Healthy Food Accessibility – Lucia Leone, PhD – University at Buffalo

A lack of supermarkets in lower income areas has prompted governments and non-profits to support opening farmers markets and supermarkets are selling fresh, healthy food in convenience stores.

Dr. Lucia Leone is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community Health and Health Behavior at the University of Buffalo. She is a public health interventionist with training in nutrition, exercise physiology and cancer prevention. Her research involves multi-level interventions designed to increase healthy behaviors including fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity, and cancer screening among vulnerable populations. Current research projects include development and evaluation of a mobile produce market (The Veggie Van) to bring fresh, local, affordable food to lower income and under-served communities. Leone is also examining disparities in physical activity participation between women of normal weight and those who are obese. She works with older women with obesity to develop exercise promotion programs that focus on cancer prevention and general wellness instead of weight-loss. Learn more about Dr. Lucia Leone here.

Discrimination among Drug Users – Natalie Crawford, PhD – Emory University

Because drug use is stigmatized rather than treated as a disease, drug users are isolated from communities. Instead of having easy access to health resources, drug users that experience discrimination become embedded with people that influence more drug use and other negative behaviors.

Dr. Natalie Crawford is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health. Her research examines the social processes that create and perpetuate racial and ethnic disparities in HIV. Her research has examined the intersection of individual level experiences of discrimination, macro-level neighborhood characteristics and social network relationships on high-risk drug and sexual behaviors. Dr. Crawford’s research aims to inform structural interventions and policies that reduce substance use, high-risk drug and sexual behaviors, and ultimately racial and ethnic disparities in HIV. Learn more about Dr. Natalie Crawford here.

Handedness and Learning Disabilities – Howard Kushner, PhD – Emory University

Left handers have been forced to switch to right handedness. Any disability that arises comes from the switching rather than the left handedness itself.

Dr. Howard I. Kushner is the Nat C. Robertson Distinguished Professor of Science & Society Emeritus at Emory University where he held joint appointments as Professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education in the Rollins School of Public Health and in Emory’s Programs Human Health and in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology and in the Graduate Institute of Liberal Arts.  Dr. Kushner has written five books, including On the Other Hand: Left Hand, Right Brain, Mental Illness, and History (Johns Hopkins University Press, to be published in 2017).  Dr. Kushner’s current research focuses on the possible connections between handedness, laterality, and learning disorders.  Learn more about Dr. Howard Kushner here.

Cancer Patient Navigation – Talar Markossian, PhD – Loyola University

Within the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, patient navigation remains extremely important to connecting individuals to care – particularly the low-income and ethnic minorities.

Talar Markossian, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at Loyola University Chicago and a Research Associate at the Edward Hines Veterans Affairs Hospital. Her research focuses primarily on the factors that drive access to care, improve health and patient reported outcomes, and reduce health disparities. She studies cancer navigation and its cost-effectiveness, treatment variations, physicians’ adherence to practice guidelines, the impact of a family-based health intervention and the use of health information technologies to collect patient reported outcomes.  She received her PhD in Health Policy and Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago and has an MPH in Health Services Administration from the American University of Beirut. Learn more about Dr. Talar Markossian here.

Epilepsy Care and Treatment – Jerome Chin, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., FAAN – NYU School of Medicine

I spend three months every year teaching neurology and taking care of patients in developing countries, including Uganda and India. Epilepsy is very common in these countries but most of the people affected are not receiving proper treatment.

Dr. Jerome Chin is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Neurology at NYU School of Medicine. His research focuses on determinants and prevention of stroke in developing countries, neurology of HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis of the central nervous system. Learn more about Dr. Jerome Chin here.



Tobacco Use Among Native Americans – LaDonna BlueEye, PhD, MPH – Indiana University

We designed a culturally relevant approach called the 5 C’s: Collaborate with other organizations, Cultivate cultural competency, Coach providers working with our population, Care for patients using evidence-based practices and Communicate messages through multiple media.

Dr. LaDonna BlueEye is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Applied Sciences at Indiana University School of Public Health. Her research focuses on HIV prevention and program implementation with Two Spirit (LGBT) American Indian population, participatory research methods, participatory learning and action, tobacco use prevention strategies with American Indian communities, community health program implementation, training and evaluation, and health program development in Native American communities. Learn more about Dr. LaDonna BlueEye here.

Metabolic Syndrome – Ghada Soliman, MD, PhD, RD, LMNT – University of Nebraska Medical Center

Metabolic Syndrome is a cluster of risk factors like abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high fasting blood glucose, high triglyceride and low HDL, which increases the risk for chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

Dr. Ghada Soliman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Promotion, Social, and Behavioral Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health. Her research focuses on optimal nutrition as an integral part of global health promotion and disease prevention; and the public health and social burdens of malnutrition. Learn more about Dr. Ghada Soliman here. 

Adolescent Health Literacy – Philip Massey, PhD, MPH – Drexel University

Adolescence is an important time to “learn by doing” and for many, knowledge and skills gained during this time will shape future development and health.

Dr. Philip Massey is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community Health and Prevention at the Drexel Dornsife School of Public Health in Philadelphia, PA. His research draws from principles in public health and health communication and focuses on reducing health disparities and inciting healthful behaviors through a health and media literacy lens, both domestically and globally. He has investigated how communication strategies and social media tools can help develop health literacy skills, as well as examined entertainment education and health and media literacy among adolescent populations in West Africa.Learn more about Dr. Phillip Massey here.

Heart Disease in Women – Melanie Kalman, PhD, RN – SUNY Upstate Medical University

Since 1979, men dying from heart disease has declined by 17%, but in women, only 2.5%.

Dr. Melanie Kalman is Assistant Dean for Research and Scholarship at SUNY Upstate Medical Center. She is also a Professor of College of Nursing at the SUNY Upstate Medical University. Her research focuses on adolescent women, end of life care and cardiovascular disease among women. Learn more about Dr. Melanie Kalman here.

Adolescent Health and Summer Break – Lara Dugas, PhD, MPH – Loyola University

Data suggest that once kids are out of the structured school environment, they gain weight due to increased snacking and decreased physical activity.

Dr. Lara Dugas is an Assistant Professor in the Public Health Science Division at Loyola University Chicago. Dr. Dugas is also one of the founding members of the Loyola University Chicago Sports Medicine Epidemiology research group. Her research interests explore the role of obesity-related behaviors in the development of adolescent obesity during summer vacations. Learn more about Dr. Lara Dugas here.