Research Interests of Behavioral & Community Health Faculty

M. Harvey Brenner, PhD
Professor - Behavioral & Community Health
Dept: Social and Behavioral Sciences
Address: EAD 709E
Phone: 817-735-5430
Email: harvey.brenner@unthsc.edu
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Research Interest:-My area of expertise is on the impact of the international economy on global health. My research over 35 years, at the national level, has given evidence of the impact of economic change on mortality patterns over time. These national-level studies have shown that changes in population socioeconomic status are heavily responsible for national mortality trends and fluctuations Over the past 30 years, the epidemiological relation between unemployment and decrease life expectancy has been widely replicated in industrialized countries. These studies originated with the national-level time-series analyses I conducted since the 1970s. At present, I and my research team are conducting research on the impact of the international recession on life expectancy. The single most important factor, worldwide, in elevating life expectancy is economic growth.

Heather Kitzman-Ulrich, PhD
Assistant Professor - Behavioral & Community Health
Dept: Social and Behavioral Sciences
Address: EAD 737
Phone: 817-735-5129
Email: Heather.Kitzman-Ulrich@unthsc.edu
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Research Interest:- My scholarly work focuses on obesity prevention and treatment in primarily underserved (low-income, ethnic minority) populations. My research in this area has focused on developing effective programs that utilize existing community resources in order to promote sustainability. I have over 20 peer-reviewed publications related to obesity prevention or treatment, and have presented my work at various national conferences. I have served as a principal and co-investigator on several NIH funded research studies.

Marcy Paul, MA
Instructor - Behavioral & Community Health
Dept: Social and Behavioral Sciences
Address: EAD 709
Phone: 817-735-0537
Email: Marcy.Paul@unthsc.edu
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Research Interest:- My research focus is health disparities and inequities primarily centered on race/ethnicity and sex/gender as it intersects with maternal and child health, specifically infant mortality. I use various media to provide avenues for social justice and social change.  My methodological training is qualitative utilizing mixed approaches including ethnography, survey, PhotoVoice and media journaling, documentary, focus groups and community-based participatory research. I am also an affiliated staff member of the Texas Prevention Institute's Center for Community Health in which I project manage the Healthy Moms-Healthy Babies-Healthy Community (H3) Infant Mortality Initiative.  In addition I have managed the CPRIT funded breast cancer prevention program, CPRIT funded HPV Education and Awareness grant and Qualitative Evaluator for an NIH-P20 Center for Excellence grant.

Raheem J. Paxton, PhD
Professor - Behavioral & Community Health
Dept: Social and Behavioral Sciences
Address: EAD 709E
Phone: 817-735-5430
Email: Raheem.Paxton@unthsc.edu
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Research Interest:-My research is centered on reducing the risk of recurrence, new primaries, and comorbid conditions (e.g., diabetes) in high-risk cancer survivors, including minorities. Specifically, my research involves identifying the antecedents and consequences of physical activity and dietary intake. This includes identifying the psychosocial (i.e., self-efficacy, quality of life, etc.,), behavioral (e.g., dietary intake, physical activity, and sedentary behavior), physiological (e.g., percentage of body fat), and biological endpoints (e.g., oxidative stress and inflammation) associated with cancer development and progression. Developing a plan of research for minority cancer survivors is of importance because minorities are at increased risk for recurrence, subsequent disability, and premature death due to socioeconomic factors and poor lifestyle choices. Despite their increased vulnerability for adverse health outcomes, minority survivors are underrepresented in intervention studies that promote healthy behaviors. The short-term implications of this research are the development of research tools and intervention materials; however, long-term implications are the development of an infrastructure to launch and disseminate interventions to high-risk cancer survivors throughout the United States.

Emily Spence-Almaguer, MSW, PhD
Professor - Behavioral & Community Health
Dept: Social and Behavioral Sciences
Address: EAD 709F
Phone: 817-735-2259
Email: Emily.Spence-Almaguer@unthsc.edu
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Research Interest:- My research interests  include methods associated with program evaluation and community assessment, as well as substantive interests in poverty, homelessness and interpersonal violence.  In these methodological and substantive areas, my focus is on adapting strengths-based, solution-focused  and participatory models of practice in community settings.   I am also engaged in research projects that maximize student learning and community improvement.  Through service learning, student practicum experiences, independent studies, Biostatistics Evaluation Services and Training (BEST) scholarships,  and volunteer opportunities; I am invested in the implementation of projects that offer applied learning opportunities while meeting community needs. 

Dennis Thombs, PhD, Eds, MA, BA
Chairman And Professor - Behavioral & Community Health
Dept: Social and Behavioral Sciences
Address: EAD 709N
Phone: 817-735-5439
Email: Dennis.Thombs@unthsc.edu
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Research Interest:-The focus of my scholarship is addictive behavior with a special interest in alcohol and drug use during the period of emerging adulthood. I am author or co-author of more than 75 articles in peer-reviewed national and international journals. In addition, I am the author of Introduction to Addictive Behaviors, published by The Guilford Press, which will soon be in its fourth edition. My research has been supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the U.S. Department of Education. I served as the President of the American Academy of Health Behavior (2009-2010). The Academy recognized me as a Fellow in 2005.

Scott Walters, PhD
Professor - Behavioral & Community Health
Dept: Social and Behavioral Sciences
Address: EAD 709M
Phone: 817-735-0490
Email: Scott.Waltersunthsc.edu
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Research Interest:- My research is focused on developing better ways of talking with people about change. This has involved translating effective counseling strategies such as motivational interviewing to non-traditional settings (e.g., healthcare, criminal justice) and modalities (e.g., web, mobile, phone). I am currently principal or co-investigator on four National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants testing in-person versus computer interventions to increase probation compliance; a web-based psychosocial program for substance abuse disorders; brief alcohol interventions in a hospital trauma unit; and phone counseling to increase colon cancer screening rates. My publications include 50 peer-reviewed journal articles and five books, including most recently, Treating Substance Abuse: Theory and Technique. I am a standing member of the NIH/NIAAA Epidemiology, Prevention and Behavior Research Review Subcommittee. In addition to research, I have conducted numerous trainings for criminal justice workers, counselors, and healthcare professionals, and served as a consultant on projects to develop Internet, mobile and phone-based interventions for a variety of health behaviors.
This page last updated 30th Jan 2014