Centers and Labs

Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Labs & Centers - Fall 2023 to Spring 2024

Attachment and Health Disparities Research Lab (ADHL)

Dr. Stephanie Cook, Director

The Attachment and Health Disparities Lab’s (ADHL) research is guided by two overarching questions: 1) what are the mechanisms that link multilevel (e.g., structural, community, interpersonal, and individual) minority stressors to health within and between groups of racial/ethnic, sexual, and gender minorities and those at the intersection, and 2) does adult attachment exacerbate or mitigate the potentially negative effects of minority stress on health? I have addressed these research questions through primary and secondary data analysis. To this end, researchers in the ADHL focus on understanding how structural- and individual-level minority stressors (i.e., violence, discrimination, and hate, etc.) contribute to mental health, physical health, and health behaviors across the lifespan and in the virtual and physical worlds. The primary target group is young adults transitioning to adulthood who are at the intersection of racial/ethnic and sexual orientation status. 

In addition, much of the team’s current work examines the links between minority stress (i.e., daily experiences of discrimination) and biological markers of stress and disease (e.g., cortisol and c-reactive protein). In the ADHL there is also a substantive methodological and statistical focus on the development and application of longitudinal study designs (i.e., intensive longitudinal designs) for determining the ways in which dynamic changes in features of minority stress (e.g., daily and momentary discrimination events) are associated with changes in risk behaviors and physical health (e.g., sexual risk and substance use, pre-clinical cardiovascular disease, and biological stress) among racial/ethnic and/or sexual minority young adults. To learn more about how to get involved or learn more about our current research projects please visit our website.
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Global Action for Urban Health Lab

Dr. Jo Ivey Boufford, Faculty Co-Advisor
Dr. Alexis Merdjanoff, Faculty Co-Advisor

Urban health is an evolving area of research, education, practice, and policy making. Students are in a solid position to be part of these developing activities to advance the evidence base on research, implementation, and evaluation in urban health. The Global Action for Urban Health Lab, co-developed by Dr. Jo Boufford and Dr. Alexis Merdjanoff, provides a space for students both within and outside of GPH to collaborate on various projects around urban health worldwide. The primary goals of this lab are for students: 

(1) to learn about the role of cities in global health and the role of urban governance in health, including policy approaches both across agencies and in public-private partnerships in the context of the SDGs and UNHabitat’s New Urban Agenda;

(2) to develop a network of academic programs, faculty, and students across NYU focusing on urban health;

(3) to engage with UN agencies and national/ municipal governments, international and domestic NGOs,urban health researchers, practitioners and policy makers

(4) to develop skills for data collection, analysis and project implementation of priority urban health programs from collaborating organizations; and 

(5) to build on the platform of the International Society for Urban Health as a global network of researchers, educators, practitioners and policy makers committed to improving health and health equity in cities.

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Global Center for Implementation Science
Dr. Corrina Moucheraud, co-Director
Dr. Donna Shelly, co-Director
Dr. Lawrence Yang, Associate Director
Dr. Jonathan Purtle, Director of Policy

This is a new center for implementation science at GPH, selected as the 9th NYU-Wide Working Group. Supported by the Research Office at NYU, this center involves faculty members across GPH and other NYU Schools to promote implementation science campus-wide. Activities include monthly seminars, awarding competitive pilot grants, and training seminars to bolster the application of implementation science to projects campus-wide.

Global Mental Health and Stigma Program

Dr. Lawrence Yang, Director
Dr. Emily Goldmann, Associate Director
Dr. Peter Navario, Global Mental Health and Implementation
Dr. Nawaraj Upadhaya, Global Mental Health and Implementation

The Global Mental Health and Stigma Program has received a generous donor gift—the Li Ka Shing Foundation Initiative for Global Mental Health and Wellness—to sponsor global mental health and stigma activities: NYU GPH Announces Li Ka Shing Foundation Initiative for Global Mental Health and Wellness | NYU School of Global Public Health. This gift supports faculty pilot grants, and MPH and Doctoral Fellowships to advance the study of global mental health and stigma worldwide.

This transdisciplinary team seeks to:
1) Generate evidence to identify burden, determinants, and consequences of mental health globally, including in low and middle-income countries (LMIC);
2) Provide training in Global Mental Health and Stigma at New York University and partner institutions; and,
3) Disseminate and implement mental health evidence, interventions, and best practices to the United States and international communities. 

We are joined by doctoral students in SBS. Our program hosts monthly seminars on a topic associated with global mental health and stigma, inviting national and international experts to lecture on a set of diverse topics. In addition to advancing publications and externally-funded research in global mental health, we seek to provide training opportunities to students to participate in ongoing projects sponsored by faculty members.

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Center for Advancement and Dissemination of Intervention Optimization

Dr. Linda M. Collins, Director
Dr. Kate Guastaferro, Associate Director
Dr. Jillian C. Strayhorn, Associate Director

Dr. Linda M. Collins established the Center for Advancement and Dissemination of Intervention
Optimization (cadio) within the School of Global Public Health in 2021. Intervention optimization is an emerging scientific field. In this field, ideas from behavioral science, engineering, public health, quantitative and qualitative methods, economics, and decision science are integrated to produce innovative approaches for empirical development and optimization of interventions. All types of interventions can be optimized, including behavioral, biobehavioral, biomedical, social-structural, and educational interventions.

Intervention optimization is the process of arriving at intervention EASE, a strategic balance of Effectiveness, Affordability, Scalability, and Efficiency. Intervention EASE is usually achieved via an approach called the multiphase optimization strategy (MOST).

The goals of cadio are to:
• Promote and support the optimization of all types of interventions.
• Establish a community of scholars interested in the science and application of intervention
• Extend and enhance intervention optimization methods.
• Disseminate and provide training in current intervention optimization methods.

The cadio website features a list of affiliated faculty, online training modules, and various tools and resources. With the support of a grant from the National Institutes of Health, cadio continues to create online materials and offer synchronous virtual workshops to train investigators in intervention optimization via MOST. Cadio is committed to supporting faculty in the preparation of successful grant proposals to conduct intervention optimization research, and increasing the capacity of scientists working in this field.

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mHealth Lab
Dr. Thomas Kirchner, Director

NYU mHealth is a research group within the NYU College of Global Public Health. NYU mHealth works to leverage the power of cellphones to collect data about neighborhoods and experiences, including exposure to different risk and protective factors such as tobacco point-of-sale. Furthermore, the team works to understand health behaviors as they occur within the residents day-to-day routine. This data and analysis are used to understand decision-making about the pros and cons of certain behaviors, attitudes about the built environment, and ultimately how outcomes are affected by the neighborhoods in which people live or spend a substantial amount of their time.

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Center for Public Health Disaster Science
Dr. David Abramson, Director
Dr. Alexis Merdjanoff, Director of Research

The Center for Public Health Disaster Science is one of only 25 such academic centers in the country, focused in particular on the public health impacts of disasters, extreme events, and climate threats. The Center applies social science and public health theory and methods to the complex challenges posed to community and individual health and well-being by natural, man-made, biological, and technological hazards and disasters, in an effort to identify generalizable principles. The Center maintains a broad research portfolio of studies funded by NIH (Katrina longitudinal research; a California wildfire study), NSF (risk communication during Zika; the role of belief systems, trust in authority, and information-seeking during COVID), the CDC (co-directing the Public Health Extreme Events Research network – PHEER), and foundations and philanthropies. Several faculty labs are embedded in the Center, including Dr. Abramson’s Population Impact, Recovery and Resilience (PiR 2 ) Lab, which serves as the vehicle for students to participate in the Center’s current research, and connects students with the deep data archives, and Dr. Merdjanoff’s Climate Justice and Health Lab, in which lab members employ both quantitative and qualitative methods and develop the skills needed to form a holistic approach to understanding the health impacts of climate change and disasters.

Tobacco Research Lab

Dr. David Abrams, Co-Director
Dr. Raymond Niaura, Co-Director

This lab focuses on the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study. The PATH Study is a collaboration between the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Center for Tobacco Products (CTP), and Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It was launched in 2011 to inform FDA's regulatory activities under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. The PATH Study is an ongoing longitudinal cohort study on tobacco use behavior, attitudes and beliefs, and tobacco-related health outcomes. Through weekly lab meetings, students have the opportunity to learn about an extensive range of topics, facilitate didactic presentations, and discuss their research with the Co-Directors, Co-Investigators, and Research Coordinator.

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Applied Innovative Methods to Prevent Child Maltreatment Lab

Dr. Kate Guastaferro, Director

This lab focuses on research on the development and optimization of interventions to prevent child maltreatment and the implementation of those interventions in applied community settings. Two major projects in the lab are funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health. Undergraduate and graduate students in the lab participate in weekly lab meetings and obtain hands-on experience with applied research. When possible, students are invited to contribute to scholarly products such as manuscripts or conference presentations.
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Climate Justice and Health Lab

Dr. Alexis Merdjanoff, Director

The climate crisis has been described as the greatest threat to global public health. Disproportionate impacts on socially vulnerable populations like children, older adults, racial and ethnic minorities, low-income communities and disabled people are exacerbating existing health disparities. The challenge for public health researchers and practitioners is to learn how to best mitigate the health impacts of climate change while simultaneously promoting health equity and social justice.

Members of the Climate Justice & Health Lab (CJHL) will work together on research projects examining the long-term health impacts of acute disasters like Hurricanes Katrina, Sandy and Ian, as well as the California wildfires. We will also examine how communities grapple with risk perception and decision-making for slow onset climate disasters such as sea-level rise and coastal erosion. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, lab members will develop the skills needed to form a holistic approach to understanding the health impacts of climate change and disasters.

Goals of CJHL:

1. Use interdisciplinary research to advocate for communities impacted by climate change and disasters
2. Provide mentorship for students motivated to study the intersection of climate and health
3. Create a community of learning and knowledge sharing for GPH students who are interested in the climate emergency
4. Use a team-science approach to understand how to mitigate and adapt to the impact of climate and disasters on health

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TRIAL Lab: Tobacco and Nicotine Research: Interventions, Analysis and Longitudinal Studies

Dr. Jennifer Cantrell, Director

Dr. Cantrell’s lab conducts tobacco and nicotine research with a primary focus on use of cigarettes, cigars and cigarillos, e-cigarettes and emerging products. Projects in the lab include interventions and epidemiological studies. Interventions focus on optimizing clinical treatment and messaging interventions to reduce tobacco use. Epidemiological studies identify evolving product use patterns and examine the impact of media, marketing and policy on perceptions and use. All research in the lab seeks to reduce the most harmful forms of tobacco use among socially and economically disadvantaged groups, strengthen scientific knowledge with innovative methods and provide practical evidence to inform cessation interventions, surveillance, countermarketing campaigns, regulation and policy.

Examples of studies in the lab include MOST QUITS, a National Cancer Institute-funded grant aimed at optimizing novel interventions for quitting cigarette smoking among people living with HIV in clinical care using Multiphase Optimization STrategy (MOST), implementation science and decision analysis. Other research involves analyzing national datasets to examine patterns of tobacco use over time among youth, young adults, adults and marginalized groups. Communications studies focus on examining digital tobacco marketing and countermarketing and the mechanisms that underlie its impact on behavior.

Graduate and undergraduate students are engaged in research activities such as setting up data collection and tracking systems for complex randomized clinical trials, recruiting and interviewing study participants, analyzing national datasets, conducting qualitative data coding and analysis, writing literature reviews and participating in the development of scientific manuscripts and presentations.

Advancing In Respiratory Equity (AIRE) Lab

Dr. Mari Armstrong-Hough, Director

The Advancing In Respiratory Equity (AIRE) Lab is dedicated to advancing health equity through designing, implementing, and evaluating theory-informed interventions to improve the delivery of health services and reduce respiratory health disparities. Their research encompasses a range of projects targeting key areas such as equitable ICU care, patient and family experiences in critical care settings, disparities in respiratory health outcomes, and innovative approaches to tuberculosis (TB) management in co-epidemics.
  • Promoting Equity via Changes in Practice for Respiratory Failure (PRECIPICE) - Aiming to improve outcomes for Hispanic patients with respiratory failure by reducing inequitable delivery of ICU care.
  • Hispanic ICU Experience Study (HICUE) - Understanding the experiences and care preferences of family members of Hispanic patients in the ICU to inform interventions for improving patient and family-centered care.
  • NIH All of Us Research Program - Examining racial/ethnic disparities in everyday activities and quality of life among survivors of respiratory failure.
  • Predicting and Preventing Tuberculosis Treatment Failure in an Emerging Co-Epidemic of HIV, Diabetes, and Tuberculosis (TB-DM) - Characterizing the interfaces among HIV, TB, and diabetes for patient outcomes in Uganda, and to improve implementation of glucose screening, monitoring, and counseling in TB units in order to improve treatment outcomes.
  • Destigmatizing Contact Investigation to Increase Uptake of Home HIV Counseling and Testing (DECISION) - Developing and evaluating a multi-component intervention aimed at increasing HIV testing uptake when offered alongside TB services, with a focus on understanding psychosocial mechanisms and developing scale-up strategies.

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