Overview: In February 2015, AcademyHealth announced the nine individuals selected for the AcademyHealth/Aetna Foundation Scholars in Residence Fellowship Program. Over the past six months, the fellows, with support from AcademyHealth, have attended meetings and seminars; participated in mentoring and networking activities; and engaged in opportunities to present their findings on population health-focused disparities research.  

In this two-part webinar series, the program’s nine Fellows presented their preliminary research findings on population health-focused disparities research. The series provided information on disparities research pertaining to topics related to cardiovascular disease, mental health services research, depression, obesity, cancer, health behavior, pregnancy and birth outcomes, and more. Sample project titles include:

  • “A Text Messaging Intervention to Improve Depression Treatment Adherence: Assessing Feasibility, Acceptability, and Self-Reported Effectiveness in a Low-Income, Minority Population” (Dr. Andrew Cislo)
  • “Implementation of an Evidence Based HIV Intervention for African American Women in Church Settings” (Dr. Jennifer Stewart)
  • “Engaging Youth, Peers, and the Faith-Based Community to Improve Adolescent Healthy Habits” (Dr. Tiffany Williams)

Learning Objectives: 

 At the conclusion of this series, participants were able to:

  • Obtain an introduction to the AcademyHealth/Aetna Foundation Scholars in Residence Fellowship Program;
  • Understand the methods and preliminary research findings of the work that is being conducted by each of the featured Fellows; 
  • Learn about current research aimed at understanding and addressing disparities in health and health care; and
  • Develop an understanding of why the retention of *underrepresented racial/ethnic health services researchers and population health-focused disparities research is important to the field of health services research.

*AcademyHealth defines underrepresented racial/ethnic minorities in the field of HSR as the following groups: Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian/Alaska Native, Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders. This definition is supported by findings of a recent study by Johnson and Holve.

Course Level: 101 (Introductory)

Date: September 24, 2015

Faculty: Margo Edmunds, Ph.D., AcademyHealth (Moderator); Dustin Duncan, Sc.D., New York University School of Medicine; Rodney Haring, Ph.D., LMSW, Roswell Park Cancer Institute; Kimberly Kay Lopez, Dr.P.H., M.P.H., Baylor College of Medicine; Jennifer Stewart, Ph.D., RN, Johns Hopkins University, School of Nursing; and Reginald Tucker Seeley, Sc.D., Sc.M., M.A., Harvard School of Public Health


Faculty Bios:

Margo Edmunds Headshot Margo Edmunds, Ph.D., is vice president of Evidence Generation and Translation, at AcademyHealth, where she leads the portfolios on delivery system transformation, translating research into policy and practice, population health, and informatics.  She began her health care career as a member of the affiliate staff at Johns Hopkins Hospital and completed a Research and Clinical Fellowship at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, as well as a post-doctoral fellowship at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she later served as an Adjunct Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management.  She has directed three Institute of Medicine studies on health care coverage, access, and has more than twenty years of experience implementing and evaluating health and health care policy initiatives.  Dr. Edmunds is an elected member of the National Academy of Social Insurance and a Fellow and former Board member of the Society of Behavioral Medicine.  She currently chairs the Public Policy Committee for the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA), for which she received an AMIA leadership award in 2013, and is an Associate Editor for Applied Clinical Informatics.  In addition to five reports published by the National Academies Press, her publications include a chapter on Government and Policy for the 2nd edition of the Public Health Informatics text, editorial commentary in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA), and a book in progress on consumer informatics for Springer.
Jameta Barlow Jameta Barlow, Ph.D., M.P.H., is a community health psychologist and focuses her work on applying Black feminist critique and womanist approaches towards social science and public health research. She has spent the last 13 years in transdisciplinary collaborations with physicians, public health practitioners, researchers, policy administrators, activists, political appointees, and community members in diverse settings. Consequently, these collaborative relationships produced several publications, projects, oral presentations and posters; management of a 10-site clinical research project; and successful implementation of federal initiatives and health education and communication campaigns that have resulted in two Department of Health and Human Services awards. As an assistant professor of women and health, her research interests include understanding the production of health inequalities by race, class, gender and geography. Specifically, Dr. Barlow is interested in the psychosocial and environmental stressors contributing to health inequities among African American women, such as heart disease, obesity and depression. She has used her AcademyHealth/Aetna Foundation Scholar-In-Residence Fellowship to develop a project investigating depression among African American women. Learn more about Dr. Barlow.  
Andrew Cislo Andrew M. Cislo, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine and Center for Public Health and Health Policy at the University of Connecticut Health Center (UCONN Health). His research focuses on inequities in health and health care from a population health perspective. His work seeks to improve the health of vulnerable populations including racial and ethnic minorities, people with low socioeconomic status, people with serious mental illnesses, and those involved in the criminal justice system. His current work includes an investigation into the timing and causes of mortality among former prisoners in Connecticut, a mHealth intervention designed to improve treatment adherence and therapeutic alliance for adults in treatment for depression, and an evaluation of a group psychotherapy program for inmates with psychiatric and behavioral disorders.
Dustin Duncan Dustin T. Duncan, Sc.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Population Health at the New York University (NYU) School of Medicine, where he directs the Spatial Epidemiology Lab. He is a faculty affiliate at NYU’s College of Global Public Health, NYU’s Population Center, NYU’s Center for Data Science, NYU’s Center for Health, Identity, Behavior, and Prevention Studies, NYU’s Center for Drug Use and HIV Research, and NYU’s Broome Street Residential College. Dr. Duncan is a social and spatial epidemiologist, studying how specific neighborhood characteristics influence population health and health disparities. His research has a strong domestic (U.S.) focus, but recent work is beginning to span across the globe. Methodologically, his research utilizes a geospatial lens to apply spatially explicit approaches such as computer-based geographic information systems, web-based geospatial technologies, real-time geospatial technologies, and geospatial modeling techniques. For instance, his work applies emerging geospatial technologies such as GPS devices and smartphones in part to examine social networks in neighborhoods. Dr. Duncan’s research appears in leading public health, medical, geography, criminology, and demography journals. He has over 40 publications and book chapters. Dr. Duncan’s recent work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Verizon Foundation, and Aetna Foundation. He is an associate editor of Behavioral Medicine and is on the editorial board of Spatial Demography. Dr. Duncan completed both his doctorate and the Alonzo Smythe Yerby Postdoctoral Fellowship, in social epidemiology, at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Rodney Haring Rodney Haring, Ph.D., LMSW, is research faculty at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in the Office of Cancer Health Disparities Research, Cancer Prevention, and Population Sciences. Dr. Haring is also adjunct faculty at the Native American Research and Training Center, University of Arizona. He is a National Congress of American Indians Scholar, past fellow of the Spirit of EAGLES Program at the Mayo Clinic, and a former Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Connections Grantee.  He holds a doctoral degree in social work and is the co-chair of the Native Research Network. He also sits on the Department of Health and Human Services, American Indian and Alaska Native Health Research Advisory Council. Dr. Haring (Beaver Clan) is an enrolled member of the Seneca Nation of Indians and resides on the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation with his family.
Kimberly Kay Lopez Kimberly Kay Lopez, Dr. P.H., M.P.H., an assistant professor of pediatrics-retrovirology and global health at Baylor College of Medicine, has more than 20 years of experience engaging communities and vulnerable populations to identify health concerns and build solutions from within the community. As director of Connect to Protect, a National Institutes of Health and Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development funded initiative to impact HIV transmission among youth, Dr. Lopez partners with community to develop and implement structural changes =for HIV prevention. Her current research interests center on community resiliency and the traumatic effects of poverty.  Dr. Lopez has particular expertise in sexual health epidemiology, visual anthropology, and community-based participatory research. After completing her bachelor's degree in anthropology from the University of Houston, she earned her Master of Public Health (Community Health Practice) and Doctor of Public Health (Management, Policy and Community Health) degrees from The University of Texas School of Public Health-Houston (UTSPH). Dr. Lopez is a 2015 AcademyHealth/Aetna Foundation Scholar in Residence and also serves as adjunct faculty at UTSPH.
Dara Mendez Dara D. Mendez, Ph.D., M.P.H., is an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Dara Mendez, Ph.D., M.P.H., is an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology at University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.  She has over 12 years of research experience in the areas of health disparities, epidemiology, maternal and child health, and social determinants of health. She earned her M.P.H. and Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in mater