What is your current position and area of research?
I am a Professor of Psychology and also of Afroamerican and African Studies. I am also a Research Professor at the Institute for Social Research. A major area of my research focuses on elucidating conceptual and empirical models of human behavior in the interface between physical and mental health.
What led you to this field/area of research?
My long term research on disparities in health and social and economic circumstances among ethnic and racial groups.
Where do you see your field progressing over the next 10 years?
A continuing issue in my field has been gaining an understanding of how (exactly) the social and material environments influence the biological underpinnings of human functioning. We are making good progress on this question in a variety of fields (neuroscience, epigenetics, gene expression by environment interaction, etc.)
If you could meet anyone from history who would it be and why?
I have been very fortunate. I have had the opportunity to meet a large number of historic figures (for example Muhammad Ali, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, etc.). I would love to meet Einstein and Jesus – Einstein because of his fundamental contributions to our understanding of the material universe and Jesus because of his contributions to elucidating pathways for understanding our spiritual and non-material existence.
What is the best part of being on the board?
I love interacting and working with the broad array of very smart scientists and dedicated staff working on question #3 above.
What is the greatest book you ever read and why?
I have to mention two – fiction it was Catch-22 and non-fiction the Bible. Catch-22 because Joseph Heller exposes the abject absurdity of human institutions; and, the Bible because of its tremendous sweep of human religious history