Faculty

Wizdom Powell, Ph.D.
Director

Wizdom Powell is Director of the Health Disparities Institute and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at UConn Health. Formerly, Dr. Powell was Associate Professor at Health Behavior at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health and Research Associate Professor in UNC’s Department of Social Medicine. Dr. Powell also served as Associate Director of the Center for Health Equity Research, faculty member at UNC’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Director of the UNC’s Men’s Health Research Lab.

In 2011-2012, she was appointed by President Obama to serve as a White House Fellow to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. In this role she provided subject matter expertise on Military Mental Health (e.g., PTSD, Suicide, and Military Sexual Trauma). Her community-based research focuses on of the role of modern racism and gender norms on African American male health outcomes and healthcare inequities. She has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters including ones in the American Journal of Public Health, Journal of General Internal Medicine, Behavioral Medicine, and Child Development.

In addition to being a White House Fellow, she is an American Psychological Association (APA) Minority, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Kaiser Permanente Burch, Institute of African American Research, and Ford Foundation Fellow who received a Ph.D. and M.S. in Clinical Psychology and M.P.H. from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. She serves as chair of the APA’s workgroup on Health Disparities in Boys and Men and co-chair of the Health Committee for President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative in Durham County.

In recognition of her public service to boys and men, she received the American Psychological Association’s (D51) Distinguished Professional Service Award. In 2015, she received the prestigious Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prize for Outstanding Artistic and Scholarly Achievement by Young Faculty. Dr. Powell was awarded a 2017 academic writing residency at the Bellagio Center from the Rockefeller Foundation. During this highly competitive residency, Dr. Powell will work with other global leaders on strategies for transforming social and healthcare system landscapes to address gendered health Inequities among vulnerable males. Most recently, she was selected as a Health Innovator Fellow by the Aspen Institute.

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Dr. Victor VillagraVictor Villagra, M.D., FACP

Associate Director

Dr. Victor Villagra, M.D., FACP, is currently the president of Health & Technology Vector, Inc. The company’s mission is to decrease, postpone, or eliminate the physical, emotional and financial burden of illness among all peoples. His extensive background includes his responsibilities as the national medical director and vice president of Quality and Medical Strategy for CIGNA HealthCare, as well as medical director Continuous Health Improvement Program for Geisinger Health Plan.

Dr. Villagra’s position involves investigating and recommending a plan for the UConn Health Clinical and Translational Science Institute, Community Consortium (Area III) to be the region’s Center for Innovation in Disease Management (IDM). He will also be investigating and recommending a plan for collaboration with local industry, state agencies, and the Center for IDM.

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Judith Fifield, Ph.D.Judith Fifield
Professor

Dr. Judith Fifield is an Emeritus Professor in Family Medicine and the Interim Vice Chair of Family Medicine at UConn Health.  She was the founding director of the Ethel Donaghue Center for Translating Research into Practice and Policy (TRIPP) from 2006-2016.  She was also the founding co-director of the UConn Health Disparities Institute (HDI) with Dr. Salome Raheim and then HDI Director from 2016-2017.

Dr. Fifield is a medical sociologist whose research has focused on translating research into practice and into the community with a particular focus on reducing health disparities.  She was instrumental in founding the CT Institute for Translating Research into Practice (CICATS) and leading the CTSA effort at UConn Health from 2008-2012.  She has been the PI, Co-PI and Co-I on numerous federal and local foundation grants on translational topics from childhood asthma treatment (UCAN Control Asthma) to overweight and obesity programming for African American women through the church (SisterTalk) to implementing the Patient Centered Medical Home in Practices across New York City in collaboration with EmblemHealth.

Dr. Fifield is retired and lives with her husband Dr. James Lyons on the Farmington River and in addition to her position at UConn Family Medicine she is pursuing her passions for ongoing implementation of SisterTalk in New York City, studying the cello, rowing crew and fly-fishing on the Farmington River.

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