Bloustein Healthy Communities Initiative Grants

We gratefully acknowledge the support towards the Healthy Communities Initiative by the Bloustein School Dean’s Advisory Board. Their generosity has supported several seed fund grants, listed below.

Housing insecurity and health post-COVID-19

Eric Seymour and Kathe Newman are studying housing instability in the City of Orange, NJ and elsewhere in Essex and Hudson Counties, NJ. In partnership with Housing and Neighborhood Development Services (HANDS), they hope to better understand the nature of housing instability and the processes that are shaping it, including historical disinvestment, the foreclosure crisis, changes in federal affordable housing policy and the expansion of gentrification processes from New York City and New Jersey communities such as Jersey City and Hoboken. The timing of this project allows it to incorporate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and recession.

Delivering adolescent sexual and reproductive health services in Botswana

Recent global figures report that 15 million girls are married before the age of 18, and 16 million girls give birth before their 16th birthday. Professor Francis Barchi is comparing the effectiveness of mobile versus stationary clinics in the delivery of youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services to a vulnerable adolescent population in Muan, northwestern Botswana. Examining the role played by a community-engaged, multi-sector approach to adolescent health promotion as compared to government-provided services, the project seeks to develop an evidence-based set of recommendations for the expansion of adolescent sexual and reproductive health services provision through scalable, community-engaged, and youth-accessible service delivery.

New Jersey COVID-19 impact study

This project is informing New Jersey policy responses to the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic and helping promote an equitable and safe economic and social recovery. Professors Soumitra Bhuyan, Joel Cantor, and Julia Rubin are examining the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on health, food access, housing, education, employment and transportation, particularly for the most vulnerable communities in New Jersey. Three waves of surveys, each spaced three months apart, are collecting this information.

Behavioral impacts on transportation from COVID-19: Will we be healthier?

The COVID-19 pandemic has had large impacts on our transportation systems with unknown effects on community and public health. Robert Noland, Stephanie DiPetrillo, and Wenwen Zhang seek to answer three questions in this project: How have travel behavior and work activities been affected by COVID-19? Will any changes to these behaviors persist in a post-COVID world? Will public health be improved from changes in behavior (e.g. more active travel), or made worse (more sedentary behavior working at home)? The research strategy involves primary data collection using an online panel of 1,200 New Jersey respondents who answer questions about different work activities, travel modes, and variation in demographic factors to understand what changes are taking place.

Understanding the nutritional needs of Latino families in New Brunswick

Obesity and diabetes pose particular health concerns among Latino youth and such health disparities have substantial potential to become worse due the devastating realities of COVID-19. In This study Radha Jagannathan, Maia Delacalle, and Jessica Varela focus on describing the nutritional status and needs of Latino families in New Brunswick as a prelude to developing policy solutions to curb high rates of childhood obesity. Parents of about students enrolled in the Rutgers Nurture thru Nature (NtN) program and their acquaintances provide a snowball sample of about 200 parents. The data generated through the survey is providing information on (a) the current nutritional practices of these Latino families, along with information on the economic, social and cultural factors driving these practices and (b) the impact of COVID-19 on these practices.