Alumni

Previous scholars

Shannon Sanchez-Youngman

Shannon
Sanchez-Youngman
Research Faculty
Biography 

Shannon's research interests lie in the social determinants of health, particularly how racism impacts Latina women's health.

Research Interests 

Shannon recieved her doctorate in political science in Spring 2016. She is a native New Mexican from Albuquerque. She obtained her Bachelor of Science from the University of New Mexico before spending nine years working in the field of women's community health. Shannon's research interests lie in the social determinants of health, particularly how racism impacts Latina women's health.

Louis Alvarado

Louis
Alvarado
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
University at Albany, SUNY
Biography 
Louis Alvarado is a PhD student in Evolutionary Anthropology, working with Drs Jane Lancaster and Martin Muller. His research focuses on the expression of male steroid physiology across the lifespan, particularly as it relates to androgen-dependent cancer. He conducts fieldwork in a rural Polish village at the base of the Carpathian Mountains, where he uses non-invasive methods of biological specimen collection to examine interactions between steroid hormone levels, fertility status, work patterns and senescence.
Research Interests 
Louis Alvarado is a Ph.D. student in Evolutionary Anthropology, working with Drs. Jane Lancaster and Martin Muller. His research focuses on the expression of male steroid physiology across the lifespan, particularly as it relates to androgen-dependent cancer. He conducts fieldwork in a rural Polish village at the base of the Carpathian Mountains, where he uses non-invasive methods of biological specimen collection to examine interactions between steroid hormone levels, fertility status, work patterns, and senescence.

Julie Lucero PhD, MPH

Julie
Lucero
Assistant Professor, Social and Behavioral Health
Community Health Sciences, University of Nevada-Reno
(775) 682-7115
Biography 

Julie was born and raised in northern New Mexico's Espanola Valley, known as a tri-cultural area consisting largely of Spanish, Mexican and Native American populations. She completed her graduate work at the UNM Dept. of Communication & Journalism in Health Communication. Her past research collaborations include Principal Investigator on a health disparities project, in partnership with the National Congress of American Indians Policy Research Center, and UNM HSC Office for Diversity on institutional faculty and student recruitment policies, and UNM Cancer Center population science efforts. 

Research Interests 

Using mixed methods and Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR), Dr. Lucero's research is centered on the identification of modifiable social determinants to reduce the impact of health inequities within communities of color and other diverse communities. Dr. Lucero has been involved with CBPR projects in collaboration with American Indian, Hispanic and LGBT communities. These projects examined factors associated with substance abuse, mental health outcomes, positive youth development, and service utilization. Her current research explores the role of trust in promoting effective processes and outcomes in community-academic partnerships. In previous research, we found trust at the beginning of research partnerships to be significantly associated with participation, power relations, sustainability, and overall research outcomes. Acknowledging the fragile nature of trust, future research will look at concepts and constructs associated change in trust over partnership lifespans.

 

Recent Accomplishments 

Selected publications

In Press

  • Lucero, J.E., Wallerstein, N., Duran, B., Alegria, M., Greene-Moton, E., Isreal. B., Kastelic, Magarati, M., Oetzel, J., Pearson, C., Schulz, A., Villegas, M., & White Hat Emily. In Press. Development of a mixed methods investigation of Process and Outcomes of Community Based Participatory Research. Journal of Mixed Methods Research.

2015

  • Pearson, C., Duran, B., Oetzel, J., Magarati, M., Villegas, M., Lucero, J., & Wallerstein, N. 

    2015
    Research for improved health: Variability and impact of structural characteristics in federally funded community-engaged research projects. Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action.

2014

  • Belone, L., Lucero, J., Wallerstein, N., Baker, E., Chang, C., Chan, C., Duran, B., Greene-Moton, E., Kelley, M., & Tafoya, G. 

    2014
    .Community-Based Participatory Research Conceptual Model: Community Partner Consultation and Face Validity. Qualitative Health Research, DOI: 10.1177/1049732314557084.

  • Oetzel, J., Zhou, C., Duran, B., Pearson, C., Magarati, M., Lucero, J., Wallerstein, N. & Villegas, M. 

    2014
    Establishing the psychometric properties of constructs in a community-based participatory research conceptual model. American Journal of Health Promotion. Advanced online publication.

2012

  • Hicks, S., Duran, B., Wallerstein, N., Avila, M., Belone, L., Lucero, J., Magarati, M., Mainer, E., Martin, D., Muhammad, M., Oetzel, J., Pearson, P., Sahota, P., Simonds, V., Sussman, S., Tafoya, G., & White Hat, E. 

    2012
    Evaluating community-based participatory research to improve community-partnered science and community health. Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action, 6(3), 289-299.

  • Sandoval, J., Lucero, J., Oetzel, J., Avila, M., Belone, L., Mau M., Pearson C., Tafoya G., Duran B., Iglesias Rios L., & Wallerstein N.

    2012
    Process and outcome constructs for evaluating community based participatory research. Health Education Research, 27(4), 680-690.

 

Tennille Marley, PhD, MPH

Tennille
Marley
Assistant Professor
American Indian Studies
(480)965-3634
Biography 

Tennille is an Assistant Professor of American Indian Studies and a faculty research affiliate with the Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center at Arizona State University (ASU). She is a member of the White Mountain Apache tribe and grew up on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation. Tennille’s dissertation examined the relationship among indigenous knowledge, land, history and diabetes on an American Indian reservation. Her current research includes examining structural determinants, particularly housing, and obesity in American Indian adolescents and examining American Indian reservations as segregated places. Currently, she is a co-principal investigator of a pilot grant through ASU’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences to understand more fully how traditional American Indian knowledge can further build and sustain Indian nations, communities, and organizations in Arizona in the areas of food sovereignty, health, language, and education. Dr. Marley earned her B.A. and M.P.H. from the University of Arizona and Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico.

Andrea Lopez

Andrea
Lopez
Department of Anthropology
Curriculum Vitae: 
Biography 

Andrea Lopez, grew up along the United States/Mexico border, in El Paso, Texas, and completed her bachelor of arts degree in anthropology at San Francisco State University, with a focus on urban anthropology and substance use.

In 2007, she received a master’s degree in anthropology from the University of New Mexico.

Research Interests 

Her broad research areas include: medical anthropology, urban anthropology, community-based participatory research methods, public health, HIV/AIDS, substance use, health inequities, and gender and health.

Quote 
The RWJF Center for Health Policy has given me the tools to participate in health policy discussions across the disciplines. I have been able to explore the contributions of qualitative anthropological approaches to health policy. I could not have pursued this kind of research without the support of the Center.

Yajaira Johnson-Esparza

Yajaira
Johnson-Esparza
Postdoc at the University of Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute
505 272-5885
Biography 

Yajaira Johnson-Esparza, was a doctoral fellow at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico.

Her research interests include mental health disparities among Latinos living in the United States. Despite their growing numbers, Latinos continue to be underserved in the mental health sector and to face an array of social and environmental stressors. These vast mental health inequities sparked Peña-Esparza’s interest in pursuing this line of research. She is particularly interested in understanding the dynamics underlying psychopathology in the Latino population, with the ultimate goal of effecting policy change that will contribute to health equity. Her dissertation investigates risk profiles for depression in a national Latino sample. In addition, she has taken the lead role in an RWJF-funded pilot project that investigates the effectiveness of a residential treatment program for homeless and ethnically diverse individuals with substance use problems in Albuquerque, N.M.

Research Interests 

Yajaira Johnson-Esparza was a third-year doctoral fellow at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico.

Her research interests include mental health disparities among Latinos living in the United States. Despite their growing numbers, Latinos continue to be underserved in the mental health sector and to face an array of social and environmental stressors. These vast mental health inequities sparked Peña-Esparza’s interest in pursuing this line of research. She is particularly interested in understanding the dynamics underlying psychopathology in the Latino population, with the ultimate goal of effecting policy change that will contribute to health equity. Her dissertation investigates risk profiles for depression in a national Latino sample. In addition, she has taken the lead role in an RWJF-funded pilot project that investigates the effectiveness of a residential treatment program for homeless and ethnically diverse individuals with substance use problems in Albuquerque, N.M.

J. Alexis Ortiz

Alexis
Ortiz
Postdoc at Stanford University Department of Psychiatry
505 917-9406
Biography 

Alexis Ortiz's dissertation was: Bridging the Gap: A Comparison of Adapted and Standard Version of Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction with Latino Populations. She was awarded the Inaugural Division 29 Diversity Research Grant from the Society for Psychotherapy.

Research Interests 

J. Alexis Ortiz will obtain her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of New Mexico in Summer 2015.
Alexis is currently completing her clinical internship at the Palo Alto VA.
Her research interests include stress, coping, and effects on health and health inequities, Latino health inequities, and mindfulness-based interventions.
Alexis' dissertation was entitled "Bridging the Gap: Adapting Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction for Latino Populations".
She has presented research findings at 16 national conferences, 1 regional and 1 local conference. Alexis has co-authored 7 publications (peer-reviewed and book chapters). She feels fortunate to have been selected as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Doctoral Fellow, American Psychological Association Minority Fellow, New Mexico Center for the Advancement of Research Engagement and Science on Health Disparities, and Ford Foundation Fellow.
Alexis will be starting a postdoctoral position at Stanford University in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the Fall of 2015.

Quote 
The benefits of an RWJF fellowship are tremendous and far-reaching. The aspect of the fellowship that has been most valuable in my experience has been the numerous opportunities to access resources relevant to our progression as researchers. These include networking with senior scholars in our field, leadership sessions, and the conference travel support that the RWJF Center provides.

Sean Bruna

Sean
Bruna
Assistant Professor, Anthropology Western Washington University
Biography 

Sean holds a Bachelors and Masters degree in Anthropology from the University of Chicago and a Masters degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of New Mexico.  His dissertation, "Sowing the seeds for the future to honor Tigua history and tradition" utilizes community based participatory research to examine indigenous epistemologies, religious gardening practices, and diabetes prevention at Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, Texas. Dr. Bruna accepted a position with the Department of Anthropology at Western Washington University.

Research Interests 

Sean Bruna-Lewis is a research scientist on the National Institutes of Health funded "Corazon por la Vida: Comparative Effectiveness Research for Eliminating Disparities", a large interdisciplinary study which is examining promotora led hypertension management among Latios.

Sean holds a Bachelors and Masters degree in Anthropology from the University of Chicago and a Masters degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of New Mexico.  His dissertation, "Sowing the seeds for the future to honor Tigua history and tradition" utilizes community based participatory research to examine indigenous epistemologies, religious gardening practices, and diabetes prevention at Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, Texas.

Sean was born in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and his family is from both Mexico and Cuba. His older brother, Emilio, is a professor in the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation and the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Florida. In his free time, Sean enjoys travel and learning Shao-Lin Kung-Fu.
Sean has held research fellowships and internships with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Smithsonian Institution, the New Mexico Office of Cultural Affairs, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the University of New Mexico’s Center for Southwest Research. Dr. Bruna accepted a position with the Department of Anthropology at Western Washington University.

Quote 
"The RWJF Center for Health Policy brings leading students and scholars from various disciplines together for engaging theoretical and methodological discussions concerning health policy. In addition to this engaging atmosphere, RWJF puts us in contact with statisticians, grant writers, and mentors – all of which push us to compete our work at the level required to impact health policy locally and nationally."

Michael Muhammad

Michael
Muhammad
Postdoc at the Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture, and Health at the University of Michigan
Biography 

Michael Muhammad received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of New Mexico in 2014. A native of Phoenix, Arizona, he holds a Bachelor of Science in economics from Florida A & M University and a Master of Arts in sociology from Cleveland State University. His research interests include health inequalities for indigenous populations, poverty and racial discrimination.

Research Interests 

Michael Muhammad received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of New Mexico in 2014. A native of Phoenix, Arizona, he holds a Bachelor of Science in economics from Florida A & M University and a Master of Arts in sociology from Cleveland State University. His research interests include health inequalities for indigenous populations, poverty and racial discrimination.
 

Jennifer Bennett

Jennifer
Bennett
Instructor, Department of Psychology, Senior Research Scientist, UNM Cancer Center
505 272-4814
Biography 

Jennifer Bennett is currently Principal Investigator for a study in which she has developed a treatment for breast cancer survivors who have cognitive difficulties based on chemotherapy treatment. For more information on her study, please visit www.unm.edu/~jenben. She also performs cognitive testing at the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center for other studies and teaches online classes for the Psychology department at UNM. 

She contributed a chapter with her mentor, Steven Verney, Ph.D.  to the book, Minority and Cross-Cultural Aspects of Neuropsychological Assessment entitled "Cultural Considerations in the Neuropsychological Assessment of American Indians/Alaska Natives."

Dr. Bennett remains committed to helping psychologists understand how to best help minority patients and cancer survivors.

 

Research Interests 

University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center

Research interests include (but are not limited to):

  • Linguistically and culturally fair neuropsychological testing for bilinguals
  • Cognitive deficits related to "chemobrain"
  • Cognitive rehabilitation for cancer patients who receive chemotherapy treatment

Experience

Research Scientist
University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center
April 2013 – Present (1 year 8 months) Department of Pathology

Interviewer for the Ethical, Legal and Social Issues (ELSI) study, funded by the National Cancer Institute.
Instructor
University of New Mexico
August 2006 – Present (8 years 4 months)Department of Psychology

Abnormal Behavior (delivered online)
Developmental Psychology
Issues in Minority Mental Health
Multimedia Developer
Engineering-Environmental Management
2002 – 2004 (2 years) Albuquerque, NM

Created online training for corporate clients.
Multimedia Trainer and Developer
Grass Roots Consulting
1993 – 2002 (9 years) Burlington, MA & Albuquerqe, NM

Created and taught multimedia software development workshops at conferences and corporate sites throughout the United States and in Europe. Acted as instructional designer for Macromedia Corporation (now Adobe) creating training materials used at all Macromedia Authorized Training centers worldwide.

The University of New Mexico
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Psychology
2006 – 2012

Minor Concentration: Clinical Psychology

Dissertation: Linguistic and Cultural Factors Associated with Phonemic Fluency Performance in Bilingual Hispanics

Activities and Societies: Robert Wood Johnson Center for Health Policy Fellow
The University of New Mexico
Master of Science (M.S.), Clinical Psychology
2004 – 2006

Master’s Thesis: The Influence of Cultural Factors on the Performance of Older Hispanics on the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test

(Open) 3 honors and awards

University of Vermont
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Comparative Religion
1990 – 1992

University of Vermont
Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Electrical Engineering
1984 – 1988

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