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College Students


HEALTH–FAST Scholars are Postdoctoral FellowsEarly Stage Investigators, and Doctoral Scholars, committed to conducting research focused on mitigating alcohol, tobacco, and
other drugs (ATOD) use and the chronic health conditions that result. 


The goal of the HEALTH–FAST Program is to train the next generation of talented ATOD researchers, particularly scholars from groups traditionally underrepresented in or
historically excluded from the sciences. 


Postdoctoral Fellows and Early Stage Investigators

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Kumaraswamy Naidu Chitrala, Ph.D.


Dr. Kumaraswamy Naidu Chitrala is an Assistant professor in Biotechnology, 
Department of Engineering Technology at the University of Houston. His research mainly focuses on Bioinformatics and
 Computational Biology, Statistical Genetics, Epidemiology, Epigenetics, Cancer Biology, Health Disparities, Neurological Disorders, and Aging with a special focus on ATOD. Outside of work, he enjoys exploring new restaurants, traveling and spending time with his family, and gardening.


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Mai-Ly Steers, Ph.D.


Dr. Mai-Ly Steers is an Assistant Professor
in the School of Nursing at Duquesne University and an Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Psychology
at the University 
of Houston. As an applied social psychologist, she has developed two
parallel research trajectories in the addictions field: 1) examining psychosocial factors, particularly social norms, in relation to drinking, and 2) exploring the influences
of social media on health and well-being.
These two lines of research stem from her educational background in psychology, health, and communication studies. Her current research involves systematically integrating her two complementary interests in addictions and social media use in relation to health and well-being into a programmatic line of research dedicated to developing novel interventions, targeting at-risk drinkers who are also avid social media users.
During her free time, she enjoys spending quality time with her family, traveling,
writing blog posts for Psychology Today,
and listening to audiobooks.


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Lorra Garey, Ph.D.


Dr. Lorra Garey is a research assistant professor in the Department of Psychology
at the University of Houston. Her research focuses on developing and testing culturally sensitive and appropriate mobile health interventions for mental health and addiction. The goal of her program of work is to improve access to and engagement with effective interventions, improve overall quality of life, and reduce health disparities among marginalized and underserved populations. In her free time, Dr. Garey enjoys traveling, live music, camping, and spending time with his family and friends.



Cassidy LoParco, Ph.D.


Dr. Cassidy LoParco is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Milken Institute
School of Public Health at George Washington University. Her research is devoted to understanding the etiology of youth and young adult alcohol, cannabis,

and novel/new psychoactive substance
(e.g., Delta
-8 THC, kratom) use to inform policy to reduce the population-impact of these substances, particularly among disproportionately impacted populations.
In her free time, she enjoys reading, embroidery, and hiking.



Postdoctoral Fellows
Early Stage Investigators
Doctoral Scholars
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