Investigators | Department of Psychology

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John M. Ruiz, Ph.D. Dr. Ruiz is an Associate Professor of Clinical Health Psychology at the University of North Texas (UNT). Dr. Ruiz has extensive training and experience examining psychosocial influences on disease. In particular, Dr. Ruiz examines interpersonal influences on disease risk. He has substantial experience with laboratory-based research involving cardiovascular psychophysiology including impedance cardiography, blood pressure, and ambulatory blood pressure. Dr. Ruiz will oversee all aspects of the study including orchestration of data collection, development of the specific aims and their testing, and dissemination of findings.


Chul Ahn, Ph.D. Dr. Ahn is Professor and Director of Biostatistics and Research Design in the Department of Clinical Sciences at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He has extensive experience as a statistician on NIH funded research and specific experience in modeling the determinants of atherosclerotic risk, including working with carotid intima-media thickness, in the Atherosclerotic Rick in Communities (ARIC) study. Dr. Ahn serves as the lead statistician overseeing the analytic strategy to test the specific aims of the project.

Matthew Allison, M.D., M.P.H. Dr. Allison is an Associate Professor in the Division of Preventive Medicine, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). He has extensive training and experience in the measurement of subclinical atherosclerosis including intimal medial thickness (IMT) for clinical and research purposes. In addition to his own grants and work on the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) study, he heads the reading centers for multiple federally funded projects that are utilizing carotid IMT as the outcome. Dr. Allison's role on the project is to work with the clinicians to optimize measurement of subclinical atherosclerosis.
Dr. Carlos P. Cruz, M.D. Dr. Cruz is a vascular surgeon with Surgical Associates of North Texas. Dr. Cruz has expertise in the assessment and treatment of vascular abnormalities from disease to traumatic injury and repair. Dr. Cruz's provides medical/clinical oversight of ultrasound data collection, helping to identify abnormalities, and provide appropriate referrals. He also consults with Dr. Allison to optimize interpretation of the ultrasound findings to fulfill the study aims.
Timothy W. Smith, Ph.D. Dr. Smith is Professor of Psychology at the University of Utah. Dr. Smith has expertise in conceptualizing transactional relationships between the individual and the social environment. He has experience examining the impact of social relationships on coronary heart disease risk and specific experience in examining social vigilance. Dr. Smith's role on the project will be to support Dr. Ruiz in conceptualizing the assessment and testing of biobehavioral pathways linking psychosocial stress to atherosclerotic risk and dissemination of the findings.
Joshua M. Smyth, Ph.D. Dr. Smyth is Alumni Professor of Psychology at Penn State University. Dr. Smyth has expertise in the conceptualization, design, and implementation of ecological momentary assessment (EMA) for data capture and linking these self-report data to ambulatory physiological data. Dr. Smyth oversees the EMA arm of the study including programming the phones used to deliver the EMA questions, coupling the EMA devices with the ambulatory blood pressure monitors, and building and managing the associated database.
Daniel Taylor, Ph.D. Dr. Taylor is an Associate Professor of Clinical Health Psychology at the University of North Texas (UNT). He is a licensed psychologist in the state of Texas, is a diplomat of the American Board of Sleep Medicine, and is certified in Behavioral Sleep Medicine. He has published extensively in the area of sleep and health with particular interests in clinical trials research. Dr. Taylor's role is to consult on the assessment of sleep as it pertains to nighttime ambulatory blood pressure sampling as well as provide clinical oversight and patient mental health safety.
Bert N. Uchino, Ph.D. Dr. Uchino is Professor of Psychology at the University of Utah. He has expertise in stress-related processes including cardiovascular, neuroendocrine, and immune biomarkers as they relate to physical disease outcomes. Dr. Uchino's role on the project is to conceptualize the interplay between ambulatory assessment and blood-based biomarkers as a collective pathway between stress and atherosclerotic risk and to inform data analysis regarding testing of the specific aims of the study.

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