The Brown School Welcomes 11 New Faculty in Fall 2019

Faculty; Policy; Public Health; Social Work

The Brown School welcomes 11 new exceptional faculty scholars in fall 2019. They add their expertise, research and teaching to our vibrant community, and help us deepen our dedication to equity and impact locally, nationally and globally.

Meet all of them below.

A commitment to address the social determinants of health

Ruopeng An, assistant professor in the tenure track, assesses socioeconomic determinants and policies that impact individuals’ dietary behavior, physical activity, sedentary lifestyle, and obesity in children, adults of all ages, and people with disability. His research goal is to develop a well-rounded knowledge base and policy recommendations that can inform decision-making and the allocation of resources to combat obesity.

The research of Maura Kepper, assistant professor in the research track, demonstrates the importance of, and interplay between, the social and physical environments on parenting practices, health behaviors, and obesity-related outcomes in youth. Her goal is to design, disseminate, and sustain interventions that overcome community-level barriers to reduce health disparities in childhood obesity, type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases. 

Stephanie Mazzucca, assistant professor in the research track, works to develop and evaluate evidence-based approaches for promoting healthy eating and physical activity to prevent chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes and cancer. Her work focuses on improving home environments, as well as organizations such as public health departments and childcare centers, to support healthy behaviors for populations at risk of chronic disease.

Advancement of culturally responsive practice, the Black experience, and sexual health

Tyriesa Howell, assistant professor in the tenure track, is examining and understanding social and cultural determinants of sexual and reproductive health among adolescents and women. She is particularly interested in the development of technology as an innovative approach to promoting sexuality health education for youth. Her emerging research also seeks to address maternal health disparities experienced by Black women living in the U.S.

Husain Lateef, assistant professor in the tenure track, focuses on the role African-centered approaches may have in improving outcomes of youth prevention programs for African American youth. He is currently examining the relationship between African-centered constructs and indicators of positive youth development among African American youth.

Dalychia Saah, a lecturer in the teaching track, is a sexuality educator, writer, and speaker who is passionate about people unlearning oppressive societal norms.  Saah is the co-founder of Afrosexology, a pleasure-based sex education platform that creates educational content and workshops to center the pleasure, empowerment, and liberation of Black people.

Expertise in implementation science and policy

Todd Combs, an assistant professor in the research track, focuses on health and social policy, dissemination and implementation science, and systems science. He is also the assistant director of research at the Brown School’s Center for Public Health Systems Science. Much of his research focuses on policies that affect the built environment to promote behavioral change.

Associate Professor Jin Huang, in the research track, is working on social policies that support family and child well-being, with a particular focus on financial capability and asset building (FCAB) programs for disadvantaged populations. He has studied diverse populations with disadvantaged backgrounds, such as low-income children, children with disabilities, children of immigrants, and youth in transition to adulthood.

Byron Powell, an assistant professor in the tenure track, focuses on efforts to improve the quality of behavioral health and social services. His scholarship has focused on barriers and facilitators to implementing evidence-based practices, designing and tailoring implementation strategies and assessing the effectiveness of implementation strategies.

Dedication to refugee and global development issues

Kim Thuy Seelinger, associate professor in the research track, is an expert on sexual violence related to armed conflict and forced displacement. She focuses on systems of legal accountability in conflict-affected settings, as well as sexual violence survivors’ access to support and protection in humanitarian crises. She is currently working with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to improve understanding of the disclosure of sexual violence in rapid migration and the treatment of intimate partner violence in asylum procedures in the Americas.

Brad Tucker is an assistant professor in the practice track. As a consultant and researcher, Tucker both studies and advances organizational development, change and institutional sustainability among local development and social service organizations in sub-Saharan Africa. Specifically, he collaborates with U.S. and international organizations to strengthen their leadership, management and program development/implementation capabilities.