Institute Faculty and Mentors

Submitted by cherAdmin on Fri, 11/11/2022 - 21:34

CHER Institute Faculty Mentors

Researchers from diverse backgrounds, including racial and ethnic minorities and women, serve as CHER Institute Faculty Mentors. Some of these faculty members come from institutions with significant NIH support and others come from MSIs leading to a range of experiences and barriers in navigating institutional support.

Together, CHER Institute Faculty Mentors have a breadth of research experience in the areas of: health equity, cancer, HIV/AIDS, sexual health within adolescent and ethnic and sexual minority populations, social psychology, applied biostatistics, social work, preventative medicine, innovative data collection strategies, and community-based participatory research methods.

In each case, faculty members were selected based on their scholarly contributions to their respective specialty focus within the broad fields of public health and health equity. Faculty Mentors participate in the various components of the CHER Institute based on availability and need.


CHER Institute Co-Directors


Dr. Laura D'Anna

Laura D'Anna, DrPH, MPA

Director, Center for Health Equity Research, CSULB
Associate Professor, Department of Health Science, CSULB
Director, CHER Institute

Dr. D’Anna is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Science and Director of the Center for Health Equity Research (CHER) at California State University, Long Beach. She holds a Doctorate in Public Health with an emphasis in Community Health Sciences from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Public Health, and a Master of Public Administration degree from CSULB.

She has published in the areas of health equity and disparity, the relationships between social discrimination and health outcomes, and sexual health and substance use among racial and sexual minority populations. She currently serves as principal investigator for two multi-year projects funded by the NIH and the University of California's Tobacco-Related Diseases Research Program, and she oversees the CHER evaluation team involved with community and place-based evaluation initiatives. She is the recipient of the 2020 CSULB Early Academic Career Excellence Award, and the 2018 College of Health and Human Services Community Service Award. 

Prior to coming to CSULB, she served as Vice President of Community Affairs for Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties, Director of Programs and Planning for the Coalition of Orange County Community Clinics, Executive Director of the Laguna Beach Community Clinic, and Manager of Preventive Health Clinical Services for the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services, where she also served as project manager for Project RESPECT. Project RESPECT was a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funded multi-site randomized trial comparing the effect of a theory-driven HIV counseling and testing intervention with the CDC standard intervention and a minimalist intervention.

Dr. Alex Washington

Alex Washington, PhD, MSSW, MA

Professor, School of Social Work, CSULB
Co-Director, Center for Health Equity Research Institute

Dr. Washington is a professor in the School of Social Work, and Faculty Equity Advocate for the College of Health and Human Services, at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB).  Prior to joining CSULB, he was a Faculty Fellow at the Morgan-Johns Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions (Baltimore).  He has provided outpatient therapy to veterans diagnosed with schizophrenia and posttraumatic stress disorder at VA Medical Center (Memphis).  He received his MA in Sociology from The University of Memphis; MSSW from the University of Tennessee (UT) Health Science Center (Memphis), and the PhD from UT, Knoxville.

He has co-developed and published psychometric properties of a scale measuring obstacles and associated stigma to uptake of Truvada for PrEP among men who have sex with men.  He has led and served on projects focused on issues related to gender and sexual minorities, HIV testing among women during prenatal care, breast cancer prevention (Saving Grace), injection drug users, African American and Latinx men who have sex with men.  Dr. Washington was a visiting professor in the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies at UCSF Department of Medicine.  

He was the recipient of the CSULB President’s Award for Outstanding Faculty Achievement, CSULB Distinguished Faculty Scholarly and Creative Achievement Award, NAESM Gerald A. Ludd Lifetime Achievement Award for HIV leadership in the Black community, CSULB Early Academic Career Excellence Award, and the Underrepresented Minority Research Award from the National Institute of Mental Health Research on AIDS Office.  He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and studied dance and vocal performance at Watkins Overton School of the Performing Arts (Memphis).


CHER Institute Faculty Mentors


Dr. Sonya Arreola

Sonya Arreola, PhD, MPH

Director, Arreola Research
Principal Investigator, Global Men’s Health and Rights Study
University of California, San Francisco

Dr. Arreola is a social scientist with expertise in community-based participatory action research, education, and advocacy focused on the health and well-being of sexually and ethnically marginalized groups. For example, she has examined how contextual and sociocultural factors conspire to create unhealthy conditions for Latino gay men; structural factors that impact the sexual health of migrant day laborers; and the social determinants of HIV prevention and care among gay men globally.

She currently serves as Research Director for the Gay Men and Aging Study where she and the research team examine relationships among health, structural racism and discrimination, resources, and biomarkers of health among African American, Asian American, Latinx, and White older gay men. For more information on Dr. Arreola please follow this link.


Dr. Roshan Bastani

Roshan Bastani, PhD

Professor, Health Policy and Management
Director, UCLA Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity
Director, UCLA Center for Prevention Research UCLA Fielding School of Public Health
Director, Disparities and Community Engagement
Co- Director, Cancer Prevention and Control Research Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, UCLA

Dr. Bastani is a social and health psychologist who has been conducting health disparities intervention research for over three decades, with a focus on implementing rigorous yet pragmatic individual, community, and system-directed intervention trials to improve health outcomes and reduce disparities. She has led a large number of studies targeting low income, ethnic minority and immigrant populations, and has had continuous research funding from the National Institutes of Health since 1988. Her research is conceptually grounded and includes strong and equitable community partnerships. Her methodological expertise includes quantitative methods; survey research; research design; comparative effectiveness trials; implementation research and program evaluation.

Dr. Bastani’s research includes studies on breast, cervix, colorectal and prostate cancer screening and diagnostic follow-up; hepatitis B screening; tobacco control; melanoma prevention; obesity control; liver disease; and HPV vaccine uptake. This work includes examination of the drivers of disparities among underserved groups, implementation of pragmatic intervention trials to mitigate observed disparities, methodological studies, as well as studies to advance theory in the field. Examples of her current research include two system-focused implementation trials to increase HPV vaccine uptake among low income, ethnic minority adolescents in safety-net clinical settings (NCI R01; PCORI pragmatic trial); a cluster-randomized obesity prevention intervention trial set in preschools located in underserved neighborhoods (NICHD R01); and an implementation trial of a multilevel, system intervention to improve CRC screening in a large FQHC (TRDRP); and an observational study to identify gaps in clinical care processes contributing to low rates of diagnostic follow-up of abnormal findings on Fecal Immunochemical Testing (NCI R03).

 In addition to conducting her own research, Dr. Bastani devotes considerable effort to mentoring junior investigators, particularly minority individuals and those interested in research among underserved populations. For over 15 years, she led a National Cancer Institute post-doctoral career development program with a heavy focus on transdisciplinary cancer control training and disparities research. Full bio at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.


Dr. Niloofar Bavarian

Niloo Bavarian, PhD

Associate Professor Department of Health Science
CHER Institute Fellow Alumna
California State University, Long Beach

Niloofar Bavarian, Ph.D., M.P.H., is an Associate Professor and Associate Chair in the Department of Health Science at California State University, Long Beach. Dr. Bavarian is a prevention scientist, and her areas of interest include substance use prevention, social-emotional and character development, and health behavior theory.

She served as PI of an NIH/NIDA R15 (2018-2022), and she recently received a new NIH/NIDA R34 grant (2023-2026) to engage college health providers in the refining and piloting of a screening and brief intervention curriculum to address prescription stimulant misuse and prescription stimulant diversion. For more information on Dr. Bavarian please follow this link.


Dr. Ricky Bluthenthal

Ricky N. Bluthenthal, PhD

Associate Dean for Social Justice & Professor
Department of Preventive Medicine
Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California

Since 1991, he has conducted community-partnered research on risk behaviors and health promotion among people who inject drugs (PWID), men who have sex with men, and other disadvantaged populations.  His current studies include an observational cohort study on the substitution of cannabis for opioids among people who inject drugs, and qualitative, life histories of opioid use among substance using men who have sex with men.  Dr. Bluthenthal has published over 160 manuscripts in peer-reviewed scientific journals including the American Journal of Public Health, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, and Social Science and Medicine among others.

He is on the editorial board of the International Journal of Drug Policy and Drug and Alcohol Dependence and an Associate Editor, Addiction Section for Annals of Medicine. Dr. Bluthenthal has led studies funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation among others.  He has served as a standing member on three NIH study sections (Community Influences on Health Behavior [CIHB], Health Disparities and Equity Promotion [HDEP], and Behavioral and Social Science Approaches to Preventing HIV/AIDS [BSPH]) and served as chair of HDEP for 3 years.  He has also been a regular member of the human subjects protection committees at the RAND Corporation and at the Keck School of Medicine at USC. 

He has recently received the Senior Scholar Award from the Drugs and Society Section of the American Sociological Association (2020) and the Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Public Interest Award from the Society of Addiction Psychology (Division 50) of the American Psychological Association (2018).  As a graduate student, Dr. Bluthenthal co-founded the syringe exchange program in Oakland, California and was a founding board member of the National Harm Reduction Coalition (the largest drug user focused training and advocacy organization in the US).  Dr. Bluthenthal received his BA in History and Sociology from the University of California Santa Cruz, and his MA and PhD in Sociology from the University of California Berkeley. You may review his publications by following this link.  


Dr. Ronald Braithwaite

Ronald L. Braithwaite, Ph.D.

Professor Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Emeritus
Morehouse School of Medicine

Ronald Braithwaite is a seasoned prevention scientist with over 40 years, experience in higher education as an academic researcher and teacher. After serving on the faculty of the Rollins School of Public Health of Emory University for 14 years and more recently 20 years on the faculty at Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM), he currently serves as professor emeritus from the Departments of Community Health and Preventive Medicine, Family Medicine and Psychiatry, at MSM.  He has done post-doctoral work at Yale University, the University of Michigan and Howard University. He has held visiting professorships at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados and the School of Medicine at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.  He also serves as president and senior research scientist with Evaluation and Research Associates, Inc (ERA). (a minority owned professional services consulting firm).  He is an educational psychologist by training and received his Ph.D. in 1974 from Michigan State University. 

His research has focused on HIV, substance abuse prevention, mental health and a wide range of health disparities and social determinants of health issues.  He has done research in correctional health care and community engagement.  He is widely published and has over 170 scientific manuscripts in health and behavioral science journals.  He has authored or co-authored 8 books, including three editions of Health Issues in the Black Community; Health Issues among Incarcerated Women; Prisons and AIDS: A Public Health Challenge; The Morehouse Model: How One School of Medicine Revolutionized Community Engagement and Health Equity.  Dr Braithwaite has a long history of intramural grant funding from National Institutes of Health, the Department of Health, and Human Services, SAMSHA, CSAT, CSAP, HRSA, NCI, CDC, and several foundations including the Kaiser Family Foundations, the Kellogg Foundation, the Georgia Health Care Foundation, and the Association for Schools of Public Health. 

Dr. Braithwaite has mentored hundreds of junior faculty, graduate and undergraduate students and has provided leadership for prevention research programs, domestically and internationally, with emphasis on African countries.   He has served on numerous editorial boards, and as a study section reviewer for NIH.  He also has a long history of working with community-based organization and is currently the board Vice Chair for the Shaquille O’Neal Boys and Girls Club of Henry County, Georgia. Dr Braithwaite, through his work with ERA, Inc, serves as a third-party evaluator for projects at Recovery Consultants of Atlanta.     


Dr. Dorothy Browne

Dorothy C. Browne, DrPH, MPH, MSW

Dr.Browne is a Senior Research Scientist at Shaw University in Raleigh, NC, where she is involved in research on health disparities. She began her academic research career as an Assistant Professor at the Gillings School of Global Health at the University of North Carolina, where she gained tenure and researched drug use and violence prevention and other high-risk behaviors of African American Youth and. health outcomes in minority communities. 

In addition to her affiliation with the Gillings School of Global Public Health, Dr. Browne has held research and administrative positions at four HBCUs, including Morgan State (PI/ Director of the Prevention Sciences Research Center, Associate Dean for Research for the Public Health Program and Co-Director of Morgan-Johns Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions); Norfolk State University  (Dean, School of Social Work);  N C A& T (Professor in the Department of Sociology and Director of Public Health Institute) and Jackson State University ( Inaugural Dean of the newly created Jackson State School of Public Health, the only accredited school of public health at a Historically Black University).

As a Senior Research Scientist at Shaw University and an Adjunct Professor at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at Chapel Hill, NC., Dr. Browne is collaborating with colleagues from the HBCU Health Equity Data Consortium (seven HBCUs)  and with four PWIs in North Carolina in an examination of the impact of COVID-19 and other health disparities on marginalized communities in seven regions in North Carolina. You may review Dr. Browne’s profile by following the link here. 


Dr. Bradley Conner

Bradley T. Conner, PhD

Licensed Psychologist, Colorado PSY.0003880 
Director, Addiction Counseling Program 
Preferred Pronouns: He, Him, His 
The Department of Psychology, Colorado State University  

Dr. Conner is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Colorado State University (CSU). He received his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with a minor in Quantitative Psychology and a specialization in Genetics and Genomics from UCLA in 2006. He is also a Licensed Psychologist in the State of Colorado and serves on the board of the Colorado Association of Addiction Professionals. 

Dr. Conner’s research focuses on studying the genetic and personality etiological factors in the development and continuing engagement in health risk behaviors, such as substance misuse, risky sexual behavior, criminal behavior, self-injury and suicide. He has also begun researching the interplay of these factors and gender identity, in the development of engagement in health risk behaviors. His long-term goals are to develop effective prevention and intervention strategies to offset the negative consequences of engagement in health risk behaviors. He also uses his advanced quantitative training to enhance his and other’s abilities to apply advanced statistical modeling to answer important research questions. 

He has published more than 90 peer-reviewed publications. He has led studies funded by the National Institutes of Health/the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Mental Health, the National Science Foundation, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the Institute for Cannabis Research. He has developed and is the director of the Addiction Counseling Programs at Colorado State University. He has served on multiple study sections for federal and state funding opportunities. Dr. Conner's Publications may be viewed by following this link. 


Dr. Dennis Fortenberry

J. Dennis Fortenberry, MD, MS

Indiana University School of Medicine
Professor of Pediatrics, Section of Adolescent Medicine 
Division Chief, Adolescent Medicine / Adjunct Professor, School of Public Health
Professor of Medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine 

Dr. Fortenberry is Professor of Pediatrics and a member of the Division of Adolescent Medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine. He also holds an adjunct appointment in Epidemiology in the Fairbanks School of Public Health, and is a member of the Center for Sexual Promotion at Indian University. He is a member of the World Professional association for Transgender Health, the Society for Adolescent Health & Medicine, the International Academy for Sex Research, the American STD Association, and the Society for Scientific Study of Sex. 

He is past president of the International Academy for Sex Research, past president of the American STD Association, a fellow of the Society for Scientific Study of Sex, and past chair of the Board of Directors of the American Sexual Health Association. Clinically, he is the founder of the Gender Health Program at Riley Hospital for Children. His research program has four major elements: adolescent health, sexuality and sexual health, sexually transmitted infections, and HIV prevention and treatment for adolescents. Dr. Fortenberry has received federal research support continuously since 1987, and has published more than 390 commentaries, book chapters, and peer-reviewed papers. Dr. Fortenberry's Full Bio can be found at the Indiana University School of Medicine via the link here. 


Dr. Naomi Hall-Byers

Naomi Hall-Byers, Ph.D. MPH

Professor of Psychology, Psychological Sciences
Winston-Salem State University

Dr. Hall-Byers is an applied social psychologist, with an advanced degree in public health. Her overarching program of research focuses on psychosocial, sociocultural, and contextual factors associated with health disparities and inequities among youth and young adults (YEAs) of African descent. Most recently her work has focused on sexual decision-making and sexual behavior (particularly HIV-related risk behaviors) among African American YEAs with a focus on cultural influences and prevention. Her methodological expertise lies in utilizing quantitative and qualitative methods, often employing mixed methods, to identify potential key mechanisms and pathways of intervention to promote optimal sexual health, STI/HIV prevention, and risk reduction among YEAs.

Her academic and professional background is quite diverse, and includes over 15 years of experience providing health education, program planning and development, organizational management, and evaluation training and consulting to non-profits, government agencies, and academic institutions. Dr. Hall-Byers is a visiting professor at the University of California, San Francisco Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, and a Fellow of the American Evaluation Association. She is an alumna of the NIMH/APA Minority Mentoring Program (HIV/AIDS Research Fellow), and the APA Cyber Mentors program. She is currently the Board Chair for LEAD Girls of NC, Inc., a grassroots organization focused on empowering at-risk pre-teen girls in the Piedmont Triad area. For more information follow the link here, and another link here for info on Dr. Hall-Byers at the National Science Foundation. 


Dr. Nina Harawa

Nina T. Harawa, PhD, MPH

Professor, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles
Professor, Charles R. Drew University of
Medicine and Science

Dr. Nina Harawa is a Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology the Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA. She also has a faculty appointment at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science where she serves as Associate Director of Research for the university’s Center for AIDS Research, Education and Services (Drew CARES). Trained in epidemiology, Dr. Harawa’s research involves developing and testing holistic interventions for encouraging prevention, care, and treatment for HIV, STIs, and substance use disorders and leading efforts to examine the impact of various policies on racial/ethnic health disparities. She also directs the Policy Impact Core of the NIMH-funded UCLA Center for HIV Identification Prevention and Treatment Services (CHIPTS), which examines how proposed and enacted policies may support or hinder efforts to end the HIV epidemic in the United States and abroad. Because of her commitment to health equity, Dr. Harawa started REACH UCLA Health, a faculty group dedicated to increasing access to the UCLA Health system for people of color and those with publicly-funded health coverage.

Dr. Harawa has conducted innovative research with a variety of minoritized populations – including sexual minority men of color, Black and Latina cis-gender women, transgender women of all backgrounds, and sexual and gender minorities who have experienced incarceration.  Much of this work has involved partnering with local governmental and community organizations. She currently co-leads two multi-site NIH-funded studies. One ureses modeling examine the potential impacts of incarceration and related interventions and policies on HIV in Black men who have sex with men through agent-based modelling. The second is testing an intervention to help HIV-positive young people leaving incarceration to link to and be retained in HIV medical care. In addition, she leads a California HIV/AIDS Research Program (CHRP)-funded study to test the effectiveness of a peer-supported, incentive- and mobile app-based intervention to encourage PrEP uptake and ongoing HIV/STI screening for people who experienced recent incarceration. For more information see Dr. Harawa please follow the link here.


Dr. Kevin Malotte

C. Kevin Malotte, Dr.PH

Professor Emeritus
California State University Long Beach

Dr. C. Kevin Malotte was the Archstone Endowed Chair and Director of the Center for Health Care Innovation. He has over 30 years of experience designing and evaluating health behavior change interventions in clinical, community, and school settings, and has co-authored over 50 peer-reviewed publications. His research interests are STD and HIV/AIDS prevention. Dr. Malotte holds a BA in psychology from Chapman College, a MA in Social Psychology from Claremont Graduate School, and a MPH and DrPH from the UCLA School of Public Health.

Dr. Malotte was also the first director of the Center for Health Equity Research. In 2013, Dr. Malotte was nominated for the Charles C. Shepard Science Award. Since 1985, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) have presented the Charles C. Shepard Science Award to authors of the most outstanding peer-reviewed research papers published by CDC/ATSDR scientists during the preceding year. The award recognizes scientific achievement at CDC/ATSDR and honors the memory of Dr. Charles C. Shepard, whose career was marked by the pursuit of scientific excellence.

The paper on which Dr. Malotte was a co-author is entitled, “Antiretroviral Preexposure Prophylaxis for Heterosexual HIV Transmission in Botswana.” It appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine in July, 2012. Tanja Popovic, Deputy Associate Director for Science at the CDC, noted that “Nomination for the Shepard Award is, in itself, an honor and nominated scientists will be recognized for their special contribution to the mission of CDC/ATSDR and to public health.” Dr. Malotte previously received the award in 1999.

To learn more about Dr. Malotte's research, please follow the link here. 


Dr. Robin Miller

Robin Miller, Ph.D.

Professor, Psychology
Director, Doctoral Program in Ecological-community Psychology
Michigan State University

Dr. Miller's research program focuses on effective community-based HIV prevention services and access to HIV care. Her work emphasizes the needs and experiences of adolescent and young adult Black sexual minority males in the United States, Africa, and the Caribbean. Dr. Miller is interested in identifying structural and community-level HIV prevention programs that are effective in reducing HIV-related risk behavior among high-risk young sexual minority men and in facilitating their timely access to affirming sexual health care and HIV treatment.

She is particularly interested in how racial and homophobic structural stigma processes restrict young gay and bisexual males' access to HIV-related services and identifying interventions to reduce structural stigma. Her work also focuses on the contextual conditions in AIDS-related community-based organizational environments that contribute to sustainable HIV prevention, HIV testing, and linkage-to-care activities. Dr. Miller's work on community-based and civil society organizations draws heavily from program evaluation and implementation science perspectives.

Her research is grounded in the idea that a program and its environmental host combine to make a causal package; one cannot understand what makes a program effective and consider where and for whom else it might be effective without treating the program's context as part of the program. In addition, she is a scholar of evaluation theory and practice, with particular interests in the relationship between evaluation theory and practice and the history of contemporary evaluation theory. For more information on Dr. Miller's publications, follow the link here. 


Dr. Matt Mutchler

Matt Mutchler, PhD

Professor of Health Science & Director of Urban Community Research Center
California State University, Dominguez Hills

Dr. Mutchler joined the California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH), Department of Sociology in 2005, teaching courses in medical sociology, social psychology, social agencies, and research methods. He recently joined the department of Health Sciences at CSUDH. As Director of the Urban Community Research Center at CSUDH, he has collaborated on research projects with more than 100 CSUDH student researchers and many inter-disciplinary faculty to explore important community issues using community-based participatory research methods. Many of the studies are collaborative activities with community-based agencies, such as APLA Health. He has also mentored more than 140 students, many of whom have gone on to doctoral programs. In the last 25 years, Dr. Mutchler has published many peer review publications and has delivered numerous peer review presentations at local, state, national, and international conferences with student co-authors.

Dr. Mutchler has been awarded and served as the Principal Investigator on more than 18 externally funded research projects and Co-PI on many more, including current NIH RO1-funded studies on HIV treatment education in African American communities, and a R34-funded study on PrEP uptake with young Black gay men and their friends. Dr. Mutchler's research interests include HIV and health disparities with a focus on HIV prevention and treatment issues among Black gay and bisexual men, community studies, sexualities, social psychology, and health research methods.  He has served as a faculty mentor for the CHER program and looks forward to continuing work with the institute. For more information on Dr. Mutchler Please follow the link here. 


Dr. Daniel Sarpong

Daniel Sarpong, Ph.D.

Professor of Biostatistics, College of Pharmacy
Director, Louisiana Clinical and Translational Science Center Community Engagement and Outreach Resource Core
Director, XAVIER RCMI Cancer Center Community Engagement Core
Xavier University of Louisiana

Dr. Daniel F. Sarpong, trained biostatistician, is a Senior Research Scientist in the Department of General Internal Medicine and Executive Director of the Office of Health Equity Research (OHER). Dr. Sarpong’s research focuses on translational research exploring innovative approaches to mitigating biological and social determinants of health disparities in primarily chronic diseases. Before joining Yale University in the School of Medicine, He was a Tenured Professor of Biostatistics, Endowed Chair of Health Disparities, and Director of the Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities (CMHDRE) at the Xavier University of Louisiana.

Additionally, he served as the Director of the Community Engagement Cores of Xavier RCMI Cancer Center and the Louisiana Clinical and Translational Science (LA CaTS) Center. During 2000 and 2010, he was Director and Co-Principal Investigator of the Jackson Heart Study Coordinating Center (JHSCC), Director of Data Management, Quality Assurance, and Information Technology, and Senior Biostatistician of the JHSCC at Jackson State University. For more information on Dr. Sarpong please follow this link. 


Dr. Fernando Wagner

Fernando Wagner, ScD, MPH

Professor, School of Social Work 
University of Maryland, Baltimore 

Dr. Fernando A. Wagner is a professor at the University of Maryland, School of Social Work. He is interested in the development of methods, knowledge, and community-based participatory interventions promoting wellness and public mental health, and has led research in the U.S. and Mexico for over 35 years. Dr. Wagner not only earned his Master of Public Health and Doctor of Science degrees from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, but he also completed a year of postdoctoral training in psychiatric epidemiology. 

He has received prominent awards, such as the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship (1992-93), the Morton Kramer Award (Johns Hopkins University, 1998), the World Health Organization/College on Problems of Drug Dependence/National Institute on Drug Abuse (WHO/CPDD/NIDA) International Award (2002); and the Faculty of the Year (2007), Investigator of the Year (2008), and the Golden Apple Award (2010) during his tenure at Morgan State University from 2002-2017. 

Additionally, he was inducted to the National Public Health Honor Society (2007) and has authored articles published in prestigious scientific journals, such as the American Journal of Public Health, Neuropsychopharmacology, the American Journal of Epidemiology, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Addictions, and Preventive Medicine. 

To learn more about Dr. Wagner as well as see his introductory video, please follow the link here:


Dr. Yan Wang

Yan Wang, MD, DrPH

Associate Professor, Department of Prevention and Community Health 
Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University

Dr. Wang received her DrPH degree from Morgan State University in 2007. Her research focuses on integrating epidemiology and prevention interventions related to health risk behaviors and the applications of advanced statistical methods to public health research.

One aspect of her research is to assess personal and socio-environmental factors of risky health behaviors and problems, e.g. substance use, obesity, risky sexual behaviors, mental health disorders, firearm violence and HIV infection; also the application of advanced statistical methods, e.g. multilevel modeling, GEE modeling, survival analyses, survey data analysis, ecological momentary analysis, and structural equation modeling.

Dr. Wang has published over 100 peer-reviewed publications. She has been a PI for 5 National Institutes of Health (NIH) supported grants. She has also participated in over 35 other research projects, including currently being a site PI for 3 NIH funded R01/U series projects, a co-I for 6 other NIH funded projects (R01/U) and a project funded by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

For more information about Dr. Wang, please follow the link here.