Community Transformation Strategist
National Healthy Start Program, Washington, DC
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.