Beverly-Xaviera Watkins

Beverly-Xaviera Watkins
Beverly-Xaviera Watkins

Clinical Associate Professor of Epidemiology

Professional overview

Dr. Watkins is a community-based research scientist and health care provider with a 19-year track record in community-based programs and projects.  Dr. Watkins has worked extensively throughout NYC communities of color, serving as a consultant to labor unions and community-based environmental, housing, and social justice organizations in both paid and voluntary positions. Her research focuses on reducing health disparities at the community level. Her areas of specialization are Minority Aging, Environmental Health Disparities, Community-Academic Collaboration, and Mixed-Methods research.

Dr. Watkins completed her academic training at Columbia University in New York City, graduating with honors (Summa Cum Laude) from Columbia College where she was a John W. Kluge Scholar and elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She went on to earn a master’s degree in Sociomedical Sciences and a doctorate in History from the Graduate School of Arts and Science.

Upon graduation, she joined the faculty at the Mailman School of Public Health as a member of the Community Research Group in the Division  of Sociomedical Sciences where she conducted her research under the Community Cores of both the NIA-funded Columbia University Resource Center for Minority Aging Research (RCMAR) and the NIEHS-funded Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health (CCCEH).

In 2011 she was recruited from New York University School of Medicine (NYUSOM) to Weill Cornell Medical College (WCMC) to lead the Environmental Health Disparities Research Core of the Center for Excellence in Health Disparities Research and Community Engagement. While at WCMC she formed, as Director and Principal Investigator, 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.

In 2014 Dr. Watkins rejoined the faculty at NYU in the College of Global Public Health (GPH). In 2016 she became Interim Chair of the Department of Environmental Sciences. Dr. Watkins is Director of the NYU GPH Community Engagement and Research Translation Core (CERT); Co-Director of the NYU NIEHS Environmental Center of Excellence Community Outreach and Engagement Core (CEC) in Environmental Medicine; and Co-Director of the Community Engagement Core of the NYU Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes Program, (ECHO) in Pediatric Medicine.   She was an Health and Aging Policy Fellow (Atlantic Philanthropies) assigned to the NIA, and an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow assigned to the US EPA. In January 2016 she became a faculty fellow to the Director of the US EPA’s, National Center for Environmental Assessment, NCEA working on neighborhood specific epigenetic analysis.

Dr. Watkins is currently a Principal Investigator, MPI, of an National Institute of Minority Health Disparities (NIMHD)-funded R01 clinical trial to evaluate an OSA intervention for Black Americans; and PI of a Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, PCORI, Community Engagement Award to develop effective strategies for patient-centered outcomes researchers to work collaboratively with local community-based organizations. She is also Principal Investigator of a second PCORI grant to build the Academic Community Collaborative to Engage StakeholderS ACCESS online platform.

Since 2017 Dr. Watkins has been a member of the University Senate Steering Committee and served as Chair of the University Senate Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee; Chair of the University Senate Academic Affairs Committee; and Chair of the Senate Grievance Committee. She was Chair of the inaugural GPH Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee from 2016 to 2018. In 2018 she joined the Center for Social Epidemiology, in the Department of Epidemiology with a secondary appointment in Health Policy and Management. In 2019 she was elected Vice Chair of the University Senate representing contract faculty.

Education

BA, Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa, Columbia University, New York City, NY
MS, Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University, New York City, New York
PhD, History, Columbia University, New York City, New York

Areas of research and study

Aging and the Life Course
Community Development
Community Engagement
Community Health
Community Interventions
Environmental Public Health Services
Health Disparities
Health of Marginalized Population
Housing Stability
Minorities
Minority Health
Mixed-Methods Research
Public Health Policy

Publications

Publications

Suicidal ideation is associated with cardiovascular disease in a large, urban cohort of adults in the Southern Cone of Latin America

Daray, F. M., Goldmann, E., Gutierrez, L., Ponzo, J., Lanas, F., Mores, N., Calandrelli, M., Poggio, R., Watkins, B., & Irazola, V.

Publication year

2019

Journal title

General Hospital Psychiatry

Volume

57

Page(s)

34-40
Abstract
Introduction: To examine the relationship between suicidal ideation (SI) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the general adult population of four cities in the Southern Cone of Latin America (Argentina, Uruguay, Chile) and the role that depression, stressful life events (SLEs) and physical functional impairment may play in this association. Methods: A population-based cross-sectional study was conducted among 7524 adults between 35 and 74 years old, randomly selected. History of CVD included acute myocardial infarction, stroke and central or peripheral revascularization. SI in the past two weeks was measured using the last item of the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), quality of life was assessed with the 12-item Short Form Survey (SF-12), and having experience of a SLE was determined by asking participants whether they had experienced at least one of a list of events in the past year. Multiple logistic regression was used to examine the association between SI and CVD overall and by sex. Results: The prevalence of SI was 8.3% (95% CI = 7.5, 9.0) and twice as high among women than men (11.1% vs. 5.1%). History of CVD was associated with almost twice the odds of SI (OR = 1.9, 95% CI = 1.5, 2.4). This association remained strong and significant after adjusting for potential confounders (OR = 1.8, 95% CI = 1.2, 2.7). Three additional models were tested to further adjust for depression severity, functional impairment, and SLEs separately. Adjustment for depression severity yielded no association between CVD and SI (OR = 1.1, 95% CI = 0.6, 1.7), adjustment for functional impairment yielded a marginal statistically significant association (OR = 1.5; 95% CI = 1.0, 2.4) and adjustment for SLE didn't modify either the magnitude or the statistical significance of the association. Conclusions: There is a significant association between SI and CVD, particularly among women, which may be driven, at least in part, by depression and physical functional impairment.

Broad consent: ethical challenges in engaging vulnerable populations in genetics research

Watkins, B., & Olden, K.

Publication year

2016

Journal title

Environmental Health Perspectives

Can cholera happen here? Public health implications of combined sewage overflow in the LES

Watkins, B., Donellon, L., Catalano, M., & Reyes, D.

Publication year

2016

Journal title

Environmental Justice

Mother-daughter communication about sex among urban African American and Latino families

O’Sullivan, L. F., Meyer-Bahlburg, H. F., & Watkins, B.

Publication year

2016

Page(s)

26-37
Abstract
Urban minority girls are at considerable risk for the negative health consequences of early sexual activity. Yet few researchers have explored the sources of information about sexual issues for these adolescents, particularly parent-child communication. As part of a larger qualitative study examining social cognitions about sexuality among urban girls, 72 African American and Latina mothers and 72 daughters representing two age groups (6-9 and 10-13) participated in focus group sessions. Both mothers and daughters addressed the cues associated with the timing of these conversations in the course of the daughters' development; the content of their conversations, including the messages mothers used to influence girls' decision making; and the approaches or strategies both employed. The authors' analyses indicate that beneficial communication may be preempted by the antagonistic positions adopted by daughters and mothers as daughters advance sexually. Daughters may in fact benefit more from receiving sex education from other close sources.

The changing face of tobacco use among united states youth

Lauterstein, D., Hoshino, R., Gordon, T., Watkins, B. X., Weitzman, M., & Zelikoff, J.

Publication year

2014

Journal title

Current Drug Abuse Reviews

Volume

7

Issue

1

Page(s)

29-43
Abstract
Tobacco use, primarily in the form of cigarettes, is the leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality in the United States (U.S.). The adverse effects of tobacco use began to be recognized in the 1940’s and new hazards of active smoking and secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure from cigarettes continue to be identified to this day. This has led to a sustained and wide-ranging array of highly effective regulatory, public health, and clinical efforts that have been informed by extensive scientific data, resulting in marked decreases in the use of cigarettes. Unfortunately, the dramatic recent decline in cigarette use in the U.S., has been accompanied by an upsurge in adolescent and young adult use of new, non-cigarette tobacco and nicotine-delivery products, commonly referred to as alternative tobacco products (ATPs). Commonly used ATPs include hookah, cigars, smokeless tobacco, and electronic cigarettes. While there have been a number of review articles that focus on adult ATP use, the purpose of this review is to provide an overview of what is, and is not known about emerging ATP use among U.S. adolescents on a national scale; as well as to identify research gaps in knowledge, and discuss future health and policy needs for this growing public health concern. This paper is not meant to systemically review all published survey data, but to present clear depiction of selected ATP usage in youth populations using national survey data.

Building local bridges: the GoLES environmental justice collaborative

Watkins, B., Reyes, D., & Rennis, L.

Publication year

2013

Journal title

Journal of Environmental Health

Meeting the challenge: developing the tools to build a sustainable environmental health community academic partnership

Watkins, B., Rennis, L., & Reyes, D.

Publication year

2013

Journal title

Environmental Justice

Neighborhood specific epigenome analysis: a promising approach to discovering causes of health disparities amenable to prevention

Olden, K., & Watkins, B.

Publication year

2013

Journal title

Health Affairs

Qualitative development of a resident-to-resident elder mistreatment measure

Ramirez, M., Watkins, B., & Lachs, M.

Publication year

2013

Journal title

Psychiatric Gerontology

The role of community as more than advisory: are environmental public health community review boards the answer?

Watkins, B., & Olden, K.

Publication year

2013

Journal title

Journal of Environmental Health

Using qualitative methods to develop a measure of resident-to-resident elder mistreatment in nursing homes

Ramirez, M., Watkins, B., Teresi, J. A., Silver, S., Sukha, G., Bortagis, G., Van Haitsma, K., Lachs, M. S., & Pillemer, K.

Publication year

2013

Journal title

International Psychogeriatrics

Volume

25

Issue

8

Page(s)

1245-1256
Abstract
Background: Despite expansion of research on elder mistreatment, limited attention has been paid t. The development of improved measurement instruments. This gap is particularly notable regarding measurement of mistreatment in long-term care facilities. This paper demonstrate. The value of qualitative methods used in item development of a Resident-to-Resident Elder Mistreatment (R-REM) measure for use in nursing homes and other care facilities. It describe. The development strategy an. The modification and refinement of items using a variety of qualitative methods. Methods: A combination of qualitative methods was used to develop close-ended items to measure R-REM, including review by a panel of experts, focus groups, and in-depth cognitive interviews. Results: Information gathered fro. The multiple methods aided in flagging problematic items, helped to highligh. The nature o. The problems in measures, and provided suggestions for item modification and improvement. Conclusions: The method employed is potentially useful for future attempts to develop better measures of elder mistreatment. The employment of previously established measurement items drawn from related fields, modified through an intensive qualitative research strategy, is an effective strategy to improve elder mistreatment measurement.

The GOLES environmental leadership workforce development program: a training curriculum for community

Watkins, B., & Reyes, D.

Publication year

2012

Journal title

Environmental Justice

What made me stay? A review of the reasons student nurses enrolled in a bachelor of nursing programme completed their studies: a descriptive phenomenological study

Knight, J., Corbett, A., Smith, C., Watkins, B., Hardy, R., & Jones, G.

Publication year

2012

Journal title

Nurse Education Today

Volume

32

Page(s)

62

A Recipe for Disaster: Community Decline in Central Harlem 1950-90

Watkins, B.

Publication year

2011

Environmental public health community leadership development: a collaborative curriculum for community-based organizations.

Watkins, B., & Reyes, D.

Publication year

2011

Journal title

Environmental Justice

Building an environmental justice youth corps: a summer training curriculum for high school students

Watkins, B., Reyes, D., & Green, L.

Publication year

2010

Journal title

Environmental Justice

A peer-to-peer campaign to promote organ donation among racially diverse college students in New York City

Feeley, T., Anker, A., Watkins, B., Rivera, J., Tag, N., & Volpe, L.

Publication year

2009

Journal title

Journal of the National Medical Association

Completing the circle: a model for effective community review of environmental health research.

Watkins, B. X., Shepard, P. M., & Corbin-Mark, C. D.

Publication year

2009

Journal title

American Journal of Public Health

Volume

99
Abstract
While it is well understood that multiple and cumulative environmental stressors negatively impact health at the community level, existing ethical research review procedures are designed to protect individual research participants but not communities. Increasing concerns regarding the ethical conduct of research in general and environmental and genetic research in particular underscore the need to expand the scope of current human participant research regulations and ethical guidelines to include protections for communities. In an effort to address this issue, West Harlem Environmental Action (WE ACT), a nonprofit, community-based environmental justice organization in New York City that has been involved in community-academic partnerships for the past decade, used qualitative interview data to develop a pilot model for community review of environmental health science research.

For the union makes us strong: the impact of positive group experience on the meaning of aging

Watkins, B.

Publication year

2009

Introduction. Key issues surrounding the treatment of acute coronary syndromes (ACS)

Gibson, C., Watkins, B., & Merlo, K.

Publication year

2008

Journal title

Journal of Interventional Cardiology

Gender, Race and Class

Chancer, L., & Watkins, B.

Publication year

2007

Using nutrition for intervention and prevention against environmental chemical toxicity and associated diseases

Hennig, B., Ettinger, A., Jandacek, R., Koo, S., McClain, C., Seifried, H., Silverstone, A., Watkins, B., & Suk, W.

Publication year

2007

Journal title

Environmental Health Perspectives

Mother-daughter communication about sex among urban African American and Latino families

O’Sullivan, L. F., Meyer-Bahlburg, H. F. L., & Watkins, B. X.

Publication year

2001

Journal title

Journal of Adolescent Research

Volume

16

Issue

3

Page(s)

269-292
Abstract
Urban minority girls are at considerable risk for the negative health consequences of early sexual activity. Yet few researchers have explored the sources of information about sexual issues for these adolescents, particularly parent-child communication. As part of a larger qualitative study examining social cognitions about sexuality among urban girls, 72 African American and Latina mothers and 72 daughters representing two age groups (6-9 and 10-13) participated in focus group sessions. Both mothers and daughters addressed the cues associated with the timing of these conversations in the course of the daughters' development; the content of their conversations, including the messages mothers used to influence girls' decision making; and the approaches or strategies both employed. The authors' analyses indicate that beneficial communication may be pre-empted by the antagonistic positions adopted by daughters and mothers as daughters advance sexually. Daughters may in fact benefit more from receiving sex education from other close sources.

The crack epidemic and the failure of epidemic response

Watkins, B., & Fullilove, M.

Publication year

2001

Journal title

Temple Law Review

Crack cocaine and Harlem's health

Watkins, B., & Fullilove, M. T.

Publication year

2000

Page(s)

121

Contact

watkib04@nyu.edu +1 (212) 992-6337 715/719 Broadway New York, NY 10003