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2022 Emerging Scholars Cohort

Victor Ekuta

MIT linQ Catalyst Fellow/MD Candidate /Penn Alzheimer's Disease Research Center Clark Scholar

Victor is an MD Candidate and MIT linQ Catalyst Fellow who is passionate about advancing brain health equity. In the future, he aspires to be a physician-scientist-advocate, employing novel approaches to treat human brain disease, combat health disparities, and boost diversity in STEM.

Darlingtina Esiaka, Ph.D

INSPIRE Fellow/Director of Community Engagement, Aging & Brain Health Alliance, Rutgers University.

In her research, Dr. Esiaka investigates social determinants of health and chronic disease survivorship in older Black men. Currently, she is examining early detection of cognitive decline and conversion to Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (AD/RD) in urban-dwelling older African American men.

Casey LaDuke, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Psychology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice & The Graduate Center, City University of New York Assistant Clinical Professor, Brain Injury Research Center, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Casey LaDuke, PhD, is a clinical psychologist focused on improving the brain health, healthcare, and health outcomes for people involved in the criminal legal system. He is currently collaborating with community partners to screen for TBI history and related needs among people engaging in prison re-entry and alternative-to-incarceration programs in New York City.

Roy Calvin McReynolds III

Fourth-year Ph.D. Candidate in the NeuroscienceInterdepartmental Program (NSIDP)/ 2022 SMDP Scholar

Roy McReynolds III is a 4th-year Ph.D. Candidate in the Neuroscience Interdepartmental Program (NSIDP) in the lab of Dr. Jason Hinman. Roy’s thesis research investigates changes occurring in astrocytes during early Alzheimer’s disease.

“I became interested in the BMBH conference and fellowship because I wanted to broaden my engagement with my community about brain research”

Willie F. McBride III, Ph.D.

Clinical Neuropsychologist Assistant Professor
Director, Adult Neuropsychology Emphasis Area

Spalding University School of Professional Psychology

“I don’t typically believe in having a calling, but I am overjoyed with excitement about the Black Men Brain Health Program and the opportunity that it will provide me to combine my lived experience as a Black man with advocacy and neuropsychology to achieve a singular goal - improve the lives of Black men.”

Brandon A. Yates, MS, CSCS

Ph.D. Candidate
Indiana University School of Medicine

“As a scientist, one of my long-term goals is to increase research participation of underrepresented minority groups. The BMBH fellowship afforded me opportunity to become more effective at attaining that goal”

Breton M. Asken, Ph.D., ATC

Postdoctoral Neuropsychology Fellow UCSF Memory and Aging Center

Breton’s research targets the impact of head trauma exposure on later-life brain health using cognitive testing, blood-based biomarkers, and brain imaging. He is interested in diagnostic and prognostic approaches that will help identify who is at greatest risk for poor long-term outcomes of repetitive head trauma, especially Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias like chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

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Rio Story Tate, B.S.

Ph.D. Student University of South Florida/

2022 Pat Tillman Foundation Scholar

“Black men and women have historically been underrepresented as researchers and participants in science, but the ability to change that starts with us as scientists.”

Ashley R. Shaw, Ph.D., MPH

Research Assistant Professor University of Kansas Alzheimer’s Disease Center

Dr. Shaw’s main areas of interest include racial/ethnic health disparities in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia prevention through culturally tailored lifestyle interventions.

Faculty Mentors

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Suzanna Martinez, Ph.D., MS - Assistant Professor, Division of Chronic Disease Epidemiology, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California, San Francisco

"My research centers on identifying determinants of health among ethnically underserved populations to help inform and contribute to intervention practices. As a Latina investigator, my long-term professional goal is to conduct research that makes an impact on reducing health disparities among vulnerable groups. I have expertise in the area of energy balance, specifically nutrition, physical activity and sleep. My research is informed by health behavior theory and the social ecological framework, and I have extensive experience in multivariate statistics and qualitative research methods. Using mixed-methods has allowed me to develop a comprehensive understanding of obesity-related health behaviors, while accounting for social, cultural, and environmental factors."

Roland J. Thorpe Jr., Ph.D., M.S. - Faculty Mentor, and Emerging Scholars Leadership Team

Dr. Roland J. Thorpe Jr. holds joint appointments in medicine and in neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is an associate professor of health, behavior and society at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He serves as the director of the Program for Research on Men's Health at the Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions. Dr. Thorpe is a member of the Advisory Committee on Minority Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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Elizabeth Rose Mayeda, Ph.D., MPH - Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology

Dr. Mayeda is recognized as an emerging leader in the fields of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias research and epidemiology. In 2019, she served as a member of the Health Disparities Session of the National Institutes of Health Alzheimer’s Disease-Related Dementias Summit and gave a National Institutes of Health Rising Star Invited Lecture, and in 2020, she received the Society for Epidemiologic Research Brian MacMahon Early Career Award

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Donaldson F. Conserve, MS, Ph.D - Associate Professor in the Department of Prevention and Community Health in the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University

His research focuses on implementing and disseminating evidence-based HIV prevention, care, and treatment interventions for scale-up and population impact. As part of his K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award from the National Institutes of Mental Health, he developed the Self-Testing Education and Promotion (STEP) Project and contributed to implementation science efforts to promote community-based HIV self-testing (HIVST) distribution in Tanzania.

Emerging Scholar Mentoring Groups

Roland Thorpe

  • Ashley Shaw

  • Brandon Yates

  • Casey LaDuke

Suzanna Martinez & Elizabeth Rose Mayeda

  • Roy McReynolds

  • Victor Ekuta

  • Breton Asken

Donaldson Conserve

  • Darlingtina Esiaka

  • Rio Tate

  • Willie McBride