Division of
Public Health

College of Human Medicine


C.S. Mott Endowed Professor of Public Health

I attended Haverford College (BA Psychology, 1975) and the University of Michigan (PhD Social Psychology, 1982). For the past 30 years, I have been a professor of Health Behavior and Health Education at the University of Mineighborschigan School of Public Health, where I dedicated my career to the investigation of racial disparities in mental health with an emphasis on stress and coping among Black Americans.

I have a long-standing interest in studying how racial differences in health and illness behavior affect major depression, diabetes, and oral health in difficult-toreach population groups. My work promotes a personal empowerment perspective on coping with stress that emphasizes the ability to draw upon psychological strengths and social assets to overcome personal and community barriers to seeking mental health care. In the late 1970s, as a graduate student, I was part of a group of social scientists that developed the Program for Research on Black Americans. In 1998, I was one of the co-founders of the Center for Research on Ethnicity Culture and Health.

I was the founding Director of the University of Michigan School of Public Health's Paul B. Cornely Postdoctoral Program for Minority Scholars, and, for the past 15 years, have been Principle Investigator of the NIH-funded research education program, Promoting Ethnic Diversity in Public Health Research. I am the recipient of the 2001 Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award, the 2007 Eugene Feingold Diversity Award, and the 2009 Distinguished Diversity Engagement Award for Achievement in Health Disparities and Human Development. In January 2016, I became one of the C.S. Mott Endowed Professors of Public Health at Michigan State University in the College of Human Medicine, based at the Flint campus.

I decided to join MSU in order to focus my research more directly on developing community-based interventions with an emphasis on improving the health of adult Black men. To this end, I intend to establish the Man Up Man Down Research Program. Man Up Man Down will have three areas of emphasis: (1) research on chronic disease management; (2) community health outreach and engagement; and (3) transdisciplinary (public health and medicine) research training for students from underrepresented populations. Having recently moved to Flint, I view the city's water situation as an unnatural disaster; a historically long-standing chronic stressor that is detrimental to the mental health of Flint residents. With the help of the Flint community partners, with whom I plan to collaborate, I hope my research program will make a modest contribution to resolving the health challenges facing Flint.