UHAND Affiliates

Interested in professional development? Early stage investigators/affiliates are welcome to develop their leadership skills in our upcoming workshops. Download the agenda for more details

Chakema Carmack, PhD

Chakema Carmack, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Health Program Psychological, Health, & Learning Sciences College of Education. Dr. Carmack's research focuses on culturally competent programs aimed at reducing HIV and STI incidence in African American and Hispanic communities. She has a particular interest in identifying profiles of cervical cancer risk to examine the extent to which social determinants of health may affect these profiles. 

Shahnjayla K. Connors, PhD, MPH, CPH

Dr. Connors is an Assistant Professor of Health and Behavioral Science at the University of Houston-Downtown. Her research focuses on cancer treatment in minority populations. She is joint PI on a Synergy Grant with Dr. Reitzel entitled, “A Patient-Centered Approach to Exploring Breast Reconstruction in African American Women,” which focuses on exploring breast reconstruction determinants and decision-making in African-American breast cancer survivors. At the end of this study, the resulting breast reconstruction decision-making conceptual framework will be used to inform the development and dissemination of culturally-competent interventions to ensure equitable access to breast reconstruction for African-American women. She enjoys cooking, attending cultural events, and volunteering for local breast cancer organizations.

Stacey Reyes
Stacey Reyes
Stacey Reyes

Ms. Stacey Reyes is a junior at the University of Houston Downtown who is majoring in Health Science. Stacey is currently an Undergraduate Research Assistant on the Synergy Grant with
Dr. Connors and Dr. Reitzel, which will examine determinant of disparities in breast cancer reconstruction among African-American survivors. For her future career, Stacey is hoping to work for a research center; her current position gives her important experience to achieve her goal.

Ms. Stacey Reyes is a junior at the University of Houston Downtown who is majoring in Health Science. Stacey is currently an Undergraduate Research Assistant on the Synergy Grant with
Dr. Connors and Dr. Reitzel, which will examine determinant of disparities in breast cancer reconstruction among African-American survivors. For her future career, Stacey is hoping to work for a research center; her current position gives her important experience to achieve her goal.

Ms. Stacey Reyes is a junior at the University of Houston Downtown who is majoring in Health Science. Stacey is currently an Undergraduate Research Assistant on the Synergy Grant with
Dr. Connors and Dr. Reitzel, which will examine determinant of disparities in breast cancer reconstruction among African-American survivors. For her future career, Stacey is hoping to work for a research center; her current position gives her important experience to achieve her goal.

Chiara Acquati, Ph.D., MSW

Dr. Chiara Acquati is an Assistant Professor in the Graduate College of Social Work at the University of Houston. Her research focuses on understanding the impact of cancer on the quality of life of patients, their spouses/partners, and caregivers. As a scholar guided by systemic and relational models, Dr. Acquati examines the role of relationship processes on psychosocial adjustment and well-being. The ultimate goal is to develop evidence-based psychosocial interventions and programs aimed at reducing the burden of the disease, enhancing symptoms management, and improving optimal psychosocial care for underserved groups of patients and survivors. Her research interests include stress and coping across the lifespan, health disparities, couple-based interventions, and psychosocial supportive care programs.

Vijay Nitturi

Vijay Nitturi is currently a sophomore at the University of Houston, majoring in Biochemical & Biophysical Sciences and minoring in Medicine & Society. He is interested in health disparities research with an emphasis on cancer-related behaviors. He is currently an Undergraduate Research Assistant on the Synergy Grant with Dr. Connors and Dr. Reitzel, a project that is exploring the determinants of disparities in breast cancer reconstruction among African-American survivors. For his future career, Vijay is hoping to become a physician researcher. In his free time, he enjoys playing chess and basketball.

Former Affiliate

Valentina Maza

Valentina Maza a graduate, majoring in Psychology (Quantitative Social Science minor). She aspires to pursue a career in clinical health psychology, with an interest in working with vulnerable populations. Valentina is currently an Undergraduate Research Assistant on the Synergy Grant with Dr. Connors and Dr. Reitzel, which will examine determinant of disparities in breast cancer reconstruction among African-American survivors. In her spare time, she loves to exploring her city (Houston) and traveling. 

The UHAND Partnership is funded by the National Cancer Institute (P20CA221696 and P20CA221697).

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