Contact Us

Contact Us

Larry Deon Adams

Director, Research Support
African American and Hispanic Alzheimer Disease Studies
Ph: (305) 243-4018
Email: ladams4@med.miami.edu
Language(s): English

Mr. Adams is Director of Research Support at the John P Hussman Institute for Human Genomics (HIHG) where he oversees participant ascertainment and participation in the HIHG Alzheimer Disease research study. Mr. Adams has a bachelor’s degree in History, with a focus in African American Studies from Duke University. Mr. Adams played Division I football for the Duke Blue Devils. He has extensive experience with recruitment efforts for genetic research studies, especially within diverse populations. He is trained in all aspects of ascertainment and data management, with 14 years of data management experience working with Dr. Pericak-Vance, first at Duke University and then at the University of Miami. He has led essential recruitment efforts within African American and Hispanic communities. In addition to his HIHG work, Mr. Adams is also a high school football coach at Immaculata-La Salle High School and is an active supporter of the JJ Vance Memorial Summer Internship where he recruits and mentors students for college and beyond.


Pedro Mena, MD

Project Manager, Research Support
Alzheimer Disease Hispanic Research Studies
Ph: (305) 812-5489
Email: prm72@med.miami.edu
Languages: English and Spanish

Dr. Mena is a Project Manager at the John P Hussman Institute for Human Genomics (HIHG) where he oversees participant ascertainment and participation in the HIHG Alzheimer Disease Hispanic Research Studies. He also manages and helps coordinate the acquisition of cohorts as part of the Whole Genome Sequencing in Ethnically Diverse Cohorts for the ADSP Follow-Up Study. Dr. Mena has a medical degree from the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra in Santiago, Dominican Republic. He has over 14 years of experience in Alzheimer disease and related dementia research, especially within the Hispanic populations. He is trained in neurological and neuropsychological evaluations and has been instrumental in maintaining collaborations within the US and Puerto Rico as well as in Peru.


Sergio Tejada, MD

Sr. Clinical Research Coordinator
Alzheimer Disease Hispanic Research Studies
Ph: (305) 243-0352
Email: sjt82@med.miami.edu
Language(s): English and Spanish

Dr. Tejada is a Clinical Research Coordinator for the Alzheimer Disease Hispanic Research Studies at the John P Hussman Institute for Human Genomics (HIHG). He obtained his medical degree from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra in Dominican Republic, where he also worked as a Professor and Research Advisor for medical students. He has 5 years of experience in Clinical Research and is involved in all stages of the participant ascertainment and evaluation process. In addition to his work at the HIHG, Dr. Tejada serves as an external advisor to the National Bioethics Committee of the Dominican Republic.


Jacob K. Welch

Sr. Project Coordinator
Ph: (239) 659-3901
Fax: (239) 659-3964
Email: jwelch@med.miami.edu
Language(s): English

Jake was born and raised in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was educated at the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Emergency Medicine and California University of Pennsylvania. Jake worked in rural emergency medicine for 15 years before coming to the University of Miami where he began in ocular genetics at the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics (HIHG). In 2017, Jake shifted his focus to the HIHG’s federally funded genetics of Alzheimer disease studies, including the Alzheimer’s Disease Sequencing Project (ADSP). His research interests include epidemiology of genetic diseases and regenerative medicine utilizing extracellular matrix and pluripotent stem cells.


Francelethia Johnson

Sr. Research Associate
Early-Onset Alzheimer Disease (EOAD) Study
Ph: (305) 243-1005
Email: Fxs121@miami.edu
Study Email: hihgeoad@miami.edu
Language(s): English

Fran Johnson is a Clinical Research Coordinator for the Early-onset Alzheimer Disease (EOAD) project at the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics (HIHG). She earned a Master’s in Population Health Management from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Services from Saint Thomas University. Fran is currently working with Caribbean Hispanic and non Hispanic White families with multiple generations affected by EOAD (<65 years old). The goal of the EOAD project is to identify novel Alzheimer disease (AD) variations and characterize existing AD genetic discoveries within these populations.


Faina Lacroix

Sr. Research Associate
African American Alzheimer Disease Initiative
Ph: (305) 243-1981
Email: Fcl16@med.miami.edu
Language(s): English, French and Haitian Creole

Faina Lacroix is a Clinical Research Coordinator at the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics (HIHG) where she coordinates outreach efforts, participant ascertainment and participation in the Research in African American Alzheimer Disease Initiative (REAAADI).Ms. Lacroix earned her master’s in Public Health with a concentration in Epidemiology from the University of North Florida and her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Florida Atlantic University. She has been involved in clinical research since 2017 and has worked on initiatives varying from childhood psychiatry, opioid prevention, maternal and child health, and now Alzheimer’s disease. Faina was born and raised in Haiti and is passionate about raising awareness with regards to health disparities, particularly in the Haitian community. In addition to her work at the HIHG, Ms. Lacroix is also an associate editor for the Florida Public Health Review.


Maricarmen Contreras

Clinical Research Coordinator
Alzheimer Disease Hispanic Research Studies
Ph: (305) 243-1395
Email: mxc2207@med.miami.edu
Language(s): English and Spanish

Maricarmen Contreras is a Clinical Research Coordinator at the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics (HIHG), where she presently works on research regarding Alzheimer’s Disease in Hispanic Populations. Ms. Contreras earned her bachelor’s degree in Medicine, Science and the Humanities with a minor in Spanish for the Professions from Johns Hopkins University in 2019 and joined the HIHG team shortly after graduating. She has worked on various research projects including the University of Maryland’s Understanding the Role of Primary Care Providers in Latinas’ Contraceptive Decision-Making and Prevention of Unintended Pregnancy. Outside of her clinical experience, Ms. Contreras has worked with the MERIT Health Academy – an organization focused on transforming Baltimore City high school students into health care leaders by preparing them for success in college and providing them with a close-knit community of peers and mentors. Ms. Contreras aims to create systemic change throughout the medical, legal and scholastic fields so as to remove barriers to success for immigrants and under-represented peoples.


Richard Williams

Research Support Specialist
African American and Hispanic Alzheimer Disease Studies
Ph: (305) 243-6177
Email: r.williams19@med.miami.edu
Language(s): English

Richard Williams is a Research Support Specialist at the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics (HIHG) where he assists and supports the clinical research coordinators through participant outreach and ascertainment for the HIHG’s Alzheimer disease research studies. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in English, with a concentration in Creative Writing from Bethune-Cookman University. As a rising high school senior, Richard participated in the UM/HIHG JJ Vance Summer Internship program and gained additional experience working at the HIHG throughout his summer breaks while obtaining his undergraduate degree. A full-time employee since 2018, Richard is a vital asset in outreach efforts and the full participant enrollment process.


Anisley Martínez, MD

Clinical Research Coordinator
Genetic Study of Alzheimer Disease Related Dementias
Ph: (305) 243-2569
Email: axm2882@miami.edu
Language (s): English and Spanish

Dr. Anisley Martínez is a Clinical Research Coordinator at the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics (HIHG) for the Genetic Studies of Alzheimer Disease Related Dementias, including the Frontotemporal Dementia, Lewy Body Dementia, and Parkinson’s Disease. Dr. Martinez earned her medical degree from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra in the Dominican Republic. She has over 3 years of experience working in community-based clinical research, especially involving vulnerable populations. Her work focuses specifically on community outreach, ascertainment, and conducting neuropsychological evaluations.


Laura Caywood

Senior Clinical Research Coordinator
Ph: +1 (269) 929-6528
Email: lcaywood@med.miami.edu

Ms. Caywood has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Michigan with previous experience as a neonatal nurse and a clinical nurse educator. She has over 15 years of experience working on the Amish memory and aging studies and has been responsible for remote coordination of the HIHG’s Amish projects in Indiana and Michigan. She has been a key member in the launching of the Macular Degeneration Study and Protective Variant Alzheimer Disease study. Apart from her time at the HIHG, Ms. Caywood serves on her local Hospital Board.


Michael Prough

Sr. Project Coordinator
Ph: +1 (574) 596-3348
Email: mprough@med.miami.edu

Mr. Prough is involved in participant ascertainment, data management, and data analysis for various genetic research projects. He primarily works on studies in Amish populations, including topics such as age-related macular degeneration and protective variants for Alzheimer disease. He has also assisted in ascertainment efforts in Puerto Rican populations as a part of The Puerto Rico Alzheimer Disease Initiative (PRADI). He has years of experience enrolling diverse populations in these studies and working with the complex data generated from these specific populations. Mr. Prough has a master’s degree in Global Health from the University of Notre Dame and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Public Health degree in epidemiology from East Tennessee State University.


Sharlene Herington

Clinical Research Coordinator
Ph: +1 (574) 524-5434
Email: sdh117@med.miami.edu

Sharlene assists Dr. Pericak-Vance and Dr. Scott with the enrollment of participants into Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia research with the Amish population of Indiana. Sharlene graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelors Degree of Science in Dietetics. She has been a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for 27 years. Most recently, she was a metabolic dietitian at a genetics clinic for children and adults with special health care needs which focused on the health care needs of the Plain communities of Northern Indiana. She was drawn to her current position related to caring for her mother-in-law and others who have dementia as well as having Plain community family members. She desires to see health maximized for those in the Plain communities and the general population through nutrition education and encouraging participation in health-related research. In her free time, she likes to read, spend time with her family and being in the outdoors biking, hiking and snowmobiling.


Jason Clouse

Clinical Research Coordinator
Ph: +1 (269) 635-3931
Email: jec316@med.miami.edu

Mr. Clouse is involved in the ascertainment process, enrolling participants in the HIHG Alzheimer Disease research study. He graduated from Bethel College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Management, and has certification through JCAHPO as a Certified Ophthalmic Technician (COT). Mr. Clouse and his wife have five children, and he is active as the junior high / senior high youth leader at a Bible Church teaching and leading activities.