Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to page options Skip directly to site content

Past and Current Fellows

Dr. Neetu Abad (2011-2013)

Dr. Neetu Abad earned her PhD and M.A. in Social Psychology from the University of Missouri, and her B.A. in Psychology, English, and Women’s Studies from Truman State University. Dr. Abad is currently a fellow in the Prevention Research Branch, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Abad’s work focuses on empowerment, psychological well-being, and predictors of risky sexual behavior among underserved communities, particularly women and girls of color. Dr. Abad is working on CDC-funded research projects that involve the adaptation of evidence-based behavioral interventions for incarcerated women and girls, and a systematic review of HIV/AIDS prevention interventions for women who engage in sex trading. During the fellowship, Dr. Abad presented her work at the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, and the American Public Health Association. In June 2012, Dr. Abad helped launch the National Council on Gender, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to reducing gender-based violence and sexual-risk behavior by promoting programs that incorporate a strong focus on transforming gender norms, increasing gender equity, and policies that acknowledge the importance of transforming norms of femininity and masculinity.

Darigg Brown, Ph.D. (2009-2011)

Dr. Darigg C. Brown earned a PhD in Biobehavioral Health from the Pennsylvania State University, an MPH from Saint Louis University and a BS in Environmental Health from the University of Georgia. During his post-doctoral research experience with the Prevention Research Branch (PRB), he divided his time between the Intervention Research Team and the Research Synthesis and Translation Team. Dr. Brown lent his expertise to the Preventing African-American Transmission of HIV/AIDS among Heterosexual Men (PATHH4Men) Project in the areas of intervention component testing and curriculum development to funded grantees. He also provided assistance to project officers and received training on duties related to a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for 12 cities to develop Enhanced Comprehensive HIV Prevention Plans (ECHPP). Another major component of Dr. Brown’s activities was a systematic review conducted with a team of other branch staff. The review involved synthesizing and coding relevant intervention literature related to HIV medication adherence, which later became a published meta-analysis. His work with PRB also included a first author book chapter on African Americans and HIV (in Hall, Hall & Cockrell, 2011).

Currently, Dr. Brown is a Research Public Health Analyst with RTI International. He provides leadership on several projects, including the design of a series of enhanced evaluation studies, as well as plans for the dissemination of those study outcomes for the CDC-funded Community Transformation Grants program. Dr. Brown is also involved in the evaluation of a national comprehensive cancer control program, as well as community engagement efforts around hepatitis B prevention among foreign-born populations in the U.S.

Taleria R. Fuller, Ph.D. (2004-2006)

Dr. Taleria R. Fuller earned a Ph.D. in Medical Sociology from Wayne State University, a M.A. in Sociology from Wayne State University, and a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Her experience has focused mainly on the mental, reproductive, and sexual health of women and adolescents. Previous experience focused on HIV prevention among communities of color, including a study examining HIV knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors among African and African American adolescents and young adults. As an ORISE fellow, Dr. Fuller provided scientific expertise, leadership, and technical assistance for the CDC-funded Diffusion of Effective Behavioral Intervention (DEBI) project. She worked on female-focused DEBI HIV prevention interventions including: Sisters Informing Sisters about Topics on AIDS (SISTA), Sisters Informing, Healing, Learning, and Empowering (SIHLE), Women Involved in Life Learning from Other Women (WILLOW), and the Real AIDS Prevention Project (RAPP). Presently, Dr. Fuller is a Health Scientist with the CDC Division of Reproductive Health, Adolescent Reproductive Health Team (ARH).  She serves as a Project Officer for the Teenage Pregnancy Prevention: Integrating Services, Programs and Strategies through Community-Wide Initiatives cooperative agreement. The purpose of this initiative is to demonstrate the effectiveness of innovative, multi-component, community-wide initiatives in reducing rates of teen pregnancy and births in communities with the highest rates, with a focus on reaching African American and Latino/Hispanic youth ages 15 – 19.  Dr. Fuller also serves as lead for the Adaptation Guidance for Reproductive Health Programs project and the ARH Equity Workgroup.  In addition, she continues to mentor and provide support to CDC interns and fellows.

Dr. Tanisha S. Grimes, Ph.D. (2009-2011)

Dr. Grimes earned a PhD in Health Promotion and Behavior from the University of Georgia College of Public Health, an MPH from Emory University Rollins School of Public Health and a BA in English and Social Welfare from the University of California, Berkeley. She also has a certificate in Interdisciplinary Qualitative Research. She was a fellow from 2009-2011 in the Program Evaluation Branch where she assisted CDC scientists with the development and implementation of an outcome monitoring and evaluation study with 3 Community Based Organizations (CBOs) funded by CDC to deliver the community level HIV prevention intervention Mpowerment. In that capacity, she guided the development of the data collection tools and protocols using the Questionnaire Development System (QDS) and provided technical assistance to sites on QDS and in conducting outcome monitoring and evaluation activities. Furthermore, Dr. Grimes also participated with CDC scientists in the data collection and dissemination of the Adaptation and Implementation of Mpowerment (AAIM) which focused on the adaptations of the Mpowerment intervention. Finally, alongside with senior Branch leadership she was a guest editor for a special supplement on The Monitoring and Evaluation of HIV Counseling, Testing, and Referral and HIV Testing Services in AIDS Education and Prevention. Currently, Dr. Grimes is a Program Manager of the Georgia Child Traumatic Stress Initiative at the Stephanie V. Blank Center for Safe and Healthy Children, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

Kirk D. Henny, Ph.D. (2004-2006)

Dr. Kirk D. Henny earned a Ph.D. and MA in Sociology from Howard University, and BS in Sociology from James Madison University. Dr. Henny’s research experience is primarily in mental health, particularly among HIV-seropositive populations. Dr. Henny held positions at several institutions including Mathematica Policy, Inc., University of Texas-San Antonio Medical Center, and National Center for Children in Poverty of Columbia University.
As an ORISE fellow, he researched topics on community-based HIV prevention and intervention initiatives including the Health and Housing project and Epidemiological Aid Investigations on HIV Incidence in Prisons. Currently, Dr. Henny is a scientist in the Prevention Research Branch where he serves as Co-Project Officer for the “HIV/AIDS Risk Reduction Interventions for Heterosexually-Active African-American Men” study – a multi-site cooperative agreement funded to support the development and pilot testing of novel interventions targeting at-risk heterosexual African-American men.  Additionally, he was invited and served as facilitator of the Heterosexual Transmission Breakout Group for the CDC, NIH, HRSA co-sponsored Research Consultation to Address Intervention Strategies for HIV/AIDS Prevention with African Americans and for the NHBS-HET Cycle Principal Investigators’ Meeting, Behavioral and Clinical Surveillance Branch, DHAP. Further, he has presented at numerous scientific meetings and his publication record includes a first author book chapter on Interventions for African American Heterosexual Males (in press), and a lead scientist role on a systematic review of HIV behavioral interventions for African American heterosexuals. The review is the first to be conducted in African American heterosexually-active males and publication of the results will make significant contributions to the literature. Finally, Dr. Henny was recognized with four awards in 2009 for his exceptional contributions to Public Health through special duties activities. These awards are as follows: two NCHHSTP Director’s Awards for his collaborative work on an HIV EpiAid Investigation in Jackson, Mississippi and for his contributions to a workgroup that developed HIV Testing Guidelines in Correctional Settings; and CDC/ATSDR Award and NCHHSTP Center Award for his work on systematic reviews conducted by the Prevention Research Synthesis Project Team.

Dr. Darrel H. Higa, Ph.D. (2009-2011)

Dr. Darrel H. Higa earned a PhD in Social Welfare from the University of Washington, and a MSW and BA in Psychology from the University of Hawai’i. During his postdoctoral fellowship with the Prevention Research Branch, Dr. Higa led a systematic review of failed U.S. HIV prevention intervention studies for men who have sex have sex with men (MSM) that is currently under review for AIDS and Behavior. He also co-authored a book chapter entitled HIV in the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Communities in HIV/AIDS in the Post-HAART Era (Hall, Hall & Cockerell, 2011). Dr. Higa consulted with the African American MSMW (men who have sex with men and women) project by assisting three project sites with refining a cross-site baseline survey instrument and developing site-specific HIV prevention interventions. Additionally, Dr. Higa collaborated with PRB and other CDC staff to increase and share information on HIV-related issues confronting API communities. He presented a poster at the National HIV Prevention Conference on HIV testing and counseling in the US Pacific Islands jurisdictions.   

Currently, Dr. Higa is a Senior Service Fellow with the Prevention Research Synthesis Project in the Prevention Research Branch. He is leading a systematic review of linkage to and retention in care (LRC) interventions and coordinating the development of criteria to evaluate LRC interventions. Dr. Higa also serves as a consultant to a study that is examining HIV home testing for high risk MSM.

Gladys Ibanez, Ph.D. (2002-2004)

Dr. Gladys Ibañez received her PhD in Community Psychology from Georgia State University in 2002. Shortly after receiving her doctorate, she was awarded the ORISE HIV and Communities of Color Post-doctoral Research Fellowship at CDC DHAP. During her 2-year fellowship at CDC, her research primarily focused on drug-using populations and men who have sex with men (MSM). For example, she was part of the INSPIRE study, a multi-site intervention for HIV-positive injection drug users to reduce sexual and injection risk behaviors. She also published findings from the SUMIT project regarding sexual risk among MSM. Her research interests include HIV prevention in communities of color, particularly Latino populations, drug use research, and youth. She was recently awarded a 3 year grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to pilot a DVD-based HIV/HCV prevention intervention with Latino offenders. She currently holds a joint appointment at the University of Delaware and at Behavioral Science Research Institute (BSRI), a nonprofit research institute in Miami. She is an associate scientist at the University of Delaware’s Center for Drug and Alcohol Studies (CDAS) serving as the principal investigator on a NIDA grant. She holds the position of Senior Research Associate at BSRI where she assists in the evaluation of a large SAMSHA grant regarding linking low income populations attending primary clinics to needed behavioral health services. She is also involved in a local transgender work group looking at the unique healthcare issues facing the transgendered community in Miami.

Yzette Lanier, Ph.D., MS

Dr. Yzette Lanier earned a Ph.D. and M.S. in Developmental Psychology from Howard University, and a B.S. in Psychology also from Howard University. Her previous research experience, which has been published in several peer-reviewed journals and presented at various professional conferences including the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Association of Black Psychology (ABPsi), focused on risk and resilience in people of African descent, primarily Black youth. Her dissertation examined the protective role of racial identity in the relationship between contextual stress and psychosocial adjustment among African American middle school students. As an ORISE Fellow, Dr. Lanier works on several projects aimed at reducing HIV-related health disparities. She is currently conducting qualitative and quantitative analyses to assess the effectiveness and utility of a sexual history taking instrument in increasing the number of HIV/STD screenings administered to African American male patients during routine medical visits. Additionally, she recently completed a project with the DC Department of Health (DC DOH) exploring correlates of HIV infection among Black women living in the District of Columbia. Findings from this work have been presented at the American Psychological Association Convention and Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections. And her manuscript on reframing preventive healthcare services for young black men was recently accepted for publication by the American Journal of Public Health. Currently, Dr. Lanier is a Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow with joint appointments in the Center for Global Women’s Health and the Center for Health Equity Research, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.

Khiya J. Marshall, Dr.PH (2007-2009)

Dr. Khiya Marshall earned a Dr.PH and an MPH from the University of North Texas Health Science Center- School of Public Health in Social and Behavioral Sciences and Community Health, and a B.A. in Sociology from Spelman College. Her interests include racial/ethnic health disparities and HIV/AIDS among minority populations with emphasis on women and adolescents. As an ORISE Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Marshall provided expertise for the Micro-enterprise Project, which examined micro-enterprise as an HIV prevention intervention for impoverished African American women living in the southeastern United States. Additionally, she led and completed a qualitative review that examined the risk and protective factors associated with sexual-risk behaviors among African American youth and identified evidence-based HIV interventions for dissemination in a book chapter. Dr. Marshall also worked on the Transit TV Project for African American adolescents, and she co-authored several scientific papers, including meta-analytic reviews focusing on African American women, African American heterosexual men, and HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM) in the United States. Dr. Marshall is presently a behavioral scientist in the Prevention Research Branch in the Research and Evaluation Branch, Division of Violence Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

Dr. Mercedes M. Morales-Alemán (2011-2013)

Dr. Mercedes M. Morales-Alemán earned her doctoral degree in Ecological-Community Psychology from Michigan State University in 2011. Her previous work includes sexual health research and program evaluations with communities of color and disproportionately affected youth. Currently, she is a fellow within the Minority Health and Health Equity (MHHE) Activity of the Epidemiology Branch. Dr. Morales-Alemán’s work focuses primarily on the social determinants of health that underlie HIV-related health disparities in communities of color. She is leading a qualitative review of the literature about access to HIV testing and healthcare services in Hispanic/Latino populations in the Southern region of the United States. Additionally, Dr. Alemán has partnered with the Behavioral and Clinical Surveillance Branch (BCSB) to conduct an analysis of data from the Partner Study, a cross-sectional study of sexual risk behaviors and intimate partner violence in Black/African-American and Latina/Hispanic women. Dr. Morales-Alemán is collaborating with partners in the District of Columbia Health Department on a study examining the HIV-related health risks and outcomes of young men who have sex with men in the Washington DC area. Dr. Morales-Alemán also provides technical assistance and research guidance for newly funded junior investigators through the Minority HIV/AIDs Research Initiative (MARI).

Carolyn P. Parks, Ph.D. (2007-2008)

Dr. Carolyn P. Parks came to the ORISE Fellowship with almost 20 years of teaching, research and practice experience at the university level as a community health education specialist. Dr. Parks earned a Ph.D. in health education from The University of Tennessee at Knoxville, an M.S. in health education from Western Illinois University, and a B.S. in biology from Wheaton College (IL). Her community research and practice has focused on the development, implementation and evaluation of grassroots health promotion and disease prevention strategies for African-Americans, disadvantaged and poor populations, and other groups of color. Her areas of expertise include: health promotion through African-American churches; community assets mapping; community-based public health research and practice; empowerment education; exploring the health impacts of the "strong Black woman" phenomenon; the development of culturally relevant health education materials, programs, and research instruments; and barriers to health communication and health care services provision for groups of color and low socioeconomic populations. As an ORISE Fellow, Dr. Parks served as an active member of the SISTA (Sisters Informing Sisters about Topics on AIDS), SIHLE (Sisters Informing, Healing, Learning, and Empowering), and WILLOW (Women Involved in Life Learning from Other Women) Diffusion Team and the Science Application Team of the CDC DHAP Capacity Building Branch. SISTA, SIHLE and WILLOW represent the three major CDC-funded HIV/AIDS DEBI interventions for African-American women. Specifically, Dr. Parks developed the instrument and procedures for the administration of a training evaluation for the over 350 national community based organizations that have sent staff to be trained in the SISTA Intervention. The evaluation also assessed implementation readiness and the technical assistance needs for SIHLE and WILLOW as the two newest interventions for African-American women. In addition, Dr. Parks: conducted extensive reviews of all diffusion materials associated with the SISTA, SIHLE and WILLOW interventions; participated in the SISTA Training of Trainers (TOTs) and Training of Facilitators (TOFs), and the pilots of the SIHLE and WILLOW Interventions; and conducted and/or moderated various workshops and presentations on HIV/AIDS in the African-American community and the role of faith communities in HIV prevention.

Dr. Parks is presently a behavioral scientist on the Science Application Team in the Capacity Building Branch in the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention. Her current work includes serving as the Technical Monitor and behavioral scientist for three women-focused interventions: WILLOW, Sister-to-Sister, and Healthy Love. In 2012, Dr. Parks was admitted to Cohort 14 of the International Experience and Technical Assistance Program (IETA) in the Division of Global Health, where she will perform a four-month TDY in Nairobi, Kenya, working with CDC Kenya to adapt and scale up HIV/AIDS interventions for women.

Carla E. Stokes, Ph.D. (2004-2006)

Dr. Carla Stokes earned a Ph.D. and an M.P.H. from the University of Michigan in Health Behavior and Health Education and a B.A. in Psychology from Spelman College. She is particularly interested in racial/ethnic health disparities, Web-based research and interventions, and how the media and popular culture affect the health and well-being of young women and girls. Carla’s dissertation research examined the intersection of hip hop, youth culture, sexuality, and identity in social networking profiles constructed by black adolescent girls residing in southern states with the highest rates of HIV/AIDS among black Americans. Her dissertation won honorable mention in the 2004 University of Michigan Distinguished Dissertation Awards competition, where it was recognized for exceptional and unusually interesting scholarly work produced by a doctoral student. Prior to receiving her doctorate, Dr. Stokes developed and taught undergraduate courses on women’s health and representations of women in hip hop culture for the University of Michigan Department of Women's Studies. She has also designed, implemented, and evaluated sexual and reproductive health programming in school and community settings and provided consulting services to ethnic minority community-based organizations addressing the HIV/AIDS and substance abuse treatment and prevention needs of people of color, women, and youth. As an ORISE fellow, she analyzed longitudinal data to investigate further the ways in which black girls use media and hip hop culture to negotiate their sexuality and construct identity online. Dr. Stokes is the founder of Helping Our Teen Girls In Real Life Situations, Inc. (HOTGIRLS), an Atlanta-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health and lives of young women and girls in underserved communities.  She is also the Chief Empowerment Officer of Dr. Carla LLC, a health education, coaching, and self-empowerment company that serves youth, girls, parents, educators, and girl advocates.

Carols Toledo, Ph.D. (2002-2004)

Carlos Toledo received his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia in Child and Family Development in 2001. As an ORISE fellow, Carlos was assigned to the Program Evaluation Branch (PEB) in DHAP, where he currently works as a health scientist. In PEB, Dr. Toledo worked on a number of projects including the evaluation of Program Announcement 01163, "HIV Prevention Projects for Community-Based Organizations Targeting Young Men of Color Who Have Sex With Men,” the evaluation of the Minority AIDS Initiative, and several other Branch evaluation activities. In 2006, he was accepted into the International Experience and Technical Assistance (IETA) program where he completed field assignments in Zambia and Thailand. Through the IETA program, Dr. Toledo worked on projects examining HIV infection and risk behaviors among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Zambia, Thailand, and Laos. He also completed a detail in the DHAP Office of the Director serving as an Associate Director for MSM Disparities in HIV/AIDS. Currently, he is a scientist in the Center for Global Health, Division of Global HIV/AIDS, Country Operations Branch.

Scyatta A. Wallace, Ph.D. (2002-2004)

Scyatta A. Wallace, Ph.D., received her doctorate in Developmental Psychology from Fordham University and her BA in Psychology from Yale University. Dr. Wallace completed an ORISE Communities of Color fellowship in 2004,. For her fellowship, she worked in the Epidemiology Branch under the mentorship of Kim Miller, Ph.D. As part of the fellowship, Dr. Wallace assisted with the Parents Matter! Project, a longitudinal multi-site HIV preventive intervention for over 1000 Black American parents of pre-adolescents. Dr. Wallace is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at St. John’s University in Jamaica, New York. She has received funding from NIH, CDC and several foundations. She is currently a principal investigator on a 4-year study funded by CDC. The objective of the study is to examine gender norms and cultural factors associated with HIV risk and HIV testing among low income heterosexual young adult black men recently released for jail/prison. Dr. Wallace is the immediate past Chair of the American Psychological Association, Committee on Psychology and AIDS.

Lari Warren-Jeanpiere, Ph.D. (2007-2009)

Dr. Lari Warren-Jeanpiere earned a Ph.D. and an M.A. in sociology from Wayne State University, and a B.A. in sociology from Hampton University. Her research expertise includes qualitative methods, racial/ethnic health disparities, women’s health, the social construction of African American sexuality, and intergenerational sexual health communication within African American families, particularly related to mothers and daughters. As an ORISE Fellow, Dr. Warren-Jeanpiere was lead qualitative analyst on a project regarding the HIV/AIDS Knowledge, Attitudes and Behaviors (KAB) among students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). These findings are published in the American Journal of College Health and the Journal of College Student Development. In 2008 Dr. Warren-Jeanpiere was a recipient of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD) Loan Repayment program based upon her commitment to becoming an independent HIV/AIDS investigator in order to combat the HIV/AIDS crisis in the African American community. Currently, she is working as a Research Fellow with the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) in the School of Medicine at Georgetown University. In this position, Dr. Warren-Jeanpiere collaborates with an interdisciplinary group of investigators to conceptualize research ideas, develop proposals to acquire additional funding, and prepare manuscripts for scholarly publication. She is currently principal investigator and lead analyst on a qualitative project which describes older African American and Latina women’s experiences of aging with HIV and comorbid conditions. Preliminary findings from this project will be presented at the 2012 American Public Health Association Annual Meeting (APHA).

Kim Williams, Ph.D. (2002-2004)

Dr. Kim M. Williams earned a Ph.D in Medical Sociology from Howard University, an MSW in planning and administration from The Ohio State University and a BS in Social Work from Morgan State University. Her clinical experiences have been in the areas of mental health counseling and case management. As an ORISE Postdoctoral Fellow she designed and implemented a study that examined the use and provision of HIV/AIDS and STD services to young women at risk for infection. Dr. Williams is a Behavioral Scientist in the Prevention Research Branch in the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention where she serves as Co-Project Officer for the “HIV/AIDS Risk Reduction Interventions for Heterosexually-Active African-American Men” study – a multi-site cooperative agreement funded to support the development and pilot testing of novel interventions targeting at-risk heterosexual African-American men. She recently co-lead development of funding opportunity announcement for the Secretary’s Minority AIDS Initiative Fund for Care and Prevention in the United States; a demonstration project to reduce HIV-related morbidity, mortality, and related health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S. Dr. Williams also serves as a scientific steering committee team member for the project entitled, “An Economic Intervention for Impoverished Women in the Southeastern U.S: Effects on HIV/STD Risk Behavior,” in collaboration with ” the Division of Violence Prevention and Division of STD Prevention. She is the Co-Chair for the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention’s Health Equity Work Group and is a Guest Editor on a special supplement for Public Health Reports entitled, “Applying Social Determinants of Health to Public Health Practice.”

Leigh A. Willis, Ph.D. (2007-2009)

Dr. Leigh A. Willis earned a Ph.D. in Medical Sociology and an M.P.H. in Health Behavior from the University of Alabama, Birmingham and a B.A. with Department Honors in Sociology and Human Services from Albion College. Specifically, his research focuses on the sexual risk of heterosexual African-American men and adolescents. He has presented and published in all of these areas. As an ORISE Community of Color Fellow in the Prevention Research Branch he engaged in preventing the epidemic by : 1) leading a meta-analytical review of parent-child communication interventions; 2) by providing technical assistance on the Intervention Research Team (IRT) as a project consultant on the Preventing African American Transmission of Heterosexual HIV Project (for Men) (PATHH 4MEN), Groundbreaking Interventions Project (Transgender and Heterosexually Active African-American Men, Transit TV (African-American Youth); 3) as a team member on the Replicating Effective Programs (REP) Team for Project AIM, an intervention for which he was an original interventionist;. Dr. Willis currently is a behavioral scientist with the MARI (Minority HIV/AIDS Research Initiative) Team. His current research projects focus on social determinants of HIV among communities of color, HIV prevention among youth and African-American heterosexual Men and the use of media (traditional, social and new media) to prevent HIV/AIDS.

Dr. Willis is currently the Co-PI of an inaugural CDC Innovation fund project to develop and HIV/STI focused motion comic for young people ages 15-24. Dr. Willis serves on the White House working group for using games as a policy tool.

 Top of Page