R. Khari Brown

  • Adjunct Research Scientist, Research Center for Group Dynamics
  • Associate Professor, Sociology, Wayne State University

    B.A., 1998, Sociology, Wayne State University
    MSW, 2001, University of Michigan
    Ph.D., Sociology, 2004, University of Michigan

Dr. Brown research interests include sociology of religion, religion and social activism and research methods.   Dr. Brown teaches the senior level capstone course for undergraduates at Wayne State University, as well as, courses on race, politics, and religion in Detroit. Dr. Brown is currently the Graduate Director in Sociology at WSU. Additionally, Dr. Brown is working on the National Politics Study, a panel-study which has been collecting data on African American, Caribbean Black, Latino, Asian and white political ideology since 2004.



Cleopatra H. Caldwell

  • Director, Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture and Health
  • Professor, Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health
  • Faculty Associate, Research Center for Group Dynamics

    M.A., Human Development, 1975, Wayne State University
    A.M., Psychology, 1983, University of Michigan
    Ph.D., Social Psychology, 1986, University of Michigan

Dr. Caldwell is a Professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education and Co-Associate Director of the Program for Research on Black Americans at the University of Michigan. She has published in the areas of help-seeking behaviors and informal social supports among African Americans, the Black church as a social service institution, and race-related socialization and academic achievement among African American youth. In addition to research and academic experiences, Dr. Caldwell has experience in the health policy field. She served as the health policy analyst on Capital Hill for U.S. Congressman J. Roy Rowland, and as a fellow in the office of U.S. Congressman Sander Levin.



Letha Chadiha

  • Professor of Social Work
  • Co-director, Community Liaison Core in the Michigan Center on Urban African American Aging Research

B.S., Sociology, Tuskegee University (formerly Tuskegee Institute)
M.A., Anthropology, Washington State University
M.S.W. and Ph.D., Social Work and Anthropology, University of Michigan

Professor Chadiha specializes in caregiving by African American women to older African Americans. Also specializing in research on recruitment and retention of ethnically diverse elders in health-related research, she was co-editor for the supplement of The Gerontologist (2011) focusing on the science of recruitment and retention among these elders. Chadiha is principal investigator on a research training grant (U-M Social Work/Nursing Bridges to the Doctoral Program; R25-089637) in its fourth year of a six-year funding cycle (02/02/2010-08/31/2016), the first of its kind to be awarded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to a social work school. She is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America and The New York Academy of Medicine. In 2014, she was awarded the Distinguished Faculty Member Award from the University of Michigan School of Social Work.



Linda M. Chatters

  • Faculty Associate, Program for Research on Black Americans
  • Professor, Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health
  • Professor, School of Social Work
  • Faculty Associate, Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture, and Health

    B.A., Psychology, 1975, University of California, Berkeley
    Ph.D., Psychology, 1983, University of Michigan

Dr, Chatters' research interests encompass family and church-based social support and the relationship between religious involvement and health. Her recent works include the co-authored book (with Robert
Taylor and Jeff Levin) Religion in the Lives of African Americans: Social, Psychological and Health Perspectives. Recent articles include "Social support, traumatic events and psychological distress among African Americans" in Journal of Marriage and Family and "Supportive relationships with church members among African Americans" appearing in Family Relations (both co-authored with Karen Lincoln and Robert Joseph
Taylor) and “Religious and Spiritual Involvement Among Older African Americans, Caribbean Blacks, and Non-Hispanic Whites: Findings From the National Survey of American Life” and “Religious Participation Among
Older Black Caribbeans in the United States” (both co-authored with Robert Joseph Taylor and James S. Jackson). Dr. Chatters is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America (Behavioral and Social Sciences Section). She is also Designated by Thomson-ISI as a Highly Cited Researcher in the Category of General Social Sciences. ISI Author Publication Number A0347-2004-0.Dr. Chatters is currently Principal Investigator for the grant, Religious Involvement Among Older African Americans funded by the National Institute on Aging.



Ivy Forsythe-Brown

  • Assistant Professor, Sociology, University of Michigan-Dearborn
  • Faculty Associate, Program for Research on Black Americans

B.A., Social Science, 1991, Eastern Michigan University
M.A., Sociology, 1995, Eastern Michigan University
Ph.D., Sociology, 2007, University of Maryland-College Park

Dr. Forsythe-Brown is an assistant professor of sociology in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.  Her research focuses on the impact of societal incorporation on family contextual processes and health status for Caribbean and other immigrant groups in the United States, Britain, and Canada.  Specifically, Dr. Forsythe-Brown’s work examine issues of social support, transnational kinship relations, identity, and mental and physical health outcomes among immigrant groups.  Her works have examined the connection between the health status of Black Caribbean immigrants and Caribbean residents, and the impact of social and kin support among Caribbean immigrant families in the U.S.  Her current projects include an examination of kin support among Jamaicans, the socioeconomic and religious status of second generation South Asian Muslims, and the educational experiences of second generation, Arab American college women.  Dr. Forsythe-Brown teaches courses on immigration, family, gender, and qualitative research methods.


Hector Gonzalez

  • Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Michigan State University
  • Faculty Associate, Research Center for Group Dynamics

B.S., Psychology, 1982, University of New Mexico
Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, Behavioral Medicine/Health Psychology, 1998, California School of Professional Psychology

Dr. González’ is a licensed clinical neuropsychologist. His primary research interest is in Latino health and he specializes in neuroepidemiology, psychiatric epidemiology and health services research. His research is focused on identifying modifiable factors associated with improving Latino health and healthcare. He has written on the health of older Mexican Americans and the Latino Health Paradox, and his scholarly writing is reshaping current understanding of healthcare inequalities, especially among Latino ethnic groups. Dr. González is PI of the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos Neurocognitive Reading Center, which is funded by the National Heart Lung Blood Institute and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. He is also funded by the National Institute of Mental Health to examine late-life depression in the United States. He was a contributing author of the American Psychological Association’s Task Force to revise the American Psychological Association’s Guidelines for the Evaluation of Dementia and Age-Related Cognitive Change.



Ishtar Govia

  • Lecturer, Department of Sociology, Psychology, and Social Work, University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica (UWI-Mona)
  • Network Associate, MacArthur Research Network on an Aging Society
  • Research Fellow, Program for Research on Black Americans (PRBA) and Life Course Development (LCD) program, Institute for Social Research

B.S., Liberal Studies, St. Thomas University, Miami, FL
M.T.S., Theological Studies, Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, MA
M.A., Psychology, City College of New York, New York, NY
Ph.D., Personality and Social Contexts Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Dr. Govia’s research focuses mainly on the Caribbean. She uses approaches that are sensitive to history, place, context, and generations. Her projects focus on health and wellbeing across the lifespan, with special attention to immigrant and immigrant-ancestry populations, and those in low- and middle-income country (LMIC) contexts, such as the Caribbean. Dr. Govia is the PI of Caribbean Migrations: Jamaica Returned Migrants Study, an omnibus survey which provides data to profile returned migrants in Jamaica and their health and wellbeing and is part of a broader program of research and capacity building for migration and health in the Caribbean and with Caribbean populations in contexts outside the region. Her other main line of research is aging and she is involved with projects on dementia in the non-Latin Caribbean, and on intergenerational relations and health disparities with ethnic minority populations in the US. She is a past recipient of the Herzog Young Investigator Award in Survey Research and the Elizabeth Douvan Junior Scholar Award in Life Course Development, and is a member of the Executive Council (Pro Tem) of the Caribbean Alliance of National Psychological Associations (CANPA).




Carmen Green

  • Associate Vice President and Associate Dean for Health Equity and Inclusion, University of Michigan Health System
  • Professor, Health Management and Policy
  • Professor, Anesthesiology
  • Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Faculty Associate, Research Center for Group Dynamics

    B.S.,University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
    Michigan State University College of Human Medicine

Dr. Green's research focuses on pain management outcomes, physician decision-making, and access to care – and has documented disparities due to age, race, gender, and class across the lifespan. She has also found community-based structural barriers to health and pain care, including clear disparities in access to pain medication for blacks, women and low-income individuals with chronic pain. Her leadership in developing and diversifying the health professional pipeline includes service on faculty and advisory boards for programs designed to achieve a critical mass of minorities and women in biomedical science.

She has been selected for several fellowships focusing on aging, health care and health policy, including the Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowship at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies -- where she worked as a health policy analyst on the U.S. Senate’s Health Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and the Children and Families Subcommittee. She is an elected fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine, the Gerontological Society of America, and the Association of University Anesthesiologists. Her work has informed the policy agenda and she has provided expert testimony to state and federal entities. 



Joseph A. Himle

  • Director of Vivian A. and James L. Curtis School of Social Work Research and Training Center
  • Associate Professor of Social Work, School of Social Work
  • Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Medical School
  • Faculty Associate, Research Center for Group Dynamics

MSW, Interpersonal Practice, 1984, University of Michigan
Ph.D., Social Work and Psychology, 1995, University
of Michigan

Dr. Himle's research interests focus on mental health intervention research with adults and youth. His current intervention projects include treatment development projects focused on bringing cognitive behavioral therapy to underserved populations. He is also involved in epidemiological research focused on anxiety disorders in the African American population. Dr. Himle is the Principal Investigator of a recently funded National Institute of Mental Health multi-site RO-1 grant; “A multi-site systems intervention for unemployed persons with social anxiety.” He has been the Principal or Co-Investigator on a total of 11 research grants funded by the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Himle holds a joint appointment with the University of Michigan Department of Psychiatry. Other areas of research/scholarly interest: the relationship between psychosocial interventions and neurobiological factors, mental disorders, social work practice in mental health.


James S. Jackson

  • Research Professor, Research Center for Group Dynamics
  • Professor of Psychology
  • Director of the Institute for Social Research

    M.A., Psychology, 1970, University of Toledo
    Ph.D., Social Psychology, 1972, Wayne State University

Research efforts include conducting national and international surveys of black populations focusing on racial and ethnic influences on life course development, attitude change, reciprocity, social support, physical and mental health and coping. Jackson is currently principal investigator of one of the most extensive social, political, economic, and mental and physical health studies of the African American and Caribbean populations ever conducted, "The National Survey of American Life" and the "The Family Survey across Generations and Nations," and the "National Study of Ethnic Pluralism and Politics." Teaching centers on social factors in health, race and racism, and social exchange and social influences.



Jamie A. Mitchell

  • Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, Wayne State University
  • Assistant Professor, Institute of Gerontology (IOG), Wayne State University
  • Associate Director, Watkins Research Lab on Gender and Health, University of Michigan
  • Faculty Affiliate, Population Studies and Disparities Research Program, Karmanos Cancer Institute

B.A., Psychology, 2005, The Ohio State University
M.S.W., Social Work, 2007, The University of Tennessee
Ph.D. Social Work, 2010, The Ohio State University

Dr. Mitchell’s research addresses the health of African American men over the adult life course with a distinct focus on how African American men navigate cancer prevention and detection, treatment, and survivorship.  Currently her work centers on three areas. First, she examines how African American men collect family health history and utilize it for medical decision-making, and relatedly, how family members and companions provide support to African American men before and during a cancer diagnosis. Second, Dr. Mitchell has been funded by the American Cancer Society to utilize a novel medical interaction research archive to investigate how and under what circumstances African American men and their physicians accommodate each other’s communication style in the clinical context; and the role of patient-centered health communication in clinical outcomes. Finally, Dr. Mitchell is interested in the degree to which health care providers address psychological and social wellbeing during primary care and oncology consultations with African American men.



Harold W. Neighbors

  • Faculty Associate, Research Center for Group Dynamics
  • Professor of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health
  • Associate Director, Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture, and Health

    M.A., Social Psychology, 1979, University of Michigan
    Ph.D., Social Psychology, 1982, University of Michigan

Dr. Neighbor's research interests and areas of publication include psychiatric epidemiology with an emphasis on ethnic and cultural influences on the assessment (diagnosis and case-finding) of mental disorder, and the utilization of informal and professional services by African Americans. He has directed both community and institutional surveys of African American mental health and was a recipient of a Research Scientist Development Award from the National Institute of Mental Health, where he studied Black-White differences in the social epidemiology of mental disorder. His prior funded research includes a study on the diagnosis of depression and schizophrenia among African American psychiatric inpatients, a focus group study of community perceptions of mental illness among black men and women, and a qualitative investigation of black and white clinician perceptions of how ethnicity and culture affect the diagnosis, rapport, and treatment of African American mental patients.



Sela V. Panapasa

  • Assistant Research Scientist, Program for Research on Black Americans

M.S., 1988, Computer Education, Johnson & Wales University
M.A., 1995, Sociology, Brown University
Ph.D., 2000, Sociology, Brown University

Dr. Panapasa's research interests are in the area of racial health disparities and population dynamics across the lifecourse.  She conducts both survey driven and community-based research designs, and completed the first representative study on Pacific Islander American health and healthcare utilization. Dr. Panapasa also played a visible leadership role in raising awareness to the problems of health disparities among Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders.  Her work seeks to improve the health and well-being of numerically small vulnerable populations through evidence-based research and interventions, including efforts to build healthy Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities in the United States and U.S. Associated Pacific Islands.  In her early research she studied social support and intergenerational exchanges among aged Pacific Peoples living in the U.S. and Pacific region.   Dr. Panapasa currently serves as a member on the U.S. Census Bureau National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Advisory Committee on Minority Health and she recently completed her term as chair of the Census Advisory Committee on Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders.



Robert M. Sellers

  • Faculty Associate, Research Center for Group Dynamics
  • Charles D. Moody Collegiate Professor of Psychology
  • Vice Provost for Equity, Inclusion and Academic Affairs

    B.A., Psychology, 1985, Howard University
    Ph.D., Social Psychology, 1990,University of Michigan

Dr. Sellers' research interests include ethnicity, racial and ethnic identity, personality and health, athletic participation, and personality. The meta-objective of his research has been to examine the ways in which the interaction between personal characteristics (e.g., identity and attributional styles) and characteristics of the social environment (or event) influence subsequent behavior and adaptational outcomes. Both personality and social psychology have investigated this question from different points of view. His work has attempted to incorporate approaches and methodologies that are common to both of these areas of psychology as he has tried to develop important conceptual and methodological constructs that represent relevant experiences in the lives of African Americans and college student-athletes.

In his role with the provost’s office, Dr. Sellers provides strategic leadership to increase access and success for all students, recruit and retain diverse faculty, and develop academic programs that prepare all students for success in a diverse world.



Robert Joseph Taylor

  • Director, Program for Research on Black Americans
  • Faculty Associate, Research Center for Group Dynamics
  • Sheila Ford Collegiate Professor of Social Work

B.A., Sociology, 1974, Northwestern University
M.S.W., 1976, University of Michigan
Ph.D., Social Work and Sociology, 1983, University of Michigan

Dr. Taylor is the Sheila Feld Collegiate Professor of Social Work. He is also the Director of The Program for Research on Black Americans at the Institute for Social Research. Dr. Taylor has published extensively on the informal social support networks (i.e., family, friends, and church members) of adult and elderly Black Americans. He has been principal investigator of several grants from the National Institute on Aging that examine the role of religion in the lives of Black and White elderly adults. He has been co-principal investigator with James Jackson on several grants from the National Institute of Mental Health on the correlates of mental health and mental illness among Black Americans, including the only major national study of the prevalence of mental illness among Black Americans (The National Survey of American Life). He has edited two books, Family Life in Black America (1997) and Aging in Black America (1993) with James S. Jackson and Linda M. Chatters. He is also the lead author of the book, Religion in the Lives of African Americans: Social, Psychological, and Health Perspectives (2004) with Linda Chatters and Jeff Levin. He is the founding editor of African American Research Perspectives and is currently on the editorial boards of the Journal of Marriage and the Family and Race and Social Problems.



Daphne C. Watkins

  • Faculty Associate, Program for Research on Black Americans
  • Assistant Professor, School of Social Work
  • Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Medical School

    B.A., Anthropology & French, 2002, University of North Carolina, Wilmington;
    Ph.D., Health Education and Health Behavior, 2006, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX

Broadly, Dr. Watkins’ interests include: gender disparities in mental health and mental illness; health education and behavior; and intervention/prevention research. Currently, her work explores how gender role socialization influences mental health over the life course -- particularly among black men. She is also interested in using quantitative and qualitative methodologies to increase what we know about mental illness and how it impacts the health and health behaviors of black men. Her research agenda aims to (1) use evidence-based strategies to improve the physical and mental health of black men, and (2) increase knowledge about the relationship between culture, gender, and the development of risky behaviors that place black men at high risk for poor health status.