The Administrative Core provides scientific, administrative, and financial oversight for UHAND, divided into four general domains: scientific; fiscal and administrative; leadership; and communication.
The Administrative Core provides the essential infrastructures to support the pilot projects and Education Program and facilitate and monitor their progress towards their respective goals. This includes coordinating meetings and events, managing communications within UHAND and between external advisory groups and community partners; managing required progress and annual reports and non-competitive renewals; managing the budget and regulations; coordinating the procedures and protocols required for partnership components; and providing leadership to the UHAND planning process. The Administrative Core ensures that all partnership components are integrated and that their goals remain congruent.
The Administrative Core is led by Dr. Lorna H. McNeill and Dr. Lorraine R. Reitzel and benefits from the support of several key staff members.
Dr. Lorna H. McNeill
Lorna McNeill, PhD, MPH, is Chair in the Department of Health Disparities at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. McNeill's research is on the elimination of cancer-related health disparities in minority populations. Her research has particular emphasis on understanding the influence of social contextual determinants of cancer in minorities, with a special focus of the role of physical activity as a key preventive behavior and obesity as a major cancer determinant. Dr. McNeill is also director of the Center for Community-Engaged Translational Research (CCETR) at MD Anderson.
Dr. Lorraine R. Reitzel
Lorraine Reitzel, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Psychological, Health, and Learning Sciences at the University of Houston. She also directs the Social Determinants and Health Disparities Lab at the University of Houston. Her research program focuses on better understanding the social determinants of health and health risk behaviors. She is also the co-founder and co-director of the HEALTH Research Institute, a multidisciplinary university-level research institute focused on the conduct of community-informed translational research to reduce health disparities experienced locally and across the nation.
Crystal Roberson, MPH, is a Program Manager in the Department of Health Disparities Research at MD Anderson Cancer Center. She has extensive experience in managing the operational and technical aspects of community-academic partnerships and community-based research studies. Her work has focused on addressing health disparities among minority and underserved populations through community-based research approaches. Ms. Roberson will oversee all administrative aspects of UHAND.
Litty Koshy, MPH is a Social and Behavioral Research Scientist for the HEALTH Research Institute at the University of Houston. She holds a Master’s of Public Health in the Social and Behavioral Sciences from The University of Florida and has since gone on to work at several cancer research hospitals across the US. Her research interests include addressing health disparities for vulnerable populations, especially in regards to chronic diseases. She has managed a variety of complex research trials in the past, ranging in topics from cancer to childhood obesity to chronic heart disease. She intends to use her various skills along with her passion for health equity to assist with the administrative and evaluation components of UHAND.
Mirna Centeno is the Senior Graphics Designer for the HEALTH Research Institute at the University of Houston. She specializes in translating information and data into aesthetically pleasing and easy to understand visuals for multiple audiences. She manages, conceives and designs for cohort recruitment, quarterly newsletters, website management and marketing materials for print and digital dissemination. She is also bilingual and translates materials to Spanish. She graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Studio Art.