Directory

Gene Brody

Gene Brody, Ph.D.
Founder and Director

706-425-2992 | gbrody@uga.edu

Dr. Brody is a Regents’ Professor of Child and Family Development and Director of CFR. He is an internationally recognized expert on the risk and protective mechanisms that forecast substance use and other problem behaviors among rural African American youth and has translated his findings into efficacious preventive interventions for youth ranging in age from 11 to 19 years. Dr. Brody is the author of more than 200 publications, many of which focus on African American youth development or substance use prevention.

Steve Beach

Steven R. H. Beach, Ph.D.
Co-Director

706-425-2992 | srhbeach@uga.edu

Dr. Beach is Co-Director of the Center for Family Research and a Distinguished Research Professor of Clinical 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. Beach also co-directs the Center on Biological Embedding of Social Events and Relationships and has been instrumental in spurring discussion of the intersection between prevention research and both genetic and epigenetic processes related to long-term health outcomes.

Kogan

Steve Kogan, Ph.D.
Professor

706-542-4899 | smkogan@uga.edu

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.

AnitaBrown

Anita Brown, Ph.D.
Associate Director

706-255-9593 | anitab@uga.edu

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.

TracyAnderson

Tracy Anderson, Ph.D.
Assistant Director

706-425-3033 | tnander@uga.edu

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.

dayoung bae

Dayoung Bae, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Research Associate

dbae@uga.edu

Dr. Bae is a postdoctoral research associate for the Center for Family Research. She began working at the Center in 2016 and is involved in the evaluation of multi-contextual effects on family engagement in Georgia’s home visiting programs. Also, she conducts research on health risk behaviors and family relationships among rural African American families. Her research interests focus on (a) the effects of family adversity and social instability on young adults’ couple relationships and (b) relationship conflict and substance use among African American young men. Dr. Bae received her Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Science in 2016 from the University of Georgia.

Allen Barton

Allen Barton, Ph.D.
Assistant Research Scientist

awbarton@uga.edu

Dr. Barton is an Assistant Research Scientist for the Center for Family Research.  Dr. Barton’s program of research focuses on family-centered prevention science as a means to promote the health and well-being of children, adults, and families.  This research is characterized by two main areas of investigation: (1) basic research focused on risk and protective processes within the family that affect individuals’ mental and physical health, youth substance use, and couples’ relationship well-being, and (2) applied research focused on the development and evaluation of family-centered prevention programming, particularly among at-risk populations.  He is currently the Scientific Coordinator for the Center for Translational and Prevention Science funded by NIDA as well as Co-Investigator on an NIA grant examining the effects of contextual stressors and couple relationships processes on African American adults’ health, health behavior, and substance use. Dr. Barton received his Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Science in 2013 from the University of Georgia.

Sara Jane Blackman

Sara Jane Blackman
State Coordinator for Parents as Teachers, Georgia Home Visiting Program

706-202-3273 | sjblackman@uga.edu

Sara Jane Blackman 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 position, Sara Jane organizes network events, conducts trainings, and provides technical assistance to parent educators and supervisors.

Sara Jane has worked as a parent educator, program supervisor and trainer for over fifteen years and with children and families for twenty-one. She received her BS in English/Secondary Education in 2004 and has an AA in Speech/Theatre. She has five children and has been married for sixteen years.

DianeBowman

Diane Bowman
Administrative Manager

706-425-2991 | dianeb@uga.edu

Ms. Bowman is the Administrative Manager of CFR. She received training in administration from Athens Technical College.

Ellen Neubaum Carlan

Eileen Neubaum Carlan, M.S.
Manuscript Editor & Research Support Specialist

706-425-2981 | eneubaum@uga.edu

Ms. Carlan is the Manuscript Editor & Research Support Specialist of CFR. She provides many services to CFR including: preliminary peer review for manuscripts that Center scientists write; constructing PowerPoint presentations that Center scientists use to disseminate their research findings; helping students to learn research methodology and scientific writing; helping junior faculty to learn scientific writing and familiarize them with the publication process; providing scientific writing and editing assistance for Center scholars whose first language is not English; monitoring Center manuscripts throughout the publication process; ensuring that Center publications are deposited with PubMed Central in accordance with NIH requirements; maintaining a detailed log of Center publications and the grants that funded them; and furnishing Center scientists with literature updates on an opt-in basis.  Ms. Carlan is interested in effective, efficient, and creative ways to provide staff with access to current literature; creative preparation of audiovisual presentations; effective and interesting ways of teaching students/ junior faculty methodology and scientific writing. She received a B.S. in Home Economics, Georgia Southern College, and and M.S. in Child and Family Development, University of Georgia. She has worked for CFR since 1984 as a part-time research assistant and became a full-time research support specialist in 1995.

Olive

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

706-425-2989 | oconyers@uga.edu

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.

EllenEdisen

Ellen Eidsen
Accountant

706-227-7944 | ebe@uga.edu

Ms. Eidsen is the Accountant for CFR. She joined CFR in a part-time position following her retirement after 30 years of accounting service to the University of Georgia.

Paige Ferrell

Paige Ferrell
Healthy Families Georgia State Coordinator

paigef@uga.edu

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.

freeman

Jonique Y. Freeman, MPH, CHES
PACT Project Coordinator

706-425-3110| jfree124@uga.edu

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 Gurnow

Jessica Gurnow
PAT Training and Technical Assistance Coordinator, Georgia Home Visiting Program

706-296-6141 | jgurnow@uga.edu

Jessica Gurnow serves as the Training and Technical Assistance Coordinator for the Georgia Parents as Teachers (PAT) Network, which is part of the Georgia Home Visiting Program (GHVP).

Jessica joined GHVP team in 2016, but previously worked as a Parents as Teachers parent educator and program supervisor. She received her BS in Family, Youth and Community Sciences from the University of Florida.

Rebekah

Rebekah Harper
Data Specialist III

rebekah.harper@uga.edu

Rebekah received her M.S. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Valdosta State University, where she focused on psychometrics, implicit bias, and psycho-social mechanisms of oppression. She currently programs CFR’s various research instruments.

Tracy Hickey

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

706-425-2984 | tdaniels@uga.edu

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.

Debbie

Debbie Huth
Grants Coordinator

706-425-2988 | dhuth@uga.edu

Ms. Huth is the Grants Coordinator of CFR. She attended Athens Technical School. She has been with the CFR since February 2007 and with the University of Georgia since January 1995.

King

Victoria King
ProSAAF Project Coordinator

706-542-4831 | vking@uga.edu

Victoria King is the Project Coordinator for the Protecting Strong African American Families at the Center for Family Research.  Victoria King is completing her PhD in the department of Human Development and Family Sciences. She has a masters of psychology from Arizona State University and a bachelor of psychology from the University of Arizona. Victoria’s research interests focus on how varying romantic relationship processes affect individual mental and physical health. Specifically, she has an interest in utilizing biomarker research to predict specific health outcomes within aging, married populations.

Michelle Lanier

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

706-247-5694 | mlanier@uga.edu

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.

MeiLing

Mei Ling Ong, Ph.D.
Assistant Research Scientist

706-425-3305 | tmlong@uga.edu

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.

M Speer

Megan Sperr, M.P.A.
Intervention Coordinator

706-369-5789 | meganlc@uga.edu

Mrs. Sperr is the Intervention Coordinator of CFR. In this capacity, she has supported the implementation of the Adults in the Making intervention and coordinated the implementation of the programs associated with the Rural African American Families Health Project, the Protecting Strong African American Families Project, and the Strong African American Families – Steps Project.  She also supports the CFR Dissemination Unit and is the primary contact for organizations who are interested in implementing the Strong African American Families-Teen (SAAF-T) Program.  She earned an A.B. in Interdisciplinary Studies and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia.  She has been with CFR since October 2007.

RagondaCrop

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

770-601-0809 | rmenefie@uga.edu

Mrs. Ragonda Menefield-Stallworth 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.

Teague

Kate Teague
Continuous Quality Improvement Lead, Georgia Home Visiting Program

kate.teague@uga.edu

Kate Teague is the Georgia Home Visiting Program (GHVP) Enhancement Lead. In her position Kate provides guidance, training and support on Continuous Quality Improvement efforts across the Georgia Home Visiting Network.  Kate has been working with children and families in Georgia for the past 12 years. She received her B.A. in Sociology from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

jina

Myoungjin (Jina) Tollett, M.Ed.
IT Unit Director

706-425-2984 | jinayang@uga.edu

Mrs. Tollett is the IT Unit Director at CFR, overseeing the computer and technology support unit. She also serves as the lead programmer and the database administrator for the Healthy Families Georgia Information System. Her research interests include management information systems, bioinformatics, health informatics, and educational/instructional technology. She earned an M.Ed. in Instructional Technology from the University of Georgia. She has worked at CFR since October 2001.

savwhal2

Savannah Whaley
Business Manager II

706-425-2994 | whaleyjr@uga.edu

Savannah Whaley is the Business Manager II at CFR and previously worked as a Grants Accounting Specialist III in Sponsored Projects Administration at the university.

She received her BBA in Accounting in 2012 from Georgia College and State University. She has been working at the University of Georgia since 2014.

When she is not working, Savannah enjoys spending time with her husband, Lawrence, and two dogs, Bailey and Shelby.

Veras

Vera Williams, M.Ed.
Project Coordinator for SAAF-Steps

706-201-5771 | vaw@uga.edu

Ms. Williams is the Project Coordinator for SAAF-Steps. She has a B.S. in Sociology from Savannah State College/University and an M. Ed with a concentration in Psychology and Counseling from Troy State University.

Ms. Williams started out as a field interviewer/ facilitator withCFR in 2007 and joined the Center’s Staff as a Project Assistant in 2011.

yutianyi

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

706-425-2983 | yutianyi@uga.edu

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.

zuercher_li

Heather Zuercher, MPH
AMP Project Coordinator

706-202-3183

Heather Zuercher is the Project Coordinator for the African American Men’s Project. She has a BS in Biology and a Master’s in Public Health with a concentration in Health Promotion and Behavior, both from the University of Georgia. Heather’s interests include understanding the barriers to behavior change, and the relationship between work and health.

Faculty Affiliates

Carla Berg

Carla Berg, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Emory University

Dr. Berg is an Assistant Professor of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education at Emory University.

 

 

 

Birch

Leeann Birch, Ph.D.
Professor, University of Georgia

Dr. Birch is a Professor of Foods and Nutrition at the University of Georgia.

 

 

Chalandra Bryant

Chalandra Bryant, Ph.D.
Professor, University of Georgia

Dr. Bryant is a Professor of Human Development and Family Science at the University of Georgia.

 

 

E. Chen

Edith Chen, Ph.D.
Professor, Northwestern University

847-467-0366 | edith.chen@northwestern.edu

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.

Corso

Phaedra Corso, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, University of Georgia

pcorso@uga.edu

Health Policy and Management, College of Public Health, University of Georgia.

Ralph DiClemente

Ralph DiClemente, Ph.D.
Professor, Associate Director of Center for AIDS Research, Emory University

Dr. DiClemente is Charles Howard Candler Professor of Public Health and Associate Director of Emory/Atlanta Center for AIDS Research. He holds concurrent appointments as Professor in the School of Medicine, Department of Medicine, in the Division of Infectious Diseases and the Department of Pediatrics, in the Division of Epidemiology, Infectious Diseases and Immunology, and the Department of Psychiatry. He was most recently, Chair, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. Dr. DiClemente is an internationally recognized expert on the development and evaluation of prevention programs tailored to African American adolescents and young adults and is particularly well versed in designing programs that use peer-based models of implementation and that are culturally and developmentally appropriate. He has published extensively in the area of HIV/STD prevention, particularly among African- American adolescents and young adults and has also published in the area of partner violence.

K Ehrlich 2018

Katie Ehrlich, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

kehrlich@uga.edu

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.

Adam Goodie

Adam Goodie, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, University of Georgia

Dr. Goodie is an Associate Professor in the Behavioral and Brain Sciences Program at the University of Georgia. He directs the Georgia Decision Lab, which is dedicated to the multidisciplinary area of judgment and decision making. Research conducted in the lab encompasses behavioral, neuroscientific and quantitative modeling methods, and approaches problems that are both basic and translational, bridging the gap between basic and applied science.

 

Hui-Chin Hsu

Hui-Chin Hsu, Ph.D.
Faculty, University of Georgia

Dr. Hsu’s research involves the investigation of individual differences and developmental changes in emotional expression and regulation of mothers and infants within a dyadic relational context. She is particularly interested in first-time mothers’ emotions expressed and experienced in social interaction with their infants and how this experience influences their parenting behaviors. I am also interested in examining the influence of family, social, and cultural factors on young children’s understanding and control of their emotions.

Lavner pic

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.

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.

Miller

Greg Miller, Ph.D.
Professor, Northwestern University

847-467-5755 | greg.miller@northwestern.edu

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.

Obasi

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

emobasi@uh.edu

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.

Pamela Orpinas

Pamela Orpinas, Ph.D.
Professor, University of Georgia

Professor of Health Promotion and Behavior, College of Public Health at the University of Georgia. She received her PhD from the University of Texas, School of Public Health. Her area of research is violence and drug prevention, particularly among Latino youth.

 

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.

Jessica McDermott Sales,

Jessica McDermott Sales, Ph.D.
Assistant Research Professor, Emory University

Dr. Jessica McDermott Sales is an Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education at Emory University. Over the past 10 years she has been involved with implementing cross-sectional and prospective studies in childhood stress and trauma, chronic disease management for children and preadolescents, and HIV/STD prevention for adolescents. Her current research projects focus on understanding how psychosocial factors impact adolescents’ HIV/STD-associated sexual behavior and their likelihood of acquiring an STD, examining the role both genetic and environmental factors play in adolescents’ sexual risk-taking, and exploring factors associated with adolescents’ non-responsiveness to HIV/STD intervention. Additionally, she is also involved with two intervention studies to increase adolescent vaccination rates for HPV and influenza vaccines.

Anne Shaffer

Anne Shaffer, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, University of Georgia

Dr. Shaffer is an assistant professor in the Clinical and Brain & Behavior Sciences programs in the UGA Psychology Department. Her research focuses on identifying the predictors and outcomes of parenting and family processes, including emotion socialization and maltreatment, and applications to prevention and intervention. In collaboration with Dr. Cynthia Suveg, she has also conducted a study that examines how parents and young children react to emotionally arousing situations and interactions, and how this might relate to other ways aspects of psychosocial functioning. This study specifically focuses on how physical and biological factors, such as genetics, stress hormones, and heart rate, relate to these outcomes.

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.

 

Cindy Suveg

Cindy Suveg, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, University of Georgia

Dr. Suveg is Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Georgia.

 

 

 

Kecia Thomas

Kecia Thomas, Ph.D.
Professor, University of Georgia

Professor of Applied Psychology Program, Psychology Department at the University of Georgia.

 

 

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.

Kanduada (K.A.S.) Wickrama

Kanduada (K.A.S.) Wickrama, Ph.D.
Professor, University of Georgia

Currently Dr. Wickrama’s focus is on i. Social determinants of health and health inequality across the life course. ii. Racial/ethnical inequalities in mental and physical health of children and adults. iii. International development and health iv. Application of advanced statistical methods to social epidemiology.

 

Michael Windle

Michael Windle, Ph.D.
Professor, Chair of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Emory University

Dr. Windle is a Rollins Professor and Chair of the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education at Emory. He has conducted longitudinal studies on risk and protective factors pertaining to adolescent drug abuse, psychiatric and addictive disorders, violence and delinquency, and sexual onset and sexual risk behaviors.

 

Gina Wingood

Gina Wingood, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Emory University

Dr. Wingood is an Associate Professor of Public Health at Emory University and is an internationally renowned prevention science researcher with expertise in combining biological markers with behavioral and social interventions to reduce substance use and HIVinfection. She has published numerous articles on the importance of gender-specific theories in HIV research with women and the design, implementation, and evaluation of culturally sensitive HIV sexual-risk-reduction interventions for African Americans.