Jennifer Ford, PhD

Lab Director

Dr. Jennifer Ford (Ph.D., Kent State University, clinical psychology) is a Professor in the Psychology Department at Hunter College, The City University of New York, and director of the Hunter Psycho-Oncology Lab. She is also on the doctoral faculty and the Deputy Director of Clinical Training for the Health Psychology and Clinical Science program at the Graduate Center, The City University of New York. She trained in clinical health psychology, with a focus on child development, and her primary research efforts have focused on the psychosocial and behavioral aspects of pediatric, adolescent and young adult cancer survivorship. She translates her research into the development and study of distance delivered clinical interventions for cancer survivors. She is a licensed clinical psychologist in New York State. Dr. Ford spent the first 17 years of her professional career working in academic medicine at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, before joining Hunter College and The Graduate Center in 2018. She is also currently an Associate Editor for the Annals of Behavioral Medicine. Dr. Ford urges those from underserved and underrepresented minority backgrounds to apply to work in her lab, where she strives to offer the support, mentorship, experience, and inspiration students need to succeed in science or any other field of their choosing.

**Dr. Ford will be taking graduate applicants in her lab for Fall 2021.**

Hunter College, Department of Psychology

Health Psychology and Clinical Science Doctoral Program 

Google Scholar – Research Gate  –  CV

Zeba Ahmad

Doctoral Student

Zeba N. Ahmad is a PhD student working under Dr. Ford in the Hunter Psycho-Oncology Lab and in the Health Psychology and Clinical Science program at the Graduate Center, CUNY. Her primary research interest is in the development and testing of interventions to improve psychological coping with chronic or terminal illness in patients and their family caregivers. In addition to psycho-oncology, she is interested in the affective and emotional contributors to health behaviors in young adults with obesity. As part of her clinical training, Zeba has externed at Mount Sinai Hospital, Weill Cornell Medicine, and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. She also teaches Health Psychology at Hunter College. Prior to doctoral study, Zeba obtained Masters degrees in Human Development and Clinical Psychology and worked as a study interventionist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.


Megan Wirtz

Doctoral Student

Megan Wirtz graduated from the University of Richmond in 2019 with a BA in Psychology and Theatre and a minor in Latin American, Latino, and Iberian Studies. She joins the Hunter Psycho-Oncology Lab and the Health Psychology and Clinical Science program at the Graduate Center, CUNY, after working as a Clinical Research Coordinator in the Behavioral Medicine Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she coordinated several intervention trials focusing on smoking cessation and medication adherence among people living with HIV. Her primary research interests include sexual wellbeing, identity development, and post-traumatic stress of adolescents and young adults living with chronic illness.


Maiya Hotchkiss

Laboratory Manager

Maiya graduated from Hunter in 2019 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a focus in Gender Studies. She is interested in identity and resilience among sexual and gender diverse individuals, with a particular interest in the role of empowerment and self-efficacy. She is also interested in how qualitative methods can be utilized to learn more about promoting resiliency, psychological well-being, and improve health outcome disparities. Maiya plans to pursue a PhD in Clinical or Counseling Psychology.



Elizabeth Ray

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Elizabeth Ray graduated from CUNY Hunter in 2022 with a major in Psychology and a minor in Computer Science. She is interested in severe psychopathology, the visual system, and computation-psychometrics, particularly the use of software as a tool for the treatment of mental illness. During her post-baccalaureate studies, she aims to complete a Mini MBA in business from SUNY Buffalo, strengthen her understanding of technology and psychology, and continue doing meaningful research while pursuing her Ph.D.


Zobaida Maria

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Zobaida is a senior at Hunter College finishing her BA in Psychology with a minor in Sociology. She is currently interested in intersectional research that explores how race, gender, class and limited English language proficiency, can contribute to health disparities within the psychology field. After graduating, she intends to pursue a Master’s in Marriage & Family Therapy with a PhD in Clinical Psychology.

Diana Kaziyev

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Diana is a senior at Hunter College pursuing a BA in psychology with a clinical concentration. She expects to graduate in the Spring of 2022 and plans to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology. Her current research interests include how people diagnosed with a chronic disease can cope and be resilient.

Tishmattie Gopal

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Tishmattie is a junior at Hunter College pursuing a BA in psychology with a concentration in social psychology. She plans to graduate in Spring 2022. After graduation, she intends to take a gap year and work as a research assistant before pursuing a master’s degree and afterwards a PhD. She is interested in the field of social, clinical, and health psychology. Her current research interests focus on understanding how cultural differences, social cognition of gender, and interpersonal relationships can influence child development and their future health and well-being.

Madison Fertig

Graduate Student Researcher

Madison is pursuing a Master’s degree in Psychology at Hunter College. She previously graduated with her BS in Psychology with a minor in Public Health in 2020. She is interested in both health and clinical psychology, specifically how health behaviors impact mental illness. In her undergrad, she interned at a lab that analyzed how maternal health behaviors influence their children’s health and cognitive functioning. She plans to pursue her PhD in either Clinical or Health Psychology.

Imani Goins

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Imani is a senior at Hunter College pursuing a BA in psychology with a focus study in foreign language. She is interested in the fields of health psychology and clinical psychology. She plans to continue working in a research lab after she graduates and will be applying to a PhD program in either health psychology or clinical psychology. Her current research interests include anxiety, depression, and cardiovascular health.

Alyssa Ciniglio

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Alyssa is a rising senior at Hunter College pursuing a BA in Clinical Psychology with a focus study in sociology. She intends to receiver a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling after graduating from Hunter in the Spring of 2022. Her career interest is to work with adolescents in a clinical setting.

Dimitra Tzanis

Post-Master's Research Assistant

Dimitra Tzanis graduated from Mercy College with a Master Degree in Psychology in 2020. Currently, she is completing a Certificate of Advanced study in Mental Health Counseling at Alfred University to become a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC). Dimitra’s research interests include a mix of clinical, health, behavioral, and cognitive psychology. Furthermore, understanding an individual’s mentalization, thought process, personality, and responses to stress and past trauma. Her clinical experience involves working as a behavioral therapist for children at the Center of Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) as well as the Jewish Union Foundation and a medical scribe at White Plains Hospital – Cancer Center. Dimitra’s future goal is to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology.


Lab Alumni

Assistant Professor – Social and Behavioral Health Sciences, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Member – Cancer Prevention and Control Research Program at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ)

Get Involved

Whether you are interested in the lab as a volunteer, an honors student, or a prospective graduate student, we are pleased that you have chosen the Psycho-Oncology lab for your experience.

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