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DESP Program Officers


Dr. Tarlov is the Director of the Division of Extramural Science Programs. Learn more about Elizabeth Tarlov, PhD, RN.

Dr. Duval is Deputy Director of the Division of Extramural Science Programs.

Dr. Mary Elizabeth (Libbey) Bowen is a Program Director with interests in health equity and how social determinants of health affect life course trajectories and health outcomes. As a social gerontologist, Dr. Bowen’s program of research focused on maintaining the physical and cognitive function of vulnerable older adults across care settings and in the community. She utilized sensor technology methods and measures to continuously monitor health for early signals of changes in functioning amenable to intervention and significantly advanced the science in the area of predictive health analytics. 

Dr. Bowen received her PhD in sociology, with a specialization in population health and aging, from Virginia Tech. Following her doctoral work, she completed an AHRQ-funded postdoctoral fellowship in health disparities at the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University and a patient-safety fellowship at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital. Prior to joining NINR, Dr. Bowen served as a research scientist in the Department of Veterans Affairs, most recently at the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz Veterans Affairs Medical Center. During this time she also held a joint appointment as a tenured Associate Professor in the School of Nursing at the University of Delaware.

Dr. Bynum is a sociobehavioral scientist who joins NINR from the Center for Scientific Review where she served as a Scientific Review Officer in the Division of AIDS, Behavioral and Population Sciences. Prior to NIH service, Dr. Bynum was an assistant professor at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. As an academician, her research program focused on addressing the unequal burden of cancer and other diseases among minoritized populations. More specifically, her work involved understanding and intervening upon the lived experiences that produce health inequities and perpetuate health disparities. These factors centered on literacy and language, geography, historical mistrust, healthcare system failures, and other social factors.

Dr. Bynum holds a BS in psychology from Florida A&M University and a MPH and PhD in health promotion from the University of South Carolina at Columbia. Dr. Bynum also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in behavioral oncology at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute.

At NINR, Dr. Bynum oversees a research grant portfolio focused broadly on the social determinants of health and health equity; violence, adversity, trauma; and sexual health.


Dr. Godette-Greer is a public health researcher trained in the social and behavioral sciences. Here at NINR’s Division of Extramural Science Programs (DESP), her portfolio focuses on science viewed through two of our five lenses: Population and Community Health, and Prevention and Health Promotion. She also has extensive extramural experience across NIH and CDC, which are two operational divisions within the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The cross-cutting areas that guide her research portfolio are social epidemiology (including social determinants of health), prevention, health disparities and health equity.

As a Program Director, Dr. Godette-Greer has overseen research portfolios in both communicable and non-communicable diseases. Also, she oversaw an extensive grant portfolio focused broadly on the epidemiology and prevention of excessive alcohol use and its consequences. 

Prior to joining the NIH in 2011, Dr. Godette-Greer was tenure-track faculty at the University of Georgia, College of Public Health leading investigations focused on social determinants of health disparities in alcohol and other substance abuse.

Dr. Godette-Greer earned a PhD from UNC-Chapel Hill and completed post-doctoral fellowships at the Harvard School of Public Health, where she focused on health disparities and health equity, and the Boston University School of Public Health, where she focused on underaged and young adult drinking. Prior to embarking on a career in research, Dr. Godette-Greer also worked as a substance abuse treatment counselor, counselor for adults suffering from severe mental illness and HIV/AIDS outreach counselor for adolescents at high risk of HIV infection.


Dr. Karen Huss is a Health Scientist Administrator (Program Director) in NINR’s Division of Extramural Science Programs (DESP). Her portfolio encompasses research on the health needs of caregivers and individuals with chronic conditions and community-based interventions and technologies to promote health equity and optimize functional capabilities. Dr. Huss’ research has focused on prevention and health promotion, identifying and addressing social determinants of health and environmental factors in medically and socioeconomically minoritized populations. Her research interests address the unequal burden of illnesses and access to care among underrepresented and underserved communities.

Before her appointment at NINR, Dr. Huss served in the United States Army Nurse Corps in Korea, where she led the Renal Dialysis, Kidney Transplant & Intensive Care Unit. After receiving her PhD, Dr. Huss was a post-doctoral fellow, and then held the appointment of Associate Professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. She was responsible for designing, implementing, and evaluating clinical trials and conducting federally funded research addressing health challenges, particularly in minority children and older adults with asthma in inner city and rural communities.

Dr. Huss holds a BSN, MSN, and PhD in Nursing Science. She is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Asthma Allergy and Immunology, a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, and a Fellow of the American Heart Association.


Dr. Kehl is a Program Director at NINR. Dr. Kehl's research background focuses on improving preparation of families for care in the last phase of life in the home hospice setting. Previously, she was an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Nursing. Dr. Kehl is a Fellow in Palliative Care Nursing and holds BS, MS, and PhD degrees in Nursing.

Dr. Sylvia E. Long is a social scientist joining NINR from the National Cancer Institute, Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities. Before joining NCI, Dr. Long was the Communications Director in the Office of Clinical Research Training and Medical Education, NIH Clinical Center, and earlier, a Management Analyst at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Additionally, Dr. Long is currently a faculty member at the Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences (FAES) at the NIH, where she teaches Communication in Biomedical Science and Leading with Emotional Intelligence.

Dr. Long received her PhD in Communication Studies from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where her research explored associations between perceived credibility, health belief, and willingness to comply with nonpharmaceutical intervention recommendations. Her findings yielded the development of the Perceived Credibility and Severity (PERCS) Model of Compliance, which she continues to employ in health communication and social determinants of health (SDOH) research.

Dr. Karen Marie McNamara is a Program Director in the Division of Extramural Science Programs (DESP) at NINR. Before joining NINR, Dr. McNamara was an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellow in the Office of Health Services Research & Development at the Veterans Health Administration. Her work included supporting projects on Provider Burnout, Pandemic Disrupted Care, and Veteran Engagement in research.

Dr. McNamara received her PhD in anthropology with a specialization in medical anthropology from Syracuse University. She also completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the National University of Singapore and conducted research at a hospital in South India as a Fulbright-Nehru Senior Scholar. Her research in South and Southeast Asia, explored the social and structural determinants of health in relation to the practice of traditional medicine, the regional medical tourism industry, and equitable access to care. Her work has focused on understanding the lived experiences of patients and their caregivers as they navigate multiple health systems and policies, languages, health beliefs, and geographies of care.

Dr. Perruccio comes to NINR from NIDCR, where she served as a Scientific Review Officer. Prior to that, Liz worked as a Program Director at the NCI in the Center to Reduce Health Disparities, where she was responsible for the oversight of national research programs that: (1) advanced biological, epidemiological, clinical, and behavioral research to improve cancer control/prevention efforts and promoted health equity; (2) coordinated research, training, and outreach efforts for cancer disparities research, and (3) increased the inclusion/diversity of underrepresented populations and investigators in biomedical research via the CPACHE Program. 

Liz began her career as a Regulatory Scientist at the FDA before joining NCI in 2010. She holds a PhD in Cell Biology from New York Medical College and completed NIH post-doctoral fellowships at the NCI and NEI. She is passionate about advancing health equity and in 2018 was awarded the NCI Director's Award for NCI Champions-Leading Diversity for her efforts. 

At NINR, Liz will oversee a health disparities research program and work on the NINR training program.

Dr. Julia Seay is a Program Director at NINR. Dr. Seay’s prior research focused on addressing health disparities within underserved communities, as well as on improving psychological and behavioral health outcomes among active-duty service members. Before joining NINR, Dr. Seay was a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Miami and a Research Psychologist at the Naval Health Research Center. Dr. Seay received her PhD in Psychology from the University of Miami.


Dr. Yoon is a Program Director overseeing a portfolio focused on women's health and data science. Dr. Yoon completed post-doctoral training at the National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke, served as a coordinator in the National Stroke Registry at CDC, and was an epidemiologist in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey at the National Center for Health Statistics. Most recently she was a Scientific Review Officer at NIH's Center for Scientific Review, where she was responsible for the Nursing and Related Clinical Science study section. Dr. Yoon holds a BSN and a PhD (clinical epidemiology).


Dr. Akubu-Odero joins the NINR as a Presidential Management Fellow (PMF). At NINR she is focusing on the impacts of social determinates of health and health equity in pain management and rural health in the US.  

Dr. Akubu-Odero holds a DrPH from the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health at the Georgia Southern University. Her doctoral dissertation was a large-scale ecological study evaluating the association between state public health funding and population health outcomes and the role of state public health funding in reducing state-level health disparities while focusing on social determinants of health through a socio-ecological lens.

Prior to joining NINR, Dr. Akubu-Odero completed her preceptorship at the CDC’s National Comprehensive Cancer Control Program (NCCCP) as a health analyst on opioid misuse and liver cancer incidence rates in the United States. Dr. Akubu-Odero’s prior research was on Ethical Approaches to Mandating Influenza Vaccinations for Local Health Department Workforce in Georgia. She also worked as a researcher on a strategic plan at a non-profit (From surviving to thriving), a Breast Cancer Program for minority women who are breast cancer survivors of age 50+.

Additionally, Dr. Akubu-Odero conducted research with the University of Washington and Kenyatta National Hospital on the outcomes of pre-exposure prophylaxis to prevent HIV acquisition in discordant couples in Kenya, and a research and training program on ending Multidrug-resistant Tuberculosis in Kenya. 

In addition to her DrPH, Dr. Akubu-Odero earned an MS in Animal Science and an MPH from Fort Valley State University, an MBA from Kennesaw State University, and a BS in Medical Microbiology from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.

Dr. Denic-Roberts joined NINR in 2022 as a targeted Presidential Management Fellow (PMF). At NINR, she hopes to use her fellowship to bridge nursing research with environmental health. Prior to joining NINR, Dr. Denic-Roberts worked as a research associate at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS). There, she worked on various environmental and occupational epidemiology studies focusing on persistent organic pollutant exposures and cancer.

Dr. Denic-Roberts holds a PhD in epidemiology from the School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh. Her doctoral research focused on crude oil and oil dispersant exposures and longer-term neurological, endocrine, and metabolic health outcomes among the U.S. Coast Guard responders to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

In 2014, Dr. Denic-Roberts completed an MSc in epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh, where her research focused on complications among individuals with childhood-onset type 1 diabetes. Dr. Denic-Roberts also holds a BSN from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and has clinical experience as a nurse.