Faculty

Gail E. Wyatt, PhD

Principal Investigator

Dr. Gail E. Wyatt, a Clinical Psychologist, is a board certified Sex Therapist and Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Behavior at UCLA. She directs the Center for Culture, Trauma and Mental Health Disparities and the Sexual Health Programs. Dr. Wyatt has published well over 250 publications, written six books and has provided Congressional testimony 10 times. “Stolen Women: Reclaiming our Sexuality, Taking Back our Lives” by Wiley and Sons, is a best-seller that details the effects of slavery and oppression on African American women today. Dr. Wyatt guest edited the May, 2017 issue of Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Policy and Planning, including research conducted by first authored South Africans of color. She and her team just completed an implementation study of the culturally congruent, CDC endorsed Eban Intervention for HIV sero discordant couples. The intervention has been successfully adapted for South African couples. She and Dr. Harolyn Belcher co-edited a special issue on mentoring students of diverse backgrounds in the 2019 issue of the Journal of Orthopsychiatry.

Dr. Wyatt and her team also have one NIDA funded domestic and two NIH training grants that include implementation science. Her multidisciplinary team is currently using the UCLA Life Adversities Screener to implement ‘’Healing our Hearts, Minds and Bodies’, funded by NHLBI to reduce cardiovascular and trauma risks for HIV positive people of color. Other projects include a Gilead Science funded intervention for HIV negative women of color and a Cal Wellness Foundation funded a women centered intervention to reduce HIV, STI and reproductive health risks for women of color in Los Angeles County. In 2016, she received the Chancellor’s Award for Diversity and Inclusion. In 2017, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the American Psychological Association for her work on the effects of trauma on mental health. In 2019 she was made an Honorary Professor at the University of Capetown, South Africa for research and mentoring and she guest edited a special issue on African American women and HIV, in Ethnicity and Disease in 2020. She has been married to Dr. Lewis Wyatt for 55 years, has a son, two granddaughters and a daughter who is an angel.

Alison Hamilton, Ph.D, MPH

Principal Investigator

Alison Hamilton, Ph.D., M.P.H., is Chief Officer of Implementation and Policy at the VA Center for the Study of Healthcare Innovation, Implementation & Policy at the Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, and a Professor-in-Residence in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA. She received her Ph.D. in medical and psychological anthropology from UCLA in 2002, and her M.P.H. in Community Health Sciences from UCLA in 2009. Dr. Hamilton’s research portfolio focuses on improving health services for vulnerable populations by understanding people’s lived experiences and implementing evidence-based and evidence-informed practices in contextually and theoretically informed ways. She is currently PI of five major VA- and NIH-funded implementation and health services research initiatives. She serves as an Associate Editor for Implementation Science Communications, and on the Editorial Boards of Implementation Science, Women’s Health Issues, and Implementation Research and Practice.

Arleen Brown, MD, PhD

Principal Investigator

Arleen Brown, MD, PhD, is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research (GIM and HSR) at the University of California, Los Angeles. She serves as Chief of GIM and HSR at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center.

Dr. Brown’s research focuses on improving health outcomes, enhancing health care quality, and reducing disparities for adults with chronic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and stroke, particularly those with complex medical and social needs. She has been PI or Co-PI on studies to improve diabetes care for older adults and minority patients and research to understand clinical, socioeconomic, and health system influences on chronic disease management in under-resourced communities. Dr. Brown also co-directs the Community Engagement and Research Program (CERP) of the UCLA Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). In this role, she works with teams of community and university partners to ensure that community and research priorities are aligned, to promote research in community settings, and to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and expertise between all stakeholders.

Tamra Loeb, PhD

Project Director

Dr. Tamra Burns Loeb is an Associate Research Psychologist at the University of California, Los Angeles. She has been an investigator in the UCLA Center for Culture, Trauma, and Mental Health Disparities for several decades. Her work focuses on examining the role of trauma and adversity in driving mental health disparities among culturally and socioeconomically diverse men and women in the United States and South Africa. Dr. Loeb has helped to develop novel strategies to assess consensual and nonconsensual sexual experiences, family adversity, discrimination, and other types of adversity, their context, and their relationships to mental health outcomes. She is a co-author of the intervention, Healing Our Women, accepted in 2015 into the National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP) by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Association (SAMHSA). Since 2005, she has been an invited reviewer for numerous peer-reviewed journals, including Child Abuse and Neglect, Violence and Victims, Child Maltreatment, Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice and Policy, AIDS Care, and the Journal of Trauma and Dissociation. Dr. Loeb has trained numerous master’s and doctoral students from South Africa to conduct research that addresses biological, social, and psychological factors related to trauma and injury. She traveled to South Africa in 2019 to conduct qualitative interviews among graduates of two international programs, Phodiso and Tirisano, to evaluate perceptions of the quality of their coursework, mentorship, and research experiences. Her recent work has focused on the development of an intervention to decrease cardiovascular risks among men and women living with HIV with trauma exposure.

Dorothy Chin, MA, Ph.D

Co Investigator

Dr. Dorothy Chin is Associate Research Psychologist at the UCLA Center for Culture, Trauma, and Mental Health Disparities, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, UCLA. Dr. Chin received her A.B. in Human Biology from Stanford University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Hawaii. After completing an internship at LA County/USC Hospital and a post-doctoral fellowship on the Biobehavioral Aspects of HIV/AIDS at UCLA, she published the first HIV behavioral risk study on Asian Pacific-Islander (API) American women. She also wrote and directed the documentary “Women and HIV: Four Stories,” to highlight the impact of HIV/AIDS on women. Dr. Chin was Co-Investigator of the NIMH-funded project “Testing a Model for an Integrated Trauma and HIV Intervention” and Principal Investigator of “Healing Our Women,” an HIV psychoeducational intervention funded by the California Endowment. Her research focuses on cumulative trauma and childhood adversities and their effects, particularly among minority and underserved populations, as well as the cultural influences of mental health and cross-cultural research methods.

Michele Cooley-Strickland, M.Ed., Ph.D.

On-Call Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Michele Cooley-Strickland is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and Project Scientist in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. She is a member of the UCLA Center for Culture, Trauma, and Mental Health Disparities. Dr. Cooley-Strickland is concurrently an Associate Professor (now Adjunct), in the Department of Mental Health in the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Cooley-Strickland’s research focuses on anxiety and its concomitants among urban youth and adults -- particularly African Americans -- with particular attention to culture, context, and prevention. Dr. Cooley-Strickland has been an award-winning psychologist, professor, and researcher for over two decades, giving over 100 regional and national presentations and publishing nearly 50 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and clinical treatment intervention manuals. She actively serves the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on advisory committees, extramural review committees, and has been the principal investigator of multiple federal research grants, including a large NIDA R01 community epidemiological research project involving 750 youth, their caregivers, and teachers. Dr. Cooley-Strickland has served on many panels and task forces for national professional organizations (e.g., American Psychological Association, Anxiety Disorders Association of America), as well as held elected positions within them. She is also the co-host of a weekly podcast targeted towards empowering women.

Megan Ebor, PhD

Dr. Ebor is an Assistant Project Scientist at the Center for Culture, Trauma and Mental Health Disparities in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. Her research and scholarship examines health outcomes for older racial and ethnic minority women and communities. As a Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) practitioner she utilizes strategies to change behaviors on a micro and macro level to promote positive health behaviors by influencing knowledge, attitudes, and social norms via multi-media platforms.

Dr. Ebor’s award-winning documentary, entitled, Even Me, focuses on the ways in which the intersections of age, race, and gender impact the sexual health of older African American women living with HIV. This research is grounded in her practice experience and interdisciplinary training in social welfare and gerontology. Ebor was recently awarded a diversity supplement grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH)/National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). This research involves the development of an educational film entitled, TRY (Translating Research for You) as a sub-study under the “Enhancing patient and organizational readiness for cardiovascular risk reduction among ethnic minority patients living with HIV” trial (also known as Healing our Hearts, Minds, and Bodies, or HHMB) which focuses on Black/African-American (“Black”) and Latinx patients; trauma histories and barriers to cardiovascular (CVD) care.

Juan M. Barron, MD

Bio Clinical Data Collector

Mr. Barron has been at UCLA since July 2005 as a Staff Research Associate II. Mr. Barron's role is to go out into the communities of Los Angeles County and recruit participants for different studies. He is currently working with the Departments of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research. He has worked on various studies Neighborhoods and the Health of Older Adults with Chronic Conditions, Translating Research Into Action for Diabetes (TRIAD) Study, The UCLA RISE Study (Reducing Inequities in health through Social and Educational change) and Working Towards a Healthy Lifestyle. Mr. Barron received his Bachelor of Arts in Child Development Option II from California State University of Los Angeles in 2001.

Tony Wafford

Staff Research Associate

Mr. Tony Wafford is President and CEO of I Choose Life Health and Wellness Center (ICL) an organization founded to address health inequities in the Black community. He works tirelessly in partnership with community-based organizations and their entire membership to educate them on health literacy, increase access to health care, health screening, along with HIV and STI testing and education.

One of Tony’s major accomplishments is his ability to address HIV/AIDS and STI’s as well as other health injustices in the African American community from a culturally competent perspective. Because of his unique approach, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and I Choose Life Health and Wellness Center has been working in partnership for the past ten years on the Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative. Tony has created some of the most effective and unique HIV/AIDS campaigns in his more than twenty years of working in this area. Over those years, Tony has successfully launched over (30) thirty I Choose Life Chapters throughout the United States with the focus being the health and wellness of the Black Community.

Enricka Norwood-Scott

Staff Research Associate

Enricka is a Research Associate II at the Center for Culture, Trauma and Mental Health Disparities in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA and has been involved in the Center for Culture, Trauma, and Mental Health Disparities since 2017 when she began volunteering as an interviewer for the LADS study. Her involvement grew in December of 2017 when she took the position of a Research Associate II bringing her expertise in Social Science, Community Liaison, Kinship Care Advocacy, Mental Health Advocacy, and Organizing. She has had the chance to work on projects related to her passion of uplifting women in the community of South Los Angeles. She has recently served as the Project Co- Coordinator for the Women Centered Program for Women of Color (WC4WC) and Project Coordinator for the Women PrEPping for PrEp Plus program (WP3+). She oversees the collection of data using the Audio Computer- Assisted Self- Interviewing (Acasi) for the HHMB Project. With Enricka’s excitement with taking on these challenging roles she passionately said, “I love coming into work and getting the opportunity to work with women in the community that I grew up in.” “It is exciting to see the personal and systemic changes that are taking place.” A favorite quote of Enricka’s is: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”-Theodore Roosevelt

Muyu Zhang

Data Programmer

Muyu Zhang is a data analyst and programmer in the UCLA Center for Culture, Trauma, and Mental Health Disparities. She received her M.A. in Mathematics from Indiana University, Bloomington, and her M.S. in Statistics from Colorado State University. She develops a data collection database, manages data, and provides ongoing statistical analysis of data.

Amber Smith, M.A.

Senior Research Administrative Analyst

Amber M. Smith, M.A. is a Senior Research Administrative Analyst at the UCLA Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences. She received her Bachelors in Art degree in Psychology in 2015 from California State University, Northridge and her Master’s in Art degree in Clinical Psychology with emphasis in Marriage, Family Therapy from Pepperdine’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology in 2017. Ms. Smith’s research focuses are on self-harm, suicide prevention and the effects of trauma and interpersonal violence. She is planning on continuing her education to obtain her Ph.D, and is interested in studying cumulative trauma and interpersonal violence in children and adolescents. Ms. Smith has been working with Dr. Wyatt's Center since November 2016.