Ongoing Projects:

Internet-Enhanced Health Promotion for Obese Ethnic Minority Adolescents (iTeen Study)
Project Director: Jessica Whiteley, PhD (PI); Co-Investigators: Scott Crouter, PhD; Laurie Milliken, Phd; and David Ludwig, MD. PhD.

This project employs innovative behavioral interventions to change diet and exercise in adolescent girls from disadvantaged, urban, health disparity populations. This population is at increased risk for overweight and obesity, which in turn creates risks for metabolic and other disorders.

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Impact of Stress and Environment on Novelty-Seeking and Stimulant Drug Use in Adolescent Rats. Project Director: Tiffany Donaldson, PhD.

Tiffany Donaldson uses an animal model to investigate risk-taking behavior in adolescents, a trait associated with susceptibility to substance abuse.  Dr. Donaldson is interested in how developmental factors, including initial reactivity, stressors, and environmental stimulation, can either augment or protect from risk taking.
Her preliminary work has established protocols for selecting strains of animals with different reactivity levels and environmental housing procedures that can alter the developmental outcomes. It has also identified brain areas with promise as potential neural mechanisms underlying the individual differences in risk taking.

Completed Projects:

Roxbury Heart and Sole: A Community-based Multiple Risk Reduction Program
Project Director: Eileen Stuart-Shor, PhD. Co-investigators: Daniel E Forman, MD; and Brian K Gibbs, PhD. MPA.

The project focused on cardiovascular risk reduction in Roxbury, a predominantly African-American, inner city population who face multiple risks for cardiovascular disease. Dr. Stuart-Shor used lessons learned from her project to lead a group of 14 undergraduate and graduate nursing students on a trip to Kenya, where they took similar measurements to those used in Roxbury and learned some surprising similarities and differences in the two cultural groups.

The Impact of Participatory Health Literacy on People of Color with Low-Literacy Skills
Project Director: Lorna Rivera, PhD. Co-investigator: Marcia Hohn, PhD.

Lorna Rivera’s project focused on the impact of participatory health literacy on people of color with low literacy skills. Dr. Rivera and her collaborator, literacy expert Marcia Hohn, found that incorporating health material into adult basic education programs provided both motivation for learning, and increased self-efficacy in behavioral choices related to health.  Material on nutrition was found to be of particular importance to the adult learners.  The findings demonstrate that adult education programs are an effective vehicle for getting public health information to health disparity populations.

The Development of a Viable Instrument that Measures the Impact of Spirituality on Health
Lynda Jordan, MS, Ph.D., MDiv., MPH. Co-Investigators: David Arond, Phd; and Deborah Prothrow-Stith, PhD.
Affiliation at the time of the Project: Harvard School of Public Health
Current Position: Associate Minister at the Holy Temple Church, Roxbury Massachusetts

For Us, By Us: Youth Understanding and Addressing Community-Level Barriers to Physical Activity
Renee M. Johnson, MPH, PhD. Co-Investigator: Deborah Prothrow-Stith, PhD.
Affiliation at the time of the Project: Harvard School of Public Health
Current Position: Community Health Sciences Department, Boston University