The Eastern Caribbean Health Outcomes Research Network (ECHORN) is a community-based prospective cohort study geared towards expanding clinical research with racial/ethnic minority populations across four Eastern Caribbean sites: Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, the United States Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.
The project aims to help improve health outcomes across the region and to increase research capacity and infrastructure within the region. ECHORN is a novel, cross-island collaboration between Yale University, the University of Puerto Rico, the University of the Virgin Islands, and the University of the West Indies. Through this partnership, ECHORN will estimate the prevalence of known and potential risk factors associated with the development of heart disease, cancer and diabetes in the Eastern Caribbean.
ECHORN represents an unprecedented effort to expand clinical research with racial/ethnic minority populations in a part of the world that is now threatened by an epidemic of noncommunicable chronic diseases. The research findings will have direct implications for health policy in the region and for health inequities research and policy in the mainland United States.
The ECHORN Coordinating Center (ECC) is based at the Yale University School of Medicine. Led by Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith (Principal Investigator) and Dr. Terri-Ann Thompson (Director), the ECC is made up of a diverse group of people who were brought together to launch this groundbreaking effort to understand noncommunicable chronic disease in the Eastern Caribbean. Dr. Nunez-Smith, like many ECC members, has strong ties to the Caribbean and is committed to improving health outcomes in the region.
Over the next five years the ECC will work with the islands of Puerto Rico, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago and the U.S. Virgin Islands to help train health outcomes researchers to design, execute, and translate research findings on racial/ethnic minorities into policy and practice.
Terri-Ann Thompson, PhD
Role: Dr. Terri-Ann Thompson is currently the Director of the ECHORN Coordinating Center (ECC) at Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Thompson was born and raised in Portland, Jamaica. She received a Bachelor of Arts from Macalester College and her doctorate in Public Health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She has expertise in the areas of perinatal, adolescent and women’s health. Her current research interests are in the areas of gender and sexual & reproductive health in the Caribbean.
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Jeremy Schwartz, MD
Role: Dr. Schwartz serves as Medical Director for ECHORN.
Background/Interests:Dr. Schwartz earned his medical degree at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry with a Distinction in Research. He completed combined residency training at Yale in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics and is board certified in both specialties. He is currently a Clinician Educator in the Yale Internal Medicine Primary Care Residency Program where he also serves as Assistant Firm Chief of the inpatient medical service. Since medical school and to this day, Dr. Schwartz has spent time working at Makerere University/Mulago Hospital in Uganda, East Africa. While there, his clinical focus has been on the care of patients with kidney disease. Over time, he has developed a keen awareness of the global burden of noncommunicable diseases and has focused his work in that area. He currently serves on the Global Steering Committee of the Young Professionals Chronic Disease Network as Representative to the Americas. As Medical Director of ECHORN, Dr. Schwartz oversees all of the clinical aspects of the study.
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Johanna Elumn, MSW, PhD (c)
Role: Johanna serves as the Project Coordinator at the ECHORN Coordinating Center.
Background/Interests:Johanna was born and raised in New York City. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Swarthmore College and her MSW from Columbia University. Prior to moving to New Haven, Johanna was the Chief of Social Work at the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, where she worked with people involved in the criminal justice system during all stages of the process from arrest through reentry. As a social worker, she has performed direct services, community outreach and education, and training in areas related to criminal justice/incarceration and reentry. In addition to her work with ECHORN, Johanna is pursuing her PhD in Social Welfare at CUNY/Hunter College School of Social Work. Her primary research interests are in the areas of criminal justice/incarceration, trauma, and violence. She has a minority supplement from NIH/NIDA to work on Structures, Health and Risk among Re-entrants, Probationers and Partners (SHARRPP), a project at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (CIRA) at Yale, where she will focus on trauma in the study participants.
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Katina Gionteris, BS
Role: Katina is the Data Manager for ECHORN
Background/Interests: Born in New Haven, Katina celebrates her Greek ethnicity with her husband and three children. Katina received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of New Haven. Her areas of expertise include data management and basic data analysis using tools such as ACASI, Microsoft Access, SPSS and SAS programming. She previously worked as data manager for Dr. Kim Blankenship on her SHARRPPII research project of non-violent drug offenders and their sex partners. She served in a variety of systems and data management capacities at CIRA, including oversight of the CIRA internet and intranet websites as well as database design, maintenance and development for the Center. She also served as data manager for the Nathan Smith Clinic, Leeway, and the Community Healthcare Van. She currently works as a research associate/data manager for Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith in Internal Medicine and Dr. Brian Forsyth in Pediatrics.
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Teresa Sandoval Minero, PhD
Role: Dr. Teresa Sandoval-Schaefer serves as a senior research assistant for three projects: PreDict, PaRoDiMe and ECHORN.
Background/Interests: Dr. Teresa Sandoval-Schaefer was born and raised in Mexico City, Mexico. She obtained a B.S. in Biology, a Master in Biochemical Sciences and a Doctorate in Biomedical Sciences (Neurobiology) from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Teresa has extensive experience doing research in developmental biology and neurosciences. Her current research interests are in the area of health disparities and chronic diseases. She is specifically interested in investigating the role of dietary carbohydrates in the onset and prevalence of chronic diseases. She has been a part of Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith's team since 2010.
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