Lorraine R. Reitzel, Ph.D., FAAHB, FSRNT
My research program focuses on the social determinants of cancer and cancer risk behaviors — and the specific biopsychosocial mechanisms that account for associated disparities among minoritized and marginalized groups — with an emphasis on generating highly translational results that inform policy and intervention. The emphasis of this work has been in tobacco use and cessation among marginalized population sub-groups; however, my work spans dietary risk behaviors, physical inactivity, alcohol/drug use and cancer screening behaviors and investigates a wide range of social and socioeconomic determinants of health inequities. Additionally, I am invested in the research training and professional development of undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and early career scientists in addictions and cancer prevention, with a particular emphasis on trainees from low-income households or from low-resourced communities, those who are first-generation college graduates, or who plan to pursue a career providing care to persons from groups that experience tobacco-related health inequities.
I joined the lab in 2021 after completing my Ph.D. at the University of Houston in social and health psychology with a minor in statistics. My research interests center around reducing disparities in tobacco use and cessation among minoritized and marginalized groups. Specifically, the goal of my research is to develop, adapt, implement and evaluate evidence-based interventions to address and prevent disparities in tobacco-related cancers. Currently, I am focused on a number of projects, including the implementation of a multi-component and evidence-based tobacco-free workplace program in a variety of community healthcare settings (such as rural and medically underserved Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and substance use treatment centers, homeless-serving agencies, lung cancer screening centers). I also have a pilot study to develop tools for Texas FQHCs to support tailored tobacco use and lung health care for Black patients. Finally, I work on Project Connect, which partners with select Texas FQHCs to provide their patients with state-of-the-science tobacco cessation care through the MD Anderson Quitline. At present, we are working on expanding the Quitline services to additional community healthcare settings as well as the capacity to offer tailored clinical care for select populations (e.g., tailored motivational text messaging). In addition to research, I am involved in my department’s efforts to enhance trainee experiences, taking a leading role in the expansion of available programming and resources.
My research focuses on enhancing cancer prevention and support and reducing health disparities among vulnerable groups, specifically disparities related to race and ethnicity and to tobacco use and dependence. Currently, my work is primarily focused on the dissemination and implementation of Taking Texas Tobacco Free (TTTF), a comprehensive tobacco-free workplace program within healthcare agencies serving various sub-groups experiencing disadvantage including the vulnerably housed, LGBTQ+ populations and individuals with mental and substance use conditions. The aim of TTTF is to reduce tobacco-related cancers through building organizational capacity and integration of evidence-based strategies for treating tobacco dependence into routine practice. I also co-lead a pilot project that uses a mixed methods approach to assess the capacity of Federally Qualified Health Centers to provide tobacco use interventions and lung cancer screening for Black patients focused on addressing tobacco-related and lung cancer care inequities among this priority population. My training in cultural anthropology and public health inform my perspective and interests in cancer research in which understanding the complex cultural and contextual issues underlying the social determinants of health is essential to the delivery of equitable, culturally congruent and quality care. I am a qualitative research specialist and mixed methods researcher engaged in a team science approach to applying these methods to varied cancer research projects that yield translational, practical findings to guide intervention and implementation strategies.
Anastasia Rogova, Ph.D.
I am a social scientist interested in social determinants of health and health equity in the area of cancer prevention. I have been involved in research focusing on the implementation of tobacco-free workplace programs in various healthcare settings, including mental health and substance use treatment centers. My current research focuses on the implementation of shared decision-making tools for lung cancer screening among patients with mental health conditions. In my work, I primarily use qualitative and mixed methods approaches for data collection and analyses. Trained as an anthropologist, I aim to design, implement and evaluate health interventions that are grounded in a deeper understanding of complex social environments contributing to equitable access to healthcare.
Hector Sanchez, Jr., M.P.H.
Senior Health Education Specialist
I received my B.S. in public health from Sam Houston State University in 2017 and my M.P.H. from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston in 2022. Preventing lung and other smoking-related cancers through tobacco cessation programs has become a new passion of mine since I joined our lab. I hope my work allows us to expand our reach to many more rural and underserved communities across Texas in our fight to prevent lung and other smoking-related cancers through our tobacco cessation programs.
Egondu Ohamara, M.P.H.
Health Education Specialist
I completed my M.P.H with an emphasis in health disparities and my B.S. in health science from Lamar University. As a passionate public health professional, I bring a great wealth of knowledge and expertise to my work. With a passion for promoting health and well-being, I combine my experience in program evaluation to make a lasting impact in promoting wellness and fostering positive change. My keen eye for assessing program effectiveness, identifying areas for improvement, and implementing evidence-based strategies are what sets me apart. I am committed to empowering communities through informed decision making and leading an active and healthy lifestyle though my love of fitness. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with family, reading, traveling, cooking and working out.
Kamira Glover, M.P.H.
I obtained my M.P.H. in epidemiology from Texas A&M University. I oversee the program Ask Advise Connect “Project Connect.” Project Connect is a tobacco cessation program that continues to support underserved communities in Texas with a model that provides direct patient connection to tobacco treatment specialists in a partnership with the MD Anderson Quitline. I am hopeful that my contribution to this team will allow us to continue to expand our services across Texas and continue to increase tobacco cessation that, in return, will prevent numerous smoking-related cancers.
Research Data Coordinator
I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Rice University. I have become passionate about smoking-related cancer health disparities and hope to reduce smoking-related cancers for all. Additionally, I am interested in mental health disparities and how perceptions of mental health in different cultures affect those in that community. I plan to go to graduate school to continue my education in psychology.
Research Data Coordinator
I recently graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a B.S. in public health and a minor in business. Through my education and personal interactions with individuals experiencing homelessness in Austin, I have gained a deep understanding of health disparities and a passion for promoting preventative healthcare. I aspire to aid vulnerable and underserved communities across Texas in preventing smoking-related cancers. I am hopeful that our team's efforts will play a vital role in providing equitable care to the populations that need it most.
I am an undergraduate student at Rice University studying biosciences with a concentration in cell biology and genetics. I joined the lab in the spring of 2022 after taking a public health class and developing a desire to have a tangible impact on reducing health disparities. Through my involvement in the lab, I've been actively engaged in the adaptation of a tobacco-free workplace program in various settings where tobacco use remains elevated. As of right now, I am assisting in creating a comprehensive program implementation guide that will help lung cancer screening centers practice evidence-based interventions to facilitate tobacco cessation. Additionally, I am serving as a program coordinator for a doctoral training program in Health Disparities Research aimed at reducing breast cancer disparities. I am hopeful that my research work on health disparities will lead to more equitable health outcomes for all.
I am an undergraduate student at Rice University majoring in health science and Spanish, minoring in biosciences and medical humanities. Through my work as a community healthcare worker, I became passionate about addressing healthcare disparities in underrepresented communities and subsequently joined the lab. I am studying the implementation of comprehensive tobacco-free workplace policies in local mental healthcare authorities.
I am an undergraduate student at the University of Houston majoring in biology and minoring in health. I aspire to contribute valuable skill sets to deepen the understanding between health disparities and adults experiencing homelessness. My research interests include substance dependence and its impact on vulnerable populations. Upon graduation, I hope to pursue medical school.
I am a sophomore undergraduate student at Rice University, majoring in health sciences and philosophy and minoring in medical humanities and neuroscience. Before moving to Texas, I pursued several research and extracurricular interests within the intersection of health disparities and medical care, specifically mental and neurodegenerative illnesses. Furthering these interests at Rice, I worked as a research intern at the Jan and Dan Neurological Research Institute at Baylor College of Medicine and a volunteer at Ben Taub Hospital, where I regularly worked with marginalized patients with substance use disorders. Building on these experiences, I am researching how to improve the quality of substance misuse care delivered to underserved areas of the state, specifically in the context of health equity and policy.