This is a collaborative project with Dr. Typhanye Penniman-Dyer (University of Maryland’s School of Public Health) that investigates the lived experience of HIV-related stigma among older Black women and examines the impact of HIV-related stigma on retention in HIV care and antiretroviral therapy adherence among older Black women with HIV. HIV-related stigma serves as a critical barrier to the prevention, care, and treatment of HIV because it has been shown to interfere with effective treatment and positive health outcomes for HIV-positive people including retention in HIV care and antiretroviral therapy adherence. HIV-related stigma is often intensified for those who are already socially vulnerable like women, older adults, and racial minorities because of existing social inequities based on race, gender, and age.
Immigrant Health along the Eastern Shore of Maryland
This study examines how political and legal notions of entitlement become understood and reconstituted within a moral economy that constructs some immigrants on Maryland’s Eastern Shore as deserving of health care and others as not. It is driven by three primary concerns: (1) to investigate the relations between legal and political concepts of rights and moral assessments of health-related deservingness; (2) to understand how health-related deservingness interacts with prevailing ideas of inclusion and exclusion to impact immigrants, particularly those who are undocumented; and (3) to examine the epidemiological and phenomenological implications of undocumented immigrant health.
Marcellus Shale Public Health Study
This is a collaborative project with investigators at the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Health to evaluate the potential public health impacts associated with drilling in the Marcellus Shale in Maryland in response to Governor O’Malley’s Executive Order (E.O.) 01.01.2011.11, which established the Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
I received post-doctoral training at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While there, I promoted the use of rapid ethnographic assessments (REA), a qualitative method of data collection best used to assess quickly a variety of complex public health issues with the purpose of informing intervention and prevention programmatic needs, to address increasing rates of HIV/STD by: (1) designing a toolkit for REA that addresses community and structural level factors potentially contributing to high rates of HIV/STDs, (2) implementing three REAs addressing policy, economic, and social- level factors contributing to high STD/HIV rates in vulnerable Black and Latino populations in Arizona, North Carolina, and Louisiana, and (3) training public health professionals in conducting REAs. I also conducted additional research on policy related to health equity and the social determinants of health.
African-American Men and HIV/AIDS disparities, Emory University
I served as a qualitative consultant on a NIH-funded R01 study that examined current HIV/AIDS disparities that disproportionately impact African-American men of all sexualities in the United States. This study 1) described the influence of social and demographic variables on the experiences and mental health of African-American men in Georgia, 2) explored how mental health determinants and culturally-specific coping strategies factor in the lives of Black men and influence their HIV risk promoting and protective behaviors, and 3) identified aspects of health care utilization behaviors that influence the lives of African-American men.
HIV/AIDS Prevention in Miami among Haitians
This was my doctoral dissertation project: an ethnographic study to assess the success of HIV/AIDS prevention campaigns targeting racial and ethnic minorities in clinical and public health settings in South Florida and their effects on the Haitian community in particular. Through this work, I documented how medical, epidemiological, and social constructions of HIV/AIDS risk fuse notions of pathology with racial and cultural differences. In addition, I also highlighted the specific problems facing diverse immigrant and ethnic populations, and revealed that Haitians strategically identify with various institutions and diseases in order to access critical resources. I conclude that public understandings of health interventions are complex, and as a result, translations of HIV/AIDS prevention do not occur smoothly or as planned in Haitian communities.
Community Health Advisory & Information Network Project, Columbia University and the New York City HIV Health and Human Services Council
This project is an ongoing prospective study of persons living with HIV/AIDS in New York City and the Tri-County region of Westchester, Rockland and Putnam Counties. As a MPH student at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, I conducted an analysis of disclosure, stigma, and service needs among adults living with HIV/AIDS in the Tri-County region. Results indicated high reports of stigma among all participants and higher rates among women than men; they also indicated that stigma did not affect disclosure patterns or access to medical services, which were inconsistent with previous reports. The limitations of assessing a multi-faceted and complex concept like illness-related stigma through the singular and reductionist lens of an analytic scale were highlighted.