People



Dr. Linda Cameron

Professor

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Linda Cameron is Professor of Psychology at University of California, Merced. Her research focuses on developing health communications and psychosocial interventions for individuals who have or are at risk for illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. This research takes a self-regulation perspective by evaluating the cognitive and emotional processes influencing health behaviors and illness experiences. She focuses on both theoretical and applied aspects of issues in order to address the parallel goals of developing theoretically-based interventions and refining psychological theory. Her research has included the development and evaluation of psychosocial support programs for women with breast cancer, therapeutic writing techniques for stress management, and exercise therapy as an aid for smoking cessation



Martha P. Blanco

Research Assistant

Martha received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Merced in 2016. Her work mainly focuses on the adaptation and evaluation of programs that assist people who desire guidance and support as they practice healthy behaviors such as becoming more physically active. In conjunction with other lab members, Martha collaborates closely with the National Cancer Institute to make text-based programs appropriate and culturally relevant for the Hispanic and Latino community. Martha is interested in applying health related interventions to improve the quality of life of people in the workplace. During Fall 2015 she studied abroad in Ankara, Turkey where she took courses related to her field of interest: Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Cognitive and Social Development, and Human Resources Management.



Cory Wilson

Research Assistant

Cory is a third year Psychology Major with a minor in Cognitive Science at the University of California, Merced. She holds an Associate’s Degree in Psychology, and plans to continue her education with a graduate program in 2018. Her main research interests lie in Health Psychology, Neuropsychology, and Psychoneuroimmunology. She currently works as a research assistant in the Health Communications and Interventions Lab at UC Merced.



Bobby Lui

Research Assistant

Bobby is a fourth year political science and psychology major with a minor in writing at the University of California, Merced. He plans on obtaining a career in the law field and is interested in cognitive factors that affect behaviors and actions of individuals. He currently works as an undergraduate research assistant in the Health Communications Interventions Lab assisting graduate students and Dr. Cameron with experimental studies and ongoing projects. Prior to the HCI lab, Bobby has worked as a research assistant in the Stress & Health Lab under the direction of Dr. Matthew Zawadzki.



Sara Arellano

Research Assistant

Sara Arellano will obtain her B.S. in Microbiology/Immunology with a minor in Psychology in May 2017. She is currently a research assistant at the Health Communications and Interventions Lab where she assists graduate students with their projects.  Sara plans to obtain an Emergency Medical Technician degree from Merced College and continue working at the HCI lab. Soon after, she plans on applying to a Nutrition/Public Health program where she hopes to apply the skills learned at the HCI Lab.



Leslie Chan

Research Assistant

Leslie is a fourth year undergraduate student at University of California, Merced majoring in human biology with a minor in economics. She is interested in understanding how a community’s background from culture to socio-economic status influences health behaviors as well as understanding the process in deriving interventions that would promote a healthier lifestyle. Leslie has assisted Dr. Linda Cameron in her research on a text-based program with National Cancer Institute, and is currently assisting graduate student Paul Carroll in his restorative justice in academic institutions dissertation project.



Cristal Urias

Research Assistant

Cristal is a senior undergraduate student and will receive her B.A. in psychology this upcoming May 2017. She is a transfer student from Bakersfield College where she earned her associates degree in psychology. Currently, she is a research assistant for two labs at the University of California, Merced. The knowledge she has gained in the Health Communications and Interventions Lab will aid her in the her future graduate studies.



Shirley Perez

Research Assistant

Shirley will earn her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of California, Merced in 2017. She studied abroad one year in Denmark at the University of Copenhagen in the Faculty of Psychology. She is currently working as a tutor for California Teaching Fellows Foundation at Buhach Colony High School, and as a supervisor for Ada Givens Elementary School. Currently, she is a research assistant at the Health and Communications Lab. Shirley plans to apply to a Master’s of Social Work graduate program, and eventually wishes to obtain a license as a Clinical Social Worker, specifically working with Child Protective Services.



Roberto Corona

Graduate Student

Roberto

Roberto Corona is a teaching fellow and doctoral candidate in health psychology. He is interested in understanding how emotions, culture, coping style, and illness representations influence health decision making such as treatment adherence, screening, diet and exercise, and coping with a chronic disease. He is also interested in identifying factors related to health disparities including race and ethnicity, language, self and emotion regulation, and other psychosocial and cultural factors.  Roberto has worked extensively on research assessing the cognitive and executive functioning of dementia patients and the related caregiver burden and distress; stress, coping, and sleep quality within prostate cancer survivors; and collaborated as a research consultant with researchers from the National Cancer Institutes on a text message based intervention promoting healthy diet, increased physical activity, and smoking cessation.  Lastly, Roberto is passionate about teaching, mentoring, and advising undergraduate students.



Arturo Durazo

Graduate Student

Arturo Durazo

Focused in Medical and Cognitive Anthropology, Arturo received his B.A. in Social Sciences at University of California at Irvine in 2006. Between then and entering his doctoral program in 2011 at University of California at Merced, he has held roles in the public health, health care delivery, and academic sectors addressing public policy, health communications, and health decision making.

Currently a PhD candidate, he focuses on psychosocial factors that promote protective behaviors among those with disproportionate burdens of illness associated with membership in low socio-economic and ethnic minority groups.   Under the supervision of Linda Cameron and guided by self-regulation theory, he examines how illness and risk beliefs, particularly those relating to fatalistic control beliefs, influence emotional reactions such as illness worry and, in turn, either motivate or deter protective health behaviors.  These findings are used to guide the development of tailored health communications to promote adaptive health decision making. His current research includes projects healthy Hispanic/Latino participants who are at risk of diabetes, including the development of culturally appropriate mHealth programs for promoting healthy diet and physical activity. In his dissertation research, he is focusing on promoting healthy behaviors among cancer survivors.



Paul Carroll

Graduate Student

Paul Carroll 2

Paul is a graduate student in the field of Health Psychology and Public Health. His research interests include policies and interventions that have a positive effect on public mental and physical health



Tenie Khachikian

Graduate Student

Tenie is a doctoral candidate in Health Psychology at the University of California, Merced where she works with Dr. Linda Cameron in the Health Communications and Interventions Research Group. She received her B.A. in Sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles and her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Southern California. Her research interests focus on exploring parental influence on alleviating health risk behaviors in their children, such as substance use and unhealthy eating. This research takes into account both parent and child psychological factors. In her dissertation research, she plans to develop and implement health communications to motivate parent and child discussions on health-risk behaviors, in an effort to lessen these behaviors.  



William Kyle Hamilton

Graduate Student

William Kyle Hamilton

William is a Health Psychology graduate student at the University of California, Merced. His research focuses on Adverse Childhood Experiences, and has gained expertise conducting studies through Amazon Mechanical Turk. He earned his B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Political Science from the University of California, Merced in 2012. William serves as a board member for the Alumni Association on campus, as well as a board member for the Merced County Advisory Board on Alcohol and Drug Problems.