Research Team

Principal Investigator

D. Elizabeth Jesse, PhD, CNM

Dr. Elizabeth Jesse

Dr. Elizabeth Jesse is a Professor of Nursing at East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, and holds a joint appointment as an Associate Professor at Brody School of Medicine, Greenville. She is a nurse-midwife and Principal Investigator of the Insight-Plus Study. Her midwifery experiences with diverse groups of women fostered her research commitment to understanding and addressing the needs, unique challenges, and health disparities that confront underserved women from culturally diverse populations. She has a particular focus on the mental health of low-income and minority pregnant women.

 

Insight-Plus Research Staff

Elizabeth Feldhousen, MS, LMFT

Elizabeth Feldhousen

Elizabeth is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who earned an M.S. degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from East Carolina University in 2005. She joined the Insight-Plus team as Project Coordinator in April of 2011. She is a doctoral candidate in Marriage and Family Therapy at Syracuse University with plans to complete her dissertation on postpartum depression and child emotional outcomes by the fall of 2013. In 1999, Elizabeth received her undergraduate degree in Psychology with a Minor in Women’s Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a passionate advocate for women’s issues and is drawn to research that has the potential to benefit women and underserved populations.

Renee’ L. Pearson, MSW, LCSW, LCAS

Renee' L. Pearson

Renee earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology from East Carolina University in 1992, Bachelor’s degree in Social Work 1993, and her Master’s degree in Social Work from East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, in 1998. She joined the Insight-Plus team as a group facilitator in March of 2011. Her special interests include mood and behavior disorders. She has been in private practice as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Greenville since 2003.

Lynn Battle-Owens, MS, LPCA

Lynn Battle-Owens

Lynn earned an undergraduate degree in Family and Community Services from East Carolina University in 2006 and a Master’s degree in Counseling and Psychology from the University of West Alabama in 2009. She joined the Insight-Plus team as a group facilitator in September, 2012. Lynn is currently a therapist at a local center for family violence, providing individual, family, and group therapy. She previously was a program coordinator/parent educator providing psycho-education to groups of parents and individuals in an established community health agency for the juvenile justice system.

Tara King, MSW

Tara King

Tara received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from East Carolina University in 1995 and her Master’s degree in Social Work from East Carolina University in 2003. Tara brings five years of supervisory experience to her role as the Resource Mom for the Insight-Plus study. She currently co-facilitates the groups and provides case management services for women in the intervention group. She works holistically, helping the women improve all aspects of their lives and relationships, setting goals with them and supporting them as they make life-style changes.

Gary Ambert, MA, Interpreter

Gary Ambert

Gary Ambert is a retired Associate Professor of Spanish (ECU). He holds a Bachelor of Social Science degree from Fairfield University, in Fairfield, Connecticut, and a Master’s degree in Spanish Literature from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He has lived and traveled extensively in South and Central America. Since his retirement, he has been active in our commercial, medical, and legal communities, providing oral and written language services.

 

Graduate Students

Meagan Capers, BS

Meagan Capers

Meagan is a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at East Carolina University. Meagan received her undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice from ECU in 2011. She has worked in the mental health and substance abuse field since 2007 and has worked with diverse client populations. She is working towards her Master’s degree in Social Work.

Alanna James, BA

Alanna James

Alanna is a graduate student in the Health Education Program at East Carolina University. She received her undergraduate degree in Psychology and her Master’s of Public Administration with a concentration in Community Health from ECU as well. Her long term goals, after working as a health educator, are to pursue a doctorate in Epidemiology and to continue teaching throughout her career.

Kelly Dewald, BA

Kelly Dewald

Kelly is a graduate student currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Substance Abuse Clinical Counseling at East Carolina University. Kelly received her BS in Psychology from Florida State University where she also gained three years of research experience working in an alcohol studies lab within the department of Psychology. Her goals are to work with dual-diagnosis clients as well as the offender and involuntary commitment populations with hopes of working both in the clinical and research settings.

Bobby Rhodes, M.Div

Bobby Rhodes

Bobby received his BA in History and Religious Studies from UNC-Chapel Hill. After earning a Masters of Divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary, he worked as an in-home family therapist in Philadelphia focusing on families with at risk youth and youth victims of sexual assault/abuse. Bobby is currently working towards a Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy in pursuit of a NC state license (LMFT) with the aim of serving families in the greater Greenville area.

 

Study Co-Investigators

Edward R. Newton, MD

Dr. Edward Newton

Dr. Edward R. Newton has been a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Brody School of Medicine, Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine since 1998. He graduated from Northwestern University (1974), Loyola-Stritch School of Medicine (1977), Ob/Gyn Residency (1981) and Maternal Fetal Medicine Fellowship at Tufts University Affiliated Hospitals (1983). Dr. Newton has been certified and recertified continuously by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology in General Ob/Gyn and Maternal Fetal Medicine since 1984 and 1985, respectively. His career in academic medicine has been at Tufts University, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, University of Texas Houston Medical School before becoming the Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Brody School of Medicine (1998-2012). His areas of research and extramural funding include the effects of allostatic and resilience on adverse pregnancy outcomes, sexually transmitted infections, infections in obstetrics and gynecology, breastfeeding and lactation, and new models for interdisciplinary education in women’s healthcare. Dr. Newton has served on multiple NIH Study Sections as an extramural reviewer of grant applications, as an oral board examiner for the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology for 17 years, and as a member of the Editorial Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (2007-2011).
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Bradley Gaynes, MD, MPH

Dr. Bradley Gaynes

Dr. Bradley Gaynes is a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina and a Faculty Research Fellow of the Sheps Center for Health Services Research. His post-graduate training has included a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar Fellowship at the University of North Carolina, where he also received his Master of Public Health degree in Epidemiology and completed a fellowship in Preventive Medicine. Dr. Gaynes works at the crossroads between clinical trials research and mental health services research (including comparative effectiveness reviews), and he focuses his efforts on mental health-primary care integration and health care delivery in primary care, HIV, and OB-GYN medical practices. His expertise is in the diagnosis and management of psychiatric illness in patients not normally seen in psychiatric clinics. td>

Shelia Bunch, PhD, LCSW

Dr. Shelia Bunch

Dr. Shelia Bunch is a Professor and Director of the School of Social Work at East Carolina University. She received her MSW from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her PhD in sociology from North Carolina State University in Raleigh She has 27 years of teaching and training experience in an academic setting. Dr. Bunch has extensive social work practice/clinical experience in maternal and child health and behavioral health settings. She has been a consultant and board member with several infant mortality reduction initiatives in North Carolina including Pitt Infant Mortality Advisory Committee, NC Healthy Start, Eastern Baby Love Plus and Family Nurse Partnership. She has worked with Dr. Elizabeth Jesse on projects designed to decrease depressive symptoms in pregnant women. Her research interests include maternal and child health, health equity and social justice. td>

Mel S. Swanson, PhD

Professor and Statistician