Research Areas

Aishia Brown, PhD
Assistant Professor
Dr. Brown’s research interests focus on social justice and community youth development. Some of her most recent work examines the connections between community youth engagement, youth-adult partnerships, and recreational healing spaces. Dr. Brown is particularly interested in integrating these youth development frameworks and concepts into public health community engagement approaches. 

Susan Buchino, PhD, OTR/L
Assistant Professor
Health policy development and evaluation; population mental health; health disparities; community-based and integrated care; health care workforce capacity and planning

Ryan Combs, PhD, MA
Assistant Professor
Community-based participatory research; qualitative methodologies; health disparities; health literacy; health politics and policy; healthcare systems (in particular the U.S. health system and Britain’s National Health Service); social justice; the psychosocial experiences of marginalized groups; intersectionality; LGBTQ. 

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

Jelani Kerr, MSPH, PhD
Assistant Professor
Dr. Kerr’s research focuses on sexual health and HIV/AIDS disparities of racial/ethnic minority youth.  In particular, he examines the individual and structural factors that affect sexual health, how these translate into increased HIV risk, and developing programming to address these issues.  He also examines primary and secondary care-engagement behaviors for individuals living with HIV/AIDS.  Dr. Kerr has been actively working with youth populations and community-based agencies to improve health outcomes and reduce inequities.

A. Scott LaJoie, PhD, MSPH
Associate Professor
Research Interests:  Psychological issues in public health, understanding determinents of health-related quality-of-life, chronic and infectious disease prevention and control

W. Paul McKinney, MD
Professor & Associate Dean
Research Interests: Emergency preparedness and response, immunizations, epidemiology with a particular focus in infectious disease, travel medicine

Richard W. Wilson, DHSc, MPH
Research Interests: Communications and education to prevent the abuse of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, related public policy development and advocacy

Monica Wendel, DrPH, MA, MPH
Professor & Department Chair, Associate Dean for Public Health Practice
Dr. Wendel’s research has included community-based studies in rural and underserved communities in Texas on topics including health disparities, access to care, mental health, childhood obesity, community capacity-building, physical activity, inter-organizational networks, and social capital. She will lead the school’s efforts to become increasingly engaged in our local community. She brings an extensive set of experiences with community-based participatory approaches to applied research and has been extremely well funded in those efforts.

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