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Faculty Research and Scholarship

David Abramson, PhD, MPH

As a researcher of the Gulf Coast Child and Family Health Study following Hurricane Katrina and the Sandy Child and Family Health Study, Dr. Abramson is an expert in examining disasters’ impacts on human health and well-being. As founding director of the Program on Population Recovery and Resiliency at NYU, the initiative serves as a launching pad for innovative “research to action” approach to public health research.

Currently, Dr. Abramson has several on-going studies:

This is an NIH-funded center grant which capitalizes on joining together three longitudinal cohorts from researchers at Tulane University, Harvard University, and NYU to explore population recovery a decade after Hurricane Katrina.

The overall objective of our Program Award Application is to advance disaster science by including both breadth and depth in a set of studies that includes three especially-affected populations and two representative analyses of the enduring effects of Hurricane Katrina; by providing a temporal perspective with longitudinal data that highlight differentials in Recovery across diverse populations over a decade; by capitalizing upon the trust and collaboration that has been established and nurtured between our research teams and our communities of interest over many years; and by employing a unifying theoretical framework developed by one of our team's leaders. To achieve this objective, we will: Form and support an extensive team of Researchers, scientific advisors, and community stakeholders that will push forward the frontiers of disaster science; Assess specific long term (10 years) trajectories of Recovery within and among three special populations that were severely and differentially-affected by Hurricane Katrina: a cohort of first- generation female African American community college students (RISK); a cohort of economically and socially vulnerable families and households who were displaced by Katrina into government- subsidized Housing (GCAFH); and a cohort of first-generation Vietnamese American immigrants who were living in the greater New Orleans area when Katrina struck in August 2005 (KATIVA NOLA); Assess the more general Recovery of New Orleans at the 10 year mark post-Katrina using several sources of existing, representative, high-quality data; Test and validate a predictive Socio-ecological Model of post-Disaster Recovery using original data collected by our KATRINA@10 Program; Disseminate data and research findings on the long-term impacts of Katrina on a wide range of affected populations to local, national, and International audiences. Key mechanisms for doing so will be our Data Sharing arrangements and our two major conferences, the first to take place at the 10th anniversary of Katrina in August 2015. The Leadership Team for KATRINA@10 consists of the Program's Multiple PIs, Mark VanLandingham, Mary Waters, and David Abramson; and an Advisory Board consisting of a broad range of scientific experts and local community leaders.  

The objective of the research is to identify data gaps, build on existing approaches and methodologies, and increase knowledge about exposures to hazardous pollutants, chemicals and other related physical and mental health impacts during response and recovery activities following Hurricane Sandy. Specifically, we will be identifying and evaluating the physical and mental health outcomes among non-professional response and recovery workers, including volunteers characterizing complex, unknown and multiple worker exposures to contaminants; exploring the impact of a worker safety training program as an occupational health preventative intervention; and exploring the effectiveness of health department issuance of personal protective equipment (PPE) to volunteer workers.

 

The Program on Population Recovery and Resiliency at GIPH will provide Rutgers University with research services related to their proposed contract with the State of New Jersey to conduct an assessment of populations affected by the October 2012 Superstorm Sandy.

The contract is for the development of a representative panel of New Jersey residents exposed to Hurricane Sandy. The project will; 1. establish a New Jersey Public Partnership Group to facilitate discussion, guidance, and oversight with the Rutgers University, Columbia University, and NYU research teams; 2. Produce Briefing Reports and a Summary Report that can inform recovery efforts of the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) and other public stakeholders.

These Reports will focus on disaster exposure and decision-making among NJ residents who had been exposed to Superstorm Sandy, assess the unmet needs for health and social services among affected populations, identify particularly evidence of group or population disparities, and provide a snapshot of health and recovery status; 3. Develop a process for circulating peer-reviewed journal articles with the New Jersey Public Partnership Group for comment prior to publication.

 

Dr. Abramson’s program on Population Impacts, Recovery, and Resiliency (PiR2) applies social science and public health theory and methods to improving the health and well-being of communities and populations affected by disasters. Much of the research focuses of socio-ecological models of disaster recovery. There are two major components to the program:

 

1.The Population Impacts, Recovery and Resiliency (PiR2) Data Lab.The Data lab encompasses analyses of multiple observational disaster cohorts, supplemented with hierarchical secondary data on hazards, risks, infrastructure, vulnerability and resiliency. The lab is actively following four current disaster cohorts.

a. The Gulf Coast Child and Family Health Study (G-CAFH), a longitudinal cohort study of Hurricane Katrina survivors randomly sampled from displaced and heavily impacted households in Louisiana and Mississippi in the first year after the hurricane (n=1,079; 4 data waves from 2006-2010). G-CAFH will likely be funded for an additional five years with funding from NICHD to examine health disparities and recovery trajectories.

 

Disaster ResearchWorks, a “research-to-action” unit that encompasses rapid research efforts post-disaster, with the design and implementation of research-informed solutions. Presently, the primary project is the SHOREline youth empowerment program, a national network of high school chapters in which students focus on a project-based learning curriculum to achieve the objective of “Youth helping youth recover from disaster.” SHOREline, which builds Skills Hope Opportunities Recovery and Engagement among the youth, is active in six high schools in LA, MS, AL and NYC.

 

The project has the following objectives:

1. Analyze the GCPI survey data and develop a journal article in collaboration with NCDP;

2. Provide overall strategic direction for the SHOREline youth development program, which includes the development of foundational documents, provision of guidance to the chapters and field coordinators, and development of a long-term sustainability plan;

3. Development and dissemination of a standardized didactic and project-based learning curriculum to participating SHOREline high schools;   

4. Development of content and direction for the Capstone Summit in Spring 2015;

5. Management of and communication with SHOREline’s National Advisory Board’s members;

6. Leadership and direction on all public, professional and academic communication and presentations emerging from the SHOREline and GCPI projects.

 

Employing a multi-disciplinary team, this project will analyze data provided by the LSU WaTCH investigators using an ecological bio-behavioral stress model that explores the complex paths from exposure to dysfunction among Gulf Coast children exposed to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The overall goals of this project are to: (1) understand the short- and longer-term impacts of the oil spill on children’s development and well-being; and (2) examine how parental and social forces, and alternative treatment models can mediate or modify the spill’s effects on children.

 

This study is funded by the Decision, Risk and Management Sciences/National Science Foundation. This research involves a series of representative national panel surveys to examine how various social, scientific, and policy cues influence the US public’s appreciation of the risk of the Zika virus over time, as well as the public’s receptivity to various clinical, environmental, and behavioral interventions.

The study, which examines Rapid Response Research (RAPID) related to Zika virus, will contribute to several disciplinary perspectives, notably those of risk assessment, hazard-related decision-making, and public health risk communication. The aims of the research are to: (1) chart the trajectory of risk salience as exposure and certainty of the Zika virus increases; (2) identify and analyze the impact of social, scientific, and policy cues and discourse on risk salience; and (3) describe and analyze group differences in the evolving attitudes related to risk perception, as well as receptivity to policy, programmatic, and clinical interventions.  

The study is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, examines intra-individual change in risk perception of the Zika virus among a panel of 200 women of child-bearing age as the science and the epidemiology evolve.

 


 

Bernadette Boden-Albala, DrPH, MPH

Dr. Boden-Abala is one of the key leading social epidemiologists utilizing stroke and cardiovascular disease models to define the ways in which culture, ethnic groups and individual behavior interact to create disease. She is an international expert in: the use of epidemiologic tools to assess demographic and behavioral risk factors for disease; design of intervention strategies for prevention and preparedness of stroke and vascular risk factor reduction; and in the interpretation of social determinants in risk reduction strategies. Her research has been supported by more than 27 million dollars in NIH funding over the past 8 years.

Dr. Boden-Abala's current research includes:

Poor recruitment and retention of minority populations in clinical research and clinical trials in particular continues to be a significant barrier in the reduction of health disparities. The goal is to develop and test tools, procedures and guidelines to improve minority recruitment and retention in clinical trials in collaboration with NIMHD and other national programs to be implemented locally and nationally. This approach is now being showcased by the US Food and Drug Administration.

 

This grant establishes the New York City Collaborative Regional Coordinating Stroke Center (NYCC-RCC), creating a collaborative network that brings together three major urban academic medical centers. Leveraging their clinical expertise and research infrastructure will provide multidisciplinary support to maximize the efficient development, promotion and conduct of high quality multi-site stroke clinical trials.

 

DESERVE is a multisite study that includes Columbia University, Mount Sinai Health Systems and NYU.

The study aims to treat eligible ischemic stroke patients within two hours of onset of stroke symptoms.

 

 

Dr. Dustin Duncan

Dr. Duncan is a Social and Spatial Epidemiologist, studying how specific neighborhood characteristics influence population health and health disparities. His research has a strong domestic (U.S.) focus, but recent work is beginning to span across the globe (including studies in Paris, London, Shanghai and Abu Dhabi). Methodologically, his research utilizes a geospatial lens to apply spatially explicit approaches such as computer-based geographic information systems (GIS), web-based geospatial technologies, real-time geospatial technologies, and geospatial modeling techniques. For instance, his work applies emerging geospatial technologies such as Global Positioning System (GPS) devices and smartphones to, in part, examine mobility and social networks in neighborhoods.

This project seeks to investigate spatial mobility across neighborhoods as well as relationships between Global Positioning System (GPS)-defined activity space neighborhoods and HIV risk among young men who have sex with men (MSM) in the New York City metropolitan area, through the use of innovative methodological approaches including real-time geospatial methods and geo-located Twitter posts. We will randomly enroll 250 young MSM in the NIH-funded P18 Cohort Study in the proposed study to address the aims of the research. Eligibility requirements include report having had sex with another male in the past 6 months; HIV-seronegative; self-report no restrictions to usual physical activity; and willingness to complete a two-week GPS protocol. Participants will wear the GPS device following protocols we have used in our previous feasibility research projects. Findings from the proposed research will impact HIV prevention intervention activities. First, this research will inform specific neighborhood-level policy interventions. For example, increasing community efforts to combat lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) hate crime neighborhood rates through increased local police attention in high-crime locations may be an HIV prevention intervention. Second, given that we will know the travel patterns of young MSM, we can identify geographic locations for HIV testing/prevention interventions, which is an advancement of the literature as such interventions are not often spatially targeted. Finally, this research will also facilitate identifying geographic locations for recruiting young MSM in research studies (an improved method of venue-based sampling), in this understudied group.

Co-investigators: Perry Halkitis, PhD, MPH & Rumi Chunara, PhD

This project seeks to investigate spatial mobility across neighborhoods as well as relationships between Global Positioning System (GPS)-defined activity space neighborhoods and HIV risk among young men who have sex with men (MSM) in the New York City metropolitan area, through the use of innovative methodological approaches including real-time geospatial methods and geo-located Twitter posts. We will randomly enroll 250 young MSM in the NIH-funded P18 Cohort Study in the proposed study to address the aims of the research. Eligibility requirements include report having had sex with another male in the past 6 months; HIV- seronegative; self-report no restrictions to usual physical activity; and willingness to complete a two-week GPS protocol. Participants will wear the GPS device following protocols we have used in our previous feasibility research projects. Findings from the proposed research will impact HIV prevention intervention activities. First, this research will inform specific neighborhood-level policy interventions. For example, increasing community efforts to combat lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) hate crime neighborhood rates through increased local police attention in high-crime locations may be an HIV prevention intervention. Second, given that we will know the travel patterns of young MSM, we can identify geographic locations for HIV testing/prevention interventions, which is an advancement of the literature as such interventions are not often spatially targeted. Finally, this research will also facilitate identifying geographic locations for recruiting young MSM in research studies (an improved method of venue-based sampling), in this understudied group.

Funder: National Institute of Health

This project seeks to use real-time geospatial methods to investigate relationships between Global Positioning System (GPS)-defined activity space neighborhoods, social and sexual networks, and HIV prevention and care behaviors cross-sectionally and longitudinally among Black men who have sex with men (MSM) in the Jackson, Mississippi metropolitan statistical area (MSA) followed over a year. We will enroll 300 Black MSM in the CDC-funded MARI Study in the proposed study to address the aims of the research. Eligibility requirements include: self-report no restrictions to usual physical activity; no plans to move outside of Jackson MS MSA in the next year; and willingness to complete a two-week GPS protocol at four time-points over a year. Participants will wear the GPS device following protocols we have used in our previous feasibility research projects. In this longitudinal cohort study, three months after completing the initial 2-week GPS protocol, participants will carry the GPS device for an additional 2-weeks every three-months over the one-year study period—for a total of five times. GPS activity space environment data at baseline could potentially influence HIV outcomes over time and also having multiple GPS measures (at different time points) can better capture the breadth of people’s exposure to neighborhood-level factors and social/sexual networks. Findings from the proposed research will impact HIV prevention intervention activities. First, this research will inform specific neighborhood-level policy interventions. For example, increasing community efforts to combat lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender hate crime neighborhood rates through increased local police attention in high-crime locations may be an HIV prevention intervention. Second, given that we will know the travel patterns of Black MSM, we will be able to identify optimal geographic locations for HIV testing/prevention interventions. This will advance the literature given that such interventions are seldom geographically targeted. Third, examining changes in spatial mobility (i.e. activity spaces) over time (four follow-up periods over a year) will be useful in knowing whether the risks of particular spaces change or remain constant because different neighborhoods will have different risk profiles. If these risk environments change, this suggests that prevention needs to be very dynamic and fluid and perhaps need rapid change-detection feedback loops. Finally, this research will also facilitate the identification of geographic locations suitable for recruiting Black MSM in research studies (an improved method of venue-based sampling), in this understudied group.

Funder: National Center for Hepatitus, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP)/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 

Dr. Rumi Chunara

The overarching goal of Dr. Chunara's research is to improve  knowledge of how and why infectious and noncommunicable diseases spread in populations. By leaning on her engineering background, Dr. Chunara is harnessing the power of technology to source information directly from individuals including point of care diagnostics, mobile phones and other Internet-enabled sensors and media.  

 

Awarded to Dr. Chunara (GIPH) and Dr. Karen Grepin (Wagner), in this project, this study will crowdsource information about Ebola incidence and related-health behaviors in Liberia using SMS.

 

An agile research proposal from the Health Data Exploration Project, this project will use data from RunKeeper to understand how relationships between the built environment and exercise change over time.

 

 

Dr. Thomas D’Aunno

Dr. D’Aunno’s research focuses on the organization and management of health care services: he has a particular interest in the diffusion and adoption of evidence-based practices and leadership and organizational change.  He has examined these issues in a variety of national studies funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Agency for Health Care Quality and Research. Dr. D’Aunno is currently leading a study of the organization and performance of Accountable Care Organizations.

 

This study will examine how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) of 2010 affected the nation's outpatient substance abuse treatment system - a health services sector with important effects on the public health. It will thus contribute to our understanding of the impact of the PPACA and related policy changes on health service delivery in substance abuse treatment programs. Such information will enable policy makers and stakeholders to determine the effect of the PPACA in improving the accessibility and quality of substance abuse treatment.

 

The purpose of this project is to complete a study of the organization and performance of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). Data from interviews with managers, physicians, and nurses at six ACOs, along with data from records about ACO organization and performance, will be analyzed.

 

 

Dr. Elodie Ghedin

Dr. Ghedin, Professor of Biology and Public Health and member of the Center for Genomics and Systems Biology, is an expert in evolutionary genomics of infectious agents; neglected tropical diseases; and microbiome and virus metagenomic studies. Her research incorporates a three-pronged approach–functional and comparative genomics, computational and evolutionary biology, and molecular biology techniques–to investigate the infectious agents that cause diseases endemic to tropical climates.By targeting host-pathogen interaction and pathogen population structures, her research yields critical insights into infectious diseases of the developing world such as lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis) and onchocerciasis (river blindness), as well as seasonal and pandemic influenza outbreaks worldwide.

Her recent research studies include:

The focus of this project is to integrate multi-scale data collected over the course of influenza infections-including system-wide transcriptomics and meta- transcriptomics, immunological response and physiological markers, along with viral diversity-in order to perform network analyses and develop computational models that predict severe disease outcome. Our goal is to leverage the power of high-dimensional, large-scale Omics data and mathematical modeling to identify risk-stratifying prognostic biomarkers that could be used in the development of point-of-care testing applicable to clinical respiratory samples to identify patients at risk for severe influenza disease. To achieve this goal, we will build predictive models from molecular interaction networks, translated to specific severity outcomes. We propose to use an age-dependent animal model (neonatal, adult and aged ferrets) and clinical human samples to collect biological measurements at multiple scales of host-virus interaction.

 

Nematodes cause the most common parasitic infections of humans, and the tissue-dwelling filarial worms produce the most severe pathology associated with these infections. Current control programs, however, which are universally based upon the mass distribution of a small arsenal of drugs are exceptionally vulnerable to failure in the event resistance develops. What is lacking is a method to kill or permanently sterilize the adult female parasites, making it critically important to support additional research leading to the discovery of novel drug targets. Most filarial worm species carry a Wolbachia endosymbiont that can be eliminated by treating with antibiotics, which affects molting, reproduction, and survival of the worms, indicating that the Wolbachia are crucial for the development of the parasite. Our goal for this project is to define the mechanisms that determine the interdependencies between the parasitic nematode Brugia malayi and its bacterial endosymbiont.

 

Application of metagenomic techniques will allow us to determine patterns and changes in the population of microbes that play a key role in the pathogenesis and progression of emphysema in this population. The overall goals of this proposal are to determine the respiratory microbial flora (or microbiota) in HIV-I- and HIV- subjects and to establish its role in pathogenesis and progression of HIV-associated COPD using our ongoing cohorts. Specific aims of the proposal are: 1. To compare the microbial community structure in the respiratory tract in subjects with and without HIV infection. 2. To test the hypothesis that the respiratory microbiome in HIV-I- subjects with COPD differs from that in HIV-f subjects without COPD and is related to COPD progression. 3. To test the hypothesis that bacterial products in the blood are detectable in HIV-f subjects with COPD and are associated with immune activation. We will perform oral wash, sputum induction, bronchoscopy, and blood draws in HIV- and HIV-I- subjects and carry out high-throughput virus metagenomics and bacterial, fungal and protozoal 16S rDNA analyses for characterization of microbiome population diversity. Results will be used to determine which microbes are present, their relative proportions, their location, and their relationship to HIV and COPD. This proposal will help us determine which infections are present in the lungs of people with HIV and how the infections might explain why HIV-infected individuals develop emphysema faster than non-HIV-infected people. This information will help us understand and treat emphysema in these patients and in the many non-HIV-infected people who suffer from emphysema.

 

 

Dr. Andrew Goodman

As Former Deputy Commissioner for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Dr. Goodman draws from his extensive knowledge of occupational health, chronic disease prevention and tobacco control to direct the Community Health Initiative. His research will help determine effective prevention strategies to improve the health of communities.

 

 

The 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and the League of Voluntary Hospitals and Homes are working together to strengthen worksite wellness activities to improve health outcomes for 1199SEIU members. 1) Two key activities are proposed to support the LMP Worksite Wellness Program: Technical assistance will be provided to support worksite wellness projects funded by the LMP. 2) A strategic plan will be developed to maximize the effectiveness of the LMP Worksite Wellness Program. Key questions and issues to be addressed include Dr. Goodman’s work is focused on learning the best ways to help healthcare systems, government, employers and other organizations select, implement and evaluate evidence-based interventions to improve community health status and reduce health inequities.

 

Current Research

In the aftermath of traumatic events, including mass shootings, people in communities that were geographically close to the event often experience symptoms of trauma. However, the recent shooting in Orlando, FL, appears to have been motivated, at least in part, by hatred towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer-identified (LGBTQ) people. As such, experiences of trauma among people in the LGBTQ community may extend far beyond the geographic confines of the Greater Orlando area. To assess this hypothesis, a brief Internet survey assessing collective trauma (i.e., trauma experienced by an entire community) will be advertised on LGBTQ email listservs and Facebook pages. LGBTQ people will be invited to complete the survey, which includes items intended to assess experiences of collective trauma and resilience in the face of such atrocities.

Student Investigator: Christopher Stults, MS, LMHC

This project is a longitudinal program of research to follow the development of syndemics in a racially/ethnically and economically diverse cohort of urban HIV-negative young men who have sex with men (YMSM) in New York City as they transition from adolescence into young adulthood, and apply, test, and further develop a theory of syndemic production to understand the development of both maladaptive and adaptive behavioral outcomes. Specifically we seek to (1) develop and test theoretically informed measurement models of the covariance of illicit drug use, unprotected sexual behavior, and mental health burden among emergent adult HIV-negative YMSM within and across time, (2) assess whether patterns of behavior are continuous, discontinuous, or some combination of both; (3) delineate the risk and protective bases-physical factors (i.e., pubertal onset, HIV status), relational factors (i.e., family history of psychopathology, current romantic relationships, peer support, and characteristics of residential, social, and sex neighborhoods), and psychosocial factors (i.e., sexual identity, internalized homophobia, hypermasculinity, racial identity, racial devaluation, HIV optimism) that predict the development of syndemics, and (4) determine the extent to which the development of syndemics varies by race/ethnicity, social class, and homelessness/housing stability in a cohort of HIV-negative YMSM.

This mixed-methods study seeks to more fully explicate the dynamics associated with accessing care among YMSM. We will (1) identify the extent to which YMSM have access to health care facilities that serve the LGBT population; (2) disentangle the roles that sexual orientation and sexual behavior may play in preventing the access of consistent and appropriate care for YMSM; (3) delineate the patterns by which YMSM.

Funder: New York State AIDS Institute, New York State Department of Health

This quantitative study seeks to more fully explicate the dynamics associated with accessing care among YWSW. We will (1) identify the extent to which YWSW have access to health care facilities that serve the LGBT population; (2) disentangle the roles that sexual orientation and sexual behavior may play in preventing the access of consistent and appropriate care of YWSW; (3) delineate the patterns by which YWSW.

Completed Research

By 2015, 50% of all HIV-positive individuals in the USA will be 50 and over, with a substantial proportion of these being gay and bisexual men. We would like to determine if this population of Black, Latino and white gay and bisexual men (ages 50-59 years old), who are long term survivors of HIV, and are living in New York City, has any health problems that can be addressed by a change of lifestyle. The study will entail a quantitative analysis of computerized surveys, and a qualitative analysis of interviews. We would seek to explore how they see themselves in terms of their weight and body image. In addition, we would like to see how active or inactive they are, their nutritional status and its association with their overall health. Our ultimate goal would be to determine how to design and implement a well-being help plan for this population in order to improve their overall health.

This mixed methods research project will utilize a cross-sectional survey and a qualitative interview to explore the ways in which individual psychological, developmental, and contextual processes impact HIV-positive men over 50's lived experiences, risk behaviors, life perspectives and journeys. Study aims are to (1) determine the antecedents of and associations between illicit substance use, sexual risk taking, and cognitive ability among illicit drug users and non illicit drug users, (2) explore the resiliencies or adaptive behaviors utilized in this population, and (3) develop a qualitative understanding of the aging process and related quality-of-life issues among these HIV-positive men ages 50 and over.

Funders: New York University, Institute of Human Development and Social Change (IHDSC) (12/1/2009-8/31/2010) and New York University Center for AIDS Research (9/1/10-8/31/2011)

The goal of this project was to conduct a mixed-method, community-centered study to develop a holistic understanding of methamphetamine abuse and associated risk taking among gay, bisexual, and heterosexually-identified Black MSM in New York City.

Funder: New York Community Trust (11/1/2006-12/31/2007)

The goal of this project is to work with the LGBT Community Center of New York City to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the methamphetamine education and treatment program and to conduct an analysis of LGBT addiction services in New York State.

Funder: New York Department of Justice (3/1/2007-6/30/2008)

This project, in collaboration with the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, was a mixed-methods investigation to better understand the recent increase in HIV incidence in young men who have sex with men (YMSM) in New York City. We also seek to develop and test HIV prevention messages tailored to this population. Project DESIRE will 1) document the patterns of sexual risk-taking behavior in a racially and ethnically diverse sample of YMSM in NYC, 2) develop a qualitative understanding of sexual-risk-taking in this population, and 3) determine the effectiveness of HIV prevention messages as well as the needs of YMSM with regard to prevention messaging.

Funder: New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (12/1/2007-9/30/2009)

 

Dr. Farzana Kapadia

 

Dr. Kapadia conducts research that explores contextual factors influencing HIV/AIDS risk and related outcomes among vulnerable and, often marginalized adolescents and young adults. Second, given the chronic nature of HIV/AIDS, her research also seeks to understand the impact of HIV/AIDS on the physical, mental, and behavioral health of older, HIV+ adults. Across these lines of inquiry, her focus is on how contextual factors such as social and sexual network level factors, promote the diffusion of information, disease risk or disease progression. Thus, her research focuses on the salience of social and sexual networks in creating opportunities to engage in HIV related risk behavior but also as a means of promoting resilience to HIV/AIDS and its associated outcomes. 

Her recent research includes:

HealthRight International and the Center for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies (CHIBPS) will evaluate the efficacy and feasibility of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV infections in a population of male sex workers (MSW) in eastern Kenya. This project aims to be among the first to evaluate the feasibility, acceptability and impact of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) on HIV risk among male sex workers (MSW) in Malindi, Kenya. This project will integrate PrEP into three existing health facilities serving sex workers in Malindi in order to document and analyze its impact on HIV incidence, as well as PrEP uptake, adherence, side effects, cost and other factors that may influence replication and scalability of this potentially transformational intervention.

Funder: MAC AIDS Fund

This ancillary study of HPV and HSV-1 and -2 infection as part of the P18 Cohort Study of racially/ethnically and socioeconomically diverse YMSM seek to (1) to detect cases of oral and anal HPV infection through site-specific PCR testing and clinically significant HPV subtype through serotyping and to estimate HPV persistence and clearance rates; (2) to identify uptake and completion of HPV vaccination via a combination of self-reported vaccination history in addition to New York State HPV vaccine registry verification; (3) to determine the prevalence and incidence of HSV-1 and HSV-2 by serology;  (4)  to  estimate HIV risk among YMSM with and without HSV-1 and/or HSV-2 and to assess whether HSV infection explains racial/ethnic disparities in HIV risk; and (5) to determine the extent to which biological, behavioral, psychosocial and social/structural factors explain the likelihood of (a) oral/anal HPV infection, broadly and infection of HPV 6, 11, 16, and 18, specifically; (b) HPV vaccination uptake, (c) HSV-1 and HSV-2 infection, and (d) co-infections of HIV, HSV, and/or HPV.

Funder: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease/National institutes of Health

This mixed-methods study seeks to more fully explicate the dynamics associated with accessing care among YMSM. We will (1) identify the extent to which YMSM have access to health care facilities that serve the LGBT population; (2) disentangle the roles that sexual orientation and sexual behavior may play in preventing the access of consistent and appropriate care for YMSM; (3) delineate the patterns by which YMSM.

Funder: New York State AIDS Institute, New York State Department of Health

This quantitative study seeks to more fully explicate the dynamics associated with accessing care among YWSW. We will (1) identify the extent to which YWSW have access to health care facilities that serve the LGBT population; (2) disentangle the roles that sexual orientation and sexual behavior may play in preventing the access of consistent and appropriate care of YWSW; (3) delineate the patterns by which YWSW.

 

Dr. Thomas Kirchner

The aim of Dr. Kirchner’s work is to understand health-related behavior and decision-making, both when and where they occur in the real-world. Current work is focused on developing novel technologies and analytical methods for the application of geographic information science (GIS) to public health. A primary focus is the use of mobile devices and GIS to capture the multilevel interface between individuals and their momentary circumstances in time and place. Examples link individuals to the food, tobacco, and alcohol environment and investigate the role of socio-contextual factors that an affect behavior.

There is a considerable body of empirical evidence suggesting that point-of-sale tobacco (POST) marketing influences tobacco users' product preferences as well as decisions to initiate or refrain from use. Yet little is known about the mechanisms that underlie the association between point-of-sale marketing and behavior, because methods that directly link individual use outcomes to real-world point-of-sale exposure are only now beginning to be developed. To address this knowledge gap, the proposed project couples our existing point-of-sale surveillance system with continuous (1-min sampling rate), geo-spatial exposure data from current Washington, DC, resident tobacco users (N=1200). Participants will document their exposure to tobacco marketing by carrying a small, de-identified GPS tracking device to be used to produce a mobility "signature," linking each person to the POST environment. The proposed project represents a powerful new approach to understand and combat the way POST marketing tactics affect tobacco use patterns. The project will provide data and tools for real-time analysis of POST marketing regulations and tobacco use, iteratively improving both policy and enforcement standards by linking them directly to behavioral outcomes they are designed to affect.

 

 

The most directly visible consequence of new Marijuana Legalization laws is the emerging presence of medicinal and retail outlets providing Marijuana Access at point-of-sale (MAP) for the first time in the history of the United States. Other new laws decriminalizing the possession and recreational use of Marijuana are further expanding the availability and normative acceptability of Marijuana in all settings. Simultaneously, a second heretofore unseen product landscape is also emerging, based on growing demand for electronically vaporized (Vape) drug delivery systems capable of reducing the physical harm associated with Inhaling combustable smoke from tobacco or other Drugs like Marijuana. Combined, these new MAP and Vape product landscapes are reshaping the real and perceived physical and legal risks of Marijuana consumption, just as Access to Marijuana is dramatically expanding. Virtually nothing is known about the separate and combined impact new decriminalization laws and the emerging MAP and Vape landscapes will have on patterns of Marijuana use. The proposed project will provide Data to directly address this critical knowledge gap. It extends the use of an innovative methodology that has been the first to provide objective, real-time Data on the degree to which individuals are exposed to point-of-sale products as they move through their daily activities, as well as the way accumulating exposure to socio-contextual factors (e.g., public and social use) affects Attitudes and experimentation over time. Because a spectrum of marijuana laws are rolling-out sequentially across the US, we are proposing a naturalistic framework that will contrast longitudinal trends within and between 4 separate major metropolitan areas from different regions of the US, each characterized by different degrees of marijuana decriminalization, medicalization, and legalization. The proposed project couples our existing real-time point-of-sale exposure system with longitudinal ecological momentary assessment of normative beliefs and other Attitudes about the risks and benefits of Marijuana among N=4,400 non-users of Marijuana from: 1) Denver, CO, 2) DC/MD/VA 3) New York, NY, and 4) New Orleans, LA. Quarterly follow-up assessments will assess use patterns across the study period. Our research team is well represented in each of these areas, and our team has pioneered the use of mobile technologies to document point-of- sale product landscapes and quantify individuals' exposure, reactivity, and Behavior. Quantifying real-time exposure to MAP and Vape requires a multilevel system with both comprehensive point-of-sale Data at the community level and location-based exposure Data at the individual level. Entirely separate from the community-level Data, participants who are blind to our primary focus on Marijuana consent to continuous Location tracking. Data are synced through wireless services to a secure server, where an advanced geographic information system links each person to their real-time environment. Thus, detailed exposure data are accurately quantified with very low participant burden. Right now we are witnessing the emergence of two novel product landscapes, each with complementary and profound implications for drug use in the US. Decriminalization and legalized use laws will further increase the prevalence of Marijuana use in social and public contexts, something that has not been common for decades. The proposed work aims to specifically isolate the impact of these factors on emerging patterns of initiation among those who do not yet smoke Marijuana. Teasing apart the evolving policy and product environments will make it possible to test our central hypothesis - that these structural changes will operate b shifting normative beliefs, reducing harm perceptions, and thus promoting experimentation.  

For students interested in participating in tobacco-related or GIS-powered research, visit the MHealth Initiative lab.

 

 

Dr. Danielle Ompad

 

Dr. Ompad--Deputy Director of the NYU College of Nursing’s Center for Drug Use and HIV Research (CDHUR) and a faculty affiliate of NYU Steinhardt’s Center for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies (CHIBPS)--is an epidemiologist who is active in research with extensive experience in the design, conduct and analysis of community-based cross-sectional and prospective studies focusing illicit drug use, risky sexual behavior, and adult access to vaccines in urban settings.  

Her recent research includes:

The purpose of this case-control study is to characterize the prognostic indicators, including HIV infection, for the positive outcome of sustained heroin cessation among persons with a prior history of chronic heroin use within economically disadvantaged, predominantly racial/ethnic minority neighborhoods in New York City (NYC). With drug use as a major risk factor for HIV and a chronic relapsing condition, identifying factors that promote sustained cessation can be key to enhancing HIV prevention and treatment efforts.

Dr. Ompad works on several studies that investigate illicit drug use. The IMPACT Study is a cross-sectional study of more than 1,600 individuals recruited from 38 NYC neighborhoods and was designed to examine illicit drug use, sexual risk behavior and mental health. The CHANGE Study is a case-control study with over 1,000 participants designed to identify factors associated with the initiation and maintenance of heroin cessation. In Ukraine, she is studying harm reduction service utilization patterns among injection drug users.  She is also working with other NYU colleagues to study substance use and HIV risk among young gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men in New York City.  

 

This ancillary study of HPV and HSV-1 and -2 infection as part of the P18 Cohort Study of racially/ethnically and socioeconomically diverse YMSM seek to (1) to detect cases of oral and anal HPV infection through site-specific PCR testing and clinically significant HPV subtype through serotyping and to estimate HPV persistence and clearance rates; (2) to identify uptake and completion of HPV vaccination via a combination of self-reported vaccination history in addition to New York State HPV vaccine registry verification; (3) to determine the prevalence and incidence of HSV-1 and HSV-2 by serology;  (4)  to  estimate HIV risk among YMSM with and without HSV-1 and/or HSV-2 and to assess whether HSV infection explains racial/ethnic disparities in HIV risk; and (5) to determine the extent to which biological, behavioral, psychosocial and social/structural factors explain the likelihood of (a) oral/anal HPV infection, broadly and infection of HPV 6, 11, 16, and 18, specifically; (b) HPV vaccination uptake, (c) HSV-1 and HSV-2 infection, and (d) co-infections of HIV, HSV, and/or HPV.

Funder: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease/National institutes of Health

 

Dr. Diana Silver

Diana Silver's research focuses on the development, diffusion, implementation and impacts of state and local public policies to improve public health, and on the accessibility of publicly funded services such as clinics, pre-school and after-school programs, parks and playgrounds. She has published widely on the policies affecting alcohol consumption, traffic safety, tobacco products, and restaurant food safety. With her colleague, James Macinko (UCLA), she has published a public use dataset with over 35 traffic, alcohol, tobacco and other state level policies over a 30 year period, available through the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR). Her work has been funded by NIH, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Rockefeller Foundation. She is a member of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's Advisory Committee, on the editorial board of the American Journal of Health Promotion, and is the recipient of NYU's Distinguished Teaching Award.

Playgrounds are assumed to be an important resource for physical activity. This study investigates seasonal utilization, user preferences, and perceptions of safety and upkeep of public playgrounds in New York City. A cross-sectional survey was conducted from May 2010 to January 2011 across 10 playgrounds in low/middle income neighborhoods in each of the five boroughs in New York City. A total of 1,396 adults accompanying children were surveyed. Outcomes included playground as main place of outdoor play, and perceptions of playground upkeep and safety. Covariates included socio-demographics and other characteristics of playground users. Multivariable logistic regression with playground/season fixed effects were used. Utilization varied substantially across the four seasons. Blacks had higher odds of reporting the playground as the main place of outdoor play (AOR 1.78, 95 % CI 1.13–2.80, p < .05). High income users had lower odds of reporting the playground as the main place of outdoor play ($60–$80,000: AOR 0.47, 95 % CI 0.29–0.76, p < .01, $80,000+: AOR 0.47, 95 % CI 0.28–0.79, p < .01). Racial differences in perceived upkeep and safety were not significant once playground/season fixed effects were included, highlighting the importance of neighborhood conditions. Women were more likely to report feeling unsafe within playgrounds (AOR 1.51, 95 % CI 1.12–2.02, p < .01). While some playground utilization is driven by individual characteristics, perceptions of public resources influences utilization and cannot be separated from neighborhood conditions. Increasing access to opportunities for physical activity for children requires new strategies beyond playground improvements. 

Diana served as the project director for the evaluation, a twelve-year study of multi-million dollar study.

The purpose of this project is to encourage a broad cross-section of the community to work together to see whether it is possible to make measurable improvements in the health and safety of urban youth. During the first four years of this initiative, the New York University (NYU) evaluation team has worked closely with sites to: (1) develop their various theories of change; (2) collect baseline survey, indicator, and financial data; and (3) document the collaborative processes followed as sites identified the components of child health and safety to target. Additionally, the NYU evaluators have worked with local site evaluators to insure rigor and reliability for all site assessment plans. This grant will continue to support a study to evaluate the work to foster comprehensive community efforts to improve the health and safety of children and youth in urban settings. The investigators will undertake quantitative analysis to determine the extent to which the Initiative is able to effect change in a range of health and safety outcomes for young people across the five sites. They will also continue to document closely the processes and implementation of the sites' work. Diana was the project director for the National Evaluation of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Urban Health Initiative, a twelve-year study of multi-million dollar study

Traffic fatalities are the second largest contributor to years of life lost before age 75 and are the leading cause of death among youth aged 15-24 years. Alcohol involvement in these crashes has remained relatively steady despite overall declines in traffic fatality rates. Public policies (laws, regulations, penalties) concerning alcohl and car safety have contributed to these declines, but there is enormous variation in policies among states. To date, little scholarship has systematically investigated the impact of such a diverse regulatory environment on health outcomes. This study uses variation across states from 1980-2010 as a natural experiment to examine the relationship between the evolution of state policies concerning alcohol and motor vehicle safety on changes in traffic fatalities and injuries, and the role of alcohol in these outcomes. Data come from the Alcohol Policy Information System, linked to other available datasets and supplemented by original legal research. The study proposes to develop a comprehensive database on state alcohol and traffic safety policies; identify patterns in state law adoption; assess factors associated with health policy adoption and diffusion; and quantify the impact of multiple state health policies on traffic fatalities and injuries over time. The study is consistent with and contributes to NIAAA's priorities for assessing the alcohol policy environment. This grant was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

 

Dr. Beverly Watkins

A healthcare provider and research scientist committed to reducing health disparities at the community level, Dr. Watkins specializes in minority aging and environmental health disparities. Dr. Watkins served as director/principal investigator of two community-academic research partnerships: the NIEHS-funded Good Old Lower East Side (GoLES) Environmental Justice Collaborative and the Fan Fox and Leslie R Samuels Foundation-funded GoLES Healthy Aging Program. Currently, Dr. Watkins is also serving as a Faculty Fellow at the National Center Environmental Assessment/EPA, who is working as primary investigator of a project,"Neighborhood Specific Environmental Epigenetics"; and Health and Aging Policy Fellow of the National Institute of Aging exploring "Improving Health Outcomes for Older Adults: Lessons from Experience Corps."

Her current research includes:

 

This collaborative research project will build capacity to support evaluation and referral of black men and women at risk for sleep apnea at the community level. It will examine whether a culturally and linguistically tailored peer-based sleep health intervention will increase adherence to recommended sleep apnea screening and treatment among blacks in barbershops, beauty salons and churches. Three hundred and ninety eight blacks will be enrolled in the study and followed for a year to evaluate intervention responses and examine environmental drivers of health disparities.

 

Using a patient-centered approach, this community engagement project seeks to build the capacity of local Community-based Organizations (CBOs) to help patients and potential patients get more involved in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) screening and treatment initiatives, and create a guide that researchers can use to successfully partner with local CBOs and enhance patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) initiatives. Leveraging community infrastructures, it will bring community leaders and stakeholders, potential and active patients, and their social support networks together with researchers to establish trust and investment in PCORI, and ensure that the voices of some of the most hard-to-reach and underrepresented OSA patients in New York City become part of PCORI's local OSA dialogue and larger national conversation.

To schedule an interview with a faculty member, please contact:

Julia Carwright
Associate Dean of Communication, Promotion and Public Affairs
212-992-6117
jc6521@nyu.edu

 

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