Community & Behavioral Health Promotion

The Community & Behavioral Health Promotion (CBHP) faculty include: Young Cho, Paul Florsheim, Amy Harley, Emmanuel Ngui, and Lance Weinhardt. Learn more about featured research projects by the CBHP faculty:

Developing a men's wellness network to improve community health outcomes

Amy Harley, David Frazer, Jessie Tobin, Maanaan Sabir, Sharon Adams, Shanee Jenkins

The Lindsay Heights Neighborhood, home to the Lindsay Heights Neighborhood Health Alliance, is abundant with talents and assets, but also faces numerous socio-economic and health challenges. African American men, in particular, bear the burden of stunning disparities in social determinants of health (high rates of unemployment, incarceration, and racism) and health outcomes, including the highest mortality rates in the country. The Health Alliance has identified a need to strengthen the African American male leadership in this neighborhood’s community-wide health promotion and disease prevention efforts.

Evaluation of the Fondy Food Center Youth Chef Academy

Amy Harley, Young Kim, Lisa Kingery, Lora Jorgensen

The Fondy Food Center Youth Chef Academy aims to impart skills and knowledge that connect young people to healthy foods, empowering them with culinary skills to prepare healthy, tasty plant based meals and the context to appreciate their role in the local food system that produces and delivers food to them. The Fondy Food Center was interested in working with an academic partner to test the feasibility of conducting the Youth Chef Academy in a classroom setting, and to design an evaluation of its effectiveness in achieving its goals. The evaluation plan includes parent surveys, pre- and post- student surveys, observations of students’ willingness to try new foods and cooking skills, and a brief parent phone interview at completion of the curriculum. Data will be analyzed by observing changes in scores from pre- and post-surveys and qualitatively based on observations made by project staff.

E-Z Access to Health Project

Sharlen Moore, Paul Florsheim

Sexual health is a core component of individual and community health. African American youth in Milwaukee experience higher rates of teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV infection than other youth. The purpose of this small demonstration study is to develop and test a social networking model of sexual health promotion intended to encourage African American youth to practice safe sex. Once the program is developed, youth leaders (ages 16-24) will be trained to inform other youth about a free evening sexual health clinic on Milwaukee’s Northwest side with the goal of increasing access and utilization. We are interested in measuring changes in the youth leaders’ communication skills (important to social networking) and tracking how youth leadership activities predict fluctuation in clinic attendance over time.

Pathways linking poverty, food security, and HIV in rural Malawi

Lance Weinhardt, Loren Galvao, Winford Masanjala, Patricia Stevens

Poverty and lack of predictable, stable source of food are two fundamental determinants of ill health, including HIV/AIDS. Conversely, episodes of poor health from HIV can disrupt the ability to maintain economic stability in affected households. Research examining how improvements in peoples’ economic status and food security translate into change in HIV vulnerability is lacking. This is particularly germane in the Republic of Malawi, a largely agrarian society, facing severe health vulnerabilities due to poverty, food shortages and high levels of HIV infection. The Pathways project aims to answer the question: “What role does economic change have on HIV-related risk and prevention behaviors and their distribution in a population?” The American College Health Association (2008) found that 57.2% of college students did not meet the minimum requirement for healthy levels of exercise during the previous week (at least 20 minutes of vigorous or 30 minutes of moderate exercise on at least three of the seven previous days).

Predictors of hospital readmission among low-income patients with diabetes

Lorraine Halinka Malcoe, Xuexia (Helen) Wang, Renee E. Walker, Melanie Gordon

Hospital readmissions are often preventable and pose great concerns among health providers treating patients with diabetes. Readmissions are associated with decreased quality of life, increased mortality and unnecessary costs. Identifying predictors of readmissions is salient for addressing difficulties in clinical management of diabetes, eliminating disparities in diabetes treatment, and improving survival. In this exploratory study, we will identify which biomarker or combinations of biomarkers are the best predictors of readmissions 30, 60, and 90 days after a diabetes-related event among patients with Type 2 diabetes. Additionally, we will examine if predictors of readmissions differ by race/ethnicity or sex. Results of this study will allows us to better identify patients at increased risk for readmissions, identify upstream approaches for reducing the likelihood of diabetes-related readmissions and emergency department utilization, improve diabetes self-management, and reduce the economic burden associated with diabetes-related readmissions.

Public-will building to reduce obesity in the Latino community of Milwaukee

Raisa Koltun, Ana Paula Sores, Stephanie Calloway, Amy Harley, Loren Galvão, Samuel Dennis, Suzanne Galoucher

Proyecto Salud recognizes that the problem of obesity in the Latino community is equally as detrimental as the lack of engagement in the social change process. With the ultimate goal of reducing obesity in the Milwaukee Latino community, Proyecto Salud proposes taking a public-will building approach to address this issue. Public-will building is grounded in the philosophy of connecting a community to an issue through its existing values, essentially building public support for social change by understanding existing values and recognizing the context in which we live, work and play.

School Community Partnership for Mental Health (SCPMH)

Sheri Johnson, Paul Florsheim

The School Community Partnership for Mental Health (SCPMH) is a pilot project between the Milwaukee Public School (MPS) system, the Planning Council and several community-based mental health agencies. The goal of this collaborative effort focused on increasing access to mental health care services for MPS students by complementing ongoing mental health promotion activities in the schools and increasing parent/caregiver engagement. Data from the pilot indicates that access to non- MPS mental health services increased from approximately 5% of children who were referred for services to 55% of children referred. The project is now in the process of further development and expansion. Dr. Johnson and Dr. Florsheim are collaborating in the design and assessment of this public-private partnership to promote youth mental health.

The Young Parenthood Project: A father engagement strategy for healthy families

Janice Litza, Paul Florsheim

The rate of childbirth to unwed parents has risen dramatically over the past several decades particularly among young, economically disadvantaged couples. While some unmarried co-parenting couples are able navigate a successful transition to parenthood, many experience high levels of stress and intense relationship problems, putting them at risk for intimate partner violence, negative parenting and paternal disengagement. Until relatively recently, young, unmarried fathers were considered irrelevant to maternal-child health because they were seen as peripherally involved in prenatal care and child rearing or having a negative influence on young mothers. There is recent evidence that many young men want to remain positively involved as co-parents, but often lack the skills or support to make that happen. This project tests the Young Parenthood Program, an innovative co-parenting counseling program designed to facilitate the development of relationship skills and decrease negative co-parenting outcomes among young, at-risk expectant couples.