Project FAITHH Team


Pamela Payne Foster, MD, MPH, Project FAITHH Principal Investigator,
is an Assistant Professor in Community and Rural Medicine at the University of Alabama School of Medicine – Tuscaloosa campus. Dr. Foster also serves as Deputy Director of the Institute for Rural Health Research at the institution. Dr. Foster has already begun to establish herself as a researcher in the area of stigma in rural African Americans in Alabama. Her specific areas of research include: generalized characterization of community-based stigma in rural African Americans, characterization in older HIV+ African Americans in Alabama, characterization of disclosure issues in rural African American men infected with HIV and faith-based approaches to HIV/AIDS prevention. Dr. Foster has also been involved in local and state HIV/AIDS advocacy and planning.

Susan Gaskins, RN, DSN, FAAN, Senior Investigator,
is a Professor of Nursing at the Capstone College of Nursing at the University of Alabama. She has been working in the area of HIV/AIDS for most of her research career. She has served as PI on several grants and has recently completed a National Institute of Health (NIH) grant which studied the impact of AIDS disclosure on rural African American men. She has also been involved in HIV/AIDS advocacy and research at the national, state and local levels.

Dr. Jason M. Parton, Consultant,
is a Biostatistician working at the University of Alabama, College of Business. He also has an adjunct faculty affiliation with the Institute for Rural Health Research. Dr. Parton will assist with methodology and evaluation design, implementation and statistical analysis.

Project Coordinators

Graduate Research Assistants

Other Members

Reverend Willie Smith
Pastor of New Salem Christian Church in Hayneville, Alabama. He has been involved with HIV/AIDS Street Ministry in the Montgomery, Alabama area where he actively seeks persons to educate and test for HIV. He works in this capacity through his nonprofit, ERM Outreach Ministries.

Reverend John Meeks
is the former State President of the New Era Progressive Baptist Conference in Alabama. He also serves as the National Advisor in HIV/AIDS to the National Baptist Progressive President, Reverend Thurmond. He also serves as the Pastor of the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Greenville, Alabama and Friendship Baptist Church in Georgiana, Alabama.

Reverend Chris Spencer
is the Assistant Director of the Center for Community Based Partnerships at the University of Alabama where he is responsible for facilitating community engagement with faculty and staff at the university. He is also a Community Associate with the Black Belt Community Foundation and facilitator of organizing pastors in the West Alabama area. In a recent presentation given by Dr. Foster on health disparities, the group discussed HIV/AIDS as a possible focus of concern for the group. Reverend Spencer is also the Pastor of St. Matthew-Watson Missionary Baptist Church in Boligee, Alabama.

Reverend Sam Gordon, III
is Pastor of Bethlehem CME Church in Prattville, Alabama (Autauga County). He was formerly Director of the Birmingham Area Interfaith Sponsoring Committee, a coalition of churches conducting social justice projects including health. Currently he serves as the Regional Coordinator for Social Justice issues for over 200 CME churches in Alabama and Florida.