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Former Team Members

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Karla Flores, B.S.

Undergraduate Research Assistant

2020-2021

Karla Flores graduated from the University of Houston, with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a minor in Health. Karla joined LABHRT because of her interest in researching how risk behaviors affect the lives of Hispanic/Latinx communities. In LABHRT, she contributed with social media connections, translation of project measures from English-Spanish, and establishing relationships with the Hispanic community. She plans to attend graduate school and obtain a Master’s of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. In the future, she wants to be able to provide affordable therapy to those who struggle with harmful behaviors in the Hispanic/Latinx community. 

 

Karla loves dogs and enjoys taking walks at the park with her little chihuahua. She was born in El Salvador and loves to travel to her birth country and spend time with family.

Domenica Cartagenova, B.S. B.A.

Research Assistant

2019-2021

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Domenica Cartagenova graduated from Texas A&M University with a Sociology B.S and a Spanish B.A. She joined the LABHRT because of her interest in preventative health care and her previous research experience in race and ethnicity effects on society.  Domenica was instrumental in the set-up of Project PRESENT implementation including IRB process, creation of online screeners and surveys in qualtrics, recruitment initiatives, participants’ screeners and follow-up visits, creation of flow-charts, and overall problem solving. She also led an important phase of the linguistic adaptation (Spanish-English) of the measures utilized in the lab, coordinating the relevant tasks assigned to lab members as well as leading the literature search. She also assisted with project PERSPECTIVES as observer of interviews, attended community events and contributed to overall lab functioning. She hopes to attend medical school in future to pursue a career in primary care and preventative medicine.

 

In her spare time Domenica enjoys being outdoors, running, and spending time with her family.

Daniela Arenas,  B.S.

 Research Coordinator

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2019-2020

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Crystal Hernandez

Undergraduate Research Assistant

2020

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Katherine Balderrama  Najera  

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Summer 2019

Daniela Arenas is an alumni from the College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences at the University of Houston with a B.S. in Kinesiology – health profession. She is a native Mexican, first-generation college graduate with 10 years of experience in the clinical field & health research. She joined the LABHRT in August of 2019 as a research coordinator because she cares about educating the Latinx community about mental and behavioral health issues. functioned as a full-time research coordinator in LABHRT where she primarily worked in the implementation of project PRESENT, including community engagement, screening for eligibility criteria, baseline and follow-up visits with participants, as well as development of detailed project procedures. She also coordinated group meetings and assisted with IRB modifications and community events.  

 

In her spare time Daniela enjoys meditating, journaling and spending time with her family and her four dogs.

Crystal Hernandez graduated from the College of Education at the University of Houston. She majored in Public Health and minored in Biology. Her interest are in community engagement and health promotion in the Hispanic/Latinx community. In LABHRT, she contributed with social media connections, Spanish-language needs of the projects, and establishing relationships with the Hispanic community. 

 

In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, watching shows, or exploring Houston.

Katherine graduated in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. She majored in Mathematical Biology and minored in Psychology. Katherine majored in Mathematical Biology and has a minor in Psychology. She joined the LABHRT as part of the Urban Experience Program CITE Internship and her interest in helping the underserved Latinx community. During her internship she collaborated in the ongoing projects and led a poster presentation as part of her final project.  Katherine aims to attend medical school and one day open low cost clinics to help the under-served Latinx community. As an intern, she hoped to be able to gain experience about health promotion and research initiatives within the Latinx community. Katherine is still exploring her research interests.

 

In her spare time, she enjoys listening to music, solving Sudoku and spending time with her family.

Morgan McNeel, B.A.

Graduate Research Assistant

2018-2019

Morgan McNeel was a graduate student research assistant for LABHRT. She received her bachelors degree in Psychology from Rice University with a minor in Neuroscience in May of 2015. Following graduation, she worked as a research assistant and clinic coordinator at UT Health Science Center’s Developmental Neuropsychology Clinic, with children with neurodevelopmental disorders and their families. Morgan continues to pursuing her Ph.D. in school psychology at the University of Houston.During her time in LABHRT, she was instrumental in assisting to develop logs and procedures documents for the lab in general and project PRESENT in particular. She was also an important contributor in a publication related the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire II.  
 

In her spare time, Morgan enjoys traveling, printmaking and photography, and exploring all that Houston has to offer!

Josée Kahambwe 

Undergraduate Research Assistant

2016-2019

Lena Musoka 

Undergraduate Research Assistant

2016-2019

Josée joined the LABHRT in Fall 2016. She majored in Public Health in the PHLS department and minored in Biology. She completed her undergraduate internship in LABHRT. Her contributions to LABHRT spanned different projects and processes, including helping create the lab website, developing a power point presentation about stress, and managing quantitative data for project PRACTICES. Using data from this project, she led a poster presentation for a UH Undergraduate Research Day related to the relationship between sleep, mindfulness and distress tolerance. Josee also participated in community-based health fairs.

This experience has helped her better understand the procedures for implementing a study and strengthen her analytical skills. Through her experience as an intern, she was studied on the relationship between sleep, mindfulness and distress tolerance. She presented her findings during The Undergraduate Research Day at UH.  

During her free time, she likes spending time with her friends, reading, and listening to music. 

Lena joined the LABHRT in Fall 2016. Lena was a Public Health major in the PHLS department. Her contributions to LABHRT spanned different projects and processes, including the development of power point presentation about depression. Using data from project PRACTICES, she led a poster presentation for a UH Undergraduate Research Day related to the link between sleep problems, general and mental health, and happiness in an ethnically diverse sample of college students. Lena also participated in community-based health fairs. She is interested in environmental health specifically. After her studies, she desires to return to her home country, where she would like to work on improvements of the environmental surroundings of disadvantaged populations, focusing on health outcomes of issues such as air or water pollution. She volunteered with the Latino and Behavioral Health Research team. From this experience, she gained more knowledge on the impact of unhealthy habits such as smoking and drinking.

 

Her hobbies include playing musical instruments, cooking, and playing board games. 

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Roseann John, B.A.

Undergraduate Research Assistant

2018-2019

Roseann graduated in Public Health in the PHLS department from the College of Education at UH. She joined the lab and completed her internship in Fall 2018. She completed her undergraduate internship in LABHRT. Throughout her internship, she assisted with participants’ recruitment and screening, as well as transcription of qualitative interviews and preliminary qualitative analysis. Her internship experience has increased her interest in smoking cessation and Latino health. In LABHRT, her roles include screening participants for the various ongoing projects and assisting with the implementation of the qualitative study.  

Her research interests include stress, smoking cessation, anxiety, and depression.  

In the future, she plans to get a degree in Healthcare Management in hopes of improving patient outcomes and making a positive difference in the healthcare field. 

In her spare time, she likes to travel, cook, and spend time with family & friends. 

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Amanda Broyles, M.Ed.

Graduate Research Assistant

Summer 2016-2019

Amanda graduated from the Counseling Psychology PhD program in the College of Education. Her personal research interests include how gender role socialization affects violent behavior, particularly gender violence. During her time in LABHRT she worked on project PRACTICES leading a project examining the relationship of mindfulness and negative affect on various health risk behaviors (including tobacco and heavy alcohol use), as well as contributing to a psychometric paper also related to mindfulness. Dr. Broyles was also an instrumental contributor in the initial stages of project PRESENT, particularly contributing to the development of the participant guide and the first drafts of the treatment manual. She also played a key role in lab coordination, IRB submissions, the run-through of PERSPECTIVES procedures, and various academic products. 

 

In her spare time, she enjoys yoga, exploring the many restaurants of Houston, and relaxing at home with her cat. 

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Kimberly Smoots, B.A.

Graduate Research Assistant

Summer 2019

Kimberly is a first-generation college graduate in the Ph.D. School Psychology program at the University of Houston. Her research interests include mindfulness, interventions for emotional, behavioral and mental disorders/problems, parent-training, and multicultural issues in the field of psychology She is interested in working children with behavioral, emotional and mental disorders and culturally and linguistically diverse youth, especially Latino youth. In LABHRT, she was  assisting with the cultural adaptation of the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Latino/ smokers who were experiencing depression and/or anxiety. In LABHRT, she assisted with the linguistic and cultural adaptation components of project PRESENT therapist manual as well as with other Spanish-language needs of the lab. Kimberly also participated in community health fairs related to tobacco use education. 

 

In her free time, she enjoys singing, dancing, reading, spending time with her family and friends and working out (when she can).

Hector Jay Perez, B.S. 

Undergraduate Research Assistant

 2018

Hector Jay Perez graduated at the University of Houston. He joined LABHRT in Summer 2018. He is currently majoring in Health Promotion and minoring in Psychology.  

His research interests are smoking, childhood obesity, and HIV/AIDS.  Hector plans to go to nursing school when he graduates in December 2018, and he wants to become a Doctor of Nursing Practice eventually. During his time at LABHRT, he learned the basics about research in general and tobacco use, in particular. He had a supporting role in project implementation as well as the Spanish-related needs of the lab. He joined community health fairs related to tobacco education. 

During his free time, Hector enjoys photography, working out, and swimming. 

Haidar Iman, B.S.

Undergraduate Research Assistant

 2017

Haidar is currently graduated from the University of Houston majoring in Public Health and minoring in Biology. In exposure to health and natural science classes, a particular spark of interest he developed was studying the role that these subjects play in the community.

Throughout community events, helping others an objective to him, but finding ways to prevent health disparities and issues is an objective as well. Making deductions about problems is his method of approach. Reasons behind answers are far more precious than answers themselves. At LABHRT, he got exposed to the tobacco control literature and helped to develop a power point on this topic in order to deliver education to the community. He provided input to team members work. 

His hobbies include exercising, playing the guitar, and good video-gaming.

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Erin Reid, B.A.

Graduate Research Assistant 

2016-2017

Erin graduated from school psychology doctoral student in the Department of Psychological, Health, and Learning Sciences at the University of Houston. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Virginia and worked as a special education teacher with Teach for America before returning to graduate school. With LABHRT, Erin studied behavioral health among under-served populations, with a focus on research methodology. She led a publication entitled Researching cancer risk behaviors among bilingual Latinos using technology and an intensive longitudinal design. Erin studied behavioral health among under-served populations, with a focus on research methodology. She now applies these research experiences in her work on early intervention practices to prevent educational injustices and promote student success.

 

When she isn't working on research projects, Erin enjoys going to the theater and practicing yoga. 

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Jocelyn Abrams, Ph.D.

Graduate Research Assistant

2015-2016

Dr. Jocelyn Abrams completed a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology for UH, and currently worked as a psychologist at Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical center. During her curriculum, she did many internships and worked as a Graduate Research Assistant for  Dr. Correa-Fernandez from 2015-2016. Her research interests are in trauma and substance use disorders.

During her time at LABHRT, she contributed to the set up of the research team, including the development of policies and procedures. She also participated in a co-authored publication related to depressive symptom domains and alcohol use severity among Hispanic emerging adults.  

In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, cook and listen to music.

Valentina Friedl

Undegraduate Research Assistant

Valentina graduated at the University of Houston, majoring in Health on the Public Health track and minoring in Biology. Valentina joined LABHRT as a volunteer during Spring 2021 seeking research experience, interested in health disparities affecting local communities in Houston. Valentina plans on working in her field before pursuing a Master's. She completed her undergraduate internship in LABHRT and continued her involvement due to her interest in health disparities research. During her time in LABHRT, she had a key role in project PERSPECTIVAS, where she assisted with participants’ recruitment and screening, and functioned as notetaker during individual interviews. She also assisted in the transcription and quality control of the interviews, and other implementation procedures. Valentina also assisted with Spanish-language needs of the lab.  

 

She spends her free time enjoying the outdoors and trying new foods with her sister around Houston, or traveling back to Colombia to see her family.

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Anayeli Euceda

Undegraduate Research Assistant

Anayeli Euceda graduated  from the College of Education at the University of Houston. She majored in Health on the Public Health track and minoring in Biology. Anayeli joined LABHRT in Fall 2021 seeking experience, and to be able to understand firsthand how research is utilized to target challenging health disparities among her Latino community. During her short time in LABHRT she assisted with community engagement as well as the implementation of project PERSPECTIVAS including assisting as note taker and interview transcriber. Anayeli plans to work in the health care field before pursuing her Master’s.

 

During her free time, she enjoys hiking, playing music, and exploring new places around Houston with her friends and family. 

Cielo Torres

Undegraduate Research Assistant

Cielo Torres graduated from the College of Education at the University of Houston.  She majored in Health on the Public Health track with a minor in Chemistry. She joined LABHRT in Fall 2021 seeking experience in research and health behavior theory. During her time in LABHRT she assisted with community engagement as well as the implementation of project PERSPECTIVAS including assisting as note taker, interview transcriber, and interview coder. She also led social media communication and website updates for the lab. She plans to work in Health Promotion before pursuing her Master's.

 

In her free time, Cielo likes to listen to music, take pictures and visit different coffee shops. 

Marialuisa Aldama

Undegraduate Research Assistant

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Marialuisa graduated from the University of Houston, she pursued a dual degree in Health on the Public Health track and in Psychology. Marialuisa joined LABHRT as an Intern during Spring 2022 seeking new research experience and opportunities. She completed her undergraduate internship in LABHRT. Throughout her internship, she learned about qualitative research and primarily assisted with project PERSPECTIVAS. She engaged in community outreach, participants’ recruitment and scheduling, notetaking during interviews, and transcriptions. She also assisted in qualitative data analyses and led the dissemination of preliminary findings via a presentation at the PHLS Research Symposium 2022.  She is interested in the psychological disparities affecting the health of the Latinx community.

Marialuisa plans on working in her field before pursuing a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.

 

She spends her free time playing with her dog Bo and Bella, watching true crime, and reading a good book when possible.

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Ingrid Yrra, B.S.

Undergraduate Intern

Spring 2019

Ingrid joined LABHRT in Fall 2018. She received a degree in Public Health and a minor in Nutrition. She was an intern at LABHRT and contributed to the Linguistic Adaptation project, which included the translation of several project measures as well as participant’s booklet from English to Spanish. She also helped coordinate the Community Advisory Board for this project. Ingrid also contributed to the development of power point presentations about tobacco control and participated in community-based health fairs. Ingrid continues to explore her research interests. She aspires to help the Latinxs community and continue her education.

 

In her spare time, she spends time with family and friends and walks her dogs.

Melanie Gallego, B.S.

Undergraduate Intern

2018 

Melanie studied Public health in the College of Education with a minor in Biology. She continued her career as a Physician’s Assistant. Throughout her studies, she has also discovered an interest in smoking cessation, leading her to work with the Latino and Behavioral Health Research team. At LABHRT, she discovered an interest in smoking cessation and how to integrate this knowledge in future clinical work. Melanie was very proactive in connecting with the Hispanic serving sector in the Houston community and also took a lead role in screening development and participant recruitment initiatives.  

By incorporating the reasons for behavioral choices and also acquiring knowledge for smoking cessation, she plans to integrate this into her future work with patients.

In her spare time, she enjoys playing instruments, exercising, and watching documentaries.

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Andrés Muñoz

High school Student Intern 

Summer 2018 

During the time of his internship, Andres Munoz was a senior at Michael E. DeBakey High School for Health Professions. In his pursuit of a career in medicine, he hopes the research team will serve as a place to learn more about the realm of the health sciences through the eyes of psychology and tobacco research. Now he is in College and aim to pursue a career in medicine. During his time at LABHRT, he learned the basics about qualitative research and help analyze data from two qualitative interviews aimed at informing a new project. He also collaborated in the linguistic adaptation project by helping to establish connections with the Spanish-speaking community. Although he was a short-term addition to the team, Andres was able to expand his knowledge and develop meaningful relationships that will aid him in his academic path.

His hobbies include baseball, playing piano going to the movie, and hiking, and camping. 

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Bryn Seerker, B.A.

Independent Study 

Summer 2017 

Bryn graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelor of Science in public health. She majored in Health with a minor in Family Studies. During her summer internship at LABHRT, she joined a collaborative project examining tobacco-related knowledge, attitudes, and practices among infectious disease providers in Argentina. She completed a subproject on the topic and presented her findings at UH Undergraduate Research Day. She worked at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center as a clinical study coordinator on a circulating tumor study. She loves her job and plans to continue her education to get a Ph.D. in Epidemiology after taking a year to focus on her current position.

 

Some of her hobbies include playing board games, engaging in her community to promote local election voting as well as advocating for at-risk minority groups. She also volunteers with Houston Pets Alive and enjoys camping and hiking with her dog, Kira. 

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Augusta Ezem, B.A. 

Undergraduate Independent Study 

Student 

Fall 2016 - Spring 2017

Augusta is UH graduate with a major in public health and double minors in sociology and biology. During her undergraduate, she took an independent study session with Dr. Correa Fernandez. She had always been interested in research, but she did not know how to gain the right foundation. During her time at LABHRT as an independent study student, she gained a solid foundation on research principles and methods, as well as critical thinking. Her research topic was titled Epigenetics and the effects of maternal smoking on offspring. It was challenging but, in the end, she was inspired, grateful, and often refers to this experience as her most valuable college experience. She is currently on route to medical school in hopes of acquiring an MD/MPH degree soon where she hopes to continue her pursuit and appreciation for research

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Dr. Han Joe Kim

Assistant Professor 

Dr. Kim is an Assistant Professor at the University of Houston. His research interest is in survival analysis, multilevel (clustered) data analysis, propensity score analysis, mediation and moderation analysis, measurement invariance, item response theory, and utilizing quantitative methods for intervention research. Also, his newest interests are in developing and evaluating intelligent tutoring systems (ITS).

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Tobechi is a 4th year undergraduate student at the University of Houston majoring in Health with a concentration in Public Health and minoring in Psychology. She joined LABHRT because of her interest in minority healthcare and healthcare disparities. She plans to attend graduate school and get a Masters in Public Health in Epidemiology and possibly go to medical school. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, exploring and DJing.

Tobechi Dimkpa

Undergraduate Research Assistant

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