I had no great awaking to the ideas of public health; only the vague feeling of things not being right in my community and in the world. To this was added a growing awareness that there seemed to be a relationship between the number of young men in the Austin neighborhood wearing white T-shirts standing on corners at midday and the rising levels of the world’s oceans. It seems to me that though we are all connected, this connection is not equally felt and that the gifts we bring are not always recognized or used. Public health has offered me an integrated and holistic approach to examine and, I hope, ultimately to address problems affecting the US population at large and minority groups in particular. One group in particular, African American men, are at the greatest risk for morbidity/mortality related to some of these public health problems and yet this group is one of the least studied. Without gaining a greater understanding, we will continue to see African American males become data points in the ever-growing body of statistics we have come to know as the health disparities crisis that is affecting our nation. These disparities affect us all in that we, as a nation, pay financially, socially and above all morally if we fail to address this ever growing problem.
I am currently a DrPH student in the Community Health Sciences Division in the School of Public Health. My background includes a BA and MA in psychology. I was awarded the 2007 Amuwo Minority Fellowship and was recently awarded an NIH Minority Supplemental Grant that will examine the recruitment and retention of African American and Hispanic males as research participants into a diabetes self-management study. Additionally, I am currently involved in a study examining the impact of social emotional learning in Chicago Public Schools. Previously, I have worked on projects related to homelessness, substance abuse and the relationship between incarceration and HIV infection rates in certain Chicago communities.