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Our Expertise

Our Expertise

In our department, students are uniquely trained to approach complex social and public health issues using theories, methods, and strategies from across diverse disciplines. Our faculty possesses a breadth of expertise in various designs, methods, approaches, and subject matter areas to support students in their academic and professional pursuits. Located in the heart of a metropolitan area, our hands-on training strengthens the science and practice of public health, equipping our graduates to be leaders in a variety of settings.

Students interested in health equity and social justice will benefit from our faculty’s multidisciplinary training in biostatistics/bioinformatics, cognitive psychology, communication, community sciences, education, English, global health, health education, health promotion, medicine, occupational therapy, policy and politics, prevention science, social and behavioral health, and youth development.

Faculty Research Areas

Aishia Brown, PhD, Assistant Professor
Research Interests: Social justice, community youth development, community youth engagement, youth-adult partnerships, recreational healing spaces, youth development frameworks and concepts, public health community engagement approaches

Susan Buchino, PhD, OTR/L, Assistant Professor
Research Interests: Homelessness and intersecting structural factors in health care, the legal system, and community resource and policy development, population behavioral health and health care access, health disparities

Sara Choate, PhD, MSEd, Assistant Professor
Research Interests: mental/emotional health and sexual health of youth and young adults, digital mental health interventions, racial disparities in help-seeking behavior, access to mental health services, behavioral health first response, implementation science

Ryan M. Combs, PhD, MA, Associate Professor
Research Interests: health policy, health and healthcare disparities, medical education, health literacy, health communication, psychosocial experiences of marginalized groups, sexual and gender minority health, LGBTQ+ communities, racial justice, community-based participatory research, qualitative methods

Muriel J. Harris, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor
Research Interests: Health program evaluation, socio-cultural factors that influence health, community-based participatory research, disease prevention, culturally appropriate interventions, qualitative research

Trinidad Jackson, PhD, MPH, MS, Assistant Professor, Assistant Dean for Culture and Liberation
Research Interests: Power, youth development, sociopolitical development, healing, human rights, suffocating white supremacy, liberation, global perspectives

Gaberiel Jones, Jr., PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor

Brandy N. Kelly Pryor, PhD, MA, Assistant Professor

Jelani Kerr, PhD, MSPH, Associate Professor
Research Interests: Sexual health and HIV/AIDS disparities of racial/ethnic minority youth, individual and structural factors that affect sexual health, HIV risk, primary and secondary care-engagement behaviors for individuals living with HIV/AIDS, program development, youth, community-based agencies

A. Scott LaJoie, PhD, MSPH, Professor
Research Interests:  Social, cognitive, and emotional factors that influence health behavior and health-related decision-making, LGBTQ COVID-19 prevention, HPV vaccination and screening among marginalized or vulnerable people, using environmental indicators to inform health risk communications

W. Paul McKinney, MD, Professor & Interim Dean
Research Interests: Emergency preparedness and response, immunizations, epidemiology with a particular focus in infectious disease, travel medicine, and use of drones for delivery of emergency medical supplies

Jovita Murillo León, DrPH, MPH, MA, Assistant Professor
Research Interests: Social determinants of health including housing, poverty/low-income, food insecurity, transportation, health disparities, gender inequities

Q Omer, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Brian Patrick Schaefer, PhD, MS, Associate Professor
Research Interests: Public health and the criminal legal system, mixed methods, alternative responses in behavioral health crises, public health interventions to address crime and safety, the collateral consequences of criminal legal system and police organizations, investigations, and culture

Tammi Alvey Thomas, PhD, MSSW, Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Public Health Practice and Undergraduate Education; Assistant Professor
Research interests: Needle exchange programs, public health workforce development, student retention

Monica Wendel, DrPH, MA, MPH, Professor & Department Chair
Research Interests: Applied research, community capacity building, social and structural determinants of health, structural violence

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