Faculty Members

Health Disparities in Neuroscience-related Disorders (HDND) MS Program at Wake Forest University

Wake Forest University Graduate School » Health Disparities in Neuroscience-related Disorders (HDND) MS Program

ArcuryThomas A. Arcury, PhD, Professor of Family and Community Medicine

Dr. Arcury is a medical anthropologist and public health scientist with a research program focused on improving the health of rural and minority populations.  Since 1996, he has directed a program of research and intervention to reduce pesticide exposure among immigrant workers, particularly Hispanic and Latino farmworkers and the members of their families.  This research program has been supported by grants from NIEHS, NICHD, NIOSH, US-EPA, and state agencies.  These multidisciplinary projects have been undertaken within the framework of community-based participatory research and have collected qualitative and quantitative data.  He teaches in the Clinical and Population Translational Science masters program, and has been part of thesis projects done by students in that program. Other students from multiple disciplines have participated in these research projects. He will continue to offer these opportunities to students within the proposed program.

Arnan-Martinson-KwekuMartinson Arnan, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology

Dr. Arnan is a board-certified neurologist who is fellowship-trained and certified in vascular neurology. In addition, he has a public policy background that provided me with a conceptual framework for understanding the economic policies and the political environment that underpin healthcare decision making. He currently holds a Diversity Supplement (PI: Dr. Gregory Burke) devoted to building a MESA Stroke Risk Score (MSRS). This novel risk tool will reflect the ethnic diversity in the US while incorporating cardiovascular risk variables not previously evaluated or utilized in stroke risk prediction models. He is also currently enrolled in the CPTS program as part of the Diversity Supplement-supported training plan. His interest and skills in public policy, clinical neurology, and research on addressing disparities in the quality of care make him well suited to be a mentor to students in the proposed project.

Bertoni-AlainAlain Bertoni, MD, MPH, Chair, Epidemiology and Prevention, Professor, Public Health Sciences and Internal Medicine

Dr. Bertoni is a board-certified general internist and epidemiologist whose primary research interests are in diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and health disparities. He is experienced in conducting cohort studies (MESA, ARIC), clinical trials (LOOK AHEAD, ACCORD), and translational studies (Translating Dietary Trials into the Community). He is currently the PI of a study to improve risk factor control among minority and lower socio-economic status individuals with diabetes in Wake Forest primary care clinics (Lifestyle Intervention for Treatment of Diabetes). He is also the PI of an R01 supporting analyses of obesity and diabetes in the Jackson Heart Study (exclusively African American participants). He serves as the Director for Research in the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity, teaches in the CPTS program, and is a training faculty member in Dr David Herrington’s T32 postdoctoral training program (T32 HL076132). Thus, he offers to students in this proposed program his expertise in diabetes, cardiovascular disease, epidemiologic, translational, and health disparities research. His commitment to mentoring masters-level and other students on research projects, thesis committees, and in manuscript development also are highly relevant to the proposed project.

Bushnell-Cheryl-DCheryl Bushnell, MD, MHS, Associate Professor, Department of Neurology

As the Director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center, Dr. Bushnell oversees the clinical, research, and administrative operations of stroke care at Wake Forest Baptist Health. She also recruits and mentors junior faculty, stroke fellows, neurology residents, medical students, and undergraduate students. She has mentored 3 first-year medical students through our NIH-supported Medical Student Summer Research Program (T35 DK 007400; PI: S. Reid). She has also mentored junior faculty in our institution’s programs (formerly in the Women’s Health Center of Excellence, now in the Dean’s Office of Faculty Development). Her research interests centered on disparities related to gender and ethnicity in stroke.  Thus, her perspectives on epidemiologic, clinical, socioeconomic, and research aspects of stroke, and her commitment to mentoring, will be of value to students in the proposed program.

Cartwright-Michael-StephenMichael Cartwright, MD, MS, Associate Professor, Department of Neurology

Dr. Cartwright completed the CPTS program in 2012 as part of his K23-supported research training. As a clinician, his expertise is in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of neuromuscular diseases.  He has particular clinical and research expertise in the use of ultrasound to assess the peripheral nervous system.  Over the past 5 years, he has worked with Drs. Arcury and Quandt to document the incidence and prevalence of work-related conditions in migrant Latino manual workers.  Since 2008, he has mentored under-represented minority students at the undergraduate (Camilo Mateus) and medical student levels (Golda Kwayisi), as well as more than 15 other undergraduates, medical students, and neuromuscular fellows. For this proposed R25 project, he will work closely with Drs. Milligan, Godwin, Bell, and the other mentors to recruit and train students of diverse backgrounds in the study of health disparities in the neurosciences.

cc14esmall2Christos Constantinidis, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy

I am happy to participate in the Master’s program. I have substantial expertise in neuroscience since my PhD and postdoctoral training that I believe will be valuable for our trainees. I am personally invested in the success of my advisees and in the past decade since attaining a faculty position I have mentored 3 Master’s students from diverse backgrounds (one Psychology student from Wake Forest University, one Biology student affiliated with an overseas institution, and one Biomedical Sciences student from Wake Forest Medical School). This experience positions me well to be an effective mentor for the proposed Master’s program.

Craft-SuzanneSuzanne Craft, PhD, Professor, Internal Medicine-Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine

Dr. Craft was recruited to WFSM in 2013 to build a research program centered on the relationships among cognition, Alzheimer’s disease, and vascular risk factors such as insulin resistance. She brings over 20 years of experience in clinical and translational research to this project. She was PI of an NIA-funded T32 program at her previous institution, and has developed and overseen training programs at graduate and post-graduate levels. Eighty percent of her pre-doctoral students have gone on to develop active research careers. Dr. Craft has been a strong supporter of diversity trainees. She has been a mentor for Dr. Jeanine Skinner, an African-American post-doctoral fellow who is currently an Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt University. She also received a minority fellowship supplement to provide educational support for Hector Saucedo Hernandez that allowed him to attend international conferences on Alzheimer’s disease. Mr. Hernandez is now applying to medical school and plans to specialize in research related to geriatrics and rural healthcare delivery. Dr. Craft is a chartered member of the NIH Clinical Neuroscience and Neurodegeneration study section, recently received an NIH MERIT award (R37 AG 10880), and is currently the PI of three additional R01s. Her research program focuses on the mechanisms through which abnormal insulin metabolism contribute to the symptoms and pathology of Alzheimer’s disease, and the development of novel therapeutic strategies aimed at normalizing insulin function. In general, Dr. Craft’s work embodies the translational research approach that is the goal of the proposed training program.

ddizDebra Diz, Ph.D., Professor, General Surgery, Division of Surgical Sciences, Professor, Department of Physiology & Pharmacology; Director, Hypertension and Vascular Disease Center

Dr. Diz is a physiologist with broad expertise in hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and fetal programming of adult cardiovascular disease. These diseases are known for impacting members of underrepresented groups disproportionately.  Translation of research to patients is a focus, including research on neurotransmitters and their role in autonomic function in humans. Collaborations with clinical and basic scientists in different departments and programs provide many opportunities for trainees.  In addition, Dr. Diz has been dedicated to increasing diversity in biomedical research and is the current or former director or co-director of 3 training programs to increase diversity (T35/R25 short-term summer training, a PREP post-baccalaureate research training program, and a DOE-funded US-Brazil Exchange program).  Of the PhD and post-doctoral trainees in her laboratory over the past 10 years, 33% were from underrepresented groups.  This is in addition to training at least one under-represented minority summer student each year for >20 years. She also mentors numerous junior faculty at WFSM, Winston-Salem State University, and North Carolina Central University, the latter being historically black universities. Of these mentees, 38% are from underrepresented groups. Dr. Diz is highly qualified from both the scientific and mentoring perspectives to serve as training faculty for this proposed program.

Godwin-photo-web-2013Dwayne Godwin, PhD, Professor, Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy; Dean, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Biomedical Graduate Programs

Dr. Godwin is a neuroscientist specializing in neuronal excitability and epilepsy. He is the director of the PhD/MBA and Certificate in Science management programs, which integrate advanced scientific and business training. In addition, Dr. Godwin is the co-director of an NINDS-funded T32 program (directed by Dr. Carol Milligan, PI of the present application); a research mentor on a T32 sponsored by NIAAA; the current Director of the WFSM Office of Postdoctoral Affairs; and Scientific Director of the Magnetoencephalography Brain Imaging Lab. As Dean of the WFU Graduate School, he oversees training and professional development for all Wake Forest biomedical graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Dr. Godwin is an experienced NIH-sponsored investigator with current funding, and scientific interests that span basic and translational science. Given his dedication to biomedical training and his scientific expertise, he is extremely well-suited to be a faculty member in the proposed program.

milliganCarol Milligan, PhD, Professor, Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy; Director, Graduate Program in Neuroscience

Dr. Milligan’s primary research interests are in understanding mechanisms related to motoneuron dysfunction and death in development and disease.  The research projects in her laboratory range from molecular and biochemical analysis to behavior outcome in the mouse model of ALS, to collaborative research projects with our ALS clinicians to study pathology in patients and identify biomarkers for ALS and disease progression.  While Dr. Milligan’s research focuses on neurodegenerative disease, she has recently begun collaborative projects in neuro-oncology and computational analysis of disease processes.  Dr. Milligan has focused much of her work on translational neuroscience.  Her laboratory stands as an example of collaboration between clinicians and basic researchers.  In addition to laboratory training, her graduate students and postdoctoral fellows visit the ALS clinic at Wake Forest to learn clinical manifestation of the disease.  In 2008, when a faculty member left the institution, Dr. Milligan requested directing the Clinical Neuroscience Course.  She reorganized this course so that for each neurological disorder discussed, a  clinician presents the disease/disorder in terms of presentation and symptoms, diagnosis approaches and treatment and management and a basic scientist presents the understanding of the mechanisms of the disease/disorder, experimental approaches to understand this and current models of the disease.  As part of the course, students select areas of interest and shadow clinicians to gain a clinical appreciation. She is also PI of current NINDS-funded predoctoral program in neuroscience. Dr. Milligan’s skills and expertise make her highly qualified to lead the proposed program.

O-Shea-T-Michael-DMichael O’Shea, MD, MHS, Professor, Department of Pediatrics

For the proposed project, Dr. O’Shea will bring two decades of experience in mentoring and neuro-epidemiology. He is trained as a neonatologist and epidemiologist and has devoted the last 27 years to evaluating perinatal contributors to long-term health and developmental disorders among preterm infants. Premature birth is 2 to 3 times more frequent among African Americans and among individuals with socioeconomic disadvantage. Over the past 20 years, he has served as a mentor for 13 minority individuals, at all levels of training, resulting in 15 publications. In 2012, he received the WFSM Faculty Mentor Award in recognition of his dedication to guiding trainees at varying levels of experience. Dr. O’Shea has extensive research experience in NIH- and industry-sponsored multi-center clinical trials mostly focused on at-risk very low birthweight infants  His administrative experience includes Head of the Neonatology Section, Medical Director of the Infant Follow Up Program, and Vice Chair for Clinical Research in the Department of Pediatrics. At the national level, he is the former President of the Society for Perinatal and Pediatric Epidemiologic Research, and former Chair of the Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Subboard of the American Board of Pediatrics. Thus, his clinical expertise, research experience, and dedication to teaching and mentoring all make him well-suited to participate in the proposed program.

NeurologyEmily Pharr, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology

Dr. Pharr joined the WFSM faculty in 2011 and now serves as the Medical Director for the Department of Neurology, responsible for overseeing the care of patients at the for outpatient Neurology clinic. As a clinician and researcher, my area of interest is multiple sclerosis. I actively participate in clinical research that our wide patient referral base makes possible. She enjoys teaching medical students and residents, and can offer a clinical experience to the students in this proposed R25 program.


Popli-Gautam-SGuatam Popli, MBBS, Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology

Dr. Popli is a fellowship-trained pediatric epileptologist and the Medical Director of the Magnetoencephalography Clinical Laboratory. In these roles, he sees a diverse patient population. Treatment options for epilepsy are complex, involving imaging and surgical approaches as well as medication. These present multiple opportunities where students in this proposed MS program could have shadowing or rotation experiences of great value to their education.


QuandtSara Quandt, PhD, Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, Division of Public Health Sciences

Dr. Quandt is trained in biological anthropology, and her career has been spent addressing issues of rural and minority health disparities in community settings.  Her research program takes a community-based, participatory approach to occupational health with immigrant workers.  In addition to national service and recognition for this work, she serves on community boards related to health disparities, including the Health Services Advisory Committee of East Coast Migrant Head Start and the board of directors, El Buen Pastor Latino Community Services (Winston-Salem, NC).  Before coming to Wake Forest, she was director of graduate studies (including MA and PhD programs) in anthropology at the University of Kentucky. She has served on masters and doctoral committees since that time, and is currently a mentor on one K award in neurology (Dr. Michael Cartwright). She is active in teaching in the CPTS program. Together, her training and experience equip her to participate meaningfully within the proposed training program.

Siddiqui-Mustafa-SaadMustafa Siddiqui, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Neurology

Dr. Siddiqui is the Director of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Program at WFBH, and expert in physiological brain mapping and surgical procedures for deep brain stimulation treatments. He is active in clinical research for PD. Dr. Siddiqui helped develop the department’s Movement Disorder Fellowship program, and is committed to teaching and mentoring students on every level. He has instructed medical students, PhD students, residents, fellows, and junior faculty. The proposed program offers additional opportunities for him to interact with students and provide exciting training experiences as part of this R25 Diversity program.

Sink-Kaycee-MichelleKaycee Sink, MD, MAS, Associate Professor Internal Medicine-Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine

Dr. Sink is a board-certified internist and geriatrician, the Director of the Kulynych Memory Assessment Clinic, and the site PI for Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Studies.  In addition, she has considerable experience in large, NIH-funded multicenter trials with cognition components (SPRINT, LIFE, DHS-MIND). Since 2009, has mentored a Geriatrics Fellow in a research project; every year, one of these fellows has been recognized at the national level for their research. She has also chaired a thesis committee and has been a committed mentor in the WFSM Pepper Center Research Career Development Core and the former Women’s Health Center of Excellence mentor program (now within the Dean’s Office of Faculty Affairs).

stanfordTerrence Stanford, PhD, Professor, Neurobiology and Anatomy

The primary focus of work in the Stanford laboratory concerns the neural basis of translating sensory signals into motor commands for purposeful action. Specifically, our goal is to determine how neurons, and networks of neurons within the brain’s sensorimotor areas (e.g. motor thalamus, superior colliculus) represent information about sensory events (e.g. visual, multisensory), coordinate sensory-evoked actions (e.g. eye movements), and allow for a flexible, context-specific linkage between sensory input and motor output. Our ultimate goal is to understand how cognitive processes within the brain lead to behaviors that are appropriate for a given set of circumstances.  Dr. Stanford has mentored numerous graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.  He has been an active member of the Neuroscience Program and currently serves on the Executive Committee and as Chair of the Curriculum Committee for that program.  He has extensive experience and dedication to graduate student training.

Walker-Francis-OFrancis Walker, MD, Professor, Department of Neurology

Dr. Walker is a professor of neurology, director of the Movement Disorder Clinic, and Medical Director of the Electromyography (EMG) Laboratory at WFSM. He is an international expert in neuromuscular ultrasound and committed to improvements in patient care, education, and research. His clinical specialties include EMG and botulinum toxin. I was the pioneer for optimizing the role of EMG needle guidance for therapeutic botulinum toxin injections in patients with dystonia. I am co-Mentor on a K23 award (Dr. Michael Cartwright) and provide expertise in neuromuscular ultrasound on the project and leadership as a clinical investigator. He has been active in training of medical students, fellows, residents, visiting professors and other trainees for over 30 years. His experience in clinical research and mentor will be of value to students in this proposed program.

Wells-Rebecca-ErwinRebecca Wells, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology

Dr. Wells is a neurologist with headache and complementary and integrative medicine expertise, a trained instructor of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), and have a Masters in Public Health. Her research focus is in epidemiology of complementary and alternative medicine in adults with neurological conditions, and I have conducted two pilot trials evaluating the efficacy of MBSR (one in adults with mild cognitive impairment and another in adults with migraine). Currently, I have a K23 application in review that will facilitate a better understanding of the mechanisms of migraine pain and the efficacy and mechanisms of mind-body interventions for migraine treatment.  My goal is to be a leader in the field of the mechanisms and efficacy of mind-body therapies in adults with headaches. After completing two fellowships I understand the value of mentors and training. I am pleased to participate in this R25 program.

WolfsonMark Wolfson, PhD, Professor, Department of Social Sciences & Health Policy, Division of Public Health Sciences

Dr. Wolfson is a sociologist whose research focuses on (1) the intended and unintended effects of policies and programs addressing tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug use, and (2) the interaction of nonprofits and government organizations in shaping public policy on alcohol, tobacco, and drug use.  He has extensive experience in quasi-experimental and experimental evaluations of programs, initiatives, and organizational change efforts. He also has extensive experience in the management of large, multi-site community trials and evaluations.  He has been an expert panel member for NIDA and the FDA, and has extensive experience as a grant reviewer for the NIH and other government agencies and foundations.  His research is funded by the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the NIH.  Dr. Wolfson has taught extensively in the CPTS program, and has extensive mentoring experience with graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and junior faculty. He is a program faculty member on an NIAAA-funded T32 program. Thus, his expertise and experience make him well-suited to participate in the proposed R25 program.