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Hunter College IRB Members and HRPP Staff

The Hunter College Human Research Protection Program (HRPP) Office is the point of contact for all researchers (faculty, staff and students) that want to submit a protocol to the CUNY University Integrated (UI) IRB. We are available Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the East Building, rm. 1204.

Paul Cascella, Ph.D. (Currently on Sabbatical)
Chair of a UI-IRB Committee and Expedited Reviewer from Hunter College
Dr. Cascella is a professor and director of Hunter's Communication Sciences Program (Speech-Language Pathology) and he holds joint appointments in the doctoral programs at the CUNY Graduate Center in Audiology (Au.D.) and Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences (Ph.D.). Dr. Cascella teaches courses in research methods, developmental disabilities, augmentative and alternative communication, and stuttering.  Dr. Cascella holds a doctoral degree from the University of Connecticut through the A.J. Pappanikou Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. Special Education from The University of Connecticut.  His current research focuses on communication strategies for individuals who are pre-intentional and pre-symbolic communicators. He currently serves as an Associate editor of Communication Disorders Quarterly, and as an editorial consultant for Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness and Journal of Physical and Developmental Disabilities.

Michael Wood, Ph.D.
Vice Chair of a UI-IRB Committee and Expedited Reviewer from Hunter College
Dr. Wood  is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology where he teaches courses on consumer behavior, research design and methodology, and marketing for nonprofit organizations.  He has doctorate in Sociology from The University of Texas at Austin. His research interests are in the areas of consumer behavior, social change, culture and consumption. Current research projects focus on social and psychological influences on impulse buying, debt and saving.


Kenny Kwong, Ph.D.
Expedited Reviewer from Hunter College
Dr. Kwong is an Assistant Professor at Silberman School of Social Work where he teaches courses on research, social work practice in health settings, and community health practice. Dr. Kwong has extensive experience in health and mental health practice, program planning and implementation in the areas of behavioral health, substance abuse, tobacco use, cancer, cardiovascular health, health literacy, children's social emotional health, and practice-based research and program evaluation in primary care. His current research interests are in the areas of culture, immigration, substance abuse, and mental health practices in the Asian American community.


Jason Young, Ph.D.
Expedited Reviewer from Hunter College

Dr. Young is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology, where he runs the Experimental Social Psychology Laboratory.  He received his PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Minnesota, and conducts research on the impact of emotion on judgment and decision-making. Recent projects focus on how dating couples negotiate safer sex as a function of emotional state (including sexual arousal), and the impact of math anxiety on decisions about personal finances.  His teaching interests include Social Psychology, Attitudes and Persuasion, the Psychology of Prediction, and Evolutionary Psychology.


Sarah Leon, B.A., CIP
HRPP Coordinator
Ms. Leon joined the IRB staff in March 2006 as a Research Assistant and assumed the role in April 2011. As the HRPP Coordinator, she manages the day-to-day activities of the HRPP office and protocols submitted to Hunter College. She acts as the liaison between the HRPP Office, College Officials, the Research Foundation, the CUNY Office of Research Conduct and researchers.  She implements operational polices and procedures, conducts exempt reviews, and monitors the progress of review by IRB members. She facilitates the IRB process by interacting with researchers to offer guidance and pre-review of IRB protocols.


Janet Echeverry, MPA, B.A.
IRB Specialist
Ms. Echeverry joined the HRPP staff in October 2013. She previously worked at the Hunter College Office of Research Administration since March 2008. She is responsible for the pre-review of new and continuing protocols as well as coordinating IRB/HRPP education throughout Hunter College. Ms. Echeverry also assists with exempt reviews and with the progress of review by IRB members of submissions via IRBNet.


Wankairys Decena, B.A.
Administrative Assistant
Ms. Decena joined the HRPP staff as a student assistant in March 2008, and assumed her current role in July 2011 upon completion of her degree at Hunter College. She prepares approval materials, assists with filing, and with essential record-keeping required by the HRPP office.  She is also responsible for the preparation and duplication of documents and for protocols reviewed by the expedited and exempt process.  Ms. Decena also handles calls and questions and performs other HRPP administrative functions.



Aimee Valencia, A.A.
Student Aide
Ms. Valencia assists the HRPP staff with everyday tasks including answering phones, assisting reseachers with IRBNet submissions, disseminating HRPP-related information and event flyers to the Hunter College research community and other administrative duties. She joined the HRPP Office in May 2013 and is currently attending John Jay College of Criminal Justice at CUNY, as she is pursuing a degree in Forensic Psychology.

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