Current Research Topics:

HIV/AIDS: My research interests in HIV/AIDS span over 10 years of experience. Specifically, I’m interested in HIV prevention, treatment, and medication adherence for women and adolescent females of color. I’ve worked in communities such as Washington DC, Baltimore, MD, and Newark NJ with community based organizations focused on the sexual and reproductive health needs of women.

  • Project THANKS: Turning HIV/AIDS Into New Knowledge for Sisters (THANKS) is an innovative and evidence-based intervention based on the conceptual framework of the socioecological model that aims to assist women in managing and improving their overall health and nutritional status when faced with complications associated with substance abuse disorders, HIV and other chronic diseases. There has been a need to focus on this in HIV+ women of color because HIV-positive substance abusers are able to live longer lives today with an overall better quality of health.
  • Project DASH: (Divas Against The Spread of HIV/AIDS) I conducted a mixed-methods study to explore the relationship and communication characteristics between daughters and their HIV+ mothers, as predictors of sexual behaviors and HIV risk of the adolescent. Additionally, the study examined other key influences on mother-daughter communication; including the mother’s communication with her daughter with regard to her HIV positive status, as well as mental health related issues such as anxiety and self-efficacy.

Maternal and Child Health: My PhD in Public Health focused on Maternal and Child Health. Specifically, I examined neighborhood level disadvantage, race/ethnicity, and infant mortality in Washington DC using birth and death certificate data. For my post-doctoral fellowship I explored barriers and facilitators to family planning and reproductive health services among families enrolled in a home visitation program.

  • Project PRAMS: Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) is a study exploring the relationship between food security status and breastfeeding initiation and duration among US women. It is important to study food insecurity in populations of pregnant women as the results of the study serve to provide opportunites for intervention and health education for food insecure mothers. This in turn provides insight into the impact of food insecurity on breastfeeding practices.
  • Project TBA: Traditional Birth Attendants (TBA) is a literature review examining the role of traditional birth attendants as a factor influencing maternal health in Nigeria. Study findings concur that policies focused on improving access to health services and importantly, education, are required to improve maternal health outcomes and underserved communities.
  • Adolescent Health- Sexual and Reproductive Health is a study assessing sexual risk behavior in high school aged students using school charateristics such as levels of teacher discrimination and GPA. The study adds to the literature in examining contextual factors that are associated with adolescent sexual risk behavior and findings provide implications for future prevention work.

Health Disparities: My research interests are broadly framed within a health disparities and social justice framework. I approach research using the principles of community based participatory research to guide my work in communities of color as it pertains to the sexual and reproductive health of women and girls.

  • BUILD- The BUILD Health Challenge developed a model predicated on community-based organizations outside of the medical/public health fields collaborating with hospitals and public health departments to address important community health issues. The goal of this project is to explore how healthcare partners come together and best practices for continuing their work. The award and modle of the BUILD Health Challenge allowed for a deeper connection and concerted effort to address social determinants of health with community-based organizations as the lead.

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