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Dr. Ludmila Cofta-Woerpel

Program Director

Dr. Cofta-Woerpel oversees the operations of the HEALTH Research Institute, including strategic planning initiatives and facilitating funding opportunities for its fellows, mentees, and affiliates. She has experience directing and evaluating large research programs, and expertise in conducting health-related research in real-life public health service and clinical practice settings. She also has experience in community dissemination of evidence-based best practices for chronic disease prevention. She has a strong interest in health disparities and a majority of her research focused on racial/ethnic minorities, the underserved and other special populations. In addition to her leadership of community-based programs and projects, Dr. Cofta-Woerpel has interest and expertise in technology applications in health-related research and dissemination. She earned her M.A. in Psychology from University of Warsaw, and her Ph.D. in Psychology from the Institute of Psychology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland.

Iman Garrett-Price

Community Education/Outreach Coordinator

Iman Garrett-Price serves as the Community Education/Outreach Coordinator for the HEALTH Research Institute. She encompasses an array of experience in creating and facilitating strategic community partnerships, programs and events with various companies, organizations and non-profits across Houston. Iman has the passion and proven ability to not only identify and assess pressing needs of underserved populations, but also leverage community support and resources to meet and alleviate these needs. Prior to joining the HEALTH Research Institute, Iman held a community partnerships role in the largest school district in the state of Texas, identifying resources and creating community partnerships to serve the district’s most underserved students. Her professional experience includes community relations, public relations, communications, marketing and non-profit management. Iman earned her B.S. in Public Relations from University of Houston, and M.S.Ed in Sport Administration from University of Miami.

Ann Chen

Research Assistant Professor

Dr. Chen provides statistical support on grant applications, progress reports, and annual reports; and offers statistical support and data management on large-scale sponsored research and dissemination projects associated with the HEALTH Research Institute. Additionally, she also contributes to the generation of research papers that arises from the data being collected in the HEALTH Research Institute. She has experience in applying advanced statistical and psychometric models in health-related research, social-behavioral science, and medical field studies. She also has experience consulting and working with large group of researchers, and enjoys collaborating with researchers from interdisciplinary fields. She earned her M.S. in Economics and her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology (Quantitative Methods) from University of Texas at Austin.

Mary Romero

Mary Romero

Sr. Graphic Designer

Mary Romero serves as the Sr. Graphic Designer for the HEALTH Research Institute. She is a creative innovator, branding strategist, and design specialist with more than 10 years of experience creating impactful visual brand solutions across numerous industry verticals. Prior to joining the HEALTH Research Institute Mary collaborated with high-profile clients and advertising agencies around the country as an Art Director and Graphic Designer. She pairs a broad range of relative leadership experience in brand strategy and development, graphic design, B2B/B2C marketing, with a deep understanding of the psychology behind design to create effective campaigns. Her professional experience includes Art Direction, Graphic Design and Photography. Mary earner her B.F.A in Graphic Design at the University of Florida, and graduated from a certificate program in Art Direction from Miami Ad School.


Dixie Sasu

Program Manager

Dixie Sasu serves as the Program Manager for the HEALTH Research Institute. She has experience consulting, developing, implementing, and evaluating research and community projects for non-profit and government organizations. Dixie has an interest in projects targeted toward disproportionately affected populations and prefers using a collective impact framework to create lasting social change. She also has experience managing a state grant that increased the quality of adolescent healthcare and quantity of adolescents receiving healthcare, and consults with public health entities to develop programs in targeted Houston communities. Dixie earned a Master’s in Public Health at the University of Texas Health Science Center-Houston and a Bachelor’s in Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin.