Fellowship Projects: a) Beyond Implementation: Evaluating Compliance and Refining Enforcement of Smoke-free Housing Policy in Low-income Multiple Unit Housing Settings Study, b) National Energy Insecurity Study
“At its core, our home is where we launch our lives from on a daily basis. Housing is therefore an important area of study and intervention as it carries vital health and social implications. For me, housing is the focus of my research, business and passion.”
Dr. Hernández conducts research at the intersection of energy, equity, housing and health (E2H2). A sociologist by training, her work focuses on the social and environmental determinants of health by examining the impacts of policy and place-based interventions on the health and well-being of socioeconomically disadvantaged populations.
A leader in the field, Dr. Hernández has advanced the concept of energy insecurity to reflect challenges associated with meeting basic household energy needs. Her research has explored its social and health implications using qualitative and quantitative methods. Much of her community-oriented research has been conducted with community groups and government agencies and several of her projects have been conducted in her native South Bronx neighborhood, where she also lives and invests in social impact real estate.
Dr. Hernández’ cutting-edge work has been published in leading academic journals including the American Journal of Public Health, Energy Policy, Social Science and Medicine, and Health Affairs. Furthermore, her work has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, Housing and Urban Development and National Science Foundation as well as philanthropic organizations including the JPB Foundation and the New York Community Trust, among others.
Dr. Hernández was the inaugural recipient of the Dean’s Junior Faculty Excellence in Leadership Award in 2016 for her efforts leading Mailman’s Faculty Innovation Group. She also received the Junior Faculty Teaching Award in the same year.
As a social entrepreneur, she founded Alchemy by Design, Corp in 2012 with a mission to improve distressed buildings and provide high quality housing to upwardly mobile people with South Bronx roots. She has led three major renovation projects and currently owns/manages 10 units of housing. Dr. Hernández also engages in a variety of community-building activities through consulting, writing in popular press outlets, board service and active civic engagement.
Dr. Hernández completed her doctoral training in Sociology at Cornell University (2010), her undergraduate degree at Hunter College- City University of New York (2002) and is a product of the New York City public school system.
Professor Hernández evaluated compliance of smoke-free policies and effects on residents health in low-income multiple unit housing. Professor Hernández work will inform other larger studies throughout New York City and other cities as public housing nationwide will transition to smoke-free.
b) National Energy Insecurity Study
The National Energy Insecurity Study is a mixed-methods, multi-site study that examines the phenomenon of energy insecurity throughout the United States. This project has three primary aims: 1) to use publicly available data to analyze demographic, household and geographic characteristics of energy insecure households with particular attention to cumulative risks and temporal variance; 2) to conduct a phenomenological study based on in-depth interviews with affected households in 10 sites (AL, AZ, CA, NY, MI, MT, PA, PR, TN, TX) to explore the experiential dimensions of energy insecurity; and 3) to develop and validate an energy insecurity index and include it along with standardized health measures in an “Energy Insecurity and Health Survey” that will be administered to an internet panel-based sample of 2,400 households at two time-points to examine the links and causal pathways between energy insecurity and adverse health outcomes (Aim #3). This project will result in a book in the hopes of shifting the national conversation on energy insecurity and related policy.
Carrion D., Victoria Lee, Hernández, Diana. (2018) “Residual Inequity: Assessing the Unintended Consequences of New York City’s Clean Heat Transition” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Special Issue “Environmental Justice Research: Contemporary Issues and Emerging Topics.” 15(1), 117.
Hernández, D., Chang, D., Hutchinson, C. et al. Public Housing on the Periphery: Vulnerable Residents and Depleted Resilience Reserves post-Hurricane Sandy J Urban Health (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11524-018-0280-4
Hernández, D., Siegel E. “Energy Insecurity and its Ill Health Effects: A Community Perspective in New York City” Energy Research and Social Science [Accepted, In Press]
Latest news about Diana
- Power Dynamic: Energy Insecurity and Health
- WNYC (NPR-NYC) (2016) “Returning to Mott Haven and the South Bronx”
This information is accurate as of the fellowship year indicated for each fellow.