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Fellows Class of 2014

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David Wyatt Seal, PhD

Dr. Seal is a Professor, Vice-Chair, and Director of Doctoral Programs in the Department of Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. He has extensive experience and expertise with the conduct of social behavioral formative and intervention research within a multicultural community-based participatory framework. Seal has nationally-recognized expertise in qualitative methods and has conducted national and international trainings in qualitative methods, applied field research ethics, and cultural competency. He also has a strong documented history of conducting research in partnership with community-based organizations, community stakeholders, and community members. Seal is further experienced with the conduct of formative studies with racial and ethnic minority populations in both U.S. and non-U.S. settings to directly inform intervention development. Beyond the United States, he has conducted research in Haiti, Puerto Rico, Russia, and Syria.

Dr. Seal has been the P.I. on funded HIV prevention intervention studies with men who have sex with men, young men leaving prison, and delinquent female adolescents. He also has conducted a program of funded formative research to explore sexual behavior among at-risk heterosexuals in Syria; the impact of intersecting identifies on risk behavior among racial and ethnic minority men; and emotional and sexual intimacy among gay, lesbian, and heterosexual couples. He currently is the P.I. on a 5-year NIDA grant to assess the effectiveness and cost of a comprehensive, systemic approach to HIV seek, test, and treat strategies in a state prison system. He also has been a (co)-investigator on 24 other externally funded studies. Finally, he served as the Inaugural Director of Research for the Mayor's Strategic Command to Reduce Murders in New Orleans from 2012-2013, a multi-level and multi-disciplinary collaborative model to reduce fatal and non-fatal shootings in collaboration with a diverse array of community leaders and representatives from the criminal justice system, schools, faith-based organizations, neighborhood groups, and other community groups and service provider agencies. [For selected publications, go to: http://www.sph.tulane.edu/publichealth/chs/faculty-david-seal.cfm

Jennifer B. Unger, Ph.D

Dr. Jennifer B. Unger is a Professor of Preventive Medicine at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine. Her research focuses on the psychological, social, and cultural influences on health-risk and health-protective behaviors, including the role of acculturation and cultural values on adolescent substance use, with the ultimate goal of developing improved prevention programs to reduce health disparities.

She and her colleagues have conducted several longitudinal studies of family acculturation patterns and substance use among Hispanic adolescents in Los Angeles and Miami. Her research also has examined cultural influences on ceremonial and commercial tobacco use among American Indian adolescents, smoking prevention among Chinese adolescents, and cultural influences on menthol smoking among African American adults.

She is interested in entertainment-education strategies for health education among low-literacy minority populations and has collaborated on the design and evaluation of fotonovelas and telenovelas about secondhand and thirdhand smoke exposure in multiunit housing; diabetes; asthma; and kidney transplantation. She is a co-investigator in the USC Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science (TCORs), where she and her colleagues are investigating the diffusion of messages about emerging tobacco products to vulnerable populations through social media.

Recognizing health status is influenced by a vast and interconnected set of determinants, Dr. Matthew Lee Smith has devoted his career to create synergistic partnerships and initiatives to encourage positive lifestyles and reduce rates of preventable morbidity and mortality. Dr. Smith has established expertise in survey research methodology, measurement, and evaluation pertaining to an array of public health issues. His research and evaluation efforts investigate socio-ecological impacts on health risk behaviors across the life-course, with a specific emphasis on evidence-based programs and practices for older adults (e.g., fall prevention, chronic disease self-management). Dr. Smith’s ability to form interdisciplinary collaborations affords him opportunities to apply his translational research and evaluation experience to bridge research and practice issues among the healthcare sector, aging services network, and public health system.

Dr. Smith’s passion to develop, implement, and evaluate evidence-based programs and policies enables him to improve health status through behavioral modification to promote long-term maintenance of healthy behaviors across the life-course.

Dr. Smith has earned a national reputation as a falls expert and evaluator of evidence-based programs. His involvement in local, state, and national evaluation initiatives have been integral to foster understanding about the reach, adoption, implementation, effectiveness, and maintenance of different evidence-based programs targeting key populations in a variety of community, school, workplace, and healthcare sectors. Dr. Smith’s evaluation efforts have been funded by organizations including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Administration on Aging (AoA), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Dr. Smith has over 120 peer-reviewed publications, received over 15 research-based awards, and has delivered over 180 professional conference presentations and 50 invited lectures. He is currently an assistant professor at The University of Georgia College of Public Health and adjunct assistant professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Public Health Education and Masters of Public Health (MPH) from Indiana University – Bloomington and his PhD in Health Education from Texas A&M University.
Joanne Sommers, M.Ed.,CHES
Executive Director 
Phone: (419) 760-6020
Email:  jsommer@bgsu.edu 


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