Why do some population groups have lower mortality rates and better health than others? While biological and genetic factors play a role, they are only one part of the story. The social determinants of health– the conditions in which people are born, live, and age– are also important.
My work investigates the social and physical factors that impact health and well-being, and contribute to population health disparities. I am an expert in tobacco-related health behaviors, specifically, with much of my work examining disparities in exposure to tobacco (and vape) retailers and in use of tobacco products. Please see my CV for details about my scholarly publications and other work.
The goal of our research in the Social Determinants of Health lab is to understand how we might improve individual health and well-being and ultimately reduce population-level health inequities through changes at the social and policy levels.
My research lab trains undergraduate students in the research process, focus on how and why health outcomes are patterned by race, ethnicity, and nativity. For example, we are studying e-cigarette policies and retailers in California, examining whether certain vulnerable population groups, such as youth, are at disproportionate risk of exposure to these retailers, and whether exposure translates into higher risk of e-cigarette use. This information will help guide policy development surrounding the use and sale of these products. Undergraduate student research assistants are involved in various capacities in our lab, including in designing a research study, conducting a literature review, and collecting data.
Students in my research lab are trained in various aspects of the research process, and contribute in numerous ways, from collecting and cleaning data, conducting field research, analyzing data using GIS, conducting literature reviews, developing oral and poster presentations for professional conferences.
Below are a few photos of trainees presenting research at local conferences.