Eugene Cashman

Eugene K. Cashman, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of The Urban Child Institute, received his M.S. in Technology of Management from American University and his B.S. in Business Administration from Auburn University.

For over forty years, his professional career has been focused on the well-being of children and ways to determine and implement best practices to ensure a better quality of life. Currently this particular emphasis is on optimal brain development in children 0-3 years of age.

Mr. Cashman has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of several organizations including: Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center from 1977-1995; Le Bonheur Health Systems, Inc., 1983-2004, and continued as President and Chief Executive Officer when the organization became The Urban Child Institute in 2004 to the present.

He is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives, and has served on numerous boards and committees over the years to include being a past Board Member of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Memphis, National Association for Children and Related Institutions, and Methodist Healthcare-Memphis Hospitals. He serves on the University of Memphis Board of Visitors and the Board of The Village at Germantown. His professional associations have included Young Presidents' Organization and World Presidents' Organization.

Mr. Cashman has published several articles, and is the recipient of the L. M. Graves Award, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare Foundation Living Award, the University of Memphis Friend of the University Award and the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award.

Henry Herrod

Dr. Henry G. Herrod earned his B.A. degree from Princeton University, with a major in history. He received his Masters of Science degree and M.D. from the University of Alabama in Birmingham (UAB) School of Medicine, from which he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2000. His pediatric training was at the University of Washington, and his allergy/immunology training took place at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Melbourne Australia, the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and at Duke University.

Dr. Herrod occupied the Le Bonheur Endowed Chair in Pediatrics, served as Vice Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Tennessee, Memphis, and as Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs at Methodist/Le Bonheur until 1998, when he assumed the role of Dean of the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Center for the Health Sciences, a position he held until 2005. Dr. Herrod has published more than 200 articles, abstracts, and book chapters. In 2009, he left the University of Tennessee and is currently a Fellow at The Urban Child Institute in Memphis.

JoeAnn Ballard

Born in Lucedale, Mississippi, JoeAnn Ballard received her undergraduate degree from Nazarene Bible Institute in West Virginia. JoeAnn continued her education at the University of Tennessee and Trevecca University, where she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate.

JoeAnn has impacted Memphis and Shelby County for over 30 years through the concerted efforts of the Neighborhood Christian Centers, Inc., (NCC) which she founded. She is the former Executive Director of the NCC and now presides as the Senior Advisor to the new President/CEO, Ephie B. Johnson. She walked hand in hand with her late husband, Mr. Monroe Ballard, Sr., changing a generation together one life at a time. Together they raised over 75 foster children and have nurtured and mentored thousands of others. JoeAnn's focus is to see the local church step up and take their rightful place in their communities, meeting the practical and spiritual needs of the people. She also has a great burden for families; the restoration of the family unit and brain development in children 0 to 3. Dr. Ballard currently serves as a consultant to The Urban Child Institute.

Sallie Foster

Sallie Foster has served as Executive Assistant to the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Urban Child Institute since 1977. She currently provides administrative assistance to the President and the Board of Directors of the Institute. Sallie also manages the day-to-day operation of the 600 Jefferson building.

She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Education from the University of Memphis in 1985.

Doug Imig

Professor Doug Imig is a Resident Fellow at The Urban Child Institute where he directs TUCI's Center for Urban Child Policy. Doug is also a professor of political science at the University of Memphis. He was on the faculty at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and a visiting scholar at Harvard University before coming to Memphis.

Doug's research focuses on the political representation of children, and social movement mobilization in the United States and Western Europe over the last century. He is the author of Poverty and Power, co-author of Contentious Europeans, and author of numerous journal articles and book chapters.

Jean Phebus

Jean Phebus has been with The Urban Child Institute since 2006, overseeing the Institute's financial and administrative activities.

Before joining the Institute, she held financial and administrative management positions at both for-profit and nonprofit organizations. She has 11 years experience in non-profit fields, including serving as Director of Memphis Works, a service provider of job training for mentally disabled people, and Director of the Day Foundation. She also has 9 years experience in for-profit organizations including 5 years with Deloitte and Touche. In addition, she has served on several nonprofit boards and volunteers for various causes.

She earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Tennessee at Martin in 1992. She passed the CPA exam in 1993.

Cyril Chang

Professor Cyril Chang is a Suzanne Downs Palmer Professor in Economic at the Fogelman College of Business and Economics, The University of Memphis, where he is also the Director of Methodist Le Bonheur Center for Healthcare Economics. In addition to his major appointment at The University of Memphis, Professor Chang serves as an adjunct Professor of Economics in the Department of Preventive Medicine, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

Professor Chang received his Ph.D. in economics from The University of Virginia and has been with the University of Memphis since 1981. He teaches Health Care Economics and Executive MBA Economics, and regularly conducts executive training seminars and workshops for health care professionals and executives. Professor Chang has written a book and published more than 100 articles and book chapters in health care economics and health services research. In 2004, he won the University of Memphis' Board of Visitors Eminent Faculty Award, the highest distinction given annually to one faculty member who has made sustained contributions to the University of Memphis in scholarly activity, teaching, and service.

Andy Bush

Andrew J. Bush earned the Bachelor of Science degree from the Ohio State University followed by a Master of Science degree from Wright State University. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree at the Ohio State University where he received the Alumni Award for Graduate Student Research and Creative Achievement as well as the Flesher Fellowship Award for Outstanding Scholarship.

His teaching experience includes five years teaching mathematics in public schools in addition to over twenty years teaching statistics and research design courses at the graduate school level. In his career, Andy has been given awards for teaching and research excellence including the University of Memphis Distinguished Teaching Award and the Phi Delta Kappa Outstanding Research Award.

In addition to his academic background, Andy has thirteen years of full-time hospital research experience including serving as Deputy Director of Health Services Research and Director of Clinical Data Management for the Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation and he has held state level elected office in the Tennessee Health Management Systems Society. He has published numerous peer-reviewed research articles, coauthored several books, teamed with other researchers to secure more than twenty research grants, made numerous research presentations at national and international professional meetings and served on many student graduate committees.

In 2009, Dr. Bush retired from his position as a Professor of Biostatistics in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and is currently both Emeritus Professor in the College of Medicine at UTHSC and a Resident Fellow at The Urban Child Institute in Memphis. His current primary research interest lies in analysis of longitudinal data from the CANDLE (Conditions Affecting Neurocognitive Development and Learning in Early childhood) Research Study.

Terri Combs-Orme

Terri Combs-Orme is a Professor of Social Work at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where she teaches graduate courses in human development with a focus on neurophysiology and research. Professor Combs-Orme has previously taught in the School of Public Health at The Johns Hopkins University and at the University of Maryland and Louisiana State University. She received her PhD from Washington University in St. Louis.

Professor Combs' research focuses on parenting, especially the parenting of infants, and the needs of disadvantaged families. She has published 45 articles in social work, public health, and medical journals, in addition to three books. She regularly writes for various regional parenting magazines, including Memphis Parent.

Barbara Nixon

Barbara Holden Nixon has a B.S. from the University of Memphis and a Masters of Science in Social Work from the University of Tennessee School of Social Work. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and an inactive Rule 31 Listed General Civil and Family Mediator.

Mrs. Holden Nixon has worked as a Social Worker for the Tennessee Department of Mental Health, a Clinical Social Worker at Rancho Los Amigos Hospital in Los Angeles, California, Family Services of Orange County, California, and the Texas Institute for Rehabilitation and Research in Houston, Texas. In 1991, She founded the Prevention Wrap-around Services program for the Memphis and Shelby County Children's Community Services Agency where she then served as Executive Director until 2001. In 2001, she became the founding Director of the First years Institute, a non-profit early childhood collaborative based at Lebonheur Children's Medical Center.

Mrs. Holden-Nixon has served on a number of state, regional and national committees that have addressed children's issues. She most recently served on the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth and is an active member of Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen's Books from Birth Cabinet. She serves on the University of Tennessee School of Social Work Board of Visitors and is a Trustee for St. Mary's Episcopal School. In 2006 she joined the staff at The Urban Child Institute where she has focused on strategy, policy and dissemination.

Katy Spurlock

Katy Spurlock received her B.A. degree from Rhodes College, with a major in English. She received her Masters of Science degree in Social Work from the University of Tennessee College of Social Work and her Masters of Science degree in Business from the University of Memphis.

From 1994-1999, Katy was Project Director for a research study conducted by the Prudential Center for Healthcare Research to determine barriers to prenatal care for Medicaid-eligible women. The study resulted in two publications. From 1999-2005, she was Program Associate at the Plough Foundation, a private foundation in Memphis with a specific interest in early childhood education and services.

At The Urban Child Institute, Katy is Director of Education and Dissemination and currently serves on several nonprofit boards and community advisory committees.

Scott Wilson

Scott Wilson is the Director of Communications and Technology for The Institute. In addition to developing and executing the organization's communication strategy, his department deploys and maintains the website and network technology utilized by The Institute. Formerly the Director of Data, Scott was responsible for the publication of the annual "State Of The Children In Memphis And Shelby County" as well as overseeing the collection, organization and storage of data for the Institute. Prior to joining The Institute, he owned and operated two businesses after more than 13 years in management positions at FedEx. He also writes regularly about Leadership, Technology at

While born and raised in Memphis, Scott has lived and worked in several cities around the Southeast before returning home for good. Married, with three children, Scott has a B.S. in Organizational Management from Crichton College and has taught business classes at Southwest Tennessee Community College.

Marc Goodman-Bryan

Marc Goodman-Bryan is a Research Associate at The Urban Child Institute. He earned a B.A. in Philosophy from The University of Memphis in 2004 and a Master's Degree in Political Science from the University of Memphis in 2008. He has been with The Institute since 2008, and has contributed to numerous policy briefs and to The State of Children in Memphis and Shelby County: Data Book. His research interests include the effects of parenting style, family structure, and child care quality on child well-being. Other recent work examines topics such as infant mortality, educational achievement gaps, and emergent literacy.

Nicole Bush

Nicole (Nicki) Bush is one of the Scientific Directors of the CANDLE study. She is a member of the faculty at UCSF with joint appointments in Psychiatry and Pediatrics and the Associate Director for Research for the Division of Developmental Medicine. She received her PhD in Child Clinical Psychology from the University of Washington and completed her child clinical training internship at the Institute for Juvenile Research at the University of Illinois, Chicago. She completed postdoctoral fellowships as a Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar at the UCSF/UC Berkeley site and in Health Psychology specializing in children’s physiologic stress reactivity at UCSF/UC Berkeley.

Dr. Bush’s research focuses on the manner in which early social contexts interface with individual differences to affect developmental trajectories across the life course, beginning in the prenatal period. She examines how socioeconomic, parental, and environmental risks for developmental psychopathology and obesity are modulated by individual differences in children’s temperamental, neurobiological, and genetic reactivity to stress. She also investigates the ways in which contextual experiences of adversity become biologically embedded by changing children’s developing physiologic systems and epigenetic processes, thereby shaping individual differences that mediate and moderate the effects of context on trajectories of development and mental health. Her transdisciplinary work integrates insights from social epidemiology, sociology, clinical psychology, and developmental psychobiology to elucidate the interplay of biology and context in youth development, as physiological systems mature and social environments change.

Kaja Lewinn

Kaja Z LeWinn, Sc.D. is one of the Scientific Directors of the CANDLE study and a member of the faculty in the Department of Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Division at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. LeWinn attained her doctorate in Social Epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health and completed fellowships through the Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholars Program at the UCSF/UC Berkeley site and the Clinical Services Research Training Program at UCSF.

Dr. LeWinn takes an interdisciplinary and developmental approach to investigating the neurobiological, behavioral, and social underpinnings of socio-emotional well being in children and adolescents. Dr. LeWinn has a strong foundation in social epidemiology and experience working with large, longitudinal cohort studies with the goal of understanding how early life experience shapes cognitive and socioemotional development. In her current research, Dr. LeWinn integrates approaches from social epidemiology, psychology, and neuroscience to examine how social contexts shape emotion regulation development and the underlying neural circuitry that supports these skills. She focuses on understanding how different aspects of the social environment (social engagement, socioeconomic adversity, and childhood trauma) shape the development of emotion regulation, its underlying neural circuitry, and risk for psychopathology. She is dedicated to applying her work to the prevention of mental health disorders, and works closely with local schools to address the emotional well being of students, and is assisting their efforts to identify needs, and evaluate current programming and interventions.

Frances Tylavsky

As the Principal Investigator for the CANDLE study, Fran's experience as a researcher in the field of health sciences is wide-ranging, from genomewide SNP genotyping and DNA methylation to nutrition epidemiology. With more than 100 peer-reviewed publications to her credit, Frances is currently a Professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine, Division of Biostatistics and Epdemiology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, Tennessee.

Originally from western Pennsylvania, Frances holds an M.S. from Boston University and a Dr.P.H. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. In addition to managing her demanding research and professorial schedules, Fran is a gifted chocolatier and a devoted mother of two.

Katherine Baldwin

Katherine received her Bachelor of Arts degree in German from Rhodes College and her Masters of Science degree in social work from the University of Tennessee. She has coordinated several research projects including Screening for Social, Communicative and Behavioral Problems in the Schools (University of Colorado), Availability of Hepatitis B Vaccine for High-Risk Adolescents (University of Rochester), and The Evaluation of Fetal and Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) Programs Nationwide (Johns Hopkins University).

As a parent of three children with hearing loss, Katherine has worked as a regional parent coordinator for Colorado Families for Hands & Voices. Currently, Katherine is a research coordinator in the department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Tennessee. Her focus is on evaluation of community-based programs and outreach efforts related to promoting awareness of early brain development in children 0-3 years of age.

Rhonda Okoth

Rhonda G. Okoth received her B.S. in Human Ecology from The University of Tennessee at Knoxville in 2005 and her M.P.H. in Epidemiology from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, LA in 2010. While at Tulane her concentration was in maternal and child health epidemiology with special interests in health disparities research, infant mortality, adverse birth outcomes, and preconception health.

Rhonda is currently a Research Associate at The Urban Child Institute where she is working on several projects involving data collection and analysis focused on assessing community knowledge of the importance of early brain development in children 0-3 years old. Rhonda is involved in a variety of research projects ranging from Books from Birth evaluation to UTHSC CANDLE study examination.

Bill Howell

Dr. Bill Howell has a B.S. and M.S. from the University of Memphis and a Ph.D. in neurobiology from Cornell University. Besides studying with and working for the Atomic Energy Commission (now the Nuclear Regulatory Commission) at the University of Puerto Rico and Cornell University, Dr. Howell has held teaching and research positions at Frederick College, Cornell University, and Baylor College of Medicine. His work at Baylor was primarily with the Department of Psychiatry's Sex and Marriage Clinic and the Sleep Laboratory. Currently he is on the adjunct faculties of the Department of Psychiatry and the Department of Preventive Medicine of the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Howell is the author of several books, book chapters, scientific papers, and articles. He is a neurobiologist at The Urban Child Institute.

Matthew Cowgur
Matthew graduated from Taylor University with a B.S. degree in Computer Graphic Arts/Systems in 2003. He started developing web sites for small businesses and non-profit organizations shortly before graduating, and started his own web development business after a few years of working with a small company. Matthew took his position as The Urban Child Institute in 2010 to continue improving and expanding The Institute's web presence. He's madly in love with his wife Sarah and daughters Ramona and Sylvie.
Jason Ziegler

With a B.B.A. in Management Information Systems from the Fogelman College of Business and Economics at the University of Memphis, Jason has developed custom software and business solutions since the early 1990s.

Jason's work spans several industries, including energy management, law enforcement, non-profits, auto racing, telecommunications, packaging, printing, shipping, marketing, entertainment and real estate. Jason joined The Urban Child Institute in 2008 to spearhead future technology initiatives. He is a lifelong Memphian, as are his wife Kristy and their son Ben.

Pete Albrecht

Pete Albrecht is a Graduate Assistant with the Urban Child Institute. He earned his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Memphis in 2011. Currently, he is pursuing his M.A. in Political Science at the University of Memphis with a specialization in international relations and comparative politics.

Since joining the Urban Child Institute in August 2011, Pete has overseen and directed various projects such as the Parent's Guide to Kindergarten Readiness and the monthly publications of Research to Policy.  Pete is also the director of internships for the Urban Child Institute.

Alicia Smith

Dr. Alicia K. Smith received her Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics from Wake Forest University and completed postdoctoral fellowships in Genetic Epidemiology and Psychiatric Genetics. Over the last several years, she has built a research program that focuses on genetic and epigenetic predictors of stress-related illnesses across the lifespan, with a particular emphasis on the role of prenatal and early life exposures in promoting childhood and adult psychopathology.  Her work has been funded by the National Institutes for Health, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation. Dr. Smith has authored dozens of peer-reviewed publications in journals including Nature, Molecular Psychiatry and PNAS. She reviews grant applications for NIH, the Veterans Administration and other national and international groups, and she has received professional awards from the Riken Brain Science Institute, the Society of Biological Psychiatry and the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology.