Ushering in New REDF Leadership

Anthony G. James Jr., Ph.D., CLFE, Section Chair
/ Winter 2020 NCFR Report

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REDF Section Officers 2020-22
From left: Sarai Coba-Rodriguez, Jeneé Duncan, Lorena Aceves, Anthony James, Shardé Smith, Roudi Roy, and Yolanda Mitchell

The Racial and Ethnic Diversity in Families (REDF) Section would like to recognize our section’s leadership by acknowledging outgoing officers and welcome incoming officers. We want to thank the outgoing leadership for all the time and energy they have spent over these past 2 years ensuring our sections visibility among the membership. These past few months have been difficult on all of us for various reasons, but together we have adapted and continue to be resilient. We know that this section serves as a homecoming for many members and allows them to be fully and authentically themselves in such a diverse organization.

Outgoing Officers

  • Yolanda Mitchell, Ph.D., Chair
  • Anthony James, Jr., Ph.D., CFLE, Chair-Elect
  • Lorena Aceves, Ph.D., Communications Specialist
  • Shardé Smith, Ph.D., Secretary/Treasurer
  • Jeneé Duncan, Ph.D., CFLE, Students and New Professionals Representative
  • Sarai Coba-Rodriguez, Ph.D., CFLE, Students and New Professionals Representative
  • Roudi Roy, Ph.D., CFLE, Past Chair

Thanks for your service to our section members and the profession.


Incoming Officers

Anthony James, Jr., Ph.D., CFLE, Chair

Anthony James Jr. is an associate professor in the Department of Family Science and Social Work, director of the Family Science program, and interim vice president for institutional diversity at Miami University. His scholarly work uses an interdisciplinary approach to understanding social interactions and human development, with an expertise in positive youth development, religion and spirituality, diverse family systems, family processes, and program evaluation. Dr. James is also the incoming editor-in-chief of Marriage & Family Review.

Shardé Smith, Ph.D., Chair Elect

Shardé Smith is an assistant professor of HDFS at the University of Illinois Urbana–Champaign. Dr. Smith is finding ways to contribute to the reduction of mental health disparities for African Americans. She does this by examining racism, social support, and mental health in the family context. She also investigates the barriers to, and facilitators of, mental health treatment among African American youth and their families.

Sarai Coba-Rodriguez, Ph.D., CFLE, Secretary/Treasurer

Sarai Coba-Rodriguez is an assistant professor of educational psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Coba-Rodriguez’s research focuses on school readiness and family involvement among low-income Latino and African American families and preschool teachers, including their beliefs and practices that promote young children’s successful transition to kindergarten.

Ijeoma Opara, Ph.D., Students and New Professionals Representative

Ijeoma Opara is an assistant professor of social work at Stony Brook University (NY). Dr. Opara is also visiting faculty at Yale University School of Public Health in the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS. She is an expert on youth empowerment, community-based participatory research, youth substance use prevention research, and utilizing families in prevention work with urban youth. Dr. Opara’s program of research involves highlighting racial and gender health disparities and investigating social, familial, and cultural protective factors for substance use, HIV/AIDS, and STI prevention among adolescents.

Lorena Aceves, Ph.D., Students and New Professionals Representative

Lorena Aceves is an AAAS/SRCD federal policy postdoctoral fellow at the Office of Head Start at Administration for Children and Families. Dr. Aceves’s research seeks to understand how family, culture, and individual domains come together to influence Latinx youth’s academic experiences and long-term educational attainment. Her goal is to use developmental, family, and education research to inform the implementation of programs and policies that target the success of Latinx students.

Sadguna Anasuri, Ph.D., CFLE, Communications Specialist

Sadguna Anasuri is an associate professor and coordinator of HDFS at Alabama A&M University. Dr. Anasuri’s research has focused on diversity among children and families, resilience across the life span, impact of media on families, grandparents raising grandchildren, childhood poverty, distance learning and teaching methods, childhood obesity, and trends in human development.

Yolanda Mitchell, Ph.D., Past Chair

Yolanda Mitchell is an assistant professor of educational psychology and coordinator of the family policy and program administration program at the University of North Texas. Dr. Mitchell’s research centers on the impact of race and racism among Black families with expertise in mixed race identity development and monoracial parent racial socialization of mixed-race children through a lens of critical multiracial theory.

To the incoming leadership, we have some huge shoes to fill. Let’s be courageous and caring in our decision making and continue to do the work to help section members self-actualize as individuals and professionals. We acknowledge both the great gains that have been made as a result of past leadership, and fully accept the responsibility of work that still remains.

In solidarity,

Yolanda Mitchell, REDF Chair

Anthony James Jr., REDF Chair-Elect

Roudi Roy, REDF Past-Chair