Communicating Equity & Healing Justice (CEHJ) Research Lab

We provide mentorship/research training.
Email for more information.
CEHJ research lab is an inspiring collection of scholars. Our objective is to unpack the burdens of intersectional oppressions and their contributions to health inequities and disparities among Black women using interdisciplinary and communication-related theories, frameworks, and approaches.
CEHJ's mission is to:
  1. Engage with faculty and students and other stakeholders to achieve our objective.
  2. Translate research into meaningful health messages. 
  3. Conduct community outreach to promote health equity
  4. Promote healing justice through critical consciousness-raising and advocacy

In particular, the CEHJ research lab focuses on intersections between mental health, oppression, and psychosocial factors, highlighting health outcomes. Some of our current research addresses internalized racism and perinatal health, mental health and leadership, resilience and healing strategies. We are most interested in promoting Black women's agency, self-determination, and authenticity. 

Our research informs the development of deep structure interventions tailored to Black women. Our data is also used to assist health practitioners and providers to improve Black women's health care.

The CEHJ Research Lab is committed to building community-based and interdisciplinary collaborations with diverse community members, faculty, and other stakeholders to better understand and promote Black women's health and Black mental health. We are also committed to mentoring diverse students in research to provide opportunities for growth, realization, and collaborative teamwork.

Some of our current research includes:

Dr. Akila-Ka Ma’at, PI (publishes as Jennifer R. Warren)

  • Examining tobacco/nicotine misinformation among Black women (Funded)
  • Community assessment of internalized racism and stress among perinatal Black women (Funded)
  • Black women making sense of resilience in health: A grounded theory systematic literature review 
  • Developing a perinatal mobile application to improve Black birth outcomes

Dr. Tianna Cobb, PI

  • Memorable messages about mental health: Which messages do you pass on?
  • Black Twitter and #Blackmentalhealth: The framing of mental health messages shared on Black Twitter
  • Black women leaders combatting mental health stigma within Black churches

Research Assistants

Javonna Friend, Doctoral Candidate, Communication, CHSS

Breonna Riddick, Doctoral Candidate, Communication, CHSS

J. Robinson, Doctoral Candidate, Sociology, CHSS

Ebtesam Haque, Doctoral Candidate, INSPRE Lab, Computer Science

Ashley Dawson, MPH, CHHS

Briana Dawson, MPH, CHHS

Patrick Koiner, Undergraduate, History, CHSS

Melissa M. Thurmond, Undergraduate, Criminology & Psychology

Noora Alvi, Neuroscience, Undergraduate OSCAR Student

Diana J. Ferrufino, GMU Alumna

Sahana Natarajan, MA Biomedical Engineering, CAAHDER Research Program Associate

Faculty Collaborators

Dr. Karen Grace, School of Nursing, GMU

Dr. Brittany Johnson-Mattews, INSPIRE Lab, Computer Science, GMU

Dr. Amira Roess, Epidemiology and Community Health, CHHS, GMU

Dr. Mignonne Guy, Center for the Study of Tobacco Products, VCU

Dr. Andrew Barnes, Center for the Study of Tobacco Products, VCU