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Fellows | South Central MIRECC


Jessica Meers, PhD

Dr. Jessica Meers
Dr. Jessica Meers

Location: Houston, Texas.

Education: I received my PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Houston and completed a predoctoral internship at Sepulveda VA in Greater Los Angeles.

Research Interests: My research has broadly focused on behavioral sleep medicine and sleep functioning in the context of women’s health. My work aims to identify the reasons for increased risk of insomnia and affective disorders in women and explore treatment modalities to reduce vulnerability.

Mentors: My mentorship team includes Drs. Sara Nowakowski, Derrecka Boykin, Lilian Dindo, and Deleene Menefee.

Hobbies: A relatively new pastime of mine is gardening. I am enjoying learning to grow all sorts of plants and flowers (to varying degrees of success!).


Maribel Plasencia, PhD

Dr. Maribel Plasencia
Dr. Maribel Plasencia

Location: Houston, Texas.

Education: I received my PhD in clinical psychology from Rutgers University. I completed a predoctoral internship in behavioral medicine at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Research Interests: I am interested in studying provider behavior, perspectives, and clinical decision-making within mental health treatment delivery. I am also interested in the implementation of stepped-care models of treatment delivery and the use of non-traditional therapy formats, such as guided self-help.

Mentors: My mentorship team includes Drs. Jeffrey Cully, Natalie Hundt, Terri Fletcher, and A. Rani Elwy.


Marcela (Marci) Weber, PhD

Dr. Jessica Meers
Dr. Marcela (Marci) Weber

Location: Little Rock, Arkansas.

Education: I received my PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Mississippi and completed a predoctoral internship with the Southwest Consortium (jointly the Raymond G. Murphy VAMC and the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque).

Research Interests: Rural mental health, resilience and strengths-based approaches to treating and preventing PTSD.

Mentors: Drs. Jeff Pyne and Ellen Fischer.

Hobbies: Backpacking, kayaking, sewing, making jewelry, piano, cooking, and gardening. I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail before graduate school. Between internship and fellowship, I completed the 270-mile Long Trail in Vermont. Since the pandemic began, I also took up home-brewing beer!

Other Work: In March, I gave a TEDx talk on my graduate research about disaster and pandemic resilience. Here is the link:



Alexander Uzdavines, PhD

Dr. Alexander Uzdavines
Dr. Alexander Uzdavines

Education: I transferred from the San Diego Community College District to the University of California, Irvine where I earned a BA in psychology and social behavior then a MA in social science with a focus in demographic and social analysis. I graduated with a PhD in clinical psychology from Case Western Reserve University.

Research Interests: My primary content-knowledge areas are in quantitative methods, the psychology of religion/spirituality, and primary care mental health with a focus on underserved populations, especially LGBT folks. During the fellowship, my interests have transitioned toward developing and implementing quality improvement projects within the field of health services research itself. I aim to increase the efficiency of the work done by health services researchers and to make this work more accessible and transparent to the Veterans we serve.

Mentors: Drs. Michael Kauth (primary), Jeff Cully, Lilian Dindo, Sylvia Hysong, Kristine Lynch (VINCI).

Hobbies: Videogames, cooking, and cycling.


Last updated: October 26, 2021