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SUNY Downstate PRIDE Summer Institute

Program to Increase Diversity Among Individuals Engaged in Health-Related Research (PRIDE)

SUNY PRIDE Scholars

Cohort I – 2011
Program to Increase Diversity in Behavioral Medicine and Sleep Disorders Research


photo of Renee Murray-Bachmann

Renee Murray-Bachmann CDN, RN, CDE, CPT,MSN, EdD: Dr. Murray-Bachmann is Clinical Instructor in the Department of Medicine at SUNY Downstate. She is a nurse specialist – clinical coordinator at Mount Sinai Medical Center and is on a team of nurses that are developing and implementing a diabetes and cardiovascular alliance. This program provides diabetes self management education/ training as well as referral for specialists (i.e., cardiology, endocrinology, nephrology, ophthalmology, podiatry) and is being housed on provider practices that range from Nassau to Westchester Counties in New York. The majority of her career has been spent serving the underinsured/uninsured residents of North Central Brooklyn. She wishes to use proven methods to enhance health literacy among blacks in order to eliminate barriers to adequate health care.


photo of Peregrino Brimah

Peregrino Brimah, MD: Dr. Brimah is Clinical Instructor in the Department of Medicine at SUNY Downstate. Dr Brimah has been a research scientist from a tender age. In his secondary school, he was a prominent member of the Junior Engineers and Technicians (JET) society. Early in his academic development, he won prizes across his home country, Nigeria, for research on flammable hydrogen gas and chlorine via electrolysis of kitchen salt. Dr. Brimah trained in Medicine at the University of Ilorin, Nigeria and graduated with his MD in 2000. He has since procured a Masters degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the Long Island University, Brooklyn. Currently, he teaches Biology, Anatomy and Physiology at the Medgar Evers College, and New York City Technology Colleges. As a minority health researcher with the Brooklyn Health Disparities Center, Dr Brimah has been involved in several projects on sleep in minority populations.


photo of Sharon McKenzie

Sharon McKenzie, PhD: Dr. McKenzie is Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at SUNY Downstate. Her professional goals are to continue to develop and implement psychosocial interventions that target early emotional and behavioral symptoms of cognitive impairments among minority older adults. Specifically, she wants to demonstrate that interventions that use therapeutic activities as a treatment modality may have protective effects against depressive symptoms and progression of memory impairment in minority- older adults. Her current study on "Cognitive health and perceived needs among minority older adults," aimed at the examination of the perspectives, attitudes, values and cultural experiences of African and Black Caribbean Americans with Mild Cognitive Impairment/Alzheimer's Disease. She is also testing a health promotion intervention aimed at teaching older adults, about prevention strategies, symptoms of memory difficulties, and health behaviors that are associated with cognitive health. More recently, she has taken an interest in the effects of sleep disturbances on memory in this population.


photo of Temitayo Oyegbile

Temitayo Oyegbile, MD: She is a Pediatric Neurologist and completed her MD and PhD at University of Wisconsin School of Medicine. She completed her residency at New York Presbyterian Hospital and recently completed a sleep fellowship at Northwestern Memorial Hospital with Dr Phyllis Zee. She started a faculty position at Georgetown Hospital and will be doing some clinical work at Inova Fairfax Hospital. This research program is important because it will enable her to achieve her research goals. The focus of her current research is to understand the effects of sleep deprivation among patients with epilepsy. She plans to accomplish several goals from this program. Most importantly, she hopes to establish herself as a sleep researcher. She is interested in applying to NIH for a K grant. Lastly, she hopes to use the PRIDE program as a forum to network and establish relationships with professional senior mentors as well as peer mentors and potential research collaborators.


photo of Leah Robinson

Leah Robinson, PhD: Dr. Robinson is Assistant Professor at Auburn University. She received intramural and extramural funding from her university, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development within the NIH, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Dr. Robinson is the recipient of several national awards that demonstrate her commitment to scholarly research and productivity. Her research findings have led her to question the effect of sleep on children's weight status, physical activity, and cardiovascular health. The next step for her research is to examine the effects of youth's participation in moderate to vigorous physical activity on circadian rhythms (i.e., sleep patterns) and to ascertain if sleep has an effect on weight status in pediatric populations. The BSM PRIDE Institute will provide her with the tools necessary to make informed decisions regarding research methodology for assessing circadian rhythms. In her leisure time, Dr. Robinson enjoys reading mentoring children and youth, and volunteering for the United Service Organization.


photo of Raphael Shaw

Raphael Shaw, MD, MPH: Dr. Shaw is Clinical Instructor in the Department of Medicine at SUNY Downstate. Dr. Shaw completed a Master's of Public Health at Yale University and developed a research project aimed at assessing the policies and practices related to HIV prevention, treatment and discharge services in the State of Connecticut's correctional system. For the past two years, Dr Shaw has been involved in an NIH-funded project, focusing on qualitative and behavioral research methods to understand OSA screening barriers among minority populations. This research project led to the development of a research paper 'Beliefs and attitudes toward Obstructive Sleep Apnea evaluation and treatment among blacks', summarizing the results of the focus groups, which is nearly completed. His current research builds on insights acquired through focus groups to develop culturally tailored health communications. Dr. Shaw's dual background in medicine and public health, his current research in behavioral medicine aimed at understanding and reducing health disparities, will make him valuable asset, in the pool of minority researchers.


photo of Kevin Sterling

Kevin Sterling, MD: Dr. Sterling is Assistant Professor at George Washington University in DC. He was born in the Caribbean (Jamaica) and moved to the United States as a teenager. He graduated from college at Rutgers, with a Bachelor of Arts degree where I double majored in Chemistry and Biology. He then enrolled in Medical school and completed all the required Biological courses before doing an Internal Medicine residency and fellowship in Nephrology. He later completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania where he attended Epidemiology and Biostatistics courses. During his fellowship at Penn, he developed an interest in the association of sleep disorders and kidney disease. In addition


photo of Samuel Taylor

Samuel Taylor, MD: Dr. Taylor is Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology at Virginia Commonwealth University. Prior to this position, he completed a fellowship in Sleep Medicine in the Department of Neurology at the University of Michigan. While at the University of Michigan, he participated in research related to enhanced methods of sleep detection using EEG power analysis for drowsy driving detection and avoidance. He presented this research as a poster presentation at the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS) Annual Meeting in June 2010. During his residency in the Department of Neurology at the University of Virginia, he served as Co-Chief Resident. He received several medical school and departmental awards for excellence in teaching. He also received a resident scholarship to the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) in 2009 and the Medical Student Prize for Excellence in Neurology from the AAN in 2005 while a fourth-year medical student.


photo of Kamala Thomas

Kamala Thomas, PhD: Dr. Thomas is Assistant Professor at Pitzer College, which is a part of the Claremont University Consortium. Additionally, she holds adjunct positions at Claremont Graduate University and University of California, Los Angeles. Her research team examines psychobiological pathways through which chronic stress influences health outcomes. She is passionate about conducting research that addresses ethnic disparities in health outcomes. The majority of her work in this area has examined neuroendocrine, sympathetic nervous system, and immune function in the context of chronic stress.



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