Our Staff

Michele Ybarra MPH PhD, President and Research Director.
Dr. Ybarra is a recognized researcher in technology-related health issues for young people. She has published extensively in the areas of Internet harassment and other types of online victimization, health information seeking, and research methods as they relate to technology. She also has developed and tested multiple technology-based behavior change programs both domestically and internationally. Current projects include a national longitudinal survey of youth that aims to identify youth characteristics related to the emergence of sexual violence over time (R01 CE001543; R01 HD083072); the development and testing of a text messaging-based teen pregnancy prevention program for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and other sexual minority teen women (TP2AH000035); and the development and testing of an HIV prevention program for young adults across Uganda (R34 MH109296).

Past projects include the development and testing of Guy2Guy, a text messaging-based HIV prevention program for gay, bisexual, and queer teen men in the United States (R01MH096660); CyberSenga, an Internet-based HIV prevention program for adolescents in Mbarara, Uganda (R01 MH080662); a national survey that endeavored to better understand the positive and negative experiences of LGBT and non-LGBT youth online via a national survey (R01HD057191); the development and testing of a text messaging-based smoking cessation program among young adults in the United States (R21CA135669) and adult smokers in Turkey (R01TW007918); as well as a longitudinal study to examine the associations between exposure to violent new media and seriously violent behavior (U49 CE000206).

Dr. Ybarra holds a doctorate in child mental health services research and evaluation from the department of mental health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She was a pre-doctoral fellow of the National Institutes of Mental Health and was a joint fellow of the American Schools of Public Health / Centers for Disease Control.

Joseph R. Schwab, CTO / Interactive Creative Director.
With ten years of professional experience in Interactive Design, Development and Advertising, Joseph Schwab has been at the forefront of online advertising and website development since the Internet gained prominence in the late 1990’s. Mr. Schwab has accumulated invaluable experience with world class brands like: Apple, MTV, Pepsi One, Sony Playstation, Nissan, Infiniti, Acura, Samsung, Olympus America, Experian, Kyocera, Namco, working with top advertising agencies including: TBWA/Chiat/Day, The Designory, Deutsch LA, Genex, Truth Agency and most recently heading Orange County based Interactive Design Firm, Open Interactive, Inc.

Trevor Slocum, Web Developer.
Trevor Slocum is a self-taught developer, with his roots in writing web applications and web-based games.  He has launched multiple open source projects: After successfully monetizing an idea of a web-based game at the age of 15, Trevor expanded his programming ventures to include the cloning of another popular web-based game, emulating a popular image board and sharing the code worldwide, contributing his own code to other open source projects, and writing a successful Android application.

Tonya Prescott BA, Project Manager.
Ms. Prescott, CiPHR’s Project Manager, is one of the few researchers with experience developing and executing online recruitment outreach efforts, particularly reaching “hard-to-reach” populations (e.g., LGBT populations; youth under the age of 18 years). Primarily using Facebook, she has been responsible for reaching, enrolling, and following people in several national mHealth randomized controlled trials (Guy2Guy, SMS USA). Ms. Prescott also has experience writing the control group content for adolescent-focused text messaging-based behavior change interventions (Guy2Guy, BullyDown).

Her past research experience includes providing various supports as a study coordinator on CyberSenga, an Internet-based HIV prevention program in Uganda, and as a research assistant helping with panel retention in the Growing up with Media study. Ms. Prescott also has served as a study interviewer on a longitudinal study based on a national sample of US law enforcement agencies which examined the number of arrests and characteristics of juvenile online victimization cases, including child pornography and child sexual exploitation; and a research assistant for a longitudinal study examining youth internet use and experiences, including unwanted sexual solicitations, online harassment, and exposure to pornography.  She also has relevant experience at a community mental health center, which serves a variety of populations, including children, adolescents, families, and those with severe and persistent mental illness.

Ms. Prescott graduated with high distinction from the University of New Hampshire with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Criminal Justice.

Jennifer Renzas BS, Community Outreach and Research Assistant.
Ms. Renzas began her research career six years ago in a biogeochemistry research lab. Four years ago she interned for the Wisconsin Division of Public Health-Refugee Health helping to manage refugee data and maintain information regarding refugee resources. Since then she has translated her experience into public health research. She created, designed, and implemented a public health communication research project in Ghana. Additionally, she has experience working with non-profits on community outreach, including the US Fund for UNICEF and Cheerful Hearts Foundation. Ms. Renzas has a B.S. in Medical Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is a Registered Nurse.

Emilie Chen BA, Research Assistant.
Ms. Chen’s communications experience with non-profit organizations began during her internship with environmental advocacy and education group, Orange County Coastkeeper. She continued writing for marketing and project development as a Special Projects Assistant at the Environment Institute of University of California, Irvine. Afterwards, she took a brief departure from her studies to volunteer on an ecotourism farm in Costa Rica and to complete a 200-hour yoga teacher training. Ms. Chen completed her B.A. in Environmental Science and minor in Global Sustainability at the University of California, Irvine.