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Lippold and Masa receive Junior Faculty Development Awards

Two School of Social Work faculty members have been awarded UNC Junior Faculty Development Awards.

Assistant professors Melissa Lippold and Rainier Masa were each selected to receive $7,500 grants. The competitive awards, which are approved by the University’s Committee on Faculty Research and Scholarly Leaves, will help to support the faculty members’ research over the next year.

“Dr. Lippold and Dr. Masa are both engaged in cutting-edge research and are very deserving of these highly selective awards,” praised Dean Gary Bowen.

Lippold was selected for her proposal, “The Importance of Parenting Fluctuations for Adolescent Outcomes.” The study is expected to build on her innovative research, which focuses on the relationships of parents and children and a desire to understand how those relationships affect adolescent risky behavior, health, and well-being, an area of study that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has recognized as promising.

In her pilot work, which was funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, Lippold has found preliminary evidence that parenting fluctuations during early adolescence may be an important, yet previously unidentified, risk factor for youth substance use and delinquency. With support from the junior faculty development award, she plans to synthesize her findings from pilot studies and to develop a larger, follow-up grant proposal on parenting fluctuations; the proposal will be submitted to the NIH in 2017.

Lippold said she appreciates the funding support because it is critical for advancing her program of research. “I am incredibly grateful for this award and for the opportunity it provides,” she said.

Masa was selected for the University award for his proposal, “Barriers and Facilitators of HIV Treatment Adherence among Young People Living with HIV in Eastern Province, Zambia.”

Although young people living with HIV tend to fare worse on the cascade of HIV care and treatment, there is limited evidence on what predicts poor adherence among youth living with HIV, particularly in low-resource communities. Masa’s goal is to address the critical scientific gaps on the barriers and facilitators of medication adherence and retention in care among a population that remains at high risk of morbidity and mortality.

“This award will help me build a foundation of my research agenda and for larger future studies with young people living with HIV in low resource-communities,” Masa added.