2014-2015 Yearlong Fellows

Nicolas Barcelo

Project Title: The Effects of Area-Level Deprivation and Community Violence on Asthma Susceptibility and Asthma Morbidity Amongst Latino and African-American Urban Youth

Mentor(s): Esteban Burchard, MD, MPH

Pathway: Health & Society

Project Description: Asthma, the most common chronic disease among children in the U.S., is the result of multiple etiologies including a complex interplay between genetic, social, and environmental factors. Whereas social stress has been associated with an increased propensity for adverse health outcomes, its relation to asthma in pediatric populations is not clearly understood, particularly among minority children. The purpose of my research is to examine the association between geographic-level measures of social stress (neighborhood deprivation index and community violence) and asthma susceptibility and asthma morbidity in Latino and African-American urban youth. This research will utilize the GALA II and SAGE II studies, which, when combined, are the largest on-going minority pediatric asthma case-control studies in the U.S. Primary objectives are to  examine the association between social stress and asthma susceptibility and asthma morbidity, to determine if race/ethnicity modifies the relationship between social stress and asthma outcomes, and to determine if the effect of social stress is different among participants with atopic versus non-atopic asthma.


Myrna Mungal

Project Title: The Human Cost of Gun Violence: A qualitative study examining the social consequences of gun violence seven years post injury

Mentor(s): Irene Yen, PhD, MPH, and Jahan Fahimi MD, MPH

Pathway: Health & Society

Project Description: Gun violence is an epidemic in the United States, one that is disproportionately affecting young urban minorities. Studies have been carried out looking at the consequences of gun violence, with discussions mainly focusing on the physical and monetary aftermath. This is a qualitative study that aims to broaden the discussion of gun violence effects by examining the ramifications of gun violence on the lives of urban individuals treated at Highland Hospital in Oakland California seven years after the initial date of injury. This study provides first hand perspective from survivors themselves on the ways in which their injuries affected various social determinants of health including housing, education, employment, and social networks. Importantly, this project will focus on how social services were viewed and utilized by survivors. The results generated from this research will paint a broader picture of the long-term consequences of gun violence with the ultimate goal of using these themes to generate sustainable interventions that will aid in recovery post injury.


Jordan Nahas-Vigon

Project Title: The Impact of Peer Health Coaches on Diabetes and Hypertension Control in a San Francisco County Jail

Mentor(s): Jacqueline Tulsky, MD

Pathway: Health & Society

Project Description: Incarcerated men and women are a vulnerable population at risk for many diseases stemming from a lack of health care access, inadequate health education and exposure to high-risk behaviors. With an aging and growing incarcerated population the prevalence of chronic disease is increasing. I have designed a project to train inmates as peer health coaches to teach their fellow inmates about diabetes and hypertension. I will evaluate the effectiveness of this educational intervention by comparing the disease markers between jail pods that have access peer health coaches and those that do not. While there are peer education programs that have been established in prisons around the country, jails are often overlooked because the high turnover rate makes it difficult to adequately train the peer educators. However, I believe that the turnover rate of jail is actually beneficial in the long-run so that inmates with can return to their home communities with new skills and important health information that they can effectively communicate to their friends, family and neighbors.