Scholars and Associates

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Current Scholars

Agatha S. Critchfield, MD.

Assistant Professor
Director of Pathways
Obstetrics and Gynecology
Department of Medicine

BIRCWH Appointment:  January 1, 2018-

Project Title: PATHways: Comparative Effectiveness Study of Peripartum Opioid Use Disorder in Rural Kentucky

Research Area(s): Maternal Fetal Medicine, Opioid Use Disorder in Pregnancy, Addiction Medicine

Mairead Moloney, PhD.

Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology
College of Arts & Sciences

BIRCWH Appointment: January 1, 2017-July 31, 2018

Project Title: Medicalization of Sleeplessness: Linkages between Gendered Social Stressors and Sleep

Research Areas: Medical Sociology, Medicalization, Patient-Physician Interaction, Gender, Mixed Methods, Sleep, Aging and Life Course

Dr. Moloney received a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2009. Subsequently, she has held postdoctoral fellowships in both research (2009-2011, Program on Integrative Medicine in the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and teaching (2011-2013, Department of Sociology at North Carolina State University).

In 2014, Dr. Moloney joined the University of Kentucky as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology. Dr. Moloney also serves as faculty for the Health, Society, and Populations major in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Moloney’s beliefs are that the most impactful sociological research occurs when social problems are viewed through multiple lenses. It is her intention to seek to gain greater insight into social issues at the macro and micro levels using quantitative, qualitative and mixed methodological approaches to produce theoretically-grounded work that has real-life impacts. Dr. Moloney’s research on the medicalization of sleeplessness focuses on the creation of medical problems from life issues, via the patient-physician interaction. The quantitative results of her study were published in the American Journal of Public Health, and a qualitative companion piece was recently published in Sociology of Health and Illness.

In January 2017, Dr. Moloney became a BIRCWH scholar. Supported by the BIRCWH program and her mentors, Dr. Moloney aims to build and expand upon her sleeplessness research by examining the linkages between gendered social stressors and sleep. Her goal is to adapt an evidence-based cognitive-behavioral insomnia intervention for Appalachian women ages 45+ in order to reduce health disparities resulting from insomnia and/or sedative hypnotic use (e.g. obesity, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease, etc.). This project also requires collaboration with local health institutions and community health workers, and will build on Dr. Moloney's previous experiences in creating and sustaining these vital partnerships. Dr. Moloney will also utilize her experiences in constructing culturally-consonant research questions for populations with varying levels of health literacy.

Dr. Moloney is also interested in how various forms of gender socialization impact mental and physical health. She has studied sexualization, a particularly negative form of gender socialization, and created a relevant pedagogical module for undergraduates. An article on this module was published in Teaching Sociology. This work has both theoretical and practical applications for social scientists, educators, and community leaders, and led to an interview on Kentucky Educational Television. Dr. Moloney continues to explore the sexualization and opression of women in the context of online social spaces. Along with her colleague Dr. Tony Love, Dr. Moloney analyzed publicly available data from Twitter to track real-time reactions to the widely publicized celebrity nude photo hacking scandal of 2014. Findings from nearly 10,000 tweets revealed that male-identified tweeters commonly sexualized and degraded both celebrity and non-celebrity women. The results of this study are forthcoming in Men and Masculinities and a piece on their unique methodology is forthcoming in SAGE Research Methods Cases.


Christal Badour, PhD.

Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
College of Arts and Sciences

BIRCWH Appointment: September 2016-July 31, 2018

Project Title: Using Ecological Momentary Assessment to Examine Sex Differences in the Relation between Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms and Non-Medical Prescription Opioid Use

Research Areas: Psychological trauma, Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Substance abuse, Trauma related emotion

Dr. Badour is a licensed clinical psychologist and assistant professor in the department of psychology. She received her PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Arkansas and completed a clinical internship in the Traumatic Stress Track of the Charleston Consortium internship program at the Medical University of South Carolina and Ralph H. Johnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Prior to joining the faculty at UK, Dr. Badour completed a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)-funded postdoctoral fellowship in Traumatic Stress Research at the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center at the Medical University of South Carolina.

At UK, Dr. Badour conducts research focused on identifying and understanding mechanisms involved in the development and maintenance of psychopathology following traumatic experiences. Much of this work involves examining the role of affective expression and regulation in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with a particular emphasis on moral emotions such as disgust, shame, and guilt. Dr. Badour is also interested in identifying unique and shared processes underlying symptoms of PTSD and commonly comorbid concerns including substance abuse, sexual dysfunction, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and chronic pain. Her work is increasingly focused on identifying specific mediators and moderators of treatment change in order to enhance existing interventions and to guide development of new targeted interventions aimed at improving outcomes for patients with trauma-related psychopathology. Although she is interested in trauma broadly, much of her research has been conducted among women with histories of interpersonal trauma (i.e., sexual and physical assault and abuse) and US military veterans with a history of combat exposure.



Current Associates


Lauren Baldwin-Branch, MD

Assistant Professor

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Division of Gynecologic Oncology


Niraj Chavan, MD, MPH

Assistant Professor

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Division of Maternal and Fetal Medicine 

Dr. Chavan’s current research interests focus on evaluating the role of environmental and metabolic exposures in affecting offspring health through mechanisms involved in fetal programming. The field of developmental programming evaluates how in-utero maternal influences or fetal exposures affect neonatal outcomes and potentially long term offspring health. Some of his other ongoing research projects include evaluating the impact of opioid maintenance / substitution therapy using buprenorphine affecting maternal and neonatal outcomes as well as in altering the course of neonatal abstinence syndrome in patients with substance (opioid) abuse disorders. As a fellow in Maternal Fetal Medicine at the University of Kentucky, Dr. Chavan has also been exploring the changes in the bio-inflammatory markers in pregnancy as a potential causal mechanism explaining adverse pregnancy outcomes. As a part of this project Dr. Chavan has evaluated how maternal behavioral characteristics such as smoking cessation as well increased weight gain and sleep disturbances in pregnancy alter the bio-inflammatory state.

In addition to his clinical background with the Medical Doctorate and specialization in Obstetrics & Gynecology, Dr. Chavan also underwent training in public health during the course of completing the Masters in Public Health (MPH) program from the Harvard School of Public Health, concentrating in Maternal and Child Health. His capstone research focused on health disparities, evaluating strategies for recruitment and retention of ethnic minorities in community based participatory research. Some of the other clinical / outcomes based research projects that he has previously completed include evaluating the differential impact of glucose testing profiles and fetal ultrasound in affecting perinatal outcomes in gestational diabetes, socio-demographic and clinical predictors of response to induction of labor, clinical outcomes in labor augmentation, and optimizing perioperative outcomes in minimally invasive gynecologic surgery.


Geetanjali Gera, PhD, PT

Assistant Professor

Division of Physical Therapy

College of Health Sciences


Quinetta B. Johnson, MD


Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

College of Medicine


Karen Lawrence, PhD, MSW

Assistant Professor

College of Social Work


Amy Meadows, MD, MHS

Director, Pediatric Psychiatry Consult-Liason Services

Assistant Professor

Department of Psychiatry and Pediatrics

College of Medicine


Jessica Santollo, PhD

Assistant Professor

Department of Biology

College of Arts and Sciences


Brandi White, PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor

Division of Health Sciences, Education, and Research

College of Health Sciences