School of Interdisciplinary Studies African American Studies and Research CenterCollege of Liberal Arts

COVID Black, A Taskforce on Black Health and Data

Executive Leadership


Kim Gallon, PhD - Director of COVID Black

Kim Gallon (she/her) is an Associate Professor in History at Purdue University and the founder of the project. She is also the author of “Making a Case for the Black Digital Humanities” and the founder of the Black Press Research Collective. In addition, she is the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships that include a $245,299 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and an $85,000 grant from American Council for the Learned Societies for her work in the Black Digital Humanities and Black Spatial Humanities.

Areas of Focus: Text Mining and Network Analyses of Public Health Information in the Black Press and HathiTrust collections; Digital pedagogy and e-Learning Modules


Health and Public Policy Research Team

Alicia L. Best, PhD, MPH, CHES, CPH: Health and Communication Researcher for COVID Black


Alicia Best (she/her) is an Assistant Professor in the College of Public Health at the University of South Florida (USF). She conducts community-engaged research to understand how social, cultural, structural and systemic factors influence health among underserved populations; and she uses communication approaches to address cancer-related and other health disparities. She is currently the principle investigator of a National Cancer Institute-funded study to develop and test a technology-based cancer screening intervention in a federally qualified health center system.
Areas of Focus: Health Disparities, Social Determinants of Health, and Social Justice

Faith E. Fletcher, PhD/MA: Health and Equity Researcher for COVID Black


Faith E. Fletcher (she/her) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Behavior at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Public Health, and Director of the UAB Center for Clinical and Translational Science Community Engagement Domain. Her research program is grounded in methodological and theoretical approaches from the fields of public health, bioethics, and behavioral science, and examines the social and structural barriers to scientific research and health care engagement among underserved populations. Her current work centers African American women living with HIV and other stigmatized populations in the research engagement process to inform ethical research policies and practices. 
Areas of Focus: Heath Equity; Medically Underserved Communities in the American South 



Data, Digital Humanities (DH), and Geographic Information System (GIS) Team


Matthew Hannah, PhD

Matthew Hannah (he/his) is an Assistant Professor of Digital Humanities in the School of Information Studies and an Assistant Professor of American Studies (by courtesy). His research focuses on DH infrastructure, media studies, and network analysis. He teaches courses in media archaeology and DH, and he maintains the DH Studio, a collaboratory for digital scholarship. He is currently a Fulbright Specialist with plans to teach workshops in Morocco.

Areas of Focus: Digital Humanities Project Infrastructure and Consultation 


Nicole Kong, PhD


Nicole Kong (she/her) is an Associate Professor at Purdue University in the Libraries and School of Information Studies. She specializes in Geographic Information Science (GIS) and she has been instrumental in the rapid development of GIS at Purdue as well as in Indiana and across the nation. She has been involved in improving geospatial information literacy education and adapting GIS technology to humanities disciplines.
Areas of Focus: GIS technology for Humanities and Social Sciences study; Geographic Information Discovery, Management, and Spatial Analysis.


Bethany S. McGowan, MS/MLIS


Bethany McGowan (she/her) is Assistant Professor of Library Science and Health Sciences Information Specialist at Purdue University. She works with clinical programs in Nursing, Nutrition, and Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, providing research and instruction services in the areas of information literacy, data literacy, evidence-based decision making, and curriculum design. Professor McGowan’s research centers around open data and participatory design, and on the development of instructional experiences via health informatics and social informatics tools and technologies. Her current research projects focus on encouraging diverse participation in biomedical data challenges via an exploration of participation motivation, and on exploring ethical issues surrounding the collection, management, and use of crisis data.

Areas of Focus: Data and Information Literacy; Curriculum Design; Evidence-based Decision Making; Health Equity and Critical Data Studies


Steering Committee


Anikra Holland, MSW

Anikra Holland (she/her) holds a Masters of Social Work from Indiana University and is a licensed Social Worker who works within Family and Community Partners, a private community-based mental health care provider, which partners with Department of Children’s Center to provide counseling for families in Indianapolis.
Areas of Focus: African American Mental Health


Vanessa Northington Gamble, MD/PhD


Vanessa Northington Gamble, MD, PhD (she/her) is University Professor of Medical Humanities at George Washington University where she is also Professor of Health Policy and American Studies. A physician, scholar, and activist, she is an internationally recognized expert on the history of race and American medicine, racial inequities in health and health care, and bioethics. She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and a Fellow of the Hastings Center.

Areas of Focus: History of Medicine


Titilayo Okoror, PhD


Titilayo A. Okoror (she/her) is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Africana Studies Department at Binghamton University. Her research explores the role of context and culture on disease expression, health behaviors and decisions. Her research interests include HIV/AIDS, sexual health, chronic diseases and health disparities.
Areas of Focus: Public Health and Policy


Ashley P. Williams, MD, FAAFP


Ashley P Williams, MD, FAAFP (she/her) specializes in family medicine in the Indiana University Health Arnett System in Lafayette, Indiana and is engaged in clinical research and graduate medical education as the Associate Program Director of the Indiana University School of Medicine Arnett Family Medicine Residency.
Areas of Focus: Family Medicine; Medical Education


Summer Intern 


Joan Mukogosi, BA

Joan Mukogosi (she/her) is a member of New York University's class of 2020, graduating with an undergraduate degree in Global Liberal Studies with minors in Public Health and French. As a Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar, she has developed a passion for studying the social and political impacts of technology with a focus on racial justice. Her past experience includes work with change-making organizations with a shared mission to make a positive impact in their communities.
Areas of Focus: Data Collection & Social Media Management


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