April Young, PhD (University of Kentucky)
Dr. Young completed her Ph.D. at Emory University in Fall 2013, after which she began her career as a professor at the University of Kentucky. Prior to attending Emory, she received a Bachelor of Arts in biology from Transylvania University and completed her Master of Public Health degree at the University of Kentucky with concentrations in health behavior and epidemiology. Her research experiences to date have been diverse, including studies on HCV, HIV, substance abuse, sexual risk behavior, and vaccine acceptance. The settings for this research have been equally varied, including Appalachia, Atlanta, the Philippines, and Nairobi, Kenya. She has been doing research in Eastern Kentucky since 2009. For more information, visit Dr. Young’s profile here.
Hannah Cooper, ScD (Emory University)
Dr. Cooper is currently the Vice Chair for Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Co-Director of the Prevention Sciences Core for Emory University’s Center for AIDS Research (CFAR), and Director of the Rollins School of Public Health (RSPH) Program on the Social Determinants of Health and of the RSPH Certificate Program in the Sociocontextual Determinants of Health at Emory University. Her research expertise includes studying the social determinants of health, with a particular focus on the social determinants of drug use, drug users’ health, and health disparities. She applies multilevel, geospatial, and qualitative methods to explore these topics. For more information, visit Dr. Cooper’s profile here.
Carol received a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas Christian University in 1981 and a Master of Public Health degree from Emory University in 1990. Prior to joining the University of Kentucky, she worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Her research experiences include studies on HIV and AIDS, maternal and child health, and cancer. Since 2003, she has been doing community-based research primarily in Eastern Kentucky, with a focus on the development, implementation, and evaluation of interventions designed to address cancer health disparities, and since 2019, intervention strategies to reduce substance use.
Project Coordinator for CARE2HOPE, Veronica has an undergraduate degree in Advanced Science. She has spent the past 10 years dedicated to making an impact in Eastern, KY with the drug epidemic that has effected every family. She has always had a strong desire to help others and her community. Veronica’s focus has been working with those who suffer from addiction themselves, as well as the impact it has made on their families, communities, and economics. Veronica is eager to be a part of the research that will help to gather information, to supply to the community that will allow a forward approach in addressing, and providing resources to best address the crises of opioid addiction.
Rhonda is currently a Re-entry Health Navigator for Morgan County and Wolfe County. She completed her undergraduate work at Morehead State University with a Bachelor Degree in Sociology. She completed her Masters in the Art of Criminology at Morehead State University as well and completed her thesis on Substance Abuse and Hope Theory. Rhonda presented her findings at the ASC in San Francisco, CA. As a graduate assistant at MSU, Rhonda assisted in the research study of Hope Theory through qualitative and quantitative interviews of clients in rehabilitation. Rhonda is interested in the impact the opioid epidemic has had on families in Eastern KY and the trends of how the drug of choice has changed as state laws have restricted the prescribing of opioids.
Kenneth is currently a Reentry Health Navigator for Wolfe County and Menifee County. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from Morehead State University in 2002. After graduating Kenneth spent thirteen years as a Counselor/Social Service Clinician helping youth who were committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice. He also spent three years with Gateway Community Action Agency where he partnered with the Department of Corrections, local jails, and rehab facilities to teach fatherhood, life skills, and reentry curriculum to inmates and residents. Kenneth has served as a member of the Northeast KY Reentry Council, Morgan County Unite Coalition, and various other community groups. Kenneth’s personal experience with substance abuse drives him to help others that are suffering from its affects.
Jenni is currently a Reentry Health Navigator for Bath County and Rowan County.
Judy is currently a Reentry Health Navigator for Lee County and Owsley County.
Phillip is currently a Reentry Health Navigator for Knott County and Leslie County.
Lana is currently a Reentry Health Navigator for Letcher County and Perry County.
Lisa is currently a Community Researcher for the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Kentucky.
Kia is a Certified Research Phlebotomist for the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Kentucky.
Edward is a Research Assistant for CARE2HOPE. He graduated from Transylvania University in May 2018 with a B.A. in Exercise Science and a minor in Sociology. Edward is currently a Masters student in the International Community Health program at the University of Oslo.
Evan Batty completed his Masters in Sociology from Colorado State University and is currently working on his Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Kentucky. His research investigates the influence of stigma on health care utilization and patient-practitioner trust with a focus on treatment access for persons who use drugs. Evan serves as a research assistant for the project.
Connor graduated from UK in May 2018 with a B.S. in Agricultural Biotechology and a B.S. in Computer Science. During his undergraduate, he focused on nutrition education and community-based hunger relief efforts. He is interested in understanding community networks and their impact on individual and community long-term well-being.
April Ballard holds a Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology and Environmental Health from the University of Kentucky and is currently working on a Ph.D. at Emory University in Environmental Health Sciences. April’s research focuses on environmental and socio-behavioral determinants of disease transmission with a special interest in rural and gender heath disparities, both domestically in central Appalachia and internationally in Latin America. She employs mixed methods approaches to understand environmental, economic, behavioral, and sociocultural contexts and how it relates to health. April serves as a research assistant for the project.
Mary Beth Lawson
Mary Beth, consultant for CARE2HOPE, grew up in the rural community of Elliott County and graduated from Morehead State University with a degree in social sciences. She has served the residents of Appalachia in the fields of college access and children’s mental health for nearly 20 years. Her familial experience with substance abuse and its long reaching effects on rural communities serves as the driving force behind her desire to address the opioid epidemic with a systematic yet community-based response approach. She previously served as Project Coordinator for CARE2HOPE.
Cindy previously was a Community Researcher for the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Kentucky. She completed her undergraduate work at the University of Kentucky and Morehead State University with a University Studies Degree in Social Sciences. She completed her Masters in the Art of Teaching in Social Studies from Morehead State University in 2012 and is currently completing the counseling component of her MAT. Cindy is interested on the impact of substance abuse and addiction related to the family structure and its effect on children and adolescents.