The University of Kentucky College of Medicine Department of Behavioral Science and Center for Health Equity Transformation (CHET) are excited to welcome four exemplary researchers to campus.

These individuals each provide a wide range of expertise in research regarding health equity and health disparities. They will join UK as part of a health equity cluster, an initiative through CHET and the UK College of Medicine Department of Behavioral Science that aims to improve the health of the most vulnerable residents of Kentucky and beyond.

“We are excited have four very accomplished researchers join our team and expand the possibilities we can accomplish as a research institution,” said Nancy Schoenberg, PhD, Marion Pearsall Professor of Behavioral Science and director of CHET.

Meet the researchers below:

  • Darlingtina Esiaka, PhD, CPG, CPH, postdoctoral scholar, is a social psychologist, gerontologist, and community-engaged researcher who focuses on early detection of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease risk in Black Americans, social determinants of health and chronic illness survivorship, cancer detection and risk reduction, and global health equity.
  • Erica Littlejohn, PhD, assistant professor, is a translational scientist who examines both the pre-clinical neurophysiological mechanisms driving pathological consequences of brain injury and disease as well as social determinants driving poor neurological outcomes amongst diverse populations. Her neuro-equity research foci include traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, adverse childhood experiences, and social determinants of health.
  • Delvon Mattingly, PhD, MS, assistant professor, is a social epidemiologist who studies racial and ethnic disparities in tobacco and cannabis use in the context of systemic racism, exposure to the criminal legal system, social determinants of health, infectious disease, and other acute and chronic health outcomes.
  • Justin X. Moore, PhD, MPH, associate professor, is an epidemiologist who examines the intricate interplay between discrimination, social identity, built environment, and chronic physiologic stress in cancer outcomes. In this field, he has examined the influence of socioeconomic factors and access to health care in relation to racial differences in survival and treatment of different cancers.

In addition, Na’Tasha Evans, PhD, MEd, associate professor of behavioral science, recently joined the UK College of Medicine as its vice dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

CHET’s mission is to foster innovative, transdisciplinary, and impactful research and education to address the toll that health challenges take on the lives of rural, racial/ethnic, and sexual minorities, as well as lower socioeconomic status groups. For more information, please visit