Professional Education


The BU ADC has a strong commitment to the training of Black and African American investigators, as well as other students and trainees dedicated to bridging the gap in knowledge about Alzheimer’s disease (AD) among African Americans. The BU ADC is assisted in these training efforts by Dr. Jonathan Woodson, Director of the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs at BU School of Medicine. We have successfully obtained several NIH awards to fund research training opportunities for trainees at various levels. For example, former trainee, Dapo Aikinleye, was awarded an NIH minority supplement grant through his work on the REVEAL study with Dr. Robert Green. Below, please read about our past and present trainees.

Past Trainees

Susan Lambe, EdM
Susan Lambe completed her master’s in education, with a concentration in Human Development and Psychology, at Harvard University. She is currently a fourth-year student at UMass Boston’s PhD Program in Clinical Psychology. From 2005-2006, Ms. Lambe served as the Research Coordinator for the ADMIRE study (PI: Dr. Angela Jefferson), which examined decision making abilities of individuals with mild cognitive impairment.

Ms. Lambe worked with Dr. Angela Jefferson as part of the Education & Outreach Core. During the summer of 2008, she helped to develop and administer the HOPE Participant Satisfaction Survey, which examined HOPE participants’ perceptions of and reasons for participating in the HOPE study. Additionally, Ms. Lambe coordinated focus groups aimed at learning about Black elders’ perceptions and understanding of brain donation. From these two projects, Susan is contributing to the Education Core team by enhancing the ADC’s educational materials and practices.

“Through my experiences at the BU ADC, I have been able to contribute to the development and implementation of a variety of projects aimed at improving resources for and about Black elders and Alzheimer’s disease. I have gained many opportunities at the BU ADC that would have otherwise been unavailable to me — including co-authoring manuscripts and an NIH grant application — while addressing an important public health concern.”

Ms. Lambe research interests include: healthcare/mental healthcare disparities among racial/ethnic minorities; racial/ethnic identity development; and experiences of individual and institutional racism/discrimination.

Dapo Aikinleye, MPH
Dapo Aikinleye graduated with honors from Union College, where he double majored in Biology and Sociology. In 2005, Mr. Aikinleye received a master’s in public health (MPH), with concentrations in Epidemiology/Biostatistics and Social/ Behavioral Sciences, from Boston University’s School of Public Health. As an MPH student, Mr. Aikinleye served as a BU ADC research assistant, where he worked alongside Drs. Robert Green and Scott Roberts. Along with Dr. Roberts, Mr. Aikinleye developed a telephone survey (“Treatment and Illness Perceptions Study”) that investigated racial differences between White and Black individuals in attitudes, beliefs, and concerns about AD. Additionally, Mr. Aikinleye was awarded an NIH minority supplement grant to advance his research training through his work on the REVEAL study with Dr. Green. Through his work at the BU ADC, Mr. Aikinleye also:

  • Organized and conducted a focus group for first-degree relatives and caregivers of patients with AD;
  • Spoke before a congressional hearing to advocate for additional funding for research to better understand and decrease the prevalence of AD;
  • Presented research about AD and genetic testing, including the International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease in Philadelphia, PA;
  • Served as an expert panelist on Boston Neighborhood network Channel 23.

“My work at the BU ADC has provided me with opportunities to publish groundbreaking research on Alzheimer’s disease and genetic testing, and I also produced a Master’s-level paper and technical report through Boston University entitled ‘Alzheimer’s disease in African Americans’. I received my Master’s from Boston University May of 2005 and was encouraged by my colleagues at BU to pursue a PhD, which I am currently doing.”

Mr. Aikinleye is pursuing his doctorate in public health, with a focus on infectious disease, at SUNY Albany’s Graduate School of Public Health. He is also a research scientist for the New York State’s Department of Health’s Bureau of HIV/AIDS Epidemiology.

Vanessa Holley, MPH
Vanessa Holley received a Bachelor of Arts from Hampton University in Political Science. In May 2009, Ms. Holley completed her master’s degree in Public Health at Boston University, with an emphasis on Health Policy and Management. While a graduate student at Boston University, she worked with Dr. Angela Jefferson and the BU ADC Education & Outreach Core as a practicum student. She conducted interviews with African American HOPE Study participants to assess their reasons for participation in BU ADC research efforts. She also provided recommendations to the BU ADC to enhance its recruitment and retention of Black participants.

“My BU ADC experience allowed me to gain an understanding of African Americans perceptions of health care. Recognizing minorities’ attitudes toward health care will help to shape the way in which we develop and implement health care quality measures and programs to fit the needs of racial and ethnic minorities.”