Community Transformation Strategist
National Healthy Start Association
Fellowship Project: Community Health Analysis in Gentrifying Environments
Dr. Valerie Newsome Garcia is the Community Transformation Strategist for NHSA – AIM CCI. Prior to joining National Healthy Start Association, she has held faculty appointments at NYU School of Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine, Brooklyn College, and selected as a JPB Environmental Health Fellow at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Her research focuses on addressing the social, environmental, and structural determinants of health in underserved communities. She employs the PEN-3 cultural model to identify not only the negative implications of culture on health (as is often the focus), but also the positive aspects of culture that can be harnessed to promote the improvement of community health. Her past work has explored the environmental barriers to healthy eating in NYC public housing, geography and cultural factors related to healthy sleep behavior, the relationship between neighborhoods and cardiovascular health, and sociocultural factors related to increased HIV risk among African-American women. As a JPB Environmental Health fellow, she will lead the Community Health Analysis in Gentrifying Environments (CHANGE) Study to understand the effects of gentrification on mental and physical health in New York City and Atlanta, GA.
Dr. Newsome Garcia completed her doctoral training in Biobehavioral Health (Ph.D.) at Penn State University, and holds degrees in Psychology (B.S., M.S.) from Florida A&M University. She also holds an appointment as Research Assistant Professor in the Division of Health and Behavior in the Department of Population Health at NYU School of Medicine, and has served as adjunct faculty at NYU-Steinhardt and Brooklyn College. While at NYU, Dr. Newsome Garcia also led the Diversity & Inclusion efforts of the Sackler Institute to develop strategies to increase recruitment, retention, and support of under-represented researchers and scientists in STEM fields. She has completed T-32 postdoctoral training fellowships at both the NIH/NIDA funded Behavioral Sciences Training Program of National Development and Research Institutes, and the Columbia University Medical Center/NYU School of Medicine Center for Stroke Disparities Solutions (CSDS) Training and Mentoring Institute funded by NIH/NINDS.
Community Health Analysis in Gentrifying Environments
Studies have demonstrated associations between neighborhood characteristics and health outcomes. The process of gentrification can change the landscape, available goods/services, affordability, and population of neighborhoods. However, relatively little is known about the potential positive and negative effects of neighborhood change on mental/physical health of residents. The overall aim of the proposed study is to answer the research question, “What is the relationship between gentrification and health?” This formative work also sets out to identify the processes and stages of neighborhood change, research the various tools for measuring indicators of health related to gentrification, and develop a pilot study protocol to engage in community-based research investigating the positive/negative health effects of gentrification on mental and physical health of new and long-term residents. Understanding the various stages of the gentrification process and the health benefits/risks associated with each may aid in developing public health interventions to promote optimal health throughout the process of neighborhood change for all residents.