Two Students in the Health Psychology and Clinical Science Area Received F31 Grants

Sugandha Gupta (right) and Jorge Cienfuegos Szalay (left)

Congratulations to Psychology Ph.D. students Sugandha Gupta and Jorge Cienfuegos Szalay, from the Health Psychology and Clinical Science training area, who received F31 grants.

Gupta was awarded an F31 grant from the National Institute of Minority Health Disparities (NIMHD/NIH), known as the Ruth Kirschstein Predoctoral Fellowship, for her dissertation, Social and cultural processes that impact physical activity among South Asian Americans managing hypertension: A mixed methods study.

South Asian Americans are uniquely affected by heart disease. Hypertension (also known as high blood pressure) is a risk factor for heart disease that is highly prevalent among South Asian Americans. Hypertension can be managed by engaging in physical activity, a modifiable health behavior. What factors promote physical activity? This dissertation project involves two complementary studies that will provide a rich, culturally-informed understanding of the individual, familial, and cultural determinants physical activity among South Asian Americans with uncontrolled hypertension. The exploration of multiple influences on physical activity will point to mechanisms of change that culturally-tailored health behavior interventions can target to reduce the burden of heart disease on South Asian Americans.

Gupta is a rising 6th-year doctoral student in the Health Psychology and Clinical Science training area of the Ph.D. Program in Psychology at the Graduate Center of The City University of New York. Broadly, her research interests are in understanding the social and cultural processes that shape health behaviors within the context of chronic illness. With the support of Professor Tracey Revenson, her mentor and adviser, she has conducted research on financial stress among young adults with cancer, the marginalization of women racial/ethnic minority researchers as scientific authors, and how an optimistic bias affects medical decisions. Her research applies a socio-ecological approach to the understanding of health and wellness among marginalized and understudied populations.   

Cienfuegos Szalay was awarded an NIH F31 grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse in support of his dissertation work, which aims to examine the joint impact of experiences of intersectional stigma and social anxiety in substance use and HIV risk for young Black and Latino sexual minority men. Utilizing a daily diary approach, this study will enhance the understanding of the nuanced effects of daily experiences of stigma associated to identities affected by marginalization and explores psychological mechanisms that may increase vulnerability to detrimental health outcomes.
 
Cienfuegos Szalay is a rising 5th-year doctoral student in the Health Psychology and Clinical Science training area of the Ph.D. Program in Psychology at the Graduate Center. Under the mentorship of Professor Jonathon Rendina, he studies the synergistic impact of structural and individual forms of stigma on the physical and mental health of sexual and gender minorities. As a clinical psychology extern, he has provided evidence-based, trauma-informed, and culturally-humble psychological interventions in both Spanish and English for populations affected by marginalization, including Latino, Afro-Latino, Black, and transgender youth and their families. He holds an undergraduate degree in psychology and a master’s in public health from the University of Puerto Rico.

 

Submitted on: JUL 13, 2021

Category: Psychology