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College Students


HEALTH-FAST Scholars are doctoral scholars, postdoctoral fellows, and early-stage investigators 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. 

Year 2 Doctoral Scholars


Pamella Nizio, B.S.


Pamella Nizio is a first-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program at the University of Houston. She is interested in transdiagnostic mechanisms relevant to the onset, persistence, and resolution of substance use and mental illness, as well as integrated treatment methods for addiction and psychopathology that are both highly accessible and use methodology that allows for personalization (e.g., mobile phone-based, computer-based, ecological momentary assessment [EMA]). In her free time, she enjoys kickboxing, hiking, and watching horror movies.


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Gregory Gomez, M.Ed.


Gregory Gomez is a second-year doctoral student at The University of Houston’s Graduate College of Social Work. He is interested in researching how mental health therapies, grounded in evolutionary biology and liberation psychology, can reduce substance use and improve life expectancy. He focuses on the healing of personal and collective identities, especially for the racially and ethnically othered and those who have been caged. In his free time, he is either cooking for his family or playing with his two young sons.


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Ty Robinson, Ed.M. 


Ty Robinson is a first-year doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program at the University of Houston. He is interested in research aimed at better understanding race-based traumatic stress and intersections of oppression and addiction through the lived experiences of LGBTQ+ people of color. Additionally, he has a focus on exploring health disparities and risk behaviors caused by systemic racism and discrimination. In his free time, Ty enjoys cooking, running, movies, anime, and being with friends and family.



Corissa Barrow, M.A.


Corissa Barrow is a first-year doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program at the University of Houston. She is interested in exploring how the dynamics of an individual’s relationships impact the outcome of treatment for substance use disorders in Hispanic/Latinx populations and the role of relationally focused interventions in decreasing addiction lapses. Secondary interests include exploring the implementation of community practices as an aim towards increasing participation in health-focused research, understanding stressors that contribute to cannabis use specifically within second and third generation Hispanics, and intergenerational strengths and stressors. When outside the classroom, she enjoys discovering new music, running, meditating, and collecting more fuzzy socks than she should.


Year 1 Doctoral Scholars


Haleem A. Brown, M.S.


Haleem Brown is a first-year doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program at the University of Houston. He is interested in tobacco-related cancer research and disparities in health risk behaviors and health outcomes in low socioeconomic communities. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, photography, spending time with family and friends, and basketball.



Kerry Chavez, M.S.


Kerry Chavez is a first-year doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program at the University of Houston. She is interested in the causes and consequences of substance abuse in vulnerable populations, with a particular emphasis on downstream chronic health conditions as viewed from a biopsychosocial perspective. Among her highest priorities is to perform translational research with direct benefit to those it serves, using a teams science approach. In her free time she enjoys jogging, watching movies, and spending time with family.



Tarik Goulbourne, M.S.


Tarik Goulbourne is a first-year doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program at the University of Houston. He is interested in exploring the risk factors contributing to substance use and addiction in LGBTQ+ people of color, such as racism, heterosexism, cissexism, and sexual identity discrimination. He enjoys listening to audiobooks, trying new recipes, working out, and spending time with friends and family in his free time.



Rachel D. Roberts, MEd


Rachel D. Roberts is a first-year doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program at the University of Houston. She is interested in exploring health disparities influenced by substance abuse disorders including tobacco and nicotine addiction within marginalized communities. In her free time she enjoys cooking, traveling, and game night with friends.


Year 2 Early Stage Investigators and Postdoctoral Fellows

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Dr. Megan Britton


Dr. Maggie Britton is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychological, Health, and Learning Sciences at the University of Houston. Her current research interests include the implementation of tobacco control and treatment programs to serve populations that present with elevated rates of tobacco use, and how to reduce racial and ethnic disparities for tobacco use and lung cancer screening and diagnosis. When she’s not working, she enjoys traveling, true crime podcasts, and taking walks with her husband and dogs.


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Dr. Cherell Cottrell-Daniels


Dr. Cherell Cottrell-Daniels is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Health Outcomes and Behavior at Moffitt Cancer Center. Her research focuses on tobacco cessation among minority and special populations. Dr. Cottrell-Daniels is particularly interested in utilizing mixed methods to understand stressors and protective factors as they relate to marijuana and tobacco co-use among these priority populations. Her work aims to promote tobacco cessation; eliminate tobacco-related cancer health disparities among underserved populations; and to develop culturally relevant interventions. She enjoys playing tennis, spending time with friends, and trying new restaurants in the Tampa area.


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Dr. Carolyn Gibson


Dr. Carolyn Gibson is a clinical-health psychologist and health services researcher at the San Francisco VA Health Care System and Assistant Professor in the University of California, San Francisco Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences. Her research focuses on women’s physical and mental health related to menopause and aging, with a current focus on associations between cannabis use and menopause, the impact of interpersonal trauma on health during menopause and aging, and the effect of menopause and menopause symptoms on the development and exacerbation of mental health concerns. Outside of work, she enjoys reading, getting outside, and spending time with her friends, family, and dog.


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Dr. Sarah Kowitt


Dr. Sarah D. Kowitt is an assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine at UNC Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on how to prevent and reduce youth and young adult substance use. To that end, her research uses theory, mixed methods, and experiments to develop and test effective messages, such as warning labels on product packages and communication campaigns. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and three kids.

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Dr. Katelyn Romm


Dr. Katelyn Romm is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University. Her research program focuses on identifying multilevel factors driving disparities in tobacco, cannabis, and other substance use among adolescents and young adults in order to inform, develop, and test culturally congruent interventions aimed at reducing such use and promoting health equity. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends and hiking with her dogs.


Year 1 Early Stage Investigators


Dr. Charles Lea


Dr. Charles Lea is an assistant professor in social work at the University of Houston. His research and scholarship examine young adult Black men’s risk and resilience during their transition from carceral to community settings, and the role and impact structural racism and personal and sociocultural assets have on their reentry experiences and substance use, HIV, and psychosocial outcomes. In his free time, Dr. Lea enjoys traveling, live music, fitness, trying new restaurants, and spending time with his family and friends.


Dr. Chakema Carmack


Chakema Carmack is an associate professor in the Psychological, Health, & Learning Sciences Department at UH. Her research focuses on the prevention of HIV, HPV, and other STIs among African American and Hispanic populations, with a strong interest in incorporating ATOD within her research focus. Professionally, she enjoys statistical data analyses and intervention development; outside of work, she enjoys reading, coloring, and aromatherapy.

Dr. Michael Parent


Dr. Mike Parent is an associate professor in counseling psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. His work focuses on the intersection of health and policy with regard to behavioral health among marginalized populations. Outside of his work, Dr. Parent spends time with his dog outside and is a nationally-qualified bodybuilder.


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