Assistant Professor, Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciencesdana.firstname.lastname@example.org 216.368.1707 (o)
I have developed a robust program of health disparities research that focuses on the transition to adulthood for vulnerable and marginalized youth. My research agenda is motivated by over six years of direct practice experience in West Philadelphia public schools where I developed, implemented, and evaluated initiatives to address the physical and mental health needs of low-income racial and ethnic minority youth. While working in the public education sector, I saw how multiple systems (education, child welfare, and juvenile justice) collectively impacted the day-to-day lives of my students, and the vital need for cross-sector collaboration to improve health. These experiences propelled me to pursue training in public health (MPH, University of Pennsylvania), social welfare (PhD, University of Washington), and Prevention and Community Research (NIH/NIDA-funded postdoctoral fellow, Yale School of Medicine).
Across my work, I use a cumulative disadvantage framework to understand the multiple factors that inform youth risk behavior in the context of adversity, and to identify protective factors germane to vulnerable youth. My goal is to identify and implement primary and secondary prevention efforts aimed at reducing the impact of social and structural inequalities on youth wellbeing.
Current projects include 1) NIH-National Institute for Minority Health Disparities LRP supported “Pathways to Wellbeing for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care” which examines the role of individual- and state-level risk and protective factors on homelessness, substance abuse, criminal justice involvement and pregnancy for a national cohort of youth exiting foster care; 2) I am partnered with Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services, the LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland, YWCA A Place for Me, and Kinnect on a four-year site implementation grant funded through the Administration of Children and Families to improve services and outcomes for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two-spirit, and questioning youth in foster care.