Center for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine Research Scientists

Michael Carey, PhD
Director, Center for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine

Michael Carey, PhD, is a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and director of the Center for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine at The Miriam Hospital.

Dr. Carey has published 400 papers, chapters, or books, addressing a number of health behavior topics, including HIV risk reduction, alcohol use and misuse, and smoking. He has also published extensively on sexual health and coping with chronic illness. He has received two Scientist Awards from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), and numerous R01 and R-series grants. Dr. Carey is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Society of Behavioral Medicine, and the Association for Psychological Science, and has been elected to membership of the International Academy of Sex Research.

Contact Dr. Carey

Phone: 401-793-8218
Email: mcarey1@lifespan.org

Senior Research Scientist

Beth Bock, PhD, is a professor in the department of psychiatry and human behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and is a senior research scientist at the Center for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine at The Miriam Hospital. She is an associate editor for the journal Health Psychology, and has served on the board of directors of the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation and as an associate editor of the Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation. She has served on The Miriam Hospital's Institutional Review Board and serves on study review panels for the Center for Scientific Review at the US National Institutes of Health. 

Visit Dr. Bock's page on Brown.edu »

Contact Dr. Bock

Email: BBock@Lifespan.org

Eugene Dunne, PhD
Research Scientist

Eugene Dunne, PhD, is a research scientist at The Miriam Hospital’s Center for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine, and an assistant professor of research in the department of psychiatry and human behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Dr. Dunne earned his PhD in clinical and health psychology from the University of Florida. He completed an APA-accredited internship in behavioral medicine at Brown University and a post-doctoral fellowship through the NIMH-funded HIV T32 training center at Rhode Island Hospital. Dr. Dunne’s research focuses on the impact of impulsivity and substance use on antiretroviral medication adherence among HIV populations. Dr. Dunne was recently awarded a K23 Career Development Award from NCCIH to conduct research using mind-body interventions for chronic pain management among persons living with HIV.  

Contact Dr. Dunne

Phone: 401-793-8827
Email: eugene.dunne@lifespan.org

Joseph L. Fava, PhD
Research Associate

Joseph L. Fava, PhD, is a research associate at the Center for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine at The Miriam Hospital. He is a quantitative psychologist and specializes in measure development, structural equation modeling, and multivariate statistics. He has over twenty-five years of research experience as a co-investigator, psychometrician, and statistician on more than forty funded research projects in a broad range of behavioral health areas, including the areas of HIV prevention, smoking cessation, weight reduction and weight maintenance, dietary behavior, exercise, stress management and multiple risk behavior interventions with both adult and adolescent populations.

Dr. Fava has assisted in the development of measures that assess a variety of psychological, health policy and educational constructs, such as stress management, perceived stress and coping, user sensory perceptions and experiences of microbicides and other medical devices for protection from HIV and sexually transmitted infections, smoking cessation, smoking policy, dietary behavior, user acceptability of interactive health technology, employee participation in worksite health programs and alcohol intervention.

Contact Dr. Fava

Email: JFava@Lifespan.org

Emily Gathright, PhD
Research Scientist

Emily Gathright, PhD, is a research scientist at the Center for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine at The Miriam Hospital. She completed a doctoral degree in clinical psychology at Kent State University and clinical residency at Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Dr. Gathright then completed a research fellowship at the Centers funded by a T32 grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Her research seeks to understand psychosocial (e.g., depression) and behavioral (e.g., adherence, physical activity) contributors to cardiac risk in older adults with a goal of developing primary and secondary prevention interventions.

Dr. Gathright was recently awarded a K23 Career Development Award by the National Institute on Aging. This K23 award will provide Dr. Gathright with advanced training in biopsychosocial aspects of aging, clinical trials design and conduct, and intervention development. Dr. Gathright’s research supported by the K23 will seek to develop a values-affirmation-based medication adherence intervention for adults with heart failure. 

Contact Dr. Gathright

Phone: 401-793-8271
Email: emily.gathright@lifespan.org

Kate Guthrie, PhD
Senior Research Scientist

Kate Guthrie, PhD, is a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and a senior research scientist at the Center for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine at The Miriam Hospital. She holds a secondary appointment as professor of behavioral and social sciences in the Brown University School of Public Health.

Dr. Guthrie’s research interests focus on understanding the experience of those who use biomedical products, treatments and technologies, and how those experiences impact adherence and acceptability. Her primary focus has been on HIV and STI prevention, with an emphasis on adherence to, and acceptability of, experimental vaginal microbicides designed to provide woman-controlled HIV/STI prevention options. She has been principal investigator on several US National Institute of Health (NIH) research studies, including an R01 designed to develop and evaluate instruments to measure factors related to microbicide use, a Microbicide Innovation Program (MIP), and most prominently, project lead for adherence and acceptability studies within multiple-project U19s (Integrated Preclinical/Clinical Program for HIV (Topical) Microbicides and Biomedical Prevention). In addition, Dr. Guthrie was one of the principal investigators on a US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) funded cooperative agreement which designed and evaluated an HIV/STD/hepatitis intervention for young men leaving an incarcerated setting, a program which later became a CDC Diffusing Effective Behavioral Interventions (DEBI) program.

Dr. Guthrie's research, conducted both domestically and internationally, incorporates traditional quantitative evaluation, qualitative methods, and mixed methodologies. She is director of the qualitative science methods and training program, a jointly supported program within The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, which mentors postdoctoral trainees and faculty in qualitative methods, facilitating their ability to develop and evaluate interventions and measurement systems within their own research areas.

Senior Research Scientist

Ernestine Jennings, PhD provides individual treatment focused on activating health behavior change and coping with chronic illness. In addition, she leads weight management groups in The Miriam Hospital Weight Management Program. Dr. Jennings' research has focused on using behavioral interventions to improve physical and mental health in both apparently healthy and known disease populations. She is specifically interested in developing smoking cessation interventions for women. She is a research mentor within the Brown University Clinical Psychology Residency.

Contact Dr. Jennings

Email:  EJennings1@Lifespan.org

Alyssa Norris, PhD
Research Scientist

Alyssa L. Norris, PhD, is an assistant professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior in The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University (research), and a research scientist in the Center for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine at The Miriam Hospital. She completed a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from Washington State University, where she focused on behavioral medicine, particularly integrated behavioral health services. She continues to provide individual treatment for health behavior change through her position with Integrated Behavioral Health at the Women's Medicine Collaborative.

In her research, Dr. Norris focuses on health disparities among sexual minority and gender diverse populations, particularly in the domains of substance use and sexual health. Dr. Norris investigates the intersection of sexual violence and alcohol use, with an emphasis on understanding how the victimization of sexual minority populations contributes to their greater substance use. In her current work, she is dedicated to developing brief interventions to support populations at-risk for violence (i.e., sexual minority youth; women) to reduce the harmful effects of alcohol.

Contact Dr. Norris

Phone: 401-793-8398
Email: alyssa.norris@lifespan.org

Rochelle Rosen, PhD
Senior Research Scientist

Rochelle Rosen, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and an associate professor in the department of behavioral and social sciences at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and The Miriam Hospital. She is also affiliated faculty at the International Health Institute of Brown University. She received her PhD in anthropology from Brown University and completed postdoctoral training in behavioral medicine at the Center for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine.

Her research interests are focused in two areas: HIV-prevention for women via vaginal microbicide acceptability; and preventive health care issues in the South Pacific island of American Samoa. She specializes in using qualitative methods in multidisciplinary project teams to collect formative and evaluative data on health care experiences. Recent projects include qualitative translational research to help design and implement a community-based intervention on diabetes in American Samoa, and the cultural and linguistic translation of an assessment of alcohol and drug use into Samoan. 

Contact Dr. Rosen

Phone: 401-793-8182
Email: rrosen@lifespan.org 

Elena Salmoirago-Blotcher, MD, PhD
Senior Research Scientist

Elena Salmoirago-Blotcher, MD, PhD, is a senior research scientist at The Miriam Hospital Center for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine and an associate professor of medicine at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

She received her PhD in clinical epidemiology from the University of Massachusetts and she completed a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded post-doctoral training program in complementary and alternative medicine. A board-certified cardiologist in her native Italy, and trained in interventional cardiology at the Hadassah Hospital at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, she has worked for more than 15 years in the intensive coronary care unit and catheterization laboratory before becoming a full-time clinical researcher.

She is currently funded by the American Heart Association to conduct a case-control study to investigate the predisposing factors for the development of stress cardiomyopathy. She is the principal investigator on two NIH-funded studies investigating the role of tai chi as an alternative to traditional cardiac rehabilitation programs and the role of mindfulness training in the promotion of healthy behaviors among teenagers.

In addition, as a faculty scholar of the Program in Medicine and Religion at the University of Chicago, she is studying the role of different psychosocial factors in the prevention of burn-out among emergency physicians.

As a consultant for the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study, she is the leading author on two ongoing secondary analyses of WHI data examining the possible association between statin use and hemorrhagic stroke in women and the mechanism by which optimism may affect cardiovascular health. She currently serves as a grant reviewer for the American Heart Association Study Session on Behavioral Studies/Clinical Outcomes.

Her research interests include the role of mindfulness training in the promotion of behavioral change, mind/body interventions for the promotion of cardiovascular health, psycho-behavioral determinants of cardiovascular disease and women’s health.

Contact Dr. Salmoirago-Blotcher 

Phone: 401-793 8325  
Email: esalmoiragoblotcher@lifespan.org

Lori Scott-Sheldon, PhD
Senior Research Scientist

Lori A. J. Scott-Sheldon, PhD, is a senior research scientist in the Center for Preventive and Behavioral Medicine at The Miriam Hospital and a professor in the department of psychiatry and human behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Dr. Scott-Sheldon is a social scientist with expertise in applying theory to health behavior. She has published more than seventy papers and chapters addressing health promotion and disease prevention in diverse populations (e.g., adolescents, South African adults, clinic patients, fraternity members) and across multiple health behaviors including alcohol, tobacco (e.g., novel tobacco products such as hookah and e-cigarettes), and other drug use as well as sexual/HIV behaviors. Dr. Scott-Sheldon also has interests and expertise in quantitative methods, specifically in the use of meta-analytic methodology and statistical analyses to determine the efficacy of behavioral, social, and biomedical interventions to promote health behavior change and to evaluate individual, contextual, and structural factors that facilitate behavior change. Her research is supported by the National Institutes of Health, including the Tobacco Regulatory Science Program.

Contact Dr. Scott-Sheldon

Phone: 401-793-8714
Email: Lori_Scott-Sheldon@brown.edu

Laura Stroud, PhD
Senior Research Scientist

Dr. Stroud is a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and a professor of social and behavioral sciences at The School of Public Health of Brown University and The Miriam Hospital.

Dr. Stroud oversees her Maternal-Infant Studies Laboratory and Child and Adolescent Stress Laboratory at the Center for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine. Dr. Stroud’s research focuses on biobehavioral mechanisms of mood and addictive disorders. Her work involves a transdisciplinary, developmental framework incorporating both neurobiological and behavioral markers of risk and a focus on novel neurobehavioral and stress response paradigms. Her work includes a focus on two sensitive periods of development: fetal-infant transition and the adolescent/pubertal transition. Within the fetal-infant period, her work has focused on biological (neuroendocrine and epigenetic ) pathways through which effects of maternal smoking and depression are transmitted to the fetus and infant. She has also developed a new line of research focused on the impact of novel tobacco products (hookah, electronic cigarettes) on pregnant mothers and infants. Within the adolescent period, Dr. Stroud’s work has focused on novel neural and neuroendocrine biomarkers of risk for adolescent depression.

Dr. Stroud has been continuously funded by the US National Institutes of Health since 2001. She has also been the recipient of three NARSAD awards from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, and funding from the National Science Foundation, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Robert Wood Johnson foundation.

Dr. Stroud served as a contributing author on the 2016 Surgeon General Report, E-Cigarette Use in Youth and Young Adults. She also served as associate editor for Nicotine and Tobacco Research and has been the recipient of the Bruce Selya Research Excellence Award from Lifespan hospitals and the Outstanding Early Career Investigator Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Dr. Laura Stroud has an AB in human biology from Stanford University and received a PhD in psychology from Yale University in 1999. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at Brown in 2001, then joined the faculty in the department of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown. Since 2013, Dr. Stroud has also held a secondary appointment in the department of behavioral and social sciences in the School of Public Health at Brown. Dr. Stroud's laboratory involves undergraduate volunteers and work-study students, graduate and medical students, and postdoctoral fellows.

Visit Dr. Stroud's page at Brown.edu »

Contact Dr. Stroud

Email: Laura_Stroud@brown.edu

Sara Vargas, PhD
Research Scientist

Sara Vargas, PhD, is a professor in the department of psychiatry and human behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and is a at the Center for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine at The Miriam Hospital

Contact Dr. Vargas

Phone: 401-793-8014  
Email: svargas@lifespan.org 

Chrystal Vergara-Lopez, PhD
Research Scientist

Chrystal Vergara-Lopez, PhD, is an assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and a research scientist at the Center for Behavioral and Preventative Medicine at The Miriam Hospital. She earned her PhD in clinical psychology from the University at Buffalo, completed her clinical residency at Rutgers University, and her NIH funded post-doctoral fellowship at Brown University.

Dr. Vergara-Lopez’s program of research focuses on identifying neurobiological mechanisms that underlie psychopathology and related problems (e.g., substance use). She examines the synergistic and transactional relationships across different manifestations of dysregulation, such as cognitive control and stress reactivity. The ultimate goal of her work is to identify early markers of risk for psychopathology to help deter the drastic increase in rates of psychopathology and substance abuse observed by the time individuals reach young adulthood.

Currently, Dr. Vergara-Lopez is the recipient of the Advance CTR-Mentored Research Award (MRA) part of a U54 grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences and a NARSAD young investigator award from the Brain and Behavior Foundation. These grants support Dr. Vergara-Lopez’s research in adolescent depression and provide her training in neuroendocrinology, neuro-imaging and advanced statistics.

Contact Dr. Vergara-Lopez

Phone: 401-793-8122
Email: cvergaralopez@lifespan.org