Yale University

Yale School of Public Health AND CIRA Welcome REIDS Fellows

On June 20, 2016, the Research Education Institute for Diverse Scholars (REIDS) program welcomed four new fellows to its 2016 Summer Institute, the fifth cohort of REIDS fellows since the program began in 2011. REIDS was recently refunded for another 5 years with a $1.3 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health. During their time at Yale, the REIDS fellows are mentored in research, education and training on HIV community-based implementation science by some of the top HIV researchers at CIRA. The Summer Institute will culminate in a two-day conference on July 12-13. The conference will feature research talks from current and alumni REIDS fellows as well as panel discussions on challenges and solutions for diversity and inclusion in academia.

The REIDS Program

Since its inception, 17 fellows have completed the REIDS program. Each has done a pilot project, which takes one to two years. The program is intended to meet the challenges and barriers to advancement experienced by diverse researchers who are underrepresented in the field of HIV research. It provides opportunities for fellows to develop the skills needed to conduct community-based implementation science research and advance research focused on HIV-inequalities. The program is aimed at junior faculty—assistant professors or postdoctoral fellows—who are seeking educational support and mentoring.

"This program provides diverse scholars the additional support, infrastructure and mentoring that facilitates their academic and professional success," said Trace Kershaw, Ph.D., associate professor at the School of Public Health and co-director of REIDS. 

"Programs like REIDS are essential to diversify the research field for the benefit of communities most impacted by HIV and for better science" said Barbara Guthrie, Ph.D., R.N., who cofounded REIDS in 2011 and has continued with the program as co-director and an emeritus professor at the Yale School of Nursing. "The REIDS fellows receive strong mentoring and support during and beyond their time at CIRA and many have gone on to obtain new faculty positions, and increased their HIV research funding and publications".

Meet our 2016 Fellows:

  • Jasmine Abrams, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
    Dr. Abrams is a Health Psychologist who examines the role of sociocultural and psychological factors in the etiology and pathophysiology of chronic illnesses, namely HIV/AIDS and cardiovascular disease, among marginalized populations with a focus on women of African ancestry. Her work identifies and elucidates the processes by which psycho-socio-cultural factors influence health outcomes and behaviors. Additionally, with an emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention, Dr. Abrams develops, implements, and evaluates multi-level evidence-based interventions. Her long term research and programming goals are to continue partnering with communities, domestically and globally, to conduct work that contributes to improved health outcomes for women of African ancestry. Dr. Abrams is also the founder of Research Unlimited, a full service research assistance agency that specializes in the recruitment and retention of diverse groups. Her REIDS mentor is Dr. Jeannette Ickovics. 
  • Jessica Jaiswal, Pre-Doctoral Fellow, Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University
    Jessica is currently completing her doctoral work at Columbia University in public health and sociology in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences. Her recent research qualitatively explores disengagement from outpatient HIV care, and the ideas commonly referred to as HIV-related “conspiracy beliefs”. Broadly, she is interested in the HIV care continuum, particularly (re)engagement, and different forms of medical mistrust among populations of color. In addition to participating in the REIDS program, Jessica will begin a two-year appointment in fall 2016 as an Assistant Professor-Faculty Fellow at New York University in the Postdoctoral and Transition Program for Academic Diversity. Her REIDS mentor is Dr. Frederick Altice.
  • Isha Metzger, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina
    From Atlanta, Georgia by way of Sierra Leone, West Africa, Dr. Metzger earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical-Community Psychology from the University of South Carolina. Dr. Metzger completed her pre-doctoral internship in Clinical Psychology at the Medical University of South Carolina, an APA-Accredited internship program. Currently, she is a National Institute of Mental Health T-32 Postdoctoral Fellow in Traumatic Stress at the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center. Her research is funded by the South Carolina Clinical & Translational Research Center for Community Health Partnerships (SCTR/CCHP) at the Medical University of South Carolina. Dr. Metzger’s research interests focus on reducing mental health disparities through increasing engagement and enhancing treatment outcomes among underserved minority populations (e.g., African Americans). Specifically, Dr. Metzger is interested in preventing engagement in risky behaviors (e.g., sexual activity, alcohol use, delinquency) as well as understanding risk and resilience factors (e.g., trauma experiences, racial socialization and discrimination, family and peer relationships) that may moderate or mediate the relation between trauma exposure and problematic outcomes (e.g., STI/HIV exposure, unintended pregnancies, revictimization, drunk-driving accidents, legal system involvement). She also is interested in understanding the multiple stages of translational research including the conceptualization, implementation, dissemination, and systematic evaluation of prevention programming aimed at reducing mental health and health disparities among African American youth. Dr. Metzger also teaches at the Medical University of South Carolina; offers trauma-informed culturally-sensitive consultation to trainees and professionals in the community; and provides evidence-based trauma-focused treatment to children, adolescents, families, and adults at the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center in Charleston, South Carolina. Her REIDS mentor is Dr. Barbara Guthrie. 
  • Raquel Ramos, Postdoctoral Fellow in Self & Family Management, Yale School of Nursing
    S. Raquel Ramos, PhD, MSN, MBA, FNP-BC, is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Self and Family Management at the Yale School of Nursing. She earned her research doctorate at the Columbia University School of Nursing. Her clinical training and research experiences are directly related to her passion for serving vulnerable populations living with HIV. She is specifically interested in participant-centric approaches that use technology to simplify medical communications, such as wording on consent forms. Dr. Ramos’ professional experiences and academic training has driven her passion to design, develop, and conduct participant-centric research that employs technology as a bridge to convey complex information so that it is both useful and actionable. The purpose of her two-phase dissertation was to explore, design, and then test a user-centric interface as a means to convey the essential concepts of consenting to electronically share one’s medical records with healthcare providers. Findings suggested that although participants had college-level experience, most were unable to successfully comprehend the key components of consenting to electronically share. Future endeavors include continued use of participant-centric techniques to address comprehension disparities associated with densely written medical communications (e.g. consent forms) in vulnerable populations living with HIV. Her REIDS mentor is Dr. Barbara Guthrie.

Published: Monday, June 27, 2016