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Faculty and Staff

Faculty

Dr. Maureen Lichtveld

Maureen Lichtveld, MD, MPH
Professor and Chair, Global Environmental Health Sciences
Director, Center for Gulf Coast Environmental Health Research, Leadership & Strategic Initiatives

Maureen Lichtveld has a 30 year track record in environmental public health with  research interests in environmentally-induced disease and special emphasis on health disparities; community-based participatory research; disaster preparedness, environmental health policy; and public health systems. Dr. Lichtveld has served as an expert consultant to the Institute of Medicine for many years on contemporary public health issues ranging from the adverse health consequences of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill to public health systems, and disaster preparedness. Dr. Lichtveld is the Center's Director, bringing together a cadre of regional research expertise to advance innovative, community-centered, transdisciplinary research. 

Jeffrey Wickliffe Jeffrey Wickliffe, PhD
Associate Professor, Global Environmental Health Sciences

Jeffrey Wickliffe is a genetic toxicologist with expertise in both basic and population-based environmental health science who has a track record of research in both Texas and Louisiana. Dr. Wickliffe's research focuses on effects resulting from exposure to direct or metabolically-activated genotoxins and mutagens such as ionizing radiation, hazardous air pollutants, elemental metals, and engineered nano materials. His research lab develops and uses markers designed to define mechanisms of toxicity directly affecting nucleic acids or indirectly through non-genotoxic mechanisms and their influence on disease outcomes. Dr. Wickliffe conducted research on the impact of the DWH oil spill on the New Orleans East Vietnamese community under a project funded by the National Science Foundation titled "Citizen Science and Environmental Technology."

Emily Harville Emily Harville, PhD
Associate Professor, Epidemiology

Emily Harville has experience in the intersection of birth outcomes, stress, and mental health, with disaster. After Hurricane Katrina, she was the Principal Investigator of a prospective cohort study of Katrina's effects on postpartum mental health, and co-investigator of studies of pregnancy outcomes, as well as models of prenatal care and their effect on mental and physical health of women in the aftermath.   She also studies preconception influences on pregnancy outcomes, for instance, the effects of childhood trauma or life course cardiovascular disease on birth outcomes.  Dr. Harville's research interests focus on stress measurement, lifetime adversity, and biomarkers in pregnant women, and how they combine to affect birth outcomes.

Charles Miller Charles Miller, PhD
Professor, Global Environmental Health Sciences

Charles Miller received his bachelor of science degree in biology from the University of Alabama in Birmingham. He worked there as a research associate in the pharmacology and biochemistry departments, as well as at the cancer center. He has studied anti-malarial drug toxicity with Roy Mundy, chemical carcinogenesis with Awni Sarrif, colon cancer biology with Michael Brattain, and the immunology of natural killer cells with Toru Abo and Charles Balch. He joined Max Costa's laboratory and studied carcinogenic mechanisms of nickel and chromium compounds and earned a PhD in environmental oncology from the Sackler School of Basic Medical Sciences of New York University. During this time, he was the recipient of a fellowship from Shell Oil Company. His post-doctoral research was conducted in David Kowalski's laboratory at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. There he described several new DNA replication origins in yeast.  He is currently a Professor in the Department of Global Environmental Health Sciences investigating how dioxins, PCBs, PAHs, and other toxic chemicals act through receptor signaling networks, and how Hsp90 and its co-chaperone proteins modulate toxic responses. 

Catherine Taylor

Catherine Taylor, PhD
Associate Professor, Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences 
Co-Investigator, Tulane Building Early Relationships Support & Services

Originally from Boston, I came to Tulane in August 2005. My educational background is in biology/physiology, clinical social work, and public health, including epidemiology and community health sciences. My practice experience includes medical social work, genetics counseling, community mental health, counseling for victims of family violence, and mass media production for health issues. My areas of research reside in the overlap of maternal and child health, violence prevention, and social norms. The overarching goal of my research is to inform the development of strategies to prevent and reduce violence in communities and within families, particularly that which most directly affects the lives of children. Research of the past two decades suggests that violence, and related adverse childhood experiences, can exact an enormous toll on a young child's neuro-cognitive and social-emotional development. Dozens of studies have demonstrated that such toxic stress exposure early in life is linked with increased risk for some of the most intractable and prevalent public health problems of our time, including smoking, sexual risk behavior, depression, obesity, heart disease, and violence. It is hoped that by working to prevent and reduce childhood exposure to violent stress, my work will not only contribute most acutely to children's health, but also to the long-term health trajectory of children and their ability to thrive and reach their potential in society.

Staff

Hannah Covert

Hannah Covert, PhD
Associate Director, Center for Gulf Coast Environmental Health Research, Leadership & Strategic Initiatives

Hannah manages the center’s research portfolio, liaises with external advisory boards, coordinates working relationships with external constituencies, and provides oversight for the Center’s programs. She also writes and coordinates proposal submissions and provides financial oversight of extramural funding. Hannah has worked in the field of higher education administration for 20 years.  Prior to working at Tulane, she served as Executive Director of the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Florida (UF). She has expertise in resource management, program development and management, evaluation, personnel, communications, and international education.  She has served as a Co-PI on ten grants.  Hannah received her PhD in higher education administration from UF.  She has an MA in Latin American Studies with a specialization in cultural anthropology from UF and a BA in Spanish from Middlebury College. Her research interests include qualitative methods of inquiry, evaluation, international education, and intercultural competence.

Lynette Perrault Lynette Dupré Perrault, MEd 
Assistant Director, Training and Educational Leadership

Lynette received her BA from Loyola University in Communications, and her Master’s Degrees in Special Education and Educational Leadership from the University of New Orleans (UNO). Her work in education spans over 17 years in public and charter schools. Lynette promotes teacher efficacy and student achievement through her instructional leadership endeavors. Promoting high expectations for students is the core of her professional educational career. Lynette believes that all students can learn if provided enriching instructional programs taught by knowledgeable educators committed to educational excellence. Lynette is a doctoral candidate in Educational Administration at UNO.

 

Lisa Paterson, MS
Senior Grants Administrator

Lisa provides fiscal management, reporting and logistical support to the Center and its research objectives. Lisa holds a BS in Environmental Management Systems and a Masters in International Development and has 7 years of Grant Management and Administration experience. Prior to working for the Center, Lisa was a Rural Development Manager for the East Midlands Development Agency. In this position, she appraised, managed, and inspected EU-funded rural development projects in the East Midlands, UK. Additionally, Lisa was part of a team that developed an ecological cooperative brand in the Netherlands. She also developed and ran an internship program at an educational permaculture farm in Costa Rica. Her research interests include sustainable food production and distribution systems, urban agriculture, the links between health and food security and access, as well as innovative solutions to food security that reduce environmental impacts of the food industry. Lisa is currently a voting member of the New Orleans Food and Policy Advisory Committee.

 

Mya Sherman, MA
Senior Program Manager

Mya is the Senior Program Manager for the Community Health Worker Placement Program, funded by the Gulf Region Health Outreach Program. She received her Bachelor's degree from McGill University in Montreal, Canada with a double major in Ecological Determinants of Health and Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Mya also completed her Master's degree at McGill University in Geography, with her thesis work focusing on climate change and food security issues among Indigenous communities in the Peruvian Amazon. From 2011 to 2016, Mya worked for the Indigenous Health Adaptation to Climate Change research program, leading several studies related to research ethics, stakeholder engagement, health systems, climate change adaptation, socioeconomic development, and traditional knowledge. She was the recipient of the National Geographic Young Explorer’s Grant in 2013 and received the People’s Choice award for Best Presentation at the Climate and Health Summit in 2014. Through her work in the United States, Latin America, and Africa, Mya has facilitated trainings and workshops for over 50 community members on topics related to climate change, resilience and adaptation, research methods, monitoring and evaluation, and cross-cultural communication. Most recently, Mya led a 2-year international evaluation project examining the role of community-based research in the Peruvian Amazon, southwestern Uganda, and the Canadian Arctic. Mya believes strongly in the power of collaborative research to build community resilience. Her research interests include the social determinants of health, developmental evaluation, capacity development, and participatory, community-based and community-driven approaches to research.

 

  Sherry Heller, PhD
Director, Tulane Building Early Relationships Support & Services

Sherry received a master's degree and doctoral degree in applied developmental psychology from the University of New Orleans. She is currently an Associate Professor at Tulane University School of Medicine and the Tulane Institute of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health. As a graduate student, Sherry trained and worked in the field of Infant Mental Health through the Tulane/JPHSA Infant Team under the supervision of Julie Larrieu and Charles Zeanah. The Infant Team works with all children under 60 months of age who enter foster care in Jefferson Parish, as well as their parents and foster parents. Once completing her degree, Dr. Heller became the director of the Infant Team's Foster Care Team, which was responsible for administering developmental and social-emotional screening instruments for all children involved with the Infant Team and supporting and educating foster parents. She performed numerous child care observations and implemented interventions with child care center staff when necessary to meet the needs of foster children. In 2000, she was one of 19 infant mental health consultants selected nationally to participate in the Zero to Three and Early Head Start initiative. This initiative allowed her to serve as an infant mental health consultant to a Baton Rouge Early Head Start program serving adolescent mothers. In 2005, as an extension of her work started under this competitive national initiative coordinated by Zero to Three and then a research grant funded by ACF, Sherry was able to continue to consult with this program as it expanded to serve families displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Since December 2007, she has served as the research director for the QS ECMHC program. In addition, she has been responsible for providing reflective supervision to one-third of the mental health consultants funded on the QS ECHMC project. She recently co-edited a book with Linda Gilkerson of the Erikson Institute in Chicago on providing reflective supervision to professionals in the field of early childhood intervention. In 2011, Sherry was selected as to be a fellow in Zero To Three's Leadership Development Institute. She has long-standing clinical and research interests in the effects of maltreatment on child development, the development of attachment and attachment disturbances in very young children, child care, the effects of violence on child development, perinatal loss and reflective supervision.

Anna Breuer Anna R. Breuer, PsyD
Infant Mental Health Specialist, Tulane Building Early Relationships Support & Services

Anna holds a doctorate in clinical psychology from Rosemead School of Psychology, Biola University in Southern California.  Anna received infant mental health training at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, and most recently as a postdoctoral fellow at the Irving Harris Program in Child Development and Infant Mental Health at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.  Anna is dedicated to helping babies and parents form secure attachment relationships, even in the midst of difficult life circumstances. She firmly believes in the power of positive relationships to promote healing across the lifespan. Anna has worked with parents in recovery and their babies at The Haven Mother’s House in Denver, Colorado and at other programs to help create safe and stable family relationships. She also worked at the Tulane Infant Team with young children in foster care and their parents to promote family reunification.

  Grace Drnach, MPH
Scientific Research Analyst II, Tulane Building Early Relationships Support & Services

Grace coordinates a mixed methods study evaluating the supports and services provided by Tulane Building Early Relationships Support and Services (TBEARS). Grace received her Bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University, with a duel major in Psychology and Communication Studies. She completed her honors research in geriatric suicidology, particularly focusing on perceived burdensomeness as a potential mediator between physical disability and depressive symptoms in older adults. Grace's Master’s degree is from the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences with a concentration in maternal and child health. She feels strongly about community access and support in education, both locally and internationally. From 2015-17, she worked as an Educational Assistant in Tulane’s Athletic Department, where she met with at-risk student athletes daily to tutor, provide guidance and support, and encourage organizational skills. She is involved in a diabetes and hypertension prevention pilot program in the Dominican Republic. Additionally, Grace has aided in the development of Divine Kids Academy in Jukwa, Ghana since 2013 and is an advocate for menstruation education and health education classes for all students in hopes of increasing school retention.

 tracey thomas photo

Tracey Rabathaly-Thomas, MPA
Program Manager/Family Advocate, Tulane Building Early Relationships Support & Services

Tracey received her BS from Xavier University of New Orleans in Psychology, and her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Walden University.  She initially worked as a Foster Care Worker in Southfield, Michigan, moved backed to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and obtained a position as a Care Manager/Case Manager with the Office of Behavior Health (Early Childhood Supports and Services).   Tracey also worked as a Case Manager/Community Resources Liaison for Tulane Infant Mental Health Services before coming to TBEARS.  Her work in case management and community advocacy spans for over 14 years.  She has worked in the mental health field for over 10 years and has been trained in infant mental health.   She is dedicated to being an advocate for families, and assisting families with accessing supports and services in the community. Tracey also works closely with various community agencies and programs as a bridge for families in need of supports and services.