SON Welcomes New Faculty Members | Emory University


Dr Roxana Chicas

Dr. Roxana Chicas is an assistant professor, research component. She specializes in clinical research in occupational and environmental health, in particular agricultural workers. His research program focuses on reducing severe kidney and brain damage that agricultural and construction workers can suffer from extreme heat. Her work as a nurse-researcher will bring innovative cooling methods to the fields. Dr Chicas received his BSN and doctorate. in Nursing from Emory and did a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Nephrology at Emory School of Medicine. In 2020, she received the Silver Bowl Award from Emory University. The Silver Bowl was launched to honor outstanding graduate students.

Dr Chicas has been featured in numerous publications throughout his career. The latest being the Wiley Online Library. The feature article is titled Nursing is Never Neutral: Political Determinants of Health and Systemic Marginalization.

Dr Abebe Gobezayehu

Dr Abebe Gobezayehu, MD is Assistant Professor, Research Track and Maternal and Child Health Expert. He leads the Emory-Ethiopia projects which are implemented by the country office of Emory University in Ethiopia. Dr Abebe previously served as the National Director of Emory’s Ethiopia office and in his current role as Professor, he supports Emory’s research efforts in Ethiopia and the School of Nursing alongside a fellow NHWSN faculty member Dr John Cranmer and colleagues at the university; and the program’s PhD partnership with Addis Ababa University.

Dr Kalisha Bonds Johnson

Dr. Kalisha Bonds Johnson is Assistant Professor, Tenure Track, specializing in caregiver well-being, gerontology and elderly health, health disparities, mental health and vulnerable populations. She graduated from the University of Tennessee at Martin with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2007, followed by a Masters of Nursing in 2012 from Vanderbilt University, specializing as a Nurse Practitioner in Family Psychiatric Mental Health. Most recently, Dr Bonds Johnson obtained a doctorate. from Oregon Health & Science University in 2019, where she focused on African Americans living with dementia and their caregivers. She has been a T32 postdoctoral fellow at the School of Nursing for two years. Dr Johnson received funding from SAMHSA under the American Nurses Association Minority Fellowship Program and the Jonas Foundation as a Veterans Health Care Researcher. Dr Bonds Johnson hopes to improve health outcomes for African Americans living with dementia and their families through the development of culturally appropriate clinical interventions. She recently received the Hattie Bessent Research Award for her innovation in mental health nursing research.

Lalita Kaligotla, MA, MBA

Lalita Kaligotla is a Professor of Practice and Senior Director for Leadership and Engagement. She focuses on community research and the importance of community ties. Prior to bringing her talents to Emory, Kaligotla was Professor of Practice and Associate Director and Assistant Professor of the Hart Leadership Program at Duke University, a 10-month immersive leadership development experience for recent Duke University graduates. . Dr Kaligotla has greatly increased the diversity of the program. She was also responsible for the administration and management of the highly competitive scholarship program, including advertising, selection, recruitment and post-selection guidance and guidance throughout the scholarship experience. Dr Kaligotla has also participated in the Teaching for Equity Fellowship Program (TFEF) from 2020 to 2021. TFEF is a series of one-year scholarships and workshops for Duke professors to enable them to create equitable and inclusive learning spaces. The program’s workshops are specifically designed to address teaching and mentoring topics around race and identity.

Dr Laurie Ray

Dr. Laurie Ray is Assistant Professor, Clinical Component. Dr Ray specializes in women’s health with expertise in sexual and reproductive health and nearly a decade of experience in improving health outcomes for individuals and populations. She has recently been involved in evidence-based, patient-centered care and clinical research. She recently worked as a nurse practitioner and director of the colposcopy program at Planned Parenthood Southeast. Dr. Ray received her DNP from the Emory School of Nursing in 2018 and also holds a Masters of Science as a Nurse Practitioner in Women’s Health from Columbia University. Dr. Ray has studied contraceptive adherence and STI screening protocols to improve the quality of care.

Dr Telisa Spikes

Dr. Telisa Spikes is Assistant Professor, Tenure Track. She received her BSN in Nursing from Georgia Baptist College of Nursing at Mercer University in 2003, MSN in Advanced Care Management and Health Policy from Kennesaw State University in 2009, and her PhD. from Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University in 2019. For the past two years, Dr. Spikes has completed postgraduate training in cardiovascular health equity through the Emory Rollins School of Public Health . Dr. Spikes’ overall research interests focus on the relationships between unwanted social stressors, inflammation, and cardiovascular disease risk, particularly subclinical disease and hypertension, in young adult African American women, a group that has experienced a dramatic increase in morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular disease. . In addition, she is interested in stress mitigation of the role of the resilience effect on cardiovascular risk mitigation.

Dr Missi Stec

Dr Missi Stec was a visiting scholar at SON before joining the faculty as a professor, clinical path in the spring of 2021. She obtained her MSN in midwifery in 2005 from Vanderbilt as well as a DNP in 2010. In 2015, she was inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Nurse-Midwives and as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing in 2017 for her work on integrating technology into nursing education. Dr. Stec has a long history of teaching nursing education at all levels during her 16 year career. She is the former midwife and director of the DNP program at the University of Cincinnati, where she spent the first 12 years of her career. She moved on to administration as Associate Dean of Assessment and Educational Innovation at SUNY in Brooklyn.

Dr Athena Sherman

Dr. Athena Sherman is Assistant Professor, Tenure Track and a post-doctoral fellow at the Faculty. Dr. Sherman is a certified nurse educator and an expert in public and mental health. Sherman’s research program focuses on improving our understanding of how complex systems of racism, cisgender, and heterosexism influence health and health equity for racially / ethnically diverse LGBTQ + communities, by focusing on the impacts of trauma / violence and substance use on mental health and social functioning in transgender and heterogeneous people. Dr Sherman’s work was funded by the Southern Nurses Research Society, Center for Technical Training and Support for Hazard Assessment and the Association of Community Health Nurses Teachers to name a few.

Dr Shannon Stevenson

Dr Shannon Stevenson is Assistant Professor, Clinical, and joined the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing in the fall of 2021. Prior to joining Emory, Dr Stevenson was Assistant Professor of Nursing at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. Her clinical experience includes labor and delivery, the antepartum period, and nursing for mother and baby. She obtained a Doctorate in Nursing Education from Teachers College, Columbia University (2021) where she was Jonas Nurse Leader Scholar from 2016-2018. Dr. Stevenson holds a Bachelor of Arts in Medicine, Health and Society (2011) and a Master of Nursing in Nurse Midwifery (2013) from Vanderbilt University. Her research interests include the transition to parenthood, the use of simulation in nursing education, and how to foster a culture of academic integrity in nursing programs.

Dr Weihua Zhang

Dr Weihua (Vivian) Zhang is Assistant Professor, Research Track. Dr. Zhang has completed her doctorate. in Nursing and a Masters in Statistics from the University of Texas at Austin and did a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Data Science at Emory University School of Nursing. Its BSN is from Central South University in Changsha, China. Dr. Zhang’s research program is focused on improving outcomes for aging people with arthritis and multimorbidities, with an emphasis on the concepts of self-regulation, symptoms and self-management. An expert in data analysis, she is also interested in the application of innovative data science, health informatics and telehealth to clinical problems in multiple populations.


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