Nakita Lovelady, Ph.D., MPH

LoveladyProfessional Certifications and Education

Ph.D., UAMS, Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health, Little Rock, Arkansas;
2019 MPH, UAMS, Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health, Little Rock, Arkansas;
2012 BS, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Pine Bluff, Arkansas; 2009

Research Experience

I am currently a postdoctoral fellow supported by the NIDA T32 Training Program at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). Under the mentorship of Drs. Nickolas Zaller and Geoffrey Curran, my research focuses on the development and implementation of health interventions that address violence and substance use among high-risk minority populations. Currently I am the PI of a pilot grant awarded by the Arkansas Center for Health Disparities (an NIMHD funded center), that assesses feasibility and acceptability of a hospital-based violence intervention program (HVIP) for African American men seen in the UAMS Emergency Department for violent assault injury. For this research, I collaborate with violence prevention expert, Dr. Ted Corbin at Drexel University along with UAMS experts in substance use, psychology, intervention development, implementation science, and emergency medicine. The goal of this research is to understand the barriers and facilitators to implementing an HVIP that not only addresses physical injury but also mental, behavioral, and social needs of patients who have experienced violent assault. This research builds upon on my previous dissertation research findings. My previous work explored the mental health impact of gun violence for young African American men in Arkansas via a mixed methods approach, which involved secondary analysis of statewide hospital discharge data and qualitative inquiry. The study was funded by the Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health Dissertation Scholarship Program and supported by the Arkansas Department of Health. The goal of this research was to understand the context of firearm assault injury and its mental health impact, and to identify culturally grounded intervention opportunities for young African American male survivors in Arkansas. Findings revealed the need for immediate access to comprehensive interventions designed to address survivors’ post-traumatic stress symptoms, substance use behaviors, and social circumstances – all of which align well with HVIPs and is the focus of my current research.

Research Interests

My primary research interests are centered around investigating health disparities and violence prevention, particularly developing and implementing multi-level public health interventions to improve mental and behavioral health outcomes and reduce gun violence among vulnerable racial-minority populations such as young African American men and their families. This includes exploring linkage interventions that leverage peer support, enhance healthy coping, and improve access to structural/systemic support to confront persistent post-traumatic stress among African American men in non-traditional community settings such as barbershops. My research hopes to inform real-world meaningful change among communities with the greatest need.


Dave G, Frerichs L, Jones J, Kim M, Schaal J, Vassar S, Varma D, Striley C, Ruktanonchai C, Black A, Hankins J, Lovelady N, Cene C, Green M, Young T, Tiwari S, Cheney A, Cottler L, Sullivan G, Brown A, Burke J, Corbie-Smith G. Conceptualizing trust in community-academic research partnerships using concept mapping approach: a multi-CTSA study. Evaluation and Program Planning. 2018; 66(Supplement C):70-78.

Turner J, Smith J, Bryant K, Haynes T, Stewart MK, Kuo D, Harris K, McCoy S, Lovelady N, Sullivan G, Yeary KHK. Community Building Community: The distinct benefits of community partners building other communities’ capacity to conduct health research. Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action. 2017; 11(1), 81-86.