RIMI Faculty Fellows

Bita Ghafoori Associate Professor, CSULB Advanced Studies in Education & Counseling
Dr. Bita Ghafoori is a RIMI Faculty Fellow conducting a two-year project entitled, “Mental Health Reactions to Trauma, Treatment Seeking, and Barriers to Care in an Ethnically and Economically Diverse Community-Based Sample.” The purpose of the proposed research project is to understand the prevalence of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) after a traumatic event as well as risk and protective factors for the development of post-trauma psychopathology in a diverse, low-income, minority, urban population. By collecting both quantitative and qualitative data from a primarily low-income, diverse sample of participants, this study will be able to begin to answer key questions about the effects of trauma exposure and prevalence of GAD as well as the role of race/ethnicity and acculturation in the expression of health symptoms, mental health service utilization, and barriers to care.
Cesar Abarca Assistant Professor, CSULB School of Social Work
Dr. Cesar G. Abarca is a community organizer, ethnographer, urban gardener, and currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work, California State University Long Beach. He graduated from the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in Sociology and Social Welfare at Boston University in 2011. He is a bilingual and bicultural scholar-activist and social worker with research interests in vulnerable populations, including immigrants, and examining issues of assimilation,  health status and outcomes. Also, environmental, social, and economic justice, and the development of intervention to improve the health outcomes of immigrant communities. And the impact of employment on health outcomes, particularly assessing the impact of occupational injuries on immigrant workers. He has done research on workforce development, community development, and immigrant issues in California, Massachusetts, and New Mexico. Currently, he is developing two research projects linking the personal motivations and investment of Latinas on improving their health outcomes through participation in a fitness program and examining the structural opportunities and barriers Latinos face to become leaders in their communities.
Grace Reynolds Associate Professor of Health Care Administration, Associate Director, Center for Behavioral Research and Services
Grace Reynolds, D.P.A., is Associate Professor of Health Care Administration and Associate Director of the Center for Behavioral Research and Services at the California State University, Long Beach (CSULB).  She received her doctorate from the University of Southern California in 2004. Dr. Reynolds has published on HIV and sexually transmitted disease testing with health disparities populations and teaches graduate courses in research and quantitative methods.  She is currently funded by the RIMI Center on a project that uses social networks methods to investigate HIV sexual risk behaviors in at-risk African American women in Long Beach.  The project uses the Timeline Follow-Back Interview (TLFB), HIV risk version, to collect information on recent sexual partners and sexual behaviors of the women.  A total of 68 index women will be recruited to participate in the initial interview.  From these index women, male alters will be identified; they will also be invited to participate in the TLFB interview.  From the information gathered on the index women and their male alters, a sexual network will be created and investigated with respect to high-risk sexual behaviors such as heterosexual anal sex.  Male-partner characteristics will also be examined with respect to previous incarceration and drug use history.
Jeffrey Davis Assistant Professor, CSULB Department of Sociology
Dr. Jeffery Davis is a RIMI Faculty Fellow conducting a two-year research pilot project. The primary goal of his project, entitled, “The Role of Uncertainty in Ethnic Group Differences in High-Risk Health Behaviors,” is to develop a measure of uncertainty about the future, test the psychometric properties of that measure and refine it as necessary, and conduct a pilot study of the relationship of uncertainty to racial/ethnic group differences in sexual and reproductive health.
Jo Brocato Assistant Professor of Social Work
Jo Brocato is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at California State University Long Beach. She received her Ph.D.in Social Welfare at Florida International University in 2004. She is a licensed clinical social worker in California and Florida and a Certified Addiction Professional. Her current research interests are in the areas Substance misuse; drug policy; social justice and health care disparities ; the empirical evaluation of community-based substance use treatment programs and harm reduction interventions.
T. Alex Washington Associate Professor, CSULB Department of Social Work
Dr. Thomas Alex Washington, a RIMI Faculty Fellow, is conducting a two-year project entitled, “Exploring an HIV Status Awareness Model (HSAM) for Black MSM”. The goal of this exploratory study is to develop a culturally sensitive web-based behavioral video-vignette intervention to increase HIV testing and HIV-status awareness among Black MSM who are not aware of their HIV-status, using focus groups methods. Data from the focus groups will be used to develop an intervention to motivate HIV testing and increase HIV-status awareness among unknown-status Black MSM.