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Health Disparities Advisory Committee
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2018 - 2021 Health Disparities Network Co-Chairs:

 T.C. "Kelvin" Choi, PhD, MPH

 Dr. Kelvin Choi is a Stadtman Investigator and the Acting Head of Social and Behavioral Group at the Division of Intramural Research, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), National Institutes of Health. Dr. Choi received his PhD in Social and Behavioral Epidemiology from the University of Minnesota, and was an invited attendee of the NIH Institute on Systems Science and Health 2011 and Training Institute for Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health 2012. Dr. Choi's research focuses on tobacco marketing and counter-marketing, particularly in populations targeted by the tobacco companies.
Monica Webb Hooper, PhD

Dr. Monica Webb Hooper is Director of the Office of Cancer Disparities Research at the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center in the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. She is also Professor of Oncology, Family Medicine & Community Health, and Psychological Sciences. Dr. Webb Hooper is a licensed clinical health psychologist whose research interests are in the health behavior change of cancer risk behaviors, with an emphasis on the intersection between cancer prevention and control, and minority health and disparity elimination. Substantively, her research focuses on tobacco use and interventions, biological influences, and understanding relationships between race/ethnicity, cultural variables, the biological stress response and cessation. Dr. Webb Hooper has received national recognition for her contributions to nicotine and tobacco research, and is a leader in the field of tobacco-associated health disparities. Her overarching research goal is to make a significant public health impact by reducing the prevalence of cancer overall, and cancer health disparities in high-risk populations. The long-term result would be the elimination of disparities in tobacco-attributable illnesses.  


Health Disparities Network Advisory Committee:

Juliet Lee, PhD


Dr. Lee is a Senior Research Scientist and Study Director at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation’s Prevention Research Center, a non-profit public health research organization. Trained in Anthropology, Dr. Lee’s work focuses on social environmental aspects of substance use and misuse, with emphasis on participatory approaches to research and prevention. She has directed, co-directed, and served on community-partnered and community-based research and prevention projects with American Indian/Alaska Natives, Arab Americans, and refugee and immigrant Asian Americans.
Steven Fu, MD, MSCE


Dr. Fu is the Director of the Center for Chronic Disease Outcomes Research, a VA Health Services Research Center of Innovation. He is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School and a core investigator in the University of Minnesota's Tobacco Use Research Center. Dr. Fu is an internationally recognized expert in tobacco cessation and health disparities, including a leader in the treatment of tobacco dependence among diverse racial/ethnic minority groups, and among our nation's military Veterans. His research is focused on identifying and implementing best practices for improving the delivery and utilization of tobacco dependence treatments among diverse and vulnerable populations.
Norval Hickman, PhD, MPH 


Dr. Hickman is a Program Officer with the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program at the University of California Office of the President. Dr. Hickman is a California licensed Clinical Psychologist (PSY 24866) with training in Behavioral Medicine and Public Health. He has conducted a cessation clinical trial for ethnically diverse individuals with serious mental illness recruited during an acute psychiatric hospitalization and research focused on tobacco prevention, epidemiology and cultural correlates of tobacco use among priority populations. 
Raúl Mejía, MD, PhD


Dr Mejia is a leading expert in the epidemiology and risk factors of cardiovascular disease in Argentina and the Latin America He. He is the lead investigator at CEDES focused on cardiovascular epidemiology and risk factors and has led several projects on tobacco research funded by the Fogarty, NIH and the International Development Research Centre, Canada (IDRC). Dr Mejia is an attending physician at the most prestigious hospital in Argentina in preventive medicine and he is the Director of the Fellowship in General Internal Medicine. Dr. Mejia heads an active research team at the University of Buenos Aires and CEDES and has a strong background in mentoring, he has mentored over 30 junior researchers over his 20 years as a senior investigator.


Christi A. Patten, PhD


Dr. Patten is a licensed Clinical Psychologist, Professor of Psychology, Director of the Behavioral Health Research Program, and Director of the Community Engagement Program within the NIH-funded CTSA at Mayo Clinic Rochester, MN.  Her work focuses on developing novel, theory-based behavioral interventions for tobacco cessation with various populations including adolescents and smokers with psychiatric comorbidity, as well as the social network of smoker. She has a successful longstanding partnership with the Alaska Native community, and has conducted several intervention studies to reduce tobacco use among Alaska Native adolescents and pregnant women.  Dr. Patten is a co-investigator on several other projects evaluating behavioral lifestyle interventions in various underserved populations.  She served as Chair of the Risk, Prevention and Interventions in the Addictions (RPIA) and Interventions to Prevent and Treat Addictions (IPTA) NIH study sections.  She has served on several expert panels related to cancer disparities and tobacco use.  Dr. Patten serves as a mentor to numerous trainees and junior faculty in research.


Shyanika Rose, Ph.D., M.A.



Dr. Shyanika Rose is an Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine Department of Behavioral Science and the Center for Health Equity Transformation in Lexington, KY. She is also a member of the Markey Cancer Center. Her background is in social and behavioral sciences, tobacco control policy, program evaluation, qualitative and quantitative research and health equity. Her research focuses on the mechanisms by which policy initiatives can influence tobacco initiation and cessation, and how policy can contribute to the reduction or widening of racial/ethnic and socio-economic health disparities. Her primary research focuses on tobacco marketing at the point-of-sale and has examined the potential equity impacts of tobacco control policies, including flavored and menthol tobacco restrictions.
Kymberle L. Sterling, DrPH., MPH



Dr. Kymberle Sterling is an Associate Professor of Health Promotion & Behavior at the Georgia State University School of Public Health in Atlanta, Georgia.  Her research interests are broadly focused on using theory-based behavior change strategies to prevent and reduce cancer-related risk factors among vulnerable populations.  Dr. Sterling has received grant support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since 2005 and her research has sought to understand cigarette and cigar use behaviors among racially and ethnically diverse youth and young adults. She is the principal investigator of two Food and Drug Administration/NIH-funded tobacco control regulatory sciences research grants that seek to develop measures of flavored little cigar and cigarillo (LCC) smoking behavior; identify risk perceptions for flavored LCC smoking; and assess the susceptibility and intention to smoke flavored LCCs among young adult cigarette smokers.  She is also a co-Investigator on a FDA/NIH-funded tobacco control regulatory sciences (TCORS) center grant that seeks to understand factors that contribute to an individual's decision to use novel tobacco products.
Minal Patel, PhD, MPH



Minal Patel, PhD, MPH, is a Director at the Schroeder Institute, Truth Initiative, where she examines the impact of tobacco control policies on health behaviors, with an overarching goal of understanding and reducing related health disparities. Dr. Patel’s research includes understanding tobacco use and cessation in adolescents and young adults and among vulnerable and underserved populations. Her research also examines the use of emerging tobacco products, including JUUL and other e-cigarettes. Prior to the Truth Initiative, Dr. Patel was a Cancer Prevention Fellow at the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Patel has a broad spectrum of research interests, with a particular focus on the impact of social, built, and policy environments on lifestyle behaviors related to cancer.
Jennifer B. Unger, PhD



Jennifer B. Unger, Ph.D. 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 tobacco use. She and her colleagues have conducted several longitudinal studies of acculturation and substance use among Hispanic adolescents. Her research also has examined cultural influences on tobacco use among American Indian adolescents, Chinese adolescents, and 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 smoke exposure in multiunit housing; diabetes; asthma; immunization; and kidney transplantation. She is a co-investigator in the USC Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science (TCORS), where she studies diffusion of messages about emerging tobacco products to vulnerable populations through social media. Dr. Unger directs the Ph.D. program in Preventive Medicine / Health Behavior Research. She is an Associate Editor for Substance Use and Misuse and on the editorial board of Tobacco Regulatory Science.




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