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The Research Infrastructure In Minority Institutions (RIMI) Project has concluded its five year research enhancement activities. Dr. Connie M. Webster, Project Director, invites the University Community to share the successes and activities of the project by visiting the RIMI website and provide feedback. Your feedback will be very helpful as we write our final report.  


The UDC RIMI Project supported eighteen [18] faculty scholars over the course of the grant. Faculty scholars who completed all core competency requirements at a proficient level were elevated to the status of independent investigator. Howard University faculty mentors were paired with UDC RIMI scholars to guide them through the research experience and provide instruction and support through the first two years of the grant. RIMI offered students an opportunity to experience the research process through summer coursework as well as to participate in actual research projects. The core staff of the project included the Principal Investigator, Project Director, Project Coordinator, Research Coordinator, and Advisory Committee. Howard University and McFarland Institute served as the key collaborators on the project coordinating the faculty research development and academic enrichment components and evaluating all phases and activities of the grant.

RIMI Advisory Committee [Revised] 2009

Thelma Baker, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Nutritional Sciences
Howard University

Felecia Moore Banks, PhD
Chair, Occupational Therapy
Division, Allied Health Sciences
Howard University

Ms. Adrienne Harrison, MS, R.T.(T)
Program Director
Department of Radiation Therapy
Howard University

Mr. George C. McFarland
McFarland & Associates, Inc.

Gloria S. Wyche-Moore, PhD
Associate Dean/Associate Dir.
Agricultural Experiment Station
University of the District of Columbia

Charles Mouton, MD, MPH
Professor & Chairman
Dept. of Community & Family Medicine
Howard University College of Medicine

Mrs. Johnnie Scott Rice
Chair, RIMI Advisory Committee
Office of DC Councilman
David Catania

Dr. Eleanor Walker
Former Professor of Nursing & Special
Asst. to the President [Now Retired]
Bowie State University

Anna C. Alt-White, RN, PhD
Veteran Administration Hospital


RIMI Faculty Scholars [Independent Investigators] 2006 – 2010

Sonnie Abebaku is former Associate Professor within the Department of Nursing and Allied Health at UDC. Born and raised in Nigeria, Professor Abebaku graduated from the University of the District of Columbia ['80] with a Bachelor's degree in Business Management and earned an MBA in Marketing and International Business ['82] from Southeastern University. In 2004, Professor Abebaku graduated with an AAS degree in Medical Radiography [UDC] and was certified a registered radiographer. Sonnie Abebaku joined the RIMI Project in 2006, and selected Dr. Allan A. Johnson, HU Professor of Nutrition, as his research mentor. He is interested in exploring barriers to healthcare utilization for African American sickle-cell patients.


Janet Akintola is former Associate Professor of Respiratory within the Department of Nursing and Allied Health at UDC. A native of Nigeria, Professor Akintola joined the faculty of UDC in August 2004 as an Associate Professor and Director of Clinical Education of the Respiratory Therapy Program. She became a RIMI Scholar in 2006. Professor Akintola worked as an Advanced Practitioner Respiratory Therapist at the Washington Hospital Center for 16 years conducting protocols in the Medical Intensive Care Unit at the Washington Hospital Center. Janet Akintola earned the BS in Biology at Boston State College [1981],and an MA in Education/Administration and Supervision at the University of Massachusetts, Boston campus [1983]. She also has an Associates in Respiratory Therapy. Professor Akintola is pursuing her doctorate at the University of Maryland. She along with her mentor, Dr. Sherry Scott, Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy-HU, are interested in compliance issues related to asthma management among African American patients within the District of Columbia.

Stella Akpuaka is an Assistant Professor of Nursing within the Department of Nursing and Allied Health at UDC. Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Professor Akpuaka received the AAS [Nursing] from Cameron University ['91], a BS in Nursing from Bowie State University['98], and a MS in Health Care Administration from U of M [College Park] - ['06]. She also received a Certificate in Education from Anambra State College of Education [Nigeria] - ['85]. Stella Akpuaka has impressive clinical care experience and management skills. She joined the RIMI Project in 2006. Professor Akpuaka and her mentor Dr. Veronica Clarke-Tasker, HU Associate Professor of Nursing, were awarded a $10,000 RIMI SEARCH Grant [summer '06] to study the Knowledge, Attitudes, Health Practices and Beliefs of Nigerian Men Immigrants Residing in the Washington Metropolitan Area Regarding Prostate Cancer Screening and Education.

Elmira Asongwed is an Associate Professor of Nursing within the Department of Nursing and Allied Health at UDC. Born in Tuskegee, AL, she is tenured faculty with a wealth of teaching and clinical experience, knowledge, and expertise in nursing care. Professor Asongwed holds a BS degree in Nursing from Tuskegee Institute [now University] and an MS degree in Community Health Nursing from the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus. Elmira Asongwed has taught courses at the AASN and BSN levels and served in many leadership positions at UDC. She was promoted to Associate Professor and recruited into the RIMI Project in 2006. Professor Asongwed along with her mentor, Dr. Steven Chesbro, HU Associate Professor and Chair of Physical Therapy, were awarded a $20,000 RIMI SEARCH Grant [summer '06] to explore Clinical Use of the Ankle-Brachial Index [ABI] to Identify and Manage Peripheral Arterial Disease [PAD] in African Americans: Development of an Educational Course to Increase Clinicians Knowledge and Skill Level. Professor Asongwed and Dr.Chesbro have published several research articles and other scholarly literature as well as presented their research at a number of local and national meetings. The official website for the research project is

Angela Bradford Wainwright is the Coordinator of the Speech-Language Pathology Program and Assistant Professor in the Department of Languages and Communication Disorders at UDC. She was recruited into the RIMI Project in 2006. Professor Bradford received her Baccalaureate in Music [vocal performance] at the University of Maryland, College Park. After many years as a performance artist in the US, Asia, and parts of Europe, she returned to the Washington Metropolitan area and earned her Master's in Speech-Language Pathology at UDC. In 1997, Professor Bradford became a board certified speech pathologist. In 2003, Angela Bradford Wainwright received the Doctorate in Speech-Language Pathology, with an emphasis in Neurogenics, from the University of Memphis. Her research interests include normal versus pathological language and cognitive-linguistic aging among minority populations. Dr. Angela Bradford Wainwright and her RIMI mentor, Dr. Kay Payne, Associate Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Howard University, received a RIMI SEARCH Summer grant award of $17,000 to research Gender Differences in the Narrative Productions of African American Adults.

Susie Cato is an Associate Professor of Nursing and the current Director of the Associates Nursing Program at the UDC Community College . She is an experienced [tenured] and long-standing faculty member who commenced service at UDC on September 16, 1972. Professor Cato enjoys teaching and has taught nursing courses as the leader instructor, course activator or level coordinator in the Associate Degree and Baccalaureate Degree Nursing Programs at UDC. She received her BS in Nursing from Winston-Salem State University, an MA in Special Studies/Urban Learning from George Washington University, and an MS Degree in Nursing/Gerontological Nursing Education from Howard University. Professor Cato has also completed graduate and post graduate studies at the University of Maryland, George Mason University, UDC, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute. A RIMI Scholar since 2006, Susie Cato and her mentor, Dr. Debra Roberts, a developmental psychologist at Howard University, pursued research on Polypharmacy Among Older African American Adults with diabetes.

Leander M. Coles is a founding member an Associate Professor of Mortuary Science within the Department of Nursing and Allied Health at UDC. He received his Bachelor's Degree from UDC in 1975; a Master's Degree in Education from Bowie State University in 1982; and a second Master's in Divinity [1992] from Wesley Theological Seminary. Professor Coles became a RIMI Scholar in 2006. He and his mentor, Dr. Pauline Green, who is a part of the Nursing faculty at Howard University, engaged in researching information relative to organ donation practices and perceptions among African Americans.


Robert J. Dean is former Director and Assistant Professor of Mortuary Science within the Department of Nursing and Allied Health at UDC. Professor Dean was born and raised in the Petworth neighborhood of Washington, DC. He received Associate Degree's from UDC and Dabney S. Lancaster Community College [VA] in 1991 and 2003, respectively. Professor Dean also holds a Bachelor's Degree in Mortuary Science from the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science, and recently completed requirements for his Master's in Education Degree [Strayer University]. Robert Dean is a licensed Funeral Director/Embalmer in the District of Columbia, Ohio, and Virginia. Professor Dean joined the RIMI Project in 2006. He and his mentor pursued research into the Prevalence of Dating Violence Among College-Aged Populations by Gender.

Augustine Koenig is former Professor of Radiography within the Department of Nursing and Allied Health at UDC. Born in Harbel, Liberia, Professor Koenig holds a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics [1976] from the University of Liberia; a Certificate in Electronic Technology [1977] from the Liberia Technical Teacher Training Institute; a Certificate in Early Childhood Education [1988] from Montgomery College; and a Diploma in Radiologic Technology [1995] from Howard University. Professor Koenig has been active in the RIMI Project since 2006. He along with his mentor, Dr. Mattie J. Tabron, Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology at Howard University, researched The Effect of Community Violence on Childhood Depression Among Children Living in Urban Areas.

Elgloria Harrison is an Associate Professor of Respiratory within the Department of Nursing and Allied Health at UDC and the current Chair [2010]. Born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, she has a BS in Biology from Southern University in New Orleans [82], a Certificate of Completion, Alton Oschner Medical Foundation, School of Respiratory Therapy, New Orleans [83], and an MS Degree in Health Care Administration, University of Maryland, University College, College Park [96]. Elgloria Harrison and her mentor/coach, Dr. Felecia M. Banks, Associate Professor and Chair, Occupational Therapy at Howard University, received a RIMI SEARCH grant award of $15,000 to undertake the research project Asthma Green Light, Community-Based Asthma Education Program in Washington, DC. In her short tenure as a RIMI scholar turned independent investigator, Professor Harrison has achieved many notable accomplishments: 2009 GlaxoSmithKline Fellow for Asthma Management [$3500 monetary award]; completed the Asthma Green Light training manual/DVD in English and Spanish; presented abstract of asthma research at the [2009] American Association for Respiratory Care International Congress on Asthma research; co-authored and received funding [DC-DOH] as the subject matter expert on a proposal with the United Planning Organization for the purpose of implementing the Asthma Green Light project, and; applied for additional funding to conduct asthma training among Hispanic childcare providers as the subject matter expert on behalf of the Children's Environmental Health Network.

Susan D. Lockwood, is retired Associate Professor and Director of the Respiratory Therapy Program within the Department of Nursing and Allied Health at UDC. A tenured faculty member who served the University for some 30 years, Professor Lockwood is very active in community respiratory therapy issues. She received a Masters in Health Promotion Counseling/Case Management from Trinity College; two Bachelors Degrees, one in Vocational Education from the Washington Technical Institute and the other in nursing from Georgetown University. Susan Lockwood also has a Respiratory Therapy Diploma from The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Professor Lockwood, a RIMI Scholar since 2006, is interested in asthma education relative to both Adult and Pediatric populations. She and her mentor, Dr. Barbara Harland, Professor of Nutritional Sciences at Howard University, pursued research on Empowering Low-Income Asthmatic Children and Their Families in Washington, DC in the Self-Management of their Disease.

Donald Steinert is an Associate Professor of Respiratory Therapy in the Department of Nursing and Allied Health at The University of the District of Columbia where he teaches Introduction to Health Science, Cardiopulmonary Physiology, Pathophysiology, Cardiopulmonary Diagnostics, and Adjunctive Therapies. His background experience includes community health education and counseling programs with area physicians as well as various stress management, exercise, and nutrition programs for local church groups. Professor Steinert developed a community pulmonary rehabilitation program and founded and directed the Preventive Medicine Center at Columbia Union College for a number of years. He is a licensed Clinical Laboratory Scientist and regular contributor to the professional trade journal "Focus." Professor Steinert joined the RIMI Project in 2006. He and his mentor, Dr. Kamran Tavakol, Associate Professor of Physical Therapy at Howard University, are recipients of a $20,000 RIMI SEARCH summer grant focused on Establishing a Databank on Childhood Obesity and associated conditions in Washington, DC. His research interests involve the elimination of health disparities with a focus on obesity, cardiopulmonary diseases, exercise physiology, and sleep apnea.

Doris Caldwell

Gloria Green-Ridley

McDonald Kpadeh

John L. Murphy, PhD
Urban Affairs, Social Science & Social Work

Derek Perkins

Henderson Springer

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RIMI Mentors 2006-2008

Felecia Moore Banks, PhD., OTR/L, is an Associate Professor (tenured) and Chairperson of the Department of Occupational Therapy at Howard University. She presents with 23 years of clinical and professional experience and is an expert in occupational therapy physical disabilities; and certified in Neurodevelopmental Treatment Techniques. She presents with extensive experience in curriculum development, student leadership, and "at-risk students." Dr. Banks earned her baccalaureate degree from the Department of Occupational Therapy in 1983, her Masters degree from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in Special Education in 1991 from Howard University, and her Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Adult Learning and Human Resource Development at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 2000. Dr. Banks is the recipient of many professional awards and currently serves as editor of the Journal of the National Society of Allied Health.

Steven Chesbro, PT, DPT, Ed.D, GCS is the former Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Physical Therapy at Howard University. His educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology, a Bachelor of Science degree in physical therapy, a Master of Science degree in college teaching, a Master of Health Science degree in physical therapy, a Graduate Certificate in Gerontology, a Doctor of Education degree in occupational and adult education, and a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. Dr. Chesbro's areas of research interest include educational gerontology and geriatrics with an emphasis on education-based interventions (i.e., health promotion, disease prevention, and patient education) and teaching and learning in health science education programs. His current research activities focus on assessing the effect of learning strategies on the acquisition of motor skills; development of a learning strategies' assessment for patients in healthcare situations; and healthcare providers' opinions on the value of incorporating learning strategies into the patient education process .In 2009, Dr. Chesbro left Howard University to join the faculty of Alabama State University in Montgomery. He serves as the Associate Professor and Chair, College of Health Sciences, Department of Physical Therapy. Dr. Chesbro continues to mentor Professor Asongwed in her research pursuits.

Veronica A. Clarke-Tasker, PhD., R.N., M.B.A., M.P.H., is Professor of Nursing in the College of Pharmacy, Nursing, and Allied Health Sciences at Howard University. Dr. Clarke-Tasker's dissertation research examined the relationship of African Americans' socioeconomic status to their perceptions of cancer. To increase her understanding of cancer in minority populations, Dr. Clarke-Tasker obtained a Masters in Public Health from George Washington University's School of Public Health, Epidemiology and Biostatistics Program. She also obtained a Masters in Business Administration to help increase her understanding of health care finance. Dr. Clarke-Tasker was a recipient of the NINR Mentored Research Scientist Development Award for her research project entitled, Prostate Cancer Screening Program for African American Men. She was also a Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and is the President of the Greater Washington Chapter of the National Black Nurses Association.

Pauline M. Green, PhD., RN, is a faculty member in the Howard University Division of Nursing and has been with the Division since 1986. She is currently serving as Interim Dean of the Division of Nursing. Dr. Green received a BSN from Cornell University, an MSN form the Catholic University of America, and a PhD. from Howard University. Her teaching responsibilities have included Medical Surgical Nursing, Pharmacology, Pathophysiology, and Nursing Theory. Dr. Green's research interests are colorectal cancer; knowledge, perceptions and screening behaviors of African Americans and environmental nursing diagnoses. She has published a number of papers in professional journals and has made several presentations at national meetings.

Barbara Harland, PhD, R.D., L.D., L.N., is a tenured member of the graduate faculty at Howard University since 1984. She is a Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences. Dr. Harland's research interests are in dietary fiber, phytate, and trace minerals. She holds the PhD in Nutrition from the University of Maryland, College Park [1971]; the MS in Nutrition from the University of Washington [1949]; and the BS in Dietetics from Iowa State University [1946]. Dr. Harland has nine years experience in undergraduate and graduate nutrition teaching at U of Washington; U of Indiana; U of Maryland; U of Tennessee; and U of Hawaii. She also has fourteen years of experience in nutrition research, Division of Nutrition, Food and Drug Administration, Washington, DC.

Allan Johnson, PhD, L.N., is a Professor of Nutrition and Chairman of the Department of Nutritional Sciences in the College of Pharmacy, Nursing and Allied Health Sciences. He holds a B.Sc. degree (First Class Honors) in Chemistry from McGill University, Montreal, Canada, and M.Sc. and PhD degrees in International Nutrition from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. At Howard University, Dr. Johnson teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Community Nutrition, International Nutrition, Techniques in Community Nutrition, and Evaluation of Nutritional Status. He is an active researcher, having received competitive research grants from the Howard University Research and Development Program, the Howard University Faculty Research Support Program in the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the National Institutes of Health.

Marguerite E. Neita, PhD, MT (ASCP) (2005-2007) is Chairman/Program Director, Department of Clinical Laboratory Science, at Howard University. Dr. Marguerite E. Neita began her career as a laboratory scientist at the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica. She gained additional professional experience at the Public Health Laboratory in Kingston, Jamaica; and the St. George's Hospital Medical Group, London, England. Her research interests include the effects of stress and the environment on immune function, disparities in health care delivery and diabetes mellitus. Dr. Neita is an advocate of the use of technology to disseminate the educational environment and as a vehicle to promote active student involvement in the learning process.

Debra D. Roberts, PhD is a Developmental Psychologist in the psychology department at Howard University. Dr. Roberts' primary area of research involves examining various aspects of culture and ethnicity as they impact the relationship between psychosocially toxic environments (poverty, discrimination, trauma, etc.) and psychosocial well-being among children and adolescents. She has served as Principal Investigator on a number of government and university-funded grants that implement and evaluate intervention programs for children in urban communities. In her capacity as both professor and researcher/evaluator, she has trained and supervised research assistants, developed evaluation instruments, constructed both qualitative and quantitative methodological designs, facilitated focus groups, conducted group and individual structured interviews, analyzed data, and delivered final reports. Dr. Roberts has worked with diverse populations, but has unique research experience with programs that target low-income, urban pre-school children and adolescents of color who are placed at risk.

Kay T. Payne, PhD, is Assistant Professor at Howard University. She received her doctorate from Howard University in 1982. Dr. Payne is a noted expert in aspects of cultural diversity and communication disorders including diagnosis, treatment and bilingual issues. Her bilingual interests have been realized in many international journeys, most recently two Fulbright Fellowships in Egypt and India, as well as study and travel to Italy, China, Japan, Australia, Namibia, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, France, Italy, Russia and Ukraine. She has studied in such prestigious institutions as University of Hawaii East-West Center, University of London School of Oriental and African Studies, University of Iowa, University of San Diego and University of California-Berkeley and University of Pennsylvania. She has studied several languages including French, Spanish, Russian, Japanese, Otjiherero, Arabic and American Sign Language. Dr. Payne has received numerous awards and citations for her work. She has taught courses in Language Development, Applied Sociolinguistics, Advanced Seminar in Research, Differential Diagnosis and Teaching Methods. Research Interests: Sociolinguistics, cross-cultural and intra-cultural clinical methods.

Sherry B. Scott, PhD, OTR/L, (2005-2007) is an associate professor and academic fieldwork coordinator in the Department of Occupational Therapy at Howard University. Dr. Scott obtained a PhD in organization communication with an emphasis on health communication. She has focused her scholarly efforts in the area of healthcare service delivery to underserved populations in urban communities. Dr. Scott and her multidisciplinary colleagues have utilized a quantitative approach in examining healthcare access and related issues for underserved populations. Her research has included studies of African American men and women in homeless shelters within the Washington, D.C. and Chicago metropolitan areas. In addition, Dr. Scott serves as a healthcare consultant for several homeless shelters in the Washington, D.C. area and has formed collaborative partnerships between Howard University and several community-based organizations. Dr. Scott has received funding for several internal and extramural grant projects that specifically address community partnerships and intervention research for underserved populations.

Mattie J. Tabron, (2005-2008), is an Associate Professor at Howard University in the Department of Radiation Therapy in the Radiation Oncology Department of the College of Pharmacy, Nursing and Allied Health and in the Department of Family and Community Medicine in the College of Medicine. She is the founding Chairman and Program Director for the first program in the United States to offer a B.S. degree in radiation therapy. Dr. Tabron is a Board Member and Past President of the National Society of Allied Health Sciences and Past President and Board Member of the D.C. Society of Radiologic Technologists. She was elected as the first radiation therapist in the United States to serve as a Trustee on the Board of the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). She also served as a Team Chairman and Site Surveyor for the Joint Review Committee in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Dr. Tabron is a Fellow of the American Society of Radiologic Technologists; a recipient of the Varian Award for outstanding contribution to ASRT; a recipient of the NAFEO Outstanding Alumni Award; A Kellogg Fellow in Educational Psychology and was recognized in Who's Who among America's Teachers in 2002 and 2003. Dr. Tabron's areas of research interest include enhancing test taking skills; curriculum development, teaching and learning; quality of life for patients receiving radiation therapy; the social and psychological aspects of alcoholism and spirituality and medicine.

Anthony K. Wutoh, PhD, R.Ph. is an Associate Professor of Clinical and Administrative Pharmacy Sciences at Howard University College of Pharmacy, Nursing, and Allied Health Sciences. He is the principal Investigator of the Center for Minority Health Services Research (AHQR Funded) and the Co-Director of the Center of Excellence (HRSA Funded) at Howard University. Dr. Wutoh received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biochemistry from the University of Maryland Baltimore County in 1987. He then completed a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy and a Doctor of Philosophy in Pharmacy Administration (Pharmocoepidemiology) at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. Dr. Wutoh has varied research interests including pharmacoepidemiology, outcomes research, and evaluation of large population databases, particularly in the area of AIDS and HIV infection in older patients. Dr. Wutoh has received several million dollars in grant funding from several sources including NIH, CDC, HRSA, AHRQ, and foundations, and has published several research articles on HIV disease, medication adherence, disease state management, and various other topics in respected research journals. Areas of interest and expertise include minority access to novel medical therapies, medication compliance, post-marketing assessment, clinical trial protocol and evaluation, survival analysis, and the role of stress in the functioning of health care professionals. Dr. Wutoh is also the recipient of various awards and acclamations.

Rodney D. Green, PhD
Economics/Center for Urban Progress

Kamran Tavakol, PhD
Health Sciences