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Public Health | Affiliated Faculty

American University Faculty Affiliated with Public Health

Monica Biradavolu

Dr. Biradavolu researches the structural determinants of health, an interdisciplinary focus that embeds health within economic, social, political and gendered power inequities and marginalization. She has done extensive ethnographic work on HIV/AIDS interventions in southern India through Project Parivartan. She is also interested in extending and applying insights from research in India to help develop interventions for HIV prevention in Washington D.C., and is collaborating with colleagues in the area to develop research programs to address the HIV epidemic in the metropolitan area.

Kim Blankenship

Dr. Blankenship is professor and chair in the Department of Sociology and Director of the Center on Health, Risk and Society. Her research and publications focus on race, class, and gender analyses of health, with an emphasis on HIV/AIDS. Current research includes a mixed methods study of the implementation and impact of community mobilization interventions for HIV prevention in female sex workers in India; and a mixed methods, longitudinal study of the impact of criminal justice involvement in HIV related risk of re-entrants and their sexual partners and its association with race disparities in HIV/AIDS.  

Wendy Boland
Kogod School of Business

Professor Boland’s research focuses on consumer decision-making, behavioral choice, information processing, and marketing and public policy issues dealing with children and adolescent consumers  

Michele Carter

Dr. Carter received his doctorate and master’s degrees from Vanderbilt University and his bachelor’s degree from Georgia State University. He completed a clinical internship at the Palo Alto V.A. followed by a postdoctoral at the Center for Stress and Anxiety Disorders at SUNY, Albany. He has been a faculty member at American University since 1993. As director of the Anxiety Disorders Research Lab, one of his main objectives is to conduct research aimed at understanding excessive anxiety and related conditions, and how anxiety symptoms are displayed differently within different cultural frameworks.

Victoria Connaughton

Dr. Connaughton’s research interests encompass the disciplines of developmental biology and neurobiology. She is also interested in examining how the development of neural connections could be altered due to mutations or drugs, and has done experiments that address behavioral/ecological questions.  

Caroline Cooper
Public Affairs

Professor Cooper has been involved with the provision of technical assistance, evaluation, and training services to courts and other adjudication system agencies engaged in judicial improvement efforts. She is currently working on issues related to the implications of the Affordable Care Act for persons involved in the criminal justice service who need substance abuse and mental health services. She is also very involved in working with local courts and substance abuse and behavioral health specialists to develop therapeutic approaches for dealing with persons who are involved in the criminal justice system and are substance addicted and who also may have co-occurring mental health and other disorders. 

Maria De Jesus
School of International Services

Dr. De Jesus' research program examines the role of cross-cultural health communication as a mechanism to eliminate global health inequalities. As globalization and migration have created a demographic imperative for the development of effective health communication strategies and technologies, her scholarship focuses on the health of members of immigrant and refugee with the overarching goal to generate knowledge that can then inform health practice and policy. She teaches courses on health communication across borders, global health, and cross-cultural communication. Currently, she is the Principal Investigator on a District of Columbia Developmental Center for AIDS Research (DC D-CFAR)-funded project that examines and compares HIV-related perceptions, barriers and facilitators to HIV testing, and communication norms among East African and African American women.  

Katie Decicco-Skinner

Dr. DeCicco-Skinner's research interests include cancer biology, cell biology, and immunology. Specifically, her research is focused on studying two of the major inflammatory pathways in the cell, MAPK and NF-kB, to identify how these pathways become inappropriately regulated as a normal cell transitions into a cancerous state. Her research uses a variety of immunological and molecular biology techniques in two separate cancer model systems, squamous cell carcinoma and multiple myeloma.  

Daniel Esser
School of International Services

Dr. Esser's public health research focuses on international and global dimensions of health-related cooperation and assistance. He has published on global health funding to fight the spread of infectious diseases and address aging-related challenges and recently completed a study of the political economy of "country ownership" in the context of HIV prevention and treatment. Dr. Esser looks forward to hearing from students interesting in supporting his current and future research projects. Interested students should have a basic understanding of statistics (advanced numeracy), a superior command of English and should be able to commit five hours per week. Some of the tasks students may be asked to perform include, but are not limited to, online data collection, bibliographic annotation, statistical analysis, analysis of qualitative data with NVivo, proof-reading and copy-editing. Please contact Dr. Esser if you meet the requirements and would like to get involved. His SIS faculty profile contains a link to his office hours sign-up sheet.  

Sonya Grier
Kogod School of Business

Professor Grier conducts interdisciplinary research on topics related to target marketing, race in the marketplace, the social impact of commercial marketing, and social marketing. Her current research investigates the relationship between marketing activities, and consumer health, with a focus on obesity Lewis Grossman lewisg@american.edu Washington College of Law Professor Grossman teaches and specializes in American legal history, civil procedure, and food and drug law. He was a member of the National Academics’ Institute of Medicine Committee for Review of FDA’s Role in Ensuring Safe Food and was a legal consultant for the IOM Committee on the Framework for Evaluating the Safety of Dietary Supplements. He teaches, writes, and speaks in the areas of food and drug law, American legal history, and civil procedure.  

David Haaga

Dr. Haaga has completed research on cigarette smoking and smoking cessation among depression-vulnerable smokers, with funding from the Office of Naval Research, the National Cancer Institute, and private foundations, as well as reviewing cessation methods for the APA’s task force on empirically supported treatments. Currently, Dr. Haaga’s research focuses on stepped care in treating trichotillomania, supported by the National Institute of Mental Health.  

Monica Jackson

Dr. Jackson has both a BS and MS degree in mathematics, a PhD in applied mathematics and computational science, and did post doctoral research in biostatistics. Her current research interest is in the area of spatial statistics and disease surveillance with applications to developing, investigation methods for detecting cancer clusters, global clustering patterns, and developing simulation algorithms for spatially correlated data.  

Jocelyn Johnston
School of Public Affairs

With a background in Public Administration and intergovernmental finance and policy: Professor Johnston’s current research focuses on government contracting, public management, and intergovernmental programs and policy  

Kim Leighton

Dr. Leighton’s main areas or research are ethics and bioethics, but she puts a lot of focus on social/political philosophy, continental philosophy, and feminist philosophy. Bringing together bio-ethics and political philosophy, she is extremely interested in discovering how current sciences of identity such as genetics and genomics, and the ethical problems they purportedly raise, affect current political, social, and legal critique, particularly in regards to articulations and freedom.

Robin Lumsdaine
Kogod School of Business

Dr. Lumsdaine joined the Kogod School of Business at American University as the Crown Prince of Bahrain Chair in International Finance. She is an expert in Global Financial Markets, banking, and financial regulation, as well as aging, retirement income, Social Security, and healthcare. Her current research includes the divide between the average American consumer and Wall Street, the relationship between oil prices and breakeven inflation rates, and the market’s view of the financial crisis.  

Betty Malloy

Professor Malloy received her PhD in Statistics from the University of New Mexico and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Biostatistics at the Harvard School of Public Health. Her research interests include functional data analysis, biostatistics, semiparametric regression, and computational statistics, with applications in environmental statistics, occupational health, psychology, and other areas.  

Sarah Menke-Fish

Professor Menke-Fish is a full time professor of film and media arts. She serves as associate director for the Center for Environmental Filmmaking, launched and directs Discover the World of Communication, a summer program that brings high school students from around the world to AU and U.C. Berkeley for intense, hands-on courses in environmental communication, video production, screen writing and journalism. She is currently working with YMAT, Young Mothers Against Tobacco, studying how teen mothers are empowered to make a positive difference in their child’s lives by protecting them from second hand smoke.

Kathryn Montgomery

Dr. Montgomery is a full-time professor and Director of the Communications Studies Division. Throughout her career, she has written and published extensively about the role of media in society, addressing a variety of topics including: the politics of entertainment television, youth engagement with digital medial, and contemporary advertising and marketing practices. Her current research interests includes how children are using new digital media, recent trends in interactive marketing, and entertainment media and media criticism.

Michelle Newton-Francis

Dr. Newton-Francis is a cultural sociologist whose research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of the production and reception of popular culture, work and labor, and body and embodiment. She has worked as an applied sociologist on several federally funded programs by the U.S. Department of Justice and as a research fellow for the Defense Manpower Data Center. Her research interests include areas of popular culture, deviance, sociology of culture, gender, and cultural criminology.  

Rachel Robinson
School of International Service

Dr. Robinson’s research focuses on the politics of population, reproductive health, and HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, and she also studies the determinants of birth timing in the United States. Her most recent work on Africa explored the process of population policy adoption by African governments and the emergence of reproductive health. She has expanded this work to study the impact of NGO’s on health outcomes, and is currently working on a book project investigating the relationship between family planning and HIV/AIDS interventions in sub-Saharan Africa.

Larry Sawers

Professor Sawers interests are in economic development and the economic history of the United States. His current research and recent publications focus on the economics behind the HIV epidemic in the developing world, emphasizing on Southern Africa. His other publications look at the effects of policy reform in Argentina, Ecuador, and Lithuania, with a special emphasis on regional development, agriculture, and nontraditional exports.

Jeremy Shiffman
Public Affairs

A political scientist by training, Professor Shiffman researches the politics of health policy and administration in poor countries. He has a particular interest in health agenda-setting: why some issues receive priority while others are neglected. Among other topics, he has investigated maternal survival, newborn survival, family planning, donor funding for health and health systems reform.

Stacey Snelling
School of Education, Teaching, and Health

Dr. Anastasia Snelling is an associate professor at American University in the School of Education, Teaching, and Health. Dr. Snelling has been teaching undergraduate and graduate health promotion programs for the past two decades with a focus on nutrition and behavior change, the integration of health promotion into health care, and health communication. Therefore her research is challenging teachers and school districts to change how they view the relationship of health and education and encourages them to align and integrate these two sectors. Policy and programs that reach students, teachers and administrators must drive improvements in the school health environment. Her research agenda involves working to implement and evaluate policies and programs with schools districts to advance the linkage of health and education.

Chenyang Xiao

Dr. Xiao’s main research interests include environmental beliefs, attitudes, behaviors and public opinion on environmental issues. He is also interested in applied social statistics and quantitative research methodology. Dr. Xiao’s current project compares the USA and China in terms of environmental concern, specifically gender differences.

Brian Yates

Dr. Yates has conducted Cost - Procedure - Process - Outcome Analysis (CPPOA) for human service enterprises and research initiatives in prevention of alcohol, tobacco, and other substance abuse and suicide, and in treatment of opiate, cocaine, and alcohol addictions, residential programs for urban youth and for mentally retarded adults, and consumer-operated services. Dr. Yates works regularly on a variety of federally funded projects in health, alcohol and drug addiction, media-based substance abuse prevention, mental health services for children and families, and multi-site studies. He also runs the Program Evaluation Research Laboratory (PERL), which is dedicated to helping human services. Currently, PERL is focusing on research on the areas of substance abuse treatments tailored to women, consumers of mental health services, therapies for Seasonal Affective Disorder, and therapy for depressed diabetic adults.