Psychosocial Issues

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Psychosocial Issues

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Christine Markham, PhD

Christine Markham, Ph.D., is Professor and Department Chair of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences and Deputy Director of the University of Texas Prevention Research Center at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health. She has over 30 years of experience in health promotion and behavioral sciences research, including determinants studies, intervention development, program evaluation, dissemination, and implementation research. She has served as Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator on multiple NIH-, CDC-, and other federally funded HIV and STI prevention and self-management studies. She has directed multiple rigorous evaluation trials to develop and evaluate adolescent HIV prevention programs, including It’s Your Game…Keep It Real is recognized by the USDHHS as an effective HIV, STI, and pregnancy prevention program for middle school students in the US. She has HIV-related research experience in E Africa and S.E. Asia on NIH Fogarty, PEPFAR, and CFAR-funded projects. Having trained in anthropology, she is experienced in qualitative research and mixed methods studies. She has extensive experience in Intervention Mapping, a systematic framework for developing and implementing theory- and evidence-based health promotion programs. She has taught graduate-level courses and workshops on Intervention Mapping nationally and internationally.


Lea Sacca, PhD

Lea Sacca is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Population Health and Social Medicine at the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine at Florida International University. Lea earned her Ph.D. from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston from the department of Health Promotion Behavioral Sciences. She also completed a minor in epidemiology and a minor in statistics. Lea first came to the United States in 2017 after she received a Fulbright Scholarship from the US Department of State to pursue an MPH in Health Promotion Behavioral Sciences and a Certificate in Global Health at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. She also received over 10 prestigious scholarships from the School of Public Health at UTHealth Houston in honor of her academic and research achievements. Lea was a board member of the Houston Global Health Collaborative over a period of two years. She has extensive leadership experience in the field of global health. Her research interests are focused on designing and implementing evidence-based interventions in the maternal and child health field to improve the well-being of disadvantaged populations, including refugees, immigrant women, ethnic minority adolescent groups, and American Indian/Alaska Native youth, specifically in the fields of sexual health, cancer prevention, HPV vaccination, food insecurity, and mental health. She has led and co-authored multiple peer-reviewed articles in high-impact journals. Currently, she is working on developing cancer-specific dissemination and implementation frameworks for ethnic minority populations in South Florida. She is also leading different substance abuse projects with Florida Health and Palm Beach Health District in the state of Florida.

Michael Goodman, DrPH

 Michael Goodman graduated with his Doctorate in Public Health (DrPH) from the University of Texas Health Science Center in 2014. During his time as a student, he co-founded the Houston Global Health Collaborative and began working on the development of another non-profit organization – Sodzo International. In response to the challenge of children living on the streets of Kenya and following the expressed priorities of Kenyan partners, Dr. Goodman began working with the University of Texas Medical Branch in 2012 to build an understanding of this vulnerable population and the socio-ecological challenges and opportunities. Since beginning this work a decade ago, Sodzo International has helped over 300 children off the streets in Meru County, Kenya, and developed a novel intervention model to address multi-sectoral and multi-level challenges among families and communities from which children migrate to the streets. The Flourishing Community model has been intentionally developed and assessed to translate insights and applications across cultural settings. The Flourishing Community model demonstrates efficacy in supporting the reintegration of street-involved children and youth while improving the social, mental, and behavioral characteristics of adults. With currently over 10,000 weekly participants and 39 participating villages, the model opens ample opportunity for collaboration and research exploration for interested faculty and students. Dedicated to Reciprocal Innovation, Dr. Goodman co-led the design and initial assessment of a novel digital tool to support Community Health Worker outreach in 100 counties of East Texas and continues to pursue methods to refine and expand this tool that integrates geographic, social, health, and utility data. 

Amanda Venta, PhD

 Dr. Amanda Venta, Ph.D is an Associate Professor of Psychology, a licensed clinical psychologist, and Director of the Youth and Family Studies Lab at the University of Houston (UH). She earned a B.A. at Rice University and an M.A. and Ph.D. at UH and taught at Sam Houston State University for five years. Her pre-doctoral internship and practica were with several Houston-area schools, Texas Children’s Hospital, and DePelchin Children’s Center through Baylor’s Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, where she remains Adjunct Faculty. Her research encompasses psychopathology in youth, attachment security, emotion dysregulation, and social cognition, with a recent focus on the psychology of recently immigrated adolescents from Central America. She has received research funding from the National Institutes of Mental Health, among others. She serves on the editorial boards of Attachment and Human Development, Child Psychiatry and Human Development, and the Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. She has published 125+ scientific papers, chapters, and books.

Eric Jones, PhD

Dr. Eric Jones earned his doctorate in Anthropology from the University of Georgia. He took a BA in Political Science at Hamline University plus served in the Peace Corps in Guatemala. His research focus concerns if, when, and how relationships between individuals and groups with shared experiences are leveraged to achieve a common purpose. He has paid particular attention to heterogeneity in order to understand the mechanisms of collective action. The largest proportion of Jones’ research involves the way social networks help and hinder people in their recovery or well-being following disasters or hazardous situations. This work has helped the research community understand how similar networks can react differently depending on the disaster and context. He has edited two volumes on disasters: Social Network Analysis in Disaster Response, Recovery and Adaptation, and The Political Economy of Hazards and Disasters. Dr. Jones’ work has taken him across the United States and to field sites in Mexico and Ecuador. He has applied his interest in social network analysis to various domains besides post-disaster mental health and social support, including community coalitions, primary care coordination, and interinstitutional collaborations. He has also helped build social network analysis software (EgoNet, VisuaLyzer, SocioScope, SociaWorks) that focuses on usability for professionals in health care and other applied settings.

Sonia Singh will be speaking on behalf of Dr. Eric Jones

Her research interests are focused on contextualizing mental health disorders for first-generation Americans in Latino/Hispanic families and providing guidance on how to narrate discussions to continue breaking the stigma in the community.