Fellows Class of 2017
Shervin Assari, MD, MPH
University of Michigan
Dr. Shervin Assari, MD MPH is an assistant professor of psychiatry and public health at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. With 200 peer review publications, he is a fellow of the American Academy of Health Behavior (AAHB), the Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM) and New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM). Assari has chaired committees and councils for American College of Epidemiology (ACE) and American Academy of Health Behavior (AAHB) and is currently the president of the Scientific Association for Public Health in Iran (SAPHIR). Dr. Assari studies fundamental causes of health and illness across racial and ethnic minority groups. His research has documented smaller health gain from socioeconomic status (SES) among minorities, a phenomenon called diminished return / differential effects. His research has documented higher risk of depression among high SES Black men, particularly in the presence of discrimination. His research has also shown gender-specific outcomes associated with environmental stress and discrimination among Blacks.
Adam Barry, PhD
Texas A & M University
Dr. Barry is a health behavior social scientist, with specific training and expertise in alcohol use, alcohol-induced impairment, and intoxication. Barry's research spans a variety of content areas associated with the assessment and measurement alcohol-related behaviors, such as impaired driving and intoxication, protective behavioral strategies to minimize intoxication, and measurement of alcohol-related behaviors (i.e., use of single-item scales, visual cues of intoxication). His research examining impaired driving has been previously funded by national entities such as the American Automobile Association (AAA) Foundation for Traffic Safety. In addition, he also specializes in the health of student service members/veterans in higher education. For example, he has served as Principal Investigator on an NIAAA funded grant that explores whether student veterans' alcohol-related cognitions and patterns of use differ from those of their non-military peers, as well as whether they also experience a greater proportion of negative outcomes (mental health, social, and academic) as a result of their alcohol use.
Barry's work has garnered both national and international attention. He has been a featured guest on prominent live television news programs in the United States, such as CNN, as well as the Canadian national news program CTV. Online and print media outlets such as the New York Times, The Atlantic, Los Angeles Times, and NBC News have also featured his work.
Peer-reviewed outlets publishing his scholarly work include esteemed journals in his discipline, such as American Journal of Public Health, Health Education & Behavior, and Journal of School Health, as well as leading journals in his research content area, such as Addiction, Addictive Behaviors, Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, and Journal of Studies on Alcohol.
Dr. Barry is also an actively engaged professional, serving as a manuscript reviewer for numerous peer-reviewed journals associated with both his discipline and research area. As a result of his expertise in alcohol use/abuse among college populations, he served as Executive Editor for the Journal of American College Health for five years (2013-2017) and has previously chaired the American College Health Association's Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug (ATOD) Coalition.
In recognition of his scholarship and productivity, Dr. Barry has received early career distinctions, such as the Society for Public Health Education's Horizon Award, as well as faculty research awards from his academic departments at the University of Florida and Texas A&M University.
Elaine A. Borawski, PhD
Case Western Reserve University
Elaine A. Borawski, PhD is the Angela Bowen Williamson Professor of Community Nutrition in the Departments of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences and Nutrition in the School of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University. She is also the Director of Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods (PRCHN), a CDC-supported research center focused on community-based, resident-engaged prevention research. Her research focuses on the social and environmental influences of health and health behavior and the development and testing of new intervention strategies that draw from the strengths of the neighborhoods in which she works, including interventions addressing obesity, food insecurity, tobacco prevention and other high risk behaviors that are so prevalent within urban communities. Dr. Borawski has led a research portfolio that exceeds $30 million in funding from the NIH, CDC and other local and state agencies, including the PRCHN and a current, 7-year NHLBI funded childhood obesity study that intervenes with overweight and obese teens through a multi-level (family, school, neighborhood) intervention. She has served as President of the American Academy of Health Behavior, as well as serving on numerous scientific review committees and public health advisory boards at the local, state and national level.
Kenneth Michael Cummings, PhD, MPH
Medical University of South Carolina
Dr. Cummings has a Master’s degree and PhD. in Health Education and Health Behavior from the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan. He is currently a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and member of the Hollings Cancer Center’s Cancer Prevention and Control Program where he co-leads the tobacco control research program. He joined the MUSC faculty in October 2011 and has been involved in establishing a tobacco dependence treatment service for patients seen in the University hospital and outpatient clinics. Before coming to MUSC, Dr. Cummings worked at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) in Buffalo, New York, where he was a senior research scientist and Chairman of the Department of Health Behavior.
Dr. Cummings training and research interests are in the study of health related behaviors, especially tobacco use prevention and cessation. His research is primarily population based with a focus on smoking cessation, consumer risk perceptions, the impact of cigarette design on smoking behaviors, and the evaluation of public policies on tobacco use behaviors. Recognized internationally for his work in tobacco epidemiology and smoking cessation, Dr. Cummings has guided global public policy and regulations in the marketing and distribution of nicotine products. This work has involved designing studies to understand factors involved in predicting uptake and cessation of tobacco use and the testing of interventions to alter tobacco use behaviors at both the individual and population level. In 2002, Dr. Cummings established the International Tobacco Research Policy Evaluation Project (ITC Project) to evaluate the behavioral impacts of national level tobacco control policies implemented as part of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). This international project began in 2002 and involves over 100 scientific colleagues from more than 20 countries and includes a wide range of research projects ranging from those focused on biological factors that influence tobacco use to the impact of health warnings and public education campaigns on representative populations of smokers. As part of his work with the ITC Project he has served as the PI on three large multi-institutional NIH grants (P50 CA111236: 2004-2009, P01 CA138389: 2009-2016, P01 CA200512: 2016-2021). Data from the ITC Project has become an important source of the evidence base used by governments and public health advocates to support tobacco control policy initiatives around the world. Over his 35-year career he has directed more than 70 grants and contracts and has published over 430 scientific papers including landmark reports for the Office of the Surgeon General, the National Cancer Institute, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and the Institute of Medicine. In the late 1990s, Cummings contributed to digitizing and publishing online previously secret internal tobacco industry documents which described how manufacturers directed their marketing to attract youthful replacement smokers and designed cigarettes in ways that make it hard for smokers to quit once they get addicted to nicotine. Because of his vast expertise in smoking behavior and knowledge of industry documents he has served as an expert witness in legal proceedings against cigarette manufacturers, including proceedings that resulted in the Master Settlement Agreement in 1998. In 2009, Dr. Cummings was awarded the prestigious Luther Terry award given out by the American Cancer Society in recognition of his research contributions to the field of public health.
Derek M. Griffith, PhD
Dr. Derek M. Griffith is the Founder and Director of the Center for Research on Men’s Health at Vanderbilt University. At Vanderbilt, he also is Associate Professor of Medicine, Health and Society and he has secondary appointments in the departments of American Studies, Health Policy, Medicine and Sociology. The Center for Research on Men’s Health is one of the first university-wide center in the US that focuses on men’s health. Launched in the September 2016, the center has the three-pronged mission of improving men’s health, reducing unjust differences in health among men, and improving the health of African American men and other men in the US and across the globe. Dr. Griffith has published extensively on men’s health and he specializes in African American men’s health. Dr. Griffith’s men’s health research has been funded by the American Cancer Society, the Aetna Foundation, several institutes within the National Institutes of Health. Currently, Dr. Griffith is funded by the American Cancer Society to conduct the first randomized controlled trial of an individually-tailored, weight loss intervention for African American men. He also is funded by NIMHD to integrate precision medicine and individual tailoring in a weight-loss study for African-American and Latino men. https://www.vanderbilt.edu//mhs/faculty/derek-m-griffith/
Eric R. Walsh-Buhi, MPH, PhD
San Diego State University
Dr. Eric R. Walsh-Buhi joined the Division of Health Promotion and Behavioral Science in Fall 2014 as an Associate Professor. His research focus is to 1) understand and promote sexual health among young people and 2) employ innovative technologies for health promotion and behavior change (called Digital Health). Dr. Walsh-Buhi is Associate Director for the Center for Human Dynamics in the Mobile Age (HDMA), Co-Director for the Center for Research on Sexuality and Sexual Health(SASH), and Core Investigator at the Institute for Behavioral & Community Health (IBACH). Dr. Walsh-Buhi is leading a randomized controlled trial (RCT) to test the effectiveness of a new blended learning healthy relationships program, About Us, designed to reduce unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among vulnerable youth, delivered through school-based health centers in California. Before coming to SDSU, he spent eight years on the faculty at the University of South Florida College of Public Health, where he was awarded more than $4.15 million in grants.
Robert M. Weiler, PhD, MPH
George Mason University
Dr. Robert M. Weiler holds a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in health and safety education from Marshall University (1983), a Master of Public Health, in community health education from the University of Tennessee (1984), and a Doctor of Philosophy in education with a specialization in school health education from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (1991). From 1984-1987, he served as the school health coordinator for Cumberland County Schools, the third largest school district in North Carolina (Fayetteville), and from 1991-1993 he was appointed visiting assistant professor of Human Services at George Mason University. In 1993, Dr. Weiler joined the faculty in the Department of Health Education & Behavior at the University of Florida. From 2003 to 2007 he served as the chair of the department and from 2012 – 2014 served as director of graduate programs. In 2014, Dr. Weiler was appointed professor with tenure and chair of the Department of Global and Community Health at George Mason University where he also serves as the Director of Public Health Institute.
Dr. Weiler’s research interests include needs assessment, survey research, program evaluation, school health policies and programs, adolescent health risk behaviors, and substance abuse prevention with emphasis on the nonmedical use of prescription drugs among adolescents and young adults. Dr. Weiler’s research has explored Florida’s school violence policies and programs and the role of school health instruction in preventing violence. He served as co-investigator for the first published study that confirmed the feasibility of collecting health risk behavior data using a web-delivered survey. A specialist in applied evaluation, he his regularly asked to conduct youth health behavior assessments for local school districts, providing them with a comprehensive overview of adolescent behaviors with recommendations for planning school health policies and health promotion programs.
Dr. Weiler has authored or co-authored more than 65 refereed articles and scientific papers in professional journals including Addiction Biology, Addictive Behaviors, Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, Annals of Behavior Medicine, Health Education & Behavior, Journal of Adolescent Health, Journal of School Health, Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, Public Health Reports, and Preventive Medicine. Moreover, he has presented more than 100 papers at national and international scientific meetings and conferences. He has served has co-investigator/evaluator on four NIH grants, and principal investigator on 13 state and private contracts, totaling more than $5.9 million.
Dr. Weiler is a founding member of the American Academy of Health Behavior, a member of the American Public Health Association, a member of the Society for Public Health Education, and is a Fellow of the American School Health Association. In 2002, Dr. Weiler received the prestigious University of Florida Research Foundation Professorship and in 2010 was a member of the inaugural class of University of Florida Sustainability Fellows. In August 2011, Dr. Weiler was awarded the Elizabeth Wood Dunlevie Honors Professorship to teach introductory epidemiology to undergraduates enrolled in the honors program at the University of Florida.