Faith Village Research Lab Team

Dr. Fayron Epps

Principal Investigator

Dr. Fayron Epps is an Assistant Professor at Emory University, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. Dr. Epps is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and has been a nurse for over 20 years. She received her BSN from Tuskegee University, MSN in Health Care Systems Management from Loyola University New Orleans, and a PhD in Nursing from Southern University and A & M College. In 2015, she completed her postdoctoral fellowship with the National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence.

Dr. Epps has devoted her career as a nurse leader to reducing health disparities for underserved populations through innovative, culturally relevant programs for the African American community. She works closely with an interdisciplinary team to promote quality of life for African Americans living with dementia and their family caregivers/care partners through self-care and meaningful activities. Dr. Epps is also the founder of Alter, the only nurse-led dementia-friendly initiative to support African American congregations. Dr. Epps oversees several faith-based research related projects and is an active member in several local, regional, and national organizations. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Southern Gerontological Society, the Alzheimer’s Association Georgia Chapter, and Meals on Wheels Atlanta.  Dr. Epps also enjoys mentoring students and cultivating their love for the field of gerontology. 

Mia Chester, MA

Program Coordinator -Alter

Mia serves as the Project Coordinator for the Alter Program. She is working to build partnerships with churches anchored in African American communities to better support families affected by dementia. She provides program support to Dr. Fayron Epps and Dr. Dawn Aycock. Mia has been in healthcare since 2005 and has served in management as well as Program and Service Coordination positions for older adult populations throughout her career.  She holds a master’s degree in health studies from the University of Alabama. 

Tiffany Washington

Principal Investigator- Alter Ghana

Tiffany Washington is an Associate Professor and Director of the Ph.D. Program at The University of Georgia School of Social Work. She has five years of direct practice experience in medical social work. Her research interests include designing and implementing culturally-targeted social and behavioral interventions to reduce the burden of health disparities and improve psychosocial outcomes in older chronic kidney disease patients and dementia caregivers.

Adrianne Jones, MA

Director of Public Relations- Alter

Adrianne is an elder care gerontologist specializing in senior services and resource management and integration. She has experience in various dimensions of aging services including care management, senior center programming, senior living service coordination, and adult day health. Ms. Jones has worked with Fulton County Office of Aging and Youth Services, Clayton County Senior Services, Meals on Wheels Atlanta, and National Church Residences, the largest non-profit provider for senior housing in the country. Ms. Jones holds a B.A. (public relations) from Clark Atlanta University, and a M.A. (gerontology) from Georgia State University. She loves traveling, serving in her church, and hanging with friends.

Janelle Gore, MPH

Research Coordinator

Janelle is the  Research Coordinator with the Faith Village Research Lab at Emory University. She assists Dr. Epps in supporting undergrad and graduate student team members’ research projects within the Faith Village Research Lab. She graduated with her Masters of Public health from Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health. Janelle focused her academic work within the Behavioral Social and Health Education Sciences Department and gained a Religion and Health certificate. Janelle is passionate about improving the health of underserved BIPOC among both young and older populations. Her commitment to contributing novel systematic solutions to the field of public health and research has driven her work thus far. Janelle focuses her work on collaborating on various research projects concerning mental health, physical activity & nutrition, dementia, and the Black community.

Nkosi Cave

Research Coordinator 

Nkosi is a research coordinator with the Faith Village Research Lab at Emory University. He is also the lead project coordinator for Caregiving While Black, an online education platform empowering caregiver of those with dementia/Alzheimer’s. He graduated from Rollins School of Public Health with a concentration in Behavioral Sciences and Health Education (BSHES). Nkosi is passionate about uplifting and empowering marginalized communities and getting them the resources they desire to improve their health and overall well-being.

Sloan Oliver, MPH 

Graduate Research Coordinator

Sloan is a global health MPH candidate at the Rollins School of Public Health, concentrating in community health and development. She is passionate about equity, human rights, environmental protection, and community engagement. These ideals are what led her to public health and will be vital in developing her career as well as the research she is fortunate enough to partake in at Emory. After the completion of her degree, she hopes to be an advocate for the advancement human and civil rights in the southeastern United States as well as globally.

Shani Strader, MPH, MN, RN

Research Specialist

Shani works both as a Labor & Delivery nurse in Atlanta and a Research Specialist with Faith Village Research Lab. She is graduate of Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing and Spelman College. Shani has an overall interest in building community through health education and appreciates that her role with FVRL gives her the space to achieve her goals.

Mayra Sainz, MPH

Graduate Research Assistant

Mayra is a current doctoral student at Emory’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing and is expected to graduate in May of 2025. She was a Peace Corps Health Volunteer in Senegal, West Africa from 2017-2019. In May of 2021, she graduated from Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health where she received her MPH from the Department of Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences. Her interests are partnering with community organizations to conduct research that explores, addresses, and evaluates programs that reduce health disparities in BIPOC communities. Specifically, she is interested in partnering with religious communities to improve the quality of life for families living with dementia. 

Katie Pierson

Graduate Research Assistant

Katie is currently a nursing student at Emory University pursuing her graduate degree to become a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner. She was a Peace Corps Education Volunteer in Liberia, West Africa from 2018-2019 where she focused on Malaria prevention education and recently finished two terms with the American Red Cross as an AmeriCorps Volunteer. Katie hopes to work as a women’s health nurse practitioner to support women, especially BIPOC women, and to help fight for equitable health care.

Karah Alexander, MPH, PhD(c)

Graduate Research Assistant

Karah is an alumna of Spelman College and after graduating, earned her MPH from Georgia State University (GSU). She is currently a 3rd year PhD candidate in Nursing at Emory University and is finishing a graduate certificate in health literacy from the GSU College of Education & Human Development. Karah’s dissertation work examines health literacy and medical discrimination in Black dementia caregivers and explores adult literacy as an influential factor of health inequities.

Chanel Reid

Graduate Research Assistant

Social Media Outreach Specialist- Alter

Chanel is a graduate student in Gerontology at Georgia State University. She enjoys creating social media awareness on various platforms to empower African American communities. Her current research thesis explores social isolation and other devasting impacts of this concept, including how individuals with dementia experience it. After graduation, she plans on creating meaningful social engagement systems for older adults and continuing to introduce collaborative partners to our program, such as Reading2Connect.

Preet Kaur

Graduate Research Assistant

Preet is a Global Health MPH candidate with a concentration in community health development at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health. She is expected to graduate in May of 2024. Her public health interests range from community engaged research and the intersection between faith and health to air pollution and vaccine equity.  She hopes to continue working with faith-based communities and advocating for marginalized groups post-graduation.

Morgan Colquitt

Graduate Research Assistant

Morgan is an Epidemiology MPH candidate at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health. She is passionate about the spatial distribution of health outcomes, health equity, and community-engaged research. After the completion of her degree, she hopes to continue working with faith-based communities to reduce health disparities.  

Andrina McQuick

Undergraduate Research Assistant 

Andrina is a student at Emory College of Arts and Science where she is pursuing a BS in Computer Science.  She is passionate about the disparities in Health Care for Black Communities, with a focus on Black Women, and other POC communities. She also has a special interest in using technology to address those disparities. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence to help better the experience for POC communities, especially in sectors such as Health Care. She plans to further her education and interest in research by returning to school to gain an MS in biotechnology/ data science.  

Audric Donald

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Audric Donald is a BSN student at Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. After graduating from Emory, he plans to pursue a career in nursing in the public health service sector and continue his education by going to medical school. Audric is passionate about research for the African American community where there is a discrepancy with health equity for diseases like dementia. 

Ja’Mya Yancey

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Ja’Mya is an honors student at the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing where she is pursuing her first degree, BSN. She is passionate about the evolution of care in the Black community and is hopeful about her continued participation in the development of research. Post-grad she plans to work in critical care and then return to school to pursue a DNP but is open to wherever the world of nursing and/or research takes her. 

Shacoria Anderson, MPH

Volunteer Liaison- Alter

Shacoria is a current doctoral student at the Rollins School of Public Health in the Department of Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences (BSHES). She is interested in cancer prevention and control, implementation science, health equity, and community-engaged research, specifically in faith-based settings. She is currently assisting the Alter program with staying connected with faith partners and aiding them in creating dementia-friendly environments.