MCUAAAR Pilot Scholars

 Investigator Development Core - MCUAAAR Pilot Scholar Investigators 

The Investigator Core funds and mentors research projects for junior African American and other underrepresented faculty. The focus of pilot projects has been identifying and developing potential pilot scholars and providing mentoring during proposal development.

Request for Pilot Grant Proposals  - MORE INFO

2014-2015  MCUAAAR Pilot Scholars
Neha Gothe, Wayne State University
Felichism Kabo, University of Michigan
Reuben Miller, University of Michigan

Previous MCUAAAR Pilot Scholars
Chivon Mingo, Georgia State University
Tam E. Perry, Wayne State University
Wassim Tarraf, Wayne State University

Mark Manning, Wayne State University
Jamie Mitchell, Wayne State University
Deleise Wilson, University of Michigan

Sonya Miller, University of Michigan
Daphne Watkins, University of Michigan
Preethy Samual, Wayne State University

Jennifer Roebuck Bulanda, University of Miami
Arlesia Mathis, University of Michigan
Rie Suzuki, University of Michigan
Fran Yong, East Carolina University

Florence J. Dallo, Oakland University
Derek M. Griffith, University of Michigan
Ronica N. Rooks, University of Colorado

Bo MacInnis, University of Michigan
Hasan Shanawani, Wayne State University
Karen Patricia Williams, Michigan State University

Nicole M. Huby, University of Michigan
Fayetta Martin, Wayne State University
Trina R. Shanks, University of Michigan

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Jennifer Roebuck Bulanda, PhD
Jennifer Roebuck Bulanda is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Gerontology at Miami University and a Research Fellow at Scripps Gerontology Center. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Bowling Green State University, with concentrations in family, demography, and quantitative methodology. Much of Dr. Bulanda’s research investigates family and marital dynamics over the life course and the intersection of family and health in later life. Her published research includes articles on race-ethnic differences in marital quality; differences in the perpetration and experience of intimate partner violence in young adults’ relationships; predictors of cohabitation in the later life course and the influence of cohabitation on the mental health of older adults; and race-ethnic differences in subjective life expectancy for the retirement years. Dr. Bulanda’s current projects include studies of race-ethnic variations in the mental and physical health of custodial grandparents and the relationship between marital quality and health for African Americans using data from the Health and Retirement Study.
Project:The Relationship between Marital Quality and Physical Health for Older African Americans
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Florence J. Dallo, PhD
Dr. Dallo is currently an Assistant Professor of Wellness, Health Promotion and Injury Prevention in the School of Health Sciences at Oakland University. As a Chaldean (Iraqi Catholic) immigrant growing up in a racially and ethnically diverse community, she was curious why some individuals led healthy lives, while others did not. For her Master’s in Public Health thesis, Dr. Dallo interviewed 130 Chaldean American women in Detroit to better understand the link between acculturation and blood pressure. After that experience, she knew her passion was to promote health and prevent disease in minority communities. After obtaining her PhD and completing a two-year Kellogg Health Disparities Post-Doctoral Fellowship, she began as an assistant professor at the University of Texas, School of Public Health in Dallas. During her three years in Dallas, and while teaching and mentoring students, Dr. Dallo published several manuscripts, many related to the health of Arab and Chaldean-Americans.
In 2006, she received a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to analyze national data focusing on quality of health care among immigrants. In July 2009, she received a grant from the Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research to analyze American Community Survey data to better understand disability status of Arab, Hispanic, and Asian Americans 65 years of age or older. Through all of these experiences, Dr. Dallo has discovered that balance breeds happiness and treasures spending time with her family and hiking and running with her two dogs.
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Neha Gothe, PhD
Neha Gothe is an Assistant Professor in the College of Education Division of Kinesiology, Health and Sport Studies. Her research focuses on promoting physical activity as a means to improve health and quality of life, primarily in community dwelling older adults. She has experience in designing and implementing aerobic, anaerobic as well as yoga interventions for older adults. The goal of these interventions has always been to enhance physical activity behavior in order to improve various health outcomes, including reducing functional limitations in older adults and improving cognitive function and psychosocial health.
Her MCUAAAR project, “Correlates of Physical Activity and Functional Fitness in Urban African American Older Adults” will examine the unique physical and psychological barriers faced by the urban African American aging population in the Detroit metro area in order to improve their levels of physical activity and functional fitness. The ultimate goal of this pilot study is to improve our understanding of the factors that influence physical activity in African American older adults living in urban settings, design and implement a physical activity program that caters to their preferences and addresses the challenges faced by this population.
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Derek M. Griffith, PhD
Derek Griffith is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education in the University of Michigan, School of Public Health and the Assistant Director of the Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture and Health. The primary focus of Dr. Griffith’s research is using qualitative and quantitative approaches to develop and test theories that will help improve older African American men’s longevity and quality of life. He is particularly interested in how racism, social support, stress, and life priorities influence men’s health behavior and health outcomes. Dr. Griffith is currently the Principal Investigator of Men-4-Health, an American Cancer Society funded study to examine and improve urban African American men’s diet and physical activity by conducting a multi-level, community-based participatory research intervention in Flint, MI. With supplemental funding from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, he has been conducting focus groups that explore facilitating factors and barriers to healthy eating and physical activity for men in Ypsilanti, MI and he will be conducting groups in Detroit, MI in 2009-2010. The goal of the MCUAAAR grant is to support the analysis and dissemination of findings from these grants, with a focus on data obtained from older focus group participants (age 50 and older). These analyses and papers will also support the development of interventions to improve African American men’s eating and physical activity in each city.
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Nicole M. Huby, PsyD
Dr. Nicole M. Huby is a neuropsychologist investigator. Her specific research interests are mild cognitive impairment and methods of memory assessment in African American elders. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from Howard University in Psychology, and a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of the District of Columbia. Dr. Huby completed her pre-doctoral internship at the Wayne State University Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences and earned a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology (Forensic track) from Argosy University/Washington, DC Campus. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in neuropsychology at the University of Michigan Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry and is an Adjunct Clinical Lecturer in the Pediatrics Department in the University of Michigan Health System. She works as a Forensic Psychologist with the State of Michigan at the Center for Forensic Psychiatry and is a current pilot scholar with the Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research. Currently, Dr. Huby analyzes secondary data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) to examine questions about the role of cognition in caregiver burden in old age.
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Felix Kabo, Phd
Dr. Kabo is a research investigator for the Social Environment & Health Program, Survey Research Center at the Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan. He has professional training as an architect and a research background in design studies and organizational studies where he has successfully married advanced spatial and social science theories and methodologies, and especially sociospatial network analysis. His current research examines: the cross-sectional and longitudinal links from sociospatial network structures to individual physical and mental health outcomes; and the associations between sociospatial networks, collaboration, and innovation outcomes. Dr. Kabo is the Principal Investigator on the “Multigenerational Social Support and Family Ties in Older African Americans” project. This project explores the network structures and typologies of older African Americans in multigenerational families in the US using unique three-generation data collected by the Program for Research on Black Americans (PRBA) at ISR. Dr. Kabo did his professional, doctoral, and postdoctoral training at the University of Michigan.
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Bo MacInnis, PhD
Dr. MacInnis’ research focuses on the economic incentives that influence consumers’ health production and labor market participation decisions, and the impact of public policies and market imperfections. In her dissertation, Dr. MacInnis examined the relationships between parental occupational choice and children’s physical and cognitive health, the effect of the changing nature of food manufacturing on childhood obesity, and the long-term dual impact of college education and military service on obesity and related health morbidities. Her current research focuses on the economic well-being, physical and mental health, and the retirement expectation of the baby boomer generation, and the impact of the baby boom on Social Security and Medicare programs.
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Mark Manning PhD
The etiology of increased prostate and breast cancer mortality among Black men and women may be due, in part, to less frequent cancer screening among this population. While some theories address the institutional reasons why screening occurs with less frequency, there is notably less research on psychological reasons why Black men and women fail to be screened. Using data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services patient navigation demonstration studies in Detroit, MI, I will examine the effects of patient navigators on the screening behaviors of Black men and women.
My past research has focused on predicting behavioral engagement using the theory of planned behavior (Ajzen, 1991). As such, I am advantageously positioned to examine the predictors of cancer screening behaviors from the perspective of a well-grounded theoretical framework. Along with my theoretical grounding, I am well versed in utilizing advanced quantitative techniques (e.g., path analyses, multi-level modeling, etc.) to model theoretical relationships among the constructs of interest. Altogether, my research training and experience should enable me to efficiently and effectively carry out this project.  This will be a valuable training experience for me and the findings should further our understanding of the causes of health disparities among older African-Americans.
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Fayetta Martin, MSW, DL
Dr. Fayetta Martin received her doctorate of law in Health Law in 2003. She completed a two year postdoctoral research fellowship funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse with a focus on behavior addictions issues affecting older adults. Her research centers on the co-morbidity of health disorders, particularly those relating to behavior addictions (i.e. casino gambling), risk taking and antisocial behaviors of urban elders. Other areas of interest include closing the gap between health disparity and successful minority aging, elder law, social and aging policy and online teaching. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor at Wayne State University, School of Social Work in Detroit, Michigan.
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Arlesia Mathis, PhD
Dr. Arlesia Mathis is an Asst. Professor in the Department of Public Health and Health Sciences at the University of Michigan-Flint. She holds a Ph.D. in Public Health from the University of South Florida. Her research interests include Health Disparities, Minority Health, and Public Health Systems Services Research. Dr. Mathis has received funding from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development for her research on the effects of privatization on the provision of public health services and changes in population health status. She also received funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to examine how changes in the delivery of primary care services affects access to care and health status in racial and ethnic populations. In addition, she received support from the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities for her research on racial and ethnic health disparities. The grant from the Michigan Center on Urban African American Aging Research will be used to continue her research focusing specifically on neighborhood effects in the lives of older African-Americans. Dr. Mathis holds Bachelor of Science degrees in Microbiology and Psychology from the Louisiana State University and a Master of Arts in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the University of West Florida. She is Certified in Public Health and she is also a Certified Public Manager.
Project: Neighborhood Characteristics and Disability in Older African Americans
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Sonya Miller, MD
Sonya R. Miller, M.D. is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Departments of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Medical Education at the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Previously she was an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas.
Dr. Millers’ research focuses on the intersection of age, race, gender, and disability status as well as the role of patient physician variability on access to and the outcomes of health care.  Her innovative health disparities research agenda focuses on exploring health care barriers facing adults with disabilities, specifically in vulnerable and understudied populations (e.g., women, older adults, minorities).  She has identified variability in the patient-provider relationship that contributes to health and health care disparities.  Dr. Miller has also showed that education is an effective tool for maximizing patient-centered training for health professionals and students using an innovative curriculum that includes an educational, multi-media DVD featuring semi-structured oral narratives by people with disabilities.  A qualitative analysis of the patient narratives identified disability diagnosis, disability etiology, other’s perception of disability, family support, and experiences with medical professionals as common themes.  Dr. Miller is currently funded by the Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research to investigate the barriers and facilitators to health and health care in older black women with physical disabilities using photovoice. The overriding hypotheses are 1) physically disabled older women have more psychosocial stress and worse health than  older women who are not disabled and 2) black women are more negatively impacted by physical impairment and disability than white women. Critical new knowledge regarding the important themes, barriers, and facilitators from this study will establish important groundwork for novel prospective and longitudinal studies focusing on a general and representative population of older minority adults.
Project: "Exploring Health and Healthcare Among Older Black Women with Disabilities"
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Chivon A. Mingo, PhD
Dr. Chivron A. Mingo is an Assistant Professor in the Gerontology Institute and an Affiliate in the School of Public Health’s Partnership for Urban Health Research at Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA. Dr. Mingo’s current research interests spans the areas of psychology, health disparities, and aging. Specifically, her work has concentrated on improving the health of aging minorities by identifying contributing factors to racial/ethnic minority chronic disease health disparities and ways to address those health disparities through the design, development, dissemination, and implementation of culturally appropriate evidence-based behavioral interventions.
In effort to continue to address the aforementioned research interests, Dr. Mingo has received funding from the Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research (MCUAAAR) to foster and evaluate utilization of the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program among community-dwelling African Americans in the Atlanta region through faith-based organizations. The long-term goal of this project is to identify, reduce, and eventually eliminate barriers to optimal chronic disease management regardless of age, race, gender, social and economic status or disease state.
In 2003, Dr. Mingo received a B.S. in Psychology from Georgia State University. Subsequently, she received a M.A. in Gerontology (2005) and a Ph.D. in Aging Studies (2010) both from the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa, FL. Prior to joining the GSU Gerontology Institute, Dr. Mingo completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Institute on Aging at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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Jamie A. Mitchell, PhD
Dr. Jamie A. Mitchell is an Assistant Professor at the Wayne State University School of Social Work. As an interdisciplinary applied researcher, her work centers on how social determinants of health influence the underutilization of cancer prevention strategies among African American men. In collaboration with community organizations and health care providers who serve low-income and urban African American men, Dr. Mitchell employs both quantitative and qualitative methodology to understand the range of factors potentially related to preventive health engagement in this population.  Findings from her research surveying approximately 1500 African American men over the past four years are being utilized to develop a conceptual model of the challenges some African American men face to engaging in cancer and chronic disease prevention across the lifespan. As an extension of her work, Dr. Mitchell has received funding from the Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research (MCUAAAR) to examine the bio-psychosocial and health system correlates of cancer-related preventive health behaviors among older African American men who are enrolled in Medicare along with a randomized trial of hospital-based patient navigation services. Dr. Mitchell earned a bachelor’s degree in social behavioral science at The Ohio State University, a master’s of science in social work at the University of Tennessee and doctorate in social work from The Ohio State University. She is a faculty affiliate member of the Population Studies and Disparities Research Program at Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit.
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Samira Moughrabi, PhD
Dr. Samira Moughrabi currently works as an Assistant Professor at Wayne State University, School of Nursing. She earned her doctorate of Nursing in 2009 from the University of California, Los Angeles. As a member of a minority group, Dr Moughrabi is primarily interested in research among underrepresented populations. She received the T32 fellowship funded by the National Institute during which she trained in research among vulnerable populations. She conducted a study in Hispanic Minorities addressing the psychological and biological aspect of heart failure, specifically depression, cachexia, and inflammation. After attending the Summer Genetic Institute at the National Institute of Health Maryland, Dr Moughrabi became interested in the genetic aspect of these phenomena. Other areas of research include: examining pain, PTSD, and inflammation among elderly African American adults and adolescents as well as patterns and health implications of smoking in American and Arab-American adolescents.
Project: "Chronic Pain in Elderly African Americans: Relationships among Trauma Exposure, Physical and Mental Health, and Inflammatory Biomarkers"
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Tam Elisabeth Perry, PhD
Dr. Tam E. Perry is an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at Wayne State University.  She received her PhD in Social Work and Anthropology from the University of Michigan.  Her ethnographic research addresses housing transitions of older adults from a network perspective. As health, mobility and kin and peer networks alter, she explores how older adults contemplate their homes and its contents.  She studies housing transitions because, while aging in place is often preferred and cost-effective, inevitably some older adults will undertake the emotional and physical labor, as well as the negotiation of medical, financial and long-term care infrastructures, involved in relocation. Her research has been supported by the National Institute on Aging, the John A. Hartford Foundation and the University of Michigan.
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Ronica N. Rooks, PhD
Dr. Ronica N. Rooks, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Colorado Denver (UCD). At UCD she teaches a graduate course on social epidemiology, as well as undergraduate courses in Health Disparities/Ethnicity, Health and Social Justice, the Social Determinants of Health, and Health, Culture, and Society. Prior to her current position she was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Kent State University in Ohio. She also completed a W. K. Kellogg postdoctoral fellowship in health disparities at the Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan and a postdoctoral fellowship in geriatric epidemiology, in the intramural Laboratory of Epidemiology, Demography, and Biometry at the National Institute on Aging in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Rooks graduated from the Department of Sociology at the University of Maryland at College Park with concentrations in demography and social stratification. She received her bachelor’s degree in economics and sociology/anthropology from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
Dr. Rooks’ research focuses on explanations for racial and ethnic disparities in chronic conditions in adult and older adult populations. I have specifically focused on cardiovascular disease, diabetes, physical functioning, and mental health among African Americans, generally examining why African Americans have an earlier age of onset of chronic conditions, poorer sequelae in terms of management and declines leading to disability, and earlier age at death compared to Whites. To understand these racial health disparities I have explored explanations of socioeconomic status, health insurance, access to care, health service utilization, mistrust, and discrimination, and I am exploring community-level social and physical environmental factors through a recently submitted R03 grant proposal to the National Institutes of Health. I am currently funded by the Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research to investigate two papers on: 1) the relationship between health and racial health disparities to employment among older, well-functioning Black and White adults; and 2) whether well-functioning Black adults, who have already survived certain higher health risks (e.g., selective survival), will be more robust than White adults over time with regard to chronic conditions. In the future, I hope to pursue similar research on health disparities in chronic conditions with Latinos. Results of this research will establish important groundwork for my long-term expertise in health disparities research and enable me to apply for future research grants to reduce and eliminate health disparities by focusing on community prevention and intervention methods, seeking policy change, and becoming a teacher-scholar involving students in my research.
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Preethy S. Samuel, PhD
Dr. Preethy S. Samuel, Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy in the Department of Health Care Sciences and faculty affiliate  of the Developmental Disabilities Institute, Wayne Sate University was awarded a pilot grant from the Michigan Center on Urban African American Aging Research in 2012. Her project, entitled “Impact of Caregiving for Children with Disabilities on the Quality of Life of Urban African American Grandparents” will look at grandparents raising grandchildren with disabilities. These caregivers often face unique and ongoing challenges, as the demands of assuming a parental role later in life are exacerbated by raising a grandchild with physical, emotional, or behavioral challenges. She will utilize the conceptual framework of the Family Quality of Life (FQOL) to guide the secondary data analysis of cross-sectional survey research data collected from 500 aging African American elders who belonged to the participant response pool of the HBEC, living in the Detroit Metro area. The long-term goal of this project is to improve the quality of life of African American grandparents caring for children with developmental disabilities by developing an effective and accessible family support project.
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Hasan Shanawani, MPH, MD
Dr. Hasan Shanawani, is a clinician-investigator in the division of pulmonary and critical care medicine at the Wayne State University School of Medicine. His research interests are physician-patient communication in critically and/ or terminally ill patients from minority ethnic, racial, and religious communities. He completed his undergraduate, masters and medical degrees from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. His pulmonary and critical care training were completed at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina where he was also an ethics and policy fellow working on the ethics of genetics research in diseases where health disparities exist. Currently, Hasan is working on secondary data analysis of video-recorded physician-patient conversations of lung cancer patients at the Karmanos Cancer Institute’s Center for Behavioral Oncology.
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Trina R. Shanks, PhD
Dr. Trina Shanks is Assistant Professor of Social Work at the University of Michigan. She completed her Ph.D. and Masters in Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis and is also a faculty associate with its Center for Social Development. In 1994 she was awarded the Rhodes scholarship to study at the University of Oxford, where she earned a Masters in Comparative Social Research. In addition to her graduate schooling, Dr. Shanks served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador working in micro-enterprise development and served as executive director of Christian Community Services, a church-affiliated not-for-profit agency she was invited to help form in Nashville, Tennessee. Trina initiated its family mentoring program and introduced Individual Development Accounts to its work with public housing residents. In her current research, funded by the Ford Foundation, she is co-investigator for the SEED Impact Assessment study, which sets up a quasi-experimental research design in Pontiac, Michigan, to test the impact of offering Head Start families 529 college education plans for their enrolled children. Her areas of research/scholarly interest include: asset-building policy and practice across the life cycle; the relationship between wealth, poverty and child well-being; public policy for families; social and economic development, particularly in urban communities.  Her MCUAAAR pilot study examines wealth and assets among the elderly Black population.
Here is the link to the Urban Institute website that announces a recent book to which she contributed:
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Rie Suzuki, PhD
Dr. Rie Suzuki, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health and Health Sciences at the University of Michigan-Flint. Her interests include health education and promotion specializing in gerontology and disability. As PI or co-Principal Investigator on university- and National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research- funded grants, she specializes in the development, implementation, and evaluation of health promotion programs (e.g., access to health care) for aging and persons with disability living in a community. In addition to these studies, she has major research interests in examining and intervening mediational factors of health behaviors and health outcomes across lifespan, and pursues a line of research in this area.
Project:Neighborhood Characteristics and Disability in Older African Americans.
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Wassim Tarraf, PhD
Dr. Wassim Tarraf is an Assistant Professor at Wayne State University’s Institute of Gerontology. His research focuses on racial/ethnic and immigrant disparities in health outcomes and healthcare services access, use, and cost. In published work on ethnic and racial disparities he investigated the epidemiology of depression and depression treatment, the prevalence and correlates of cardiovascular risk factors, the trends and correlates of breast and colorectal cancer screening, and the cultural correlates of cognitive and functional health. His work on disparities among immigrant groups provided national estimates of healthcare costs and use, and examined the role of healthcare enabling and need factors in explaining healthcare expenditures and utilization especially pertaining to non-citizen immigrants. More recent work extended these findings to cost and use of “excess-care” (including emergency care and hospitalization) among immigrant groups. Dr. Tarraf received funding from the Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research (MCUAAAR) to examine the role of enhanced primary care in reducing near-elderly and elderly ethnic/racial healthcare disparities in quality, use, and expenditures.
Dr. Tarraf earned a bachelor’s of science degree in finance from the Lebanese American University, and an MBA in finance and PhD in political science from Wayne State University.
More information about his current and published work could be found at:
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Daphne C. Watkins
Dr. Daphne Watkins is an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan School of Social Work. She is an experienced qualitative and quantitative methodologist and has an enriched background designing, implementing, and evaluating health education programs for underserved individuals and communities. Dr. Watkins’ work underscores the signs and symptoms of mental disorders experienced by black men, a discussion that evokes the relevance of studies that examine gender role socialization and masculinities among men of color. The MCUAAAR project is a natural extension of Dr. Watkins’ research, which explores factors leading to depression and depressive symptoms among black men. She has contributed to the conceptual argument for the research trajectory on black male mental health and well-being and her work has revealed men’s desire for more health education so that they can identify problems at earlier stages in their lives. Dr. Watkins has several years of experience with translating qualitative and quantitative research into the development of health communication messages and materials as evidenced by her role on community-based health education and promotion projects.
Dr. Watkins earned a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and a doctorate in health education from Texas A&M University. Prior to joining the University of Michigan School of Social Work, Dr. Watkins completed a National Institute of Mental Health postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute for Social Research, as well as a National Institutes of Health Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health (BIRCWH) career development award at the University of Michigan Medical School.
Project: "Depressive Symptoms among Aging African American Men: A Mixed Methods Study of Social and Cultural Contexts"
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Karen Patricia Williams, PhD
Dr. Williams is an assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics Gynecology & Reproductive Biology in the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University. Her formal training is in the area of applied sociology and health services research. Her area of expertise is in community-based participatory research and women’s health policy. Dr. Williams has designed a breast and cervical cancer prevention intervention -- Kin KeeperSM. It is a female familial model that incorporates a cancer literacy assessment and most recently has been translated into Spanish and Arabic. In addition, she and a colleague authored the Kin KeeperSM Cancer Prevention Intervention Curriculum Guide and Workbook©. This was funded by the Michigan Department of Community Health to cross train the community health workers who in turn implement the model with their public health clients. Dr. Williams and team were funded by Susan G. Komen for the Cure to implement the Kin KeeperSM model in Grand Rapids, Detroit and Dearborn. Recently, she designed an undergraduate seminar, Conducting Community Based Research for Underserved Women, to teach students how to conduct community participatory research.
Dr. Williams has been the recipient of State and National peer-reviewed funding. She has authored peer-reviewed papers, reports and a book chapter that empirically illustrates the intersection of family and community as strong influences on a woman’s preventive health decisions. She serves on the Michigan Cancer Consortium Breast Cancer Committee and was a former co-chair of the Minority Women’s Health Panel of Experts with the United States Public Health Service’s Office on Women’s Health. She is a graduate of Temple University (Philadelphia, PA) and Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI).
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Deleise S. Wilson, PhD
Implementation of patient specific fall interventions: An examination of differences in racial perceptions of fall risks.
Project Abstract: Falls in older in-patients are a major source of injuries, loss of independence and post-traumatic stress. Among older adults who fall up to 30 percent have moderate to severe injuries. In response, fall guidelines are available for use in healthcare settings. Many of these interventions are aimed at overcoming at Universal Fall Precautions (e.g. reducing environmental risks for falls such as patient room and hall free of clutter), and General Fall Prevention Interventions (e.g. demonstrating use of call light; bedside table, call light and other personnel items within reach).  Few have linked patient specific risk factors (e.g. unsteady gait) with risk specific interventions (e.g. walk four times per day, refer to physical therapy for gait training) to reduce falls.[1]  Targeting patients’ fall risk factors is necessary to reduce falls [3] but few fall prevention programs in hospitals have implemented such an approach.[4]  Because falls are complex and multifactorial, the chance of beneficial effects of fall reduction interventions increases when interventions are targeted to patient specific risk factors.[3,5-7]  The complexity of the fall phenomenon necessitates the involvement of patients in prevention strategies. Older hospitalized patients’ perceptions of falls risks have not been studied nor what specific interventions will be helpful to prevent them from falling.  Further, cultural differences in perceptions of fall risks and prevention strategies have not been explored. This preliminary qualitative study seeks to describe racial differences in perceptions of fall risks. Specific aims are to (a) describe older in-patients perceptions of fall risks and prevention strategies and (b) compare older African American and non-African American differences in perceptions of fall risks and fall prevention strategies that target patient specific risk factors. Describing how older adults and more specifically, aging African Americans perceive fall risks and fall prevention strategies can provide guidelines for developing patient specific interventions aimed at reducing falls and the debilitating sequels that follows.
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Fran Yong, PhD
Fran Yong is an Assistant Professor at East Carolina University. She is interested in addressing multiple determinants of health disparities, with a focus on the impacts of social contexts or area-based socioeconomic factors on Black-White disparities. To pursue this aim, her current projects examine (1) multi-level contextual influences on African American health (both depression and chronic physical conditions) and (2) spatial patterns and socio-economic characteristics of caregiving grandparents as a mediating factor in health disparities. For the first project, she uses 3-level hierarchical linear model. This includes two-levels of the census geography and genetically informed individual twin data collected in North Carolina (NIA # AG13662-04, PI: Dr. Keith Whitfield). For the second project, she applies spatial analysis with geographic information systems to primary caregiving grandparents throughout the continental U.S. She earned her doctoral degree in Social Welfare from State University of New York at Albany and her master degree from Ewha Women’s University in South Korea.
Project: Contextual Risk Factors in African American Health: A multilevel analysis
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