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2004 SUMR Scholars

Dominic A. Farris
San Francisco State University, Class of 2006
Major: Psychology and International Relations


As a SUMR Scholar, Dominic worked with LDI Senior Fellow Jerry C. Johnson, M.D., on two projects: "Cultural Acceptability of Mental Health Treatment," a pilot survey aimed to uncover if outpatient mental health clinics are providing culturally competent care for ethnic minority consumers, and "Look AHEAD--Action for Health in Diabetes." Dominic will be pursuing graduate school in the fall of 2006 in health-related psychology, specifically psychosocial factors influencing mental health among adolescents and culturally appropriate obesity treatment for minority populations. He will also pursue research into treatments for victims of ethnic conflicts, particularly in Africa.

Sowmya D. Joisa
University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2007
Major: Pscyhology and International Relations


Sowmya's SUMR experience involved working with Nursing School Professor and LDI Senior Fellow Eileen Lake, Ph.D., R.N., on several studies related to nursing care quality, gene-environmental research, and the health knowledge of older adults.


Andrea Puig
University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2005
Major: Biomedical Science


Andrea spent her SUMR summer working with LDI Senior Fellow and RWJ Health & Society Scholar José Pagán, Ph.D., on a project entitled "Differences in Access to Healthcare Services Between Insured and Uninsured Adults in Mexico." The project involved analyzing the association between health insurance coverage and the use of conventional health care services, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and self-medication in a sample of Mexican adults with diabetes. Andrea co-wrote a paper with Dr. Pagán that was published in the journal Diabetes Care. Andrea is currently a doctoral student in Penn's Health Care Systems Department.

Andrea received her PhD in Health Care Management from the University of Pennsylvania. She is now working for Johnson and Johnson.

Ishela S. Semple
Temple University, Class of 2005
Major: Health Information Management


Ishela's SUMR project, "Determinants of Ethnic Differences in Quality of Life," compared quality of life outcomes among African-American and Caucasian men newly diagnosed with prostate cancer, explored the processes of coping with prostate cancer in these men, and examined the determinants of ethnic differences in quality of life. She worked with LDI Senior Fellow Chanita A. Hughes Halbert, Ph.D. Ishela plans to pursue graduate studies in health services research.

Ishela works as a Revene Management Analysts at NYU Medical Center.

Zita J. Shiue
University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2005
Major: Economics and Biological Basis of Behavior


From Bakersfield, California, Zita spent her first two years at Penn working in a laboratory at the Center for Sleep and Respiratory Neuroscience. After exploring a variety of fields, her interests have turned to developing her knowledge in the area of health services, including financing, patient/physician decision making, and cost-effectiveness research. In her senior year, she was the recipient of the Edward N. Pugh, Jr. Award. Zita's SUMR project, "Lifestyle Effects of Health Insurance on Elderly Health," with mentor and LDI Senior Fellow Daniel Polsky, Ph.D., assessed whether the Medicare program, which provides near universal coverage for Americans over 65, may be rescuing those who lacked insurance while near-elderly or may be providing too little coverage too late for this group.

Zita was accepted to Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Ahmed L. Whitt
University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2007
Major: Psychology and Urban Studies


A native of Philadelphia, Ahmed is interested in public policy and health care in the urban minority community. He has specific interests in mental health in adolescents. Through his research he aims to find solutions to problems affecting children in his hometown. As a SUMR scholar, Ahmed worked with LDI Senior Fellow and RWJ Health & Society Scholar Sonya A. Grier, Ph.D. His project, entitled "Marketing, Value, and African-American Obesity," looked at food marketing and advertisement as a portal from which to view African-American decision making regarding food consumption, analyzing whether differing perceptions of value may explain some of the disparity in obesity between minorities and whites, and how companies market their products to exploit these differences.


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