Medical & Clinical Psychology: Sbrocco Lab

Graduate Students

Dustin Burrell

Dustin Burrell - Graduate Research Assistant Mr. Burrell is a second-year graduate student and member of the USUCHD research team. In addition to his involvement in the center’s various projects, Dustin serves as a co-leader in a parental intervention study targeting childhood obesity in the African-American community. Dustin graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from East Carolina University.

Captain Jennifer Henderson Photo

Captain Jennifer Henderson

Captain Jennifer Henderson, M.S.I.R. (2009) - Fifth year student on internship in Clinical Psychology. Jennifer received her Bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of West Florida in 2002. Jennifer received her commission as an U.S. Air Force Intelligence Officer in 2002. Jennifer also received a Master's of Science in International Relations from Troy University in 2009 where her primary research focus was Russian international politics. Prior to attending USUHS, she served at the 609th Air Intelligence Squadron and deployed to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar in 2005. Jennifer's research at USUHS has focused on weight control behaviors and women's health issues. She is beginning her thesis research examining maternal biopsychosocial risk factors associated with infant mortality. Her clinical interests include women's and children's health, secondary traumatic stress, and cognitive behavioral therapy. She can be contacted at

Dawn Johnson

Dawn Johnson, Capt - Graduate Research Assistant Captain Dawn Johnson is a first year student (U.S. Air Force officer) working towards a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Dawn earned her Bachelor’s degree in biology from Wartburg College and her Master of Arts in counseling licensure from Denver Seminary. Prior to entering the Air Force, Dawn clinically worked with women and children escaping domestic violence and homelessness. She led recovery groups for men and women struggling with addictions. She has experience working with patients in hospice care and youth who are incarcerated. Dawn also did some inpatient and outpatient work with veterans after completing her Master’s degree. She commissioned into the Air Force through Officer Training School. She worked for five years as a Special Agent in the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. She mainly worked criminal and counterintelligence cases. At her last assignment, she worked in the HQ Warfighter Division. Her primary research interests include pregnancy and postpartum emotional well-being and physical fitness as it relates to obesity and disordered eating. She is currently working on the Prevention of Obesity in Military Communities-Mother/Baby study and examining Command and social support factors in the prevention of excess weight gain during pregnancy. She is also interested in looking at how these factors affect the ability to lose the. weight gained in pregnancy and how they affect emotional well-being.

Sarah J. McCreight

Sarah J. McCreight, M.A., CPT - Graduate Research Assistant Sarah J. McCreight is a third year student (U.S. Army officer) working towards a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Sarah earned her Bachelor’s degree in psychology from East Carolina University. in 2001. She enlisted in the U.S. Army as an intelligence analyst before entering the Army “Green to Gold” program. Sarah commissioned as a U.S. Army Signal Officer in 2006 and served as a Signal Platoon Leader, Company Executive Officer, and Battalion S6. She served in Afghanistan in 2009. Sarah received a Master of Arts in clinical psychology from East Carolina University. in 2010. Sarah’s primary research interests include weight management and physical fitness among pregnant populations, especially those serving on active duty in the military. She is also a collaborator in the Prevention of Obesity in Military Communities program project grant, and has growing interest in public health policy. Her clinical interests include health behavior change, strength and resilience in military families, and stress and emotional conflict among active duty military mothers. She is currently completing her thesis on evaluating the Army Pregnancy and Postpartum Physical Training (P3T) Program at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and beginning her dissertation using the findings from her thesis to improve data collection for Army-wide program evaluation of the Army P3T Program. She is serving as the Army Student Representative for the 2013-2014 academic year. Omni Cassidy, M.S., Ph.D. Candidate – Graduate Research Assistant Ms. Cassidy is a second year graduate student in the Medical and Clinical Psychology dual-track program. In 2010, she received her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Women and Gender Studies from Washington University in St. Louis. As an undergraduate, Omni volunteered with the Weight Management and Eating Disorders Program. She also worked as an intern at the Jackson Heart Study in Jackson, MS, investigating African Americans with Type II diabetes. Before beginning her graduate studies, Omni worked as a research assistant at the NIH and USUHS on a study examining the effect of interpersonal psychotherapy on the prevention of excess weight gain in adolescent girls and also coordinated a pilot study to adapt interpersonal psychotherapy to be culturally appropriate in preventing excess weight gain in racial/ethnic minority groups. She is interested in factors that may promote disordered eating and excessive weight gain in African American youth and how such research may be used to inform policy.

Research Assistants

Dillon Kayser

Dillon Kayser, B.A. - Research Assistant Mr. Kayser’s responsibilities include communicating with and recruiting participants for the Family Intervention Study of Health (FISH), analyzing data, and supporting the staff of the weight management study at the Center. He completed his Bachelors of Arts degree (B.A.) in Psychology at James Madison University, where his research focused on diversity issues in college settings.

Angelo Collington

Angelo Collington - Research Assistant Mr. Collington is a member of the USUCHD research team. His duties include coordinating and mentoring to our Summer Undergraduate Research Internship Program (S.U.R.I.P), as well as serving as a resident videographer to Glorifying Our Spiritual and Physical Existence for Life (G.O.S.P.E.L).

Administrative Staff

Melissa Bradshaw

Melissa Bradshaw - Program Manager Ms. Bradshaw's role as Program Manager is to provide organization and administrative oversight to continue expanding the Center's objectives. Her primary focus is on resource and budget management. Her expertise will ensure further success of the Center's mission to provide health education and public awareness within the minority health and health disparities community. Ms. Bradshaw is currently preparing for her Program Management Professional Certification exam and plans to enroll in Fall 2011 for a Master's of Science in Management with a focus on Nonprofit and Association Management at the University of Maryland University College.

Current and Recent Lab Activities:

  • The Sbrocco lab runs on-going weight loss groups for overweight and obese African-American women. Over the past fifteen years the Sbrocco lab has developed Behavior Choice Treatment (BCT), a group-based cognitive-behavioral weight loss treatment which helps individuals make moderate and sustainable healthy lifestyle changes. BCT has been shown to promote sustained weight loss over the course of a twelve-month post-treatment follow-up. Most recently, the lab has conducted BCT weight loss groups in predominantly African-American church settings as part of a community-based participatory research model. In addition, family members are included in the current study to help determine if changing the eating patterns of a woman in the household influences the eating behaviors of other household members. Over 15 BCT groups have been conducted over the years and the Sbrocco lab has recently started a BCT group at Reid Temple AME Church in Glenn Dale, Maryland.
  • The Sbrocco lab completed a focus group study in June 2009 which was intended to help understand factors associated with exercise behavior in African-American women. A total of six focus groups were conducted with women from a wide range of demographic variables including age and exercise frequency. A number of significant factors were found to influence exercise tendencies, including concepts of "exercise," lifestyle changes over the course of the lifespan, and issues specific to African-American women, such as concerns about ruining expensive hair treatments. The findings of these focus groups will be used to implement an exercise component into the existing BCT protocol.