SOAR Leadership

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Co-Founder: Claire Hayes-Watson, MPH, CHES, AE-C

soar_Claire_2016Claire Hayes-Watson is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Community Health Sciences. She currently works as a graduate research assistant to the LSUHSC Health Care Services Division’s Innovation Resource Center where she serves on the Pulmonary Interest Group and is involved in several projects including her own dissertation research entitled “Factors Associated with Adherence in Smokers with Asthma and/or COPD”.Under her assistantship, Claire is also actively involved in the Louisiana Tobacco Control Initiative where she bridges her work with asthma and COPD to tobacco research within the LSU health system. Within the School of Public Health, she also serves as a representative on the Research and Diversity Committees. Claire is a graduate of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette as well as Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Claire’s interest in research began during her undergraduate years as a participant in the Louis Stokes Louisiana Alliance for Minority Participation as well as the Ronald E. McNair Research Scholars Program. In her doctoral work, Claire has presented at several national and local professional meetings including the American Public Health Association, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, and Xavier University’s Health Disparities Meeting. Claire has authored several publications which including a first authored manuscript in the Journal of Asthma entitled Use of asthma control indicators in measuring inhaled corticosteroid effectiveness in asthmatic smokers: A systematic review, scheduled for publication in the Fall of 2015. Claire has worked with Maura Kepper (Co-Founder) and faculty leadership to create a comprehensive research program (SOAR) for graduate students that improves research capacity through mentored research experiences.

Co-Founder: Maura Mohler Kepper, MPH

soar_Maura_2016Maura Kepper is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Community Health Sciences and a member of the Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health Alpha Psi chapter. She earned a bachelor’s degree in urban planning from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee and a master’s in Behavioral and Community Health Sciences from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC) School of Public Health. She currently applies this work to public health research understanding how neighborhood factors determine our disease risks and health outcomes. Current research includes studying how the social and built environments interact to affect physical activity and obesity and metabolic disease outcomes in pediatric populations. Maura is a graduate assistant for Melinda Sothern, PhD and works on her study, Molecular and Social Determinants of Obesity in Developing Youth, which serves as the study population for her own dissertation work entitled “Low Perceived Collective Efficacy Constrains Outdoor Play, Reduces Physical Activity and Promotes Obesity and Cardio-Metabolic Risk.” Maura works closely with a large pediatric obesity, nutrition and metabolic laboratory, Scientists for Translational Obesity Research in Youth (STORY) team, based at the LSUHSC School of Public Health, which is funded by several NIH grants and the Jim Finks Endowed Chair in Health Promotion, and operates in collaboration with the Louisiana Cancer Research Center, Children’s Hospital, and the Clinical Translational Research Center (CTRC) in New Orleans. Maura has presented at several national and inter-national professional meetings such as Obesity Society Annual Meeting, American College of Sports Medicine and the International Society of Geospatial Health meeting. In addition, she has authored several manuscripts including a first authored manuscript in the Pediatric Obesity journal entitled Preschool obesity is inversely associated with vegetable intake, grocery stores and outdoor play. Maura co-founded SOAR, a comprehensive research program that improves student’s research capacity through mentored research experiences.

President: Michelle Lawrence

soar_lawrence_IMG_5865eMichelle Lawrence is an MPH candidate in Behavioral and Community Health Sciences. She currently works as a Medical Scribe at Ochsner Health System and is the Assistant Coordinator for SurviveDat–a CDC funded program that provides support and resources to young breast cancer survivors. Michelle is a graduate assistant Donna Williams, DrPH and is working with her on several cervical and breast cancer research studies. She is also involved with other research projects including: SMART CAFÉ and multi-systemic therapy in high-risk youth. Aside from these projects, Michelle is also on the School of Public Health’s Research Committee, as well as the Diversity Committee. Prior to attending LSUHSC, Michelle graduated from Xavier University with a degree in psychology and a minor in chemistry. Michelle also has a research background in psychopharmocology and is co-author of the publication,“Comparison of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and pregnanolone with existing pharmacotherapies for alcohol abuse on ethanol- and food-maintained responding in male rats”

Secretary: Lauren O’Rear

soar_Lauren_2016Lauren O’Rear is an MPH candidate in Epidemiology. She currently works as a research assistant with the New Orleans Comprehensive Alcohol-HIV/AIDS Research Center. She is specifically working on their ALIVE study, looking at alcohol use related to aging, HIV, and stress. She also volunteers with SMART CAFÉ, an organization whose mission is to address the increasing occurrence of childhood obesity and the prevalence of cardiovascular diseases in New Orleans. In addition to these projects, Lauren is on the School of Public Health’s Evaluation Committee as well as the Curriculum Committee. Before attending LSUHSC, Lauren graduated from McNeese State University with a degree in biology and a minor in chemistry. Lauren had worked in several undergraduate laboratories in the fields of cell biology, microbiology, and chemistry.

 

Education Chair: Olubukolami Musa

soar_olubukolami_2016Olubukolami Musa is a MPH candidate in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences. She currently works as a student intern at Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (Office of Public Health), the Tobacco Control Initiative and is also a student worker at the LSUHSC-Office of the Dean. Olubukolami is a graduate assistant under the supervision of Adrienne Katner, DEnv, MS and is working with her on several projects including the Lead Exposure Assessment for Drinking Water Study. In addition to these projects, Olubukolami serves as a student representative on the School of Public Health’s Research Committee. Prior to attending LSUHSC, Olubukolami graduated from Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria with a bachelor’s degree in demography and social statistics. Upon graduating, she severed as a teaching assistant to Mrs. Adetola at Lisabi Grammar School located in Nigeria. Olubukolami has a research background in child health and lead a project titled, “Factors affecting the nutritional status of children under 5 years of age”.

Faculty Representative: Dr. Edward Trapido