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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 2 – 2012
Program to Increase Diversity in Cardiovascular Health Disparities Research


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Clifton Addison, PhD: Dr. Addison is an Assistant Professor of Research and Statistics at the Schools of Allied Health Sciences and Education at Jackson State University Jackson, Mississippi. Dr. Addison's research focuses on health disparities, with a concentration on the impact of environmental and psychosocial risks that contribute to the development of obesity and cardiovascular disease. Dr. Addison's current work, examines how psychosocial, behavioral, and environmental factors contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome. Dr Addison has been associated with the Jackson Heart Study since its preparation and initiation phase.


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Leah Alexander, PhD: Dr. Leah Alexander is an Assistant Professor of Public Health at Meharry Medical College. Dr. Daniels research interests include African American women's health, health literacy, ethics and men's health. Dr. Daniels current research seeks to develop and implement a theory-based intervention to decrease risk of heart disease, and possibly heart failure, among African American middle aged women. Her future research interests include obesity prevention for African American children and women, as well as the development of CVD prevention interventions for African American women.


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Elvan C Daniels, MD, MPH: Dr. Daniels is an Assistant Professor of Community Health and Preventive Medicine and Family Medicine at the Morehouse school of Medicine. Dr. Daniels's research takes a multi-disciplinary approach towards understanding health disparities in cardiovascular disease outcomes, by evaluating strategies to address global cardiac risk factor reduction in federally qualified health centers and underserved medically communities. Dr. Daniel's current work, examines how activating patients to charge of their care, facilitated by community health workers, can influence patient self-management to achieve control of diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia among adults with diabetes. Prior to joining the faculty at Morehouse School of Medicine, she served as Faculty Development/ Clinical Research Fellow in the Department of Family Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina.


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Ayotunde Dokun, MD, PhD: Dr. Dokun is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Endocrinology at the University of Virginia (UVA) School of Medicine, Charlottesville VA. Dr. Dokun's research will take a multi-disciplinary approach toward understanding health disparities, by examining the effect of interaction between environmental factors and genetics on health outcomes. Dr. Dokun's current work, focuses on how genetic backgrounds contribute to outcomes in peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and how genes that contribute to outcomes in PAD interact with diabetes to modulate outcome in PAD. Prior to his recruitment to UVA Dr Dokun completed residency training in internal medicine and fellowship in endocrinology at Duke University School of Medicine, Durham NC. He is currently a scholar of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Amos Medical Faculty Development Program.


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Denée Thomas Mwendwa, PhD: Dr. Mwendwa is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology at Howard University. Dr. Mwendwa's research focuses on the biopsychosocial and spiritual factors that contribute to cardiovascular and renal disease risk in African Americans. Her integrated approach to understanding overall health provides her with the opportunity to work alongside scholars in medicine, public health, and the community. Dr. Mwendwa's research lab HealthPARC (Health Promotion and Risk Reduction Research Center) is currently examining the influence of CVD risk factors on cognitive aging.


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Abida Solomon, PhD: Dr. Solomon is an Assistant professor at Prairie View A&M University where she teaches health policy, environmental health, epidemiology, and community health to both undergraduate and graduate students. Dr. Solomon's broad research interest is to integrate interdisciplinary theories and analytical approaches to examine pathways in which economic, social, and environmental inequalities translates into cardiovascular diseases.


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Shakira Suglia, PhD: Dr. Shakira Suglia is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. Dr. Suglia's research takes a multi-disciplinary approach toward understanding health disparities, examining the impact of environmental exposures and social stressors on disease and health. Dr. Suglia's current work, examines how social stressors, in particular violence, and physical environmental factors during adolescence influences the development of cardiovascular and metabolic risk profiles in adulthood. Prior to joining the faculty at Columbia University she served as Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Epidemiology at Boston University


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Raquel Villegas, PhD: Raquel Villegas, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. she was born in Spain. She earned her PhD degree in epidemiology and her Masters degree in Food Science from the National University of Ireland. In 2005, she came to U.S.as a postdoctoral fellow at Vanderbilt University and was promoted to faculty in 2007. Her research interests focus on dietary and other lifestyle factors and their interactions with host susceptibility in the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk factors.


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Victoria Wangia, PhD: Dr. Victoria Wangia is a Research Assistant Professor of Health Informatics at the School Nursing, University of Kansas Medical Center. Dr. Wangia is interested in a multi-disciplinary approach toward understanding how technology interventions can alleviate health disparities related to risk factors for cardiovascular disease, examining the acceptance and usability of new health information and communication technologies and exploring the use of electronic health record data for quality improvement, research and public health purposes. Dr. Wangia is currently involved in the University of Kansas Medical Center's CTSA Frontiers program and completing her MPH in Epidemiology through that program. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Kansas Medical Center she was a fellow in the CDC Public Health Informatics Program. Her doctorate degree is in Health Informatics.


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Kelle White, PhD: Dr. White is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health. She was a Kellogg Health Scholar at the Harvard School of Public Health and earned her PhD (Epidemiology) and MPH (Sociomedical Science) from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Her research broadly focuses on the structural determinants of cardiovascular health emphasizing institutional discrimination, specifically, racial/ethnic residential segregation and accumulation of social and economic disadvantage on cardiovascular disease and diabetes management.



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