Current CEHJ Projects and Collaborators

Some of our current research and collaborations include:

Dr. Akila-Ka Ma’at, PI (publishes as Jennifer R. Warren)

1. Examining tobacco/nicotine misinformation among Black women (Funded)

Abstract: Due to decades of targeted advertising by the tobacco industry, most African American women (AAW) who smoke cigarettes are menthol smokers. They suffer a disproportionate burden of tobacco-related morbidity and mortality, such as higher rates of lung cancer mortality compared to White women (Smidt et al., 2014). The impact of these health disparities and the proliferation of tobacco-related misinformation makes them a critical demographic for US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) public health messaging campaigns (Brouwer et al., 2022). With the impending ban on menthol cigarettes, there is an urgent need to engage with African American women, to ensure the effectiveness of FDA tobacco messaging strategies in light of tobacco industry-driven misinformation campaigns. The long-term goal of this project is to increase the effectiveness of FDA public health messaging about the tobacco products most commonly used by AAW smokers. The overall objective of this formative qualitative research is to determine the influence of tobacco-related misinformation among AAW who smoke menthol. We propose the following aims to reach this objective:

  • Determine AAW’s perceptions of mentholated tobacco/nicotine products.
  • Determine the influence of tobacco-related misinformation on AAW’s mentholated tobacco/nicotine product use behavior, including switching, reducing, and quitting.

Student Collaborators

Amjad Abdulaziz Alghamdi, Doctoral Candidate, Communication, CHSS

Faculty Collaborators

Dr. Xiaoquan Zhao, Professor, Health Communication, CHSS, GMU

Dr. Mignonne Guy, Associate Professor/Chair of African/African American Students & Center for the Study of Tobacco Products, VCU

Dr. Andrew Barnes, Associate Professor, School of Medicine, Health Behavior, and Policy & Center for the Study of Tobacco Products, VCU

2. Pilot testing a survey to access racial stress and related factors among prenatal Black Women 

Abstract: Research suggests that the experience of stress during pregnancy can increase adverse outcomes such as preterm birth and low birth weight. Black women are increasingly exposed to race-based stress during pregnancy which can further contribute to these disparities. These health disparities are inequitable and some are avoidable. More research is necessary to understand race-based stressors during pregnancy and their association to Black maternal and infant mortality and morbidity to develop health provider and community interventions that work to mitigate these stressors and increase resilience among Black perinatal women.

Student Collaborators

Xiomara Chevalier, MPH student, CHSS

Faculty Collaborators

Dr. Rochelle Mhonde, Assistant Professor, Global and Community Health, CHHS, GMU

Dr. Amira Roess, Professor, Epidemiology, CHHS, GMU

Dr. Leah Adams, Assistant Professor/Clinician, Psychology, CHSS, GMU

Sahana Natarajan, GMU Faculty Affiliate 

Dr. Maria V. Roche Dean, Assistant Professor/Clinician, Bronson School of Nursing, West Michigan University