Areas of Research Expertise

In this section, you will find a list of all the New Connections grantees (2006-2017) and their wide-ranging areas of research. The New Connections grantees comprised a diverse group of esteemed researchers and academicians whose work stretches both nationally and internationally.

Anna Adachi-Mejia

Childhood obesity, community interventions, exercise, rural, healthy eating

Amy Adamczyk

African American/Latino, young male’s health, religious groups, health-related behavior

Olivia Affuso

Childhood obesity, academic performance interventions, physical activity

Adrian Aguilera

Text-messaging, cognitive behavioral therapy, depression

Antwi Akom

After-school programs, health behavioral interventions, racio-ethnicity, Social identity, Physical activity

Sofiya Alhassan

Preschool physical education, physical activity program, Preschool teacher training

Christopher Allen

Gender-based violence, violence prevention

Sean Arayasirikul

Transgender women, health, well-being, equity

Cassandra Arroyo-Johnson

Physical activity, neighborhood playground access, healthy eating, health and wellness, rural

Lauren Au

School nutrition programs, children’s weight, income, race/ethnicity

Claire Baker

Father’s mental health, father’s involvement, children well-being, African American

Frank Bandiera

Heart disease, respiratory disease, tobacco use, alcohol use, mental health, Hispanics origin

Sharrelle Barber

Residential segregation, health inequity, racial minorities, ethnic minorities, chronic diseases

Priscilla Barnes

Public health systems, health education, health promotion, health disparities, disadvantaged populations 

Daheia Barr-Anderson

Environmental factors, physical activity, adolescent girls

Shawn Bediako

Employment status, health care use, mental health outcome, young adult men, sickle cell disease

Bettina Beech

Diabetes, epidemiology, minority health issues, rural high school

Annjeanette Belcourt-Dittlof


Caryn Bell

Socioeconomic status, cardiovascular disease risk factors, suburban African American, poverty, racial health disparities

Rhonda Belue

Racial disparities, ethnic disparities, quality of care, patient’s perception, health status, hospital level variables

Keisha Bentley-Edwards

Bullying assessment, bullying socialization, African American youth

Sara Bleich

Obesity prevention/control, public policy, access to health care

Reiko Boyd

Racial disparities, ethnic disparities, African American, Child welfare services, infant health, adolescent health, social systems

Mercedes Aurelia Bravo

Health disparities, childhood health, socioeconomic status, early childhood exposures

Margo Brooks Carthon

Nursing workforce, minority healthcare needs, higher quality services

Thema Bryant Davis

Intimate-partner abuse, Physical abuse, verbal abuse, African-American mothers/children, consequences of trauma

Ashley Butler Hines

Minority parent engagement, culturally adapted interventions, early childhood behavior

Cindy Cain

Adult’s health and well-being, neighborhood social capital, community-level factors

Doris Cancel-Tirado

Latinos health disparities, maternal and child health, low income rural families

Henry Carretta

Not-for-profit hospitals, community benefits, IRS regulations

Vanessa Casanova

Workplace health, workplace safety, workplace involvement, workplace wellness program participation

Kimberly Cassie

Nursing homes, training program outcomes, work environment, physical and mental health

Janet Chang

Mental Health, social-cultural factors, ethnic minority youth, academic achievement

Jennifer Woo Baidal

Childhood obesity prevention, early life interventions, eliminate racial/ethnic disparities, socioeconomic disparities

Linda Charmaraman

Media consumption, media production, racial identity, ethnic identity, risk and resiliency

Lehua Choy

Built environment, physical activity safety, community coalitions, cross-sector collaboration

Monique Clinton-Sherrod

Intimate partner violence, alcohol use, community-level social factors

Lisa Colarossi

Partner violence, sexual health outcomes, reproductive health outcomes, adolescent attitudes, adult attitudes

Uriyoan Colon-Ramos

Nutrition-preventive behaviors, diet behaviors, Socio-environmental drivers

DeLawnia Comer-Hagans

Diabetes, mental health disparities, disabilities

Mariah Contreras

Adaptive parenting processes, ethnic-racial socialization, young children’s well-being

Dharma Cortes

Health reform, Latinos health, Latinos mental health, difficulty obtaining insurance

Bethany Coston

Intimate partner violence, healthcare issues, LGBTQ+

Shantel Crosby

Trauma exposed students, Behavioral health, emotional health, youth of color, trauma-exposed responses

Cindy Crusto

Children’s health, children’s well-being, trauma informed risks/resiliency factors, racial/ethnic discrimination

Marah Curtis

Incarceration, father’s health, families and child well-being

Florence Dallo

Navity status, patient perceptions, patient-physician interaction

Gail Dana-Sacco

Tribal-state relationship, health disparities, legislation

Tyra Dark

Race disparities, ethnicity disparities, healthcare utilization, comorbidity of mental illness

Dawavan Davis

Obesity, diabetes, community-based, YMCA after-school programs

Ebbin Dotson

Health Career Opportunity Program, student recruitment, student retention, diversity of students

Cristiane Duarte

Childhood obesity, urban built environment, parental perceptions

Akilah Dulin Keita

Southeast Asian childhood obesity, socioeconomic status, risk factors, protective factors

Robert Dunigan

Substance abuse treatment, incarceration, time to recidivism, young vs. older

Tara Earl

Quality of mental healthcare, multi-racial/ethnic, patient’s perspective

Sandra Echeverria

Physical activity, parental nativity status, racial minority, ethnic minority

Keith Elder

African American men, Evaluation/perception, healthcare quality

Kimberly Enard

Healthcare and social needs, safety-net population, health throughout life

Temitope Erinosho

Childcare nutrition, obesity, physical activity

Nicole Errett

Disaster recovery strategies, health and well-being, state-level policies, implementation

Amy Ferketich

Clean indoor air ordinances, tobacco control policy, smoking cessation

Mariela Fernandez

Rural Latino communities, health and well-being, parks and recreation resources

Karen Florez

Healthy eating, supermarket environment, home environment, socioeconomic determinants

Dawnovise Fowler

Intimate partner abuse, women’s substance abuse, psychosocial factors

Alberto Frick Cardelle

Community health leaders, public health, commonalities

Lisa Gary

Healthcare quality, patient satisfaction, mental health treatment

Keon Gilbert

African-American men’s health, health disparities, intervention strategies

Polly Gipson

Mentoring relationship qualities, youth mental health, community-based prevention, community-based intervention

Erualdo Gonzalez

Physical activity, Latino youth, community development

Sarah Gonzalez-Nahm

Breastfeeding, health equity, child care, state policy

Melody Goodman

Racial disparities, ethnic disparities, chronic and preventable disease, social factors, demographic factors, behavioral risk factors

Diana Grisby-Toussaint

Food marketing, childhood obesity, public health, socioeconomic

Ashley Grosso

School sex education, adolescent sexual behavior; policies, funding, and implementation

Alma Guerrero

Obesity, Community-based interventions, racial disparities, ethnic disparities

James Guevara

Healthcare, primary care management, health disparities

Erin Hager

Physical activity, body composition, obesity, urban middle schools

Rodney Haring

Health disparity issues, recreational tobacco products, workplace, vocational

Angela Heads

Substance use disorder, HIV, health risk, prevention services

Stephen Henry

Homeless veterans, healthcare, medical services, psychiatric services, social services, quality improvement

Daphne Hernandez

Health insurance coverage, legal adult immigrants, antipoverty policies, children’s development, families’ well-being

Bertha Hidalgo

Obesity, non-Latino subgroup differentiation, disease outcomes

Marionette Holmes

Incarceration, homelessness, supportive housing, health care, infectious diseases

Eric Houston

HIV medical treatment, African American’s perceptions, psychosocial factors, cognitive processes, health disparities

Darrell Hudson

Stress, mental health, physical health, social epidemiology

Kevin Jenkins

Chronic kidney disease, racism, psychosocial stress

James Jenkins

Community health centers, low income, urban, neighborhood revitalization

Valarie Jernigan

Obesity, social factors, environmental factors, health policy, Native American health

Myung Jin

Patient satisfaction, patient-physician relationship, physicians vs. non-physicians,

Renee Johnson

Youth violence, emotional distress, LGBT health, school prevention programs, school prevention policies

Abiola Keller

Mental health, diagnosis/treatment, physicians vs. non-physicians, racial status, ethnic status

Marilyn Johnson-Kozlow

Colorectal cancer screening, health disparities, physical activity, diet, secondhand smoke intake

Antwan Jones

Childhood obesity, neighborhood effects on health, spatial demography

Wrenetha Julion

Parental involvement, fatherhood programs, low-income families of color, adolescents and young adults

Inas Khayal

Healthcare, equitable communities, typologies, human context

Stacie McClay Kirk

Childhood obesity, physical activity, preschool literacy development

Jennifer Kue

Health inequities, Native communities, tribal-state relationship, law and governance 

Naa Oyo Kwate

Fast food, schools, food environment, neighborhood infrastructure

Brent Langellier

Food behaviors, health behaviors, healthcare disparities, public health laws, public health policy

Carrie Beth Lasley

Healthy home environment, health outcomes, community welfare, natural hazards, environmental hazards

Tamara Leech

Public housing, subsidized housing, adolescent health risk behavior, racial differences in violence, substance use, risky sexual behavior

Lucia Leone

Cancer, healthy diet, physical activity, health communications

Rodney Lyn

County health rankings, community health, obesity, chronic diseases

Arlesia Mathis

Service delivery, health disparity, minority health, public health systems

Henrika McCoy

Juvenile delinquency, identifying intervention/prevention service providers, mental health, child welfare

Marla McDaniel

Childhood asthma, racial disparities, ethnic disparities, child health/well-being, adult health/well-being, youth development, adolescent development

Lorraine McKelvey

Children at-risk, Health outcomes, developmental outcomes, social experiences, coping strategies, economically disadvantaged

Imelda Moise

Geographical targeting, healthcare/utilization, distribution of diseases, maternal health, child health

Shannon Monnat

Healthcare access, healthcare utilization, different spatial contexts, social inequities, spatial inequalities, neighborhood/families/school characteristics

Heehyul Moon

Health disparities, dementia caregiving, racial minorities, ethnic minorities

Tondra Moore

Legislation/enforcement, banning cell phone use, morbidity/mortality, health disparities, healthcare professionals’ perceptions, professionals’ preferences, cultural barriers

Rosenda Murillo

Latino health, obesity, physical activity, social environment

Kevin Nadal

Filipino Americans’ health conditions, physical activity, mental health, racial discrimination impacts

Marilyn Nanney

Healthy eating

Enrique Neblett, Jr.

Youth mentoring, mentoring intervention, racism-related stress, ethnicity-based discrimination

Susanna Nemes

Women issues, gender issues, substance abuse, public health, mental health, violence

Denese Neu

Mental health, social policy, vulnerable populations, health impact assessment, community needs assessment

Michelle Odlum

Recruitment/retention of health professionals, training health professional, health professional career choices, technology use readiness

Kelsie Okamura

Mental health services, quality of services, evidence-based practice, youth psychopathology, assessment/treatment, implementation science

Nicole Overstreet

Intimate partner violence, service needs, geographic factors, demographic factors, sociocultural factors, mental/sexual health disparities

Christina Pacheco

Smoke/tobacco free policies, tribal colleges and universities, health disparities, underserved populations

Francisco Palermo

Latino children, sociobehavioral health well-being, educational well-being, culture factors, immigration-related factors, social interactions

Nina Parikh

Access/utilization of health services, Racial disparities, ethnic disparities, social determinants, cultural determinants, health, immigration, healthy aging

Myra Elizabeth Parker

Alcohol, substance abuse, intervention programs, public health laws, public health policies

Kimani Paul-Emile

Criminal background checks, health/welfare, low-level offenders, U.S. drug laws, U.S. drug regulations, health disparities, racial/socio-economic

Ninfa Pena-Purcell

Diabetes self-management, Latinos, chronic disease prevention, chronic disease management, health information technology

Flavia C. Peréa

Education, urban health, community-collaborative curricular innovations, social policy

Eduardo Perez

Healthcare systems engineering, stochastic programming, systems modeling, systems engineering processes

Krista Perreira

Health insurance coverage, immigrants, health/education/economic well-being, immigrant children migration, health consequences, educational consequences

Jacqueline Pezzulo

Therapeutic crisis intervention, special education, implementation drivers, mental health, education, academic performance, school culture, school climate

Deinya Phenix

Adolescent jail inmates, substance abuse, likelihood of re-offense, severity of re-offense, post-released services 

Courtney Pinard

Childhood obesity prevention, health promotion, local food systems, health behaviors

Raquel Qualls-Hampton

Mental health, co-morbid substance abuse, integrative therapies, integrative medicine, complementary medicine, alternative medicine

Maria Ramos-Olazagasti

Intergenerational transmission of risk, teenage parenthood, health risk behaviors, mental health, physical health

Megan Reynolds

Social protection, stress, public welfare, stratification, health inequalities, political sociology

Ingrid Richards Adams

Obesity, Disparities in obesity prevention, policy makers, Pacific Islanders, Native Hawaiians

Joseph Richardson

Violence, healthcare coverage, Affordable Care Act, trauma, HIV risk related behaviors, low-income black men

Leah Elizabeth Robinson

Daily physical activity, school mandated policies, state mandated policies, childhood obesity, motor skill development, active lifestyle, healthy lifestyle, life course diseases

Juliette Roddy

Economics, substance abuse, substance abuse treatment, substance abuse recovery, health insurance

Hector Rodriguez

Ambulatory care quality, racial disparities, ethnic disparities, patients’ experiences, continuity of care, physician performance

Michelle Rogers

ICT applications, patient involvement documentation, significant health improvements, efficacy of mobile devices

Ronica Rooks

Racial/ethnic minority, health disparities, low socioeconomic status, health care utilization, physical functioning, productive activities

Brisa Sanchez

Methodologies, childhood obesity, geographical clustering, environmental epidemiology, social environment

Emma Sanchez-Vaznaugh

Competitive food/beverage policies, Body Mass Index, school’s characteristics, social determinants, environmental determinants, policy determinants, health disparities, racial disparities, ethnic disparities

Brittany Schuler

Healthy eating habits, toddler overweight prevention, childhood chronic disease, Parental stress, household stress

Diana Sheehan

Social determinants, sexual risk behaviors, neighborhood effects, health disparities, spatial epidemiology

Sunny Shin

Childhood maltreatment, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, racial disparities, ethnic disparity, child mental health, mental health service use

Maria Rosa Solorio

Dating violence, intervention programs, cultural adaptation, youth HIV prevention, prevention messages, mass media campaigns

Christopher St. Vil

Trauma recidivism, urban trauma centers, young black males, masculinity and health, cross-cohort socialization

Shakira Franco Suglia

Intimate partner violence, psychological health outcomes, stress-asthma association, children

Amanda Sullivan

Mental health needs, serious emotional disturbance, school settings, school mental health intervention, students with disabilities, school psychological services, school educational services

Jen’nea Sumo

Grandparent caregivers, health, health outcome, social determinants, community health, biological factors, behavioral factors, environmental

Loni Philip Tabb

Alcohol outlets, alcohol-related violence, social epidemiology, public health, social disparities

Claire Townsend Ing

Cardiovascular disease, hypertension, psychosocial determinants, sociocultural determinants, behavioral determinants, health disparities

Dnika Travis

Diversity, engagement, quality of care, health care organizations, communication practices, organizational change

Raphael Travis

Substance abuse, recidivism, positive youth development, positive influences

Tracy Vericker

Food, nutrition, school access, snack foods, snack beverages, child dietary behaviors, food assistance programs

Alexander Vigo

Healthy living, physical activity, schools’ instructional practices schools’ instructional policies, public high schools

Sherrie Flynt Wallington

HPV vaccine mandate, cervical cancer, cancer communications, cancer health disparities, cancer information needs

Daphne Watkins

Psychosocial factors, mental health, life course, gender disparities, mental illness knowledge, health behavior

Bridget Weller

Suicide ideation, social support, protective factor, adolescent mental health, health disparities, intervention research

Denna Wheeler

Mental health challenges, accessing mental health services, telemedicine, rural health policy, health literacy

Kenneth White

Stress, financial stress, mental health, well-being, physical health, health equity, socialization, social capital, sustainability

Jessica Williams

Discrimination, medication adherence, hypertension management behavior, minority health disparities, psychosocial factors, health behavior

Jacqueline Wiltshire

Medical debt, older adults, socioeconomic, race/ethnicity, health outcomes, access to medical care, use of medical care

Karen Winters

Racial disparities, high out-of-pocket, chronic conditions, financial burden, health information technology

Eunice Wong

Depression, U.S. immigrants, pre-immigration, post-migration, trauma, PTSD, ethnic minority, mental health treatments

Pamela Xaverius

Behavioral risk factors, pregnant, non-pregnant, racial/ethnic disparities, immigrant disparities, women’s health issues, child health

Hanh Cao Yu

Community health leaders, influential forces, leadership pathways, effective philanthropy, policy advocacy, organizational effectiveness, ethnographic data collection

Anna Zamora-Kapoor

Type 2 diabetes prevention, adolescents, American Indian health, Alaska Native health, Hispanic/Latino health, sociology