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How 2020’s Stressors Are Affecting Community Health (Webinar)

Digital Education Programming Presented by the
Center for Health & Wellbeing

2020 has all the trappings of a blockbuster disaster movie. COVID-19, soaring unemployment rates, historic hurricanes, devastating wildfires, and ongoing political and social unrest are our everyday concerns that have more in common than simply being classic Hollywood plot points.

That’s right, 2020’s many issues can affect your physical health by causing unwanted stress and anxiety. In this program, UCF’s Dr. Elena Cyrus shares more about how stress is linked to your health and what coping strategies you can practice for healthy living, all information based on her many years of research. Dr. Cyrus is joined by her colleagues Dr. Makella Coudray and Dr. Rachel Clarke who add their perspective and expertise to this enlightening conversation.

By watching this program, you can expect to:

  • Learn about the social and economic determinants that influence health disparities in at-risk communities.
  • Identify and discuss macro and individual factors contributing to health.
  • Discover the health benefits of applying stress reduction strategies.

About the Program Presenter
Dr. Elena Cyrus is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Population Health Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Central Florida. Dr. Cyrus is an infectious disease epidemiologist with research experience in Sub-Saharan Africa, South East Asia, and the Latin American and Caribbean region. Her research focuses on developing and implementing interventions that address health inequities among vulnerable populations globally, including projects that are focused on HIV disparities among Caribbean populations.

Dr. Cyrus is a Fogarty global health equity alumnus and completed her fellowship with Yale University in Lima, Perú investigating HIV syndemic risk factors among incarcerated women, men who have sex with men and transwomen. Before her doctoral training at FIU, Dr. Cyrus was a clinical trials manager with the HIV Prevention Trial Network on the tenofovir feasibility and safety trials. She has recently published papers discussing the burden of COVID-19 in African American communities, and rising substance use during the COVID-19 public health emergency. She is currently the principal investigator of a National Institute of Drug Abuse funded study assessing substance use and HIV prevention among transwomen.

Dr. Makella Coudray is a Postdoctoral Associate under the mentorship of Dr. Elena Cyrus of the Department of Population Health Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Central Florida. Dr. Coudray received both her undergraduate and master’s training at St. George’s University, Grenada. She later served as the technical officer of vector borne diseases for the Caribbean Public Health Agency before completing her PhD at Florida International University. Her research focuses on infectious diseases and women’s health, including the risk factors associated with sexually transmitted diseases, longitudinal changes of the vaginal microbiome, pre-exposure prophylaxis use and the sexual health and risk behaviors among cis and transgender women.

Dr. Rachel Clarke, Ph.D., CHES, is a Postdoctoral Fellow at FIU’s Community-Based Research Institute (CBRI). In her role, Rachel collaborates with senior faculty on research focused on mental health, substance use and HIV amongst minority populations. Rachel completed her Bachelors’ degree in Chemistry at Howard University and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. She received her Doctoral degree in Public Health, with a focus on health promotion and disease prevention at Florida International University. Rachel has received training and mentoring in both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. At CBRI, Rachel primarily conducts data collection, management, and analysis for a variety of projects including HORSES, STRETCH, and YogaTeens. Rachel’s research focus is on community-based research geared towards addressing health disparities.

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