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Health and Behavioral Sciences


Here are some highlights of current work our faculty is working on:

Dr. Sharon Devine conducts evaluation research of federally funded programs that address STD and HIV/AIDS prevention programs and reduction in teen pregnancy. She also serves as the chair of the social and behavioral panel and chair of expedited/exempt submissions for the Colorado Multiple Institutional Review Board (COMIRB). She has also conducted formative research on antibiotic resistance in Mongolia and examined the potential savings associated with reducing deficiencies in micronutirents and increasing breastfeeding in Mongolia. She is co-author of a paper on the effects of experiential training of STD clinicians, "Can Experiential-Didactic Training Improve Clinical STD Practices?", which is in press with the journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Her dissertation critiqued the existence of the so-called Hispanic paradox and theories used to explain it as applied to weight-related birth outcomes of mothers of Hispanic origin in Colorado. 

Dr. Patrick M. Krueger is working on a series of papers that explore the social determinants of health behaviors. Although physicians and the public often think of behaviors as something that result from individuals' choices, Dr. Krueger's work draws attention to the role of family and socioeconomic factors for shaping behaviors. For example, clinicians who deal with sleep problems often counsel their patients to sleep in quiet rooms and to go to bed at the same time each night, but ignore the broader social context in which sleep occurs. Dr. Krueger's recent paper with Elliot Friedman (University of Wisconsin), titled "Sleep Duration in the United States: A Cross-sectional Population-based Study" (published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 2009) draws attention to significant social factors that shape sleep hours. Adults who work long hours, have young children, have low levels of education, or have few economic resources are more likely to sleep six or fewer hours in a usual night. ​

Dr. Debbi Main's current research involves a large-scale, five-neighborhood community based participatory research (CBPR) initiative in the Denver metropolitan area, called Taking Neighborhood Health to Heart. Through funding from National Institutes of Health, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Colorado Health Foundation and others, Dr. Main and her community and academic collaborators have collected and analyzed comprehensive data on the health of people and neighborhoods, contributing new theoretical and methodological knowledge on the influence of built and social environments on health and health disparities, and disseminating in-depth information throughout communities to identify contextually relevant programs, policies and environmental changes to improve neighborhood health.

Dr. Ronica Rooks is currently funded by the Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research to investigate two papers on: the relationship between racial health disparities and employment among older, well-functioning black and white adults; and whether well-functioning black adults who have survived certain higher health risks (i.e., selective survival) will be more robust over time than white adults with chronic conditions. Results of this research will establish important groundwork for her long-term expertise in health disparities research and enable her to apply for future research grants to reduce and eliminate health disparities by focusing on community prevention and intervention methods, seeking policy change, and becoming a teacher-scholar involving students in her research.

Dr. Jean Scandlyn is currently writing a book, Beyond PTSD: Reckoning the Post-9/11 Wars from Home ​​(Left Coast Press, spring 2014) that presents an ethnographic study conducted from 2008 to 2012 that examine the effects of multiple deployments on soldiers, their families, and the community of Colorado Springs, home to Fort Carson, the second largest Army base in the U.S. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) awarded Dr. Scandlyn and her co-author Dr. Sarah Hautzinger of Colorado College a collaborative research grant to support this project.  She is also completing the analysis of an evaluation of the Food and Feelings program in the department of hematology oncology at Children's Hospital Colorado. The program brings together fellows in pediatric hematology oncology for lunch once each month to discuss an assigned article that highlights common personal and professional dilemmas in an effort to support fellows during their training and establish ways of managing their personal and professional lives to prevent burnout and help them sustain careers in this challenging area of clinical medicine. As a Fulbright scholar, Dr. Scandlyn teaches a series of workshops on qualitative research methods and serves as a consultant on dozens of research projects to mid-career professionals of health-related non-governmental organizations in Bolivia.  

Dr. Sara Yeatman has been conducting research in Malawi since 2005 and her work has been published in the journals AIDS & Behavior, Studies in Family Planning, Social Science & Medicine, and Demographic Research. She is currently funded by two grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The first is an ongoing longitudinal study of how young adults in rural Malawi navigate HIV/AIDS and the second is an in-depth mixed methods study of how the spread of antiretroviral therapy is affecting perceptions of HIV/AIDS and associated risk behaviors.