Past Post-Doctoral Fellows
Larissa Calancie, Ph.D. (2016-2019)
Larissa Calancie completed her doctoral training at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the Nutrition Department in the Gillings School of Global Public Health.
Calancie’s research interests include community engagement, childhood obesity prevention, food systems, gene-environment interactions, systems science, multilevel interventions, public health workforce capacity-building, hunger alleviation, social entrepreneurship and health equity. Her dissertation focused on understanding and evaluating food policy councils. Calancie engaged with community members and public health practitioners to build capacity to develop and implement policy, systems and environmental-level interventions to promote health and prevent chronic disease. Her experience includes working with Child Nutrition Staff to strengthen their school meals programs, developing web-based nutrition intervention and evaluation materials, and studying whether genes associated with bitter taste perception influence participants’ responses to a dietary change intervention.
As a post-doctoral fellow, Calancie gained training in participatory and computational systems science methods and applying these novel methods to promote health equity.
Dr. Calancie is currently a Research Assistant Professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.
Dana Carthron, Ph.D., R.N. (2013-2015)
Dana Carthron is a 2009 graduate of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) College of Nursing, and the first graduate of the BSN to Ph.D. at UAMS. The focus of her graduate studies was gerontology. Her dissertation and program of research in chronic illness explored self-management of diabetes among African -American care-giving grandmothers. Carthron was on the faculty of Winston-Salem State University, teaching Community/Public Health, Nursing Research and Gerontology. She completed a fellowship with the John A. Hartford Building Geriatric Nursing Capacity program, gaining expertise in mixed methods and longitudinal analysis of trajectories of chronic illness. As a center investigator at Duke University’s Adaptive Leadership for Cognitive Affective Symptom Science (ADAPT) Center, she used longitudinal quantitative, qualitative and mixed-method approaches to examine the trajectories of symptoms and symptom sequelae as well as patient adaptations associated with cognitive/affective changes. As a CHER post-doctoral fellow, she gained expertise in Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) to continue her work with African American care-giving grandmothers.
Kia Davis, Ph.D. (2015-2017)
Kia Davis worked as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Cancer Health Disparities Training Program in the Gillings School of Public Health. Her dissertation explored the associations between socioeconomic status, chronic stress, smoking and BMI using latent variable analytic techniques. Davis’ research interests include the social determinants of health and health inequities, health communication and chronic disease prevention.
Davis wants to become an independent investigator with a focus on (1) increasing our understanding of the complex and multifactorial relationships between social-contextual stressors and chronic disease risk factors; (2) developing scalable community-based interventions to reduce the burden of chronic disease risk factors in communities of color; and (3) providing data to inform policies that seek to ameliorate health disparities. She earned her Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from the St. Louis University School of Public health in 2007. After time working at the National Institutes of Health, she earned her Doctor of Science (Sc.D.) degree from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health in 2015.
Dr. Davis is currently an Assistant Professor of Surgery at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
Katrina Ellis, Ph.D. (2015-2018)
Katrina R. Ellis earned her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan School of Public Health (Health Behavior and Health Education). Her research interests include family health interventions; cancer survivorship; racial and ethnic disparities in cancer; and, program evaluation. Katrina’s future program of research includes the design and implementation of interventions to support the quality of life and healthy lifestyle and coping behaviors of cancer survivors, caregivers and family members. Her postdoctoral fellowship was completed with the Center for Health Equity Research in conjunction with the Cancer Health Disparities Training Program (UNC School of Public Health).
Ellis is currently an Assistant Professor of Social Work at the University of Michigan.
Leah Frerichs, Ph.D.
Leah Frerichs, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Frerichs’ research is focused on the intersection of community-based participatory research and systems science to address health disparities, largely in the area of chronic disease prevention. She has experience working with diverse communities including American Indian, Latino and African Americans to develop, implement and evaluate community-based interventions and policies. Her work has had a major focus on understanding and developing interventions that target social and physical environment influences on youth’s health behaviors in under-served communities.
Frerichs earned her Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research and completed a postdoctoral fellowship with the Center for Health Equity Research at UNC. Prior to her doctoral studies, she managed a cancer prevention and control program for tribal communities in the Northern Plains.
Lori Hoggard, Ph.D. (2015-2017)
Lori Hoggard earned her Ph.D. in Personality & Social Contexts Psychology from the University of Michigan. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and the Center for Health Equity Research at UNC. Hoggard joined the faculty at Rutgers University-New Brunswick in the fall of 2017, where she is a member of the Social Psychology area as well as an affiliate of the Health Psychology program.
Hoggard’s research focuses on racial discrimination as a chronic psychosocial stressor that heightens African Americans’ risk for physical (e.g. cardiovascular disease) and mental (e.g. depression and anxiety) health concerns. She focuses on: (1) elucidating whether racial discrimination is a distinct stressor for African Americans with physiological and psychological consequences that exceed those of non-race-related stressors, (2) explicating the mechanisms that underlie the associations between racial discrimination experiences and deleterious outcomes and (3) identifying person-related characteristics that serve as potential protective or vulnerability factors (e.g. racial identity) in the context of racial discrimination. Her interests include structural racism and the development and implementation of interventions that alleviate the impacts of racism.
Dr. Hoggard is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Rutgers University.
Tiarney Ritchwood, Ph.D. (2013-2015)
Tiarney Ritchwood is a graduate of the Child Clinical Psychology Doctoral program at the University of Alabama and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Her fellowship emphasized clinical and research training focused on meeting the needs of under-served populations by means of community and medical center partnerships. Ritchwood is interested in adolescent health disparities and in the examination of psychosocial factors that impact health behaviors and outcomes such as adolescent sexual behavior and sexually transmitted infections, exploring structural as well as individual factors. As a CHER post-doctoral fellow, she used community-based participatory research (CBPR) to develop research in rural and under-served settings.
Dr. Ritchwood is currently in the Department of Community & Family Medicine in the Duke University School of Medicine.
Darius Scott, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Darius Scott received his PhD in Geography from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research has been supported by the Ford Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the Social Science Research Council. He uses qualitative and historical methods to weigh how health and infrastructural inequities are negotiated by African Americans and the LGBTQ community. In particular, he employs oral history and archival research to understand ways HIV and transportation development inequities lead to race and sexual orientation-based community formations in the US South. His research contributes to debates in human geography and public health regarding how culture and space, as coupled factors, produce differences within populations (e.g. black gay men). He is interested in employing cultural geographic insights to foster nuanced, place-based interventions aimed at improving the well-being of LGBTQ and African American communities.
Laura Villa Torres, Ph.D., MSPH
Post Doctoral Research Associate
Laura Villa Torres joined CHER in 2018. Her current research interests rely on the health disparities lived by immigrants from Mexico in the United States, particularly among those living with limited documentation status. Villa Torres’ methodological strengths are qualitative research and community-based participatory methods. As part of her postdoctoral experience, Villa Torres expanded both her population focus and her methodological expertise.
Tiffany L. Young, Ph.D. (2014-2018)
Tiffany Young earned her Ph.D. at the University of South Florida (USF) School of Aging Studies. During her tenure at USF, Young also earned a cognate in Evaluation from the Department of Educational Measurement & Research. While at USF, her research focused on developing and evaluating community programs for older adults. Her dissertation research used mixed methods and the community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach to develop, implement and evaluate an inter-generational physical activity program for kinship families. She was awarded the USF Graduate Community Scholars Grant for this research. Her current interest is in utilizing CBPR as a framework for engaging community stakeholders in the design, implementation and evaluation of programs to address broad community health issues. She recently was awarded a Diversity Research Supplement by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute which will support her work using CBPR to adapt and evaluate an evidence-based lifestyle intervention that will address cardiovascular disease risk factors among older adults in a rural community.
With over 15 years of evaluation experience in both the nonprofit sector and academia, her professional mission is to serve as a bridge between academia and the community in hopes of creating a synergistic relationship that advances the overall well-being of under-served communities.