Student Funding

Doug Kirby Grant Call                     Surgeon General C. Everett Koop Grant Call
Surgeon General C. Everett Koop HIV/AIDS Research Grant

To honor the legacy of C. Everett Koop, M.D., former U.S. Surgeon General, RCAP established an endowed research grant that will support doctoral student research related to HIV/AIDS prevention.  This grant was announced on the eve of Dr. Koop’s 95th birthday, October 14, 2011. Beginning in the 2012-2013 academic year this grant will be awarded annually by RCAP on  a competitive basis to help support research of doctoral students nationally.  Koop was the federal government’s chief spokesperson regarding AIDS while serving as U.S. Surgeon General in the 1980s.  He was the recipient of the 2010 Ryan White Distinguished Leadership Award in 2010.

2015-2016 Koop Grant Recipients

Alice Ma

Alice Ma, MPH, CHES, is a doctoral student in the Department of Public Health Education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her research interests include the promotion of sexual and reproductive health, HIV prevention, and reducing health disparities among vulnerable and marginalized populations. She has co-authored manuscripts, presentations, and papers related to challenges to HIV care linkage and engagement among HIV-positive persons, adolescent pregnancy prevention efforts, and care-seeking challenges among Latino sexual and gender minorities. Her current research focuses on barriers to, and opportunities for, HIV testing among Latino sexual and gender minorities living in a new settlement state.

STUDY TITLE: Effects of an intervention to increase HIV testing among immigrant Latinos


D. Dennis Flores, III

Dennis Flores is a doctoral student in the School of Nursing PhD program at Duke University under the mentorship of Dr. Julie Barroso. He graduated from Emory University with an MSN in Public Health Nursing Leadership and is board member of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care. His current research focuses on the sources of sexual health information of gay, bisexual or queer-identifying adolescent males with emphasis on the role sex communication may play during puberty. Dennis has been active in frontline nursing care of people with HIV/AIDS and several national HIV prevention campaigns. He intends to pursue research focused on health equity issues and intervention work for access to HIV care by children and families from minority populations.


STUDY TITLE: Exploring parental sex communication with gay, bisexual and queer sons: Implications for targeted HIV prevention at home.

2014-2015 Koop Grant Recipients

Megan Hicks

MeganHicksMegan Hicks, M.S. is a doctoral student in the Department of Human Development and Family Science at The University of Georgia. Her research focuses on community and relationship factors affecting African American men’s health behaviors, specifically those related to HIV and other STIs. Her current research focuses on the psychosocial factors predicting inconsistent condom use among African American young men who report having main and casual sexual partners. In addition to research, Megan is active in the community volunteering in community education and prevention programs with African American youth.

STUDY TITLE: Correlates of condom use with casual partners among African American men who report main and casual sexual partners


Danielle Haley

DanielleHaleyDanielle Haley is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education at the Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University. Her research focuses on whether and how neighborhood environments (e.g., violent crime rates, the ratio of men to women) are associated with sexual risk behaviors and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among US women. Her dissertation will integrate individual-level data (e.g., sociodemographics, sexual risk behaviors) from the Women’s Interagency HIV Study research sites in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and North Carolina with administrative data on the places where these women live (e.g., US Census data, police records, state alcohol licensing). An understanding of whether and how neighborhood environments contribute to the sexual health of women living with HIV or at high risk of HIV acquisition can inform the development of future multilevel interventions to improve women’s sexual health and reduce HIV/STI transmission.

STUDY TITLE: Neighborhood factors, sexual risk, and STIs in HIV-infected and high-risk women

2013 Koop Grant Recipient

Krystal S. Frieson

kFriesonKrystal S. Frieson is a doctoral student in Counseling Psychology and a master’s student in Public Health at the University of Kentucky.  Her professional, clinical, and research interests involve combining counseling psychology with public health science to create a version of health psychology that addresses the overall health and well being of individuals, groups, communities, and entire populations.  Additionally, Krystal has a specialty focus in the psychological, physical, and sexual health issues of oppressed, marginalized, and underserved populations along with an emphasis in health behavior and HIV/AIDS/STD treatment, education, and prevention.  Her current study focuses on the effectiveness of a computer-based HIV prevention program in decreasing HIV-related risks for rural African American women.

STUDY TITLE: Saving Our Sisters: Effects of a Computer-based Version of SISTA on the HIV-related Risk Behaviors of African American Women

2012 Koop Grant Recipients

Junhan Cho

jChoJunhan Cho is a doctoral student in the department of Human Development and Family Science at the University of Georgia working under Dr. Steven Kogan. His research interests include the association of social contextual factors with sexual risk behavior among African American adolescents. His studies focus on psychosocial models that specify how contextual factors influence adolescents’ risky behavior and on protective mechanisms including family-centered prevention. Prior to entering the Ph.D. program, he earned a Master of Arts degree in Child and Family Studies at Yonsei University in South Korea.

STUDY TITLE:  The influences of adverse rural environments on African American adolescents’ sexual risk behavior.

Lauren Brinkley-Rubinstein

brinkley-rubinsteinLauren Brinkley-Rubinstein is a third year PhD student in the Community Research and Action program at Peabody college at Vanderbilt University.  Lauren’s primary research interests include investigating the social context of health, health equity and health policy specifically related to HIV.  She has an educational background in sociology and social policy and practical research experience and specific training in public health research methodology. Lauren also has a research interest in exploring the impact of setting level determinants and community contexts (e.g. urban vs. rural) on individual health.

STUDY TITLE:  Understanding the role of rural religious organizations in HIV prevention and intervention.

Doug Kirby Adolescent Sexual Health Grant

To honor, Dr. Douglas Kirby, an internationally renowned authority on adolescent sexual health through his research on the impact of school and community-based programs designed to reduce sexual risk behavior among youth, RCAP established the Doug Kirby Adolescent Sexual Health Research Grant. This grant is designed to support doctoral student research related to sexual health of adolescents and young adults. As an endowed grant, these grants will be awarded annually for in-perpituity, beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, to encourage and support research by emerging investigators from a wide range of disciplines. Dr. Kirby was a senior research scientist at ETR Associates in Scotts Valley, California, when he died suddenly on December 22, 2012, at age 69 while mountain climbing in Ecuador. Dr. Kirby authored over 100 scientific articles, chapters and monographs, including the widely praised Emerging Answers 2007: Research Findings on Programs to Reduce Teen Pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Diseases. With colleagues from ETR Associates, Doug also authored Promoting Sexual Health: A Curriculum to Reduce Unintended Pregnancy, Prevent Sexually Transmitted Infection, and Improve Sexual Experience (2011) and Reducing Adolescent Sexual Risk: A Theoretical Guide for Developing and Adapting Curriculum-Based Programs (2011). With other contributors Dr. Kirby authored International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education: An Evidence-based Approach for Schools, Teachers and Health Educators. Volume 1: The Rationale for Sexuality Education (UNESCO, UNAIDS, UNFPA, UNICEF, WHO, 2009), which is now available English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Russian languages.

2015-2016 Doug Kirby Adolescent Sexual Health Grant Recipient

Alyssa Lederer

Alyssa Lederer is a doctoral candidate and Graduate Pedagogy Scholar in the Department of Applied Health Science at Indiana University’s School of Public Health-Bloomington. She received her MPH in Behavioral Sciences and Health Education from Emory University and BA in Studies in Health and Society and Studies in Women and Gender from the University of Virginia. Her research aims to improve the health and well-being of adolescents and emerging adults, particularly through the design and evaluation of school-based interventions. She is interested in best practices in sexuality education, the intersection of health education and behavior change, and applied research.

STUDY TITLE: An exploration of the intended and unintended effects of exposing young people to graphic images of sexually transmitted infections in sexuality education


Emily Scheinfeld

Emily Scheinfeld is a doctoral student in the Communication Studies program at The University of Texas at Austin, working under Dr. Erin Donovan. She graduated from The University with highest honors, and received her MA from the University of Georgia in Communication Studies. Her primary areas of research are family and health communication, primarily how families talk about risky behaviors, including sexual health, and uncomfortable topics (e.g., genetic testing and end-of-life care). Her current study focuses on how young adults experience sexually transmitted infections and the shame and stigma as they relate to STIs, including getting tested, adhering to treatment, and seeking out social support from peers, partners, and/or parents. These factors may help us better understand the motivation to engage in safe sex communication as well as seeking out the necessary support post-diagnosis.

STUDY TITLE: Exploring emerging adults’ felt shame and stigma of sexually transmitted infections in the process of disclosing and seeking support from parents and sexual partners.

2014-2015 Doug Kirby Adolescent Sexual Health Grant Recipient

Christopher Stults

ChristopherStultsChristopher Stults is a doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program at New York University, working under the mentorship of Dr. Perry Halkitis. He is also a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in independent practice in New York City. Prior to relocating from South Florida to attend NYU, he worked as a counselor in private practice, in research settings for the University of Delaware and University of Miami, and as an adjunct college instructor. His research and clinical interests focus on the mental and physical health of LGBT people, including: HIV prevention, intimate partner violence, consensual non-monogamous relationships, and novel interventions that promote wellness.

STUDY TITLE: Assessing HIV/STI risk in emerging adult gay and bisexual men in consensual non-monogamous relationships

Sophia Choukas-Bradley

SophiaChoukas-BradleySophia Choukas-Bradley is a doctoral student in clinical psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She graduated magna cum laude from Brown University and received her M.A. in Psychology from UNC. Her primary areas of research focus on psychosocial predictors of adolescents’ and young adults’ sexual behaviors. Her current study combines an experimental paradigm and a longitudinal study design, to examine the roles of peer norms, peer influence susceptibility, and gender in adolescents’ trajectories of sexual behavior. She also has broad research interests in adolescent girls’ and young women’s interpersonal relationships, health risk behaviors, technology use, and mental health.

STUDY TITLE: Peer Influences on Adolescents’ development of sexual behavior: An innovative experimental paradigm and longitudinal study design


More Information >>
Application for 2014-2015 Award Deadline 11/03/2014>>

Ryan White Legacy Scholarship

RCAP and the IU School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation has created the Ryan White Legacy Scholarship in the honor of the 20th anniversary of the death of Ryan White, a rural Indiana teenager who died of AIDS, April 8, 1990. Income from these gifts will be used to support graduate scholarships to students pursuing a Master of Public Health degree at Indiana University-Bloomington, in the School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, with preference to students studying AIDS/STD prevention or sexual health.

More Information >>

2012 White Scholarship Recipient

Christiana von Hippel

vonHippelChristiana von Hippel is a second year MPH student in Behavioral, Social and Community Health at Indiana University. Her aim with all her contributions as a student and professional is to help advance sexual health communication and public health practice in the United States. She comes to IU with a BA in Psychology and the Study of Women & Gender from Smith College where she helped develop the college’s first course on women’s sexuality and launched the first research-based campaign for student sexual health and pleasure on campus entitled “Sexual Smithies, Pleasure is Power.” As a current MPH student and future doctoral student she will continue to pursue research on sexual health communication and pleasure with a focus on teens just beginning their education in sexual health as well as among senior women with a wizened perspective on sexual health across the life course to bridge the gap between scholarship and practice of sexual health promotion yet unaddressed in these communities.

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