Scientific Advisory Committee



SIU Florida Scientific Advisory Committee provides guidance and direction on current and upcoming SIU Florida research projects and initiatives. This Scientific Advisory Committee is comprised of expert faculty advisors with experience in conducting HIV and health disparity research, community engagement, public health & health policy. As leaders in their respective fields, members play a key role in the support, evaluation, and enhancement of the scientific basis of SIU Florida projects. The committee also advises on SIU FL partnerships and collaborative efforts geared to the overall mission of SIU FL.


The SIU Florida Scientific Advisory Committee is comprised of 14 members representing:

Florida Department of Health | Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University | Nova Southeastern University | University of Maryland | University of Miami | University of Pennsylvania | University of Florida | University of Central Florida | Florida State University


Claudia Baquet, MD, MPH

Claudia Baquet, MD, MPH

Dr. Baquet received her MD in 1977 from Meharry Medical College (Tennessee) and her MPH in epidemiology in 1983 from Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health. Her residency was in Pathology at St. Louis University and Wadsworth Veterans Administration Hospital in California. Her research focus includes: cancer disparities research; strategies for increasing access/participation of diverse communities in clinical trials; policy research on assuring equity and research translation strategies to assure research literacy in disparity communities. She is committed to mentoring students, junior investigators and community health professionals in health disparities research, bioethics and research ethics, community engagement and careers in medicine and public health.

José A. Bauermeister, PhD, MPH

José Arturo Bauermeister, MPH, PhD (he/him) is Chair of the Department of Family and Community Health and director of the Program on Sexuality, Technology and Action Research (PSTAR) at Penn Nursing. His research integrates perspectives from public health, social science, medicine and human sexuality to create interdisciplinary strategies to curtail HIV disparities among sexual and gender minority adolescents and young adults. His work has been published over 200 scientific publications and book chapters in the areas of HIV/AIDS, online partner-seeking behaviors, LGBTQ health, and cognitive and emotional well-being.  He has been funded for $30 million as principal investigator in federal and foundation awards and over $120 million as co-investigator in federally-funded research. Given his expertise, Dr. Bauermeister serves in the National Institutes of Health’s Sexual and Gender Research Working Group and the Population and Public Health Approaches to HIV/AIDS Study Section. Dr. Bauermeister is Fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Fellow of the Aspen Institute’s 2019 class of Health Innovators Fellows, and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

Seyram Butame, PhD

Dr. Seyram A. Butame is a Postdoctoral Associate at the FSU Center for Translational Behavioral Science. His work is in the area of implementation and translational sciences related to the HIV Care Continuum. Much of his present work is focused on the development, testing, and implementation of behavioral health interventions that positively impact youth HIV prevention and treatment. Other work focuses on mobilizing medical record data to describe the disease continuum in Florida. Dr. Butame also works with colleagues in the Department to evaluate aspects of Florida’s Medicaid program.

Adam W. Carrico, Ph.D.

Dr. Carrico's ICARUS laboratory aims to develop and test interventions that address the biopsychosocial vulnerabilities to optimizing HIV/AIDS prevention, addressing substance use and misuse, and supporting cancer prevention in marginalized populations. A major focus of his research program has been documenting the biological pathways whereby psychological factors and substance use could increase risk for negative health outcomes. Most recently, this work includes studies examining leukocyte gene expression and microbiome-gut-brain axis.

Maria Isabel (Isa) Fernández, PhD

Maria Isabel (Isa) Fernández, PhD, Professor of Public Health in the College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM) at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) and the Director of the Behavioral Health Promotion Program. After completing her doctoral program in Community Psychology at Michigan State University, she joined the federal government working in the HIV/AIDS programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute of Mental Health. In 1995, she joined the faculty at the University of Miami School of Medicine and moved to NSU in 2005. Dr. Fernández is an internationally known HIV with a strong and diversified portfolio of research grants and publication record. Her research is primarily focused on HIV prevention and treatment interventions targeting at-risk populations specifically young and adult Latino and Black men who have sex with men (MSM). Dr. Fernández has been a member of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s Adolescent Trials Network (ATN) since the year it was first funded and has held a number of leadership positions including Vice-Chair of the Executive Committee and Co-Chair of the Behavioral Leadership Group. She also directed the ATN’s scholar program whose focus was on developing multi-disciplinary youth focused HIV researchers. 

Robert Leeman, PhD

Robert Leeman, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor and the Mary F. Lane Endowed Professor in the Department of Health Education and Behavior at the University of Florida and Adjunct Faculty of Psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine. His primary research interest is in relationships between various difficulties with self-control and addictive behaviors, particularly alcohol use, though he also has also conducted research on opioid misuse, tobacco use and gambling. He has particular interests in impaired control over alcohol use (i.e., difficulty adhering to limits on use), disinhibition/impulsivity, relationships between alcohol use and sexual health behaviors/HIV risk, and cognitive biases. Using human laboratory, survey and randomized controlled trial methods, Dr. Leeman tests novel interventions and attempts to learn more about risk factors for substance misuse, particularly in adolescent and young adult populations. In his recent research, these novel interventions have been primarily technology-based including web-based interventions, devices and smartphone applications.

Mara Michniewicz

Mara Michniewicz, MPH, Division of Disease Control and Health Protection. Florida Department of Health.

Brandon Moton, DrPH, MPH

Dr. Brandon A Moton earned a Doctor of Public Health Degree in Behavioral Sciences and Health Education and a Master of Public Health Degree with a concentration in Health Policy and Management from Florida A&M University, College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Institute of Public Health. He also holds a B.A. in Political Science from Florida State University. Dr. Moton’s research interests are in sexual health disparities, sexual behaviors, and HIV prevention among racial & ethnic minorities. Currently, his research seeks to examine the impact of hookup culture and social-media dating applications among black gay, bi-sexual, and other men who have sex with men (GBM). His goal is to reduce the research-to-practice gap to support improved health outcomes among black gay men and other racial & ethnic minorities by applying evidence-based programs and interventions. Dr. Moton holds professional memberships with the Florida Public Health Association and the American Public Health Association.

Sylvie Naar, PhD

Dr. Sylvie Naar is a Distinguished Endowed Professor at the Florida State University College of Medicine's Department of Behavioral Sciences and Social Medicine. She is also the Director of the Center for Translational Behavioral Science and the Director of the University's KL2 program.  She is a clinical researcher with more than two decades of studies across the spectrum of intervention research from early trials translating basic behavioral science into new interventions, to randomized clinical trials, to comparative effectiveness, to implementation. Dr. Naar has held a multitude of positions and honors throughout her impressive career and has been funded by the National Institutes of Health for a variety of projects related to adolescent health. She completed her Bachelors degree at the University of Michigan, her Masters and PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Colorado in Boulder CO, and completed a Residency and Fellowship in Pediatric Psychology at Wayne State University. 

Meardith Pooler-Burgess, DrPH

Dr. Meardith Pooler-Burgess has a Doctorate of Public Health from Florida A&M University, and has held positions at the Florida Department of Health and the FSU College of Medicine. Dr. Pooler-Burgess' research interests include health disparities research, minority health,  adolescent and women's health, as well as cervical cancer and HPV prevention. In her role at the Center for Translational Behavioral Science, specializes in community-based research and engagement.

Steven A. Safren, PhD

Dr. Safren is the Director of the UM Center for HIV and Research in Mental Health (NIMH-funded Developmental AIDS Research Center D-ARC) and the Health Promotion and Care research program ( where he studies health behavior change, with a particular emphasis on mental health and substance use components of HIV prevention and treatment domestically and globally.  Much of his work on HIV focuses on prevention and treatment with gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM), though he has worked extensively with other populations including individuals with depression and those who have struggled with substance use disorders. Dr. Safren is also the Co-Director of the Behavioral/Social Sciences and Community Outreach Core for the UM Center for AIDS Research (CFAR).

Eric Schrimshaw, PhD

Dr. Eric Schrimshaw has his Ph.D. in Social & Personality Psychology and a Masters in Psychology from the City University of New York. He began his career in the Department of Psychiatry Research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Dr. Schrimshaw’s research makes extensive use of mixed methods approach that features both quantitative surveys as well as in-depth qualitative interviewing to understand health behaviors. In particular, his research makes extensive use of online surveys and social media recruitment to identify and recruit high-risk and non-clinical samples. As such, he frequently serves as a methodological collaborator with interdisciplinary teams (e.g., physicians, dentists, nurses).

Emma Spencer, PhD, MPH

Emma Spencer, MPH, PhD Surveillance Program Manager Florida Department of Health