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Public Health Research



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 Childhood Obesity

Improving the Nutritional Health of Young Children and Families in East Harlem
(2015-2018).The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and GrowNYC will merge their expertise and approaches to improve healthy food consumption over a three-year period, in a trial aimed at caregivers and their children attending pre-K - first grade in East Harlem public elementary schools. PHS will conduct the evaluation.

First Steps to Healthy Living: Evaluation of New York State Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Programs. The primary goal of the project is to assess the impact of the new WIC food package implemented on January 5, 2009 on fruit, vegetable, whole grain, and low fat milk consumption, initiation and duration of breastfeeding, and child weight/height among WIC participants. This project is in its final phase of data analysis.

Profiles of Participation in WIC and other Healthy Living Programs for Pre-Schoolers in New York is a one-year renewal grant funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This grant will fund 1) a study of lifetime participation and experiences in WIC, factors associated with variations in WIC participation, and reasons for non-participation by those eligible; and 2) how mother’s combine WIC participation with other resources to support healthy diets and activities for their pre-schoolers and other young children. Data analysis only.

Starting Early ...Childhood Obesity Prevention Initiative (20111-2016). This five year study is a randomized controlled trial (RCT) being conducted by Bellevue Hospital Center and New York University Medical Center to test the effectiveness of a primary care, child obesity prevention program beginning in pregnancy and continuing through the first three years of life.

  HIV PREVENTION

HIV Is Still A Big Deal...Our HIV prevention videos for gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) have been viewed about 210,000 times online, have about 2,000 Twitter followers, and 875 likes on Facebook. Follow HIVBigDeal on Twitter and Facebook.

Culture and HIV Risk in a Diverse Population (09/25/15 - 06/30/2019; NIH Columbia subcontract to PHS) A critical aspect of sexual behavior among YMSM is the process of sexual socialization - the process by which individuals gain knowledge, attitudes, and norms about sexuality, sexual behavior, and sexual risk. Sexual scripts theory provides a framework to understand how individuals receive cultural scenarios from external sources (cultural scripts), interpret them (intrapsychic scripts), and enact them with sexual partners (interpersonal scripts). To understand this phenomenon and inform the development of, and improve existing, interventions for YMSM, the study will interview an ethnically diverse sample of 160 urban YMSM 16-25. The study team will examine sources of sexual information retrospectively (lifetime and 6 months prior to study enrollment) and prospectively (6, 12, and 18 months following study enrollment).

Mobile Messaging Intervention to Present New HIV Prevention Options for MSM (CDC; 09/01/2015 - 08/31/2019). In collaboration with the CDC, Emory University, PHS, the University of Michigan, and the University of Minnesota, The study will develop a new set of HIV prevention messages based on rigorous preliminary qualitative studies, and reflecting the current age of combination biomedical and behavioral prevention.

Video Information Provider for HIV-Associated Non-AIDS (VIP-HANA) Symptoms (NIH; 09/01/2015 - 08/31/2020). The goal of this Columbia University study is to develop and test an intervention, the VIP-HANA system, a web application that delivers self-care strategies tailored to symptom reporting, HANA condition(s) and by gender, among people living with HIV. PHS is a collaborator on this study.

PrEP, is it for Me? (2015-16). This online video campaign addresses three specific areas related to the use of PrEP by MSM at risk for HIV: 1) knowledge of PrEP- what it is, how it works, and where you get it; 2) concerns about potential side effects, both physical and psychological, e.g. risk disinhibition; 3) psychosocial barriers related to PrEP adherence and sex shaming by other gay men and those generally critical of the gay community.

Virtual Venues: Examining HIV risk perception and management on- and off-line among men who have sex with men in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire (2015). This project examines the risk behavior and country-context embedded in the online experiences of Ivoirian MSM and travestis, whose use of the Internet is understudied and asks how a sex-seeking venue impacts the ways in which men manage and perceive their risk for HIV.

The Community Health Advisory & Information Network (CHAIN) is an ongoing prospective study of representative samples of persons living with HIV/AIDS in New York City and the Tri-County region of Westchester, Rockland and Putnam Counties. CHAIN is conducted by researchers from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in collaboration with the NYCDOHMH, PHS, and the Westchester County DOH as part of evaluation activities of the New York Health and Human Services Planning Council. Its mission is to supply systematic data from the perspective of persons living with HIV about their needs for health and human services, their encounters with the full continuum of HIV services, and their physical, mental and social wellbeing. PHS Chairs and staffs the Technical Review Team which manages CHAIN.
CHAIN reports can be viewed at http://www.nyhiv.com/data_chain.html.

Viewer Attitudes about PrEP Use in Sexually Explicit Media (PrEVIEW) (FSSS; 01/01/2015 - 12/31/2015). Advances in HIV treatment and biomedical prevention (i.e., pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP) have made it possible for SEM producers to meet consumer demands for videos featuring condomless sex. However, research is needed to better understand viewer perceptions about the current state of SEM (e.g., potential normalization of viewing high-risk behavior), awareness of PrEP, and attitudes toward PrEP uptake in the SEM industry. Online, we will recruit and survey approximately 1,500 men and women in the U.S., stratified by sexual orientation, about these issues.

Scale-up of an Internet-delivered Randomized Controlled Trial for HIV+ Men (Sex Positive!) (NIH; 01/01/2014 - 12/31/2016). PHS will conduct an online video-based intervention for HIV+ men who have sex with men (MSM) who have unprotected anal sex with partners who are HIV-negative or who do not know their HIV status. The goal of the intervention is to reduce condomless anal sex with HIV-negative or unknown status partners in order to prevent possible HIV transmission.

Using Technology to Match Young Black MSM to HIV Testing Options (NIH; 07/01/2013 - 06/30/2017). The aims of the grant are: 1) to develop a brief Internet-based intervention for young, HIV-negative or never-tested Black MSM and transgender women optimized for mobile devices (e.g., smart phones, tablets) to increase HIV testing. This study is being conducted by the New York Blood Center in collaboration with PHS and SUNY Binghamton.

Special Projects of National Significance Program (SPNS) (HRSA; 09/01/2012 - 08/31/2017). Community Healthcare Network (CHN) is implementing the Transgender Women Engagement and Entry to Care Project (TWEET Care Project) at the Family Health Center in Jamaica, Queens. There are nine sites conducting this important project across the US.

Staphylococcal skin and soft tissue infections in MSM: An internet-based quantitative and qualitative investigation and US-wide study of molecular epidemiology (Columbia University- 07/01/2013 - 06/30/2015). PHS collaborated with Columbia University Medical Center on an online health-related survey for MSM, which involved home self-collection of swabs to test for staph isolates.

Evaluation of Rapid HIV Self-Testing among MSM in High Prevalence Cities (eSTAMP) (CDC; 09/01/2011 - 08/31/2015). This CDC-supported research initiative will guide the development of public-health policy and programs on the dissemination and use of OTC rapid oral HIV self-tests and will assist in developing future research and program needs concerning self-testing for MSM to help identify undiagnosed HIV infection and promote linkage to care.

  REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH

Reducing the Burden of Teen & Unintended Pregnancy: Improving Access & Decision-making.
This project will establish community partnerships and clinical linkages with clinics and CBOs to reach teens and young women, and disseminate information about the PHS-developed WhichMethod app to help teens and young women access reproductive health care.
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  Public Health Solutions Institutional Review Board

Mary Ann Chiasson, DrPH Vice President Research and Evaluation Staff Profile

For more information, please contact:


Mary Ann Chiasson, DrPH
Vice President
Research and Evaluation
Email: mchiasson@healthsolutions.org
Dayana Bermudez, CHES
Research Assistant and IRB Administrator
Research and Evaluation
Email: dbermudez@healthsolutions.org

For media inquiries, please contact
Development and Communications
Ben Kim
Tel: 646-619-6640
Email: BKim@healthsolutions.org