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SUNY Downstate PRIDE-CVD Summer Institute

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

SUNY PRIDE Scholars

Cohort 4 – 2015
Program to Increase Diversity in Cardiovascular Health Disparities Research


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Willie Mae Abel, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC

Academic Title: Assistant Professor
Department, School: College of Health and Human Services, School of Nursing
University: The University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
Research Interests as they relate to CVD: My research interests include reducing risky health behaviors in Black women with cardiovascular disease with a particular focus on hypertension and medication adherence.

photo of Ademuyiwa Aromolaran

Danielle Arigo, PhD

Academic Title: Assistant Professor
Department, School: Department of Psychology, College of Arts & Sciences
University: University of Scranton
Location: Scranton, Pennsylvania
Research Interests as they relate to CVD: The interplay between cardiovascular and emotional health, with particular emphasis on the examination of social influences on health and health behavior and the improvement of intervention design and delivery.

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Pablo Cure, MD, MPH

Academic Title: Assistant Research Professor
Department, School: Clinical and Translational Science Institute at Children’s National Health System, School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
University: The George Washington University
Location: Washington, DC
Research Interests as they relate to CVD: Retrospective and Prospective Studies in Cardiometabolic Risk Factors and Biomarkers of Wellness and Disease in Hispanics

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Tefera Gezmu, PhD, MPH

Academic Title: Assistant Professor
Department, School: Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy
University: Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
Location: New Brunswick, New Jersey
Research Interests as they relate to CVD: I am interested in using innovative epidemiologic and statistical methods to identify mechanisms of cardiovascular disease development and progression including vascular properties, lifestyle interventions, and responsiveness to preventive pharmacotherapy.

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Marla B. Hall, PhD

Academic Title: Assistant Professor
Department, School: Department of Public Health, Brody School of Medicine
University: East Carolina University
Location: Greenville, North Carolina
Research Interests as they relate to CVD: Lifestyle interventions, including diet and physical activity, to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and increase self-management skills among African Americans in eastern North Carolina. Her current research explores perceptions related to embedding health programs within the barbershop and beauty salon setting.

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Rosalba Hernandez, PhD

Academic Title: Assistant Professor
Department, School: School of Social Work
University: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Location: Urbana, Illinois
Research Interests as they relate to CVD: Positive psychological well-being (PPWB) and its impact on engagement in healthy behaviors, development of subclinical cardiovascular disease (CVD) and subsequent CVD outcomes--particularly as it pertains to Hispanic/Latino adults.

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Mosi Adesina Ifatunji, PhD

Academic Title: Assistant Professor
Department, School: Department of Sociology, College of Arts and Sciences
University: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Research Interests as they relate to CVD: Disparities in hypertension between African Americans and Black immigrants.

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Nneka Lotea Ifejika, MD, MPH

Academic Title: Associate Professor
Department, School: Department of Neurology
University: University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Medical School
Location: Houston, Texas
Research Interests as they relate to CVD: My research focuses on the use of mobile health technology to reduce the incidence of vascular risk factors, namely, obesity, hypertension and hyperlipidemia, in underserved minority populations. My long-term goal is to reduce the disability gap between minorities and non-minorities in the "Stroke Belt", an area of the Southeastern United States with significant mortality due to cerebrovascular disease.

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Melissa Johnson, PhD, MS

Academic Title: Assistant Professor
Department, School: Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences, College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences
University: Tuskegee University
Location: Tuskegee, Alabama
Research Interests as they relate to CVD: Physiological, social and cultural causes and consequences of cardiovascular disease; chronic disease prevention and health promotion, particularly among underserved and vulnerable (i.e. culturally, economically, socially, etc.) individuals; health disparities.

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Larry Keen II, PhD

Academic Title: Assistant Professor
Department, School: Department of Psychology, College of Natural and Health Sciences
University: Virginia State University
Location: Petersberg, VA
Research Interests as they relate to CVD: My research interests include the complex interplay among cardiovascular risk factors, substance use, and immunity-related outcomes. Specifically, I am interested in overweight/obesity, marijuana use and subsequent immune dysfunction in African Americans. A related interest is in examining the potential role effect of executive function on these relationships and as a modifiable factor for treatment or intervention programs

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Erica Payton, PhD

Academic Title: Assistant Professor
Department, School: Department of Physiology and Health Science, College of Sciences & Humanities
University: Ball State University
Location: Muncie, Indiana
Research Interests as they relate to CVD: Developing and implementing promising and evidence-based interventions that will reduce cardiovascular disease in Delaware and other communities in Indiana, with a focus on reducing obesity and tomacco use and premoting healthy lifestyle choices. Racial/ethnic minorities, rural and economically disadvantaged communities are special populations of interest.

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Damon Swift, PhD

Academic Title: Assistant Professor
Department, School: Department of Kinesiology
University: East Carolina University
Location: Greenville, North Carolina
Research Interests as they relate to CVD: Performing exercise and physical activity studies to promote cardiovascular health benefits in African Americans, with a focus on cardiorespiratory fitness an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.


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