Fellows & Projects 2015-2016

Paul Abraham

University of Texas

Southwestern Medical School


Paul Abraham headshot

Abraham is addressing nicotine dependence among men experiencing homelessness in Dallas by establishing a smoking cessation program at a local men’s shelter. The program will educate men on the long-term effects of smoking, provide group therapy for those seeking to quit, and provide follow-up resources and tools for further support. Men who attend the classes will be encouraged to set a “quit date” when they will stop smoking and will be guided through a process of mentally preparing for withdrawal and relapse.

Community Site: Union Gospel Mission, Calvert Place Men’s Shelter


Whitnee D. Boyd

Texas Christian University

College of Education


Whitnee D. Boyd headshot

Boyd is working in the Morningside community in Fort Worth, Texas to increase knowledge of college access and planning by partnering with the Morningside Children’s Partnership. Boyd’s project will focus on building a college-going culture in the community through outreach to parents, students, and the entire community. She will work with churches, schools, community partners, and leaders to educate the community on how to make college possible. Additionally, she will work with parents and students to begin planning for college earlier and raise awareness about available resources. Ultimately, the project will help to build a “cradle to career” environment in the Morningside community.

Community Site: Morningside Children’s Partnership

Neha Gaddam

University of Texas

Southwestern Medical School


Neha Gaddam headshot

Gaddam is addressing food insecurity in Dallas, Texas amongst people who are HIV-positive and living significantly below the poverty line. As a supplement to existing case management resources, this program will provide individualized nutritional information for clients at the Resource Center, a local clinic. The focus of the project will be a series of workshops to increase access to food assistance programs and educate on food selection and budgeting, meal preparation, and the interaction between health, prescriptions, and diet.

Community Site: Resource Center


Jamila Hokanson

University of Texas

Southwestern Medical School


Jamila Hokanson headshot

Hokanson is addressing childhood obesity in East Dallas by collaborating with parents and community resources to implement a health and fitness curriculum focused on nutrition, physical activity, and family involvement. This project will utilize surveys to identify the most important resources and information that parents require to effectively manage their family’s health. A health and fitness curriculum will then be tailored to meet the needs of the families. Ultimately, the program hopes to empower parents and children to be champions of health.

Community Site: Lumin Education


Antoinette Moore

University of Texas

Southwestern Medical School


Antoinette Moore headshot

Moore is addressing the pervasive mental and physical health disparities found among domestic violence survivors living in a temporary emergency shelter environment. This project, based in an established clinic within a Dallas County shelter, aims to work in partnership with survivors, through identifying and receiving the health education opportunities most pertinent to their transition into a life free from violence. The project will also identify community partnerships to help bridge survivors’ medical care received in shelter into a medical home, with the goal of creating continuity of care during this pivotal moment in the survivors’ lives.

Community Site: The Family Place

Jamie Pfaff

University of Texas

Southwestern Medical School


Jamie Pfaff headshot

Pfaff is addressing sickle cell anemia in Dallas by creating a leadership program for teenagers aged 13-14 attending Camp Jubilee. This leadership program will help adolescents at Camp Jubilee feel empowered and provide them an opportunity to give back to their own community, acknowledging that they are living with a chronic illness but that it does not have to define them. The program will continue during the school year through monthly meetings where teenagers will assist in preparing materials and ultimately advocating for their community through volunteer recruitment and improved educational awareness of sickle cell anemia at local universities.

Community Site: Camp John Marc

Priya Raja

University of Texas

Southwestern Medical School


Priya Raja headshot

Raja is focusing on disparities in cervical cancer incidence and mortality by creating a Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine counseling and case management program for adolescents. Given the paradigm shift in cervical cancer prevention, the HPV vaccine has become an increasingly important factor in ensuring that women are adequately protected against developing cervical cancer. This program hopes to address the challenge of vaccine completion and the cultural and social factors surrounding HPV vaccine uptake by ultimately allowing adolescents to make empowered decisions that comport with their needs and their health.

Community Site: TBD


Ena Janet Saavedra

Southern Methodist University

Caldwell Simmons School of Education & Human Development


Ena Janet Saavedra headshot

Saavedra is addressing teenage obesity and culture identity in East Dallas by establishing a holistic approach to a healthier lifestyle. Addressing behavioral change is one aspect of this program; another component will be incorporating leadership development and parental engagement by encouraging a focus on growth for all students who will participate. Physical fitness, nutritional knowledge, and personal discipline will all be addressed.

Community Site: West Dallas Community Center


Brandy Schwarz

Texas Christian University

College of Education


Brandy Schwarz headshot

Schwarz is addressing health literacy in mothers in Tarrant County by creating a program to increase access to and understanding of health information. In addition, the program will provide the women with the encouragement and knowledge to become an advocate for their own health and the health of their children. Ultimately, the goal of the program is to help mothers to get the healthcare they need, lead healthier lifestyles, and to set a positive role model for their children.

Community Site: Lena Pope


Vivian Zhu

University of Texas

Southwestern Medical School


Vivian Zhu headshot

Zhu is addressing Diabetes Mellitus in West Dallas by establishing a diabetes workshop for the people who receive medical care at Brother Bill’s Helping Hand Clinic. This workshop will help the people who attend feel empowered in the context of managing their disease. In addition to weekly lectures on diabetes education, the program will also incorporate health screening methods and one-on-one counseling to the patients, helping bridge language and cultural barriers so that the patients can adequately utilize the information to form their own healthy practices. Zhu’s program will foster community awareness about diabetes management, as well as how to avoid the devastating complications of uncontrolled diabetes through a mentoring and positive relationship with the patients.

Community Site: Brother Bill’s Helping Hand Clinic