The Scholars in Health Disparities Program (SHDP) is the Legacy program to the Multidisciplinary Track of the Kellogg Health Scholars Program. Below are the alumni of the SHDP.

Carlotta Arthur, Ph.D.
Rajni Banthia, Ph.D.
Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, Ph.D., M.D.
Vanessa Burt, M.D.
Sekai Chideya, M.P.H., M.D.
Portia Lynne Cole, Ph.D.
Geetanjali Datta, Sc.D.
Flora Dallo, Ph.D.
Beverly Araujo Dawson, Ph.D.
Tamara Dubowitz, Sc.D.
Sonia Eden, M.D.
Anne Foster-Rosales, M.P.H., M.D.
Dionne Godette, Ph.D.
Joseph P. Gone, Ph.D.
Melva Green, M.D.
German Hernandez, M.D.
Sandra Jee, M.D.
Soowoon Kim, Ph.D.
Denae W. King, Ph.D.
Helen Lee Kwon, Ph.D.
Ly Uyen Nguyen, Ph.D.
Dean Robinson, Ph.D.
Ronica N. Rooks, Ph.D.
Mercedes Rubio, Ph.D.
Lester Spence, Ph.D.
Lisa Cacari Stone, Ph.D.
Kim Dobson Sydnor, Ph.D.
Cayla R. Teal, Ph.D.
Pamela L. Thornton, Ph.D., M.S.W.
Edna Viruell-Fuentes, Ph.D.

Dr. Carlotta M. Arthur

Dr. Carlotta M. Arthur received a B.S. in Metallurgical Engineering from Purdue University and an M.A. in psychology and Ph.D in clinical psychology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She completed a clinical health psychology internship at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston Texas. Dr. Arthur was a member of the inaugural cohort of the W.K. Kellogg Scholars in Minority Health Disparities at the Harvard School of Public Health from 2001 to 2003, and co-coordinated Harvard University’s first symposium on minority health disparities. Carlotta has been a faculty member at Meharry Medical College, an HBCU in Nashville, TN and an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow and lecturer at Smith College in the Departments of Afro-American Studies and Psychology. Dr. Arthur is currently at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in New York where she is Director of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program and is Program Officer for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Diversity Initiatives. Dr. Arthur is also owner of Tranquility Psychological Services PLLC in New York, a professional practice specializing in the management of psychological stress, particularly among women, and health psychology research and consulting. Carlotta’s early research examined psychosocial factors in cardiovascular reactivity to psychological stress among African Americans and Caribbean Americans. Her current work focuses on psychosocial factors in mental and physical health; health inequities among members of the African Diaspora; psychological stress and health; stress and coping of Black women; and cultural competence in mental health care with Black Americans.

  Rajni Banthia, Ph.D.

Dr. Rajni Banthia is a Senior Research Director at the Field Research Corporation in San Francisco, California. She is a public health scientist who conducts research on obesity and chronic illness prevention through environmental, behavioral, and public policy initiatives that aim to reduce health disparities and promote healthy living. Much of her work is focused upon access to healthy foods, opportunities for physical activity, and other social determinants of health in lower income communities of color.

Banthia has extensive experience with directing large qualitative and quantitative studies, with a passion for building, training, and supervising multi-disciplinary project teams. She manages evaluation and research projects through all phases from study conceptualization, grant proposal development, instrument design, multi-modal data collection, statistical analyses, scientific writing, to presentation of findings. Over her career, she has forged collaborative partnerships with stakeholders in governmental, community, and academic settings with the intent of creating bridges between scientific and policy applications. Based on conclusions from empirical studies, she develops manuscripts, briefs, and reports to inform public and institutional policy.

Banthia earned a BA in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley with a minor in South Asian Studies, and a PhD in Behavioral Medicine from the University of California San Diego/San Diego State University joint doctoral program. She completed her clinical internship at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System and her postdoctoral fellowship in Public Health Policy at the University of California, San Francisco with funding from the W.K. Kellogg Scholars in Health Disparities program. Prior to joining Field, Banthia worked at Samuels & Associates, a public health research and evaluation firm, and PolicyLink, a non-profit research and advocacy organization promoting social justice and equity.

Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, Ph.D., M.D.

Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo is Assistant Professor in Residence of Medicine, Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Division of General Internal Medicine, San Francisco General Hospital. Her interests include the epidemiology of cardiovascular disease, health disparities, and the quality of chronic heart failure care. Dr. Bibbins-Domingo received her undergraduate degree at Princeton University in molecular biology and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Before starting her graduate studies, she spent two years at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria. Dr. Bibbins-Domingo received her Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of California, San Francisco and went on to complete medical school and clinical training in internal medicine. She was a Kellogg Scholars in Health Disparities Program alumna at the University of California, San Francisco.

Portia L. Cole, Ph.D.

Dr. Portia L. Cole received her BA degree in Sociology at George Washington University, an M.S.W. degree at Catholic University of America and her PhD in Sociology at American University. She was awarded a Pre-Doctoral Fellowship by the American Sociological Association and specialized in mental health and social policy during her doctoral program. Her dissertation explored the impact of Sickle Cell disease (SCD) on the mental health of Black women. In 2004, she was awarded a W.K. Kellogg Health Disparities Post Doctoral Fellowship and was placed at Morgan State University’s Public Health Program where she studied the role of the Black church in cancer prevention. Dr. Cole is currently an Assistant Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Social Work and is currently teaching advanced graduate course(s) in health policy. In 2007, Dr. Cole was honored with the award of an H. Jack Geiger Congressional Health Policy Fellowship and served as a health legislative assistant in the late Senator Edward Kennedy’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee office. In this role, she participated in national public policy decisions and discourse to improve the health status of racial/ethnic minority populations. Since her return to VCU, she continues to conduct research on SCD, health disparities, and work-family conflict stress among women of color. In addition, she is the co-principal investigator of The Family Law Clinic, a multidisciplinary project of the University of Richmond (UR) Law School and Virginia Commonwealth University. In this role, Dr. Cole oversees the instruction of social work students who work alongside UR law students to ensure that clients have access to psychological care, counseling and social work services.

Beverly Araujo Dawson, Ph.D.

Dr. Beverly Araujo Dawson is assistant professor of social work at Adelphi University. Dr. Dawson received her Ph.D. from the Joint program in Social Work and Psychology from the University of Michigan. She received her Master’s of Social Work from the University of Michigan and a B.A. in Psychology from Hunter College. Her research focuses on the impact of psychosocial stressors such as discrimination and language barriers on the mental health of Latino immigrants, as well as the development of culturally competent interventions for Latino communities. Dr. Dawson was a Kellogg Scholars in Health Disparities Program alumna at the Columbia University site.

Dr. Tamara Dubowitz

Dr. Tamara Dubowitz is an Associate Policy Researcher at RAND. Trained in Social Epidemiology with concentrations in Maternal and Child Health and Public Health Nutrition, Dubowitz’ research interests include neighborhood effects, particularly that of the built physical and social environment, obesity and diet related disease, and the health and nutrition effects of social policy (e.g., housing policy, food stamps, and WIC) and monitoring and evaluation. Her work has utilized both quantitative and qualitative methods to examine individuals within their social and structural contexts, having examined immigrant status and duration of residence in the United States, structure of the workday, access to childcare and competing daily-life constraints alongside of neighborhood socioeconomic status and racial composition. Dr. Dubowitz has also worked internationally. In addition to spending 2 1/2 years working on women’s health programs and development with the Peace Corps in Burkina Faso, West Africa, Dubowitz led an evaluation of a maternal and child nutrition program led by UNICEF India. More recently, she has looked at factors of the built environment and their association with prevalence of obesity in Pittsburgh, Pa.Dr. Dubowitz received her doctorate and master of science from Harvard School of Public Health as well as her master’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania. Her Research Focus includes the following: Health promotion and disease prevention; social epidemiology; neighborhood effects on health and nutrition; maternal and child health and nutrition; the effect of social determinants (e.g. racial and socioeconomic residential segregation) on health disparities; diet and diet-related disease (i.e. obesity); monitoring and evaluation of programs and interventions; families and children, energy and environment. Dr. Dubowitz received her Sc.D. in maternal and child health from Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard University, S.M. from Harvard University and M.Sc., University of Pennsylvania.

Dionne Godette, Ph.D.

Dr. Dionne Godette is an alum of the 2004-2006 Kellogg Scholars in Health Disparities program at the Harvard School of Public Health. She received her terminal degree from the School of Public Health at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and is currently an assistant professor of health promotion and behavior at the College of Public Health, University of Georgia. Dr. Godette’s recent publications in domestic and international journals focus theoretically and empirically on examining inequities in: (1) physical consequences experienced by minorities related to alcohol, tobacco and other drug (ATOD) use, and (2) social consequences of ATOD use (e.g. criminal justice involvement and disruption of social relationships).

Joseph P. Gone, Ph.D.

Dr. Joseph P. Gone is assistant professor in the Department of Psychology (Clinical Area) and the Program in American Culture (Native American Studies) at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. An enrolled member of the Gros Ventre tribe of Montana, Gone enlisted in the U.S. Army for two years before obtaining his A.B. in psychology at Harvard University in 1992. Following a year of living and working on the Fort Belknap Indian reservation in north-central Montana, Gone pursued his doctorate in clinical and community psychology at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. During his graduate training, he served as the Charles A. Eastman Dissertation Fellow at Dartmouth College before accepting an Internship in Clinical Psychology at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School. Gone earned his Ph.D. in 2001 and commenced his academic career with a brief faculty appointment in the Committee on Human Development at the University of Chicago before relocating to Ann Arbor. As a cultural psychologist, Gone engages in his research the key dilemma confronting mental health professionals who serve Native American communities, namely how to provide culturally appropriate helping services that avoid the neo-colonial subversion of local thought and practice. He has published articles and chapters concerning the ethnopsychological investigation of self, identity, personhood, and social relations in American Indian cultural contexts vis-à-vis the mental health professions.

Melva Green, M.D.

Dr. Melva Green is Board Certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Dr. Green is a physician specializing in diagnosing and treating mental, emotional, and behavioral problems. Her credentials include graduation from Meharry Medical College with numerous honors including induction into Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, an internship in Pediatrics at DC’s Children’s National Medical Center and a residency in Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins. Greatly disturbed by the health gap that plagues the lives of many forgotten communities, she completed a W.K. Kellogg postdoctoral fellowship in health disparities before returning to Hopkins as a Sommer Scholar for a Masters in Public Health at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from Hopkins as well. Dr. Green’s accomplishments are showcased in the numerous honors and awards received and appointments to several organizational advisory boards. The most recent accolades and appointments include being Chair of the Committee on Women at the American Psychiatric Association, Executive Council member at the Association of Women Psychiatrists, Sommer Scholars Alumni – Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2005 Surgeon General’s Work Group on Women’s Mental Health and 2006 Regional Finalist for the White House Fellows Program.

Sandra Jee, M.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Sandra Jee received a B.A. in English from Yale University and her M.D. with Distinction in Research from the University of Rochester. She recently received an M.P.H. degree in Health Management and policy from the University of Michigan. She completed two years of pediatric residency training at New York University-Belleview Hospital and one year at the University of Michigan. She completed an NRSA fellowship in Pediatric Health Services Research at the University of Michigan in the Division of General Pediatrics, prior to the Kellogg Scholars in Health Disparities Fellowship. She accepted a position as Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester in 2004. She received a junior faculty development award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, through the Physician Faculty Scholars Program. Dr. Jee’s current research interests include community-based studies focused on health and mental health for vulnerable children, especially for children and youth in foster care.

Soowon Kim, M.S., Ph.D.

Dr. Soowon Kim is a program manager at the Stanford Health Improvement Program (HIP), a division within the Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford University School of Medicine. At HIP, she designs and evaluates health promotion efforts both inside and outside of Stanford. Her work is committed to improving the health of every individual, including those who are disadvantaged. She focuses her efforts on providing practical guidance to those developing health promotion programs and public policy by addressing the multiple pathways through which biological, behavioral and contextual contributors affect individual and population health. Recently, with her colleagues at the YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) and other universities, Kim developed the Community Healthy Living Index (CHLI), a tool that assesses opportunities for healthy eating and active living in communities and guides those communities through an improvement process. She also participates in evaluating the Y-USA’s broader community effort called Healthier Communities Initiatives that facilitate community health improvements through collaborative efforts. She was a postdoctoral scholar in W.K. Kellogg Scholars in Health Disparities Program at the University of California, San Francisco. Kim received her B.S. and M.S. in Food and Nutrition from Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, and her Ph.D. in Nutrition Epidemiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a nominated inductee of Delta Omega, the honorary society in public health.

Denae Waller King, Ph.D.

Dr. Denae Waller King is currently a research scientist at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in the Center for Research on Minority Health and a Kellogg Scholar in Health Disparities Alumni (2004-2006). She holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Texas Southern University and obtained a master’s and doctoral degree in environmental science with a concentration in toxicology from The University of Texas, Houston Health Science Center, School of Public Health. Although formally trained as a bench scientist, Dr. King developed an interest in community-based participatory research (CBPR) as it relates to environmental health and cancer during her postdoctoral Kellogg Scholars’ training in the Center for Research on Minority Health. She has continued to work on environmental health assessment projects designed to address community-identified environmental health concerns in minority communities located in the Houston metropolitan area. Other projects include examinations of the toxicological and carcinogenic effects of the drinking water contaminants, disinfection byproducts. Additional newfound research interests include the role of neighborhood effects in the onset of cancer in minority populations. Dr. King’s research has focused on biomarkers of genetic susceptibility and environmental risk factors associated with cancer incidence and mortality.

Dean E. Robinson, Ph.D.

Dr. Dean E. Robinson, Associate Professor of Political Science, is currently examining the effects of political and public policy trends on racial health disparities in the United States. Racial minorities tend to bear a greater share of the burden of disease and death in the U.S. Professor Robinson”s work focuses on “upstream” causes of these patterns, particularly policies, past and present that reinforce inequality of social welfare provision and socioeconomic status. He is also working on a book on the general theme of the politics of racial and class health inequalities in the U.S. In 2001, Robinson”s book Black Nationalism in American Politics and Thought looked at the intersection of race and class in U.S. social movements and ideology.’;’health disparities in the U.S., intersection of race and class in U.S. social movements and ideology.

Ronica N. Rooks, Ph.D.

Dr. Ronica N. Rooks is an assistant professor in health and behavioral sciences at the University of Colorado Denver. Prior to this, she was an assistant professor in sociology at Kent State University. She also completed a W. K. Kellogg postdoctoral fellow in health disparities at the University of Michigan and a postdoctoral fellowship in geriatric epidemiology at the National Institute on Aging. She graduated from the department of sociology at the University of Maryland at College Park with concentrations in demography and social stratification. Her research focuses on explanations for racial and socioeconomic status disparities in the health of African Americans, particularly focusing on neighborhood socioeconomic status and demographics to examine heart disease and physical functioning outcomes among the elderly; perceptions of unfair treatment on hypertension, mental health, and health care utilization among adults; and geographic variation in adult patients’ perceived quality of and access to health care on health care utilization.

Mercedes Rubio, M.A., Ph.D.

Dr. Mercedes Rubio lives in Washington D.C. She is Program Chief, Psychopathology Risk and Protective Factors Research Program and Assistant Director for Training in the Division of Adult Translational Research and Treatment Development at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Dr. Rubio received her BA in sociology at California State University, Bakersfield; her MA and PhD in sociology from the University of Michigan; and completed her post-doctoral training in Nursing at the University of Michigan. Dr. Rubio has authored several manuscripts and book chapters on race as a social phenomenon, transnational migration and health, home ownership among Latinos, and health status among Latino elderly immigrants. Her areas of expertise include obesity, mental health, and immigrant health.

Lester Spence, Ph.D.

Dr. Lester Spence is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Spence’s specialties include racial politics, black politics, public opinion, and urban politics. He is particularly interested in examining how what we watch and listen to, as well as who we watch and listen to influence our ideas about politics, and our public policy preferences. For example, how does reading a newspaper story about a black male HIV/AIDS victim change our attitudes about black men? How does reading that story change our attitudes about behavior related to HIV/AIDS? And he does not confine his analysis to the news. Chuck D. once said that rap was “black America’s CNN”. Dr. Spence’s first book Stare in the Darkness: Rap, Hip-hop, and Black Politics (under review) examines how rap not only influences youth attitudes, but also how it reflects and at the same time creates black politics. His work has been published in a variety of outlets, from The Washington Post and the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch, to web magazines like and, to prestigious academic journals such as The American Journal of Political Science, Political Research Quarterly, Political Analysis, the WEB Dubois Review, and the National Political Science Review. A frequent radio commentator he can regularly be heard on NPR. His goal is to continue to publish ground breaking social science research, while simultaneously engaging in critical dialogue with mainstream audiences.

Dr. Lisa Cacari Stone

Lisa Cacari-StoneDr. Lisa Cacari Stone is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Family and Community Medicine and Senior Research Fellow with the Robert Wood Johnson Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center. From 1999 to 2004, she was a national recipient of the WK Kellogg Doctoral Fellowship in Health Policy Research and graduate of The Heller School of Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University (2004). From 2005 to 2008, she served as an H. Jack Geiger Congressional Health Policy Fellow for Senator Edward M. Kennedy with the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and as a W.K. Kellogg and Alonzo Yerby post-doctoral scholar at the Harvard School of Public Health. Her studies along the New Mexico-Mexican border and in state and national policy making processes have focused on the role of health and social policies in moderating health equity in the U.S. Currently, Dr. Cacari Stone is the principal investigator in a pilot project funded by the RWJF Center for Health Policy “the demographic significance of immigrant growth to new and emerging and traditional gateway counties across the U.S. and the policy responses of county governments and their localities to those changes and the implications concerning access to health care.” She is also co-investigator with Dr. Howard Waitzkin on another RWJF Center study examining the role of counties as the fundamental units of health access for low income, racial/ethnic communities, and medically underserved populations in the U.S. Additionally, Dr. Cacari Stone serves as principal investigator for the Border Center of Excellence grant which is a consortium of researchers and providers in Texas, Arizona and California in developing a strategic plan for increasing the health care delivery and research workforce along the U.S.-Mexico border. Dr. Cacari Stone is trusted for her work in “moving knowledge to action for health equity” among government administrators, elected officials, community based organizations, coalitions and foundations including the New Mexico Executive and Legislative Health, Human Services and Educational Committees; NM Governors’ Women’s Advisory Council; Con Alma Health Foundation; New Mexico Border Health Association; and the Dona Ana County Health and Human Services Alliance.

Kim Dobson Sydnor, Ph.D.

Dr. Kim Dobson Sydnor is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Community Health and Policy Department in the Department of Behavioral Health Sciences at Morgan State University where she serves as Department Chair. At Morgan, Dr. Sydnor serves as Site Director for the W.K. Kellogg Health Scholars program – Community Based Participatory Research track. Dr. Sydnor received her B.S. in Psychology from Morgan State University and her doctorate in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University. She is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. Dr. Sydnor has published research in the areas of substance use, cancer, Head Start. Her current research efforts are focused on program evaluation in two key areas: child development and problem solving courts. For the child development projects, Dr. Sydnor partners with local Head Start programs to assess program effectiveness for both parents and children and with DRU Mondawmin Healthy Families, Inc. This work applies a life course framework that examines the key contexts of school and family utilizing a community based participatory approach. The current work with the courts includes Maryland mental health court and juvenile justice court evaluation, partnering with the University of Maryland College Park, as well as UM Law School and UM School of Social Work. She serves as an Associate Editor for the community-based participatory journal Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research Education and Association and is on the Executive Board of DRU Mondawmin Health Families, Inc.

Cayla R. Teal, Ph.D.

Dr. Cayla R. Teal is currently a Research Scientist with the Houston Center for Excellence for Health Services Research and Development the Michael E. Debakey VA Medical Center and the Department of Veterans Affairs VISN 16 Mental Illness Education Research and Clinical Center, and an Assistant Professor in the Section of Health Services Research, Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Teal completed her PhD in community psychology and MA in community/clinical psychology at Wichita State University and later completed a health services research post-doctoral fellowship at the Michael E. Debakey VA Medical Center. She is a mixed-methods researcher, including quantitative (e.g., latent variable analysis), qualitative (e.g., focus groups, cognitive interviews, etc.) and psychometric (e.g. questionnaire development) methodological training and experiences. Her research experiences have been primarily in applied settings and have included work with community-based and volunteer associations, law enforcement, mental health facilities and educational institutions. She was a 2004-2006 Kellogg Foundation Health Disparities Scholar, which recognizes individuals who demonstrate potential to contribute creatively to the understanding of the determinants of health disparities and influence health policy. Her broad research agenda focuses on the cultural influences that contribute to health and mental health disparities, and her work has two current parallel tracks, a) the development of enhanced means for measuring patient-level cultural influences on health and mental health behavior, and b) examination and improvement of cross-cultural communication between providers and patients. Her research support has included the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and others.

Edna A. Viruell-Fuentes, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Edna Viruell-FuentesDr. Edna Amparo Viruell-Fuentes is an Assistant Professor in Latina/Latino Studies and Community Health at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Her work builds on the premise that studying immigrant health offers insights into the impact of social contexts on health status, which in turn can contribute to the elimination of health disparities. Based on her field research in immigrant communities, she has proposed several conceptual re-directions to immigrant health research by drawing attention the racialization processes that Mexican immigrants contend with as they integrate into the U.S. and to the contexts of immigrant social ties. She is currently testing these and other ideas in her quantitative work and conducting a project to examine the (health) impacts of migration in immigrant-sending communities. Dr. Viruell-Fuentes is the author of several publications on community-based participatory research, transnationalism, and immigrant and Latino health, among others. At UIUC she teaches courses on Mexican and Latin American migrations, and on immigration and health. Prior to her current position, she was a joint Yerby and Kellogg Scholar in Health Disparities at the Harvard School of Public Health. She has over 15 years of research and policy experience at the community and national levels. Dr. Viruell-Fuentes holds a B.A. in Mathematics and Psychology rom Berea College, an M.P.H. from the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and a Ph.D. from the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan.