of health (social structures and economic systems, i.e. culture, education, healthcare delivery system, built environment, etc.) among vulnerable, marginalized and at-risk populations – to achieve equitable outcomes so that everyone thrives.


Jessica Gordy
Business & Grants Professional

706-425-2992 |

Jessica Gordy is the Grants Coordinator at the Center for Family Research. She supports PIs by assisting them with preparing and submitting proposals and administering awards. This includes filling out grant applications, interpreting policies of major and non-federal sponsors, assisting with budget development, subcontracting and invoice management, and acting as liaison between the Center for Family Research, Sponsored Projects Administration, external sponsors, and other universities and organizations. Jessica joined the Grants team at CFR in September 2020.

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Jessica Gurnow
State Lead for Parents as Teachers, Georgia Home Visiting Program

706-296-6141 |

Jessica Gurnow serves as the State Coordinator for the Georgia Parents as Teachers (PAT) Network, which is part of the Georgia Home Visiting Program (GHVP). In this role, she organizes network events, plans and conducts training, and provides implementation support to PAT program staff across the state. She is also a nationally certified Parents as Teachers Trainer. Before joining the GHVP team in 2016, Jessica worked as a Parents as Teachers parent educator and program supervisor. She received her B.S. in Family, Youth, and Community Sciences from the University of Florida.

Tracy Hickey

Tracey Daniels Hickey, M.S.
Georgia Home Visiting Information System Technical Assistance Lead for the Georgia Home Visiting Program

706-425-2984 |

Ms. Hickey is the Georgia Home Visiting Information System (GEOHVIS) Technical Assistance Lead for the Georgia Home Visiting Program (GHVP). As part of the CFR team working on the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) contract funded through the Office of Prevention and Family Support (OPFS), Georgia Division of Family and Children Services, Tracey provides training and direct support to state home visiting program staff using GEOHVIS. Tracey earned a BA in Psychology, BSFCS in Child and Family Development, and MS in Child and Family Development from the University of Georgia. She has been working at CFR since 1999.

Steve Kogan

Steve Kogan, Ph.D.
Director of Community Outreach

706-542-4899 |

Dr. Kogan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Science and has been a Research Scientist at the Center for Family Research since 2004. Dr. Kogan’s research focuses on the family and community processes associated with rural African American young people’s engagement in risky behavior including substance use and risky sex. Dr. Kogan helps to translate this research into prevention programs for African American youth and families. He is currently the Principal Investigator of the African American Men’s Project, which is investigating the strengths and challenges that young African American men experience in the years following high school. He is also Principal Investigator on a study exploring the influence of receiving alcohol prevention programs in middle and high school.

Photo of Michelle Lanier

Michelle Lanier, M.P.H.
Technical Assistance and Quality Team Director, Georgia Home Visiting Program

706-247-5694 |

Michelle Lanier serves as the director of the Georgia Home Visiting Program’s Technical Assistance and Quality Team.  Prior to holding this position, Michelle served as a Research Director and Statistical Analyst with the Department of Psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina. Michelle is also a Master’s Level Certified Addictions Professional with over 10 years of experience in providing individual, family and group therapy for children and adults impacted by addiction. Michelle has worked in research settings and has provided direct services to children and families for over twenty years.  Michelle earned a Master of Science in Public Health from the University of South Florida in 2001 and a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology from New College of Florida in 1998.  Michelle has been employed at the Center for Family Research since 2012.

Bronson Lott

Bronson Lott
Research Assistant

Bronson works with the Health and Resilience Project – Transitions and the Health and Resilience Project – Foundations. He Earned his BS in Psychology in 2022 from the University of Georgia and joined CFR to gain experience in the field before applying to graduate school.


Ragonda G. Menefield , M.P.A., M.B.A.
Project Coordinator for SHAPE

770-601-0809 |

Mrs. Ragonda Menefield is the Project Coordinator for the Shape project. Her research interests include program development and evaluation as well as young adult obesity and the direct impact it has on the African American and rural communities. She has BA in Political Science from Valdosta State University, MPA concentration in Healthcare from Keller Graduate School of Management, and a MBA in accounting for non-profit. Her future goal is to pursue a PhD in Health Education, Promotion & Behavior. She has been with CFR since 2007.

Ashley Maddox

Ashley Maddox
Home Visiting Technical Assistance and Training Team Assistant

706-442-0853  |

Ashley served as a Family Support Specialist with the Healthy Families Columbus Parenting Support Program in Muscogee County 11 years before joining CFR. She earned a BS in psychology from Middle Georgia State University.  Ashley and her husband Bernard have a 2-year-old daughter, Aelissa, a bonus son, and three grandchildren.  

Mei Ling Ong

Mei Ling Ong, Ph.D.
Assistant Research Scientist

706-425-3305 |

Dr. Ong received her Ph.D in the Department of Educational Psychology, Quantitative Methodology programs from the University of Georgia in 2017. She was an application analyst specialist at the Georgia Center for Assessment (GCA) in Athens for two years. She joined the CFR as a research scientist in April 2018 to help with data management and data analyses. Her research interests are in psychometrics, especially with regards to item response theory (IRT) for use in analyzing longitudinal data and differential item functioning (DIF), through theoretical and applied research. Her research also utilizes the quantitative and statistical methods used in the developmental psychology, such as adolescent development, and examines health outcomes with aging. Additionally, She is interested in the areas of structural equation modeling (SEM), hierarchical linear model (HLM), longitudinal data analysis, and multivariate data analysis.


Monica Oxley
Georgia Parents as Teachers State Lead Assistant

706-714-7994 |

Monica Oxley serves as the PAT State Lead Assistant for the Georgia Parents as Teachers (PAT) Network, which is part of the Georgia Home Visiting Program (GHVP). In this role, she coordinates training, networking events, and provides implementation support to PAT programs across the state. Before joining the team, Monica worked as a Parents as Teachers parent educator in a blue ribbon affiliate for several years. She has been working with children and families for over 10 years, 4 of those years as a GA Prekindergarten assistant teacher.

David Pollock

David Pollock, Ph.D.
Director of Digital Resources and Interventions

Dr. Pollock brings a diverse blend of expertise to his role of Director of Digital Resources.  With degrees in Mass Communication, Community Counseling, and Child and Family Development and decades of experience in positions such as college professor, college administrator, media producer, and family therapist, he works to translate CFR science into a wide range of digital resources for families, family service practitioners, and scientists.

Dr. Gregory Rhodes

Gregory Rhodes, Ed.D.
Dissemination Specialist

Dr. Gregory Rhodes is the Dissemination Specialist for the Strong African American Families (SAAF) and Strong African American Families-Teen (SAAF-T) programs. He is responsible for coordinating trainings and providing technical assistance for both programs.  In addition, Dr. Rhodes supports sites post-training, identify additional avenues to market the programs, and build capacity to better meet the increasing demand for SAAF and SAAF-T.  He earned his BBA in Management from Savannah State University, a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership form Augusta University, and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Argosy University.


Jessica Smith
Project Coordinator

Jessica Smith is the Project Coordinator for Sleep Safe: A Strong African American Families Program, and for the upcoming Health and Resilience Project – Transitions. She holds two degrees from the University of Georgia (BA, English, 2000; BS, Psychology, 2020). Jessica previously served 10 years as a Research Coordinator in UGA’s Department of Foods and Nutrition, coordinating multiple NIH, USDA and private/internally funded clinical trials before officially joining CFR in August 2019.

Dee Cole Vodicka

Dee Cole Vodicka
Project Coordinator
Health and Development Laboratory

Dee Cole Vodicka is the Project Coordinator for the Health and Development Lab. She received her BA in Sociology from North Park College in Chicago, IL, and her MEd in Special Education from Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus.

Savannah Whaley

Savannah Whaley
Administrative & Financial Manager

706-425-2994 |

Savannah Whaley is the Administrative and Financial Manager for the Center. She received a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in accounting from Georgia College and State University in 2012 and started working at the University of Georgia in 2014. When she is not working, Savannah enjoys spending time with her husband, Lawrence, and their 3 fur-babies, Bailey, Shelby, and Luna.


Tianyi Yu, Ph.D.
Assistant Research Scientist and Statistician

706-425-2983 |

Dr. Yu received her Ph. D. in Human Development and Family Studies from Auburn University, Alabama in 2007. After completion of 3-year postdoctoral training at University of Michigan, Department of Psychology, she joined the CFR as a Research Scientist in June 2010 to help with data management and data analyses. Her major research interest focuses on the role of transitions in parental marital status on child development and young adults’ well-being. She is also interested in how experiences in the family of origin impact the development of interpersonal competencies, particularly the mediating and moderating processes involved.

UGA Faculty Affiliates


Brett Clementz, Ph.D.
Distinguished Research Professor, University of Georgia

(706) 542-2174 |

Brett Clementz is a Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Psychology and Director of the Bio-Imaging Research Center (BIRC) at the University of Georgia.  He is a co-investigator on the NIDA_funded Neuroscience, Immunology, and Social Adversity Center Grant at the Center for Family Research.  Brett’s research focuses on the biological bases of psychoses and the identification of biomarkers of neurobiological deviations that are associated with manifestations of different subgroups of psychoses. These biomarkers could allow clinicians to diagnose and target medications more accurately. With growing evidence to support a novel taxonomy of psychiatric illness, Brett is helping to spearhead a game-changing movement to re-envision diagnoses of psychoses based not on century-old symptom groupings but using the tools of modern neuroscience.

K Ehrlich 2018

Katie Ehrlich, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Dr. Katie Ehrlich is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and at the Center for Family Research at UGA. She began working at the Center in 2016 and studies how close relationships and stressful experiences shape inflammatory processes and physical health across the lifespan. Katie received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Maryland in 2012 and completed her postdoctoral fellowship at Northwestern University.

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Justin Lavner, Ph.D.
Faculty, University of Georgia

Dr. Lavner is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Georgia. His research interests include couple and family relationships over time, as well as the development of preventive and therapeutic interventions to improve couple and family relationships.

Karlo Lei

Man Kit Lei, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, University of Georgia

Man Kit (Karlo) Lei is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology, and is affiliated with the Center for Family Research at UGA. Dr. Lei’s research interests include the social determinants of health and illness, sociology of aging, social epidemiology, criminology, and advanced quantitative methods and measurements. He has pursued three interrelated lines of research. First, his research focuses on understanding the impact of the social environment on biological mediators, and the way that social stressors and supports lead to health outcomes for members of minority groups. His second line of research focuses on contributions of the social environment to biological aging to better understanding how the social environment may accelerate or slow down the biological aging process. His third avenue for scholarly inquiry focuses on developing and utilizing innovative quantitative methods to better examine health-related outcomes and rate of biological aging.

Pamela Orpinas

Pamela Orpinas, Ph.D.
Professor, Health Promotion and Behavior

Distinguished Fellow, Owens Institute for Behavioral Research
Website |

Research interests include preventing family violence, dating aggression, and bullying; improving the lives of immigrant and underserved populations; identifying developmental trajectories of children and youth.

Ronald Simons

Ronald Simons, Ph.D.
Distinguished Research Professor, University of Georgia

Dr. Ron Simons, Distinguished Research Professor of Sociology, has been at the University of Georgia since 2002 and received a Ph.D. in Sociology from Florida State University. His specialty areas include: a) the manner in which family processes, peer associations, and community context combine to influence risk for delinquency and emotional problems, b) the causes and consequences of domestic violence, and c) racial socialization as a moderator of the deleterious health consequences of discrimination.

Leslie Gordon Simons

Leslie Gordon Simons, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, University of Georgia

Dr. Simons is an Associate Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Science at UGA. Her interests include the ways in which family factors, peer affiliation, and community variables influence outcomes for adolescents and emerging adults. More specifically, her research focuses on the predictors and consequences of various parenting behaviors and the ways in which parenting is associated with adolescent delinquency, risky sexual behavior, and dating violence.



Larry Sweet, Ph.D.
Gary R. Sperduto Professor in Clinical Psychology, University of Georgia

(706) 542-0746  |

Larry Sweet is the Gary R. Sperduto Professor in Clinical Psychology and Director of the Clinical Neuroscience Laboratory at the University of Georgia. He is a co-investigator on the NIDA_funded Neuroscience, Immunology, and Social Adversity Center Grant at the Center for Family Research. Larry examines brain-behavior relationships in clinical populations using cognitive and affective neuroscience techniques, particularly multimodal neuroimaging and neuropsychological assessments. His FMRI work includes paradigm development with a focus on clinically relevant constructs (e.g., objective assessments of subjective states, prediction of treatment outcome). Recent studies include the use of functional neuroimaging markers to predict smoking, alcohol, and opiate cessation outcome; functional, structural and prefusion MRI correlates of cognitive function in cardiovascular disease; the effects of early life stress on adult cognitive function; cue reactivity in obesity and nicotine dependence; and working memory and information processing speed in subcortical disease processes.

Non-UGA Faculty Affiliates

Allen Barton

Allen Barton, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

217-4244-2009 |

Dr. Allen Barton is an Assistant Professor in Human Development & Family Studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Over the last decade, his work has examined risk and protective processes within families that affect individuals’ health, substance use, and relational well-being. Dr. Barton’s research program also includes a strong applied emphasis, focusing on developing and evaluating family-centered prevention programs.  Dr. Barton received his BS and MS in Engineering from the University of Illinois and his PhD in Human Development and Family Science from the University of Georgia.  His postdoctoral research was in prevention science at the Center for Family Research.
Chalandra Bryant

Chalandra Bryant, Ph.D.

Dept. of Family Social Science
College of Education and Human Development
University of Minnesota


E. Chen

Edith Chen, Ph.D.
Professor, Northwestern University

847-467-0366 |

Dr. Chen is a Professor of Clinical Psychology and Personality Psychology at Northwestern University. Her research focuses on understanding the psychosocial and psychobiological pathways that explain relationships between low socioeconomic status and physical health outcomes in childhood.

James MacKillop

James MacKillop, Ph.D.
Director, Boris Centre for Addictions Research
Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences
McMaster University, Canada

James MacKillop, PhD, is the Peter Boris Chair in Addictions Research, Director of the Boris Centre for Addictions Research, and Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University. Integrating concepts and methods from psychology, economics, and neuroscience, Dr. MacKillop conducts a program of research using behavioral economics and neuroeconomics to understand alcoholism, nicotine dependence, and other forms of addiction. To date, this work has generated over 130 peer-reviewed publications and other works, including two edited volumes, The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Addiction Psychopharmacology (2013, Wiley-Blackwell) and Genetic Influences on Addiction: An Intermediate Phenotype Approach (2013, MIT Press). He has been a Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator on numerous grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Alcoholic Beverage Medical Research Foundation, and other extramural funders. Dr. MacKillop’s work has been cited over 2000 times and has been recognized by the G. Alan Marlatt Award for Distinguished Scientific Early Career Contributions from the Society for Addiction Psychology and the Young Investigator Award from the Research Society on Alcoholism. In addition to his own research, Dr. MacKillop is active in peer review, serving as Field Editor for the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, Associate Editor for Nicotine and Tobacco Research, Assistant Editor for Addiction, and as a standing member of the Clinical and Health Services Review Subcommittee of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Dr. MacKillop is the Director of the Pilot/Mentoring Core for the Center for Translational and Prevention Science at the Center for Family Research.


Greg Miller, Ph.D.
Professor, Northwestern University

Dr. Miller is a Professor of Clinical Psychology and Personality Psychology at Northwestern University. His research focuses on how stress affects health. In recent years he has become especially interested in stressors that occur during early life, and how they might get biologically embedded in people in a manner that reverberates across the lifespan. To study issues like this, his lab brings together theories and methods from across the behavioral and biomedical sciences. Over the long term, his goal is to establish a behaviorally and biologically plausible understanding of stress-health connections.


Robin Nusslock, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Northwestern University

847-467-4148 |

Robin Nusslock is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of Cells to Society (C2S): The Center on Social Disparities and Health at Northwestern University.  He is a co-investigator on the NIDA funded Neuroscience, Immunology, and Social Adversity Center Grant at the Center for Family Research.  Robin’s research involves  neurophysiology (electroencephalography, event-related potentials) and both structural and functional neuroimaging to study the neural mechanisms involved in approach (e.g., reward) and avoidance (e.g., threat, fear) emotional states, as well as the regulation of these emotions by the prefrontal cortex. He also examines bidirectional signaling between the brain and the immune system in generating risk for both mental and physical health problems.


Ezemenari Obasi, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, University of Houston

Dr. Obasi is an Associate Professor and Director of the Hwemudua Addictions and Health Disparities Laboratory (HAHDL) at the University of Houston. Prior to this role, Dr. Obasi was an Early Career Co-Investigator for the Center for Contextual Genetics and Prevention Science (CGAPS) at CFR. CGAPS continues to support Dr. Obasi’s research.

Dr. Obasi’s research focuses on addictions, gene x environment predictors of health, and health disparities that disproportionately affect the African American community. As the director of the Hwemudua Addictions and Health Disparities Laboratory (HAHDL) at the University of Houston, he takes an interdisciplinary approach (incl., biomarkers, biofeedback, genetics, fMRI, experimental manipulations, etc.) and uses a diverse range of settings (incl., community, bar lounge, experimental rooms, medical facilities, etc.) to investigate biological, psychological, social, and cultural determinants of health. The impact that drug addictions have on health disparities impacting at-risk African Americans are grossly understudied. While there is strong evidence linking drug use and abuse to violent behaviors, injuries, mental health, and physical health problems, it is unclear how African Americans are disproportionately at risk given their relatively low incidence rates of drug use and abuse. There is a growing body of literature linking chronic stress – and one’s inability to effectively regulate stress – to addictions. As a result, Dr. Obasi is interested in taking students who are interested in investigating how stress dysregulation might be used to clarify the more subtle relationships between one’s cultural worldview/practices, environment, genotype, and drug use vulnerability. Ultimately, Dr. Obasi is committed to bringing about positive change to the African / African American community and other marginalized populations. To this end, he has a history of being actively involved in the community and publishing in the area of African/Black Psychology.

Rob Philibert

Rob Philibert, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor, University of Iowa

Dr. Philibert is a Professor of Psychiatry and a member of the Genetics and Neuroscience programs at University of Iowa’s Carver School of Medicine. An established clinician and an active bench researcher, he has experience using a wide variety of laboratory techniques, including the creation of knockout mice, the establishment of stably transfected inducible cell lines, methylation assays, and genome-wide transcriptional profiling. He is an expert on the genetics of substance use and affective disorders and the interplay of genes, epigenetic processes, and environments in the etiology of substance use.

Rheeda Walker

Rheeda Walker, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, University of Houston

Dr. Rheeda Walker is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of the Culture, Risk, and Resilience Lab at the University of Houston. Prior to this role Dr. Walker was an Early Career Co-Investigator for the Center for Contextual Genetics and Prevention Science (CGAPS) at CFR. CGAPS currently maintains research support for Dr. Walker. Her primary interests are in advancing research in African American suicide and negative emotionality, understanding psychosocial and cultural factors in resiliency, and investigating gene-environment vulnerability to psychological problems. Dr. Walker has found preliminary evidence that “universal” risks such as depression/depressive symptoms interact with culturally-relevant buffers such as cultural worldview to affect suicidal vulnerability.