Youth and Community Wellness – Jane Chung-Do, DrPH – University of Hawai’i


Although Hawai’i is one of the healthiest states in the U.S., native Hawaiians face high levels of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, as well as depression and anxiety.

Dr. Jane Chung-Do is an Assistant Professor of Public Health Studies at the University of Hawai’i. Her research focuses on health disparities, specifically on enhancing youth and family wellness in rural and minority communities across the State of Hawai’i. She is especially interested in promoting community-university partnerships to strengthen community-based participatory research and culturally-based programming. Learn more about Dr. Chung-Do here. 

WEA Messages – Deborah Glik, ScD – University of California, Los Angeles


Effective alerts and warnings before enduring a disaster saves lives with emergency response agencies now sending short SMS texts with risk communication messages often with a warning tone.

Dr. Deborah Glik is a Professor of the Department of Community Health Sciences in the School of Public Health at UCLA. Her research focuses on health communication research including implementation and evaluation of an FAS prevention campaign, pretesting and scripting of bioterrorism preparedness messages, risk communication for environmental hazards, entertainment media advocacy in areas of childhood disease prevention, injury prevention, smoking, and disaster preparedness, and the development of multimedia health curricula for children, patients, and providers. She is currently involved in funded research and practice projects in both domestic and global contexts. Learn more about Dr. Glik here.

Social and Environmental Factors Influence on Substance Use – Gregory Homish, PhD – SUNY Buffalo


Health outcomes can be positively or negatively impacted by not only our own behaviors but of those around us.

Dr. Gregory Homish is an Associate Professor and Associate Chair of Community Health and Health Behavior at The State University of New York at Buffalo. His research focuses on substance use and misuse and social network influences on changes in substance use. Dr. Homish also holds appointments at UB’s Research Institute on Addictions as well as the departments of Family Medicine and Pediatrics. He is a consulting editor for Psychology of Addictive Behaviors and serves as a reviewer for numerous journals and textbooks. Learn more about Dr. Gregory Homish here.

Robotic Therapy – Grace Kim, PhD – New York University


We recently completed clinic based feasibility study for a hand robot that allows patients to practice opening and closing their affected hand while playing video games.

Dr. Grace Kim is an Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy at NYU Steinhardt. She has worked primarily with adults with physical disabilities and gained expertise in neurorehabilitation. Dr. Kim developed an interest in the integration of technology for recovery after stroke while working as a clinical researcher in the Rehabilitation Medicine Department at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center. She has extensive experience working with individuals with stroke and rehabilitation robotics devices of the upper limb. Currently, she is interested in understanding optimal ways to utilize everyday technologies to facilitate self-directed rehabilitation and activity of individuals with stroke within the home or community environment. Learn more about Dr. Grace Kim here.

Suicide – Erin Ward-Ciesielski, PhD – Hofstra University


More than half of people who die by suicide have not been in recent contact with mental health services.

Dr. Erin Ward-Ciesielski is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Hofstra University. Her research focuses on understanding suicide and suicidal behaviors. Specifically, she is interested in the development and evaluation of interventions for suicidal individuals. Additionally, she has studied individuals who lose loved ones to suicide. Dr. Ward-Ciesielski was awarded a National Research Service Award (F31) to support her dissertation, along with being selected for research awards from the American Association of Suicidology, the American Psychological Association, and the American Psychological Foundation/Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology/Friedman-Klarreigh Family foundation. Learn more about Dr. Erin Ward-Ciesielski here.

Obesity – Akilah Dulin Keita, PhD – Brown University


More than 1.9 billion adults worldwide were overweight or obese, as for 41 million children under the age of five.

Dr. Akilah Dulin Keita is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences in the Brown University School of Public Health. Her research focuses on identifying neighborhood contexts of diet, physical activity, and obesity-related comorbidities. She is currently piloting a dietary intervention that improves food environment, provides family-based nutrition education, and coupons to purchase healthy foods. Learn more about Dr. Dulin here.

Tourism in Cuba – Ricardo Perez, PhD – Eastern Connecticut State University


Jardines del Rey constitutes an impressive ecosystem with mangrove forests, sandy beaches and coral reefs, which can be threatened without careful implementation of tourism development plans.

Dr. Ricardo Perez is a Professor of Anthropology at Eastern Connecticut State University. His research interest include cultural, economic, and urban anthropology; sustainable development; globalization and Caribbean transnational migration. Dr. Perez’s current research focuses on state-driven development processes in the context of economic and cultural globalization and examines the economic, cultural and environmental aspects of tourism development in Cuba since the early 1990s. He has conducted fieldwork in Puerto Rico, Cuba and the United States. In 2005, Dr. Perez initiated a research project in the “emerging tourist area” of Jardines del Rey, where some of the most important tourism development projects are currently under way. Learn more about Dr. Perez here.

Tobacco Use Among Youth – Brian King, PhD, MPH – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


We know that 9 out of 10 adult tobacco users first begin before the age of 18; therefore interventions to address youth tobacco use can help prevent an entire generation of tobacco addicted adults.

Dr. Brian King is the Deputy Director for Research Translation in the Office on Smoking and Health within the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. King joined the CDC in 2010 as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer, prior, he worked as a Research Affiliate in the Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. During his time at Roswell Park, his primary research focus related to tobacco prevention and control.Dr. King has worked for 10 years to provide sound scientific evidence to inform tobacco control policy and to effectively communicate this information to key stakeholders, including decision makers, the media, and the general public. He has authored or co-authored over 60 peer-reviewed scientific articles pertaining to tobacco prevention and control. Learn more about Dr. Brian King here.

Vector-Borne Diseases – Heidi Brown, PhD, MPH – University of Arizona


We find mosquito abundance estimates vary by location. In Arizona future estimates indicate mosquito season starting earlier and lasting longer.

Dr. Heidi Brown is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Arizona, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Her research focuses on the epidemiology and control of vector-borne and zoonotic diseases. Dr. Brown’s goal is to identify human disease risk by modeling vector, host and pathogen distributions. The complex nature of the systems she works on diseases requires her to blend field collecting, ecological assessment, laboratory experiments, epidemiological analysis, spatial statistics, remote sensing, geographic information systems, and computer-based modeling in order to develop a more comprehensive view of disease dynamics. Current research areas include: West Nile virus, dengue, canine heartworm, valley fever, spatial epidemiology, and climate change. Learn more about Dr. Heidi Brown here.

Female Athlete Triad – Jennifer Carlson, MD – Stanford University


The female athlete triad is comprised of three connected issues: negative energy status, menstrual irregularities, and low bone mineral density.

Dr. Jennifer Carlson is a Clinical Associate Professor at Stanford University, Stanford School of Medicine. Her research focuses on the female athlete triad, adolescents and eating disorders, athletes and supplemental use, and the effects of sports involvement on adolescent self-esteem. Her clinical focus is on adolescent medicine. She is currently involved with the Yael’s Running Club, Mountain View, which is an after school running club for middle school girls Learn more about Dr. Carlson here.