Meet Tiarney Ritchwood, Ph.D.

Thursday, August 2, 2018
Tiarney Ritchwood, Ph.D.
Tiarney Ritchwood, Ph.D.
Tiarney Ritchwood, Ph.D., joins the Department of Community & Family Medicine as research faculty, effective Aug. 1. She earned a doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Alabama.

Where were you practicing/working previous to Duke? What was your role there?
I served as assistant professor, Department of Public Health Sciences (Primary), Medical University of South Carolina, held a dual appointment in the Department of Pediatrics, and the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. I was also a core investigator at the Center for Health Disparities Research.

Why did you choose to join Duke Community & Family Medicine?
I was most attracted to CFM’s interdisciplinary focus and commitment to leading efforts to improve health in Durham. There are many opportunities for collaboration with faculty members with similar interests, including health disparities research, the role of syndemics in individual and community health, HIV prevention and intervention, and non-communicable diseases. Moreover, the university is located in Durham, a city that is rich in ethnic and socioeconomic diversity, and therefore a great place to partner with local organizations to address syndemics in underserved communities. I am excited to join the faculty and look forward to collaborating with my colleagues.

What is your clinical focus?
I am a licensed clinical psychologist and have treated clients with a range of presenting issues, including adolescents with internalizing disorders, veterans with PTSD, and individuals living with chronic diseases across the lifespan. My primary role at Duke is research-based, though I intend to explore clinical opportunities in the future.

What are your research interests?
My previous experiences have worked synergistically to inform my current lines of research, which aim to answer the following questions in both domestic and international populations: (1) how do individual, social, and structural factors interact to influence adolescent progression along the HIV care cascade? (2) How do socio-structural determinants interact to shape and exacerbate disease clustering within specific cultural contexts that lead to health inequities? (3) How do you effectively mobilize personal networks to address syndemics (e.g., synergistic associations among HIV, non-communicable diseases, and violence) in their own communities using participatory methods? And (4), what is the role of resiliency, mental health, and agency in chronic disease management?

Are there any major research grants you have been a part of or are currently working on?
Currently, I have a career development award proposal under review at NIMH focus on treatment retention and adherence among adolescents living with HIV in Cape Town, South Africa. I am working on two proposals, one focused on treatment adherence for individuals living with HIV experiencing multimorbidity and another focused on using crowdsourcing to mobilize individuals’ social networks to improve health and reduce disparities.