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Fellows Class of 2014

David Wyatt SealDavid Wyatt Seal, PhD

Dr. Seal is a Professor in the Department of Social, Behavioral, and Population Sciences at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. He has nationally recognized expertise in qualitative methods and has conducted national and international trainings in qualitative methods, applied field research ethics, community needs assessments and community mobilization, behavioral health, and cultural competency. He also has a strong documented history of conducting research in partnership with community-based organizations, community stakeholders, and community members. He has directed several community coalitions and policy groups, including New Orleans based coalitions focused on the health needs of opioid users and the reduction of murders and non-fatal shootings. Seal is experienced with the conduct of formative studies with marginalized populations in both U.S. and non-U.S. settings to directly inform intervention development. He also has considerable experience and insight into the dynamics of conducting community-based prevention research with high-risk populations.

Seal has conducted HIV formative and prevention research since the early 1990s. He has been the PI or co-PI on funded research formative and intervention projects with rural opioid users; high-risk populations in Syria; correctional populations; men who have sex with men; and court involved adolescent girls. He also was the PI on funded studies of emotional and sexual intimacy among gay, lesbian, and heterosexual couples. He has been a co-I on over 25 other funded studies. His research portfolio includes projects in the United States, Puerto Rico, Russia, Haiti, Lebanon, and Syria. His website is available at: https://sph.tulane.edu/sbps/david-seal.

Matthew Lee SmithMatthew Lee Smith, PhD, MPH, CHES

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.

Jennifer B. UngerJennifer 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.

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