Sarah J. Ehlke, PhD
Dr. Sarah J. Ehlke is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Health Promotion Research Center at the Stephenson Cancer Center at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Dr. Ehlke earned her doctoral degree in Health Psychology from Old Dominion University. Her research focuses on substance use, primarily alcohol and tobacco use, among sexual minority individuals. Her dissertation integrated sexual minority stress theory and behavioral economic theory to examine if alcohol demand moderated the association between microaggressions and alcohol use among emerging adult bisexual women using a daily diary design. Her current research focuses on how stress and discrimination may influence substance use, including alcohol and tobacco use, and cessation outcomes. Additionally, her current work aims to elucidate reasons for health disparities related to tobacco use among sexual minority young adults in order to enhance interventions and improve health outcomes for sexual minority individuals.
Chaelin Karen Ra, PhD
Dr. Chaelin Karen Ra is a postdoctoral research fellow at the TSET Health Promotion Research Center at the Stephenson Cancer Center. Karen earned her PhD in Health Behavior Research at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. Her dissertation was on “Affect, Digital Media Use, Physical Activity, and ADHD in Youth” using intensive longitudinal data. Karen is interested in mental health and cancer prevention using mobile health technology.
Adam Alexander, PhD
Adam Alexander was postdoctoral research fellow from September 2018 to July 2020 and his advisor was Darla Kendzor. During the two years at the HPRC, he had the protected time to write research papers and grants, the resources to enroll in workshops and courses, and the freedom to collaborate with other post-docs and faculty at the research center. Alexander is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Preventative Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center focusing on research in health disparities, while currently developing mobile health interventions for health behavior change among African Americans. A recent grant of his includes a K01 (K01MD015295) from the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities. His career development award focuses on developing an innovative culturally tailored smartphone intervention that uses contingency management and sedentary behavior reduction to improve smoking cessation outcomes among African American smokers.
Raees Shaikh, PhD
Raees Shaikh started on March 14, 2016. He is a registered medical practitioner in India and has worked as a physician before coming to the US for his graduate education. He earned his MPH degree from Missouri State University and PhD in health promotion and disease prevention research from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. His PhD dissertation focused on the issue of hardcore smokers in the United States and his primary areas of research interest include tobacco control, tobacco harm reduction and epidemiology of nicotine addiction and treatment. His current research focuses on modified risk tobacco products, especially electronic cigarettes.
Emily Hébert, DrPH
Emily Hébert started on August 1, 2016. She earned her DrPH in Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences from the University of Texas School of Public Health. Her dissertation focused on the use of ecological momentary assessment to measure real-time tobacco marketing exposure among young adults. Her current research interests include the use of technology for health promotion, tobacco prevention and cessation, ecological momentary assessment, and the role of social media in tobacco marketing and health communication.
Elise Stevens, PhD
Elise Stevens was at the HPRC from August 2016 – July 2019. She earned her PhD in mass communication with a focus on the psychological effects of health messages from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Stevens’ primary focus is on the cognitive, affective, and behavioral responses to health messages. Her research examines two areas of health communication: 1) identifying communication techniques and features that promote the use of unhealthy products (e.g., advertising of tobacco products) and 2) developing health messages aimed at decreasing risky health behaviors (e.g., anti-tobacco messages) to better understand how to inform tobacco product regulations and policies and encourage behavior change. She has since received a K99/R00 Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Drug Abuse. Dr. Stevens is an Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in the Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences.
David Frank, PhD
David Frank started on January 9, 2017. He earned his PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Georgia focusing on the stability, timing, and connectivity of affective neural networks in the human brain. David is interested in the brain mechanisms that underlie emotional stimulus processing and how this affects attention and reward. Through the use of noninvasive measures including rapid sampling functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), dense-array electroencephalography (EEG), and peripheral psychophysiological recording, he investigates the functions of cortical and subcortical networks that have evolved to facilitate appetitive and defensive behavior.
Bárbara Piñeiro, PhD
Barbara Piñeiro was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow under the mentorship of Dr. Jennifer I. Vidrine from May 2017 to June 2019.In this position, she expanded her knowledge and expertise in the area of tobacco-related health disparities. Piñeiro gained experience in conducting research with low SES, racially/ethnically diverse smokers. Since arriving at the HPRC (formerly OTRC), she has been involved with an ongoing NCI-funded R01 project (R01CA172786; PI: Vidrine “Smoking cessation for cervical cancer survivors in a Safety Net Healthcare System.”) She also had the opportunity to actively analyze data and lead multiple manuscripts emanating from several funded projects that Dr. Vidrine led while she was a faculty at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Barbara has also enjoyed the opportunity to be involved in the formal training program, which includes course workshop, grant writing workshop, and seminars.
She is currently a Researcher at the Center for Demographic Studies (Centre d’Estudis Demogràfics, CED), at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra-Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.
Alayna P. Tackett, PhD
Dr. Alayna P. Tackett earned her PhD from Oklahoma State University in 2017 and completed her clinical residency at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University. She completed her a postdoctoral research fellowship through a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI); Award # F32HL138734) at Brown University and the TSET Health Promotion Research Center. Dr. Tackett’s postdoctoral research examined the respiratory and inflammation effects of electronic cigarette use in youth with asthma under the mentorship of Theodore Wagener, PhD, Elizabeth McQuaid, PhD, Deborah Pearlman, PhD, and Kate Guthrie, PhD. During this time, Dr. Tackett was awarded a Loan Repayment Grant Award from the NIH/NHLBI and a tobacco regulatory science K01 career development award (K01 HL148907) which will examine the longitudinal respiratory effects of e-cigarettes among youth and young adults using human laboratory methodology and ecological momentary assessment. Dr. Tackett is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC)
Dr. Anh Ngo, PhD
Dr. Ngo earned her PhD in Economics from the University of Illinois at Chicago in August 2018. Her research interests focus on tobacco control policies and alcohol taxes. Applying innovative research designs, Dr. Ngo and her colleagues examined the impacts of tobacco control policies (i.e. point of sale advertising bans, graphic warning labels, MPOWER) on smoking prevalence and cigarette consumption in a global context. Her research has been published in leading public health journals such as Addiction, Preventive Medicine, and International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
Currently, Dr. Ngo is extending her research to e-cigarettes and alcohol taxes. Specifically, using online discrete choice experiments, she and her colleagues are examining the impacts of flavors, device types, and health warning messages on the choice of e-cigarettes among US young adults. In the other projects, using time-series data of alcoholic beverage prices and taxes from Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, she and her co-authors estimate the excise tax pass through rates to prices of alcohol products to provide evidence on factors associated with alcohol tax avoidance and evasion in both US and international contexts.