NYU-CUNY Prevention Research Center Affiliated Projects
The NYU-CUNY Prevention Research Center conducts research projects that are collaborations among academic and clinical partners across NYU Langone, NYU’s various schools and colleges, and the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, as well as several other CUNY institutions.
Our affiliated research programs produce unique community- and clinic-based interventions for preventive care and management of cardiovascular health, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, hepatitis C, HIV and AIDS, opioid use disorder, and more. In our third consecutive five-year funding cycle, we strive to increase access to care and disrupt the cycle of health disparities among hard-to-reach populations.
Learn more about our completed affiliated projects. Following are our current research projects.
Accessible Care Intervention for Engaging People Who Inject Illicit Drugs in Hepatitis C Care
In this study, Pedro Mateu-Gelabert, PhD, examines the feasibility, acceptability, safety, effectiveness, and cost of an accessible care intervention for engaging people who inject illicit drugs (PWID) in hepatitis C care and treatment. Accessible care for PWID is low-threshold care provided in programs designed specifically for this core population affected by the hepatitis C epidemic in the United States. Care is provided in community-based locations where PWID can comfortably access antiviral therapy without fear of shame or stigma.
Applying Innovative Approaches to Design and Implement an Intervention to Improve Cardiovascular Health in Latino Communities Through Restaurants
With a National Institutes of Health Mentored Research Scientist Career Development Award, Melissa Fuster, PhD, MS, and her team are applying theoretical frameworks from implementation science combined with systems science and human-centered design approaches to design an innovative, stakeholder-engaged intervention in Latin American restaurants in New York City. Working with an interdisciplinary team of mentors and collaborators from NYU, CUNY, and the University of California San Francisco, they aim to address persistent diet-related health inequities, specifically cardiovascular disease prevalence, by changing social norms about healthful eating behaviors and improving community food environments through restaurants.
Assessing the Burden of Diabetes by Type in Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults—NYU Coordinating Center
Assessing the Burden of Diabetes by Type in Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults (DiCAYA) is a multi-center initiative funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It will conduct surveillance using electronic health records to assess the incidence and prevalence of diabetes among children, adolescents, and young adults in the United States, and provide estimates by diabetes type, age, sex, race and ethnicity, and geographic area. NYU Langone serves as the coordinating center of DiCAYA and is co-led by principal investigators Jasmin Divers, PhD, and Lorna E. Thorpe, PhD, MPH.
Diabetes is a serious, chronic condition that affects more than 30 million Americans. Monitoring trends in diabetes in a precise, accurate, and timely manner is important, particularly given that the incidence and prevalence of type 1 and type 2 diabetes in youth and young adults is increasing. Timely information can inform states, federal agencies, and the healthcare sector and allow them to target allocation of resources to at-risk communities. The NYU coordinating center harmonizes study efforts across eight sites around the country, provides best-practice methods to support data collection, and offers infrastructure to maximize efficiency and encourage synergies.
Central Africa International Epidemiologic Database to Evaluate AIDS
The Central Africa IeDEA (CA-IeDEA) project is part of International Epidemiologic Databases to Evaluate AIDS, an international research consortium established in 2005 by the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease to address high-priority HIV and AIDS research questions. CA-IeDEA research is jointly led by Denis Nash, PhD, MPH, and Kathryn Anastos, MD, from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in partnership with investigators from more than a dozen universities and hospitals in the United States and in central Africa.
Challenge HIV Stigma, Homophobia, and Racism and Gain Empowerment: Optimizing Study Design to Reduce Intersectional Stigma and Increase HIV Prevention
Increasing access to and uptake of consistent HIV testing and biomedical prevention is critical to ending the HIV epidemic in the United States among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with other men (MSM). This is particularly important for urban, African American, or Black MSM, who are disproportionately affected by HIV and AIDS in the United States. The emergence of pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis and testing stigmas highlight a gap in our HIV testing and prevention toolbox for MSM of color and a need for interventions that address intersectional stigmas and homophobia in the context of racism.
Spearheaded by Victoria Frye, DrPH, MPH, this National Institutes of Health Clinical Trial Planning Grant–funded study will design and test a new public health model to increase consistent HIV testing, as well as access to, uptake of, and adherence to new biomedical HIV prevention modalities, resulting in lower community-level viral load and ultimately a reduction of the HIV epidemic among a vulnerable urban U.S. population.
Healthcare institutions face many barriers to systematically delivering preventive care to decrease type 2 diabetes incidence, which affects 9.4 percent of the U.S. population, with another 33 percent of Americans at risk. As frontline public health workers bridging clinic and community settings, community health workers (CHWs) may help address this need.
Funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Mark D. Schwartz, MD, and Nadia S. Islam, PhD, lead a pragmatic, cluster-randomized trial integrating CHWs into primary clinics at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue and the VA NY Harbor Healthcare System to support diabetes prevention for at-risk patients. Community Health Outreach to Reduce Diabetes (CHORD) is enrolling approximately 2,000 English- or Spanish-speaking patients who are 18 to 75 years of age, actively enrolled with a primary care team, and have at least one HbA1c result in the prediabetic range since 2012.
CHORD is the first rigorous, pragmatic trial to test the effectiveness and implementation process of integrating CHWs into primary care for diabetes prevention reaching a population-based sample. The trial aims to broaden the evidence for CHW- and patient-centered medical home implementation in safety-net systems, and offer a potentially scalable model to benefit patients at risk for type 2 diabetes.
Developing a Tailored, Theoretically Driven Smartphone Physical Activity Intervention for African American Women
Only 36 percent of African American women meet the national recommendation of 150 minutes per week of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. As a result, this group is disproportionally impacted by type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and many other associated conditions. Smartphone application technology offers an innovative, low-burden platform to enhance theoretically driven approaches to promoting physical activity among African American women.
Through a Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development grant, Marie A. Sillice, PhD, leads a National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities project to tailor a culturally relevant, smartphone-delivered physical activity program, including short text messages adapted from an effective online platform. The project aims to include activity monitoring, educational videos, information on alternative and nearby environments, and a peer-to-peer chatroom to increase social support for physically active behaviors in African American women.
Electronic health record‒based interventions using registries and alerts can improve diabetes care in primary care settings, while community health worker (CHW) interventions have also demonstrated improved chronic disease outcomes, especially in minority communities. The Diabetes Research, Education, and Action for Minorities (DREAM) Initiative is a five-year trial integrating both approaches into a network of primary care practices in New York City to support weight loss among South Asians at risk for type 2 diabetes.
Study aims are to promote weight loss of 5 percent or more in patients at risk (body mass index ≥23 kg/m2) for diabetes; reduce HbA1c among patients with uncontrolled diabetes; increase use of community and social services; and improve diabetes-related self-efficacy. CHWs also deliver linguistically and culturally tailored group sessions on preventing or self-managing diabetes and using a mobile application referral program to link patients to culturally relevant community-level resources.
Funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, this study is the first to test the efficacy and sustainability of such an integrated intervention in an underserved, minority population in a practical New York City setting. The study’s integrated community‒clinical linkage model, led by principal investigator Nadia S. Islam, PhD, is enhanced through cross-sector partnerships with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; HealthFirst, New York City’s largest Medicaid payor; and electronic health record vendors.
Einstein-Rockefeller-CUNY Center for AIDS Research
The Einstein-Rockefeller-CUNY Center for AIDS Research (ERC-CFAR), one of 19 Centers for AIDS Research nationwide funded by the National Institutes of Health, drives a clinical implementation and community-based research agenda focused on behavioral science, clinical translation of research findings into novel treatments, biomarker discovery, and the application of advanced technologies for improving clinical outcomes and developing an HIV vaccine. The center draws on the expertise of more than 130 outstanding investigators from 3 major New York City academic institutions, including Denis Nash, PhD, MPH, and Christian Grov, PhD, MPH, from the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy.
Ending the AIDS Epidemic Dashboard Project
The web-based, public-facing Ending the AIDS Epidemic Dashboard system has been designed and developed by Denis Nash, PhD, MPH, and his team at the CUNY Institute for Implementation Science in Population Health, in collaboration with the New York State AIDS Institute, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Data Subcommittee of the New York State End the Epidemic Task Force. The Dashboard allows for measuring, tracking, and disseminating information on progress toward ending the AIDS epidemic in New York state.
The initiative helps identify people who have HIV who remain undiagnosed and links them to healthcare; helps keep those diagnosed with HIV linked to healthcare to maximize virus suppression and prevent further transmission; and enables pre-exposure prophylaxis access for people who engage in high-risk behaviors to keep them HIV negative.
Evaluation of Smoke-Free Housing Policy Impacts on Tobacco Smoke Exposure and Health Outcomes
Sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, principal investigators Lorna E. Thorpe, PhD, MPH, and Donna Shelley, MD, MPH, evaluate the impact of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s smoke-free housing policy on environmental tobacco smoke exposure and health outcomes in New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments. This study is informing strategies for optimizing the federal rule’s implementation and impact in NYCHA, the largest public housing authority in the United States, and other national public housing associations.
Evaluation of the Good Samaritan Law in Connecticut Using System Dynamics Modeling
Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the Connecticut Department of Public Health, this study is led by Nasim S. Sabounchi, PhD, in collaboration with Rebekah Heckmann, MD, MPH, MPA, at Yale University. The study utilizes system dynamics (SD) modeling and group model building (GMB) to assess the effectiveness and impact of the Good Samaritan Law policies designed to reduce opioid-related deaths by enhancing bystander intervention in Connecticut.
SD models are developed based upon shared input and insights during GMB workshops by critical stakeholders. The modeling results of these sessions will be used to determine how well change in laws and policy has resulted in the uptake of naloxone by nonmedical bystanders, and lay people who could actually save the life of an overdose victim if properly equipped with and trained to administer the opioid antagonist.
Examining the Impact of Park Renovations on Physical Activity and Community Health in New York City
The Physical Activity and Redesigned Community Spaces (PARCS) Study is a unique collaboration between the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. A five-year initiative guided by investigator Terry T.-K. Huang, PhD, MPH, MBA, the PARCS Study explores the relationship between neighborhood environments and physical activity, mental health, and community wellbeing. Through the use of accelerometers, app-based GPS tracking of park use only, and real-time text-based surveys, it is the first and only study of its kind in the world to explore the relationship between a neighborhood’s built environment and the community health on such a broad scale.
Exploring the Role of Client Death Support in Home Care Workers’ Grief, Stress, and Job Satisfaction
Together with mentors and collaborators from within CUNY and beyond, Emma Tsui, PhD, MPH, is using an in-depth, multimethod study design to describe the sources and types of support used by home healthcare workers after the death of a patient, a persistent, unavoidable, and unaddressed stressor for this critical population. Funded by a three-year Research Scientist Career Development Award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, this workplace-based study is an important step in reducing stress and turnover within this rapidly expanding workforce, a disproportionate number of whom are women of color and immigrants.
HEALing Communities Study New York
The CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Healthy Policy is a key partner of the HEALing Communities Study New York, a large consortium of researchers and implementers convened by Columbia University’s School of Social Work to address the epidemic of opioid overdose deaths in New York State. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has awarded $86 million to fund this effort, which will focus on reducing opioid overdose mortality across 16 communities in New York State by 40 percent in the next 4 years. Led at CUNY by Terry T.-K. Huang, PhD, MPH, MBA, and Denis Nash, PhD, MPH, the project takes a whole-community approach to foster systems change, including enhancing community engagement and coordination, increasing access to prevention and treatment of opioid use disorder, incorporating peer navigation into treatment, and reducing stigma.
HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies
As co-director of the Implementation Science Health Outcomes Core for the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies, Denis Nash, PhD, MPH, partners with lead stakeholders at Columbia University to foster multidisciplinary research aligned with the U.S. National HIV and AIDS Strategy. The research is aimed at preventing new infections, improving outcomes for people living with HIV, and reducing health disparities.
Impact of Community Factors on Geographic Disparities in Diabetes and Obesity Nationwide
Lorna E. Thorpe, PhD, MPH, and Brian D. Elbel, PhD, MPH, are principal investigators on a study that examines modifiable social and environmental community characteristics that may contribute to diabetes and other chronic cardiometabolic disparities in the United States using ecologic, spatial, and multilevel study designs. They collaborate with other institutions on this project under the CDC-funded Diabetes LEAD (Location, Environmental Attributes, and Disparities) Network.
Positive Minds, Strong Bodies: A Disability Preventive Intervention for Minority and Immigrant Elders
Positive Minds, Strong Bodies is primarily a manualized and culturally adapted cognitive behavioral therapy combined with exercise in community-based settings. This evidence-based program is offered in Mandarin, Cantonese, English, and Spanish and is administered by community health workers and exercise trainers to ethnic minorities 60 years and older with moderate to severe depression and anxiety who are at risk of disability. Six-month intent-to-treat analyses showed significant intervention effects in improving late-life functioning and lowering mood symptoms while 12-month analyses showed sustained significant effects on self-reported disability, disability days, and mood symptoms. The program shows promise in preventing disability in a diverse sample of minority and immigrant older adults.
This multisite study is being conducted in Boston, Miami, and New York City in collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital and is affiliated with the Section for Health Equity’s Mental Health Research Track. Chau Trinh-Shevrin, DrPH, oversees the New York City study site.
Program Refinements to Optimize Model Impact and Scalability Based on Evidence
Supported by a National Institutes of Health Research Project Grant, Denis Nash, PhD, MPH, and his team are conducting a large-scale study to assess modifications to the New York City Ryan White HIV care coordination model. In collaboration with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the PROMISE study assesses real-world HIV service settings to refine a second generation of interventions for improved care among people living with HIV—particularly those who have been unable to achieve desired antiretroviral therapy outcomes.
Provider-Targeted Communications Strategies to Reduce Stigma and Promote Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis Uptake Among Sexually Active Men of Color Who Have Sex with Men
To increase pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) uptake among men who have sex with men (MSM) of color, new communications strategies for potential PrEP providers are needed. This study, led by Terry T.-K. Huang, PhD, MBA, MPH, at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, and David Lounsbury, PhD, at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, combines traditional public health and entrepreneurial methods in a highly innovative approach to uncover new messaging and communications strategies that can reduce stigma and facilitate PrEP uptake among MSM of color. The study approach marries evidence-based knowledge with community-centric innovation and fosters co-learning and co-design between academia and the community—an emerging approach with demonstrated success in medicine, business, and other fields.
Randomized Control Trial of Implementation Models for Depression Care Scale-Up in Vietnam
This hybrid randomized controlled study evaluates the effectiveness of three implementation strategies for scaling up depression care in Vietnam. Led by Victoria Ngo, PhD, and supported by a National Institutes of Health Research Project Grant, the study is evaluating Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, and Maintenance outcomes across 54 communities in Vietnam for both providers and patients. This study is the most recent iteration of the Multicomponent Collaborative Care for Depression program, the first effort to integrate mental health services into the primary care system in Vietnam in 2009. It examines task shifting of depression care through training and quality improvement methods to support integrating depression care in primary care clinics.
Role of Depression and Anxiety in the Tobacco Epidemic
Despite declines in cigarette use during the past several decades, smoking remains common among U.S. adults and is the leading cause of preventable death. Though tobacco control efforts have greatly reduced smoking prevalence from 43 percent in 1964 to 21 percent today, extensive evidence shows a stagnation of its decline for the past 10 years. Renee Goodwin, PhD, MPH, and her collaborators are leading a National Institute on Drug Abuse‒funded study to examine whether the prevalence of depression and anxiety disorders in cigarette use and nicotine dependence among adults in the United States has become more common among smokers over the past two decades.
Safe and Just Cleaners: Reducing Exposure to Toxic Cleaning Chemical Products Among Low-Wage Immigrant Latinx Community Members
Recent research has documented the health impacts of common cleaning chemicals, but important populations using these agents—low wage domestic cleaning workers who are mainly immigrant and Latinx—have inadequate knowledge of and limited access to safer alternatives, whether using these products at work or at home. Supported by a National Institutes of Health Research Project Grant, Sherry Baron, MD, MPH, is conducting the Safe and Just Cleaners (Limpieza Sana y Digna) Project to document exposures to cleaning agents among Latinx immigrant domestic cleaners in New York City. Using a workers’ rights and social justice perspective, the public health campaign will inform Latinx domestic cleaners and their communities about safer alternatives while also pursuing broader initiatives to reduce exposures.
Scaling Community-Clinical Linkage Models to Address Diabetes and Hypertension Disparities in the Southeastern United States
Led by researchers from the NYU Center for the Study of Asian American Health, and in partnership with the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, this study is working to replicate the Diabetes Research, Education, and Action for Minorities (DREAM) Initiative to community and clinical sites in Georgia. Investigators aim to improve comorbid hypertension and diabetes management within the growing community of South Asians living in the Southeastern United States by implementing a culturally tailored, evidence-based community healthcare worker program. This research is funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.
Social Networks, Acculturation, and Food Behaviors and Values Among Mexican American Families
Type 2 diabetes prevalence is two to three times greater among Mexican Americans than non-Latino whites, and Mexican Americans are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes at younger ages and suffer higher rates of complications. Karen Flórez, DrPH, MPH, leads a National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant‒funded study exploring the extent to which diabetes-related health behaviors, such as diet and exercise, are diffused across important social networks among Mexican Americans, and whether this diffusion differs by acculturation proxies such as more years in the United States or English language adoption.
Findings will provide critical information about the social context of diabetes prevention in this population, which can be used to develop tailored interventions across the entire acculturation spectrum.
Staying Safe Intervention: Preventing Hepatitis C Virus Among Youth Opioid Injectors
Young people who inject drugs are at extremely high risk for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection through the use of contaminated injection equipment. To date, no behavioral intervention has been able to significantly reduce HCV incidence among this group. To help address this need, Pedro Mateu-Gelabert, PhD, is developing Staying Safe, an innovative strengths-based, socio-behavioral HCV prevention intervention. Dr. Mateu-Gelabert’s study will assess the effectiveness of Staying Safe in reducing both injection-related HCV and HIV risk behavior and HCV incidence among young adults aged 18 to 29 who inject heroin or prescription opioids.
Together 5000: Following a U.S. National Cohort of Vulnerable Men to Improve HIV Prevention and Care
Together 5000 is a national observational HIV prevention research study being conducted by the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy and funded by the National Institutes of Health. Led by Christian Grov, PhD, MPH, Together 5000 is one of the largest studies of its type ever attempted that aims to end HIV in vulnerable populations. The study enrolled 8,700 HIV-negative gay and bisexual men, trans men and trans women who have sex with men, and individuals who identify as nonbinary, across all 50 U.S. states and Puerto Rico.
This large, national, and racially diverse fully web-based cohort of study participants, who were not on pre-exposure prophylaxis but are at high risk for HIV seroconversion, has been successfully recruited into longitudinal follow-up and can supply critical insights into the real-world uptake, impact, and equity of HIV prevention interventions in the United States.
Virtual Population Obesity Prevention Labs: Computational, Multiscale Models for Obesity Solutions
The Virtual Populations for Obesity Prevention (VPOP) project was developed by Bruce Lee, MD, MBA, and the Public Health Informatics, Computational, and Operations Research team at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy. Through a National Institutes of Health Research Project Cooperative Agreement‒funded study, the project builds and applies various multi-scale computational simulation models to help decision makers address questions and issues related to obesity prevention and control. As described in Nutrition Reviews and Forbes, obesity is a multiscale systems problem. While the human brain can see single cause and effect outcomes of obesity unaided, it is difficult to understand its interconnected factors, such as physiology, behavior, culture, and social networks, among others.
This project’s models have allowed business, public health, and academic decision makers to design and test an array of obesity prevention measures, policies, and interventions within a virtual environment before trying them in real life, saving considerable time, effort, and resources. Learn more about the VPOP Computer Simulation Modeling for Obesity Prevention.