My research has primarily taken a mixed-methods approach to understanding and addressing social problems in communities. Using an ecological approach, I attempt to quantify and explain the ways in which individual and contextual factors interact to impact community and individual health and quality of life. My research has practical application with a goal of social justice and equitable distribution of resources. Ultimately, I aim to use research to promote individual and community wellbeing over harmful ideologies.
Such complex research goals require interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches as well as innovative and participatory methods. Thus, much of my work is collaborative and participatory, and I’m consistently working to develop new methodologies that capture the complexity of social issues.
This approach lends itself to the investigation of multiple topics, and I have been involved in various projects from investigating barriers to HIV treatment to female juvenile delinquency. However, I have focused primarily on the effects of disasters and homelessness on communities and individuals.
When disaster strikes – whether its natural or man-made (e.g., housing crisis) – some people are systematically rendered more vulnerable than others. Identifying the ways in which systematic oppression interacts with individual vulnerabilities can be useful in prevention and intervention planning. Thus, my research focuses on this interaction and often uses participatory research methods to ensure that vulnerable individuals have a voice in the research process.