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Meet the Pickering Caregiver Lab Team



Carolyn Pickering, PhD, RN

Carolyn Pickering, PhD, RN, a noted expert in dementia family caregiving, joined Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth Houston’s Department of Research as a professor effective August 15, 2023. Pickering’s program of research includes funding from the National Institute on Aging and National Institute of Mental Health. The studies explore how family caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia provide care, make decisions and use medications, as well as the studies on the etiology and manifestation of behavioral symptoms of dementia. She is widely published on related topics, serves as a reviewer on several journals, and is a member of the editorial board for Journal of Gerontological Nursing


Vicki Winstead, PhD, MA

Dr. Winstead earned a PhD in Medical Sociology, an MA in Sociology and a Certificate in Gerontology from the University of Alabama Birmingham. She has worked as an evaluation coordinator on Medicare projects and as a research scientist on four NIH funded grants that examine caregiving and dementia. She served as adjunct faculty in Sociology at Birmingham Southern College and UAB. She currently serves as a senior program manager and as a research scientist in the Pickering Caregiver Lab in the Cizik School of Nursing.


Wesley Browning, PhD

Wesley Browning is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth for the Pickering Caregiving Lab. He received his degree in lifespan developmental psychology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. His research focuses on the impacts of psychosocial factors on caregiver health and behaviors. These factors include social support, adverse social experiences (negative interactions, experiences of discrimination, low physician trust), and family dynamics (family conflict, household composition, relationships).


Jessica Hernandez

Hernandez is originally from Bogotá, Colombia. She graduated from Universidad Nacional de Colombia with a BSN and is pursuing her doctorate in Biomedical Informatics at UTHealth Houston. Her area of research focuses on data-driven AI and machine learning methods to enhance older adults' care and protection, including solutions for dementia and alcohol use disorders.