SHINE Lab Members

Principal Investigator

Sannisha Dale PhotoDr. Sannisha Dale is  an Assistant Professor in Psychology at the University of Miami, a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, and the Founder and Director of the SHINE (Strengthening Health through INnovation and Engagement) Research Program. Dr. Dale completed her PhD at Boston University, internship and postdoctoral training at Massachusetts General Hospital /Harvard Medical School, and was on faculty at MGH/HMS prior to joining UM. Dr. Dale’s primary research interests are (a) enhancing our understanding of the relationships between resilience, trauma, and health outcomes among individuals with HIV and those at risk for HIV, (b) investigating psychosocial (e.g., microaggressions, discrimination) and structural factors (e.g., poverty) that relate to HIV health disparities, (c) developing effective prevention and intervention strategies to promote resilience and good health outcomes amongst survivors of trauma and individuals with or at risk for HIV, especially members of racial minority (e.g., Blacks/African Americans) and gender and sexual minority groups who are heavily burdened by the HIV epidemic, and (d) engaging community members and stakeholders in research.

Dr. Dale has been the PI of seven grants in the area of HIV: R56 from NIMH focused on Black women living with HIV, K23 award from NIMH focused on an intervention for Black women living with HIV, End the HIV Epidemic Supplement from NIMH focused on Black communities hardest hit by HIV in Miami, Pilot Award from UMCFAR focused on addressing trauma among transgender women living with HIV, a scholar award via the Harvard Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) focused on Black women living with HIV, a provost award from the University of Miami focused on PrEP for Black women at risk for HIV, and a F31 award from NIMH focused on women with and at risk for HIV. Dr. Dale is also a Co-Investigator and resilience expert on an ongoing R01 from NIMH aimed at creating a reliable and valid resilience measure to capture individual, interpersonal, and neighborhood resilience components among African Americans with HIV. In addition, she is a Co-Investigator and the Scientific Director for Community Engagement for a P30 grant (UM Mental Health HIV/AIDS Research Center).

Dr. Dale has given over 80 presentations of her work domestically and internationally, authored 44 publications, received four early career researcher awards, a community hero award, and an award for community engaged research. In conducting research Dr. Dale views community engagement and involvement as the key and start to doing research that can be adopted in community settings to have a positive impact. Positive community relationships both ground and inspire her approach to research.
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Research Staff


Arnetta PhotoArnetta Phillips is a Clinical Research Coordinator in the department of psychology at the University of Miami.  She has worked at the University of Miami for 23 years fulfilling job functions such as project coordination, recruitment and data collection in research studies geared toward prevention and intervention of HIV and substance use. Ms. Phillips’ experience is far-reaching as she has worked with diverse populations and age groups. She has worked with runaways, people living with HIV and those with substance use disorder. Ms. Phillips has also done much research with populations of children, adolescents, women and men.

Ms. Phillips has been a certified addiction counsellor for over a decade. This training and expertise has led her to work with a wide variety of populations, such as women with breast cancer and bipolar disorder. She has also made significant contributions through her work in a maternal addiction program and relapse prevention programs. Much of Ms. Phillips' contribution has been geared towards individuals with HIV, substance use and addiction. Ms. Phillips is a Vietnam veteran who served in the US Air Force for fourteen years- eight years active duty and six years active reserve.

Arnetta Phillips is especially passionate about working with women living with HIV. She believes her life's purpose is to give back, encourage others and instill hope by sharing her story with others living with HIV. She aspires to continue to reach out to, educate and inspire women who are living with HIV.

Sherene PhotoSherene Saunders has been a Research Associate in the SHINE Research Program at the University of Miami since 2017. She graduated from Oakwood University with a Bachelor’s in Biology in 2008. In 2011, she obtained a Master of Public Health degree (with a concentration in Health Promotion and Education) from the University Cincinnati. She has been privileged to work in some of her areas of interest which include: minority health, health equity, social justice, HIV, PrEP, maternal and child health, Black women’s health, chronic disease, and community engagement. Sherene plans to pursue a PhD in public health in the future and aspires to do further research and community work focusing on women’s health and health disparities.

Graduate Students

Jasmyn PhotoJasmyn Sanders is a graduate student in the Health Track of the Clinical Psychology program. She earned a B.S. in Psychology from Florida A&M University in 2014. After graduating from FAMU, she volunteered as a hotline operator for Big Bend 2-1-1 and Lifeline and worked as a substitute teacher in Tallahassee, FL, for two years. In 2016, she entered an NIH-funded PREP (Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program) fellowship at IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis) in the Impulsivity Neuroscience laboratory under the mentorship of Dr. Melissa Cyders. There, her research focused on the role of the UPPS-P model of impulsivity in sexual risk behaviors; the relationship between sexual abuse and substance use in detained youth; and risks among victims of commercial sexual exploitation. Currently, she is interested in investigating how substance use, previous trauma, and discrimination may impact sexual risk taking and health outcomes, particularly among MSM (men who have sex with men) and LGBTQ women of color.

Priya PhotoRatanpriya Sharma is a graduate student in the Health Track of the Clinical Psychology program. She received her bachelor's degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from India and her Master's in Educational Psychology from Indiana University, Bloomington. Before joining University of Miami, Ratanpriya worked in the

I-CARE lab at Indiana University for two years. She was a co-coordinator on a study which conducted investigations on client experience regarding HIV/AIDS counselling, psychosocial and emotional effects of having HIV/AIDS and challenges faced by pregnant mothers infected with HIV in Botswana.

Ratanpriya is highly interested in studying the effects of chronic discrimination experienced by HIV positive sexual minorities and the coping mechanisms used by them to mitigate the effects of stigma and discrimination. She is also interested in understanding various risk and protective factors associated with medication adherence among HIV positive populations.

Rachelle PhotoRachelle Reid is a graduate student in the Health Track of the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program. She graduated from the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica in November 2012, where she received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Psychology, with a minor in Criminology, and a Master of Science degree in Clinical Psychology. Since then, she has worked in her areas of interest through research with populations such as the LGBTQ community, children with special needs, homeless individuals and psychiatric patients. During this time, Rachelle also served as a member of the SHINE Research Lab for one and a half years before starting the doctoral program. Rachelle is passionate about working with and playing a role in the empowerment of marginalized communities, by exploring topics such as stigma and discrimination. She is also interested in the development of culturally sensitive diagnostic tools and interventions for minority groups that may help to improve the quality of mental health care services. Her clinical interests center around Cognitive Behavioral and Person-centered therapies as she hopes to apply these principles to an understanding of human personality, behavior and approaches for intervention.

Undergraduate Research Assistants


Monai Thompson ImageMonai Thompson is a senior at the University of Miami, pursing a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology with a minor in Chemistry. She has been working for the SHINE Research Program since January 2019 and is currently working in the lab as part of the University of Miami`s PRIME Summer Research Program. Her interest include, improving mental health through understanding the psychosocial factors affecting African American women and children, and understanding criminal behavior and abnormal disorders. In the future she plans to obtain her PhD in Clinical Psychology, continue doing research, and open a private practice.

Volunteer Research Staff

Nadine Gardner imageNadine Gardner earned her Bachelors of Science in Psychology from Florida A&M University in May 2019 and recently joined the SHINE team. Nadine previously engaged in research under the guidance of FAMU faculty on the effects of epigenetics on health disparities in African Americans and versatile pathways to care for youth who are at a clinical high risk for developing psychosis. Nadine has also presented at several conferences including The Schizophrenia International Research Society Conference and The Association of Black Psychologist Conference. Nadine is currently interested in understanding how to find more scientific pathways towards prevention and intervention on health disparities among racial/ethnic minorities in the U.S. More specifically, she wants to integrate mindfulness, physical health, and spiritual health into prevention and intervention strategies.


Alex Photo

Alexandra Fortune worked for SHINE Research Lab as an undergraduate research assistant. Alexandra graduated from University of Miami, in 2019, majoring in Psychology with a minor in Mathematics. She was born and raised in Prince George's County, Maryland. Her current research interests include mental health within minority populations, specifically the African American community. Alexandra hopes to use her education to help improve mental health issues and bring about healing within underrepresented communities through research and outreach. She would also like to highlight the significance of addressing, raising awareness, and educating the community on mental health problems. Alexandra is pursuing her Master’s in Forensic Psychology at George Washington University starting fall 2019. After receiving her Master’s degree, Alexandra would like to obtain her PhD in Clinical Psychology.

CCriscione ImageCailé Criscione worked for the SHINE Research Lab as an under graduate research assistant. Calié graduated from University of Miami, in 2019, majoring in Psychology and Biology and a minor Chemistry, on the Pre-Medicine track. During her high school years at the age of 17, she became an Emergency Medical Technician and volunteered for the Washington Township Volunteer Ambulance Corp. She has also been a certified Lifeguard and Water Safety Instructor since the age of 15 and has taught swimming lessons to children aged two to twelve. Cailé is interested in doing research on prospective health services and techniques that can positively affect the prognosis of diseases and ailments. She would also love to explore the interconnectedness of mentality and biology, and how one can use that understanding to help those in need. Cailé aspires to contribute to a better understanding mental health and finding methods that will truly help those who would benefit from those discoveries. Caile is currently studying for MCAT and aspires to attend med school in the coming years.