2011 Fellows

Robert J. Durán, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Sociology
University of Tennessee Knoxville

IRTI Mentor: Avelardo Valdez, PhD

Robert J. Durán is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Tennessee. He earned his doctorate in sociology from the University of Colorado. His research concerns racism in the post-civil rights era and community resistance, from gang evolution and border surveillance to disproportionate minority contact and officer involved shootings. As an urban ethnographer he has conducted interviews and observations of gangs, and the public response to marginalized groups, in Colorado, New Mexico, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah. Dr. Durán’s 2013 book, Gang Life in Two Cities: An Insider’s Journey was published by Columbia University Press and received an Honorable Mention Book Award from the Association for Humanist Sociology. He is the recipient of the 2010 Hispanic Faculty and Staff Caucus Junior Faculty of the Year Award and the 2011 New Scholar Award from the American Society of Criminology Division on People of Color and Crime. His second book, tentatively titled The Gang Paradox: Inequalities and Miracles on the U.S.-Mexico Border, is also under contract with Columbia University Press.

Selected Publications:
Durán, Robert J. (In Press). “Mexican American Law Enforcement Officers: Comparing the Creation of Change versus the Reinforcement of Structural Hierarchies.” In M. G. Urbina (Ed.), Latino Police Officers in the United States: An Examination of Emerging Trends and Issues. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

Durán, Robert J. (In Press). “Legitimated Suppression: Inner-City Mexican-Americans and the Police.” In P. A. Adler and P. Adler (Eds.), Constructions of Deviance: Social Power, Context, and Interaction. Belmont, CA: Cengage Wadsworth. Eighth Edition.

Durán, Robert J. (2014). “Borders, Immigration and Citizenship: The Latino Experience with Gringo Justice.” In M. G. Urbina (Ed.), Twenty-First Century Dynamics of Multiculturalism: Beyond Post-Racial America. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas Publisher.

Durán, RJ. & Posadas, CE. (2013). Disproportionate minority contact in the land of enchantment: Juvenile justice disparities as a reflection of white-over-color ascendency. Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice, 11 (1), 1-2.

Durán, Robert J.  (2013). Gang Life in Two Cities: An Insider’s Journey. New York: Columbia  University Press.

Durán, Robert J. (2012). “Policing the Barrios: Exposing the Shadows to the Brightness of a New Day.” In M. G. Urbina (Ed.), Hispanics in the US Criminal Justice System: The New American Demography. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas Publisher.

Durán, Robert J. (2012). “Urban Youth Encounters with Legitimately Oppressive Gang Enforcement.” In H. Copes and M. Pogrebin (Ed.), Voices from Criminal Justice: Thinking and Reflecting on the System. New York: Routledge.

Felisa Gonzales, PhD, MPH, MPhil

Cancer Prevention Fellow, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences
National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute

IRTI Mentor: Marcela Raffaelli, PhD

Felisa Gonzales is a native of the San Luis Valley in Colorado.  Dr. Gonzales earned a BA in Neuroscience from The Colorado College in 2001, a PhD in Applied Social Psychology from the George Washington University in 2013, and an MPH in Epidemiology from the University of California Berkeley in 2014. Currently, she is a Cancer Prevention Fellow in the Health Systems and Interventions Research Branch of the Healthcare Delivery Research Program at the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Gonzales’ research interests focus on the structural and psychosocial influences that contribute to health disparities in vulnerable populations. Over the past five years, Dr. Gonzales has been involved in research projects investigating the impact of trauma and loss on Latina immigrants and contextual factors influencing sexual risk behaviors among Latino men who have sex with men. Her master’s thesis explored the impact of acculturation and social support on Latina birth outcomes and her NIH-funded dissertation project focused on sexual and substance use risk among Latino adolescents.  At the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Gonzales is conducting research on environmental, social, and psychological factors that influence primary, secondary, and tertiary cancer prevention. She is particularly interested in breast and viral cancers. Health services and health policy research are two emerging areas of interest.  Dr. Gonzales intends to engage in independent and collaborative research efforts that contribute to the reduction of physical and mental health disparities among underserved and vulnerable populations.

Selected Publications:
Gonzales, F.A., del Rio Gonzalez, A.M., & Zea, M.C. (in press). “HIV prevention in youth”. In M. Stevenson & L. Metsch (Eds.), Encyclopedia of AIDS. New York: Springer Publishing Company.

Gonzales, F.A., Le, H.N., & Perry, D.T. (2014). Using an optimality index to understand perinatal health disparities: A pilot study with Latina immigrants. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, [epub ahead of print].                    

Hurtado, A., Gonzales, F.A., Serrano, A.M., & Kaltman, S. (2014). Social isolation and perceived barriers to establishing social networks among Latina immigrants. American Journal of Community Psychology, [epub ahead of print].             

Hurtado, A., Gonzales, F.A., Serrano, A.M., & Kaltman, S. (2014). Me mandó traer: Weak “strong ties” in Latina immigrants’ social networks. Journal of Community Psychology, 42(4), 479-494.                             

Kaltman, S., Hurtado, A., Gonzales, F.A., & Serrano, A.M. (2013). Preferences for trauma-related mental health services among Latina immigrants from Central America, South America, and Mexico. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 6(1), 83-91.

Landry, M., Gonzales, F.A., Wood, S., & Vyas, A. (2013). New media utilization and sexual behavior among Latino adolescents. American Journal of Health Behavior, 37(3), 422-430.

Miguel Angel Mendoza Melendez, MD, MPH

Dr. Mendoza currently serves as Executive Director of Research and Evaluation at the Institute for Prevention and Treatment of Addiction in Mexico City (IAPA). Dr. Mendoza received his MD by UAM-X and psychologist by UNAM. Performed graduate studies at the Institute of Public Health of Mexico (INSP), obtaining a Master’s degree in Public Health: Epidemiology. Specialist in drug abuse by UAEM. He is certified in Genomic Sciences (UACM), Clinical Pharmacology (UNAM), Child Neuropsychology (BUAP) and polysomnography (UNAM, UAM-I). He is a principal investigator of the IAPA. Dr. Mendoza is a professor, currently teaches courses on neurosciences, pharmacology, research methodology and biostatistics. Research interests include epidemiology, information system, bioinformatics, neurosciences, health economics, biostatistics, pharmacology, sleep medicine, transdisciplinary research and methodology of science in the field of drug addiction. He was awarded the award “Dr. Rodolfo Rodriguez Carranza” Annual Meeting of the Western Pharmacology Society and AMEFAR in San Diego California in 2010 and won first place for his involvement with the subject: Substitution by NAIDS of the discriminative properties of Buprenorphine. He founded the International Research Network of IAPA (REDIIC) supported by his close associates, and design the model of Information System and the Principal Project Research of the institution where he works today. In conjunction with the INPRF, he developed different Addictions Survey in Mexico City and develops and collaborates with other national and foreign institutions in clinical research in the field of inhalants with positron emission tomography in humans and other subjects like sleep medicine and drug prevention models.

Tyson Volkmann, PhD, MPH

Associate Director for Science, Center for Global Health, Caribbean Regional Office, Division of Global HIV/AIDS
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

IRTI Mentor: Danielle Ompad, PhD

Tyson Volkmann is the Associate Director for Science and an Epidemiologist on the Strategic Information Team at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Caribbean Regional Office in Barbados. Under the direction of CDC’s Division of Global HIV/AIDS within the Center for Global Health, and via the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), his work consists of conducting HIV programmatic research and providing technical assistance for HIV programming to 12 countries within the English-speaking Caribbean region. Dr. Volkmann joined CDC in 2013 as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer assigned by the US Public Health Service (USPHS) to the Division of TB Elimination’s International Research and Programs Branch, where he worked in Kenya, Vietnam, and India on TB operational research and pediatric TB research. He currently holds the rank of Lieutenant in the Commissioned Corps of the USPHS. Tyson was an IRTI fellow from 2011-2013, prior to which he earned his PhD from the Joint Doctoral Program in Global Public Health at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and San Diego State University. His dissertation was a quantitative examination of drug-related HIV risk behaviors among HIV-susceptible populations in Baja California. Throughout his doctoral program, he was supported by a NIDA-funded T32 training grant (DA023356; PI: S. Strathdee) on substance abuse and HIV among vulnerable populations. He holds an MPH degree in epidemiology and international health from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Selected Publications:
Volkmann, T., Wagner, KD., Strathdee, SA., Semple, SJ., Ompad, DC., Chavarin, CV., & Patterson, TL. (2013). Correlates of Self-Efficacy for Condom Use Among Male Clients of Female Sex Workers in Tijuana, Mexico. Archives of Sexual Behavior, [epub ahead of print].                                                                          

Wagner, KD., Moynihan, MJ., Strathdee, SA., Cuevas-Mota, J., Clark, M., Zuniga, ML., Volkmann, T., Teshale, E., & Garfein, RS. (2012). The social and environmental context of cross-border drug use in Mexico: Findings from a mixed methods study of young IDUs living in San Diego, CA. Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse,11(4), 362-378.

Volkmann, T., Fraga, MA., Brodine, SK., Iniguez-Stevens, E., Cepeda, A., Elder, JP., & Garein, RS. for the VIIDAI team. (2012). Drug scene familiarity and exposure to gang violence among residents in a small community in Baja California, Mexico. Global Public Health, 8(1), 65-78.

Patterson, TL., Volkmann, T., Gallardo, M., Goldenberg, S., Lozada, R., Semple, SJ., & Strathdee, SA., (2012). Identifying the HIV transmission bridge: Which men are having unsafe sex with female sex workers and with their own wives or steady partners? Journal of AIDS, 60(4), 414-420.

NIDA. T32. Pre-Doctoral Fellowship Training Grant.