Current Scholars

Sarah AscienzoSarah ascienzo

Sarah Ascienzo, PhD, LCSW (she/her/hers) is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at North Carolina State University. She has over 15 years of clinical practice experience, including work as a trauma-focused therapist in community- and school-based settings, and child forensic interviewer. In her clinical work, Dr. Ascienzo specialized in the treatment of complex psychological trauma, and worked extensively with child welfare- and juvenile justice-involved youth and individuals impacted by chronic sexual and interpersonal violence. In addition to being trained in several empirically-supported treatments, she frequently employs mind-body and other complementary and integrative approaches to support clients in their healing process and promote well-being. Greatly informed by her clinical practice experience, Dr. Ascienzo’s program of research focuses on efforts to (1) examine the impact of traumatic and stressful events on well-being and (2) further understand the role of risk and protective factors across levels of the ecological system in shaping well-being and mental health in personal and professional realms in order to (3) further identify pathways for prevention and intervention, all toward the goal of (4) developing, testing, refining, adapting and/or implementing culturally-responsive, effective, and scalable interventions that aim to mitigate health disparities and improve health- and wellbeing-related outcomes.

Kat BrittKatherine carroll britt

Katherine C. Britt, PhD, MSN, RN is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Biobehavioral Health at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in the NewCourtland Center for Transitions and Health, Assistant Director of Luci Baines Johnson and Ian J. Turpin Center for Gerontological Nursing at The University of Texas at Austin, a Translational Research Scientist at BrainCheck, and a Psychology/Mental Health Jonas Scholar 2021-2023. Dr. Britt’s pre-doctoral dissertation work focused on spiritual and religious practice associations in older adults with cognitive impairment and dementia with symptoms of dementia progression. Her postdoctoral work focuses on identifying resilience factors (i.e., spirituality and religion) for cognitive and brain health in older Black and White adults. Her clinical experience includes critical care, rheumatology, nephrology, and gerontology. Trained in spirituality, religion and health research, and precision health, Dr. Britt has conducted qualitative and quantitative studies. Her research focuses on identifying psychosocial protective factors to inform culturally inclusive interventions for persons at greater risk for dementia and cognitive decline and their caregivers to reduce disparities in cognitive aging and brain health.

Molly Copelandmolly copeland

Dr. Molly Copeland is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Michigan State University. She received her PhD in Sociology from Duke University. Her research explores how social networks relate to mental health across the life course. Recent work examines how peer network structure and content interact to shape adolescent depression and self-harm, how adolescent networks predict long-term mental health in adulthood, and how older adults’ networks create risk or resilience during the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. Her work is published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Social Forces, and Journal of Gerontology: Series B. She is interested in further understanding the complex interplay between health and networks by examining social networks, physical health, and mental health across the life course.

Jendayi Dillardjendayi dillard

Dr. Jendayi Dillard received her Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Psychology with a focus on Human Development, Culture, and Learning Sciences with a Master of Education in Quantitative Methods from The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Dillard's past scholarly work has explored the nature of racial disparities in education. Currently, her research explores potential protective factors for racial and ethnic minority families experiencing pediatric asthma.

Charlotte FarewellCharlotte farewell

Dr. Charlotte Farewell is an Assistant Professor with the Rocky Mountain Prevention Research Center and Director of the Population Mental Health and Well-being program at the Colorado School of Public Health. For over a decade, she has been implementing interventions rooted in community-based participatory research as well as research and evaluation projects that utilize a unique combination of mixed methods in national and international settings. Dr. Farewell is currently Principal Investigator of a training grant funded by the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (Mothers Optimizing Resources Everyday (MORE); 1K01MD016928) where the primary research objective is to integrate advanced analytical modeling with qualitative data to inform the timing, duration, content and delivery modalities of a multi-level psychological capital intervention rooted in mindfulness-based best practices to promote perinatal well-being among specific low-resourced sub-groups. Her research experience is centered around three overarching goals: (1) to build expertise related to the analysis of developmental research questions using quantitative and qualitative methods, with specific focus on mental health (depression, stress, and anxiety) during sensitive periods (prenatal, postpartum, early childhood, adolescence and emerging adulthood), (2) to investigate non-pharmacological methods (e.g. mindfulness and positive psychology interventions) that can be targeted and/or mobilized to optimize population mental health and resilience in multi-ethnic and low-resourced communities, and (3) to advance research in the field of dissemination science to identify core constructs that are most critical to enhance the uptake of evidence-based behavioral interventions into community and clinical settings.

Angela Grovesangela groves

Dr. Angela Groves is an Assistant Professor of Nursing in the Bronson School of Nursing at Western Michigan University. She earned a PhD in Nursing from Hampton University. Dr. Groves primary research interest is in the area of health disparities among midlife, and older African American women with hypertension. Dr. Groves has published articles related to low-sodium dietary perceptions among African American women with hypertension. Dr. Groves was selected as a 2020-2021National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Programs to Increase Diversity among Individuals Engaged in Health-Related Research (PRIDE) scholar. Her current research focuses on a peer (dyadic) support intervention to improve diet adherence and reduce systolic blood pressure among African American women with hypertension. Dr. Groves current research is funded by the Daisy Foundation Grant and an internal grant.

Cal Halvorsencal halvorsen

Cal J. Halvorsen, PhD, MSW, is an assistant professor at the Boston College School of Social Work, a project lead and investigator at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Center for Work, Health, and Well-being, and a senior fellow at CoGenerate. His work examines aging societies and the need and desire for people past midlife to work in paid and unpaid roles past traditional retirement age, with particular emphasis on self-employment, entrepreneurship, encore careers, and volunteering. His research has been funded by the U.S. Social Security Administration, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, AmeriCorps Seniors, CoGenerate, and more. Cal’s op-eds on later-life entrepreneurship and ageism have been published in Fast Company, Next Avenue, and Forbes. His work on older workers has also been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, BBC, AARP, MarketWatch, and more. He is a graduate of both the MSW and Ph.D. programs at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis and earned his BA from the University of Iowa in his hometown of Iowa City.

Yanping Jiangyanping jiang

Yanping Jiang, PhD, is an instructor in the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research and Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at Rutgers University. She received her Ph.D. in Health Promotion, Education and Behavior from the University of South Carolina and completed a 2-year postdoctoral training in Health Psychology at Wayne State University. Her research interests are stress and physical health, health disparities, and resilience. Specifically, she is interested in identifying biopsychosocial processes linking neighborhood and psychosocial stressors to poor physical health, particularly cardiometabolic health. She is also interested in investigating resilience factors at the neighborhood, family, and individual levels that can alleviate the negative impact of stress on health.

Guadalupe Marquez-Velardeguadalupe marquez-velarde

Dr. Guadalupe Marquez-Velarde is a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Sociology at Utah State University. She earned a Ph.D. in sociology from Texas A&M University in 2018, where she specialized in demography and population health. Her research examines how the lived experience of belonging to more than one socially disadvantaged or marginalized population is associated with adverse physical and mental health outcomes, with a current emphasis on sexual and gender minorities of color. In 2021, Dr. Marquez-Velarde was awarded a Career Enhancement Fellowship by the Institute for Citizens and Scholars (formerly the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation). Dr. Marquez-Velarde recently received research support from the Programs to Increase Diversity among Individuals Engaged in Health-Related Research, under an NIH/NHLBI R25 grant, to evaluate the association between experiences of discrimination and sleep, cardiovascular, and respiratory outcomes among sexual and gender minorities of color using primary survey data.

Andrea Nederveldandrea nederveld

Anne Nederveld, MD, MPH, is an Internal Medicine/Pediatrics trained physician who has lived and worked in Grand Junction, Colorado for almost two decades. She has practiced primary care medicine in both private practice and safety net settings, and currently works at a Federally Qualified Health Center. In 2017, she completed a primary care research fellowship through the University of Colorado. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine at CU and is the director of a Western Slope Practice-based Research Network (Partners Engaged in Achieving Change in Health Network, or PEACHnet) as well as leading and participating in other community engaged research projects in Western Colorado. Her primary research interests are in obesity and diabetes treatment and prevention as well as exploring the effects of social determinants of health on practice strategies and health outcomes.

Candi Nwakasicandidus nwakasi

Dr. Candi Nwakasi is an Assistant Professor of Health Sciences, at Providence College, Rhode Island. Candi is also an incoming tenure-track faculty in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences, University of Connecticut. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Southern Indiana School of Nursing and Health Professions, where he worked on dementia workforce improvement. With a Ph.D. in Social Gerontology and MS in Public Health, Candi’s research is broadly focused on understanding and examining several factors that influence the health and well-being of disadvantaged people as they age. His interests include cancer survivorship in disadvantaged populations, cognitive decline and caregiving, and health care and support access. He is currently concluding a study evaluating cancer survivorship experiences of Black and Latinx cancer survivors in Rhode Island that is through the NIH-funded Rhode Island IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (RI-INBRE).

Millicent Robinsonmillicent robinson

Millicent N. Robinson, PhD, MSW, MPH is an interdisciplinary scholar, consultant, and certified practitioner of Reiki Therapy, which is an evidence-based practice used to reduce stress and promote healing and well-being. Dr. Robinson is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the UNC School of Social Work through the Carolina Postdoctoral Program for Faculty Diversity, where her research centers the stress, coping, healing, and health experiences of Black women. Dr. Robinson’s program of research investigates the life course biopsychosocial mechanisms that shape the mind-body connection and related mental and physical health outcomes among Black women. Her research agenda integrates theories and perspectives from Social Work, Public Health, African, African American, and Diaspora Studies, and Medical Sociology to address four key issues among Black women: (1) interconnections between mental and physical health, (2) culturally-relevant forms of coping, (3) ethnic heterogeneity, and (4) complementary and integrative medicine. Dr. Robinson’s research has been published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, and the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Dr. Robinson earned her PhD in Community Health Sciences from the Jonathan and Karin Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA, where she minored in Sociology. She is also a “Triple Tar Heel”, having earned her B.A. in Psychology from UNC-Chapel Hill, her MSW from the UNC School of Social Work, and MPH from the Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Kathy Trangkathy Trang

Kathy Trang (she/her), PhD, is a research fellow at Harvard School of Public Health. She additionally serves as the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Advisor to USAID. Her research has focused on elucidating how post-traumatic stress impacts mental health and developmental outcomes within and across generations and how we can best intervene in cross-cultural settings to improve wellbeing among high-risk populations in the United States, Vietnam, Peru, and Bangladesh. She is additionally interested in strengthening mental health research capacity in Southeast Asia and is one of the co-founders of the Southeast Asian Mental Heath Initiative, which brings together researchers, clinicians, and community leaders working in the field of mental health and psychosocial support. Her work has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, the PHRMA Foundation, and the Foundation for Psychocultural Research, among others. She completed her PhD in Biological Anthropology from Emory University.

Damali Wilsondamali wilson

Dr. Damali Wilson is a social scientist with a focus on the physical and mental health and well-being of children, from the perinatal period through adolescence. Her interests include research, programming, and policy that center vulnerable, marginalized populations with a particular emphasizes on prevention, and early identification and mitigation of risk. In addition to being a researcher, Dr. Wilson has a background as a pediatric nurse practitioner. Damali completed her undergraduate studies in nursing at Hampton University, holds a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania, and received a PhD from the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing.

Patty Wilsonpatty wilson

Dr. Patty Wilson is an Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (JHSON). In her faculty role, teaches in the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) post master’s certificate program. For her faculty practice, Dr. Wilson is the site coordinator for doctoral nursing students working as community health nurses at the House of Ruth Maryland, a shelter for families escaping intimate partner violence. She is the principal investigator of the Passport to Freedom program which provides psycho-educational sessions for women to promote self-awareness of the link between trauma and health and offers strategies to cope with symptoms of trauma/stress. The Passport to Freedom program has provided sessions for formerly incarcerated women residing in homeless shelters and women who were formerly homeless and now have permanent housing. Dr. Wilson completed a SAMHSA MFP Post-Doctoral fellowship at JHSON and Ph.D. and PMHNP post masters’ certificate at the University of Virginia School of Nursing.