Former Students

Michael S. BusinelleMichael S. Businelle, Ph.D.

Dr. Businelle earned his doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Louisiana State University in August 2007 after completing his internship at the G. V. (Sonny) Montgomery Veterans Affairs Medical Center & University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, MS. Michael has experience in the design and implementation of research projects using diverse populations and he has extensive experience in the treatment of nicotine and alcohol use disorders. His postdoctoral training at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC) was focused primarily on smoking cessation, health disparities, and advanced statistical methods. His current research is focused on the development and testing of novel smart phone applications to aid socioeconomically disadvantaged adults with health behavior change. Michael has 56 published manuscripts that are primarily focused on the use, abuse, and cessation of tobacco and other substances. Recent honors and awards include selection for the NIH Loan Repayment Program (2008-2014), and receipt of the 2009 MDACC Outstanding Postdoctoral Trainee in Cancer Prevention Award. Michael is licensed as a Clinical Psychologist in the state of Texas. He is presently a faculty member in the School of Public Health at the University of Texas in Dallas, TX. He can be reached at michael.businelle@utsouthwestern.edu.


Darla E. KendzorDarla E. Kendzor, Ph.D.

Dr. Kendzor earned her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Louisiana State University in August 2007, after completing an internship in Clinical Psychology at the G. V. (Sonny) Montgomery Veterans Affairs Medical Center and University of Mississippi Medical Center. In 2009, she completed a two-year NCI-funded postdoctoral fellowship in Cancer Prevention Research at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Darla is presently an Assistant Professor (tenure-track) at the University of Texas Health Science Center in the School of Public Health (Dallas Campus). She is also an adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences at the UT Southwestern Medical Center and member of the Harold C. Simmons Cancer Center in the Population Science and Cancer Control Program. Darla's research is primarily focused 1) on understanding the psychosocial and environmental mechanisms through which socioeconomic disadvantage influences health behavior and health and 2) the development of interventions to promote healthful behaviors within socioeconomically disadvantaged populations. She is currently completing a 5-year American Cancer Society Mentored Research Scholar Grant entitled, Pathways between Socioeconomic Status and Behavioral Cancer Risk Factors. Recent studies include a randomized controlled trial of a financial incentives intervention for smoking cessation among safety-net hospital patients, and an ongoing trial of a shelter-based diet and physical activity intervention for homeless adults.


Carla J. Rash

Carla J. Rash, Ph.D.

Dr. Rash earned a Clinical Psychology doctoral degree from Louisiana State University in August 2007 after completing an internship at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery Veterans Affairs Medical Center. She completed a NIAAA-funded postdoctoral fellowship at the Alcohol Research Center in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Connecticut Health Center (UCHC). She is currently an Assistant Professor in residence in the Behavioral Health Division of the Calhoun Cardiology Center, Department of Medicine at UCHC. Her recent research focuses on treatments for addictive disorders, including the use of contingency management interventions for a range of substance abuse populations (e.g., smokers, cocaine abusers) and treatments for pathological gambling. She can be reached at carlarash@gmail.com.


Megan McVayMegan McVay, Ph.D.

Dr. McVay earned her doctoral in Psychology with a dual emphasis in Clinical and Biological Psychology from Louisiana State University in 2012. She completed her clinical internship at Duke University Medical Center in the Behavioral Medicine track. She is currently dually appointed as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Durham VA Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care and as Assistant Professor at Duke University Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Her current research focuses on behavioral aspects of weight management. She is particularly focused on understanding factors that encourage initiation of and sustained engagement in treatment for obesity.


Meredith TerleckiMeredith Terlecki, Ph.D.

Dr. Terlecki completed her PhD in Clinical Psychology at Louisiana State University and pre-doctoral clinical internship at the Baltimore Veterans' Affairs Hospital/University of Maryland Consortium. She has since worked as a Lecturer and now Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychology at University of East London (UEL). She is a member of UEL's Drug and Addictive Behaviours Research Group. Dr Terlecki is Programme Leader of UEL's MSc in Clinical and Community Psychology. Meredith’s research interests include identification and prevention of alcohol and substance use disorders among young people including those especially vulnerable to use (e.g., comorbid social anxiety disorder).

 


Diana StewartDiana Stewart, Ph.D.

Dr. Stewart obtained her doctorate in Clinical Psychology with a minor in Behavioral Medicine from Louisiana State University in 2011 after completing her Clinical Internship in Behavioral Medicine at Alpert Medical School at Brown University. In 2013, she completed a two-year NCI-funded postdoctoral fellowship in Cancer Prevention Research in the Department of Health Disparities Research at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. In September 2013, Dr. Stewart was competitively selected to receive a Mentored Junior Faculty Fellowship in Cancer Prevention Research from the Duncan Family Institute for Cancer Prevention and Risk Assessment at MD Anderson, and in September, she was promoted to Instructor in the Department. Dr. Stewart's research focuses on cancer prevention and health promotion, particularly tobacco cessation in underserved populations (low socioeconomic status [SES], racial/ethnic minorities, mentally ill). Key themes of her work include: 1) SES and racial/ethnic disparities in tobacco use and cessation; 2) the relation between mental illness and tobacco use; and 3) the role of social support in tobacco cessation and other health behavior change. More recently, her work has focused on examining the association between health literacy and smoking cessation outcomes, and mechanisms of this relationship among low-SES, racially/ethnically diverse smokers. She recently submitted a Mentored Research Scholar Grant application to the American Cancer Society entitled, Health Literacy and Smoking Cessation among Low-SES, Diverse Smokers. Recent honors and awards include selection for the NIH Loan Repayment Program in Health Disparities Research (2012-present), MD Anderson Trainee of the Quarter (December 2012 – February 2013 Cycle), and MD Anderson's Leading Trainee in Cancer Prevention for 2013.


Madgalena Kulesza

Madgalena Kulesza, Ph.D.

Dr. Kulesza is an associate behavioral social scientist at RAND Corporation. She completed her doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA and trained at Brown University Medical School in Providence, RI. Prior to joining RAND, Magdalena completed T32 post-doctoral fellowship at the Center for the Study of Health and Risk Behaviors in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington. Her overarching research goal is to acquire a deeper understanding of factors related to utilization of and access to substance abuse treatment especially among individuals from hard-to- reach and underserved populations. Specifically, her work has focused on the following areas: 1) developing brief and cost-effective treatments; 2) understanding the role of self-stigma in substance abuse and its relationship to treatment utilization and health outcomes; and 3) understanding public attitudes and perceptions of substance users as it relates to drug policy and public health.


Lauren BaillieLauren Baillie, Ph.D.

Dr. Baillie completed her undergraduate studies at Catholic University of America in 2005 with a major in psychology. Her academic career continued under the mentorship of Dr. Amy Copeland at Louisiana State University, where she was awarded a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 2011. She completed her clinical internship and postdoctoral studies at the University of Mississippi Medical Center/Jackson VA Medical Center under the guidance of Drs. Don Penzien and Jeanne Gabriele. Dr. Baillie has been a staff psychologist at the G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi since 2012. Her work focuses on the implementation of evidence-based psychotherapies (EBPs) among veterans, with an emphasis on trauma and chronic pain. Dr. Baillie is a certified regional trainer in Cognitive Processing Therapy, an evidence-based treatment for PTSD, which allows her to further contribute to the dissemination of EBPs in veteran and civilian populations. She is also committed to expanding access to EBPs through the use of telehealth, and provides the majority of her clinical services via clinical video technology. Dr. Baillie's research is focused on evaluating the effectiveness of EBPs in the VA, as well as on factors that affect clinical outcomes in telehealth care. She also studies the relationship of behavioral health and treatment outcomes.


Claire Adams SpearsClaire Adams Spears, Ph.D.

Dr. Spears earned her doctorate in Clinical Psychology (with a minor in Behavioral Medicine) from Louisiana State University in 2011, after interning at the G. V. (Sonny) Montgomery Veterans Affairs Medical Center and University of Mississippi Medical Center. She completed a cancer prevention postdoctoral fellowship (funded by the National Cancer Institute) in Health Disparities Research at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Claire is currently an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Catholic University in Washington DC. She is a licensed psychologist in the District of Columbia, and her research focuses on mindfulness-based strategies for improving health and quality of life. Claire is particularly interested in understanding the mechanisms through which mindfulness might improve emotion regulation and promote healthier behaviors (e.g., smoking cessation, lower alcohol use, healthier diet) in diverse populations.


Christine VinciChristine Vinci, Ph.D.

Dr. Vinci earned her degree in Clinical Psychology from Louisiana State University in 2014 after completing an internship at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery Veterans Affairs Medical Center. She then completed her postdoctoral fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Center and Rice University in Houston TX. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Outcomes and Behavior at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL. Her research focuses on reducing cancer-risk behaviors, primarily by helping people quit smoking and reducing alcohol use, particularly among underserved populations and by leveraging mhealth. A second line of research includes determining whether mindfulness-based strategies can aid cancer caregivers in reducing stress. She can be reached atchristine.vinci@moffitt.org.


Steven ProctorSteven Proctor, Ph.D.

Dr. Proctor earned his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from LSU in 2014. He completed his clinical internship at the Metropolitan Detention Center with the Federal Bureau of Prisons system in downtown Los Angeles, California, and his postdoctoral fellowship at the G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi, where he received specialized training in the Addictive Disorders Treatment Program. He is an inaugural Fellow of Yale University's NIDA-funded "Innovation to Impact" entrepreneurship training program for addictions researchers, and was named a "Rising Star" by the Association for Psychological Science. Dr. Proctor is a licensed psychologist and founder of PRO Health Group, a research and recovery monitoring solutions company based in Miami Beach. He also serves as the Chief Research Officer at AiR Healthcare Solutions, and previously held a faculty appointment at the rank of Senior Research Professor at a private university in Miami. Dr. Proctor specializes in the evaluation of behavioral health care treatment systems with a particular focus on addictions treatment outcomes. He collaborates with national and local agencies to get to a place of measurement-based care and improve their treatment systems through research, outcomes monitoring, surveillance efforts, technical assistance, training, and program evaluation. He has worked with various addictions treatment programs in the United States as well as abroad, and has provided consultation to a number of agencies ranging from individual treatment centers to national health care organizations. You can follow him on Twitter @DrStevenProctor or reach him at sproctor@prohealthgroup.net


Jose SilgadoJose Silgado, Ph.D.

Dr. Silgado completed a postdoctoral residency with Community Health Center, Inc. in Middletown, Connecticut. During residency, Dr. Silgado focused on providing behavioral health services in an integrated care facility. Following residency, Dr. Silgado started working with The Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services for the state of Connecticut. In his current position, Dr. Silgado provides psychotherapy, consultation, and psychological testing to a group of young adults with severe mental illness.


MackenzieMacKenzie R. Peltier, Ph.D.

Dr. Peltier obtained her PhD in Clinical Psychology from Louisiana State University in August 2012, following completion of her clinical internship at VA Connecticut Healthcare System- West Haven (Addictions Track). She went on to complete a NIDA-sponsored postdoctoral fellowship in the Division of Substance Abuse within the Department of Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine. Dr. Peltier is currently an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine and a Staff Psychologist in the Substance Use and PTSD Outpatient clinics at VA Connecticut Healthcare System- West Haven. Dr. Peltier’s research program broadly focuses on investigating the sex differences in the etiology, maintenance and treatment of alcohol and tobacco use disorders.


Krystal WaldoKrystal Waldo, Ph.D.

Dr. Waldo completed her pre-doctoral internship at the Battle Creek VA Medical Center in Battle Creek, MI. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System in Pittsburgh, PA with an emphasis in Integrated Primary Care and Health Psychology. Dr. Waldo currently works in private practice in Charleston, SC specializing in health psychology, chronic illness, sleep, and health behavior change. Her current research interests include health behavior change with a particular focus on obesity and weight management.