Faculty and students within the UIC SPH Community Health Sciences are involved in a number of exciting research projects that span a wide rage of areas related to public health. For example, Dr. Brenikki Floyd has 14 years of experience conducting HIV prevention research with diverse populations using innovative strategies. Her areas of interest include reducing health disparities in HIV/STIs among at-risk youth and young adults with a particular focus on sexual and gender minorities (i.e. LGBTQ) and racial/ethnic minority adolescents and young adults. An additional area of interest includes the application of health communication strategies, including the adoption of new digital media technologies, message design, and health behavior theory to promote healthy decision-making behavior.
Prior to joining the CHS faculty, Dr. Floyd was the Project Director of a study funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) called GIRLTALK: We Talk. Working with UIC’s Dr. Geri Donenberg and Stanford University’s Dr. Helen Wilson, the project was designed to expand upon a longitudinal study with low income, urban African American adolescent girls to examine developmental pathways from early childhood violence exposure to dating violence and sexual risk.
Other research in CHS includes Dr. Uchechi Mitchell's work with UIC’s Center for Research on Health and Aging. Her research aims to improve our understanding of the health and aging experiences of racial minorities and the determinants of health inequalities over the life course. Dr. Mitchell uses population-level data to investigate the physiological and psychosocial factors that contribute to racial inequalities in health and longevity. Dr. Mitchell has examined racial and ethnic differences in systemic inflammation---a risk factor for multiple chronic diseases that is also associated with mortality. She found that older African Americans have higher levels of inflammation than whites and Latinos and that this disparity persists throughout midlife and old age. In her more recent work, Dr. Mitchell is investigating possible mechanisms that contribute to these disparities.
These are just two of the exciting research projects within UIC SPH Community Health Sciences.