Heather Horton is a Program Manager with the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education. She is interested in disparities in violence victimization, sexual health, and health care utilization especially among those impacted by incarceration in Arkansas. She received a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Arkansas, and a M.A. in Sociology from the University of New Orleans. She has over 13 years of experience working with community-based organizations in direct service and research capacities.
O’Dell Johnson, Ph.D., MBM is an associate professor of integrative health studies at Saybrook University and adjunct professor of community psychology and social justice at Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, California. His primary research interests focus on health disparities in marginalized and underserved communities, particularly those who have been impacted by the US carceral system. His experience in cross-cultural professional spaces has contributed greatly to the development of meaningful axiological and epistemological worldviews to advance research and best practices when working with marginalized populations. Dr. Johnson earned his B. S. in Theological Science from St. Louis Christian College, followed by an M.S. in Transpersonal Psychology from Sofia University, and a Ph.D. in Humanistic Psychology from Saybrook University.
Nickolas Zaller, PhD, is a professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health. His research focus is on the overlap between behavioral health disorders, including addiction and mental illness, infectious diseases and incarceration both in the United States and internationally. Dr. Zaller earned his bachelor's degree in microbiology and East Asian Studies from Kansas University in 1999. After graduation, he lived in China for a year as a Fulbright Scholar before completing a doctorate in public health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2005.
Meg Gorvine, Ph.D., CHES, E-RYT most recently completed a predoctoral fellowship with UAMS’ NIDA T32 training program in Translational Addiction Science, and now serves as a postdoctoral researcher for S-PAC. Her research centers on stress, integrative health, recovery science, and resilience particularly among the underserved, including women re-entering the community from incarceration. Dr. Gorvine is currently exploring research in the areas of stress and resilience training in correctional settings in Arkansas.
Mofan Gu, Ph.D., is a senior research associate at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Dr. Gu’s research focuses on the prediction of adverse health outcomes using social and behavioral factors. His current projects involve probation revocation, HIV prevention and care, and substance use disorders. Dr. Gu has methodological expertise in epidemiologic research and statistical analyses utilizing big data. Dr. Gu earned his B.A. in biology from Hendrix College, followed by an MPH in epidemiology from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in epidemiology from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
Timikia Jackson is a Community Health Program Manager in the Health Behavior and Health Education department. Ms. Jackson has been an active servant working in the substance abuse and mental health recovery field for over 18 years. She is a firm believer in second chances in life and strongly endorses mentorship and counseling.
Ms. Jackson enjoys helping the community and finding resources for people who want to help themselves.
Nakita Lovelady, Ph.D., MPH is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education. Her primary research interests are centered around investigating health disparities and violence prevention, particularly developing and implementing multi-level public health interventions to improve mental and behavioral health outcomes and reduce gun violence among vulnerable racial-minority populations such as young African American men and their families. This includes exploring linkage interventions that leverage peer support, enhance healthy coping, and improve access to structural/systemic support to confront persistent post-traumatic stress among African American men in both institutional settings (i.e. hospitals, jails, and prisons) and non-traditional community settings (i.e. barbershops). Her research hopes to inform real-world meaningful change among communities with the greatest need.
Dr. Brooke Montgomery is a behavioral researcher in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education. Her research interests include sexual health promotion and the use of qualitative and qualitative research methodologies to investigate the role of social, cultural, and psychological factors on sexual risk and drug using behaviors. She received her PhD and MPH from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health. She is currently researching the role of criminal justice system involvement on homeless mothers.
Ariel M. Morrow, MPH, CHES, is a doctoral student in the Health Promotion and Prevention Research program at UAMS. She is a graduate assistant for the Southern Public Health and Criminal Justice Research Center (S-PAC). She is also a graduate assistant for the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education at the Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health. Ms. Morrow’s research interests are related to healthcare disparities and alleviating healthcare inequities related to social injustice commonly faced in minority communities. Her future aspirations include pursuing a career in academia and research. Ms. Morrow graduated with a degree in biology from the Undergraduate Medical Academy at Prairie View A&M University. Ms. Morrow completed a certificate program in medical laboratory testing from the University of Medical Branch. She also attended Southern Illinois University where she completed a dual degree post-baccalaureate pre-medical program called the Medical/Dental Education Preparatory Program while earning her master’s degree in public health.
Dr. George Pro is a health services researcher in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education. Broadly, his interests include behavioral health, health disparities, applied quantitative methods, and treatment for substance use disorders including medication assistance for opioid use disorders. He received his PhD in Community and Behavioral Health from the University of Iowa College of Public Health, and completed his postdoctoral training with the Center for Health Equity Research at Northern Arizona University. He is currently involved in research projects addressing relationships between prison-based COVID-19 outbreaks and community spread, and developing innovative ways to strengthen health data systems to improve healthcare use among recently incarcerated individuals.
Azizi Ray, Ph.D., is a post-doctoral fellow supported by the NIDA T32 program at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Dr. Ray’s broad research interests include implementing pharmacists-led interventions to mitigate overdose deaths in African American justice-involved populations with OUD and reduce racial/ethnic disparities in mental health care. Dr. Ray’s additional goal is to increase access to MOUD to vulnerable populations most at risk for overdose by expanding the practice of pharmacists who are often under-utilized as healthcare providers. Dr. Ray’s preclinical experiences are varied and span pharmacology, neurobiology, and treatments for substance abuse disorders with an emphasis on overdose deaths, neurotoxicity, and the abuse liability of traditional stimulants of abuse and synthetic cathinones.
Brooklyn L. Tody is a research technician for the HIV PrEP project. She is a 2021 honors graduate of Philander Smith College. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and minored in Criminal Justice. She plans on eventually going back to school for her PhD in Public Health or Epidemiology. Her primary research interests include HIV/STD prevention of the general population and forensic science.
Izah Broadus is a Community Health Coordinator for UAMS Project Heal, a hospital-based violence intervention program (HVIP) designed to address violent assault injury, primarily gun violence, among high-risk populations in Little Rock. Izah is an experienced and compassionate support specialist with a lived experience of violent assault injury. He provides essential peer support and case management for Project Heal participants to help promote their overall wellbeing and reduce their risk of re-injury. He has over 10 years of experience providing case management, social service navigation, mental and behavioral health support, mentorship, and support group facilitation in pastoral and clinical settings.
Taylor Washington, MHA, is a program manager for UAMS Project Heal, a hospital-based violence intervention program (HVIP) designed to address violent assault injury, primarily gun violence, among high-risk populations in Little Rock, AR. She also serves as the coordinator for the Southern Public Health and Criminal Justice Research Center. She recently received her Master of Health Administration from the UAMS Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health. She has administrative experience in hospital risk management and patient safety, as well as years of direct patient care experience in hospital and clinical settings. Her interests lie in hospital-based community health research and programming, and health equity action planning.