CERC Faculty and Staff

Gloria B. Callwood, PhD, RN

Associate Professor of Nursing, University of the Virgin Islands

Principal Investigator and Director, Caribbean Exploratory NCMHD Research Center

Research Interests: The severely mentally ill; the elderly; health seeking behaviors
Grants: PI Export Center on Health Disparities; PI Workforce Development grant; STARs; Local Site Coordinator for the Virgin Islands Florida/Caribbean AIDS Education and Training Center
Nursing Education Focus: Psychiatric Mental Health
Educational Background: BSN, Hampton Institute; MN, University of Florida; Ph.D., University of Florida

Noreen Michael, PhD

Research Director

Dr. Noreen Michael is a career educational and health professional who currently serves as Research Director & Research Associate Professor at the Caribbean Exploratory (NIMHD) Research Center (CERC), School of Nursing, at the University of the Virgin Islands.  She currently serves as the lead PI on the Human Services Research Partnership: Virgin Islands Cooperative Agreement, a three-year grant award from the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families and Co-PI on the Comprehensive Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) being undertaken by the University of the Virgin Islands for the St. Thomas East End Medical Center Corporation.  Dr. Michael also serves as the Director of the Center's Research Core.

She has presented her scholarly work at local, regional, and national conferences and has published in journals such as Journal of Caribbean Studies, High School Journal, and The School Counselor.  She has served as Chief State School Officer for the US Virgin Islands; Director of Health Statistics for the V.I. Department of Health; and held faculty positions at Illinois State University, the Louisiana State University, and the University of Kansas.  She has also served as a part-time faculty at the University of the Virgin Islands and the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine campus.  She holds a B.A. in English/Secondary Education from the University of the Virgin Islands and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

She has served on more than 10 Boards and Commissioners and currently serves on the Virgin Islands Housing Authority Board (2013-2016).  Her community service includes membership on the Board of Directors of the St. Croix Chapter of the American Cancer Society, the Board of Directors for the Virgin Islands Community AIDS Resource, Inc (VICARE), and the St. Patrick's Girl Scouts, Troops 192/193, St. Croix, USVI.

Janis M. Valmond, MS, MPH, DrPH

Research Coordinator/Part-time Faculty-UVI College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences

Grants: Co-Investigator, Human Service Research Partnership: USVI; Principal Investigator, "Feasibility of using the School Physical Activity and Nutrition (SPAN) Survey with 8th grade students in the USVI".

Research Interests: Adolescent health surveillance and healthy lifestyle promotion, health disparities.
Educational background: BA (Biology), University (College) of the Virgin Islands; MS (Biology), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; MPH (Community Health Practice), and DrPH (Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences), School of Public Health, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

Alyssa C. Ryan

Project Coordinator for the Empowered Sisters Project (ESP) at CERC

Ms. Alyssa C. Ryan is a native of the island of Antigua, West Indies. She received her BA in Social Sciences from the University of the Virgin Islands and an MS in Human Services with specialization in Social and Community Services from Capella University. She is certified as a Certified Prevention Specialist through the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium and has a Certificate of Counseling in Contemporary Theory in Addictive Behavior from Capella University.

Her previous employment experiences include Project Coordinator of the UVI Substance Abuse & HIV/AIDS Prevention Program, Program Coordinator for the Family Resource Center, Inc. Alcohol and Marijuana Prevention Grant, the SAMHSA/CSAP Fellow for the US Virgin Islands, and Research Assistant for the Positive Changes Program/ The Village - Virgin Islands Partners in Recovery.

As a human services professional, she has a strong desire to help others and to make a difference. Her passion guides her to do big, bold, and great things for those in need across a variety of fields and disciplines. She understands the unique facets of working with humans either directly or for the greater good and value the human spirit and the ability for individuals, groups, agencies, or societies to make positive change. Her years of working with non-profit organizations, for-profit organizations and local and federal government agencies assisted in confirming her passion for working in a field which uniquely approaches the objective of meeting human needs through an interdisciplinary knowledge base, focusing on prevention as well as remediation of problems, and maintaining a commitment to improving the overall quality of life of service populations.

Sherrika Industrious-Phillips

Administrative Assistant

Ms. Sherrika Industrious-Phillips, a native born and raised Virgin Islander of St. Thomas is an Honor graduate of the illustrious Charlotte Amalie High School Class of 2008 and a more recent graduate of the University of the Virgin Islands, Class of 2015. She holds a BA in Social Sciences and an AAS in Criminal Justice. Prior to arriving at CERC Ms. Industrious-Phillips has completed two summer internships at the VI Supreme Court as a Bar Admissions Clerk. She then served at the Virgin Islands Police Department in several capacities within the Crime Prevention Bureau, ranging from Class President of the Police Cadet Program, an extension to the Governor's Security Team; the Police Cadet Program's Chief of Staff, an Administrative Aide, Office Manager; and a Cadet Instructor/Advisor and Panelist to several Community Town Hall Meetings with the STT, STJ and Water Island District. Leadership activities while at the VIPD were but not limited to becoming certified in Domestic Violence as early as 2009, a Stomp Out the Gun Violence Board Member, a Fighting Against Under Age Drinking Panelist, a Community Service Advocate and actively engaging as a Crime Prevention Specialist. On this accord, Ms. Industrious-Phillips has been awarded with the Exceptional Service Award several times directly from the Office of the Police Commissioner. In addition to the mentioned, she has escalated under hire from the Virgin Islands Housing Authority from the Paul L. Person Gardens Summer Enrichment Program Assistant Program Coordinator in 2015 to the 2016 PMP Summer Enrichment Program Coordinator in which her endeavours were recognized as extraordinary and successful. She is certainly honoured to continue her career advancement at the University of the Virgin Islands Caribbean Exploratory Center as it pertains to research that will benefit occupants of the Caribbean and furthermore include the US Virgin Islands population.

CERC Part Time Staff

Aletha Baumann, PhD

Investigator, Project I

Dr. Aletha Baumann is currently an Associate Professor of Psychology at the St. Croix campus of the University of the Virgin Islands, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in psychology and research and conducts program evaluation and research consultation for various governmental and private agencies.  She serves as the St. Croix coordinator for the Emerging Caribbean Scientists program funded by NIH.

Dr. Baumann is currently a co-investigator on an NIH grant to the UVI School of Nursing entitled: "An Integrated Risk Reduction Intervention for Abused African Caribbean Women."  She has previously served as the evaluator for several federally - and locally - funded programs: Minority Access to Research Careers funded by NIH; charitable contributions by beneficiaries of the VI Economic Development Authority; Communities-at-Risk after-school program funded by the US Department of Agriculture; and the employer and employee focus groups on health insurance coverage for a grant from HHS.

Immediately preceding her appointment at UVI in 2001, she was the Federal Programs Coordinator for the VI Department of Labor and prior to that held several positions in the New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities where she worked as a psychologist, chief of developmental services, director of design and delivery of community services to people with developmental disabilities in upstate New York, and the Assistant Commissioner for Policy, Planning and Service Design. Dr. Baumann was also the Executive Director of the Albany County Association for Retarded Citizens. Upon receiving her Ph.D. in experimental child psychology from the University of Iowa, Dr. Baumann served as an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point campus.

Desiree Bertrand, MSN, RN

Investigator, Project I

Mrs. Bertrand is a native of the U.S. Virgin Islands. She received her BSN from the University of the Virgin Islands (1995) and a MSN in Nursing Education from Midwestern State University (2002). Her previous nursing experience includes, acute care (Labor & Delivery, Postpartum, Nursery and Medical/Surgical), nursing education, travel nursing, home health care, military nursing (honorably discharged as a Captain), and nursing research.

Mrs. Bertrand is currently an Adjunct Faculty in the School of Nursing at the University of the Virgin Islands. Her research interests are women's health, health disparities, and intimate partner violence. She also has a joint appointment with the Caribbean Exploratory Research Center, University of the Virgin Islands, School of Nursing, where she is Co-Principal Investigator on the Empowered Sisters Project.

Ms. Bertrand is a recent recipient of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future of Nursing Scholars Program (2014).

Marilyn Braithwaite-Hall, PhD

Co-Principal Investigator, Project I

Dr. Marilyn Braithwaite-Hall is Co-Principal Investigator for the Empowered Sisters Project (ESP) at the Caribbean Exploratory Research Center (CERC), School of Nursing, University of the Virgin Islands.  She has previously provided counseling support and program development services at Tufts University, MIT and the US EPA.  She completed clinical training in outpatient settings and the VA healthcare system.  One of her research interests is how spirituality and faith influences life choices and adaptive behaviors for persons of African descent.  She has a deep commitment to working with women on the myriad issues impacting identity and wholeness.  Born in Jamaica, West Indies, she holds a BA from Tufts University, an EdM from Harvard University and a PhD in Counseling Psychology from Northeastern University.

Doris Campbell, PhD, ARNP, FAAN

Principal Investigator, Project I

Dr. Campbell has held academic appointments at Florida A & M University, the University of Florida (Gainesville) and the University of South Florida (Tampa), where she was a professor in the Colleges of Nursing and Public Health and Director of Diversity Initiatives for the USF Health Sciences Center-AHEC Program in the College of Medicine. A frequently sought out consultant on diversity initiatives and minority health disparities, Dr. Campbell is nationally recognized for her research and publications on women's and minority health, especially violence and abuse of African American women. She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and Professor Emeritus, University of South Florida.

La Verne Ragster, PhD

Director, Research Education and Training CORE

Dr. LaVerne Ragster is a retired Professor of Marine Biology and President Emerita of the University of the Virgin Islands.  She has conducted research and training in the areas of algal physiology and natural resource management, presented and published in the areas of plant physiology, natural resource management and training, and obtained training and practical experience in institutional and leadership development over a 35 year span.  She has served on national, Caribbean, and local boards and commissions addressing higher education, environmental justice, waste management, natural resource management, fisheries, ocean observing systems, and sustainable development.  Her current scholarly work at the UVI Caribbean Exploratory (NIMHD) Research Center addresses climate change adaptation and linkages to public health in the Caribbean.  Dr. Ragster has been recognized and honored by Virgin Islands organizations, national organizations, higher education institutions, and the President of the United States for her teaching, work in conservation, leadership and community service.

Doris Battiste, PhD


Dr. Doris C. Battiste has devoted all of her 30+ professional years to teaching, counseling and student development. She began her educational career teaching at the junior and senior high school levels in the Virgin Islands and then moved on to higher education, working specifically in Student Affairs.  As former Associate Chancellor for Student Affairs, Associate Campus Administrator for Student Affairs, and Dean of Student at the UVI, she had oversight for health services; student housing and activities; counseling and career services; and new student orientation.  She devoted her career in higher education to improving the lives of young people through innovative co-curricula programs, activities, and services.  In recent years, she has successfully secured federal grants and sub-contracts to increase awareness of substance abuse, HIV/AIDS and hepatitis among the college-age population.  She is currently the Principal Investigator and Project Director for the recently awarded grant: UVI Substance Abuse and HIV/AIDS Prevention Program, with a staff of four employees, and works closely with Community Based Organizations.  PI/PD for the Prevention Program, she has seen an increase in student participation and awareness of drug use on both campuses.  She also has presented papers on HIV/AIDS and Substance Abuse, as well as Mentoring Strategies at conferences on the U.S. mainland, the USVI, Jamaica, WI, and the Virgin Islands, UK.

She received her Bachelor's degree in Secondary Education from the University of the Virgin Islands, a Master's Degree in Counseling from Howard University and her Doctorate in Higher Education Administration from The George Washington University, Washington, DC in 1991.

For her, the quest for learning is continuous. She believes that in life, one must find his/her passion, pursue it and use their talents to make a difference in the community. She lives by her favorite quote from Winston Churchill: "You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give".