Rehabilitation and Health Services Faculty and Staff

 

the RHS mission is to prepare interdisciplinary professionals who will advance equity and optimize quality-of-life outcomes in diverse communities across the nation.

Our department is comprised of community engaged academics providing an education that reaches beyond the classroom.

Julia Heck, PhD, MPH

Julia Heck, PhD, MPH


Associate Dean for Research

Dean's Office
Rehabilitation and Health Services

My focus is lifecourse epidemiology, with particular interests in early life exposures and later health outcomes. My major research focuses on the epidemiology of birth outcomes and childhood cancers within cohorts of children from the United States, Scandinavia, and Taiwan, with an emphasis on environmental and occupational causes of cancer as well as maternal and paternal health, pharmaceutical use, and the perinatal environment.

Birth Outcomes among Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency Families: This project uses a large cohort of 1.7 million Danish births to examine the prevalence of preterm birth, low birthweight, and other adverse birth outcomes among the offspring of mothers and fathers with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. We will additionally look at the prevalence of pregnancy complications in mothers with the condition. For this project I am working with colleagues at the Danish Cancer Society and UCLA.

Ambient Air Toxics and Breast Cancer Risk: This study uses data from the Multiethnic Cohort to examine residential exposure to industrial and traffic-related air pollution in relation to breast cancer risk. For this I am collaborating with UCSF, USC, The University of Hawaii-Manoa, UCLA, UC-Berkeley, and Oregon State University.

Childhood Cancer in Relation to Parental Occupational Exposure to Chemical and Other Agents: I lead the Parental Occupation and Childhood Cancer (POCC) Study, an international effort that integrates data from large prospective databases in Denmark with cancer registry data. The overarching objective of this study is to address hypotheses of exposure to environmental agents in childhood cancer etiology, using validated job-exposure matrices (JEMs) developed by Danish occupational hygienists. This project includes over 6000 cancer cases, and we are able to additionally use data from the Danish Medical Births Registry to address questions of gestational risk factors.

Maternal Comorbidities, Prescription drug use in pregnancy, and Childhood cancer (COMPAC): I am PI of a large-scale study of childhood cancer among Danish children which utilizes information from large medical and pharmaceutical databases to examine the risk of childhood cancers from maternal comorbid health conditions and prescription drug use during pregnancy..

Environmental Health Tracking of Childhood Cancers: Our group has several projects which use California Cancer Registry records of 11,000 childhood cancer cases, linked to California birth records, to examine the risk of cancer related to perinatal exposure to traffic-related air pollution, air toxics, pesticides, and other environmental as well as gestational risk factors. A new NIH-funded study within this project examines exposure to industrial pollution emissions in relation to risk for pediatric cancers.

Metabolomic Profiling of Retinoblastoma: This project conduct broad metabolomic profiling of newborn blood spots among retinoblastoma cases and controls. We aim to examine whether nicotine and cotinine differ in blood spots between retinoblastoma cases and controls, and also to examine a variety of metabolites in relation to cancer risk. Recently we received funding from NIH to conduct a metabolome-wide association study (MWAS) within this cohort.

Childhood Cancer in Taiwan: Along with colleagues at National Taipei University of Nursing and Health Sciences, we are investigating maternal health and pharmaceutical use in risk for childhood cancers and birth outcomes. We are using data from the Taiwanese National Health Insurance Database. This grant is funded by the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

  julia.heck@unt.edu
 940-565-5061
  Chilton 289A
  Faculty Profile

Rachita Sharma, Ph.D., LPC-S, CRC


Interim Chair of Rehabilitation & Health Services
Clinical Associate Professor and UNT Well Clinic Director
Rehabilitation and Health Services

My research interests lie primarily in Resilience and Positive Psychology in provision of Mental Health Counseling. I am also interested in Mindfulness, provider self-care, and multicultural competencies in counseling. As a counseling supervisor I am also interested in looking at the impact of pedagogy on educational effectiveness as it pertains to self-efficacy and competency among counselors in training. Additionally, I have looked at cultural attitudes and barriers that impact help seeking behaviors in minority communities, receptiveness of veterans towards complementary and alternate medicine (CAM), and the role of culture on the experience of mental health symptoms among military personnel.

  Rachita.Sharma@unt.edu
 940-565-2795
  Chilton 218K
  Faculty Profile
Azzama Alia

Azzama Alia


Graduate Services Coordinator

Rehabilitation and Health Services
  azzama.alia@unt.edu
 940-565-4054
  Chilton 218E

Ryan Appleton, M.S., CRC


Senior Program Project Coordinator

Rehabilitation and Health Services
  ryan.appleton@unt.edu
 940-369-5497
  Chilton 122
Carmen Auerbach

Carmen Auerbach


Sr. Administrative Specialist

Rehabilitation and Health Services
  carmen.auerbach@unt.edu
 940-565-3400
  Chilton 218B

Justin Boulay, M.S.


UNT WISE Instructional Designer/Program Manager

Rehabilitation and Health Services
  justin.boulay@unt.edu
 940-369-8620
  Chilton 122

Becky Cagle, M.S., ATHS


Senior Trainer for UNTWISE

Rehabilitation and Health Services
  Rebecca.Cagle@unt.edu
 940-565-4000

Chandra Donnell Carey, Ph.D., CRC, FNAMRC

Chandra Donnell Carey, Ph.D., CRC, FNAMRC


Associate Professor

Rehabilitation and Health Services
Healthy Community Collaborative Program

My primary research interests focus on access and utilization of mental health services for underserved populations. My research examines multicultural responsiveness in rehabilitation counselor education, supervision and practice; integrated care for medically underserved populations and investigating severe mental illnesses and rehabilitation outcomes.

My most recent research projects have utilized multivariate data analyses and grounded theory to explore mental health utilization and access for underserved populations and in the cultural competency of community-based providers.

  Chandra.Carey@unt.edu
 940-369-7267
  Chilton 218N
  Faculty Profile

Denise Catalano, Ph.D., CRC


Associate Professor
Doctoral Program Coordinator
Rehabilitation and Health Services

factors that impact individual resilience, factors that impact ecological resilience, community participation among individuals with chronic illness and disability, quality of life issues among individuals with chronic illness and disability

  Denise.Catalano@unt.edu
 940-891-6893
  Chilton 218F
  Faculty Profile
Dalia Chowdhury, Ph.D., CRC, CADC, LPC

Dalia Chowdhury, Ph.D., CRC, CADC, LPC


Assistant Professor

Rehabilitation and Health Services
Healthy Community Collaborative Program

Mental and Physical Disability, Gender, and Violence; Trauma and addiction; Suicide and Trauma informed Healthcare; Gender and Pedagogy; Psychometry.

  Dalia.Chowdhury@unt.edu
 940-369-5001
  Chilton 218P
  Faculty Profile
Ryan Cole headshot

Ryan Cole, M.S. CRC


Senior Program Project Coordinator

Rehabilitation and Health Services
  ryan.cole@unt.edu
 940-565-4422
  Chilton 122
Alex Davidson

Alex Davidson, M.S.


Senior Program Project Coordinator

Rehabilitation and Health Services
  Alex.Davidson@unt.edu
 940-369-7939
  Chilton 122
Image of Jill Denniston, M.S.

Jill Denniston, M.S.


RHS Internship Coordinator
Adjunct Instructor
Rehabilitation and Health Services
  Jill.Denniston@unt.edu
 940-369-5343
  Chilton Hall 218

Lucy Gafford M.S., CRC


Director, UNT WISE

Rehabilitation and Health Services
  lucy.gafford@unt.edu
 940-891-6769
  Chilton 122
  Faculty Profile
Paula Heller Garland, M.S., LCDC

Paula Heller Garland, M.S., LCDC


Senior Lecturer & Addiction Studies Coordinator

Rehabilitation and Health Services
  Paula.Heller-Garland@unt.edu
 940-369-5186
  Chilton 218L
  Faculty Profile
Linda Holloway, Ph.D., CRC

Linda Holloway, Ph.D., CRC


Professor Emeritus – Rehabilitation Counseling

Rehabilitation and Health Services
  Linda.Holloway@unt.edu
 940-565-3629
  Chilton 209F
  Faculty Profile

Chisom Iwundu, Ph.D.


Assistant Professor

Rehabilitation and Health Services

My primary research interest is focused on better understanding the social and environmental contexts that affect health, and health behaviors especially among marginalized groups.

  chisom.odoh@unt.edu

  Chilton 238L
  Faculty Profile
Benedict Jikong DHA

Benedict Jikong (DHA)


Lecturer

Rehabilitation and Health Services
  Benedict.Jikong@unt.edu

  Chilton 218N
Image of Brandi Darensbourg Levingston

Brandi Darensbourg Levingston, Ph.D., CRC


Principal Lecturer

Rehabilitation and Health Services
  Brandi.Levingston@unt.edu
 (940) 565-2234
  Chilton Hall 218
  Faculty Profile
Bradley McDaniels, PhD, CRC

Bradley McDaniels, PhD, CRC


Assistant Professor
Coordinator of Rehabilitation Studies Program
Rehabilitation and Health Services

Well-being, quality of life issues, meaning and purpose, positive psychology, apathy, and psychosocial adaptation among individuals with chronic illness and disability with a particular interest in Parkinson’s disease.

  bradley.mcdaniels@unt.edu
 940-565-4938
  Chilton 238J
  Faculty Profile
Naomi Meier

Naomi Meier, DrPH, MS


Lecturer

Rehabilitation and Health Services
  naomi.meier@unt.edu
 940-369-8096
  Chilton 218H
  Faculty Profile
Ami Moore, PhD., MPH, CPH

Ami Moore, PhD., MPH, CPH


Professor
Coordinator of Public Health Program
Rehabilitation and Health Services

My research interests have evolved as I go through the different phases of my academic journey. First, as a social demographer, my scholarship focused on the social and economic assimilation of immigrants in the United States. Second, as HIV/AIDS became a global epidemic with great racial, ethnic, social and economic disparities, I began examining the social and structural dimensions of HIV acquisition and prevention among vulnerable populations with a focus on the determinants of disclosure of serostatus on one hand, and caregiving challenges on the other hand. I also, examined health disparities, focusing on the social determinants of health.

Social determinants of health are the diverse factors that influence health from childhood until death. Third, while I continue investigating the social and structural dimensions of HIV/AIDS, I have put more emphasis on health disparity research after earning a Public Health degree. My current research interests center around racial and ethnic disparities in different areas such as clinical trial participation, obesity, disabilities, and mental health. I have also begun to conduct health services research looking at determinants of support for government obesity intervention programs and factors that influence long term care funding schemes.

  ami.moore@unt.edu

  Chilton 218G
  Faculty Profile

Elias Mpofu, Ph.D., CRC


Professor

Rehabilitation and Health Services

My research interests coalesce around sustainable community-oriented health services; - their design, implementation and evaluation for health promotive supports across the lifespan, with an increasing emphasis on community living and participation outcomes for health older adults aging with or into disability

  Elias.Mpofu@unt.edu
 940-565-4829
  Chilton 302A
  Faculty Profile
Kellie Nix

Kellie Nix M.S., CRC


Sr. Program Project Coordinator
UNT WISE ENGAGE
Rehabilitation and Health Services
  kellie.nix@unt.edu
 940-565-4000
  Chilton 122
Liam O'Neill Ph.D.

Liam O'Neill Ph.D.


Associate Professor
Coordinator of Health Services Administration Program
Rehabilitation and Health Services

Efficiency measurement in health care, data envelopment analysis, health information systems, electronic health records, big data, and Covid-19. His most recent article on risk factors among children with Covid-19 was published in Health Services Research and Managerial Epidemiology.

  liam.o'neill@unt.edu
 940-369-7568
  Chilton 238M
  Faculty Profile

Gayle Prybutok, BSN, MBA, Ph.D.


Associate Professor

Rehabilitation and Health Services

Health communication/education; health care quality improvement, health education, Internet based health communication, health care service quality, mobile health, health disparities

  Gayle.Prybutok@unt.edu
 940-369-7820
  Chilton 238P
  Faculty Profile
Eralda Shyle

Eralda Shyle


ENGAGE Administrative Coordinator

Rehabilitation and Health Services
  Eralda.Shyle@unt.edu
 940-565-4000
  Chilton 122
Lauren Taylor

Lauren Taylor, MS, CRC, LPC-A


Senior Program Project Coordinator for ENGAGE

Rehabilitation and Health Services
  Lauren.Taylor@unt.ede
 940-369-5392
  Chilton 122
Justin Watts

Justin Watts, Ph.D., NCC


Assistant Professor
Coordinator of Rehabilitation Counseling Program
Rehabilitation and Health Services
Healthy Community Collaborative Program

The impact of child-maltreatment among young/emerging adults, trauma, post-traumatic stress, childhood psychological maltreatment.

  Justin.Watts@unt.edu
 940-369-8947
  Chilton 238p
  Faculty Profile