APRIES Pre-Doctoral Fellow
MSW, University of Georgia, USA
MSS, International Relations, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh
BSS, International Relations, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh

Fahmida Afroz is the Pre-Doctoral Fellow for APRIES at the University of Georgia. She earned her Master of Social Work (MSW) degree with a certificate in Non-Profit Management from the University of Georgia in 2019. She also holds an undergraduate and a graduate degree in International Relations from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Her social work interests lie primarily in the areas of human trafficking, poverty and inequality, and social and immigration policy. Prior to attending graduate school, Fahmida worked for several national and international NGOs in Bangladesh for three and a half years including international nonprofit organization Concern Worldwide. While working in those organizations, she gained insight into the fields of social development and human rights. Additionally, while earning her MSW in the U.S., she interned at a number of well-known non-profit organizations which included J.W Fanning Institute of Leadership Development, Action Ministries, and the United Way of Northeast Georgia. As a social worker, Fahmida has worked with diverse populations including homeless people, sex workers, slum dwellers, immigrants, and individuals and families with low incomes.

Lydia Aletraris


APRIES Project Coordinator
Ph.D., Sociology, University of Georgia
M.A., Sociology, University of Georgia
B.S., Psychology, Illinois Institute of Technology

Dr. Lydia Aletraris is the Project Coordinator of APRIES and is managing the Prevalence Reduction Innovation Forum, which will enlist scholars from universities around the world to test and develop the best ways to estimate the prevalence of human trafficking. She has extensive experience conducting and managing projects funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  She served as Assistant Director of the Center for Research on Behavioral Health and Human Services Delivery at the University of Georgia.  Her research has focused on the adoption and diffusion of evidence-based practices and HIV treatment services in substance abuse treatment programs, the implications of health policy on treatment, and on a federally-funded program to plan and implement collaboration among the criminal justice and behavioral health treatment systems.  Additionally, she has examined individual and organizational-level outcomes related to the use of nonstandard and precarious work arrangements.  Currently, she is the Principal Investigator on an NIH-funded R01 project that examines the effects of cannabis legalization on the substance use disorder treatment industry. Her work has been cited in written testimony and statements made by the U.S. Government Accountability Office and the Office of National Drug Control Policy in the Executive Office of the President to the following audiences: the U.S. Senate, U.S. House, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Department of Justice.  She also serves on the Regional Advisory Council of the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities.

Alex Balch


APRIES Associate Director
Ph.D., Politics, University of Liverpool
M.A., EU Politics and Policy, University of Liverpool
B.A., Psychology, University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

Dr. Alex Balch is the Associate Director of APRIES based in the UK.  He is Professor of Politics at the University of Liverpool. He is a specialist on the politics and policy of modern slavery and immigration.  He has written extensively on state and non-state responses to international mobility and exploitation and his work has influenced government, business and NGO policy through high quality impactful research, evaluation and recommendations. He is currently leading an international network (with the Universities of Ghana, Nottingham and Hull) exploring the value of innovative and arts-based approaches to address contemporary slavery in Africa, funded through the Global Challenges Research Fund.  Dr. Balch has conducted a number of research projects in collaboration with regulators, the NGO sector and businesses to improve outcomes for vulnerable and marginalized groups. His work is currently funded by the British Academy and UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council. 


APRIES In-Country Coordinator, Guinea
M.S., Environmental Science, Gamal Abdel Nasser University, Conakry
BTS in Management, Accounting & Computer Science, Modern Professional Institute, Conakry

Ansoumane Bangoura serves as In-Country Coordinator for APRIES in Guinea. He is in charge of monitoring and reporting on the progress of sub-recipients’ projects, communicating and liaising with all the stakeholders and partners of APRIES in Guinea. Ansoumane comes to APRIES from a large corporation where he served as assistant accountant in charge of daily accounting data analysis and entries, accounts reconciliation, payroll and tax payment follow-up. He has worked as Assistant In-Country Manager on projects run by Guinea Government and CQCC (Chongqing Communications Construction group Overseas Co. Ltd.), including water supply, rice plantation, water dam and two airport rehabilitation projects. For the past two years, Ansoumane has been working on the evaluation of criminal justice training programs on human trafficking supported by the U.S. Department of State and implemented by UNODC in Guinea. The evaluation program was conducted by Washington D.C.-based DevTech Systems, Inc., for whom he was contracted as independent consultant.


APRIES Program Manager – Sierra Leone, Guinea
Ph.D., Geography, University of Georgia
M.A., Geography, University of Georgia
B.A., Economics, Smith College

Dr. Claire Bolton is the Program Manager of APRIES. As a full-time staff member, she manages APRIES’ day-to-day operations. Claire comes to APRIES from the University of Georgia Office of Research, where she managed large, complex research proposals with an emphasis on the social sciences. Her interests broadly include political economy, urbanization, migration, and critical race studies in both U.S. and international contexts. She also specializes in the study of religious belief and how it intersects with these topics. Her doctoral research, funded by a National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant (Award #1459256), studied the impact of faith-based community development organizations on neighborhood development and the alleviation of racial inequality in U.S. cities. The key contribution of this research is an understanding of how intersections of race and religious identity shape urban development processes and questions of racial justice in the urban context. In addition to the APRIES project, Claire teaches World Regional Geography at the University of North Georgia. Her peer-reviewed work can be found in Urban Geography and Political Geography in addition to several forthcoming venues. She also serves on the Athens-Clarke County Vision Committee, which assists local government with decision-making processes related to community development, and participates in community-based research projects.


APRIES Pre-Doctoral Fellow
M.A. International Relations and Security, University of Liverpool
B.A. Economics and Law, University of Aix-Marseille

Justine Bruder is a Ph.D. student at the university of Liverpool. She graduated with a Master’s degree in International Relations and Security, in which she researched Populist trends in the European Union. Her current research focuses on the root causes of child trafficking specific to West Africa and aims to reveal gaps or weaknesses in existing anti-trafficking policy initiatives. She works alongside Professor Balch, who is supervising the research, as well as with the rest of the APRIES team. She is currently participating in the analysis of qualitative data collected through the APRIES Anti-Trafficking Research and Programming Project. In addition to using data made available by APRIES, Justine plans to incorporate in depth interviews with key policy actors in West Africa. As a native French speaker, her contribution is particularly valuable for research in Guinea and Senegal.

Tamora Callands


APRIES Training and Evaluation Coordinator
Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, Purdue University
M.S., Clinical Psychology, Purdue University
B.S., Psychology, University of Connecticut

Dr. Tamora Callands is the Training and Evaluation Coordinator for APRIES.  She is a trained clinical-community psychologist and Assistant Professor of Health Promotion and Behavior of the College of Public Health at the University of Georgia. She earned her degree and received her training from the Psychological Science Department at Purdue University and through a T32 postdoctoral fellow in the Division of Prevention and Community Research within the Department of Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine.  She brings a wealth of on the ground experience in Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Liberia through research and intervention implementation strategies, research and clinical training techniques, and evaluation methods.  Over the past eight years, Dr. Callands has focused her attention on understanding facilitators and barriers to ameliorating mental and sexual health disparities among youth and emerging adults exposed to poverty and violence in low-resource settings both domestically and internationally.  She has managed, trained, and supervised local research teams and mental health clinicians in Sierra Leone and Liberia on mental health and sexual risk behavior among war-exposed and at-risk youth.  Currently, she is the capacity building co-lead for an NIMH U19 award for research partnership for scaling up mental health interventions in low- and middle-income countries.

Jody Clay-Warner


APRIES Associate Director
Ph.D., Sociology, Emory University
M.A., Psychology, Georgia State University
B.A., Speech Communication, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Dr. Jody Clay-Warner is the Associate Director for APRIES. Dr. Clay-Warner, Meigs Professor of Sociology, has been at the University of Georgia since 1998. She received a Ph.D. in Sociology from Emory University, and her specialty areas include social psychology, criminology, and gender. The overarching goal of her research is to understand responses to injustice. She considers this issue from both a basic and applied perspective.  Specifically, she examines the underlying processes that guide responses to injustice, as well as the implications of these processes for reactions to concrete forms of injustice, such as criminal victimization.  She employs experimental and survey methods to investigate these issues, and her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation.  Her current projects focus on sexual revictimization, campus sexual assault policies, and responses to advantageous injustice (getting more than you deserve).  Dr. Clay-Warner is the Co-Director of the Laboratory for the Study of Social Interaction (LASSI) and the co-Director of the Violence Work Group in the Owens Institute for Behavioral Research.


APRIES In-Country Coordinator, Senegal
M.A., Marketing, Communication & Project Management,
SUP DE CO, Dakar
B.A., Marketing and Project Management, SUP DE CO, Dakar

Aminata Diagne Barre serves as the In-Country Coordinator for APRIES in Senegal and is responsible for ensuring the implementation of APRIES’s program there. With a professional background in communications and project management for development, Aminata has worked in the humanitarian sector as a communications and outreach specialist at organizations such as CICODEV Africa, which promotes equal access to social services for the most vulnerable populations. In addition, she has performed advisory services and administrative management activities within companies such as Alliance Consulting, Montpellier Business-School and Conectika Senegal. Aminata has also been involved in training activities at the United Nations Institute for Economic Development and Planning (UNIDEP) and at the A.A.N.S / ASECNA (airport management), where she carried-out surveys to measure users’ satisfaction. Other roles have included supporting humanitarian responses to nutritional, health and refugee crises, provided by the EU Commission and its partners in several African countries; and working to promote volunteerism as a lever for local development in a project supported by UNDP, the Government of Senegal and several partners. Aminata is committed to child protection and is very active in working for women’s empowerment in Senegal.


APRIES In-Country Coordinator, Sierra Leone
M.Sc. Development Studies, Njala University
B.Sc. Economics Edu., Njala University

Umaru Fofanah serves as the In-Country Coordinator – Sierra Leone for APRIES. He comes to APRIES from the Parliament of Sierra Leone as Program Officer (2019-2020). Umaru has served on the board of two parliamentary projects in an officer capacity and has facilitated the review of the parliamentary Standing Orders in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) – DISP project. He has participated in the development and implementation of various projects and initiatives such as the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) UK and the Westminster Foundation for Democracy respectively. Umaru has also served as Project Delivery Coordinator at the British Council (2014-2019). While working at the British Council, he coordinated the implementation of the Modern Slavery – Open Your Eyes project in Sierra Leone ─ funded by the Antislavery Knowledge Network and the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom ─ of which 1,200 pupils their parents and teachers were the direct beneficiaries. He has managed and administered series of Professional Development training programs to teachers, educators and lecturers at universities and teacher training colleges in Sierra Leone, including programs on 21st century soft skills and child protection issues. He also led the British Council’s Skills Development and Entrepreneurship program, the Diversity Assessment Framework, and the Equality Diversity and Inclusion programs. Umaru also coordinated the Commonwealth Scholarship Program through Scholar and Alumni engagement programs on behalf of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the United Kingdom. He has successfully implemented a Governance and Security grant awarded by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), where one thousand Police Officers in Sierra Leone were trained in the use of English for Effective Policing (EEP). Umaru has also coordinated a Higher Education grant awarded by the Department for International Development (DFID); he worked closely with the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education and Universities to implement the program.  He also served as Project Officer at the Japan International Cooperation Agency (2013-2014). Umaru was JICA’s focal person at the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security for the Sustainable Development Rice Program. Additionally, he served as the Personal Financial Consultant at Standard Chartered Bank (2012-2013). From 2010 to 2012, he was the SME Credit Officer at Ecobank Sierra Leone. Umaru brings wealth of experience in program management with a focus on project planning, implementation and delivery, monitoring and evaluation, child protection, operational management, team leadership, finance, administration and process improvement.


APRIES Graduate Research Assistant
Ph.D., Education, Indiana University at Bloomington
BSEd., French Education, University of Georgia

Dr. Antonio Garcia is the founder and organizer of the International Žižek Studies Conference (est. 2012) held biennially, the executive director for the Zizekian Institute for Research, Inquiry, and Pedagogy, and co-editor with Rex Butler for the Žižek Studies book series published with Peter Lang. His publications and scholarship focus on multicultural education, critical pedagogy, cultural studies, and constellar theory. He is currently a second year MSW student with integrated focus of micro/macro, especially focused on legal studies and policy evaluation.

Nathan Hansen


APRIES Intervention Coordinator
Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, Brigham Young University
Postdoctoral Fellowship, Health Psychology, Yale University
B.S., Psychology, Brigham Young University

Dr. Nathan Hansen serves as the Intervention Coordinator for APRIES. He is currently a Professor and Department Head within the Department of Health Promotion and Behavior of the College of Public Health at the University of Georgia. For over 15 years, his research has focused specifically on the development and evaluation of mental health interventions for people living with or at risk for HIV infection.  Dr. Hansen’s work includes a large international portfolio, including research projects in India, Russia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Ecuador, and Peru.  His research has a global and social ecological focus that locates individuals within broader family, community and cultural contexts.  Prior to coming to the University of Georgia in 2013, Dr. Hansen was an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine.  From 2007 to 2013, he was the Director of Global Mental Health and HIV Prevention Research in the Department of Psychiatry at Yale University and, from 2009 to 2013, he was a member of the leadership committee for the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS at Yale University.  Currently, Dr. Hansen is co-leading a large, NIH-funded scale up of study examining the integration of a mental health intervention into vocational training for youth in Sierra Leone and Liberia, and co-leading the Capacity-Building Workgroup for the NIH Global Mental Health Research Hubs network.


APRIES Research Assistant
MSW Student, University of Georgia
BSW, University of Utah

Nisha Kavalam is a student in the Masters of Social Work program at UGA. She completed her Bachelors in Social Work with a minor in Political Science in 2015 at the University of Utah. During her time there, she engaged in research, internships, and organizing around interpersonal violence and community responses. She also completed her undergraduate thesis on the necessity and implications of integrating social justice and community engagement into higher education programming. After graduating, Nisha moved to Atlanta, GA to work for a small, national nonprofit called Break Away. As a Programs Director, she managed trainings, curriculum, and programming centered around social justice and community engagement for higher education institutions and community organizations around the country. Outside of her time at UGA, Nisha works as a Freelance Wedding Coordinator Assistant in Atlanta.


APRIES Pre-Doctoral Fellow
M.A., Sociology, University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee
B.A., Sociology, Columbia College

Tenshi Kawashima is a Pre-Doctoral Fellow for APRIES. She is pursuing a Ph.D. degree in sociology at the University of Georgia. In 2019, she received M.A. in sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee. Her broad research interests include gender, work, and social psychology. Her thesis examined how cultural and material forms of inequality intersect to shape people’s evaluation of female-typed occupations. Her current research takes a social psychological approach to understand the gender difference in negative workplace experience (e.g. perception of injustice) and its effect on workers’ well-being. In APRIES, she works under supervision of Dr. Jody Clay-Warner. Her primary responsibilities include development of household survey tools and analyses of quantitative data. As a methodology and statistics enthusiast, she is excited to learn and apply various prevalence methodologies to better understand human trafficking in Sub-Saharan Africa.


APRIES Pre-Doctoral Fellow
Ph.D. Student, Statistics, University of Georgia
B.S., Civil Engineering, Huazhong University of Science and Technology

Jiacheng Li is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Statistics at the University of Georgia. He holds a BS in Road and Bridge Engineering from Huazhong University of Science and Technology. His research interests include Small Area Estimation, Bayesian Analysis, Sequential estimation, linear and nonlinear time series, and the use of Bayesian structural time series within these fields. His current research topic is modeling US unemployment rates with bayesian structural time series. He also serves as a volunteer in the Statistical Consulting Center at his department, assists in evaluating client concerns and statistical project needs from various university departments and companies.


APRIES Founder and Director
Ph.D., Social Welfare, University of Kansas
MSW, University of New Hampshire
B.A., Social Work and Community Development, University of Nairobi

Dr. David Okech, a native of Kenya, is the founding member and Director of APRIES. He is an Associate Professor of Social Work at the University of Georgia. He previously served as Director of Global Engagement (2013-2016) and Director of the Masters of Social Work Program (2014-2019) at UGA’s School of Social Work. He conducts research on human trafficking – the exploitation of men, women, and children for the purposes of labor and/or sex. He has been involved in research and programming in West Africa since 2010. Dr. Okech’s work focuses on designing evidence-based interventions and policies to inform programs and policies that will improve psycho-social and physical health, increase economic empowerment and put survivors on a path to recovery, stability and social integration. He was National Director in charge of the Child Development Project (CDP) with Food for the Hungry International, serving over 3,000 children among nomadic and pastoralist communities in northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia. Dr. Okech serves on the International Steering Group of the Antislavery Knowledge Network at the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom. Dr. Okech also serves on the State of GA Governor’s Statewide Human Trafficking Task Force.


APRIES Program Manager, Senegal
B.Sc. (Hons.), Biology, University College London

Nnenne Onyioha-Clayton is the Program Manager of APRIES – Senegal.  A full-time staff member, she is responsible for the project’s daily operations.  Nnenne’s background is in nutritional therapy, in which she gained her professional credentials at the College of Naturopathic Medicine, London.  She also holds professional certifications in holistic nutrition and medical massage. Nnenne is an active community advocate: she has served on the board of two social justice nonprofit organizations in Athens, Georgia in an officer capacity and is a founder and steering committee member of 100% Athens Renewable Energy Initiative, a group committed to ensuring a just transition to a clean energy economy that centers and prioritizes the needs of historically marginalized and under-served communities.  Nnenne is a graduate of the Class of 2020 at the Partnership for Southern Equity’s Just Energy Academy, designed to empower graduates with the tools to effectively engage their communities on issues of race and equity.  Nnenne’s role in 100% Athens as a racial equity advocate is to facilitate the implementation of local projects that realize the equitable distribution of burdens and benefits of the clean energy economy to come.

APRIES Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, and Learning (MERL) Coordinator

Ph.D., Education, University of California, Berkeley
M.A., Education, Stanford University
B.A., Mathematics, University of California, Berkeley

Dr. Rebecca Poon is the Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, and Learning (MERL) Coordinator for APRIES. She comes with over 16 years of experience in education. As a teacher educator and researcher, she has led multiple research projects, conducted formative and impact evaluation studies, coordinated the implementation of district-wide programs and policies, and provided professional development and training to build capacities of staff. Dr. Poon specializes in mixed methods research and also serves as a principal researcher on the core team at Qualitative Research for International Development.


APRIES Pre-Doctoral Fellow
MSSW, Social Work, University of Texas at Austin
B.A., International Affairs, University of Georgia

Elyssa Schroeder is the Pre-Doctoral Fellow for APRIES. She is currently a doctoral student at the University of Georgia School of Social Work researching gender-based violence, complex trauma, and survivor-driven interventions. Elyssa received her Masters of Science in Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin where she worked as a Research Assistant with the Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. She previously worked at the Texas Council on Family Violence supporting over 100 domestic violence programs and allied professionals throughout the state. Elyssa has showed her professional commitment to domestic violence and human trafficking survivors by developing a health & wellness program for women living in India, serving in a domestic violence agency in South Texas, and working with local law enforcement and court officials to create a Victim Services Department in rural Texas.


APRIES Guinea Program Manager
B.A., Business Administration, University of New Hampshire

Mamadou lead a career in Human Resources Benefits, payroll and Human Resources Information System management and launched his professional career in international development in 2011 as a Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer.  
Mamadou served as Chief of Party and Project Manager for the University of California at Davis’s Horticulture Innovation Lab project in Guinea from 2018 to 2019. This project, funded by USAID was centered on research, development and scaling of proven low-cost technologies to enhance agricultural production and post-harvest management. Mamadou was the youth development [AVENIR] program manager with CNFA implemented in Guinea from 2017 to 2019; he was responsible for the recruitment, training, and apprenticeship of 600 + young men and women in the 5 years Life Of Project. From 2015 to 2016, Mamadou was the Assistant Country Director for Winrock International’s Farmer-to-Farmer Guinea Agricultural-Education and Training program. Mamadou developed volunteer scope of works, data collection tools and MOUs to work with local government officials and farmers, and he coordinated the project’s activities with stakeholders to ensure the project stayed on track to meet its goals. Mamadou is passionate about equal access to opportunities, education for all and helping people lead fulfilled lives.

APRIES Graduate Research Assistant
J.D. Law, University of Georgia
B.A. Business Administration,
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Tallahassee

Mr. Williams is an experienced community organizer and justice advocate. Williams completed his undergraduate work at the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee, Florida where he studied business administration, focusing on organizational behavior and economic theory. Williams continued his education at the University of Georgia where he received his Juris Doctorate in 2008. Subsequently, Williams worked on behalf of the poor and the indigent, representing adults and children accused of serious felony offenses in both the trial and appellate courts of Georgia while and teaching lawyers and advocates throughout the country. Williams left legal advocacy direct service work several years ago, switching his focus to community wellness through direct service, education, and advocacy for institutional change. Williams has invested thousands of hours in developing empowerment strategies for community development. Williams has worked extensively with marginalized and underserved communities through mission-driven programs and programming centered on service, justice, farming, economic opportunity, and education. Williams’ work has been highlighted by NPR, HBO, MSNBC, and countless other national, regional, and local news outlets. Williams is currently, a first-year graduate student at the University of Georgia’s School of Social Work.


APRIES Business Manager
B.B.A., Business Administration,
Brenau University

Elke Yath serves as Business Manager for APRIES. As a full-time staff member, she is responsible for managing daily financial activities for APRIES including budget preparation and control, account reconciliation, purchasing, and fiscal planning. Elke comes to APRIES from the University of Georgia Human Resources and Payroll office. She has twelve years of experience working in the Human Resources field and holds HR professional designations of SHRM-SCP and PHR. She has participated in the development and implementation of various projects and initiatives in areas such as strategic planning, performance management, and standard operating procedures.


APRIES Assistant Research Scientist
Ph.D., Statistics, Virginia Tech
M.S., Statistics, Virginia Tech
B.S., Mathematics, Beijing Normal University

Dr. Hui Yi is the Assistant Research Scientist for APRIES. Hui Yi conducts research on statistical analysis for complex, high volume and high-dimensional data. The statistical methods she closely works with include regression, multivariate methods, Bayesian models, data mining, machine learning, amongst others. She has focused on applying frequentist and Bayesian variable selection methods for high-dimensional GWAS data. She also investigated Bayesian shrinkage methods and Bayesian mixed prior models with false discovery rate control criterion for Health ABC data. She was Principal Investigator of several projects on statistical modeling and data mining for highway maintenance and rehabilitation decision-making. Hui Yi’s research interest lies in developing statistical model/data mining/machine learning approaches to understanding big data. Current research topics include generalized variational neural inference of causal effects, spatial-temporal optimization models, hidden Markov model for travel time reliability analysis and multiple hypothesis tests for semi-parametric models.

APRIES Affiliates


Ph.D., Social Work, University of Missouri-Columbia
MSW, Washington University in St. Louis
B.A., Social Work, University of Ghana-Legon

Dr. Mustapha Alhassan is an Associate Professor at the Whitney M. Young Jr. School of Social Work, Clark Atlanta University. Dr. Alhassan teaches various courses, including Statistics and Methods of Social Research, Issues of Health Disparities for Minorities, Introduction to Social Work, Social Welfare Policy and Community-Based Health Care. Dr. Alhassan’s research focuses on the following areas: educational development in Ghana, health disparities as they impact minorities, skin color discrimination, and human trafficking. Dr. Alhassan successfully implemented a $215,000 prostate cancer educational seminar grant awarded by the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 2016 to 2019. This educational grant was aimed at informing high-risk African American men about basic knowledge of prostate cancer and screening such as PSA testing through community-based educational seminars.

Jennifer Elkins


APRIES Trauma Specialist
Ph.D., Social Work, Columbia University 
MSSW, University of Wisconsin

B.A., Psychology and Social Work, University of Wisconsin

Dr. Jennifer Elkins is the Trauma Specialist for APRIES.  She is an Associate Professor at the University of Georgia School of Social Work. She has 20 years of clinical social work practice, research and teaching expertise in the area of trauma, violence and abuse.  Her scholarship focuses broadly on: (i) understanding complex interpersonal, intergenerational and historical trauma; and (ii) culturally-responsive, trauma-informed, multi-systemic, trans-disciplinary approaches to address trauma.  She is a co-Principal Investigator on Project F.R.E.E. (Fostering Relationships and Economic Enrichment), a federally funded grant that aims to promote the safety and well-being of child welfare involved children and families across a 12-county region in Georgia. She also serves as principal investigator on several local projects focusing on individual, family, school, and community well-being in trauma-exposed populations. This includes serving as a professor-in-residence with the Clarke County School District, working with the local public library to integrate trauma informed practices, and co-leading a partnership between the University of Georgia School of Social Work and the School of Law’s Wilbanks Child Endangerment and Sexual Exploitation (CEASE) Clinic to provide holistic trauma informed legal representation to survivors of sexual abuse and exploitation.


Ph.D., Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis, USA
MSW, Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis, USA
B.A., Social Work, The University of Nairobi, Kenya

Dr. Njeri Kagotho is an Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University College of Social Work. Her overarching research focuses on understanding how constraints and opportunities within formal and informal institutions influence economic well-being among culturally marginalized groups, particularly, women, orphaned children, people living with HIV and AIDS and immigrant and refugee communities.  Whether it is in Kenya, Uganda and the sub-Saharan African region or among New American communities in Missouri, Ohio and Louisiana, her research is centered around the lived experiences of marginalized groups.  Her work has contributed to an in-depth understanding of how institutional constraints compound the deleterious effects of poverty.  It seems that the more precarious our circumstances, the less likely we are to interact with institutions in ways that provide for our healthy futures. Dr. Kagotho has led various research projects as the Principal Investigator and Co-Principal investigator. As the PI, she is currently involved in a pre-implementation study that examines the environmental conditions that affect sustainability and effectiveness of community-based programs targeting HIV and AIDS affected individuals in Kenya.

Steven Kogan


APRIES Family-Centered Prevention Specialist
Ph.D., Child and Family Development, University of Georgia
M.Ed., Ed.S, Developmental Counseling, University of Florida
B.A., Religion, University of Florida

Dr. Kogan serves as the Family-Centered Prevention Specialist for APRIES. He is a Professor of Human Development and Family Science at the University of Georgia. 
His areas of research include African American men’s sexual health and substance use in emerging adulthood and evaluating family-centered alcohol prevention programs for rural African American youth.  His work involves identifying individual, family, and community factors that protect young people from high risk behavior and translating these findings into efficacious, ecologically appropriate interventions.  Currently, he is collecting data on 500 rural African American young men as part of a prospective, 5 year study evaluating men’s romantic and sexual relationship patterns, how these patterns affect sexual risk behavior and family formation, and the intrapersonal and contextual factors that affect relationship development.  Dr. Kogan has contributed to the development of a suite of three, developmentally appropriate, family-centered interventions to prevent youth risk behavior. He recently began a project, funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, that compares the effects of a series of developmentally timed “inoculations” of family centered prevention programming on youth alcohol use in comparison to single inoculations in early or mid-adolescence or no inoculations.