Drenna Waldrop-Valverde, PhD, is a licensed psychologist with specialized training in neuropsychology. She is a tenured Associate Professor at Emory University’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing (NHWSN), and is jointly appointed in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education at the Emory University Rollins School of Public Health. Additionally, she holds a voluntary faculty position with the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine.
Dr. Waldrop-Valverde is the Director of the Center for Neurocognitive Studies (CNS) in the NHWSN, a Center of Excellence in Symptom Science funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research, whose goal is the advancement of interdisciplinary scientific study of cognitive and affective symptoms of chronic illness. The Center seeks to provide an evidence base for improved care and management practices and it functions as a resource to promote, support, and serve as an incubator for research studying the etiology, identification, assessment, and effective treatment of neurocognitive symptoms of chronic illness.
Dr. Waldrop-Valverde’s primary research and scholarly interest is in treatment adherence, cognitive & affective symptoms, and health literacy among persons living with HIV/AIDS. She has been Principal Investigator on four NIH grants and over the past 15 years has led and collaborated on numerous studies investigating the overarching symptoms associated with HIV infection, including health literacy and cognition. Her research and findings have led to the expansion and understanding of the essential role that cognitive impairment and health literacy plays in the self-management of HIV/AIDS patients. Her international work includes collaborative studies in northern and southern India to evaluate the effects of Clade C HIV virus, and in Argentina to facilitate health literate and patient-centered care encounters. She has collaborated with neuro-endocrinologists to study HIV/AIDS stress-response and worked with brain imaging specialists to evaluate the effects of HIV inf ection and drug abuse on brain metabolism. She is currently active on nine different grants.
Dr. Waldrop-Valverde is co-chair of The Brain: Cancer and Neurocognition Initiative of the Emory University Winship Cancer Institute. The focus of this initiative is brain cancer and treatment, understanding the impact of cancer therapy on the brain, metabolic brain imaging during cancer therapy, and treatment of the consequences of cancer therapy on the brain with a focus on health disparities, survivorship, outcomes and quality, as well as community engagement and outreach.
Dr. Waldrop-Valverde has published broadly in peer reviewed journals and has been invited to present her findings at numerous national and international conferences; she is a standing member of the BSCH NIH Study Section, Behavioral and Social Consequences of HIV/AIDS; serves as an advisory committee member to Duke University’s ADAPT Center; is a reviewer on national and international peer journals; and is a member of numerous professional organizations.
At Emory University, she has served as a member of the Learning Through Innovation Committee of the Commission on Liberal Arts (CoLA), and is a member of the Center for AIDS Research (CFAR).