Social and Behavioral Sciences Research

Living Healthy Summer Camp

Brook Harmon, PhD, RD, FAND

The prevalence of childhood obesity in the US remains high with little recent change. While parent-focused interventions are recommended for modifying obesity-related behaviors among children, participation and retention of parents is a major barrier. Dr. Harmon's study used a community-based participatory approach to translate a child-focused summer program to families in Memphis, TN. Click here for a full description.


Enhancing the Built Environment by Design: Memphis Walks

Marian Levy, DrPH, RD, FAND

The School of Public Health, in partnership with the UofM Department of Architecture, has been named by the Architects Foundation, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) as a member of the AIA Design & Health Research Consortium. This Partnership resulted in the implementation of the Memphis Walks initiative, designed to enhance walkability in a revitalized inner city neighborhood of Memphis named Crosstown. Dr. Levy serves as the Principal Investigator for this initiative. Click here for the full description.


Going Underground in Memphis, TN to Support PrEP in the Mid-south Community

Latrice Pichon, PhD, MPH

Community-based participatory research (CBPR) approaches were used to more fully engage underground social network leaders of Black Men who have Sex with Men (BMSM) in Memphis to understand health needs and gain community support for incentivized testing and linkage to prevention services. Click here for full description.


Global tobacco control research

Kenneth D. Ward, PhD

Dr. Ward's research focuses on global tobacco control and he has worked for the past 15 years in the Eastern Mediterranean region, including Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. He is a founder and Intervention Director of the Syrian Center for Tobacco Studies, and has published extensively on epidemiological and clinical aspects of waterpipe (or "hookah") smoking, a traditional tobacco use method in the Arab world that has become a global epidemic in recent years. Dr. Ward currently collaborates with colleagues at Florida International University, University of Miami, Virginia Commonwealth University, American University of Beirut, and University of Tunis on a NIH grant entitled "Translating evidence and building capacity to support waterpipe control in the Eastern Mediterranean" (Dr. Wasim Maziak, PI). The purpose of this grant is to help Tunisia and Lebanon develop effective health warning labels for the waterpipe, and equip them with the means to implement them successfully. In addition, Dr. Ward works with colleagues at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, where he was recently a Fulbright Scholar, on efforts to improve the ability of medical students to deliver effective smoking cessation interventions.
Outdoor waterpipe cafe

Modeling the impact of flavor bans among young adult tobacco users using discrete choice experiments and agent-based modeling

Yong Yang, PhD (principal investigator); Kenneth D. Ward, PhD (co-investigator)

R03 Grant Funded by National Institutes of Health (View grant information)

The role of flavors added to tobacco products remains debatable in tobacco regulatory research. From a harm reduction perspective, flavors may help cigarette smokers make the switch to potentially less harmful tobacco products. At the same time, flavored non-combustible tobacco products may serve as a precursor to cigarette smoking, and they are particularly attractive to youth and young adults who otherwise may not smoke. Flavor bans have been under discussion over years and have been recently heightened. In June 2018, San Francisco approved a ban on menthol cigarettes and flavored electronic cigarettes. This ban has the potential to spark a national trend. To support the evidence-based decision-making of FDA and policy change at the national level, vigorous research on the impact of flavor bans are needed. The aim of this study is to examine the impact of two major flavor ban alternatives on young adults who are users of tobacco/ENDS. We will assess the empirical change in tobacco use in San Francisco, CA where flavor bans have been implemented (Aim 1), and estimate the reaction patterns to flavor bans in a city where the policy has NOT been implemented using DCEs (Aim 2). Afterward, we will develop an ABM with the result from DCEs (Aim 2) serving as the core behavior pattern at the individual level, and empirical patterns at the population-level (Aim 1) serving for the ABM's assessment. As a bottom-up approach, the ABM can examine various flavor ban policies in both cities (Aim 3). Combining empirical results, estimations from hypothetical experiments and simulations of various flavor bans' scenarios in various contexts, the evidence, and insights generated from the proposed study will allow researchers to explore the implications of a flavor ban policy on a given environment. Results may also be extrapolated to the United States at large.

World AIDS Day

Latrice Pichon, PhD, MPH

The School of Public Health Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences participated in World AIDS Day observances in Memphis, TN. Photo exhibits addressing internalized stigma of people living with HIV were displayed at PEAS Inc., World AIDS Sunday at Christ Missionary Baptist Church and the Memphis Ryan White Program World AIDS Day Lighting of the Lanterns Ceremony at Beale Street Landing as part of Dr. Latrice Pichon's research collaborations with Connect 2 Protect Memphis and The Headliners. The exhibit features photographs and personal stories of HIV-related stigma for 6 early participants in the project. The work was funded by Gilead Sciences COMPASS (COMmitment to Partnership in Addressing HIV/AIDS in Southern States) Initiative®, Southern AIDS Coalition Transformative Grant. View Photos >

World AIDS Day Table