Virginia Commonwealth University

Make it real.

Featured Researcher

Research Expertise and Focus

  • Community- and intervention-focused programs that uses aspects of culture (gender, ethnicity, age, and place, etc.) to promote well-being among black youth and young adults.
  • Raise 5: An HIV and substance abuse prevention program for African-American college students. Funded 2010-2015 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at $1.5 million in direct and indirect funding. Principal investigator
  • Gumboyaya III SISTA (Sisters Informing Sisters about Topics on AIDS) Voices. Funded 2006-2010 by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women’s Health at $320,000, to Virginia Commonwealth University. Project Gumboyaya III used the SISTA (Sisters Informing Sisters on the Topic of AIDS, Wingood & Diclemente) curriculum with an additional component called Bring a Brotha to SISITA” that allowed participants to bring male partners and friends to discuss developing healthy relationship and HIV prevention. The program engaged more than 300 female and 125 male students. Co-principal investigator.
  • Suc khoe la tot hon sac dep! Health is better than beauty! Improving breast and cervical cancer screening outcomes among Vietnamese women. Funded 2008-2011 by the National Cancer Institute. Faculty sponsor.
  • Project Gumboyaya II. Funded 2004-2008 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. More than 600 women participated in the program and more than 40 individuals were trained as peer educators to deliver the SISTA curriculum. We also worked collaboratively with three universities and more than 20 local community-based organizations to deliver the program at universities, churches, health clinics, work sites, and other agencies. At post-test participants showed decreased HIV and substance abuse risk with changes in preventive knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. They also showed improved cultural values such as ethnic identity. Principal investigator.

Professional Highlights


  • James Jones Lifetime Achievement Award from the Minority Fellowship Program of the American Psychological Association, 2010
  • Outstanding Faculty Award, State Council of Higher Education in Virginia, 2008
  • Distinguished Teacher Award, Virginia Commonwealth University, 2007
  • Addie Jane Key Prevention Award, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2007
  • Distinguished Teacher Award, College of Humanities and Sciences, VCU, 2006
  • Distinguished Psychologist Award, The Association of Black Psychologists, 2002
  • Dalmas A. Taylor Distinguished Contribution Award, American Psychological Association, 2000


  • Associate editor of Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology; reviewer for several psychology journals

Education and Training

  • Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park
  • M.A., University of Nebraska, Lincoln
  • B.S., North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Greensboro, N.C.
  • Senior research associate, National Rehabilitation Hospital, Washington, D.C.; research psychologist, U.S. Army Research Institute, Alexandria, Va.; research associate, Center for Sickle Cell Disease, Howard University, Washington, D.C.

Selected Publications

Pope M, Corona R, Belgrave FZ. Nobody’s perfect: a qualitative examination of  African American maternal caregivers’ and their adolescent girls’ perceptions of body image. Body Image. 2014 Jun;11(3):307-17. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2014.04.005. Epub 2014 Jun 4. PubMed PMID: 24958667.

Nguyen AB, Belgrave FZ. Suc Khoe La Quan Trong Hon Sac Dep! Health is better than beauty! A community-based participatory research intervention to improve cancer screening among Vietnamese women. J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2014 May;25(2):605-23. doi: 10.1353/hpu.2014.0078. PubMed PMID: 24858871.

Nguyen AB, Clark TT, Belgrave FZ. Gender roles and acculturation: relationships with cancer screening among Vietnamese American women. Cultur Divers Ethnic Minor Psychol. 2014 Jan;20(1):87-97. doi: 10.1037/a0033474. PubMed  PMID: 24491129.

Javier SJ, Moore MP, Belgrave FZ. Racial Comparisons in Perceptions of Maternal and Peer Attitudes, Body Dissatisfaction, and Eating Disorders among African American and White Women. Women Health. 2015 Nov 19. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 26583765.

Abrams JA, Javier SJ, Maxwell ML, Belgrave FZ, Nguyen BA. Distant but Relative: Similarities and Differences in Gender Role Beliefs Among African American and Vietnamese American Women. Cultur Divers Ethnic Minor Psychol. 2015 May 4. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 25938180.

Javier SJ, Belgrave FZ. An Examination of Influences on Body Dissatisfaction Among Asian American College Females: Do Family, Media, or Peers Play a Role? J Am Coll Health. 2015 Nov-Dec;63(8):579-83. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2015.1031240. PubMed PMID: 25825925.

Youniss FM, Sundaresan G, Graham LJ, Wang L, Berry CR, Dewkar GK, Jose P, BearHD, Zweit J. Near-infrared imaging of adoptive immune cell therapy in breast cancer model using cell membrane labeling. PLoS One. 2014 Oct 21;9(10):e109162. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0109162. eCollection 2014. PubMed PMID: 25334026; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4204826.

Payne KK, Bear HD, Manjili MH. Adoptive cellular therapy of cancer: exploring innate and adaptive cellular crosstalk to improve anti-tumor efficacy. Future Oncol. 2014 Aug;10(10):1779-94. doi: 10.2217/fon.14.97. Review. Erratum in: Future Oncol. 2014 Oct;10(13):2098. PubMed PMID: 25303057.

Martin RK, Saleem SJ, Folgosa L, Zellner HB, Damle SR, Nguyen GK, Ryan JJ, Bear HD, Irani AM, Conrad DH. Mast cell histamine promotes the immunoregulatory activity of myeloid-derived suppressor cells. J Leukoc Biol. 2014 Jul;96(1):151-9. doi: 10.1189/jlb.5A1213-644R. Epub 2014 Mar 7. PubMed PMID: 24610880; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4056279.

Morales JK, Saleem SJ, Martin RK, Saunders BL, Barnstein BO, Faber TW, Pullen  NA, Kolawole EM, Brooks KB, Norton SK, Sturgill J, Graham L, Bear HD, Urban JF Jr, Lantz CS, Conrad DH, Ryan JJ. Myeloid-derived suppressor cells enhance IgE-mediated mast cell responses. J Leukoc Biol. 2014 Apr;95(4):643-50. doi: 10.1189/jlb.0913510. Epub 2013 Dec 12. PubMed PMID: 24338630; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3958743

Palmberg AA, Stern M, Kelly NR, Bulik C, Belgrave FZ, Trapp SK, Hofmeier SM, Mazzeo SE. Adolescent girls and their mothers talk about experiences of binge and loss of control eating. J Child Fam Stud. 2014 Nov;23(8):1403-1416. PMID: 25400491PMCID: PMC4228966

Mazzeo SE, Kelly NR, Stern M, Palmberg AA, Belgrave FZ, Tanofsky-Kraff M, Latzer Y, Bulik CM. LIBER8 design and methods: an integrative intervention for loss of control eating among African American and White adolescent girls. Contemp Clin Trials. 2013 Jan;34(1):174-85. PMID: 23142669; PMCID: PMC4025958

Zea MC, Belgrave FZ. Mentoring and research capacity-building experiences: acculturating to research from the perspective of the trainee. Am J Public Health. 2009 Apr;99 Suppl 1:S16-9. PMCID: PMC2656593

Corona R, Turf E, Corneille MA, Belgrave FZ, Nasim A. Risk and protective factors for tobacco use among 8th- and 10th-grade African American students in Virginia. Prev Chronic Dis. 2009 Apr;6(2):A45. PMCID: PMC2687851

Belgrave FZ. Relational theory and cultural enhancement interventions for African American adolescent girls. Public Health Rep. 2002; 117(Suppl 1): S76–S81.  PMCID: PMC1913708

Belgrave FZ, Molock SD. The role of depression in hospital admissions and emergency treatment of patients with sickle cell disease. J Natl Med Assoc. 1991 Sep;83(9):777-81. PMCID: PMC2627102