Meet Our CPCRN Scholars17 current scholars
Current CPCRN Scholars Program Members
Shacoria Anderson, MPH, Emory University
Shacoria Anderson is currently a PhD student in Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences at Emory University. Previously, she worked as an ORISE fellow at the CDC, where she assisted with the implementation of three studies focusing on autism and developmental disabilities among children and adolescents. She also served as a research assistant at Emory Winship Cancer Institute’s Center for Community Outreach and Engagement. As an MPH student, she was inducted into the Delta Omega Public Health Honor Society. Her research interests include cancer prevention and control, implementation science, rural health, health equity, community based participatory research and mixed methods research. Her career goals are to develop comprehensive interventions and apply implementation science methods to improve cancer screening uptake among minority and rural populations, decreasing cancer disparities and burden.
Allison Antoine, MPH, CHES, Other Center
Allison Antoine is the Outreach Program Manager for the Wisconsin Cancer Collaborative (WCC). In this role, she leads the strategic outreach strategy for the WCC as they work with the 140+ member organizations to implement the Wisconsin Cancer Plan 2020-2030. Prior to this work, she led a five-year CDC funded colorectal cancer control program within nine community health centers across Wisconsin. Allison is also the Past Chair of the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors’ Cancer Council, a council of 450+ members across all CDC-funded cancer programs. Allison received her Master of Public Health from the Medical College of Wisconsin in spring 2022. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Community Health Education and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin La Crosse and has been a certified health education specialist (CHES) since 2011. Allison is thrilled to participate in the 2021- 2022 CPCRN Scholars Program!
Enmanuel Chavarria, PhD, MS, Emory University
Dr. Enmanuel ("Manny") Chavarria's research focuses on addressing cancer disparities by leveraging communication technologies. Dr. Chavarria's research implements evidence-based interventions in community-based settings delivered via culturally salient manners among medically underserved and vulnerable populations. Dr. Chavarria's research interests are twofold: 1) Investigate reasons for cancer disparities that burden underserved and vulnerable populations, and 2) develop interventions that ameliorate these disparities. Dr. Chavarria aims to promote health equity through research that looks to reduce the burden of cancer incidence and mortality among medically underserved and vulnerable populations.
Derek Craig, MPH, University of Texas, Houston
Derek Craig is a PhD student at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health. His research interests include cancer prevention, physical activity promotion and implementation science. For his dissertation, Derek is using qualitative and quantitative methods to better understand the factors contributing to the implementation of school- based physical activity opportunities. Derek also works as a research coordinator on an R01 study that is working with a national network of FQHCs and schools to develop and validate a measure of organizational readiness for implementation. Prior to pursuing a PhD in Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Derek earned his MPH in Community Health Practice from DePaul University and BS in Kinesiology from Indiana University.
Maša Davidović, MD, MSc, Other Center
Dr. Maša Davidović is a medical doctor, epidemiologist, and PhD student in Health Sciences at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute in Basel, Switzerland. She holds an MSc in Health Sciences, specialization Epidemiology from the Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands, and a medical diploma from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Belgrade, Serbia. She has received the SSPH+ Global PhD Fellowship Program in Public Health Sciences (GlobalP3HS), funded by Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, to pursue a PhD. She worked as a teaching assistant at the Institute of Social Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Belgrade (2018-19), and as a PhD student in Cancer Research Group at the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Bern (2019-20). Her research aims to develop and implement a standardized data set for data collection and cervical cancer screening program monitoring in collaborating sites offering cervical cancer screening to women living with HIV in four African regions. She has a huge passion for improving cancer prevention and early diagnosis among vulnerable populations in low-resource settings.
Emanuelle Dias, MPH, University of Texas, Houston
Emanuelle Dias, MPH is a PhD student at the University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHealth) at Houston in the Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences. She completed her bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Florida and her MPH degree from the University of South Florida. Her research focuses on improving cancer care access in resource-constrict settings, such as Federally Qualified Health Centers. Her overall research interests include the intersections of implementation science, cancer prevention and control, health communication, and health equity. She is very excited to join the second cohort of the Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network (CPCRN) Scholars program and looks forward to strengthening her skills and knowledge in implementation science focused on cancer prevention and control.
Sarah Kerch, MPH, Other Center
Sarah Kerch, MPH is the Comprehensive Cancer Control Technical Assistance Manager for the George Washington University (GW) Cancer Center. Sarah works with other GW Cancer Center staff to provide high quality technical assistance and support to CDC-funded comprehensive cancer control programs. Most recently, Sarah served as director of the Wisconsin Cancer Collaborative, Wisconsin's comprehensive cancer control program and coalition.
Jaron King, MS, University of South Carolina
Jaron is a first-year PhD student at the Arnold School of Public Health at The University of South Carolina. His emphasis is Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior and has a special interest in studying public health ethics and decision-making within risk communication. In addition to his studies, he works at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) in Tobacco Prevention and Control and, as such, currently studies decision-making among nicotine users. In his abundant free time, Jaron enjoys spending time with his family, fishing, and playing fantasy football.
Melissa Lopez-Pentecost, PhD, RDN, Affiliate Member
Dr. Lopez-Pentecost is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Miami CTIDE-T32 program. She obtained her bachelor's and master's degrees in Nutritional Sciences and her PhD in Clinical and Translational Sciences at the University of Arizona. Dr. Lopez is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) focusing her research training on lifestyle medicine for cancer survivors during and after their cancer treatment and cancer health disparities.
Gita Mody, MD, MPH, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Dr. Mody is a practicing thoracic surgeon and a health services researcher focused on improving the quality of perioperative care delivery. Her patients have diverse clinical and social risk factors and undergo high-risk surgeries for curative intent of cancer and chronic lung disease. Health-related quality of life (HRQOL) is negatively impacted by these surgeries and is increasingly a focus for patient-centered research interventions now that survival for this cohort is improving. However, without robust implementation science approaches, interventions to address HRQOL perioperatively will not be widely and sustainably applied. Her current work is focused on reducing post-discharge complications and improving postoperative HRQOL using patient-reported outcomes (PRO) survey tools to track, report, and manage postoperative symptoms. She is investigating the impact of these PRO systems on clinical outcomes as well as the barriers and facilitators of implementation including at the patient and provider level.
Kristin Morrill, PhD, University of Arizona
Kristin Morrill, PhD is a current NCI-funded T32 Cancer Prevention and Control Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Arizona Cancer Center. In 2016, Dr. Morrill began her PhD in the University of Arizona Department of Nutritional Sciences as a USDA National Needs Fellow. The goal of her dissertation was to gather preliminary data needed to develop a culturally-sensitive, genotype-informed intervention to treat and/or prevent the progression of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in Mexican-origin women. As a part of her dissertation, Dr. Morrill received training in the following areas: conducting systematic reviews; conducting gene-diet interaction analyses; and mixed-methods research. Dr. Morrill’s research currently involves better understanding factors that influence cancer treatment delays among Hispanic/Latino/a cancer patients. Additional research interests include precision-based treatment approaches and the role of psychosocial factors in cancer survivorship.
Karly Murphy, PhD, Other Center
Karly M. Murphy, PhD is Research Associate in Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology at Wake Forest School of Medicine and licensed clinical psychologist in the state of Illinois. She earned her PhD in Clinical Psychology at Seattle Pacific University while also working as a clinical research assistant at Fred Hutchinson Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Murphy then completed NCI-funded postdoctoral fellowships focused on cancer prevention and control at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Wake Forest School of Medicine. Her research focuses on understanding and addressing the unique psychosocial needs of adolescent and young adult cancer survivors. She is particularly interested in the development of remotely-delivered interventions given their high potential for widespread dissemination.
Sarah Nash, PhD, MPH, CPH, University of Iowa
Sarah Nash, PhD, MPH, CPH, is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Iowa College of Public Health, a full member of the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, and co-investigator at the Iowa Cancer Registry. Dr Nash’s research bridges population-based data science and community-based work to address cancer disparities, primarily among American Indian and Alaska Native people, and rural residents. Dr. Nash has broad training in cancer prevention, cancer surveillance, nutrition epidemiology, and community engagement, and strives to combine these interests in a diverse research program that directly benefits communities. Prior to her current appointment at the University of Iowa, Dr. Nash was the Director of Cancer Surveillance, and PI of the SEER Alaska Native Tumor Registry at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. She received her BA (Hons) in Archaeology and Anthropology from Cambridge University in 2007, PhD in Biological Sciences from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2013, and MPH from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2014. She completed her postdoctoral training with the NCI’s Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program.
Hiten Patel, MD, MPH, Other Center
Dr. Patel is a Fellow in Urologic Oncology and Clinical Instructor of Urology at Loyola University Medical Center. He completed medical, public health, and urologic residency training at Johns Hopkins. He is a clinical researcher focused on evidence-based practices and quality improvement in the diagnosis and management of prostate cancer and renal cell carcinoma. He served on methodology teams performing systematic reviews used to inform clinical guidelines on kidney and testis cancer. He has initiated and completed randomized trials and prospective cohort studies on the prevention of venous thromboembolism, recovery of erectile function, and reduction of opioid prescribing after radical prostatectomy for localized prostate cancer. His recent focus has examined the role of multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging in the diagnosis and management of prostate cancer, as well as utility of predictive modeling to guide clinical decisions.
Malesa Pereira, MPH, CPH, CCRP, Other Center
Malesa Pereira is currently a third-year doctoral student in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences at LSUHSC School of Public Health in New Orleans. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from Binghamton University and her Master of Public Health in Maternal and Child Health from University of South Florida. Prior to entering the doctoral program at LSUHSC, Malesa spent nine years working in clinical research, three years at Weill Cornell in pulmonary research and six years at Moffitt Cancer Center in cancer imaging research. Malesa’s research interests include improving outcomes for Pediatric, Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Patients during treatment and survivorship in rural areas.
Rogelio Robles-Morales, MD, University of Arizona
Rogelio Robles, MD is a medical doctor with a specialty in Ob-Gyn and a subspecialty in Gyn-Oncology. Dr. Robles graduated from Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City. His research focuses on cancer prevention and early detection, personalized treatments, survivorship, and cancer-related outcomes in gynecological and breast cancers. He has been invited as a speaker in multiple Gynecology and Oncology meetings. Dr. Robles recently joined "Nosotros Comprometidos a Su Salud," aiding the Clinical Translational Science branch while earning his PhD degree. He is a bilingual and bi-cultural Mexican doctor passionate about improving health care in medically underserved areas and populations in Southern Arizona and Northern Sonora.
Elsa Weltzien, MPH, Colorado School of Public Health
Elsa currently supports implementation of the Colorado Cancer Screening Program (CCSP), housed at the University of Colorado, as well as additional cancer prevention and control initiatives. CCSP is one of the largest preventive screening programs in Colorado, focused on utilizing patient navigation to reduce health disparities for colorectal and lung cancer screening, as well as hereditary cancers. Elsa has been working in the cancer prevention field since 2016 and has also worked as a project coordinator for a college skin cancer prevention initiative and the Research Engagement Manager for a national colorectal cancer nonprofit. Elsa has a Bachelor of Science in Public Health and Master of Public Health with a concentration in Health Education and Communication from Tulane University. She is passionate about working with communities across the state and nationwide to increase equitable access to and reduce barriers to preventive care.
CPCRN Scholars Program Mentors
Prajakta Adsul, PhD, MPH, MBBS, Other Center
Dr. Prajakta Adsul is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine with a membership in the University of New Mexico's Comprehensive Cancer Center, with the Cancer Control and Population Sciences Research Program. Her research uses implementation science methods to understand the uptake and delivery of cancer screening in resource-limited clinical settings and under-served communities.
Prior to joining UNM, Dr. Adsul was a Cancer Prevention Fellow, working with the implementation science team at the National Cancer Institute. She received her medical training in India and her doctorate in Public Health at Saint Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice.
Natoshia Askelson, PhD, MPH, University of Iowa
Natoshia M. Askelson is an Assistant Professor in the College of Public Health, Department of Community & Behavioral Health with an adjunct appointment in the Health Policy Research Program at the Public Policy Center. She currently serves as the PI for Iowa’s Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network Collaborating Center and for the PRC's core research project Active Iowa. Dr. Askelson is also Deputy Director of the Iowa PRC. She is trained as a behavioral scientist with an emphasis in health communication. Her research is focused on maternal, child and family health, with an emphasis on elementary-aged children and adolescents. She uses mixed methods to understand how policy and program changes influence positive and maladaptive behavior. She has conducted a number of studies related to Medicaid waiver programs and how enrollees understand and adapt to these programs. Additionally she has examined how parents, children and schools are responding to changes from the Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act of 2010. Her interests in adolescent a health have resulted in a series of studies in adolescent pregnancy prevention and the HPV vaccine.
Cam Escoffery, PhD, MPH, CHES, Emory University
Cam Escoffery, PhD, MPH, CHES is an Associate Professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. Dr. Escoffery has over 25 years of experience in health promotion, cancer prevention and control, and evaluation/implementation research. She has received funding from the National Cancer Institute, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Cancer Society, and foundations.
Maria Fernandez, PhD, University of Texas, Houston
Dr. Fernandez is the Lorne Bain Distinguished Professor in Health and Medicine, a Professor of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Texas, School of Public Health (SPH) in Houston, and Director of the Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research (CHPPR). Her research has focused on cancer prevention and control among underserved populations. She has conducted studies that range from the development and evaluation of new interventions to the science of understanding and intervening to accelerate the use of evidence-based interventions in real- world settings. Dr. Fernandez has extensive experience in research translation and dissemination and implementation (D&I) research, and has been a member of the NIH Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health Study Section. She is a PI on two NIH Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health R01s, one to develop and evaluate an online decision support system for health program planners to facilitate adoption, adaptation, and implementation of evidence-based programs and another to validate a measure of organizational readiness. Her studies have identified important behaviors and determinants of adoption and implementation of cancer control interventions in clinical and community settings and have developed implementation strategies to increase adoption and implementation of evidence-based cancer control interventions. She is an internationally known expert on Intervention Mapping and co-author on the 4th edition of Planning Health Promotion Programs: An Intervention Mapping Approach (2016). She recently authored an article on the use of IM in implementation science: Implementation Mapping: Using Intervention Mapping to Plan Implementation Strategies. She also contributed two chapters to Advancing the Science of Implementation across the Cancer Continuum, (Chambers, Vinson, Norton, Eds.; 2018).
Daniela Friedman, PhD, University of South Carolina
Dr. Friedman is Professor and Chair in the Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior at the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health. She is core faculty in the Cancer Prevention and Control Program and faculty affiliate of the university’s Office for the Study of Aging. Dr. Friedman’s graduate degrees are in health studies and gerontology. Her community- and stakeholder-engaged research is focused on health literacy and health and cancer communication with diverse older adults. Specifically, she evaluates how communities access, understand, and use disease risk and prevention information, and examines the use of innovative strategies to promote the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based, language appropriate, and culturally relevant messages and programs. Currently she serves as Principal Investigator of the South Carolina Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network Collaborating Center.
Kristin Kilbourn, PhD, MPH, Colorado School of Public Health
Jennifer Leeman, DrPH, MPH, MDiv, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Dr. Jennifer Leeman is an associate professor in the UNC School of Nursing and an implementation scientist with a focus on primary prevention in community-based settings. She currently is PI of a CDC-funded contract, “Assessing Awareness and Use of School Health Tools and Resources” that is applying mixed methods to evaluate how schools use four tools that the CDC disseminates to implement school health interventions (2015-2017). She directs the Dissemination Core of UNC’s CDC-funded Prevention Research Center and is faculty in the UNC CTSA’s Dissemination & Implementation Methods unit.
Purnima Madhivanan, PhD, MPH, MBBS, University of Arizona
Purnima Madhivanan is an Associate Professor in Health Promotion Sciences at the Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health at University of Arizona, Tucson. A physician by training, she completed her MPH and PhD in Epidemiology from the University of California, Berkeley. She is the Director of the Global Health Training Program at University of Arizona, Tucson and serves as a co-PI for the Global Health Equity Scholar consortium in collaboration with Stanford, Yale and University of California, Berkeley.
For the past 20 years, her research has focused on disadvantaged populations, elucidating the dynamics of poverty, gender, and the environmental & social determinants of health, in particular the impact on women and children living in rural and limited resource communities. Dr. Madhivanan’s work focuses on addressing the systemic inequities that put women at-risk for poor health outcomes. Her current research is examining the intersection of infectious diseases and cancer, vaginal microbiome, global health, diagnostics and health disparities. Her work has resulted in more than 150 peer-review publications. She continues to develop novel lines of research and has been supported by foundations, biotechnology companies, federal and international funding organizations. Dr. Madhivanan serves as an advisor to a number of state departments of Public Health, non-profits as well as governmental research organizations.
Linda Overholser, MD, MPH, Colorado School of Public Health
Linda Overholser is an Associate Professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, as well as the Medical Director for the TACTIC (Thriving After Cancer Treatment is Complete) clinical program which seeks to assist childhood cancer survivors with transition to adult primary care. Her clinical and research interests are in the area of cancer survivorship and specifically how primary care can be empowered to more actively participate in shared care for cancer survivors. This is especially relevant for individuals diagnosed with cancer and living in rural areas, where cancer specific resources may be more limited. Dr. Overholser's research has included 1) developing and testing an intervention that successfully raised knowledge of cancer survivorship issues in rural Colorado primary care practices and 2) successfully partnering with rural communities to gain a more granular understanding of the factors that influence the provision of cancer survivorship care in those communities. She is also an active member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Survivorship Guidelines Panel.
Betsy Risendal, PhD, Colorado School of Public Health
Cynthia Thomson, PhD, MS, RDN, University of Arizona
Cynthia (Cyndi) Thomson, PhD, MS, RDN is a cancer prevention scientist with over 20 years of lifestyle intervention clinical trials research effort focused on cancer survivors. Her doctoral degree in nutritional sciences served as the foundation for her translational science career. In 2019 she completed the TIDIRC training and complimented her research program with a focus on implementation and dissemination of evidence-based information and programming with an interest in reaching those under-represented in biomedical research and under-served by cancer survivorship programming.
Karen Wickersham, PhD, RN, University of South Carolina
Dr. Wickersham is an Assistant Professor, Tenure-Track at the University of South Carolina, College of Nursing. She is a core faculty member of the Cancer Survivorship Program. She received her BSN in 1991 from the University of Virginia, her MSN with a specialty in Nursing Education from the University of Pittsburgh in 2011, and her PhD from the University of Pittsburgh in 2012. Dr. Wickersham completed her postdoctoral training at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, School of Nursing where she conducted her fellowship study, “Genetic, Clinical, and Biomarker Correlates of EGFR Inhibitor-related Rash” (NINR F32NR014753; American Nurses Foundation). Her program of research focuses on interventions to promote adherence to oral targeted therapy (OTT) and manage side effects of OTT to improve quality of life for individuals with advanced cancers who experience disparities in cancer care (race, age, rurality). Her goal is to develop: 1) interventions for management of side-effects related to OTT use, including tailoring of those interventions (i.e., dose, duration, and timing), and 2) markers for response to those interventions.
CPCRN Scholars Program Alumni
Amy Ballou, DNP, ACNP-BC, University of South Carolina
Dr. Amy Ballou holds a Doctor of Nursing Practice from the University of South Carolina. She holds a master’s degree in Nursing with board certification as an acute care nurse practitioner from the University of South Carolina. She has also received her bachelor’s degrees in Nursing and Experimental Psychology from the University of South Carolina. She has over 14 years of nursing experience and specializes in oncology and hematology. Dr. Ballou’s passion is to increase patient-provider communication to improve health outcomes. Her clinical interests include depression in terminally ill patients and end of life management decisions and care. She is a member of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, the American Nurses Association and the Oncology Nursing Society. She enjoys spending time with her family, nature, hiking, and travel.
Lauren Bates, MA, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Lauren Bates is a doctoral student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studying Human Movement Science in the department of Allied Health Sciences. She completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science and Biology at SUNY Brockport and her Master’s Degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Exercise and Sport Science. Lauren’s primary research focus is exercise oncology, especially improving quality of life and reducing sedentary behavior in oncology populations. She also examines how the immune system responds to acute and chronic exercise as a potential therapy in oncology populations. Lauren is interested in the interactions of lifestyle behavioral factors and cancer risk, and the translation of basic and applied science into public health outcomes. She is extremely excited to be in the inaugural Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network Scholars program and looks forward learning more about dissemination and implementation science focused on cancer prevention and control.
Caitlin Biddell, MSPH, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Caitlin Biddell is a PhD student in the Department of Health Policy and Management at UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health. Her research focuses on improving cancer care access and quality, particularly by understanding and addressing patient financial hardship, as a means to promoting health equity. Using a range of methodologies–including systems thinking, decision science, and implementation science–she aims to leverage available data and resources to support equitable policy development and program implementation.
Emily Bilenduke, MA, Colorado School of Public Health
Emily Bilenduke is a Clinical Health Psychology doctoral candidate at the University of Colorado Denver. She graduated from the University of Redlands with a degree in Psychology. Later, she worked at the Summit Community Care Clinic, a primary care clinic in rural Colorado, as the grant coordinator. Her time at the clinic inspired her to evaluate how people interact with their health. Emily defended her Master’s thesis on the association of microbiome and mood changes in women diagnosed with breast cancer receiving chemotherapy treatment. Her current research interests include psychosocial interventions improving mental and behavioral health in cancer patients and caregivers, barriers to psychosocial care, health disparities, and integrated care.
Wesley Burkett, MD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Dr. Wesley Burkett is an obstetrician-gynecologist in Chapel Hill, NC and is currently a first-year gynecologic oncology fellow at the University of North Carolina. Wesley graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alabama. He then obtained his medical degree at the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Birmingham, AL. During medical school, he developed an interest in women’s health and oncology, and applied for residency in obstetrics and gynecology. He completed his obstetrics and gynecology residency at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City, OK. While in residency, he received numerous research and teaching awards and was selected to serve as an Administrative Chief Resident. One of his areas of interest in research is trying to better understand and improve care for incarcerated women with gynecologic cancers.
Perla Chebli, PhD, MPH, New York University – City University of New York
Perla Chebli, PhD, MPH is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Section for Health Equity at the NYU Department of Population Health. Her primary areas of focus are community-engaged research, cancer disparities, intervention development, and implementation science. Dr. Chebli's current research projects examine: multilevel factors influencing HPV vaccine hesitancy in immigrant communities in Brooklyn to develop responsive interventions; and community engagement strategies leveraged in the implementation of community-based cancer interventions in NYC. In past research projects, she: engaged diverse Arab American community stakeholders to explore cancer-related needs in Chicago and identify priorities for acceptable, culturally-congruent cancer interventions; analyzed interviews with Latina breast cancer survivors and providers to understand multilevel determinants of financial toxicity; and conducted a process evaluation of community-based breast cancer interventions with Latina women in Chicago. Dr. Chebli holds a Master of Public Health from New York University and a PhD in Public Health from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
David O. Garcia, PhD, MS, University of Arizona
Dr. Garcia is an Assistant Professor in the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona. He has extensive experience in short and long-term intervention trials in the areas of physical activity, diet, and weight management. He received his training from leading institutions and mentors in the field. Since 2006, Dr. Garcia has worked on numerous funded research projects, including research funded by industry, National Institutes of Health (NIH) and foundations. This includes working as a lifestyle interventionist/exercise physiologist in several clinical trials with overweight and obese adults, morbidly obese adults (Class II and III obesity), and individuals with type 2 diabetes.
Since arriving at the University of Arizona, his research has focused on the development of gender and culturally-sensitive weight loss interventions for Hispanic males. To support this effort, Dr. Garcia established “Nosotros Comprometidos a Su Salud -Committed to Your Health”, a program developed to support research through community service and partnering with underserved Tucson residents. Dr. Garcia also is the Assistant Director for Community Outreach & Engagement for the University of Arizona Cancer Center. In this role, he is currently examining the burden of obesity-related disease and cancers, such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma, in Mexican-Origin adults.
Yue Guan, PhD, ScM, Emory University
Dr. Yue Guan is a board-certified genetic counselor and social behavioral scientist. She holds a Masters of Science in Genetic Counseling and a PhD in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University. Her research work has focused on translational research in precision public health, including: communication research to develop and evaluate effective communications of genomic information; implementation and dissemination research to promote the adoption of evidence-based genomic applications in public health; and community engagement research to expand the reach of genomic screening programs to underserved minority populations. Dr. Guan is the co-director of the Emory Precision Public Health Research Program. She has also served on multiple national committees, including the American Board of Genetic Counselors (ABGC) Research Committee and the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) Practice Guideline Committee.
Soohyun Hwang, MPH, CHES, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Soohyun Hwang is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health. She graduated from Ewha Womans University in Seoul, South Korea, and completed her Master of Public Health degree at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Prior to pursuing her doctoral degree, she worked at the Ann Arbor VA Center for Clinical Management Research. Soohyun’s research interests focus on Implementation Science, organizational behavior, quality of cancer care, care coordination, shared decision-making, health disparities, and mixed methods. Her dissertation focuses on multilevel determinants of guideline-adherent active surveillance follow-up care for low-risk prostate cancer.
Jessica Islam, PhD, MPH, Other Center
Jessica Y. Islam, PhD, MPH is a cancer epidemiologist and tenure-track Assistant Member at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in the Cancer Epidemiology program. Dr. Islam's research focuses on describing and intervening on cancer care disparities across the continuum, at the intersection of infections and cancer. Through her research program, Dr. Islam aims to improve cancer outcomes among vulnerable populations, including racial/ethnic minorities and people living with HIV, using multi-level approaches, advanced epidemiological methods, and an equity-focused lens.
Victoria Krauss, MPH, Emory University
Victoria earned her Master of Public Health degree from Emory University in 2019. Upon graduation, she became the Program Coordinator for the Ventanilla de Salud (Window to Health) Atlanta, a preventative community health program for individuals visiting the Consulate General of Mexico in Atlanta. There, she implemented a personalized behavioral health intervention which increased healthy behaviors among participants, and improved the quality of health services provided by the program. Before Emory, she served in the Peace Corps in Guatemala as a Maternal and Child Health Facilitator collaborating with the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance of Guatemala. Currently, she works as the Project Coordinator for SurvivorLink, a patient-controlled digital health platform that was created to increase follow-up care among pediatric cancer survivors. She coordinates the dissemination and implementation of the SurvivorLink project with cancer clinics across the nation.
Karen Lutrick, PhD, University of Arizona
Dr. Karen Lutrick is an assistant professor in the Department of Family & Community Medicine in the College of Medicine at the University of Arizona and the Director of the National Foundation of Emergency Medicine. She has research expertise in disaster response research, clinical trials and research operations, Latinx health disparities, and is building expertise in dissemination and implementation science. In addition to research experience, she is an experienced educator and education researcher, working in the community and within higher education, and recently translating that experience into assisting emergency medicine physicians in the development of research skills.
Clare Meernik, PhD, MPH, Other Center
Clare Meernik, PhD, MPH is a CPCRN Scholar Alumni and Postdoctoral Associate at the Duke University of School of Medicine. Dr. Meernik is a cancer epidemiologist with research interests in cancer survivorship and outcomes, specifically among adolescents and young adults. She intends to focus her career on identifying and addressing barriers to equitable, evidence-based survivorship care and optimizing long-term cancer outcomes related to survivors’ physical, cognitive, and psychosocial needs. Dr. Meernik received her PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health. Her dissertation examined fertility preservation among adolescent and young adult women with cancer in North Carolina, including the impact of fertility preservation on delay to cancer treatment and reproductive success after use of assisted reproductive technology.
Sean Mikles, PhD, MPH, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Sean Mikles is a a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center who studies health system data interoperability and interprofessional collaboration. His career spans nearly 15 years of both academic and industry experience, including five years working at electronic record vendor Epic, the pursuit of an MPH in Epidemiology from Columbia University, and obtaining a PhD in Biomedical and Health Informatics from the University of Washington. His research aims to support collaboration within a patient’s care team and the integration of health-related data from the patient and community into clinical practice and research. Utilizing user-centered design and implementation science approaches, his current research aims to design and implement systems to improve care coordination for post-treatment cancer survivors, and build connections between oncology practices and support services in the community.
Meghan O'Leary, MA, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Meghan O’Leary is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health where she minors in Decision Sciences and Outcomes Research. She is also a trainee in the Cancer Care Quality Training Program at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. For her dissertation, she is exploring the use of systems science tools for informing decision-making about the implementation of colorectal cancer screening interventions. Meghan previously completed her BA in Anthropology and American Studies at Northwestern University, and her MA in Anthropology at the University of New Mexico.
Radhika Ranganathan, MPhil, BS, University of South Carolina
Radhika Ranganathan is a first year MSPH student majoring in Epidemiology. Trying to help medically distressed who eventually died due to lack of research on prevention and treatment of dreadful chronic ailments has been critical and career-defining in her nine years as a Physician Assistant in perioperative cardiac care. She is interested in health services research which she thinks would be foundational to her profession, dedicated to bringing new methods and technologies in helping rid mankind of dreaded diseases and overcoming health inequalities. She is planning on applying the skills learnt from this program to cancer health disparities research and rural cancer control across the care continuum.
Mayank Sakhuja, MHA, University of South Carolina
Mayank Sakhuja is a second-year doctoral student in the Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior in the Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina. He completed his graduate degree in Health Administration from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India. During and after completing his graduate degree, he gained experience in managing health programs while working in a public health department of state governments and non-profit organizations such as CARE India. He is currently engaged as a graduate research assistant on a Duke Endowment-funded grant aimed to enhance quality of care by improving health literacy through implementation of an evidence-based intervention that improves patient-provider interaction in South Carolina. He is interested in tobacco cessation, health and risk communication, and how evidence-based practices can improve screening for lung and oral cancers in low- and middle-income countries.
Jingxi Sheng, PhD, BSN, University of South Carolina
Jingxi Sheng, PhD completed her doctoral studies at the College of Nursing at the University of South Carolina in Summer 2022. Her long-term research focuses are healthy behaviors and cancer prevention and control among Asian Americans. Her doctoral research was interested in understanding attitudes and beliefs about the role of physical activity in breast cancer prevention and investigating physical activity factors among Asian Americans. She is interested in inventions other than surgical or pharmaceutical treatments that can help reduce breast cancer risk, such as engaging in regular physical activity. Through her doctoral research, she explored the role of cultural context on Asian American women’s physical activity experience to better understand the physical activity determinants.
Lisa Spees, PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Lisa Spees is an Assistant Professor in the Health Policy and Management Department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a health services researcher interested in examining and reducing health disparities by improving cancer care quality and access among minority and rural populations. To date, her research in this area has focused on identifying multi-level (patient, provider, and organizational) barriers across the cancer care continuum using both qualitative and quantitative methods. Dr. Spees is especially knowledgeable in handling complex datasets including CIPHR (North Carolina cancer registry data linked to private and public insurance claims data) and SEER-Medicare.
Dr. Spees is currently leading projects focused on 1) examining the financial impact of hematopoietic stem cells transplant among pediatric cancer patients and their families and 2) improving access to guideline-concordant care for patients with gynecologic malignancies.
Samantha Werts, MPH, University of Arizona
Samantha Werts is currently a PhD student in the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona. She completed a Master of Public Health degree in May of 2020 at the University of Arizona concentrating on health behavior and health promotion. Her areas of interest span cancer prevention and control. She is interested in developing and implementing lifestyle interventions to improve health outcomes for cancer survivors. Samantha has been and is currently involved in a wide breadth of research within the area of cancer prevention and control, including work in ovarian cancer survivorship, nutrition and physical activity interventions, and tobacco cessation. After receiving her doctorate degree, she hopes to design and implement lifestyle interventions for underserved cancer survivor populations.