Current Scholars

Lydia AhnLydia ahn

Lydia Ahn, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the School of Counseling and Counseling Psychology at Arizona State University. Her program of research investigates 1) the effects of racism on health outcomes among racial/ethnic minority adolescents and emerging adults, 2) familial protective factors, including ethnic-racial socialization, attachment, and parenting, and 3) methods of healing including intervention and prevention programs and psychotherapy. Her work has been published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology, Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, and Child Development. In her previous clinical work, she worked with families, college students, and community clients. She received her PhD in the APA-accredited Counseling Psychology program at the University of Maryland, College Park, her M.S.Ed at the University of Pennsylvania, and B.A. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Margaret ButlerMaggie Butler

Maggie Butler PhD, CLC (she/her/hers) is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health at the University of Illinois Chicago. Dr. Butler’s research focuses on postpartum health and well-being, particularly the intersection of infant feeding decisions and mental health. Her dissertation work was a biosocial, mixed methods examination of Chicagoland birthing peoples’ preparation for both breastfeeding and postpartum depression. More broadly, her research explores inequities experienced by birthing people and their families related to lactation and parenting in Chicagoland and the United States. She completed her PhD in Anthropology and a certificate in Society, Biology, and Health at Northwestern University and is also a certified lactation counselor.

Alice Fiddian-GreenAlice Fiddian-Green

Alice Fiddian-Green, PhD, MPH is Assistant Professor of Public Health in the School of Nursing and Health Professions at the University of San Francisco. She earned her PhD in Public Health (with a minor in anthropology) from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Alice is an interdisciplinary public health scholar with over ten years of experience using critical public health storytelling methods (e.g., digital storytelling, photovoice, ‘zines). Alice’s current program of research applies a reproductive justice framework to examine the intersections of interpersonal and institutional violence, mental health, and substance use. She uses public health storytelling methods to center the voices of people directly impacted by substance use, and to inform the implementation and de-implementation of programs and policies that promote health equity. Alice previously conducted research with pregnant people and mothers with opioid and polysubstance use disorders, and is currently focused on intervention development to promote social connection, community resilience, and collective community capital to reduce the impact of substance use on youth, families, and communities.

Alein Haro-RamosAlein Haro-Ramos

Alein Y. Haro-Ramos, PhD, MPH (she/her/ella) is a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Program of Public Health (Health, Society, & Behavior) at UC Irvine. She earned a PhD in health policy from UC Berkeley, specializing in Population Health Science, and an MPH from UCLA. Her research interests include health and social inequities across the life course among racialized communities in the U.S., particularly focusing on the nexus of race, ethnicity, and citizenship status. Currently, her research centers on understanding the health and healthcare use of older undocumented immigrants in Los Angeles County. Dedicated to utilizing research findings for policy and practice solutions aimed at remedying and preventing the exacerbation of health disparities, she has garnered support for her work from the Health Policy Research Scholars program, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at UC Berkeley, and the Graduate Division Berkeley Fellowship.

Winston KennedyWinston Kennedy

Dr. Kennedy is currently an assistant professor at Northeastern University was born in Boston and grew up in South Florida. He earned a doctorate in physical therapy in 2015. He also earned a master’s degree in public health and a PhD in Kinesiology with a concentration in adapted physical activity in 2020 and 2022 Respectfully. Dr. Kennedy conducts research that supports the health and well-being of people with disabilities at their intersecting identities with a focus on physical activity promotion. Dr Kennedy is also interested in understanding, and ultimately influencing, healthcare professional curricula in order to train health professionals to work with and better support people with disabilities.

Jiaming LIangJiaming LIang

Dr. Jiaming Liang is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Southern California (USC) Alzheimer Disease Research Center (ADRC). Dr. Liang completed his Ph.D. in Social Work with a concentration in Community-Based Research & Practice from the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work in 2022. Prior to this, he earned a Master of Applied Psychology from Zhejiang University (ZJU) in China, and worked as a clinical psychotherapist intern at ZJU Psychological Health Center and the Hangzhou Seventh People's Hospital. As a gerontological social work researcher, Dr. Liang's primary focus is on enhancing the physical and mental health, as well as the overall quality of life, for older adults and their families from various racial/ethnic and cultural backgrounds. He has established publication records by leading or co-authoring research articles in over 10 high-impact peer-reviewed journals

Kafayat MahmoudKafayat Mahmoud

Kafayat O. Mahmoud holds a Dual Title Ph.D in Sociology and Gerontology from the University of Kansas. She is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Center for Innovation in Social Sciences at Boston University. Her research interests include medical sociology, life course and aging, population health, social connectedness, and end of life. Kafayat has been a Policy Fellow at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Doctoral Research Fellow, and Institute for Policy and Social Research Fellow where she has continued to conduct quantitative and qualitative research, as well as employ interdisciplinary insights to address social and health disparities among the population. Recent Publications: “The Need to Appear Healthy: Concealment of Chronic Illness, Privacy, and Self-Sufficiency Among Chronically Ill Older Nigerians” Kafayat Mahmoud; Tamara Baker; Darlingtina Esiaka; Saliu Balogun (Innovation in Aging, 2024)

Christina MareaChristina Marea

Christina X. Marea, PhD, MA, FACNM is a certified nurse midwife, educator, researcher and Assistant Professor at the Georgetown University School of Nursing. Dr. Marea received a Master’s degree in Conflict Resolution from the University of Bradford, funded by Rotary World Peace fellowship, where she studied how post-conflict reconstruction addressed the sexual and reproductive health needs of women in Sierra Leone. She received her Master of Science in Nursing at the Yale University School of Nursing where she also served as the director of the Haven Free Clinic – a voluntary clinic run by the Yale health professional schools – serving undocumented immigrants. Dr. Marea received her PhD from the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing where she received NIH-funding through the T32 institutional training fellowship for violence in the family and the TL1 Predoctoral Clinical Research training program. Dr. Marea completed her post-doctoral fellowship at the Georgetown-Howard Consortium for Clinical and Translational Sciences, and is a current KL2 junior faculty scholar. Professor Marea's research is at the intersection of reproductive justice, health disparities, and health system opportunities to transform care and outcomes for structurally marginalized people. As a clinical educator, Professor Marea seeks to increase the capacity of reproductive health care providers to provide excellent care to structurally marginalized. Dr. Marea currently practices midwifery at Community of Hope (COH), an FQHC in Washington D.C. Dr. Marea is the Co-PI with Ebony Marcelle, Director of Midwifery at COH, on the Hillman Foundation Innovation in Care Award that is providing $600,000 for the study of the feasibility, acceptability and impact of a 12-month model of postpartum care implemented in a community setting, and with an explicit aim to mitigate the negative health effects of racism on Black birthing people in DC.

Larissa McGarrityLarissa McGarrity

Dr. Larissa McGarrity is a clinical health psychologist, Assistant Professor (Clinical), and Chief of the Section of Psychology in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Utah. Dr. McGarrity’s clinical and translational research program focuses on psychosocial health among patients with severe obesity, especially in the bariatric surgery context. Dr. McGarrity is particularly interested in broadening the focus in the field from the near-exclusive study of pathology and risk factors toward the study of resilience and patient and family strengths that can be channeled into effective and accessible interventions for this highly stigmatized patient population. Her current K12 award supports a pilot randomized controlled trial examining feasibility, acceptability, and proof of concept for ReConnect (Reimagining Us in the Context of Bariatric Surgery), a remotely-delivered dyadic positive psychology intervention adapted for post-bariatric surgery patients and their romantic partners.

Jyotsana ParajuliJyotsana Parajuli

Dr. Parajuli is an assistant professor in the School of Nursing and an affiliate faculty in the Gerontology Program at University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC). She received her PhD in Nursing from The Pennsylvania State (Penn State) University with a focus on aging and palliative care and a master’s degree in Gerontology from Miami University. She was one of the recipients of the 2020 Center for Geriatric Nursing Excellence (CGNE) Student Champion Award from Penn State College of Nursing. Her research experiences encompass various issues related to older adults including health disparities and social determinants of health, cognitive function including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, management of chronic conditions or multimorbidity, and long-term care. Her current research focuses on palliative and end of life care in older adults with cancer. She received the Faculty Research Grant from UNCC in 2021 where she used a mixed methods approach to examine factors affecting advance care planning (ACP) and how family caregivers engage in ACP decision-making among older adults with cancer. She is currently disseminating findings of this study. Dr. Parajuli has been nominated as the CHHS exemplar for the 2022 and 2023 Faculty Excellence Award in Research at UNCC two years in a row. She has published in several gerontology, oncology, and palliative care related peer reviewed journals such as Aging & Mental Health, The Gerontologist, Research on Aging, Journal of Geriatric Oncology, Cancer Nursing, Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing, American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Journal of Palliative Medicine etc.

Michele WongMichele Wong

Michele J. Wong, Ph.D., is a Postdoctoral Scholar with the Initiative to Study Hate, housed in the Division of Social Sciences at UCLA. Dr. Wong’s program of research seeks to understand how intersecting oppressions, such racism and sexism manifest in gendered racism to influence health and well-being among Asian American women both structurally (e.g., through systemic mechanisms within institutions such as the workplace) and through individual perceptions. Specifically, her work focuses on 1) exploring the embodied experiences of intersectional stressors, such as gendered racism and other cultural stereotypes among Asian American women, examining its impacts on mental health and physical well-being, 2) examining the structural manifestations of intersectional stressors in the workplace, focusing on gendered racism and their impact on Asian American women’s work and mental health outcomes, 3) examine forms of resistance, healing, and coping that help buffer against the negative effects of gendered racism, and 4) develop culturally relevant evidence-based interventions that address gendered racism at multiple levels. Dr. Wong graduated with her Ph.D. in Social Welfare at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs in 2023 and MS in Community Health Sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health in 2017. Her work has been funded by the Southern California NIOSH Education and Research Center Pilot Project Research Training Program grant and the OKURA research grant on Asian American mental health.

Brandon YatesBrandon Yates

Brandon Yates, Ph.D., is a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. Dr. Yates completed his Ph. D in Musculoskeletal Health Sciences at Indiana University School of Medicine and an M.S. and B.S. in Exercise Science at University of Connecticut and Indiana University, respectively. The overarching focus of his research is on elucidating the neurophysiological interactions between skeletal muscle and brain health and how to improve physical and cognitive function via lifestyle medicine interventions. His current line of research focuses on understanding the influence of hallmarks of aging/geroscience on critical illness severity and post-intensive care syndrome. His work is currently supported by an NIH/NIA D-SPAN F99/K00 award.

Jiao YuJiao Yu

Dr. Jiao Yu is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Yale School of Public Health. She received her PhD in Sociology from Case Western Reserve University. Her research strives to shed light on how health inequality is determined, sustained, and manifested within the context of population aging. Her work examines social determinants of health over the life course, with a particular interest in the intersection of environment, aging, and health disparities. Her current research investigates how bio-physiological and neighborhood factors drive racial health disparities among older adults and how behavioral and social factors influence healthy aging in later life. As a quantitative researcher, she employs cutting-edge statistical techniques and machine learning methodologies to unravel the social determinants of place-based health disparities among older adults.