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D. Scott Batey

Director, Magic City Research Institute

Dr. D. Scott Batey (he/him) is the Co-Director of the Magic City Research Institute. An Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at Tulane University, Dr. Batey’s research focuses on eliminating health disparities, especially those prominent along the HIV Care Continuum. Within this framework, he conducts mixed-methods research to answer important research questions. Informed by 26 years’ experience as a licensed social work clinician, his implementation research especially leverages the inherent skills of social workers to uniquely deliver evidence-based interventions; it is routinely community-placed and community-driven. Dr. Batey is PI, site PI (Investigator of Record), or Co-I on several ongoing NIH studies, including MPI on the NINR award, CHAMPS: A randomized trial of a Community Health Worker intervention for persons living with HIV in two high priority settings (R01NR019758-01, MPI: D.S. Batey & R. Schnall). His major scientific contributions center on implementation of promising interventions and delivery strategies that effectively and efficiently address gaps in the HIV care continuum, utilize evidence-based social work practice, reduce health-related stigmas, and optimize the primary medical clinic-community interface. Prior to his transition to Tulane in 2022, Dr. Batey led the UAB Center for AIDS Research’s (CFAR’s) community engagement efforts, and he maintains his affiliation as Scientist with the CFAR. Dr. Batey lives with his husband of 28 years, Bryan, and their two French bulldogs, Napoleon and Ollie Merle.

Joseph Abua

Assistant Director, Magic City Research Institute

Joseph Abua (he, him) is the Asst. Director of the Magic City Research Institute. He graduated with a master’s degree in clinical and medical Social Work from the prestigious University of Alabama at Birmingham, UAB, in May of 2020 having previously acquired an initial master’s degree in Peace and Development Studies, and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from reputable universities in Nigeria. He joined the BAO team as a social worker in 2020, from which he quickly rose to the position of a Program Coordinator, and then to the position of the Director of Research Programs to subsequently his current position as the Assistant Director of the Magic City Research Institute. During his time as a student at UAB, he was awarded the Joseph F. Volker International Scholarship 2019 and was selected as a member of Phi Alpha (the National Honor’s Society of Social Work), and after graduating, he received multiple awards of excellence including UAB MSW Outstanding Student of the Year 2020 and the Joe F. Acker Award for Innovation Excellence in Emergency Medical Services from the city of Birmingham
in 2020. Joseph Abua has had the opportunity to lead, coordinate, manage and supervise several research studies (quan, qual & mixed methods) in collaboration with NIH, CDC, UAB, UAB Center for AIDS Research (CFAR), University of Pittsburgh, Columbia University, University of Chicago, Chicago Center for HIV Elimination (CCHE), Tulane University, amongst others. He has also co-authored and publish a few journals and articles. His ultimately goal is to improve the health and wellbeing of vulnerable populations by developing accessible effective treatment interventions and evidence-based practices that addresses their needs and positively improve their quality of life, lifestyle choices, and general health outcomes. He is excited to continue his work within the focus of enhancing HIV prevention, treatment, and care, and also study the reasons for certain challenges of some existing community-based initiatives and programs from a methodological and systematic perspective.


Josh Bruce, MPH (he/him) is the Director of New Initiatives at BAO. Mr. Bruce has thirteen years of experience working with infectious diseases and his research efforts focus on LGBTQ+ health and communicable diseases, with the definitive goal of improving health outcomes for marginalized communities. Alongside his involvement at BAO, Mr. Bruce is a PhD student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and an adjunct professor teaching an LGBTQ+ Health and Wellness Service Learning class. Mr. Bruce has worked on several projects in collaboration with Columbia University, UAB, Florida State University, University of Pittsburgh, University of Washington, University of Chicago, CDC, and the NIH. 

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The Rev. Dr. Christopher M. Hamlin

The Rev. Dr. Christopher M. Hamlin serves as Pastor of the 138th year old Tabernacle Baptist Church, Birmingham, Alabama. In 2023, he retired as Chaplain/Education Specialist from the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s 1917 Clinic, the HIV outpatient clinic treating more than 3,400 patients.  For six years, he served as Facilitator for Project Corporate Leadership, a leadership program designed for middle managers of businesses and corporations sponsored by the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce.  From 1990 to September 2000, Dr. Hamlin served as Senior Pastor of the historic Sixteenth Street Baptist Church of Birmingham.

A native of Macon, Georgia, Dr. Hamlin received a B.A. degree from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia; Master of Divinity from Colgate Crozer Theological Seminary, Rochester, New York; and Doctor of Ministry from United Theological Seminary (Proctor-Moss Fellow), Dayton, Ohio.  His doctoral dissertation focused on the unique role of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church as a memorial and opened-door church.

In 1998, he published a history on Sixteenth Street Baptist Church titled, Behind the Stained Glass: A History of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, Crane Hill Publishers, Birmingham, Alabama.  He and the Rev. Sarah Jackson Shelton (Baptist Church of the Covenant, Birmingham) published the Teaching Church: Congregation as Mentor in 2013 (Smyth-Helwys, Publishers) that examines what pastors learn from congregations.  He is currently working on three manuscripts for publication — one of spiritual reflections, another chronicling his journey with three bouts of cancer, and a research project examining the connectional links of Drs. Mordecai Wyatt Johnson, Benjamin E. Mays and Howard Thurman, all connected through Howard University and Morehouse College.  He has contributed to three publications through his work with UAB’s Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) and the School of Public Health.

He is married to Sara B. Hamlin, Vice President of Tourism for the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau, and they are parents to Jermaine Fuller and Kyle P. Hamlin and grandparents of Karter, Peyton, and Kali.


Mickey Murdock
Program Interventionist

Mickey Murdock (he/him) is a Program Interventionist with the Magic City Research Institute (MCRI) on multiple research studies. He graduated from University of Alabama, Birmingham (UAB) with a bachelor's in Public Health in the spring of 2022. During his studies at UAB, he consistently demonstrated academic excellence, earning a place on the Dean's List in 2021. Beyond academics, Mickey was deeply involved in the campus life, and actively contributed to various student organization programs and activities. He was a dedicated member of the Black Student Awareness Association Council, UAB NAACP Chapter, and also a valuable member of Alpha Phi Alpha. He played a pivotal role in promoting diversity and advocating for social justice on campus. Outside of campus, he dedicated his time to serving the community through Project EMS, a noble endeavor that provided essential school supplies to disenfranchised communities. Moreover, he gained valuable experience working in a metabolic kitchen at Samford University, where he contributed to various research studies, showcasing his versatility and expertise in diverse fields. He currently serves as the Program Interventionist for Project nGage and CHAMPS research studies at Birmingham AIDS Outreach (BAO), demonstrating an unwavering commitment to public health and community well-being. Through his tireless efforts, he continues to make a positive impact, uplifting communities and championing causes that matter. Mickey has and continues to assist the agency in meeting its goals and objectives, and he remains a big part of the MCRI/BAO team.


Karen Musgrove
PhD, MEd, LPC​

CEO, Birmingham AIDS Outreach (BAO) 

Dr. Karen Musgrove (she/hers) currently serves as the CEO for BAO, Magic City Acceptance Center, Magic City Wellness Center, and the Magic City Acceptance Academy. BAO is the first non-profit agency in Alabama with the mission to serve HIV positive individuals.  The Magic City Wellness Center is the first LGBTQ medical wellness center in the state of Alabama, the Magic City Acceptance Center is a LGBTQ youth center, and the Magic City Acceptance Academy, opening in 2021, will be the first LGBTQ affirming charter school. Dr. Musgrove has experience in case management, grant writing, grant administration, administrating new programs, management of funding, program development, speaking on a variety of subjects, natural disaster emergency response, and community collaboration. Dr. Musgrove graduated in 2020 from the UAB School of Public Health and with a dissertation research topic, “Exploring the Physical and Mental Health Disparities in the Transgender Male Community in a Southern Community-Based Medical LGBTQ Organization”  to bring attention to the transgender medical and mental health needs. Dr. Musgrove is the UAB School of Public Health 2020 Student of the Year. Dr. Musgrove and has worked for various non-profits in the Birmingham community including Gateway, JBS Mental Health Authority and American Red Cross.  Honors include: Leadership Alabama, 2019; Leadership Birmingham, 2015; The Women’s Network; American Red Cross Mental Health Volunteer, World Trade Center 9/11, 2001; Top 40 under 40, Birmingham Business Journal, 2001; Smart Woman 2012, The Women’s Fund. Karen has served on the following non-profit boards: Sidewalk Film Festival; The Magic City Choral Society – founding board member, past chair; Crestwood North Neighborhood – board member; Central Alabama Theatre – founding board member, vice chair; Birmingham AIDS Outreach – board member and executive committee.


Christian Strong (they,them,theirs) is the Data Manager of the Magic City Research Institute (MCRI). They graduated from the University of Alabama in May 2023 with a master’s degree in Public Health with a
concentration in Health Education and Promotion. Prior to their master’s degree, Christian earned a bachelor's degree in public health with a concentration in health education at the University of Southern
Mississippi. During Christian’s time at the University of Southern Mississippi, they had the honor of partaking in the McNair Scholars Program. They were given the opportunity to conduct their first ever
research study titled: “Barriers to STI Screening Among College Students at the University of Southern Mississippi." At the conclusion of their bachelor’s degree program, they were able to obtain a research publication, “Exploring COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Among Stakeholders in African American and Latinx Communities in the Deep South Through the Lens of the Health Belief Model." Christian is a strong advocate for health equity and strives to address health disparities through education and advocacy. Their goal is to inspire individuals to make informed decisions about their health and well-being, ultimately leading to healthier communities. They play a crucial role in collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data to inform public health initiatives and interventions. Their advocacy for health equity aligns perfectly with the mission of the center, which may focus on improving health outcomes for underserved populations in the
Magic City community.

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