The Southern Center For Communication, Health & Poverty
Project Cores
UGA Center for Health Communication and Risk
CDC National Center for Health Marketing
University of Maryland Center for Risk Communication Research
The Health Communication Unit at the Centre for Health Promotion
Grant Team: Investigators
  Bios | Project Core | Curriculum Vita
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Dr. J Kevin Barge, Ph.D.

Dr. J Kevin Barge, Ph.D.

Dr. Barge is an Associate Professor of Speech Communication at the University of Georgia. His work employs interviews, focus groups, written artifacts, and participant observation to create data for subsequent case-based analysis. His analytical methods include grounded theory, narrative analysis, and content analysis. He has authored 3 books, over 40 journal articles and book chapters. From 1999-2004 Dr. Barge was Project Director for Gear Up Waco! (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs), a five-year $6 million grant from the DOE designed to increase the likelihood of middle school students attending college.

Dr. Barge has experience with all aspects of qualitative work including focus groups with adolescent and adult populations, and also has extensive experience with training. Dr. Barge is responsible for the integration of the Formative Research Module and Data Management Module. Dr. Barge will advise on issues concerning participatory action research. Dr. Barge is also a well known organizational consultant and trainer. Because of his unique expertise in training, Dr. Barge is also responsible for organizing the annual training seminars and the quarterly research presentation seminars.

Dr. J.J. Bau, Ph.D.

Dr. J.J. Bau, Ph.D.

Dr. Bau is the primary statistician for the Institute of Behavioral Research (IBR) at the University of Georgia. As a member of the Methods and Models Group at IBR, Dr. Bau has shared responsibility for providing an interdisciplinary forum for identifying and pursuing analytical problems and research opportunities for which structural equation modeling may be appropriate. In addition, his on-going duties at IBR include maintaining data sets, planning, designing, and analyzing federally funded data sets. Dr. Bau also applies statistical theory and method to the data sets as well as reviews on-going and new research projects in terms of their statistical validity, computation feasibility, and interpretability. As the Module’s lead statistician, Dr. Bau’s expertise in maintaining and explaining data sets, planning and analyzing data, applying statistical theory and method to data sets, and reviewing on-going research projects for the statistical validity, computation feasibility and interpretability will be invaluable.

Lisa Goodin, MBA

Lisa Goodin is the Assistant Director for Training and Communication Dissemination at the Prevention Research Center of Morehouse School of Medicine. Ms. Goodin has responsibility for the coordination of the Prevention Research Center’s participatory community-based research projects, development of community partnerships, as well as development and implementation of health promotion and disease prevention initiatives.

Ms. Goodin is a member of the State of Georgia technical advisory committee for the HIV prevention marketing campaign and previously served on the State of Georgia technical advisory committee for substance abuse prevention programming. She also works with myriad agencies regarding public health and community health issues. She has extensive experience working in the areas of community development, cultural competence, substance abuse prevention and treatment, training and development and HIV risk reduction. Currently, Ms. Goodin produces and serves as a co-host on a radio show promoting health and the elimination of health disparities on behalf of the PRC.

Dr. Tina M. Harris, Ph.D.

Dr. Tina M. Harris, Ph.D. (Ph.D., Module Chair, co-Investigator, Genetic Predispositions to Disease)

Dr. Harris is an Associate Professor at the University of Georgia. She has been a co-investigator on two federally funded grants (NIH and CDC) that involved conducting analyses of lay communication about race and of genetics. She has authored several publications about discourse about genetics and religious frameworks.  In other grant work, Dr. Harris helped conduct focus groups assessing public attitudes about race and genetics.  These studies all have contributed to her vision of the necessity and particular shape of the Formative Research Module.

Dr. Harris has recently been involved in the assessment of public attitudes about race, genetics, and/or religious frameworks based on a combined total of 42 focus groups. Dr. Harris played a significant role in the collection and analysis of the data for each grant. Dr. Harris serves as a liaison between the module and the Core Director, Dr. Springston. Dr. Harris supervises the activities of the Formative Research Module, assigns individual module members duties pertaining to each study, serves as the coordinator for the Center Lay Steering Committee, and assists Dr. Barge with coordination of the annual training seminars.

Dr. Paul Matthews, Ph.D.

Dr. Paul Matthews, Ph.D. (Center for Latino Achievement and Success in Education,Co-Director)

Paul Matthews, CLASE Co-Director, holds a Ph.D. in Language Education from the University of Georgia, where he was a University-Wide Fellow. Dr. Matthews served as a faculty member at the University of Georgia in Language Education and in Romance Languages for a total of five years. He has also been a Spanish instructor for Piedmont College, and has taught and developed English for Speakers of Other Languages endorsement courses for Northeast Georgia RESA, Metro RESA, Clarke County School District, and the University of Georgia, through distance learning and traditional instructional models. Additionally, Dr. Matthews owned and directed a language school in Athens for seven years.

A former University of Georgia Foundation Fellow and First Honor Graduate, he has an AB in Area Studies from UGA (summa cum laude, with highest honors, with honors in Spanish), an MA in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, and spent a year at the Universität Passau in Germany as a Fulbright Fellow. Currently, Dr. Matthews supervises ESOL service-learning tutoring programs, among other CLASE duties, and is an inaugural-year Service-Learning Fellow at UGA. He is active in Northeast Georgia and the Athens community as a Scoutmaster and Rotarian, and serves as a trustee of the Foundation for Excellence in Public Education in Clarke County and as a board member for Georgia TESOL.


Thearis Osuji, MPH 

Thearis Osuji is a senior research associate with Macro International Inc. She has a strong background in public health research concerning minority populations and the elimination of health disparities. Ms. Osuji has worked with a variety of special populations, evaluating their health information needs and designing materials to reach those needs. She has extensive expertise in synthesizing current research in literature searches and reviews, developing both quantitative and qualitative data collection instruments, developing health education materials, conducting formative research using quantitative and qualitative methods, analyzing findings and writing final reports and manuscripts for publication in scientific journals. Ms. Osuji has formal education and training in both epidemiology and health education/health promotion. She was also an Eliminating Health Disparities Fellow at the Saint Louis University School of Public Health, where she gained skills in eliminating health disparities in epidemiology, health communications, psychology, and health education.

Dr. David Mustard, Ph.D. (Module Chair)

Dr. David Mustard, Ph.D. (Module Chair)

Dr. Mustard is an Associate Professor of Economics in the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia. Mustard is also a research fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Bonn, Germany. He has been a visiting professor at L’Université Jean Moulin in Lyon, France, a visiting research fellow at IZA, a member and of the Georgia Governor’s Workers’ Compensation Review Commission and a co-author of the Commission’s final report. He is known for his expertise in applied economics. Mustard's research focuses on microeconomic policy-related questions, especially law and economics, crime, casino gambling, lotteries, gun control, sentencing, labor economics, education and merit-based aid. The National Science Foundation has funded his research examining the impacts of merit-based aid. Mustard's (and colleague Chris Cornwell's) work in this area represents one of the country's most sustained and rigorous empirical examinations of these types of programs. In his published research Mustard typically works with large complex data sets and addresses issues pertaining to endogeneity, omitted variable bias, selection bias, analysis of limited dependent variables, and difference-in-differences analysis of natural experiments. As module chair, Dr. Mustard will serve as a liaison between the module and the Research Core director, Dr. Springston. Dr. Mustard will assist Dr. Barge in coordinating the Core’s annual training seminars. In addition, Dr. Mustard will oversee all work in the Biostatistics and Data Management Module, and specifically will serve as a consultant for planning and study design.

Dr. Nancy Rhodes, Ph.D.

Dr. Nancy Rhodes, Ph.D.

Nancy Rhodes is a social psychologist at the Institute for Social Science Research at the University of Alabama. She conducts research on persuasion and social influence processes in health-related behaviors. Specifically, she is interested in the processes that maintain and change behaviors such as cigarette smoking, risky driving among teens, and drunk driving among college students.

Dr. David Roskos-Ewoldsen, Ph.D.

Dr. Roskos-Ewoldsen received a joint Ph.D. in social psychology and communication studies at Indiana University in 1990. Currently, he is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Alabama. In addition, he is the former editor of the journal, Media Psychology and presently the editor of the new journalCommunication Methods & Measures. His area of expertise is in psychological approaches to the mass media, advertising and persuasion. In particular, he has developed a transactive model of attitude accessibility and persuasion. He has applied this model to understanding what information people will attend to in the environment, how messages are processed, attitude formation and the effects of various types of messages on attitude accessibility, including fear appeals, comparative advertising, and elaborative message processing.

Dr. Falah Shamsa, PhD

Dr. Shamsa is an Associate Professor of Community Health and Preventive Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine. He has also been appointed as an Eminent Scholar and Scientist with the Georgia Cancer Coalition since 2003. Dr. Shamsa is a senior biostatistician and epidemiologist and he has been a co-investigator on numerous clinical research studies and a collaborator on numerous grant projects. His main interest is in the areas of survival analysis and longitudinal modeling. He has been on editorial board of several medical journals. His work in cancer and cardiovascular disease research has been widely published.

Dr. Lijiang Shen, Ph.D.

Dr. Lijiang Shen, Ph.D.

Dr. Shen researches the effects of message framing in the psychological processing of persuasive health communication about, for example, genetic risk, smoking, and specific diseases such as SARS. He has authored and co-authored several articles that have been published in and presented at a number of leading national and international communication journals and conferences, generating him several top paper and thesis awards.

Dr. Shen also received a junior faculty grant from the University of Georgia and is the co-investigator on grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Shen is a quantitative researcher.

Dr. Torrance T. Stephens, Ph.D.

Dr. Torrance T. Stephens, Ph.D.

Dr. Stephens is an Associate Professor/Director in the Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine, Master of Public Health Program, Morehouse School of Medicine. His research interests include HIV-AIDS prevention, substance abuse, prison health issues, cultural competency in counseling among African Americans, and other risk-related behaviors of underserved populations. He is a widely-published author of research and evaluation studies.

Photo of Patricia Thomas

Dr. Pat Thomas, Ph.D.

Dr. Thomas is the Knight Fellow for Health and Medical Journalism, the only such fellowship in the country. Dr. Thomas’s research focuses on two complementary issues: how poor people in the South obtain health and medical news and information, and how reporters and editors in small media outlets decide what health and medical stories are relevant to their audiences. She will use research findings to design public service and outreach programs for working reporters and for health professionals, with the long-range goal of bettering communication in ways that will narrow health disparities between rich and poor. Professor Thomas is one of two dozen investigators involved with the new Southern Center on Communication, Health, and Poverty at UGA, and she is working with Grady collaborators to investigate newsroom issues.

She has written about medicine, public health, and life science research for many years, and from 1991 to early 1997 was editor of the Harvard Health Letter. For her book Big Shot: Passion, Politics, and the Struggle for an AIDS Vaccine (PublicAffairs, September 2001), Thomas won the 1998 Leonard Silk Journalism Fellowship and the 2002 Ralph A. Deterling Award of Distinction from the American Medical Writers Association New England Chapter. Thomas was also one of the first healthy volunteers injected with an experimental HIV vaccine.

She has been a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and in 2002-2003 was the Visiting Scholar at the Knight Center for Science and Medical Journalism at Boston University.

C. Ashani Turbes, MA

Dr. C. Ashani Turbes, Ph.D.

Dr. Turbes is a Project Manager with ORC Macro. She contributes conceptual and technical expertise on, and manages a variety of qualitative and quantitative research studies. Her work over the past several years has focused on the African American population and addressing health disparities through communication, or policy interventions. Dr. Turbes has a wide range of experience in program evaluation, health communication, and policy analysis projects. She has strong qualitative research skills in case study research, logic modeling, developing evaluation frameworks and plans, designing data collection instruments, collecting and analyzing qualitative and quantitative data, and interpreting results. She is skilled in designing and utilizing evaluation plans, developing and administering surveys, conducting telephone and in-person interviews, coordinating meeting logistics, facilitating training sessions, conducting extensive literature reviews, and writing final reports.

Dr. Turbes has extensive experience designing and conducting focus group studies. She is skilled in all aspects of focus group research including developing screeners and moderator guides, identifying and working with focus group research facilities, identifying appropriate community-based venues to conduct focus groups, recruiting participants (particularly sensitive and/or hard-to-reach populations), moderating phone and in-person focus groups, taking notes during the group discussion, analyzing findings and writing final reports and/or manuscripts.