Research & Evaluation Department
Miriam Vega, Ph.D. - Director of Research and Evaluation
Dr. Vega is the head of the Research and Evaluation department and is also the principal investigator on numerous research projects at the Commission. Dr. Vega has a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley, and a BA from Vassar College in Psychology. Immediately after her Ph.D, she completed a two-year Prevention Fellowship at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, sponsored by the Association of Teachers of Preventive Medicine and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A majority of her Social Psychological research has focused on the issues of interpersonal communications, stigma, the self-report methodology, culture, social marketing, and health. Some specific research programs include: assessing the impact of stigma on STD transmissions and prevention, assessing the impact of stigma on adherence to medication regimen, identifying disclosure scripts, understanding changes in self-identity after testing positive for an HIV or other STD, and improving social marketing techniques.
Andrew Spieldenner, Ph.D. - Deputy Director of Research and Evaluation
Dr. Spieldenner is Deputy Director of Research and Evaluation and serves as co-investigator with Dr. Vega on various research and evaluation initiatives. Dr. Spieldenner has a Ph.D. in Health Communication from Howard University, MA from University of California, Los Angeles in Theater, and BA in Ethnic Studies from University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Spieldenner has held senior staff positions at the National Association of People with AIDS, the New York City Department of Health, and the Black AIDS Institute. He possesses over fifteen years of program implementation and capacity building experience. His research focuses on HIV-related stigma and disclosure, intercultural communication, health media, and sexuality. He was the primary author on the NYC DOH report, Assessing the HIV Prevention Needs of Immigrant Men who have Sex with Men, and third author on the Institute for Gay Men's Health assessment of HIV prevention for gay and bisexual men of color. He has produced and evaluated health media for HIV prevention, STI awareness, tobacco cessation, and West Nile Virus. Dr. Spieldenner was the PI on three cooperative agreements: two with the CDC, and one for the Office of Minority Health. All three projects built capacity in organizations and communities for people living with HIV/AIDS, especially around stigma reduction and increased HIV testing in high-risk communities.
Bertha Ramos - Data Manager
Bertha has been with the Latino Commission on AIDS since 2004, she obtained a Bachelors of Arts with a focus in Psychology from the City College of the City University of NY. Bertha has gained thorough knowledge of the programs offered at the Latino Commission on AIDS as she has transitioned from volunteer and to program coordinator of the Capacity Building Assistance program Manos Unidas. As program coordinator she filled many roles, but most importantly assisted with the program evaluation efforts, in which she worked passionately and diligently on managing data. In her new role as Data Manager she will focus on providing quality assurance of internal programmatic datasets and teach others about the importance of data collection.
Bethsy Morales-Reid - Program Director for Turning Research into Prevention, Director of National Hispanic Hepatitis Awareness Day
Bethsy Morales-Reid is a native New Yorker who received her BA in Political Science at Fordham University, and her MA in International Affairs at the New School University. Her studies have focused on the effect of conflict on human rights issues, specifically concerning refugees and public health. Bethsy has vast experience in working with communities of faith, HIV prevention, advocacy, program design and evaluation, and capacity building. She is an experienced trainer/facilitator and is a Lead Trainer for SISTA and Focus on Youth with IMPACT for the CDCís Diffusion of Effective Behavioral Interventions (DEBI) project. Currently, Bethsy is the Program Director for Turning Research into Prevention under RED and Director of National Hispanic Hepatitis Awareness Day. Her hobbies include playing the piano and capoeira.
Hector Luis Torres III - Research and Evaluation Department Data Coordinator
Hector Luis Torres III received his BA of Psychology at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA. His research interests are focused around issues relating to the ethnic identities of Latinos in the United States, human rights, immigration, and the health/social disparities that are faced by ethnic and sexual minorities. He has been working in the field of HIV/AIDS for 7 years, with experience in counseling / testing, case management, and program development and implementation. Currently, in addition to his main role as a data coordinator, he also serves as the program assistant for Para Ayudar; the Latino Commission on AIDSí substance use pre-treatment program.
Amber Channer - Research Data Coordinator
Amber Channer received a Bachelorís degree in Political Science and Pre-Medicine from Boston College, where she was heavily involved in minority health disparities research, student organizations, and community service. Prior to this position she was a Hispanic-Serving Health Professional Schools (HSHPS) fellow at the CDCís Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention in the Capacity Building Branch. Her research interests include international health policy and health disparities within African-American, and Hispanic/Latino communities. She enjoys playing tennis, swimming, traveling, and poetry.