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IPEHD Post Doctoral Fellows and Graduate Students: Where Are They Now?

Since its inception in 2003, the USC Institute for Partnerships to Eliminate Health Disparities has managed and provided leadership for several projects that provide training and education to a variety of audiences, ranging from high school students to working professionals. Our faculty and staff have lead and executed a variety of activities designed to promote and increase minority health and health disparities research; increase the number of minority researchers conducting community-based participatory research in vulnerable and underserved populations; and recruit, train, and mentor students, faculty, and future research leaders from underrepresented populations interested in careers in pubic health, minority health and health disparities research. "Pipeline" projects have included academic year and summer enrichment programs for high school students; summer internships for college students; faculty development symposia, workshops, and institutes; an academic course for credit, a joint Bachelor of Science and a Master of Public Health degree, a certificate of graduate studies focused on public health disparities and rural health; as well as postdoctoral training opportunities.

We are proud to showcase the accomplishments of our past postdoctoral fellows and graduate students. These men and women are currently engaged in public health research, teaching, and practice careers. They are indeed "rising stars, destined to reduce health disparities and improve the health status of underserved and minority communities in a variety of ways. We are, indeed, proud of them!

Dr. Crystal N. Piper
Crystal N. Piper is an Assistant Professor in the College of Health and Human Services at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. As a health services and policy researcher, her research agenda focuses on health behaviors and the characteristics of disparities in chronic diseases and disease management among minority and vulnerable populations. Because the development of healthy lifestyles often begins at infancy and continues through the stages of life (i.e. infancy, childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, adulthood, and older adult), Dr. Piper recognizes the importance of understanding health differences across the lifespan. In an attempt to better explain the multiple determinants associated with a specific condition, her research agenda integrates a life course approach to the study of chronic diseases.

Her research topics have included: Aging/Gerontology, Asthma, Cancer, Community/Public Health, Health Service Utilization, Healthcare Disparities, HIV/AIDS, Maternal and Child Health, Policy Analysis, Race/Ethnicity/Culture, Rural Health.

Contact Information:
Crystal N. Piper, MPH, MHA, PhD
Department of Public Health Sciences
College of Health and Human Services
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte, NC 28223
Phone: 704-687-5874
Fax: 704-687-6122
Cell: 803-463-1739
Email: cpiper1@uncc.edu 

Lisa Tisdale Wigfall, Ph.D.,
Dr. Lisa Wigfall received her Ph.D. in Health Promotion, Education and Behavior from the University of South Carolina (USC), Arnold School of Public Health (ASPH) in August of 2009. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in health disparities research at the USC-ASPH Institute for Partnerships to Eliminate Health Disparities from August 2009 to December 2010. Dr. Wigfall was appointed as a research assistant professor in the department of Health Services Policy and Research at the USC-ASPH in January 2011. Her research is focused on health services utilization and health system failures across the cancer care continuum among persons living with HIV/AIDS. She has served in leadership roles on two completed pilot studies that provided data for her currently funded career development award, which is supported by National Cancer Institute (NCI).

The first pilot project completed was an Administrative Supplement for Community-Engaged Research on HIV/AIDS-Related Cancers Among Underserved Populations (Project Title: "HPV and cervical cancer prevention and control among WLWHA. This pilot study was funded by the NCI Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities under the parent award, the South Carolina Community Cancer Disparities Network, under the leadership of Dr. James Hebert, PI. The second pilot study, "Cervical cancer screening and HIV testing behaviors among financially disadvantaged women in South Carolina," which was funded by the Medical University of South Carolina's South Carolina Clinical and Translational Research Institute (SCTR), Dr. Wigfall served in the role of co-PI.

Dr. Wigfall's currently funded NCI Mentored Research Scientist Development Award to Promote Diversity (K01)will enable her to receive training in health, mHealth (mobile health), communication, patient navigation, cancer epidemiology, and HPV-mediated cancer biology. Dr. Wigfall's training will allow her to develop and pilot test a HPV and Cancer Health Prevention Education Program for HIV-Positive Women. The program will feature mHealth.

Dr. Wigfall has also received an award from the USC Institute for African American Research that will allow her to examine transportation-related access to care barriers from the perspectives of individuals who provide medical transportation service. These formative data will be used to inform future mHealth solutions aimed at addressing these health system failures.

Contact Information:
Lisa Wigfall, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor
University of South Carolina
Arnold School of Public Health
Institute for Partnerships to Eliminate Health Disparities
220 Stoneridge Drive, Suite 103 | Columbia, South Carolina 29210-8018
Office Phone: (803) 251-2298 | Fax: (803) 251-6327
Websites: http://www.sph.sc.edu/health_disparities & http://www.sph.sc.edu/hdrn/

Larrell Wilkinson is an Assistant Professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Dr. Wilkinson teaches courses related to Community Health and Human Services within the Department of Human Studies in the School of Education. Previously, Larrell was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Partnerships to Eliminate Health Disparities (IPEHD), graduating from the Health Services Policy and Management (HSPM) Department of the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina (USC) in May of 2011. Dr. Wilkinson received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences from Tennessee State University in 2000. He completed his Master of Science in Health Promotion Education and Behavior from the Arnold School of Public Health (ASPH) in 2005. Larrell has worked in the field of public health since 2004, first as the Coordinator of the Office of Alcohol & Drug Programs at USC and then as its Director in 2005. Serving as Director of a new office, the Office of Substance Abuse Prevention & Education, from 2005 through 2009, he was responsible for transitioning the office from event based programming and peer education toward a focus on evidence-based practices and community coalition building.

In his role as a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute, his core responsibilities included serving as principal investigator/project manager of a small pilot study entitled Stress Coping & Obstruction: Prevention & Education Project (SCOPE). Dr. Wilkinson served as Program Director/Co-Investigator of the Project 3 Mental Health & Sleep Quality component of the Soldier Health Promotion to Examine and Reduce Health Disparities (SHPERHD) Research Study, and collaborating with community organizations and research teams to implement community programs and apply for grant funding.

Dr. Wilkinson's research emphasis includes: health disparities/health equity, emerging adult wellness, access and utilization of health care, and obesity. He also focuses on disease and disability prevention through applying the life-course perspective and community-based participatory research.

While a doctoral candidate, he received the Alvin R. Tarlov & John E. Ware Jr. Doctoral Dissertation Award in Patient Reported Outcomes in 2010 and was the recipient of the ASPH Doctoral Scholarship in 2009. Larrell first arrived in Columbia in 2002 as a graduate student from Stone Mountain, GA. He credits his experiences in the Columbia area in shaping his desire to "help people succeed through social enterprise, community engagement, and individual encouragement."

Contact Information:
Larrell Wilkinson, Ph. D., MSPH, CHES
Assistant Professor - Health Education
Department of Human Studies
School of Education - EB210
University of Alabama at Birmingham
(205) 975-1295

Dr. Andre Walker, Ph.D., MPH serves as Senior Consultant with Healthy Connections- Prime at the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). This new pilot program provides integrated and coordinated care for individuals who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. This innovative program realigns incentives so Medicare and Medicaid services can work in a single system, resulting in a simpler health care experience that improves quality, reduces costs and enhances patient satisfaction. It will transform the state's health care system to deliver patient-centered care that integrates all types of care services, including medical, behavioral health and long-term services and supports. Dr. Walker provides technical expertise regarding oral health services related to manage care services. He provides assistance in the areas of contracting, procurement, quality management and managed care. His research interests include health disparities/health equity, oral health, periodontal disease, diabetes, prostate cancer, minority health, health policy, as well as access to care in rural and underserved populations.

Contact information:
W. Andre Walker, PhD, MPH
Senior Consultant, Managed Care/Dual Eligibles
South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
1801 Main Street
Columbia, South Carolina 29201
Phone | (803) 898-1427
Fax| ( 803) 898-255-8209

Minnjuan Flournoy Floyd, PhD, MPH, MBA is a social science analyst with the US Department of Health and Human Services at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality in Rockville, Md. In her current position, she serves as a resident expert in evaluation for a number of grants and programs in the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, and the Center for Mental Health Services. Minnjuan was selected to represent the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality on the SAMHSA Evaluation Team, which provides recommendations on all evaluations and data collections for approval by the agency administration. Additionally, she was selected to serve on the Internal Operating Strategy Grants and Contracts Team, which examines SAMHSA's resource investments. She is a contracting officer representative and regularly serves on technical and business proposal review panels for evaluation contracts. Dr. Flournoy Floyd's current research foci include health services evaluation, technology assisted behavioral health care, behavioral health disparities affecting vulnerable populations, and substance abuse prevention and treatment for minorities living with HIV.

She earned a Ph.D. in Health Services, Policy and Management from the University of South Carolina, a Master of Public Health from Eastern Virginia Medical School, a Master of Business Administration from William H. Taft University, and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from North Carolina Central University.

Dr. Charles Beverley, Ph.D., Jr. is a native of Saluda, Virginia and earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Health Services Policy and Management from the Arnold School of Public Health at University of South Carolina. He holds a Masters in Information Systems from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia.

During his doctoral studies at the University of South Carolina, Dr. Beverley worked as a graduate research assistant for the Institute for Partnerships to Eliminate Health Disparities at USC. In this position, he conducted research, performed statistical analyses using SAS, and contributed to the production of manuscripts in health disparities, healthcare informatics, and HIV/AIDS, which were submitted to peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Beverley also worked as a Health Educator on a multi-million dollar federal health promotion study for the University of California in San Francisco. In this position, he taught and counseled Army soldiers in two health promotion programs called 'Staying Safe and In Control' and 'Fit You'. In both programs, he was a subject matter expert in HIV/AIDS, cancer prevention, substance abuse, alcoholism, sexually transmitted infections, unintended pregnancies, intimate and partner violence, healthy living, and interventions to prevent risky behaviors.

After completing his Ph.D., Dr. Beverley received a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in Public Health Informatics and Surveillance at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, GA. Currently, his core responsibilities at the CDC include identifying existing evidence-based health promotion interventions targeting people with disabilities, determining ways to adapt these interventions, and conducting analyses related to comparative health surveillance of people with and without disabilities to identify health disparities.

In his spare time, Dr. Beverley works as an adjunct professor at Walden University and American Public University for their online Health Informatics and Healthcare Administration degree programs. Dr. Beverley teaches courses in Healthcare Management, Health Informatics, and Information and Knowledge Management.

Contact Information
Dr. Charles Beverley, Jr., Ph.D.
Healthcare Informatics Fellow
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1519 Bungalow Lane, NW
Atlanta, GA 30318
Phone | (804) 832-2244
Email | CharlesBeverley@yahoo.com