Cleveland Shields, PhD - Director
Lalatendu Acharya, PhD, MBA, Assistant Professor, Department of Consumer Sciences. Lala Acharya's research focuses on communication campaigns, behavior change and consumer participation. He studies and evaluates the meanings behind the design, construction and implementation of different health, nutrition and other communication campaigns specifically in vulnerable and marginalized communities. His research investigates and analyzes the lack of community voices, lack of community participation and the absence of cultural and contextual understandings in the myriad communication interventions that result in marginalization, vulnerabilities and creation of health disparities and inequities. Dr. Acharya’s research uses cultural frameworks like the Culture Centered Approach (CCA), PEN-3, social theories like Social Suffering, Structural Violence, Unintended consequences of purposive action and other social and psychological hypotheses. His research documents the voices of marginalized and vulnerable communities in different settings, their meanings and experiences; it locates the communities in their cultural and structural context and explores the various intersections, structural in-access, violence, the politics of discourse from the communication managers, and the erasure of the individual’s/consumer's agency. Dr. Acharya’s uses this knowledge to develop more efficient communication campaign models/ frameworks which are participatory, culture centered and aim towards a sustainable behavior change. Dr. Acharya has worked extensively in the field of Communication and related issues in the Corporate sector, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Dr. Acharya has a MBA and a PhD from Purdue University in Communication.
Ayşe Çiftçi, PhD is an associate professor in counseling psychology in the Department of Educational Studies at Purdue University. She got her undergraduate and master’s degrees from Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey. She moved to United States for her doctoral program in counseling psychology at the University of Memphis. Dr. Ciftci has published and presented on multicultural issues, cross cultural psychology, specifically on vulnerable populations. Most recently, she focuses on Muslim immigrants and their psycho-social adjustment. She has been serving on multiple editorial boards and invited to edit a special issue for Journal of Muslim Mental Health. Dr. Çiftçi is a member of the Committee on Early Career Psychologists of the American Psychological Association (APA). She also had multiple roles in Divisions 17 (Society of Counseling Psychology) and Division 52 (International Psychology) of the APA.
Bart Collins, PhD, is the director of healthcare communications at Purdue’s Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering. Collins, who earned his master’s degree at the Univeristy of Arkansas and his doctorate in Communication Studies at the University of Kansas directs the Regenstrief Center’s work in telemedicine and tele-health. He previously served as director of Digital Content and the Instructional Development Center at Purdue University (2002-2007) and was on the faculty at the University of Louisville.
Blake Jones, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Studies.His research seeks to understand how child obesity and child sleep are related to daily routines and family processes within the home environment. He is interested in identifying modifiable risk-behaviors and protective routines that are associated with increasing children’s health and lowering the prevalence of child obesity. Healthy daily routines are often less prevalent in certain at-risk populations, resulting in health inequities in obesity and shortened sleep duration that are associated with poverty, parent education, single parent families, families with shift-working parents, and other demographic factors. For this reason, Dr. Jones is interested in working with families at risk to identify ways to promote healthy behaviors and focus on their successes and strengths so that he can develop targeted interventions to help populations who face inequities in obesity and sleep outcomes. Dr. Jones completed his Master’s degree at Purdue University, and his Ph.D. in Marriage, Family, and Human Development from Brigham Young University. His postdoctoral fellowship was completed at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he worked in the Family Resiliency Center and was funded by an AFRI postdoctoral fellowship grant through the USDA.
Meghan Norris is a Social Psychologist (PhD, Queen's University, Canada), with expertise in the fields of attitudes and persuasion. She works as an Assistant Professor in the Consumer Science department at Purdue University where she is applying and testing social psychological phenomena in areas of health and wellness. She has taken a particular interest in service-learning initiatives and her students have successfully engaged with a number of not-for-profit agencies to enhance their learning experiences while providing useful assistance to the respective agencies.
Frank J. Snyder, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor, Department of Health and Kinesiology. Dr. Snyder’s research in public health encompasses understanding how social and environmental factors influence youth health risk behaviors and healthy development. He also evaluates the effectiveness of school- and community-based interventions and health services in enhancing youth health outcomes. He has a Ph.D. in public health with an emphasis in health promotion and behavior from Oregon State University and completed a National Institute on Drug Abuse funded postdoctoral fellowship in prevention science at Yale School of Medicine.
Maria Venetis, PhD, Assistant Professor, Brian Lamb School of Communication.Venetis researches physician-patient interactions and how communication practices during medical visits are associated with patient psychosocial outcomes such as satisfaction and coping. She also researches how relational partners manage ongoing health-related issues of disclosure, topic avoidance, and boundary management. Dr. Venetis is currently interviewing LGBTQ+ individuals concerning barriers and facilitators to sharing one’s sexual orientation with a medical provider. This study is part of a larger project that aims to improve medical interactions for the LGBTQ+ population.