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Faculty Fellows

Tracy Dennis-Tiwary Ph.D. (Co-Director)

Dr. Tracy Dennis-Tiwary (Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University) is a Professor in the Psychology Department at Hunter College, The City University of New York, Co-Director of the Hunter College Center for Stress, Anxiety, and Resilience Research (STARR), a faculty member in the Health Psychology and Clinical Science and the Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience doctoral programs, and a member of the Hunter College Center for Translational and Basic Research. She has received cross-disciplinary training in clinical psychology, affective-cognitive neuroscience, and developmental psychopathology. Current projects include an NIH-funded clinical trial of biobehavioral mechanisms in a computerized cognitive behavioral modification treatment for anxiety and stress, and the development of digital mental health tools that overcome treatment barriers and increase engagement and acceptability of treatment options. She is also conducting research on school-based methods for teaching youth mindfulness-based stress and anxiety reduction, which is the topic of the documentary film “Changing Minds at Concord High.” Read more about her work at dennis-tiwary.com.

Charles Platkin, PhD, JD, MPH (Co-Director)

Charles Platkin, PhD, JD, MPH is a Distinguished Lecturer at Hunter College in New York City and the Director of the New York City Food Policy Center at Hunter College. Additionally, Dr. Platkin is a nutrition and public health advocate, whose syndicated health, nutrition and fitness column, the Diet Detective appears in more than 100 daily newspapers and media outlets. He is also the founder of DietDetective.com, which offers more than 700 articles and interviews on nutrition, food, and fitness. Additionally, Platkin, was also the founder of Integrated Wellness Solutions (IWS). IWS worked to develop corporate wellness initiatives including sophisticated online health tools, algorithm based diet and fitness programs, as well as print related content to market health behavior change. IWS also worked with pharmaceutical companies (including Roche and Pfizer) creating digital strategies and tools to assist with patient behavior change. These programs included the first ever Registered Dietitian nutritional counseling via email program with more than 100,000 patients.

Dr. Platkin was the president and founder of Marinex, a forerunner in health consulting and media relations. Additionally, he was the General Counsel and Vice-President of News Communications, Inc., a publicly-traded newspaper and magazine company based in Manhattan that published The Hill in Washington, and Dan’s Papers in the Hamptons, among others.

Dr. Platkin is the author of seven books. His first book, “Breaking the Pattern” was a bestseller in hardcover; it has been used by addiction clinics to assist patients with resolving drug and alcohol-related issues and more than 20 universities around the country as a text to teach behavioral change techniques to nutrition and dietetic counseling interns. His latest books are The Diet Detective’s Count Down (Simon and Schuster, 2007), The Diet Detective’s Calorie Bargain Bible (Simon and Schuster, 2008), The Diet Detective’s Diet Starter Kit (Diversion, 2011), and The Diet Detective’s All American Diet (Rodale, 2012).

Dr. Platkin is also the co-founder of The Health Lab (www.thehealthlab.com). The Health Lab collaborates with innovators and entrepreneurs to create sustainable, commercially viable businesses that solve health-related problems. The goal is to fully support innovators who tackle an exceptional, untapped opportunity related to health and wellness.

Joel Erblich, PhD  

My research focuses on the interactions between emotional, cognitive, behavioral and genetic factors in addictive behaviors. In conducting my research, I take a multidisciplinary-translational approach, with hypotheses driven by both the human and animal literatures that have contributed to the current understanding of motivations for drug use. Projects in this area include studies of the effects of personality, attitudes, cognitions, and stress on alcohol craving and drinking decisions. Other projects include the effects of dopamine-related genetic polymorphisms on smokers’ cigarette cravings. The research thus draws upon behavioral principles, such as personality, conditioning, and stress reactivity, as well as molecular biological principles, including genetic and cellular mechanisms of dopamine transmission. I am also examining the mechanisms underlying technology-enabled interventions for addictive behaviors, including attention bias modification techniques. I hope that ultimately my research program will lead to effective multifaceted treatments for tobacco smoking and alcohol dependence, both of which continue to contribute unabatedly to human morbidity and mortality at alarming rates.

Jennifer Ford, PhD 

My primary research interest focus is to improve quality of life and quality of care outcomes for pediatric, adolescent, and young adult (AYA) cancer survivors. My work focuses on psychosocial and behavioral aspects of pediatric, adolescent and young adult cancer survivorship, which include studies of health behaviors, survivorship clinic attendance, psychosocial development and adaptation, psychosexual functioning, psychosocial adjustment and coping with chronic illness, risk based surveillance, as well as the development and testing of evidence-based mobile and technology-based behavioral interventions. My projects are based on theories of health behavior change and are designed to reduce the burden of cancer late effects and to improve the lives of pediatric and AYA cancer survivors.

Sarit Golub, PhD, MPH

My laboratory focuses on gender and sexuality, and includes research on feminist identity, transgender health, and the impact of sexual behavior and expression on physical, mental, emotional, and relational health. I direct the Hunter HIV/AIDS Research Team (HART), which investigates HIV as a case study for larger psychological concepts such as stigma and stereotypes, interpersonal and intergroup processes, identity development, and judgment and decision-making. Our NIH-funded implementation science research focuses on HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and applies theory and methods across disciplines (including social psychology, neuropsychology, behavioral economics and decision sciences) to inform new approaches to HIV prevention and care. Please visit our website to learn more!:

May May Leung, PhD, RD

May May Leung, PhD, RD is an assistant professor of Nutrition at the Hunter College School of Urban Public Health. Her research expertise includes the development and evaluation of innovative health communication and community-based interventions to prevent childhood obesity. She also uses community-based participatory research methods, such as photovoice, to engage and empower youth residing in vulnerable communities. May May’s research projects have lead to partnerships with various community-based organizations in New York City, such as the Children’s Aid Society and New York Cares. In addition, she focuses on the translation and dissemination of evidence-based interventions and policies to reduce the risk of chronic diseases with the goal of enhancing the public health impact of initiatives. May May’s work extends internationally as she has worked with the World Health Organization, Shanghai Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. She completed her doctoral degree in Public Health Nutrition at the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Global Public Health (UNC). She earned her BA in Psychology from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and her MS in Nutritional Sciences at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Prior to her time at UNC, May May was an adjunct faculty member and project manager at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Nursing.

Regina Miranda, PhD 

Our research seeks to elucidate cognitive processes relevant to the onset, maintenance, and treatment of depression, suicidal ideation, and suicide attempts in adolescence and emerging adulthood. This program of research seeks to translate social cognition research to the study of important clinical phenomena. Specifically, we are interested in the role of ruminative thinking in the development of hopelessness-related cognitions, along with the specific cognitive content of hopelessness-related thinking that increases vulnerability to suicidal behavior. We are also interested in racial and ethnic differences in vulnerability to suicidal behavior and in the interplay between culture and cognition in explaining risk for suicidal ideation and attempts. Current research leverages new advances in digital and mobile measurement approaches to examine distal and proximal risk factors for suicidal ideation and attempts.

Jon Rendina, PhD

My research is broadly focused on the impact of social stress on health, and I am currently pursuing research looking at how HIV-related stressors influences the mental, behavioral, and physical health of HIV-positive gay and bisexual men. This work is informed by the minority stress model and seeks to integrate HIV-related and sexual minority stressors into a unified model of health for this population. Much of my research uses online and mobile technologies, particularly intensive longitudinal designs such as ecological momentary assessment (EMA), and my long-term goal is to develop and test mobile health (i.e., mHealth) interventions aimed at reducing the impact of social stress on health. I am also interested in the role of emotions as mediators and moderators of the stress-health association, with a particular emphasis on how emotional processing and its interaction with cognitive processing might help to explain why and for whom there is a strong tie between social stress and health. In addition to this primary line of research, I am also actively involved in several others lines of research, including: (1) developing event-level models of sexual decision making that integrate both cognitive and affective processes; (2) predictors, consequences, and patterns of substance use and abuse; and (3) HIV prevention, particularly pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and modeling trends over time in PrEP acceptability, uptake, and suspension. I maintain a particularly heavy emphasis on research methods and statistics, and regularly utilize methods such as multilevel modeling (MLM), factor analysis, structural equation modeling (SEM), psychometric analysis, and latent class analysis (LCA).

Ming-Chin Yeh, PhD

Ming-Chin Yeh, PhD is an Associate Professor of Nutrition at Hunter College, City University of New York. His research involves developing innovative intervention strategies to promote a healthy lifestyle such as increasing fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity for health promotion and disease prevention. Other research interests focus on obesity and diabetes prevention and management in multi-ethnic populations. Some of his recent projects include a NIH R34 translational study examining lifestyle intervention for diabetes prevention among Chinese immigrants; collaborating in cutting-edge behavioral research studies targeting approaches to prevent stroke recurrence in veterans; examining the relationship between parenting style/home environment and childhood obesity; qualitative research in nutrition such as understanding barriers to fruit and vegetable consumption; assessing the role of gut microbiota in health promotion in vegan diets. Currently Dr. Yeh is a Co-Investigator on two VA-funded randomized controlled trials testing the effectiveness of a comprehensive personalized behavioral intervention that aim to improve foot self-care, foot self-monitoring, and modifiable risks (e.g. A1c, BP and LDL) in diabetic patients. Dr. Yeh teaches graduate-level nutrition research course as well as undergraduate-level courses in community nutrition and institutional management. Dr. Yeh received his PhD in Public Health Nutrition at the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill, a MEd at Teachers College, Columbia University, a MS at New York University, a BS at Taipei Medical College, Taiwan, and a post-doc training at the Yale University Prevention Research Center.

 

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