1. Washington DC-Maryland region, 2014-present
This research explores issues of aging and chronicity among those who live with HIV, particularly Black and immigrant women. Specifically I am interested in the emergent model of chronicity that undergirds the ‘end of AIDS’ discourse, and the ways it obscures the on-going HIV crisis in the southern United States and other global locales. Projects include (1) an investigation of the lived experience of intersectional stigma among older Black women and its impact on retention in HIV care and adherence; and (2) a visual and narrative documentation of older Black women, who have long been ignored in the history of HIV/AIDS and often cast aside as drug addicts and prostitutes, that seeks to understand their lives and struggles, and how they have contributed to the transformation of cultural ideas about sexuality, health, civil rights, and media.
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2009-2012
This research involves 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/STIs. Projects include: (1) the design of a toolkit for REA that addresses community and structural level factors potentially contributing to high rates of HIV/STDs, (2) the implementation of 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) the training of public health professionals in conducting REAs. I also conducted additional research on policy related to health equity and the social determinants of health.
3. Emory University, 2009-2012
I 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.
4. Miami, Florida and Haiti, 2004-2008
This ethnographic study explores the “success” of HIV 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 document how medical, epidemiological, and social constructions of HIV/AIDS risk fuse notions of pathology with racial and cultural differences. I also highlight 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.
5. New York City, 2000-2002
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.
Immigration and Health in Rural America
Eastern Shore of Maryland, 2014-present
This project seeks to ethnographically explore how undocumented status and other forms of social exclusion—race/ethnicity, gender, and nationality—work together to impede undocumented immigrants’ access to health in rural Maryland. This work advances theory of how the institutionalization of undocumented status, created by immigration policies, has contributed to the growing restriction of basic welfare benefits including health and social services and how it impacts the landscape of care in rural settings.
Environmental Risk, Governance, and Policy
1. Maryland, 2017-present
This collaborative project examines why very little progress has been made on advancing federal policy responses to scientific findings about cumulative exposures and risks—the multiple physical, chemical, biological, and social stressors that cumulatively impact community and population health. Our work addresses how issues of risk, environmental justice, and vulnerable populations are framed in decision-making discourses related to environmental policy.
2. Maryland, 2013-2014
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.