Dr. Chloe E. Bird, is a Senior Sociologist at RAND, Professor of Policy Analysis at Pardee RAND Graduate School, and Editor of the journal Women’s Health Issues. Her research examines women’s health and determinants of gender, racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in physical and mental health and health care, and neighborhood effects on health and healthcare. Her recent work includes several projects assessing and mapping gender differences in the quality of care for cardiovascular disease and diabetes as well as analyses of . Her book, Gender and Health: The Effects of Constrained Choice and Social Policies integrates social and biological models to improve understanding of how differences in men’s and women’s lives contribute to differences in their health. This work expands the study of health and health disparities by shedding light on the how decisionmakers including employers and policy makers shape men’s and women’s opportunities to purse a healthy life, and emphasizes the need for research to inform these decisions.
Dr. Bird has authored more than 50 peer-reviewed publications in journals including American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, American Journal of Public Health, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Health & Place, Obesity, Sleep Medicine, and Social Science and Medicine. Her work has been recognized with the Eliot Freidson Outstanding Publication Award from the Medical Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association and a Leadership Award from the California Department of Managed HealthCare “for improving women’s cardiovascular outcomes and reducing gender disparities.” She is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Bird is also the current Chair of the American Sociological Association’s section on Sociological Practice and Public Sociology and is former Chair of the Medical Sociology Section. She previously served as a Deputy Editor of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.
Dr. Adam Leventhal is a clinical psychologist and behavioral scientist with interests in the bio behavioral determinants of substance addiction, mental health, and health behavior. Dr. Leventhal received his B.A. in Psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara; M.A. in Psychology at the University of Houston; and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the University of Houston. He completed a NCI predoctoral fellowship in tobacco addiction research and cancer prevention at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center; a clinical psychology internship at Brown Medical School; and a NIDA postdoctoral fellowship in addiction research at the Brown University Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies.
Dr. Leventhal has been on the faculty of the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine since 2009. He is currently an associate professor of Preventive Medicine and Psychology, and Director of the University of Southern California Health, Emotion, & Addiction Laboratory (USC-HEAL)—a multidisciplinary team of faculty, staff, and students dedicated to advancing science on the intersection between addiction, mental health, and health behavior.
Dr. Leventhal is the principal investigator of NIH and ACS grants that total more than $8M. These grants support studies aligned with his primary research interests in: (1) understanding tobacco use and other health behaviors, such as exercise, eating, risk taking, as acute mood-altering agents; (2) smoking cessation; (3) addiction psychopharmacology and genetics; and (4) addiction among health disparity populations, such as people with mental health problems, ethnic minorities, women, and the socioeconomically disadvantaged. Dr. Leventhal has authored more than 110 peer-reviewed publications and has been recognized for his contributions to the field, having been selected as the recipient of early career research awards from the American Academy of Health Behavior, Society for Nicotine and Tobacco Research, and APA Divisions 12, 28, and 50. In addition to research and mentoring activities, he is associate editor for Nicotine & Tobacco Research and Behavioral Medicine, an editorial board member for several other journals, and a regular reviewer on NIH study sections.
Deborah Parra-Medina, MPH, PhD
Deborah Parra-Medina, PhD, professor, Institute for Health Promotion Research at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio
Deborah Parra-Medina, PhD is Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio’s Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR). Dr. Parra-Medina has extensive expertise in developing culturally competent public health, chronic disease, and healthy lifestyle interventions with underserved communities—women, Latinos, disadvantaged and immigrant populations—using a mixed-methods, community-based participatory approach. She also has experience designing and implementing interventions that utilize the promotora model and involve multimedia, text-messaging, and other technological communications.
Her current research includes an initiative funded by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas to develop a professional education and community outreach program to increase awareness and uptake of the HPV vaccine among youth in South Texas; the NICHD-funded Health4Kids obesity management study using family counseling, text messages and newsletters to help Latino families with obese or overweight kids control weight and encourage healthier eating and physical activity habits; and a NHLBI-funded promotora-led physical activity trial to promote physical activity among Latinas living in South Texas colonias.
She has authored many peer-reviewed articles and is frequently invited to speak at scientific meetings. Her participation innational and regional advisory groups and coalitions includes serving as co-director of the South Texas Area Heath Education Centers Program and membership in the Cancer Prevention and Population Science research program at the Cancer Therapy and Research Center, an NCI-designated cancer center at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio. She has been recognized for her work in public health and health disparities research, including the American Public Health Association Public Health Education Health Promotion Section Mayhew Derryberry Award in 2013.
Before joining the IHPR in 2008, Dr. Parra-Medina was Associate Professor from 2004-2008 and Assistant Professor from 1998-2004 at the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health. She received her PhD in Public Health Epidemiology from the University of California, San Diego/San Diego State University joint doctoral program, her MPH. in Health Promotion and Education from San Diego State University, and her bachelor’s degree in social science from the University of California, Berkeley. She is a native of San Diego.
University of Houston
Social Determinants and Health Disparities Lab
Dr. Lorraine R. Reitzel earned her doctorate in clinical psychology from Florida State University and completed her internship at the Bureau of Prisons’ Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas, in 2005. She was previously a postdoctoral fellow (2005-2007) and an Assistant Professor (2008-2013) in the Department of Health Disparities Research at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Dr. Reitzel’s research program focuses on better understanding the social determinants of health and health risk behaviors - and the biopsychosocial mechanisms that account for disparities in these areas - with an emphasis on generating highly translational results that can be used to inform policy and intervention. Guided by social cognitive theory and the social ecological model of health, her research program spans the assessment of micro-level individual behavioral precipitants of, and macro-level environmental/contextual influences on, health risk behaviors. Much of her work is focused on addressing health disparities related to cigarette smoking, alone or comorbid with other cancer-related risk behaviors, among low socioeconomic status groups. Her research in these areas has been supported by the NIH and the CDC.
She is currently co-PI of a grant funded by the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas that is focused on helping local mental health authorities across Texas adopt a comprehensive tobacco-free workplace program to enable individuals with mental illness and their caregivers quit tobacco use and avoid secondhand smoke exposure. Dr. Reitzel has authored over 85 peer-reviewed publications in journals including the American Journal of Public Health, Addiction, and Health & Place.
Dr. Reitzel is a Tobacco Treatment Specialist and a licensed Psychologist in Texas with specific expertise in Motivational Interviewing. Her professional service includes work as an Associate Editor of Nicotine & Tobacco Research and a Managing Co-Editor of Health Behavior and Policy Review. She currently serves the Academy as the Coordinator of the Research Scholars Mentoring Program.
Audrey Shillington, PhD
Dr. Audrey M. Shillington is currently Director and Professor in the School of Social Work in the College of Health and Human Sciences at Colorado State University. Additionally, she is Professor of Epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Colorado, Denver. Dr. Shillington received her MSW and Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis. She was an NIMH Post-Doctoral Fellow and received a Masters in Psychiatric Epidemiology from the School of Medicine at Washington University.
She was formerly Professor at San Diego State University where she was the Associate Director for the Center for Alcohol and Drug Studies and Services. Dr. Shillington was also Research Investigator at the Center for Behavioral Epidemiology and Community Health in the School of Public Health at SDSU and her work involved HIV/AIDS risk reduction research. She has published in the areas of psychometrics, epidemiology, prevention and intervention work aimed at adolescent and young adult risk behaviors. She has been PI and Co-Investigator on NIH NIDA, NIAAA, and state grants totaling over $12 million. Her current work is focused on 1) testing trauma informed care and resilience for children and caregivers in the child welfare system and b) issues around legalized recreational cannabis.
Keith J. Zullig, MSPH, PhD
Dr. Keith J. Zullig is Professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the West Virginia University School of Public Health. He earned his M.S.P.H. and Ph.D. degrees from University of South Carolina, Norman J. Arnold School of Public Health in Health Promotion and Education and a B.A. in English (Technical Writing) from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh.
Dr. Zullig’s research interests include adolescent and young adult health risk behavior, quality of life research, substance use intervention research, and non-academic factors that impact student learning and health outcomes. His research has been supported by the U.S. Department of Education, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and National Institutes of Health. His emphasis in effectiveness research has led to testing innovative interventions in opioid addiction and in the misuse of alcohol, but also to collaborations with state departments of education to measure and evaluate population-based interventions designed to improve school climate. He has authored more than 75 peer-reviewed publications.
Dr. Zullig is also Fellow in the American School Health Association. In addition, he was the recipient of the 2010 Gerry Sue Arnold Alumni Award from the Arnold School of Public Health in recognition of outstanding work that has made a difference to the profession of public health and the health of an identified community population, and the 2005 Horizon Award from the American Association of Health Education. He presently serves as an Editorial Board member of the Journal of Applied Research in Quality of Life andAnnals of Community Medicine and Practice services and also on the Board of Health for the Monongalia County, West Virginia Health Department. Dr. Zullig is a member of Delta Omega Mu Chapter and serves as the founding faculty mentor for the West Virginia University Gamma Mu Chapter, which has won three consecutive Chapter of the Year Awards.