Deaweh Benson

Deaweh Benson

Doctoral student, Department of Psychology

About Deaweh

Deaweh Benson is a doctoral student in the Developmental Psychology program at the University of Michigan. Her work examines the effects of structural racism on health outcomes among Black youth during the transition to adulthood. Deaweh examines biological indicators (e.g. brain structure and function) to investigate potential biological embedding of structural racism. Deaweh also employs radical healing frameworks to identify factors and processes that promote wellness and transformative justice. Deaweh’s research is grounded in Black feminist theory, critical consciousness, and positive youth development frameworks.

Deaweh earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Spelman College and her Master of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has worked in academic institutions and research organizations where she investigated college student academic success, school-to-work transitions, and developmental supports for young adults.

Gabriel Johnson

Gabriel Johnson

Doctoral student, School of Public Health
Gabrielle Peterson

Gabrielle Peterson

Doctoral student, Department of Sociology
Kiana Bess

Kiana Bess

Doctoral student, Health Behavior and Health Education (HBHE) department
Lewis Miles

Lewis Miles

Doctoral student, Department of Sociology

About Lewis

Lewis Miles is a sociology Ph.D. candidate who links the historical to the contemporary in the study of mobility, culture, and the construction of modern social and political projects. Miles undertakes a critical focus on how social structures shape the life course and people’s sense-making of self, place, and inequality.
Brianna Ross

Brianna Ross

Doctoral student, Department of Psychology
Janae Best

Janae Best

Doctoral student, School of Public Health

About Janae

Janae Best is a 3rd year PhD student in the School of Public Health within the department of Health Behavior and Health Education. She is interested in the impact of racism on Black communities. She aims to highlight the impact of race-based stress on the sexual health and mental health of Black Americans while noting factors that have contributed to resiliency and resistance. This includes considering religiosity, social support, and racial identity as coping mechanisms. Her methodological interests lie with program design, mixed methods, community-based participatory research. She has been able to apply her interests through her work within the University of Michigan Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture, and Health (CRECH), Racism and Stress Lab, and the Resilience and Resistance Collective. Her research interests have manifested out of her passion for social justice and the influence of racism that she has witnessed in her own community. Her motivations to pursue her interests began with and were nurtured by her undergraduate institution, Spelman College.
Akilah Patterson

Akilah Patterson

Doctoral student, School of Public Health

About Akilah

Akilah Patterson, MPH is a doctoral student in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education. Her research focuses on the effects of racial discrimination on mental health among adolescents and emerging adults. Previously, she was a project manager for the Healthy Minds Study, the largest and most comprehensive national research study on college student mental health.

Dominique Sylvers

Dominique Sylvers

Doctoral student, Department of Health Behavior and Health

About Dominique

Dominique Sylvers is a doctoral student in the department of Health Behavior and Health Education (HBHE) at the School of Public Health. She received her Master’s of Public Health from HBHE in 2017, after which, she was involved with various aspects of chronic disease intervention research. As a pre-doctoral trainee at ISR, in both Social Environment and Health (SEH) and the Population Studies Center (PSC), her research centers around examining structural inequalities for their role in health and aging disparities for African Americans. More specifically, she’s studied the influence of the social environment via specific neighborhood and regional contexts and their relationship to differential outcomes in cognitive aging and dementia care-giving. Dominique’s dissertation work involves clarifying the role of segregation and educational inequality as contributing to disparities in biological aging using DNA Methylation.
Enrica Bridgewater

Enrica Bridgewater

Doctoral student, Department of Communications and Media

About Enrica

Enrica Bridgewater is a Communication and Media and Psychology PhD student at the University of Michigan. She received her B.S. in Psychology from Brooklyn College CUNY in 2018. Her research interests are centered on media representations of minoritized groups as well as the media’s role in shaping identity development and psychological well-being across the lifespan, and Hollywood as a cultural institution. When not in PhD land, Enrica enjoys musical theatre and may or may not have listened to the Hamilton soundtrack a million times (spoiler: she has). She also launched a blog in July 2020 called A First-Gen’s Guide to Grad School: How to Get in, Survive, and Thrive to help other first-gen students on their journey to graduate school.
Ramona Perry

Ramona Perry

Doctoral candidate, Joint Program in Social Work and Social Psychology
Andrew Youmans

Andrew Youmans

Doctoral student, School of Nursing

About Andrew

Andrew Youmans is a nurse, certified nurse-midwife, and PhD student in the School of Nursing. His research interest focuses on cardiovascular disease and pregnancy and reduction in pregnancy-related morbidity and mortality. Racism is a key contributor to pregnancy-related morbidity and mortality in the United States. In addition to being a nurse midwife, Andrew has experience in emergency nursing, critical care, and cardiovascular nursing. He is active in multiple professional organizations, including: the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM), the American College of Cardiology (ACC), the Association of Women‚ Association Health Obstetrical and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN), the American Association of Birth Centers, and the Wilderness Medical Society. He currently serves on the ACNM Foundation Board of Directors and represents ACNM on the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health (AIM)‚ Sepsis in Obstetrical Care bundle development workgroup.

Faculty

Myles I. Durkee

Myles I. Durkee

Assistant Professor

Department of Psychology

About Myles

Dr. Myles Durkee is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan. He earned a B.A. in Psychology from Pomona College and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology: Applied Developmental Science from the University of Virginia. He also completed postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Chicago and the University of Michigan. Dr. Durkee’s research examines cultural invalidations and identity threats to determine how these experiences are associated with important psychological outcomes (e.g., mental health, identity development, & academic achievement). He also examines the process of identity development during late adolescents and emerging adulthood to determine how social identities are influenced by interpersonal experiences (e.g., racial microaggressions) and environmental factors (e.g., school contexts & racial climate). His research has been published in multiple research journals including: Child Development Perspectives, American Educational Research Journal, Social Science and Medicine, Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology, and The Journal of Black Psychology.

Email: mdurkee (at) umich (dot) edu

Jennifer M. Gómez

Jennifer M. Gómez

Assistant Professor, Boston University

School of Social Work, Clinical Practice Department
Center for Innovation in Social Work & Health

About Jennifer

Jennifer M. Gómez, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor at Boston University School of Social Work and Center for Innovation in Social Work & Health. Additionally, she is a Board Member and Chair of the Research Advisory Committee at the Center for Institutional Courage, lead co-editor of the 2021 special issue of Journal of Trauma & Dissociation- Discrimination, Violence, & Healing in Marginalized Communities, and member of the Scientific Committee of the International Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation (ISSTD). As a 2021-22 Fellow at the Stanford University Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS), Dr. Gómez wrote her first book on cultural betrayal, sexual abuse, and healing for Black women and girls (Publisher: American Psychological Association; anticipated publication date: Summer 2023). Her primary research focus is cultural betrayal trauma theory (CBTT), which she created as a framework for empirically examining the mental, behavioral, cultural, and physical health impact of violence on Black and other marginalized youth, young adults, and elders within the context of inequality. Dr. Gómez has published over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, scholarly writings, professional development documents, and pieces for the general public. Her work has been recognized by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), Ford Foundation, and Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research (MCUAAAR). Dr. Gómez’ ultimate goal for her research is to identify avenues of hope and healing for individuals, families, communities, institutions, and society.

Margaret T. Hicken

Margaret T. Hicken

Research Associate Professor

Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research

About Margaret

Through her entire research program, Margaret Hicken is committed to clarifying the social causes and biological mechanisms linking racial group membership to renal and cardiovascular disease inequalities. The major hallmark of Hicken’s research is the integration of scientific knowledge from diverse disciplines, as this transdisciplinary approach to research allows for creative and innovative insights into the root causes and mechanisms of the seemingly intractable racial health inequalities. A significant portion of her research program falls at the intersection of sociology, geography, and environmental toxicology, examining the interrelated roles of racial residential segregation, neighborhood disadvantage, environmental hazards, and racial health inequalities.

Ketlyne Sol

Ketlyne Sol

Research Investigator

Department of Psychology and Social Environment and Health Program

About Ketlyne

Dr. Ketlyne Sol is a clinical psychologist with a clinical training in rehabilitation psychology, which focuses on the holistic assessment and treatment of individuals with chronic/progressive disabling illness and acquired/traumatic physical disability. Trained within a scientist-practitioner framework, she is interested in evaluating psychosocial factors, contextual factors such as sociocultural and physical environment, and processes to help improve coping and quality of life. Given that the neighborhood encompasses all of these factors, she has extended her to work to examine ways in which the neighborhood is related to racial and ethnic disparities in Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders (ADRD), and how neighborhood context can be leveraged to promote resilience and reduce disparities in ADRD. Ultimately, she aims for her work to inform culturally relevant points of intervention and policy changes to reduce this disparity in aging.