• Nishita (Nishi) Dsouza is a researcher dedicated to promoting livable and equitable communities. She has extensive research experience in academic, nonprofit, and public sector settings on projects related to built environment and health, obesity prevention, access to health and social care, implementation science, and behavioral economics. Dr. Dsouza’s research portfolio centers around examining and promoting livable policies, systems, and environments for minoritized populations, and encouraging the dissemination of evidence-based findings for the translation of research across sectors for primary prevention purposes. In her dissertation research, she created and validated a new statewide measure of livability and conducted a multilevel analysis examining associations between livability and health in the state of Connecticut.

    Before coming to SIG, Dr. Dsouza was a doctoral research fellow with the Drexel University Urban Health Collaborative and worked with Latino communities in Philadelphia on an NIMHD-funded grant to improve access to care for co-occurring issues of substance use, HIV/AIDS, domestic violence, and mental health. Before that, Dr. Dsouza served as a Commissioner's Fellow at the Tennessee Department of Health with their Office of Primary Prevention, managing a grant program for built environment and health projects in rural areas and providing training and technical assistance for health department staff.

    Dr. Dsouza has a B.S. in Human Science from Georgetown University, an M.P.H specialized in Urban Design from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, and a Ph.D. in Community Health and Prevention from the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University

  • Dr. Nadja Eisenberg-Guyot is an abolitionist organizer and scholar whose work focuses on how trans and cis working class women who use drugs envision alternative models of healing, justice, substance use, and care against the carceral state and coerced rehabilitation. In their dissertation, Nadja used ethnographic and archival research and correspondence with currently incarcerated people to argue that so-called "alternatives-to-incarceration" programs are not alternatives to criminalization, but rather redistribute its institutions and effects. Nadja received their Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from the CUNY Graduate Center in 2022. In addition to their scholarly research, Nadja organizes for abolition and trans liberation in a variety of NYC movement spaces, including the Parole Preparation Project, Release Aging People in Prison, and the NYC Transformative Justice Hub. 

  • Kevonyah Edwards is a doctoral student at the Columbia University School of Social Work. Her research focuses on integrating culturally competent substance abuse treatment within correctional settings. Her interest broadly focuses on providing behavioral health services in both correctional and community correctional settings. Prior to coming to Columbia, Kevonyah was a clinical supervisor at Talbert House, a large non-profit organization in Cincinnati, Ohio,  She oversaw the daily clinical operations of a 146 jail-based substance abuse program in conjunction with the Hamilton County Justice Center. Kevonyah earned her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Cincinnati in 2019 where she was a PRI-Care Fellow where she worked to integrate behavioral health services into primary care. Keonyah graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2015 with a Bachelors of Science in Criminal Justice. Kevonyah is a Licensed Social Worker (LSW) and Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor (LICDC) in the state of Ohio.

    Linkedin link linkedin.com/in/kevonyah-e-b1507595.

  • Dr. Hall is a clinician and researcher whose work focuses on the social implications of substance use and the war on drugs for people across the developmental life course, particularly within contexts marked by social injustice and inequality. In her dissertation research, she explored the psychosocial experiences of parents caring for adolescent boys within a poor racially segregated Chicago neighborhood heavily burdened by the effects of hyper-incarceration. Prior to coming to SIG, Dr. Hall led the social work arm of the Drug Intelligence and Intervention Group (DIG) at the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner. In this role, she coordinated the team's efforts to support families who lost loved ones to fatal overdose, as well as collected qualitative data regarding social determinants of overdose. Previously, Dr. Hall worked as a Correctional Counselor at the New York City Department of Correction where she provided individual and group services to men awaiting trial in New York City jails. Dr. Hall received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago Department of Comparative Human Development and a Master's in Social Work from the Crown School of Social Work at the University of Chicago. She is licensed as a clinical social worker (LCSW) in Illinois and New York.

  • Dr. Dean Rivera is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and a Postdoctoral Research Scientist. Since 2003, Dr. Rivera’s research and professional experience have centered on system- and individual-level factors that affect the treatment and well-being of individuals and families affected by a substance use disorder (SUD). At Columbia University, Dr. Rivera is receiving advanced implementation science training while working on the HEALing Communities Study, which uses a multisystem and multilevel intervention model (Communities That Heal) to reduce opioid overdose deaths by 40% and increase access to naloxone and medication assisted treatment among 67 communities across four states.

    In Los Angeles, California, Dr. Rivera conducted a multisite research study with women’s SUD treatment providers (directors and clinicians) to generate a deeper understanding of how cross-system policies and clinical practices between problem-solving courts (PSC), child welfare (CW), and SUD treatment systems adversely affect treatment processes and outcomes. At the individual level, his research seeks to advance understanding of women’s SUD treatment retention and completion differences and associated psychological risk factors between the three primary SUD treatment entry pathways (PSC, CW, and self-referral).

    Through an implementation science framework, Dr. Rivera’s research focuses on multisystem and multilevel implementation of evidence-based interventions and practices that will improve SUD treatment delivery systems, treatment provision, and outcomes for individuals and communities affected by SUDs.

    Various grant, scholarship foundations, and universities have supported Dr. Rivera’s future such as the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) T32 Training Program on HIV and Substance Use in the Criminal Justice System, the University of Southern California Hamovitch Research Center, the California State University Chancellor’s Doctoral Incentive Program Fellowship, the California State University Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, the National Hispanic Science Network, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, the Hispanic Community Affairs Council, the National Association of Social Workers (Consuelo W. Gosnell Memorial Scholarship), and the CalSWEC II mental health stipend award.

    Dr. Dean Rivera has been honored and recognized by distinguished politicians, including California Attorney General Rob Bonta and California Congresswoman Barbara Lee (13th District) for his community engaged service and advocacy. Being further recognized by President Barack Obama, receiving the President’s Volunteer Service Award, reinforces Dr. Rivera’s passion and commitment to improving SUD treatment delivery systems, policies, and clinical practices through social work science.

    Dean holds a PhD from the University of Southern California, an MSW from California State University, East Bay, and a BA in Human Development from California State University, East Bay.


    Examination of referral source and retention among women in residential substance use disorder treatment: a prospective follow-up study

    Rivera, Dueker, & Amaro, 2020

    Examination of referral source and discharge outcomes among women in residential substance use disorder treatment

    Rivera, Dueker, Sanchez, & Amaro, 2021


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