Health & Equity

Shannon Zenk, College of Nursing
2013-2014 Faculty Scholar

African American women have the highest obesity rate (58.5%) in the US. Zenk’s study uses GPS and GIS to track 80 African American women for one week to better understand the degree of access these women have to health resources and health risks not just near their homes, but through their entire “activity space.”

Claudia Hernandez, Dermatology


Medical professionals often misdiagnose melanoma in African Americans. This project examines whether an educational module can improve medical residents' ability to correctly respond to an atypical skin lesion. We used standardized patients—actors trained to portray a case—to assess the ability of residents to detect an atypical skin lesion.

Findings: We obtained preliminary data from 8 residents, none of whom detected an atypical lesion on the black standardized patients.

Recommendations: Further work needs to be done on the subject of skin cancer detection in patients with darker skin tones. Both patients and physicians need further training on risk perception for skin cancer in all skin types, skin cancer detection, and the performance of regular skin examinations.


To learn more: Email Claudia Hernandez at

Comparative Effectiverness Research to Enhance Outcomes in African Americans with Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Bharati Prasad, College of Medicine

Disparities in Diet and Depression: A Test of Jackson’s Hypothesis in a Multiethnic Urban Sample

Shannon Zenk, College of Nursing

Mayday for Pain: Public Discourse and Advocacy for Change

Miriam Ezenwa, College of Nursing

Angela Odoms-Young, Kinesiology and Nutrition
Partner: Inner-City Muslim Action Network

2013-2014 Policy and Social Engagement Fellowship

Dr. Odoms-Young will work with IMAN to improve an existing curriculum for corner store owners about providing healthy items, in the hope of alleviating some of the effects of food deserts and promoting healthy diets among low-income African-Americans, who have a higher rate of obesity related problems than other demographic groups. Marketing as well as dietary information will be provided in the new curriculum, which will also be distributed more widely and by more informed volunteers to ensure that store owners are able to understand the curriculum and follow through on its recommendations.

Obesity Among Latino & African American Youth: An Ecological & Cultural Perspective

Yolanda Suarez-Balcazar, College of Applied Health Science