Mapping the History of West Tennessee. In 2009, the Hooks Institute awarded a $5,000 research grant to Esra Ozdenerol, Ph.
D, a faculty member in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Memphis. Ozdenerol is working with the Institute to create a Geographic Information Systems
(GIS)-mapping website that will disseminate information about pivotal civil rights
events and their locations in west Tennessee. The GIS-mapping website will have electronic visualizations such as animated maps
that allow exploration of recreated landscapes, hyperlinked stories, photographs,
and video interviews of those involved in the Civil Rights Movement.
Studying the Role of African American Faith-Based Communities in HIV Research. In February 2011, the Hooks Institute awarded Latrice Pichon, Ph. D, a faculty member
in the School of Public Health at the University of Memphis, a $5,000 research grant
to study African American faith-based organizations’ institutional readiness to engage
in community-based HIV prevention research in the City of Memphis and Shelby County. The study will seek to assess faith leaders’/clergy attitudes, beliefs, and concerns
about implementing HIV programs within faith-based organizations; to understand how
policy, governance structure, congregational culture, theological views on sexuality,
and official teaching may influence facilitation of HIV programs; and to identify
salient elements that should be considered while screening and selecting faith-based
organizations to participate in future HIV programs.
Race and Environmental Disparities. In 2011, the Hooks Institute awarded Chunrong Jia, Ph. D, a faculty member in the School of Public Health at the University of Memphis,
a $5,000 research grant to study environmental disparities in Memphis African American
communities. Air toxins represent a wide range of pollutants that may cause cancer, birth defects,
or other serious health problems. The overall objective of this study is to characterize the socioeconomic and racial
disparities in air toxic exposure and the associated lifetime cancer risk in Memphis.
Make A Splash Mid-South: An Initiative to Increase Swim Rates Among African American
Youth. In April 2009, the Hooks Institute joined two faculty members, Carol and Richard
Irwin, Ph. Ds, from the Department of Health and Sport Sciences at the University of Memphis,
to fund research evaluating a minority youth swimming program created by Make a Splash
Mid-South, a Memphis non-profit organization. This learn-to swim program seeks to increase swimming proficiency among minority
children in communities with low participation rates. Drowning is a leading cause of death for children ages 5 to 14 in the United States,
and drowning deaths are notably higher among minority populations. The research, funded with a $4,300 grant from the Institute, has demonstrated thus
far that the learn-to-swim program is an effective approach to addressing this health
disparity among minority populations.
In the summer of 2011, the researchers will publish a monograph on the Institute’s
website to share Make A Splash Mid-South programming and research results with communities
throughout the nation. The goal is to guide communities on how to replicate the organization’s success in
Memphis, which may diminish the disproportionate number of minority youth drowning
incidents across the United States.