2022-2023 Scholars

Tara Bautista

Dr. Tara Bautista has a transdisciplinary Ph.D. in Nursing and Health Innovation from Arizona State University. Her research is in stress, substance use, and intervention adaptations for minority and underserved populations. Dr. Bautista is interested in evaluating the acceptability of mindfulness-based interventions for individuals with substance use disorders. These findings inform evidence-based adaptations designed to improve the acceptability among specific subgroups. Tailoring interventions can improve the inclusivity for diverse populations in turn reaching a larger audience. Her other areas of research include stress, coping, resilience, trauma, health disparities, and underserved and minority population health.

Maria Blöchl

Maria Blöchl, PhD, is an early post-doctoral researcher who focuses on understanding the interdependence of age-related changes in diseases and functioning with mental health and wellbeing. She completed an MSc in Psychology at Leipzig University (Germany) and an MSc in Neuroscience at the University of Oxford (UK) before she received her PhD from the University of Münster (Germany) in 2021. During her PhD, she investigated how vascular risk factors and stroke shape age-related changes in mental health, with a strong methodological focus on statistical analysis of longitudinal data. Dr. Blöchl currently focuses on grounding her work in life course and socioecological frameworks to understand how social structures and institutions shape health and wellbeing across the lifespan.

Emily A. Brinck

Dr. Emily A. Brinck is a researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER) department serving on the Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center for Quality Employment (VRTAC-QE) and the Wisconsin Career Advancement grants. Her previous positions include Director and Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation and Human Services at the University of North Dakota and Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation and Human Services at the University of Maine – Farmington. Dr. Brinck received her Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Counselor Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her Master's in Management from Indiana University. Dr. Brinck has had the opportunity to work as a researcher on the Wisconsin Promoting the Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE) grant as well as the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Employer Practices (RRTC) grant. She has published articles in the Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling, Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals, and Rehabilitation Psychology and has presented her research at both state and national conferences. Her research interests include interagency collaboration between schools, vocational rehabilitation, and employers; transition-age youth with disabilities towards successful postsecondary outcomes; and overcoming barriers to employment for people with disabilities.

Kristal Lyn Brown

Dr. Brown is a T32 postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, division of General Internal Medicine. Her research focuses on prevention and treatment of obesity with an emphasis on cultural adaptions and tailoring for Black women. She is particularly interested in maladaptive eating behaviors and obesity treatment response. She is also interested in exposure to racism and the subsequent adverse physiological and psychological effects, such as maladaptive eating---all with an eye towards developing novel intervention approaches. Dr. Brown was selected as a 2019-2020 American Association of University Women (AAUW) fellow. She was also selected as an 2020-2021 National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), Health Disparities Research Institute (HDRI) fellow. Most recently, Dr. Brown received an American Heart Association diversity supplement, which will allow her to build upon her previous work. She received her Master of science in public health (MSPH) from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee before completing her PhD in social and behavioral sciences from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2020.

Heather Farmer

Heather Farmer, PhD is an Assistant Professor in Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Delaware. She earned a PhD in Biobehavioral Health, with specialization in Demography, at Penn State University and has postdoctoral training from Duke University’s Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development in racial disparities in chronic disease physiology and outcomes. Her research is multidisciplinary, drawing on health psychology, sociology, demography, and public health to understand the role of risk and protective factors in shaping the health of older adults. She is also interested in exploring how the intersection of race, gender, and socioeconomic status (SES) may produce differential health outcomes across the life course. Her research focuses on understanding the biopsychosocial mechanisms contributing to health and well-being, with an emphasis on the role that stress exposure, stress biology, and psychosocial resilience play in shaping Black-White disparities in health. She is particularly interested in understanding how discrimination exposure over the life course may influence trajectories of physical and cognitive health outcomes in older Black adults.  

Tiffany N Ford

Tiffany N. Ford, MPH, PhD is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Future of the Middle Class Initiative at the Brookings Institution. Dr. Ford is a transdisciplinary researcher who applies qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches to explore how racism manifests in gendered ways along the life course in the health, economic, and social well-being of Black people in the United States. Her lines of research focus on: (1) the role of gendered racism in shaping Black women’s paradoxical subjective well-being alongside disproportionate experiences with endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS); (2) the role of wealth, family type, and other areas of difference in shaping subjective well-being at the intersection of race-gender and income class in the U.S.; and (3) power sharing in qualitative research to advance public policy. Dr. Ford received her doctorate in Policy Studies with a concentration in social policy from the University of Maryland College Park School of Public Policy. She received the University of Maryland School of Public Policy’s inaugural Seed Grant on Race, Policy, Equity, and Social Justice, an Innovative Research Award, and the Ann G. Wylie Dissertation Fellowship from the University of Maryland School of Public Policy for her study of subjective well-being paradoxes for Black women in the U.S. She earned her Master of Public Health with a concentration in Community Health Sciences from the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health. Dr. Ford works in community with health justice workers, active residents, and everyday people to reshape a healthier society such that we all have what we need to be well.

Alexandrea R Golden

Dr. Alexandrea R. Golden is current Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Center for Urban Education at Cleveland State University and an incoming Assistant Professor in Clinical Psychology at the University of Memphis. She earned her PhD in Clinical-Community Psychology at the University of South Carolina. Dr. Golden’s scholarship focuses on the resilience and positive development of racially-minoritized youth who experience racism with a focus on Black adolescents. Her work focuses on three interdisciplinary lines of research including: (1) school racial climate, (2) peer racial socialization, and (3) critical consciousness. Dr. Golden is committed to translating her research to community-engaged practice and has done so through program development and evaluation in South Carolina and Ohio as well as the implementation of youth participatory action research (YPAR) in more than 30 high schools across Ohio. She looks forward to extending her community-engaged research and practice to youth in the Memphis area, a site of historical and ongoing activism for equity for minoritized individuals.  

Mobolaji Ibitoye

Mobolaji Ibitoye DrPH, MPH is a public health researcher and Postdoctoral Scholar at the Ohio State University in the Institute for Population Research. Her multidisciplinary public health training includes a DrPH in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University, and an MPH with dual concentrations in Behavioral Sciences/Health Education and Epidemiology from Saint Louis University. Her research is focused on understanding and addressing the sexual and reproductive health needs of underserved, marginalized, and most-at-risk populations both domestically and globally. Her research explores how structural, social, behavioral, and biological factors contribute to the development of various sexual and reproductive health morbidities and health disparities. Her work has been funded by NICHD and the Society of Family Planning.

Tasneem Khambaty

Dr. Khambaty is an assistant professor in the department of Health Services Psychology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). She is a clinical health psychologist with specialized training in behavioral medicine, and cardiometabolic disease physiology, epidemiology, prevention, and management. The primary aim of her interdisciplinary program of research at the junction of behavioral medicine and aging/Geroscience is to identify early vulnerabilities to cardiometabolic disease and related accelerated aging from a lifespan development perspective. Specifically, she seeks to identify new risk factors and intervention targets to address some of the most critical public health issues of our time (i.e., the diabetes epidemic and health inequities), and ultimately, prevent common diseases of our aging population. She has received the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research Early-Stage Investigator Award and is currently engaged in National Institute on Aging (NIA)-funded projects in collaboration with the University of Maryland Older Americans Independence Center.

Krystal Kittle

Dr. Krystal Kittle is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, School of Public Health, Social and Behavioral Health Department. Krystal’s research focuses on diverse LGBTQIA+ caregivers – their characteristics, caregiving experiences, health and well-being, and how to best engage them in research. Krystal’s research is funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging, The Alzheimer’s Association, and The Michael J. Fox Foundation.

Aurora Le

Aurora Le, PhD, MPH, CSP, CPH, is the John G. Searle Assistant Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. She completed her PhD in Health Behavior at Indiana University School of Public Health and her MPH in Community-Oriented Primary Care at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health. She is a Certified Safety Professional and Certified in Public Health. Dr. Le is an applied, translational researcher whose interdisciplinary work centers around occupational health disparities and psychosocial factors of occupational safety and health. Her current research focuses on populations, such as waste workers, death care service workers, and nail salon workers; she co-leads the Michigan Healthy Nail Salon Cooperative. Dr. Le is passionate about identifying and implementing approaches to bolster the occupational safety, physical and mental health, and wellbeing of overlooked worker populations.

Elizabeth Rhodus 

Dr. Elizabeth Rhodus is an Assistant Professor at the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging and Department of Behavioral Science and is an affiliate faculty member of the Center for Health Equity Transformation at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Rhodus has over 10 years of clinical experience as an occupational therapist, predominately serving rural communities. Her clinical training and experience spanned across the life continuum with sensory-based theories as a guiding framework while working with patients with neurological conditions. She sought doctoral training in Gerontology specifically to enhance evidence-based interventions for adults with cognitive impairment and their care partners. Dr. Rhodus completed postdoctoral training at the University of Kentucky Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center supported by a NIH/NIA T32 grant, “Training in Translational Research in Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias” with emphasis in ADRD clinical trial design. Her current work is centered around the development of behavioral assessment and interventions to support health equity and quality of life while aging at home.

Dante Anthony Tolentino

Dante Anthony Tolentino, PhD, MS, RN-BC is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Michigan School of Nursing and a clinician scholar with the National Clinician Scholars Program, University of Michigan. He has more than a decade of nursing informatics experience specializing in workflow analysis, health information technology adoption, EHR support, implementation, and optimization. His dissertation was on the relationship of task-technology fit to nurses’ performance in the EHR and examining nurses’ EHR navigational patterns using computational ethnography. His current research pivots from nurses’ user experience with the EHR to advancing health equity by leveraging nursing knowledge and health information technology tools to address health disparity issues among Filipino Americans. He is currently conducting a qualitative study examining the successful management of type 2 diabetes among Filipino Americans and their experiences during COVID-19. He is also investigating the relationship between colonial mentality among Filipino Americans and diabetes self-management. His goal is to reduce health inequity in diabetes care using nursing and informatics interventions.

Effy Zhiyuan Yu

Dr. Effy Zhiyuan Yu is currently the Morton K. and Jane Blaustein Postdoctoral Fellow in Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing Research at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. She received her BSN and PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Nursing. She also received a certificate in Clinical and Community Outcomes Research from the UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research. Her interest in families living with adversities sparked when she volunteered to help immigrant mothers of young children. Dr. Yu’s program of research focuses on understanding and preventing the intergenerational transmission of adversity and its health consequences, with an overarching goal to improve health outcomes and equities among families and young children exposed to high levels of adversity. Her current work focuses on elucidating the influences of adverse and positive childhood experiences on (1) parenting and child behavioral outcomes, in the context of multi-site, evidence-based parenting intervention called the Chicago Parent Program, and (2) young adult well-being across cultures. Dr. Yu is also an instructor at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and a Certified Nurse Educator by the National League of Nursing.