Dr. Briana Mezuk has accepted a position as Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health effective January 2017. She will be based in the Center for Social Epidemiology & Population Health (CSEPH), which is also where she was based for her post-doctoral fellowship. She will remain affiliated with the VCU Division of Epidemiology for the foreseeable future and continue to lead several Richmond-based projects, including the Stress & Sugar Study and the YMCA-VCU collaboration. She will be in Richmond on a monthly basis to work with members of the GREMAP team.
Kristen Kelly is also moving to the University of Michigan and will matriculate into the Epidemiology PhD program in January 2017.
This move will bring both Bri and Kristen closer to their families, which are both located in "the Mitten". But also far away from sunshine and warmth. Far, far away.

Briana Mezuk and McKenzie Stokes

Congrats to McKenzie Stokes for being awarded an Underrepresented Minority Internship by the American Diabetes Association for her work with the Richmond Stress & Sugar Study (ADA grant 1-16-ICTS-082)! Ms. Stokes' award (ADA grant 1-17-MUI-003) will support her continued work as an interviewer and recruiter for the Study, as well as additional roles with the YMCA Diabetes partnership. She is currently an undergraduate at VCU completing dual-majors in Psychology and African American Studies.

Boston Debate League is celebrating its 10th anniversary. This non-profit organization is dedicated to making debate available to public school students from all backgrounds.

GREMAP's Dr. Briana Mezuk, a former debater and coach, has studied the impact of debate programs in schools, and has found participation to be associated with improvements in a variety of outcomes including GPAs, standardized test scores, and graduation rates. Students participating in such programs have described them as an opportunity to build their confidence, skills, and understanding of their own and others' identities.

Dr. Briana Mezuk's research has been featured in Richmond Magazine's recent article, "Is Stress Killing Black Men?". This article, which discusses current research on the relationship between stress and health disparities, includes quotes from an interview with Dr. Mezuk about her research on stress and diabetes.

GREMAP member Viktoryia Kalesnikava has been awarded a Jessie Hibbs/Marian Waller scholarship by the VCU/MCV Women's Club and the Graduate School of Virginia Commonwealth University. This scholarship is awarded to two female graduate students each year in recognition of outstanding academic achievement.

Congratulations Viktoryia!!

GREMAP member Elizabeth Do was one of 28 PhD students accepted nationwide to attend a two-week NIH training course in Clinical and Translational Research. After her return to VCU, she shared what she learned at a student talk hosted by the VCU Center for Clinical and Translational Research. Details regarding the talk and the training course can be found in the VCU CCTR blog.

VCU's Center for Clinical and Translational Research has written a news article featuring Dr. Briana Mezuk. The article focusses on her exciting work on the bidirectional relationship between depression and diabetes.

GREMAP PhD student Natalie Bareis attended the 18th annual conference of the International Society for Bipolar Disorders in Amsterdam. At the conference, she gave a presentation titled "Client Centered Treatment to Optimize Psychiatric Medication Adherence: Empirically Identifying the Construct of Clinical Net Benefit"

This presentation demonstrates the concept of the client-centered conceptual framework Clinical Net Benefit, using the Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder (STEP-BD). This is a three dimensional model of individuals' balance between tolerating: 1) psychiatric symptom reduction, 2) adverse effects from medications, and 3) overall functioning when taking psychiatric medications and resulting levels of adherence to those specific medications. Using latent class techniques to identify unique classes of Clinical Net Benefit can aid mental health practitioners in tailoring medication regimens by determining the class their client belongs to and the resulting medication regimens that have the highest adherence rates.

Natalie Bareis in Amsterdam