Legacy Programs Alumni: Scholars in Health Disparities Program T - Z

A - G     |     H - O     |     P - S     |     T - Z

Cayla R. Teal, Ph.D.
Pamela L. Thornton, Ph.D., M.S.W.
Edna Viruell-Fuentes, Ph.D.

Cayla R. Teal, Ph.D.

Dr. Cayla R. Teal is currently a Research Scientist with the Houston Center for Excellence for Health Services Research and Development the Michael E. Debakey VA Medical Center and the Department of Veterans Affairs VISN 16 Mental Illness Education Research and Clinical Center, and an Assistant Professor in the Section of Health Services Research, Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Teal completed her PhD in community psychology and MA in community/clinical psychology at Wichita State University and later completed a health services research post-doctoral fellowship at the Michael E. Debakey VA Medical Center. She is a mixed-methods researcher, including quantitative (e.g., latent variable analysis), qualitative (e.g., focus groups, cognitive interviews, etc.) and psychometric (e.g. questionnaire development) methodological training and experiences. Her research experiences have been primarily in applied settings and have included work with community-based and volunteer associations, law enforcement, mental health facilities and educational institutions. She was a 2004-2006 Kellogg Foundation Health Disparities Scholar, which recognizes individuals who demonstrate potential to contribute creatively to the understanding of the determinants of health disparities and influence health policy. Her broad research agenda focuses on the cultural influences that contribute to health and mental health disparities, and her work has two current parallel tracks, a) the development of enhanced means for measuring patient-level cultural influences on health and mental health behavior, and b) examination and improvement of cross-cultural communication between providers and patients. Her research support has included the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and others.

Edna A. Viruell-Fuentes, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Edna Amparo Viruell-Fuentes is an Assistant Professor in Latina/Latino Studies and Community Health at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Her work builds on the premise that studying immigrant health offers insights into the impact of social contexts on health status, which in turn can contribute to the elimination of health disparities. Based on her field research in immigrant communities, she has proposed several conceptual re-directions to immigrant health research by drawing attention the racialization processes that Mexican immigrants contend with as they integrate into the U.S. and to the contexts of immigrant social ties. She is currently testing these and other ideas in her quantitative work and conducting a project to examine the (health) impacts of migration in immigrant-sending communities. Dr. Viruell-Fuentes is the author of several publications on community-based participatory research, transnationalism, and immigrant and Latino health, among others. At UIUC she teaches courses on Mexican and Latin American migrations, and on immigration and health. Prior to her current position, she was a joint Yerby and Kellogg Scholar in Health Disparities at the Harvard School of Public Health. She has over 15 years of research and policy experience at the community and national levels. Dr. Viruell-Fuentes holds a B.A. in Mathematics and Psychology rom Berea College, an M.P.H. from the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and a Ph.D. from the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan.