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Current Scholars

2021 Scholars

Martha Abshire Saylor

Martha Abshire Saylor, PhD, MS, RN

Assistant Professor
Johns Hopkins School of Nursing

Martha Abshire Saylor, PhD, MS, RN is an assistant professor on the research/education track at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. Her clinical experience in cardiac and critical care has been the foundation of her teaching, and she earned the 2020 Teaching Excellence Award from the Johns Hopkins Nursing Alumni Association. Her research interests include an emphasis on psychosocial sequelae of advanced illness, advanced heart failure management, biomarkers of stress, and patient-reported outcomes. Abshire Saylor has current funding to develop interventions that use a strengths-based approach to support caregivers through goal-setting, social support and focus on preventive health. 

Danielle (Dani) Arigo, PhD

Primary appointment: Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Rowan University
Affiliated faculty appointments: Department of Biomedical Sciences, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University and Department of Family Medicine, Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine

Danielle (Dani) Arigo, PhD is a clinical health psychologist at Rowan University (New Jersey). She specializes in understanding psychological and social influences on health behaviors and harnessing these influences to promote physical activity, healthy eating, and chronic illness self-management. In these domains, she is particularly interested in improving on current knowledge of effective health promotion efforts for women and the implementation of behavior change techniques in digital health tools such as mobile apps and wearable sensors. Arigo has a K23 award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NIH) to identify real-time psychosocial determinants of physical activity among women in midlife with elevated risk for cardiovascular disease and to develop novel physical activity interventions for this population.

Julia Chen-Sankey, PhD, MPP

Assistant Professor
Rutgers School of Public Health

Julia Chen-Sankey, PhD, MPP is a post-doctoral fellow at the Intramural Program of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD). Her research broadly involves investigating the influence of flavored tobacco use and tobacco marketing among youth and young adults as well as cigar use disparities among racial and ethnic minority populations. She is especially interested in studying the intersection of tobacco use, tobacco policy, and health equity. Her first-authored papers and commentaries were featured in prominent media outlets, including CNN and Baltimore Sun. Chen-Sankey is a recipient of the NCI/FDA Pathway to Independence Award in Tobacco Regulatory Science (K99/R00), for which she examined the influence of tobacco marketing features on young adults’ neurocognitive reactions and intentions of using tobacco. Chen-Sankey is also a recipient of the NIMHD William G. Coleman Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Innovation Award, for which she investigated the social, physical, and contextual environmental risk factors of cigar and blunt smoking among Black young adults. Chen-Sankey received Master of Public Policy degree from Johns Hopkins University, and Ph.D. degree in Behavioral and Community Health from the University of Maryland. She previously worked as a research analyst at the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, where she produced multiple health disparities reports informing state and local policymaking for improving minority health.

Thomas K. M. Cudjoe, MD, MPH

Assistant Professor, Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology
Core Faculty - Center on Aging and Health
Caryl & George Bernstein Human Aging Project Scholar - Center for Innovative Medicine

Thomas K.M. Cudjoe, MD, MPH is board certified internal medicine and geriatric medicine physician.  In addition, he is a Major in the United States Army Reserves Medical Corps, a graduate of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Leaders Program and Vice-President on of the East Baltimore Community School- Henderson Hopkins school board. In 2019, Cudjoe was appointed as a Commissioner to the Baltimore City Commission on Aging and Retirement Education. He also serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for the Foundation for Social Connection and the Administration for Community Living National Coordinating Center: Connecting Older Adults and People with Disabilities Clearinghouse, Scientific Advisory Group.  Cudjoe is actively engaged in the medical care of homebound older adults via the Johns Hopkins Home Based Medicine program. He is also a recipient of the National Institute on Aging Grants for Early Medical/Surgical Specialists' Transition to Aging Research. 

Cudjoe is focused on understanding how social factors influence the health of older adults and developing strategies to improve the health trajectory of older adults. His research has focused on identifying risk factors for social isolation and currently examines the relationship between social connectedness and health outcomes.

Cudjoe received his undergraduate degree (summa cum laude) in Cellular and Molecular Biology at Hampton University and was active in the Honors College and Army ROTC program (Distinguished Military Graduate-Top 20% of Graduates in Nation). He graduated from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and earned his master’s degree in public health in health policy at Harvard School of Public Health. He completed his internal medicine residency Internal Medicine at Howard University Hospital in Washington DC and clinical and research fellowship in the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.  


Dana Rose Garfin, PhD

Assistant Adjunct Professor
Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing and the Program in Public Health at the University of California, Irvine

Dana Rose Garfin, PhD is an Assistant Adjunct Professor in the Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing and the Program in Public Health (Department of Health, Society, and Behavior) at the University of California, Irvine. Her work explores how individual-level negative life events and collective trauma effect physical and mental health across the lifespan, and how community-based interventions can alleviate resulting health disparities. She is currently Principal Investigator (PI) of a NIMHD K01 “Mindfulness-based Intervention to Address PTSD in Trauma-exposed, Homeless Women,” which uses a biopsychosocial approach to examine how mindfulness can help reduce PTSD, depression, and substance abuse and improve regulation of the HPA-axis. She is also co-PI of several National Science Foundation grants that examine how individuals respond and adapt to collective trauma including hurricanes and COVID-19. Her work has been covered in hundreds of domestic and international media outlets and her 2020 paper on COVID-19 was the 3rd most downloaded article across the 89 journals of the American Psychological Association. Dana graduated Suma cum Laude from the University of Colorado, Boulder with BA in Sociology. She has an MA in Social Ecology and a PhD in Psychology and Social Behavior from the University of California, Irvine.

Natalia Heredia, PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health

Natalia Heredia,PhD, MPH received a BA in both Psychology and Policy Studies from Rice University, an MPH in Health Promotion from Columbia University and a PhD in Behavioral Sciences from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health. She was a predoctoral fellow on a National Cancer Institute R25 training grant and a postdoctoral fellow on a Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas training grant. Her research focuses on cancer and chronic disease prevention for Hispanic/Latino adults and families through the promotion of physical activity and healthy diets. Her research seeks to identify psychosocial and environmental determinants of physical activity and diet using mixed methods, and then use this body of work to develop, implement, and evaluate interventions to improve lifestyle behaviors, especially in Hispanic/Latino adults and other minority populations. Heredia’s current Prevent Cancer Foundation grant focuses on developing and delivering a behavioral lifestyle intervention for the management of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) to prevent liver cancer.

Shashi Kapadia, MD

Assistant Professor
Weill Cornell Medicine

Shashi Kapadia, MD is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and of Population Health Sciences at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City. He completed medical school and residency training at the New Jersey Medical School, and then went on to complete a fellowship in infectious diseases and an additional residency program in public health and preventive medicine, both at Weill Cornell. He provides clinical care for patients with HIV, viral hepatitis, and general infectious diseases. His research is focused on equitable treatment access for people with hepatitis C, HIV, and substance use disorders. He has published research using a diverse set of clinical and health services research approaches, including quantitative clinical and epidemiologic studies, qualitative and mixed methods studies, economic evaluation, policy analyses, and clinical trials.

Rebecca Mandell, PhD, MS

Senior Health Analyst
Arbor Research Collaborative for Health

Rebecca Mandell, PhD, MS conducts qualitative and mixed methods research and evaluation at Arbor Research Collaborative for Health. Her training and expertise include improving health and health equity through community-based research approaches, policy, and multi-level interventions. She previously worked for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the New York AIDS Coalition and the Harvard School of Public Health, and served as a Peace Corps health volunteer in Niger. She received her PhD from the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education at the University of Michigan School of Public Health where she researched how advocates are mobilizing to protect vulnerable communities from toxic exposures harmful to reproductive health. She received her master’s degree from the Department of Society, Human Development and Health at the Harvard School of Public Health and her bachelor’s degree from the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at Harvard University.

Amanda C. McClain, PhD, MS

Assistant Professor
School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences at San Diego State University

Amanda C. McClain, PhD, MS is an Assistant Professor of Nutrition in the School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences at San Diego State University. McClain completed her PhD in Nutritional Sciences (Community Nutrition) in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University in 2016, and a National Institutes of Health T32 Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (2016-2018) in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Prior to her doctoral and postdoctoral work, she served as a Research Associate (2005-2010) at the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health, where she coordinated and disseminated theory-based behavior-change interventions as part of randomized control trials. McClain’s long-term research goal is to promote cardiometabolic health equity and healthy life trajectories among marginalized populations by using social science perspectives to: 1) understand how the stress of marginalization, especially food insecurity, shapes food choice and dietary intake and ‘gets under the skin’ to impact allostatic load and cardiometabolic risk (primarily among U.S. Hispanics/Latinos), and 2) identify and leverage existing social, material, human, and cultural capacities (i.e., assets), as a part of community-based behavior-change interventions, to mitigate the stress of marginalization and promote food security and healthy behaviors (nutritious diets and physical activity). Her current National Institutes of Health-National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute K01 award aims to develop a capacity-oriented intervention to promote food security, diet quality, and cardiovascular health among U.S. Hispanics/Latinos.

Cassandra Nikolaus, PhD

Research Assistant Professor
Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine at Washington State University

Cassandra Nikolaus, PhD is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Institute for Research and Education to Advance Community Health at Washington State University. Nikolaus received a PhD in Human Nutrition and MS in Nutritional Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign after earning a BS in Dietetics at Central Washington University. The long-term goal of Nikolaus’ research is to bridge the gap between “what we know” and “what we do” about food insecurity in the U.S., with a focus on low-income households, indigenous communities, and patients with diabetes.

Oladunni Oluwoye, PhD

Assistant Professor
Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine at Washington State University
Co-Director of Washington State Center of Excellence in Early Psychosis

Oladunni Oluwoye, PhD is a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine at Washington State University and the Co-Director of Washington State Center of Excellence in Early Psychosis. She received a BS in Psychology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, an MS in Clinical Psychology from Alabama A&M University, and a PhD in Health Promotion and Education from the University of Cincinnati. Her research is focused on reducing racial and ethnic inequities in addiction and mental health service utilization, implementation of evidence-based interventions, and family engagement in early intervention programs for psychosis. Currently, she is funded by a NIMH K01 focused on developing and implementing a culturally informed family engagement intervention in coordinated specialty care programs for early psychosis. Prior to receiving her NIMH-funded K01, she was supported by a NIAAA-funded diversity supplement, where she worked on understand training barriers and facilitators that hinder the uptake of contingency management among providers and developing web-based education and training platform.

Julia Price, PhD

Research Scientist
Nemours Center for Healthcare Delivery Science
Assistant Professor
Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University

Julia Price, PhD is a Research Scientist in the Nemours Center for Healthcare Delivery Science and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University. She received her doctoral degree in clinical psychology at Temple University in 2012 and completed her American Psychological Associated-accredited internship and post-doctoral fellowship at Nemours/AI duPont Hospital for Children. Price is dedicated to improving the equitable delivery of evidence-based psychosocial care to children and families with illness and injuries. With support through a Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (1K23DK125666-01), Price is employing mixed methods both to understand barriers and facilitators of implementing an evidence-based behavioral intervention for pediatric type 1 diabetes and to develop and pilot test implementation strategies to improve uptake of this care. With foundation funding, she is conducting a complementary mixed methods study that focuses on health equity in the delivery of evidence-based psychosocial care in pediatric type 1 diabetes. This health equity-focused work will serve as Price’s Mixed Methods Research Training Program for the Health Sciences project.

Brittany N. Rudd, PhD

Director of the Implementation Science and System-Involved Youth Research Program University of Illinois at Chicago

Brittany N. Rudd, PhD is an Instructor of Psychology in Psychiatry and the Director of the Implementation Science and System-Involved Youth Research Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Rudd completed her doctoral training in clinical science at Indiana University, pre-doctoral clinical internship at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and her postdoctoral training at the Penn Center for Mental Health at the University of Pennsylvania. The central theme of Rudd’s program of research is improving access to quality mental health care among vulnerable populations. Rudd founded the Implementation Science and System-Involved Youth Research Program to improve the implementation of evidence-based policies and practices within systems that serve vulnerable youth, including those in the juvenile justice, child welfare, and family court service settings. She is currently engaging in research to increase the adoption and implementation of suicide prevention practices within the juvenile justice system and parent education programs within the family law system. The long-term goal of her research program is to transform non-traditional behavioral health settings (e.g., courts, juvenile justice) into hubs of evidence-based prevention and intervention to empower and improve outcomes for disadvantaged and vulnerable youth who may never access behavioral health services in traditional outpatient settings.

Megan Shepherd-Banigan, PhD

Health Research Scientist
Assistant Professor
Duke University’s School of Medicine Department of Population Health Science 
Core Faculty at the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy

Megan Shepherd-Banigan, PhD is a Health Research Scientist at the Durham VA ADAPT and an HRS&D Career Development Awardee. She is also an Assistant Professor in Duke University’s School of Medicine Department of Population Health Science and Core Faculty at the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy. She received her PhD in Health Services Research from the University of Washington.  She focuses on mental health, aging, and health services research methods that improve the health, emotional well-being, and social functioning of adults with mental and physical disabilities and their family members. Her research has focused on integrating family-centered innovations into health care, aligning health and social services to meet the comprehensive needs of individuals with disabilities, and policies and interventions that address the needs of informal caregivers. Shepherd-Banigan’s methods combine empirical approaches that address methodologically challenging research questions in health systems and policy research. 

Myrick C. Shinall, Jr., MD, PhD

Assistant Professor
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Myrick C. Shinall, Jr., MD, PhD is Assistant Professor of Surgery and Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and is board certified in surgery and palliative care.  He practices as a general surgeon and palliative care consultant at Vanderbilt and its affiliated Veterans Affairs medical center.  His research focuses on the integration of specialist palliative care into the care of surgical patients.  His work has been funded by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute on Aging, and he is currently supported by a Paul B. Beeson Emerging Leaders in Aging Award.  He is the principal investigator of the Surgery for Cancer with Option of Palliative Care Expert (SCOPE) Trial, a randomized controlled trial of specialist palliative care for patients undergoing major oncologic surgery.

Tiara C. Willie, PhD, MA

Bloomberg Professor of American Health in Violence
Assistant Professor
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Tiara C. Willie, PhD, MA is a Bloomberg Professor of American Health in Violence appointed as Assistant Professor in the Department of Mental Health.

She is a social epidemiologist with primary research interests in socioecological influences on the etiology and health consequences of gender-based violence (e.g., intimate partner violence, reproductive coercion). This research investigates individual-, relationship-, community-, and societal-level determinants of gender-based violence in order to develop primary interventions. Willie also examines the impact of gender-based violence on mental, sexual, and reproductive health, in order to inform and develop effective, evidence-based interventions and policies. Her most active research area examines the mental health comorbidities (i.e., gender-based violence and mental health symptoms) in HIV risk and prevention using novel epidemiological and implementation science approaches. Willie's ongoing projects include conducting an implementation science study to address the intersection of gender-based violence and biomedical HIV prevention among Black women in the South, and investigating the feasibility and acceptability of a multisector HIV prevention collaboration for women experiencing intimate partner violence.

Willie is originally from Greensboro, North Carolina, and holds a BS in Biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and an MA in Women’s Studies from Southern Connecticut State University. After earning her PhD in Chronic Disease Epidemiology from the Yale School of Public Health, Willie also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the HIV and Other Infectious Consequences of Substance Abuse (T32) program at the Miriam Hospital and Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Tiara joined the Bloomberg faculty in 2020.