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Tajrian Amad

Tajrian Amad is an MPH student in Epidemiology at Rutgers School of Public Health. She earned her B.S. in Public Health and a certificate in Health Disparities from Rutgers University – Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. Her research interests include health disparities in minority and immigrant populations, social determinants of health, mental health, infectious disease, and cancer epidemiology. Upon completing her MPH program, she hopes to explore further and unravel the complex relationship between social determinants and health outcomes through research.

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Pamela Valera, PhD, MSW, ACSW, NCTTP, is an Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health and also an Affiliated Faculty in the School of Social Work at Rutgers University. Dr. Valera earned her Ph.D. in Social Work from the University of South Carolina, College of Social Work. She completed a three-year postdoctoral research fellowship in human immunodeficiency virus prevention and human sexuality from Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute, and a one-year clinical fellowship in cancer health disparities from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She has sustained several years of NIH-funded research in cancer health disparities among men with criminal justice histories at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine Department of Epidemiology and Population Health and Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Her research focuses on developing cancer health education programs for studying cancer prevention and exploring smoking cessation interventions in marginalized populations involved in the criminal justice system.

Joachim Sackey, PhD, MS, has been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Clinical and Preventive Nutrition Sciences at Rutgers University School of Health Professions since August 2017. Dr. Sackey has a PhD in Nutritional Epidemiology from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University with interests in HIV and nutrition; racial and sexual minority health; and nutrition across the lifespan.

I am the Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion and an Assistant Professor in Urban-Global Public Health at the Rutgers School of Public Health. As the Assistant Dean for DEI, I have worked with members of the RBHS community to develop the RBHS Strategic Plan and the Universitywide Diversity Strategic Plan. The Universitywide Diversity Strategic Plan became the foundation for the School’s Diversity Action Plan (DAP). In conjunction with the newly established DEI Committee, we will work to implement the DAP over the next five years in alignment with the RBHS Strategic Plan and Universitywide Diversity Strategic Plan. At RBHS, I am a member of the Chancellor’s Diversity Leadership Council which develops DEI initiatives for RBHS, and the Anti-Racism Task Force which is developing initiatives related to the curricula, the development of training and certificate programs, and continuing dialogues on race. I completed the American Association of Medical Colleges’ Healthcare Executive Diversity and Inclusion Certificate (HEDIC) Program in 2020 and the Higher Education Resource Services (HERS) Leadership Institute in 2018, both programs provided the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the importance of DEI work and a commitment to reducing racial injustices in the academy and the communities that we serve.

For over ten years, I have been a member of the Newark Community Collaborative Board (NCCB) research team that addresses substance misuse and related health disparities among justice-involved individuals in the City of Newark, NJ. As a Board, we developed and piloted Community Wise, a 15-week behavioral health intervention based on critical conscious theory. Community Wise aimed to reduce substance use frequency, HIV, HCV risk behaviors, and reoffending among individuals with substance use disorders and incarceration grounded in community-based participatory research (CBPR).

My current research focuses on several issues facing the Newark, NJ community including maternal child health issues in Black women; outcomes for men who have sustained gunshot wounds and have been patients in University Hospital’s HVIP (Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Program); and reentry challenges faced by women returning to their communities. I teach Social Determinants of Health, Public Health and Health Disparities, and Urban Health, as well as independent studies focusing on LBGTQ+ Health, interpersonal violence, and poverty and violence in urban centers.

I received my PhD in Urban Health Systems from the Rutgers School of Nursing and my MPH in Urban Health Administration from the Rutgers School of Public Health.

Humberto Baquerizo is the Program Development Specialist, Office for Diversity and Community Engagement, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.  He is currently overseeing the Northeast Regional Alliance (NERA) MedPrep Program, and MiniMed Program (Pre-Medical Honors Program), he is a member of the Community Engagement Projects and Service-Learning (CESL) Course at NJMS. Mr. Baquerizo has a Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership from Caldwell University, an MBA from the University of Phoenix, and a BS in Engineering Science from NJIT. His research interest includes: Student Success, Grit, Resilience, and URM Pipeline initiatives.

Dr. Javier F. Boyas is the Department Chair of Troy University’s School of Social Work and Human Services and was recently named Assistant Dean of Research for the College of Health Sciences. In these roles, he oversees academic programs, supports faculty development, and contributes to the strategic planning and administration of the department.

As Assistant Dean of Research, he focuses on promoting research initiatives, fostering interdisciplinary collaboration, and enhancing the research capabilities of faculty and students to ensure continued excellence and innovation in health sciences research endeavors. Dr. Boyas leads change by building knowledge that contributes to effective intervention and prevention approaches to reduce and eradicate health and mental health disparities among vulnerable populations, such as communities of color and child protection workers. His program of research aims to build knowledge that contributes to effective intervention and prevention approaches to reduce and ultimately eliminate health and mental health disparities among communities of color, particularly among the Latina/o/x community.

Dr. Boyas’ scholarship can be found in the journals: Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology; Journal of Skin Cancer, American Journal of Men’s Health; Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine; Children & Youth Services Review, Community Mental Health Journal, and Hispanic Health Care International.

Rida Sohail is a recent graduate of Rutgers University-New Brunswick with a BS in Public Health from the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. Her research interests include mental health, health disparities, reproductive health, and the relationship between health inequities, social determinants, and intersectionality. She aspires to a career combining her passion for social justice with research, enabling her to advocate for health equity. Her experiences include working with several non-profits and community-based organizations to serve those around her and make health more accessible for all.