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Who Is Involved

 Leading the Discovery of Treatments for Alzheimer’s Parkinson’s and Other Brain Disorders

Lead Scientific Investigators

dr. monica rivera mindt
Professor of Psychology * Latin American Latino Studies Institute * African & African American Studies, Fordham University; Joint Appointment in Neurology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Monica Rivera Mindt, Ph.D., A.B.P.P. (Clinical Neuropsychology)

Dr. Monica Rivera Mindt is the President of the Hispanic Neuropsychological Society (HNS), a Professor of Psychology at Fordham University with a joint appointment in Neurology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and a board-certified neuropsychologist. Her NIH- & Alzheimer’s Association-funded transdisciplinary research focuses on the intersection between cultural neuroscience, neuropsychology, and health disparities utilizing a novel community-based approach.

 Her work is dedicated to three lines of inquiry: 1) the identification of resilience and modifiable factors to promote brain health and improve neurocognitive functioning in vulnerable and underserved populations (e.g., culturally/linguistically diverse older adults, persons with opioid use disorder or HIV); 2) how sociocultural factors impact the expression of neurologic disease, cognition, and health behaviors; and 3) the underlying mechanisms driving the effects of brain health disparities and cognitive decline in persons of culturally/linguistically diverse backgrounds. 

 She has authored more than 80 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters. Dr. Rivera Mindt is an appointed member of the National Institute of Aging – Neuroscience of Aging Study Section, inaugural Editor for the Culture & Gender in Neuropsychology Department of The Clinical Neuropsychologist journal, and a member of the International Neuropsychological Society’s Continuing Education Committee. She is also a deeply committed mentor who has chaired 20+ dissertations and 9 training awards from NIH or NSF.

 Dr. Rivera Mindt is the recipient of several awards for her research, teaching, and contributions to the field, including the 2019 Hispanic Health Leadership Award from the National Hispanic Medical Association; Lifetime Achievement Award from SMART University (a community-based organization for HIV+ women); the Early Career Award from American Psychological Association’s (APA) Society for Clinical Neuropsychology (Division 40); the Early Career Service Award from the National Academy of Neuropsychology (NAN); the Distinguished Alumna Award for Psychology from Pepperdine University; the Early Career Award & Pilot Research Award from the Northeast Consortium for Minority Faculty Development; the National Center on Minority Health & Health Disparities Scholar Award from NIH; and the Professor of the Year Award from Fordham University.  She is also a Fellow of APA and NAN.

 In her spare time, she enjoys surfing and traveling all over Latin America with her husband and two children.

dr. jessica robinson-papp
Associate Professor of Neurology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Jessica Robinson-Papp, MD, MS (Neurology)

Dr. Jessica Robinson-Papp is a practicing neurologist and clinical researcher. She studies chronic pain, judicious opioid prescribing, and the neurologic complications of HIV including autonomic neuropathy and HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder. She is the Director of the Mount Sinai NeuroHIV Program and Autonomic Laboratory. 

A nationally and internationally recognized researcher, Dr. Robinson-Papp is funded by multiple grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Her expertise has been recognized by her inclusion on numerous committees and advisory groups including: the American Academy of Neurology Science Committee, Neurological Sciences Training Review Group, Global HIV Pain Task Force, and Executive Board of the World Federation of Neurology Autonomic Disorders Subspecialty Group. 

Clinically, Dr. Robinson-Papp is the senior attending neurologist for the Institute for Advanced Medicine, where she provides neurologic care to people living with HIV and oversees pain management services. In addition, Dr. Robinson-Papp performs electromyography (EMG), autonomic testing, and intraoperative neurologic monitoring, to aid in the diagnosis of neurologic disorders.


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Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology in the Department of Psychology at Queens College, CUNY

Desiree Byrd, Ph.D.

Dr. Desiree A. Byrd is an Assistant Professor of Neurology and Pathology at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. Trained as a clinician-scholar at the UCSD/SDSU Joint Doctoral Program in clinical psychology, she completed her predoctoral internship at Brown University and a postdoctoral fellowship in Cognition and Aging at Columbia University.

Since completing her training, she has maintained an active research program as a neuropsychologist. Her primary research interests are in the neuropathogenesis of HIV-associated cognitive dysfunction and the sources and consequences of culture-related differences in neuropsychological test performance among American ethnic groups. Her research on the functional correlates of neuropsychological impairment in diverse populations has been funded by the Alzheimer’s Association and the National Institute on Aging.

Dr. Byrd has served on several committees for American Psychological Association Division 40 (Clinical Neuropsychology), National Academy of Neuropsychology and the Harlem Community Academic Partnership. She has served on several program committees for the International Neuropsychological Society and is on the editorial board of Assessment. She has published her research in numerous neuropsychological, psychiatric, and medical journals and looks forward to the limitless rewards of scientific discovery.

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Associate Professor of Neurology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Associate Director of the MD/PhD Program (MSTP) at Mount Sinai, Director of Research Development for the Center for Scientific Diversity (CSD) at Mount Sinai

Uraina Clark, Ph.D.

Dr. Uraina Clark is an American neuroscientist and Director of the Neuropsychology and Neuroimaging Laboratory at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Her research makes use of functional magnetic resonance imaging to understand how stressors impact the brain and behavior. She has studied the impact of discrimination on brain function and shown that social discrimination results in an increase in amygdala function.

 Clark studies how brain function impacts behavior. She has studied the effects of HIV infection and adverse life experiences influence brain structure and function. In 2016 Clark was awarded the Medical Research Council Suffrage Science award.

 Clark has also studied the impact of discrimination on people’s physical and mental health. She used functional magnetic resonance imaging to understand the impact of discrimination on brain function. As part of this effort, she showed that social discrimination results in an increase in amygdala function. During the COVID-19 pandemic it became apparent that Black, indigenous or people of color (BIPOC) were most likely to suffer from severe forms of coronavirus disease. Clark argued that the biomedical science community must employ anti-racism approaches, coupling new policies with systems of accountability.

 In 2021 Clark was included in the “Life Sciences Power 50” list of scientists, entrepreneurs and investors driving New York State’s biotech boom by City & State NY.

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Director of Neuroimaging and Biomarker Research in Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease | Associate Professor, Neurology, Radiology, Neuroscience | Core Lead, Biomarker Core, Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Trey Hedden, Ph.D.

Dr. Trey Hedden’s published work (appearing in over 85 primary research articles) has examined behavioral measures and neuroimaging measures of age-related decreases in memory and executive control processes. He has extensive experience in the design and use of task-based functional MRI to test how age-related changes impact memory and executive function, in using functional connectivity analyses of resting-state functional MRI data to characterize multiple brain networks, in estimating volume and cortical thickness of regions related to memory and executive function, and in the use of diffusion and T2-weighted imaging to detect white matter abnormalities.

 His current research integrates measures of functional MRI with PET markers of tau and amyloid accumulation, PET markers of dopamine dysfunction, PET markers of glucose metabolism, and MRI markers of white matter integrity to target potential preclinical Alzheimer’s related neuropathology in otherwise normal older individuals. As Director of Neuroimaging and Biomarker Research in Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease at Mount Sinai, he facilitates collaborative research across the Mount Sinai community and with other institutions.

Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Michelle M. Jacobs, Ph.D.


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Clinical Research Coordinator at Mount Sinai | Master’s Student at Fordham University

Elizabeth Breen, BS

Elizabeth Breen is a study coordinator for SALUD Study. She has been working for SALUD since January 2020 and has been doing scientific research for over 5 years. 

Elizabeth’s research interests include dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases, health disparities, and medical ethics. She is especially interested in the intersection between psychology and medicine in underserved populations, with particular emphasis on how sociocultural factors are involved in disease progression. Elizabeth is currently completing her Master’s degree in Ethics and Society at Fordham University with a concentration in Bioethics and Health Sciences. She aims to earn her medical degree and work towards a more ethical and equitable medical field. 

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Community Liaison at Fordham University

Sandra Talavera, LMSW

Sandra Talavera, LMSW, is the Community Liaison for the SALUD Study and been part of the team since 2020. Sandra has over 30 years of managerial, program development, program budgeting, staff supervision, and marketing experience in the fields of community managed long term care, aging, and health and social services. Her commitment to maximizing operational efficiency, client empowerment through excellent end to end service delivery, maximizing professional staff development, and her volunteerism enabled her continuous professional growth and contributions to the field of aging, workers and community at large. 

Ms. Talavera has experience in public speaking as guest speaker, panelist, moderator at numerous conferences and community presentations. Displaying a wide range of community, policy, advocacy and cultural interest, Sandra has been a Board Member or Advisory Member with numerous health, social work, women, senior advocacy, professional social work and or/community participatory research projects.


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