Nikki Edge, Ph.D.
Assistant Director of the Research and Evaluation Division (RED)
University of Memphis. Studies children at risk of early social-emotional concerns, including those impacted by trauma, maternal substance abuse and depression. Her research as led to unique national collaborations and interventions to support young children’s mental health.
Lorraine McKelvey, Ph.D.
Michigan State University. Examines the effects of adverse childhood experiences on child development. Her research has also focused on two-generation family supports, such as home visiting and quality early childhood education.
Taren Swindle, Ph.D.
University of Memphis. Studies factors in early childcare and home environments that affect obesity. Co-Inventor of WISE, a prevention program for children under age 7, which has shown significant improvements in child and parents’ nutrition practices using principles of implementation science.
Kanna Lewis, Ph.D.
University of Maryland. Examines early childhood interventions and systemic bias in health care. Her research builds upon a development of longitudinally linked large administrative datasets and application of quasi-experimental research designs.
RED Instructor Faculty
Isis Martel, M.S.
Studies interventions developed for vulnerable populations. Current projects include those designed for individuals with substance use and mental health disorders, those at risk for HIV and human trafficking, and older individuals with other chronic diseases.
LaTunja Sockwell, M.A.
Leads the evaluation of Arkansas’ state-wide HIV Drug Court Education and the AR Anti-Stigma Initiative. The goal of her work is to increase access to HIV screening and care across AR, reduce stigma around HIV, and provide medical, fact-based advocacy for HIV-related criminal law reform.
Dong Zhang, Ph.D.
Dr. Zhang explores how environmental and contextual factors affect family and individual’s mental and physical health, including but not limited to obesity, cancer, depression, and adverse childhood experiences.
RED Retired & Former Faculty
Leanne Whiteside-Mansell, Ed.D.
Former Director of the Research and Evaluation Division (RED)
It is with heavy hearts that we share the loss of our colleague, mentor, and friend, Leanne Whiteside-Mansell, Ed.D., on December 18, 2022. Dr. Whiteside-Mansell joined the UAMS faculty in 1999 and directed the Research and Evaluation Division (RED) in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine for 12 years. She was Principal or Co-Investigator on more than 40 grants or contracts and had more than 130 peer-reviewed publications. Her many accomplishments include contributing to the first study of Early Head Start, a national study to explore the impact of childcare on children. She led the development of the Family Map Inventories, an innovative tool to identify family strengths and needs in families of children ages birth to 5. She was also co-developer of Together We Inspire Smart Eating (WISE), an obesity prevention program for preschool children, and participated in research to reduce childhood unintentional injuries and adult HIV. The underlying motivation for all her professional pursuits was to improve the lives of vulnerable populations. This was evident in her career as well as her personal life. Most importantly, we will remember her as an unstoppable whirlwind of curiosity, statistical acumen, and compassion for others. These qualities fueled significant advancements in research on factors linked with the development of young children living in poverty. The RED group will continue all the great works that Dr. Whiteside Mansell began and will honor her legacy by continuing to create valuable community partnerships to benefit Arkansans.
Patti Bokony, Ph.D.
University of Memphis. Dr. Bokony’s areas of interest include developing preventive interventions that promote social-emotional development in early childhood and promoting those interventions through parenting education and professional development for childcare and early education professionals.