Senior Social and Behavioral Health Scientist
Yvonne serves as Senior Social and Behavioral Health Research Scientist at SciMetrika and adjunct assistant professor of health behavior at the Gillings Global School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has over three decades of experience developing, implementing, evaluating, and disseminating theory-driven, culturally competent, bilingual health behavior change interventions with low- income minority children and their families in both urban and rural communities. One program, “Open Airways for Schools,” has been designated a “national model environmental justice intervention” (CDC, 2004), and has reached over one million elementary school children in the United States. She is co-recipient of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s (NHLBI’s) National Asthma Health Education Research Award, and served for two years on the National Asthma Educator’s Certification Board as chair of its research committee. She has also contributed to the design and evaluation of a symptom management intervention with HIV infected mothers and the North Carolina BEAUTY and Health Project, a work-site intervention to train cosmetologists to deliver cancer prevention messages to customers frequenting beauty salons.
At SciMetrika, Yvonne applies high-level conceptual and theoretical expertise to develop, implement, evaluate, and disseminate state and national health programs and projects, policy assessments and evaluations, training projects, and research studies. Her focus is on high-quality, data-driven results for population health improvement and accountability. Yvonne specializes in mixed-method approaches, using theoretical frameworks to guide research inquiry, analysis, interpretation, translation, and dissemination of evaluated policies, programs, and interventions. She uses quantitative and qualitative data analytic techniques, including data triangulation, to understand and address health issues at the policy, organizational, community, environmental and individual levels. Her research initiatives emphasize a community-collaborative approach to engage multi-level stakeholders (e.g., state health departments, schools, communities, service providers, parents/caregivers, and children) in the research process from project inception to project evaluation, dissemination, and sustainability. Yvonne has a strong command of Spanish and has been a leader in developing culturally-competent programs and literacy-appropriate bilingual survey instruments and educational materials for federal, state, and private sector use. Her work has a special emphasis on eliminating health disparities and addressing social determinants of health.
In 2017, Yvonne received the Distinguished Alumna Award for Leadership from Seton Hill University. She earned her doctorate in socio-medical sciences from Columbia University in New York City, and her master’s in epidemiology from UNC School of Public Health in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.