Subject Matter Research Consultants

Subject Matter Research Consultants


In 2021, when the Behavior & Technology Lab (BATLab) existed at UNC-Chapel Hill, the Youth Advisory Board and Youth Advisory Council merged, rebranded, and redefined mutually endorsed guidelines and goals. We also recognized the need to engage youth through all parts of research and as such all members were formally hired as part-time employees and given the title of Research Consultants. Formal employment recognizes their central importance to research, allows us to better respond to evolving study needs, and offers employees extensive resources and training opportunities. This conglomerate has varying education levels and professional and lived experiences. In October 2022, the BATLab and the Research Consultants began transitioning to Florida State University, and the Institute on Digital Health and Innovation was birthed. The IDHI continues to establish young people as more integral to research study teams and maximize professional development.

We would like to acknowledge the former staff members who led and facilitated the Youth Advisory Board (YAB) and Youth Advisory Council (YAC) at various points from 2016 – 2021 before the merge. Thank you to Karina Soni, Drew McGee, Afua Osei, and Skye Wilson. We sincerely thank them for their exemplary service.

The SMRC’s Role

The Subject Matter Research Consultants (SMRC) provide consultation on research study development, implementation and  relevant social media trends.

Additionally, members have the flexibility to create audio, visual, and written content that is available to participants in different research studies, and they assist with participant engagement in forums.

Review and provide feedback on study design and surveys
Review and provide feedback on recruitment materials
Assist with recruitment and retention efforts
Provide app enhancement ideas
Assist with internal testing and monitor app for bugs and issues
Develop relevant, relatable content
Boost and maintain forum engagement
Review and help design qualitative interview guides
Assist with data dissemination


The SMRC’s short-term goals are:


Continue expanding content creation and dissemination efforts


Increasing group diversity


Building and strengthening community partnerships


Maintaining consistent advisement on study designs


The formation of this group is unique in that many, if any, research institutions have not yet progressed in utilizing this approach. The Institute on Digital Health and Innovation has sought out and hired young professionals that reflect the target demographic of the studies, which, in turn, enhances the projects and cultivates a reciprocal working relationship for folx from marginalized backgrounds.

Meet the SMRC

Get to know the current members of the SMRC!

News & Accomplishments

Xavier Ramos is involved with the Latinx Caucus of the HIV/AIDS Network Coordination’s (HANC) Legacy Project, and the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) on the Long-Acting HIV Treatment & Prevention Policy Project.
Sandra Agola is slated to graduate with her undergraduate degree in May 2022!
Joshua Espada was accepted into graduate school and is pursuing a Master’s in Public Health with a specialization in Community Health.
Abraham Johnson moderated The Future of HIV Biomedical Prevention panel in September 2021.
Joshua Espada was accepted as a presenter for the 2021 GLMA Annual Conference on LGBTQ+ Health.
In May 2021, Tia Sadler was selected by the Delaware Valley Legacy Fund to be honored as the 2021 Youth hero.

Tools and Resources

More coming soon!

  • Youth Advisory Boards
  • Youth Partners
  • Capacity Building
  • Community Engagement
  • Mentoring Opportunities
  • Social Media Advisors

Connect with the SMRC

Want to consult with the SMRC about a project?