CHSS Connection: Research Highlights

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

November/December 2020 issue

Applied Housing Research Initiative publishes new working papers

The PACE Applied Housing Research Initiative (AHRI) has published two new working papers on its website. Coauthored by faculty, students and alumni, these research papers present new evidence on important and timely topics in the affordable housing field: evictions as public health crisis and the seismic performance of tiny homes. Many thanks to Professor of Public Health Laura Mamo and Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering Jenna Wong for engaging their graduate students in applied housing research so effectively.

Visit the AHRI website to download these and previous papers. AHRI thanks Merritt Community Capital Corporation for its generous continued funding of the initiative's work, which is directed by Professor of Urban Studies & Planning Ayse Pamuk.

Research tests whether people of color benefit from ‘mindful eating’

graphic of salad and outline of headMindfulness, the meditation practice that teaches people to be aware of their experiences in the present moment, has become so popular it’s created a billion-dollar industry of self-help books, videos and apps — and inspired plenty of research studies on the benefits of the practice. But Jennifer Daubenmier, an associate professor of Holistic Health Studies in SF State’s Department of Recreation, Parks & Tourism, noticed a potential problem with much of this research: It primarily focused on white people.

Daubenmier responded by conducting a study to see if mindfulness benefits extend to other demographics. Specifically, her study looks at the efficacy of mindful eating — a form of mindfulness that teaches people to be present and aware of bodily sensations, thoughts and feelings in relation to the food and drinks they consume — in weight loss programs and how the results of the practice vary across racial and socioeconomic groups. The study was recently published in the peer-reviewed journal Psychosomatic Medicine.

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City programs inadequately serve trans people deprived of safe housing, study says

Transgender people are more likely than other populations to experience homelessness because of family rejection, housing discrimination, domestic violence and more. Yet homeless support services in many cities often fail to meet their needs. Research by two SF State professors finds that one of those cities is San Francisco. Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Studies Dilara Yarbrough and Assistant Professor of Women and Gender Studies Christoph Hanssmann contributed to the recent study, “Stop the Revolving Door,” which looked at the efficacy of the city’s homelessness support services. Featuring a section on trans homelessness, the research released last month is a result of a collaboration with the San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness, the Transgender Gender-variant and Intersex Justice Project, Mujeres Latinas en Accion at the Saint James Infirmary, El/La Para TransLatinas and other Bay Area universities.

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Study tests effectiveness of basic-needs outreach

Gretchen George, Associate Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics in the Family, Interiors, Nutrition & Apparel Department is conducting a study within classrooms testing the effectiveness of a Basic Needs Tool Kit in increasing awareness, improving education of basic needs definitions, and decreasing stigma, thus improving student awareness and access to basic needs resources on campus. While the idea of including basic needs information to faculty syllabi is not novel, understanding the impact of this and in what form is most impactful is of great importance. This works is supported Health Promotion & Wellness grant funding.

Project engages Filipinx residents of San Francisco to improve community health

Filipinx health posterWith support from the San Francisco Public Health Foundation, Lecturer of Public Health Ruby N. Turalba partnered with the South of Market Community Action Network (SOMCAN) to lead “Our Health, Our Community/Kalusugan ng Bayan.” The three-year project is designed to engage Filipinx residents in adopting healthier lifestyles and advocating for healthier neighborhoods, with the long-term goal of addressing socioeconomic, neighborhood and environmental factors that contribute to chronic diseases affecting Filipinxes.

Ruby Turalba and Filipinx community health groupDuring the first year, a group of community health ambassadors learned about public health frameworks, community-based participatory action research, and policy advocacy. Turalba worked with the health ambassadors, student interns Jocelyn Feliciano (B.S., Public Health,’20) and Rachel Becker (B.S., Public Health,’20), as well as public health alumni Alyssa Daulat (B.S., Public Health, ’19) and Rebeca Garcia (B.S., Public Health, ’15) to conduct an assessment of community members’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviors specific to chronic diseases, as well as residents’ experiences, barriers and recommendations for improving community health. The final report can be downloaded from SOMCAN’s Campaigns page and the assessment findings and recommendations were covered in two Filipinx media sources, FilAm Star and


Students from SF State and Ecuador collaborate on national monuments and parks assignment

Pacific Remote Islands posterStudents in RPT 520: Parks and Outdoor Recreation Resources and students from the Universidad del las Americas in Quito, Ecuador, shared posters assignments on new national monuments and parks in both countries. The exchange, conducted via two sessions on Zoom, was arranged by Professor Patrick Tierney in the Department of Recreation, Parks & Tourism.

Students presented highlights and challenges facing each park in colorful posters. They also shared ideas on management of the protected areas, and met and exchanged information about themselves and their families. Students commented that the activities helped them learn about parks they never would have known about and that it was a wonderful cultural exchange.

Pictured: A student poster from the assignment