What drew you to Community Health?
The foundational nature or importance of health in our society,
The possibilities for integrating cultural studies, social justice, organizing and activism, social and natural sciences, rich theoretical traditions, and policy.
Its focus on expanding the practical autonomy of people
What drew you to the University of Massachusetts?
I was particularly drawn to the opportunity to contribute to the Department of Health Promotion and Policy’s innovative and progressive work in narrative and visual approaches to public health. The intellectual community that the 5 college consortium affords was also appealing. And not least, the opportunity to work with honors students and be part of the Honors College was enticing.
What does it mean to teach at the Commonwealth Honors College?
The opportunity to work with some of the brightest, most talented, and hardworking students in the region is rewarding. The ability to better focus on individual student interests, needs, and trajectories makes for more effective teaching. Additionally, being part of a community of scholar-teachers who work together to support the highest student achievement possible is inspiring and facilitates my own growth.
Can you describe your current research?
Using community-based participatory approaches, my scholarship aims to understand psychosocial determinants of mental and sexual health among ethnically minoritized and sexually marginalized groups – including depression, anxiety, and HIV prevention among black and Latino gay and bisexual men and transgender women. My approach to CBPR facilitates power sharing whereby community stakeholders are engaged in the entire research process from beginning to end. Also central to my research is incorporating critical race theory and queer theory as frameworks and analytic tools.
What courses are you teaching and why would you encourage students to take them?
I teach Health Inequities and Social Acts and Cinematic Acts: Public Health through Film. Health Inequities explores social justice as a philosophical underpinning of public health and will consider the etiology of disease rooted in social conditions. Public Health through Film considers popular motion pictures as both data and intervention on societal knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about health, identities, and social determinants. They are transdiciplinary Gen Ed courses applicable to both public health and non-public health majors.