CHSS Annual Showcase 2021: Embodying Racial Justice

CHSS Annual Showcase 2021 graphic

Poster Abstracts

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Decolonizing public health education for liberation: Restructuring Filipinx/a/o American solidarity in health

Erin Rose Cruz, MPH Candidate, Public Health
David Rebanal, Assistant Professor, Department of Public Health

Background: Intersectional solidarity as a key value in public health curriculum is not often acknowledged. Recalling our history and connections with one another allows for people to acknowledge the ways in which they are linked to one another. Violence against Asian Americans have recently been amplified through the COVID-19 pandemic, but has deep rooted stems from American imperialism. There is also the need to heal relationships amongst BIPOC communities in order to gain solidarity.

Purpose: Learning about intersectional solidarity for action is necessary in undoing the entrenchment of white supremacy and systemic violence.

Methods: To build upon public health curriculum, we critically reviewed selected literature and syllabi using a decolonizing health framework derived from ethnic studies, and applied this to the Filipinx/a/o American experience.

Findings: We discuss the praxis of this framework and suggest important pedagogical considerations for public health courses that address structural and historical inequities of marginalized and colonized groups. In particular, we reflect on how using this framework includes the four tenets of process, place, production and pedagogy, which forms a pathway towards collective healing and liberation amongst marginalized people, whether Filipinx/a/o-identifying or not.

Implications of Racial Justice: This has implications for the Filipinx/a/o diaspora, as well as other populations addressing erasure, invisibility, oppression and colonization. This framework can be used in developing progressive pedagogical public health curriculum geared towards intersectional solidarity.

cruz and rebanan poster


Exploratory Analysis of Racial/Ethnic and Educational Differences in a Randomized Controlled Trial of a Mindfulness-Based Weight Loss Intervention

Jennifer Daubenmier, Associate Professor, Department of Recreation, Parks & Tourism

Authors: Jennifer Daubenmier, Maria T. Chao, Wendy Hartogensis, Rhianon Liu, Patricia J. Moran, Michael C. Acree, Jean Kristeller, Elissa E. Epel and Frederick M. Hecht

Published in Psychosomatic Medicine

People of color and lower socioeconomic groups have higher obesity prevalence, lose less weight compared with Whites and higher socioeconomic groups, and are underrepresented in randomized controlled trials of mindfulness-based interventions. We examined whether mindfulness approaches reduce disparities in weight loss interventions. We analyzed data from a randomized controlled trial of 194 participants with obesity (41% participants of color, 36% without college degree) comparing a 5.5-month mindfulness-based weight loss intervention with an active-control with identical diet-exercise guidelines. We assessed attendance, 18-month attrition, and weight change at 6, 12, and 18 months by race/ethnicity and education level using linear mixed models, adjusting for baseline body mass index, age, and education or race/ethnicity, respectively.

Participants without versus with a college degree attended fewer sessions and had higher attrition across interventions. Participants of color attended fewer intervention sessions in the mindfulness compared with the control intervention. Overall, participants of color lost significantly less weight at 12 and 18 months compared with Whites. However, during the 6- to 18-month maintenance period, we found an interaction of intervention arm, race/ethnicity, and time (p = .035), indicating that participants of color compared with Whites regained more weight in the control (0.33 kg/mo; p = .005) but not mindfulness intervention (0.06 kg/mo; p = .62). Participants without a college degree had greater initial weight loss in the mindfulness compared with control intervention from 0 to 6 months (-0.46 kg/mo; p = .039). Although disparities persist, mindfulness approaches may mitigate some racial/ethnic and socioeconomic differences in weight loss compared with conventional diet-exercise programs.


Reflections on Developing a Campus-Wide Workshop Series on Contemplative Practice and Social Justice

Jennifer Daubenmier, Associate Professor, Department of Recreation, Parks & Tourism

Christopher J. Koenig, Associate Professor, Department of Communication Studies

Maiya Evans, Lecturer, Department of Public Health

Lisa Moore, Associate Professor, Department of Public Health

Michele J. Eliason, Assistant Dean, Faculty Development & Scholarship

Published in The Journal of Contemplative Inquiry

Contemplative practices have been increasingly used in higher education to enhance student well-being and academic success (Chiodelli et al., 2020; Ergas, 2019; Zajonc, 2016). More recently, educators, activists, and researchers are exploring how contemplative practices and perspectives may support social justice on and outside college campuses (e.g., Basu et al., 2019; Magee, 2017). In light of the aftermath of the video recording of Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd, an African-American man, and the widespread protests that erupted against police brutality, we feel this work is particularly relevant at this time. Systemic racism and white privilege are being discussed nationally, along with efforts to revisit our racist history and implement policies, practices, and symbols aligned with racial justice. The #BlackLivesMatter movement has been embraced by large numbers of white Americans who are heightening awareness of white privilege, as evidenced by the New York Times Bestseller List comprised predominantly of books on race and white privilege in the U.S. during the weeks of the protests (McEvoy, 2020). Universities have a vital role to play in maintaining this momentum towards social justice by creating opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and administrators to reflect on systemic racism and white privilege, as well as other forms of oppressions and privileges, and increase personal and collective commitment towards more equitable and inclusive practices and policies. Contemplative practices have an important contribution to make towards these efforts. In this paper, we share the development, execution, evaluation, and reflections of a campus-wide workshop series held at San Francisco State University (SFSU). The series promoted experiential engagement and discussion on the relationship between contemplative practice and social justice to improve campus climate, enhance well-being of campus members, and promote student success.

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Gender differences in adverse childhood experiences and depression: Evidence from older American Indian populations in the Northern Plains 

Yeon-Shim Lee, Associate Professor, School of Social Work

Lucy Fuentes, Lecturer, School of Social Work

Soonhee Roh, Associate Professor, Social Work, University of South Dakota

Background: Our goals in the present study are to assess gender differences or similarities in the association of adverse childhood experiences (ACE) and depressive symptoms in the American Indians (AIs), hypothesizing that social support moderates and mediates the relationship between ACE stressors and depressive symptoms in the AI older adult population.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey with convenience sample of 233 AI older adults in the Northern Plains in 2013. 

Results: Results reveal that ACE and social support play a significant role in depressive symptoms among AIs across the life course and into old age. Over 24% of AI women had been exposed at least five times to one of the ACE items, higher than 18% of AI men and much higher than 6.1% of general American adult patients. Two dimensions of ACE (childhood neglect and childhood household dysfunction) were positively associated with depressive symptoms only for AI women (β =.26, p ≤ .05 and β =.24, p ≤ .05, respectively).  However, no subscales of ACE were associated with depressive symptoms among AI men. Social support moderated the relationship between two of ACE subscales (childhood neglect and childhood household dysfunction) and depressive symptoms only for AI women. We found no mediation.

Conclusion: Our findings highlight the importance of gender differences in understanding psychological effects of ACE and social support among AI populations. Subsequent studies are needed to identify common and gender specific risk/protective factors among older AI populations to develop gender-targeted preventions and interventions to improve their psychological well-being.

Gender Differences poster


Lessons learned from development of a student-informed food security social media campaign

Zubaida Qamar, Assistant Professor, Family, Interiors, Nutrition & Apparel Department

Presented at Promoting Research in Social Media and Health Symposium (PRISM), December 2020

Food and housing insecurity among students is prevalent on various campuses in California and tend to negatively impact academic success particularly in students from marginalized backgrounds. Based on needs assessment data, it has been established that efforts need to be undertaken to increase awareness, access, and utilization of on-campus resources. Students readily utilize the various social media platforms to acquire information and stay connected to their networks. With this particular consideration, a 5-week social media campaign was developed with the following aims: 1) to raise awareness on the prevalent issue of food insecurity among students at San Francisco State University (SFSU), 2) to promote available on-campus resources and utilization. The campaign was designed with a particular focus each week and consisted of relevant posts, stories, tabling and chalking on campus. Student feedback was incorporated at all stages of the campaign development. After three rounds of revisions, feedback was incorporated to finalize the content. An Instagram account @savorandsucceed was created to share content. Strategic partnerships were established during the process and their follower base was leveraged to post certain content along with campaign account. Engagement metrics (likes, saves, shares, comments, story replies and profile clicks, and hashtags) were tracked. Basic demographic information was obtained from the account that showed that followers (75% Female and 25% Male) having predominant residence from the San Francisco Bay Area and majority in the age range 18-24 years, corresponding to the university demographics. The analytics from one of the partners, Health Promotion Wellness @SFStateCares account, showed a collective of 12,828 reach, 17,516 impressions, 8315 Views and 358 Likes for the specific content developed through this project. Campaigning on Instagram seems to be effective for exposure to prevalent food insecurity issues and promotion of available resources on in reaching the student population wherever they are. Since food insecurity particularly impacts students of color, social media can be leveraged to increase awareness and utilization of existing resources in this segment of the student population. 


Immigrant political participation and health in Asian American neighborhoods

David Rebanal, Assistant Professor, Department of Public Health

Danielle Coquia, MPH Student, Public Health

Authors: R. David Rebanal, Kami Yamamoto, Dani Coquia (SF State, Department of Public Health), Shaina Sta. Cruz,  Irene H. Yen (UC Merced, Public Health)

Background: Racial and ethnic minoritized groups that are the least politically engaged also experience the poorest health outcomes and struggle to access health care. Racial/ethnic minoritized groups‚Äô political participation has been identified as a potential mechanism through which residents living in segregated neighborhoods can overcome structural and interpersonal inequities affecting multiple health outcomes. Few studies have examined the potential pathways between racial residential segregation and health among Asian Americans, despite the fact that Asian Americans are increasingly more residentially segregated. 

Methods: Using participatory community mapping and focus group methods, we examined civic and political attitudes, perceptions, and actions of Southeast Asian American residents of ethnic-segregated neighborhoods in California, as well as  structural promoters and barriers to political participation.

Results: Common themes include systemic and individual-level discrimination, generational differences, intersectional solidarity, and recommendations toward fostering civic engagement. Findings highlight the importance of examining the role of political participation on health outcomes in segregated communities. Community mapping exercises indicate ethnic-specific health and faith-based organizations as promoters, and lack of centralized spaces as well as fear of political persecution as barriers.  

Discussion: Isolated communities, including residents from immigrant neighborhoods, can participate in collective political participation (e.g.,  protests, identity-based coalitions) as a means to work toward better health and well-being. Results can inform place-based health inequity indicators, and identify public health interventions to promote political engagement as a mechanism to mitigate the effects of neighborhood isolation and discrimination, including the violence in Asian American neighborhoods recently amplified through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rebanal and Coqia poster


“We Resist!”: Utilizing Photovoice as Art and Activism among First-Generation Students of Color Impacted by Gentrification

Sherria Taylor, Assistant Professor, Family, Interiors, Nutrition & Apparel Department

Authors: Sherria Taylor; Arielle Pansoy, SF State Undergraduate Student; Chuk Osanjindu, SF State Undergraduate Student; and Chliezy Torres, SF State Undergraduate Student

Presented at National Council on Family Relations' Annual Conference in 2020

Gentrification trends have increased nationally, and in the Bay Area, California 66% and 55% of low-income, Black and Latinx households respectively are either experiencing or facing risk of gentrification. Gentrification has been linked to increases in stress levels, injuries, violence and crime, lower mental health, and social and environmental injustices. For youth in these affected communities, education is often disrupted as they are forced to relocate to more affordable cities and reestablish social networks.  As social justice educators, pedagogical approaches must seek to identify, resist, and transform the various forms of oppression in education and society. An integrated framework of hope, resilience, and resistance served as the framework for this study. In the examination of their communities, 30 ethnic minority, first-generation, lower-division college students participated in a Photovoice project class assignment that explored the challenges, acts of resistance, and resilience present within their Bay Area communities. Each student was asked to take 15 photographs of their chosen community, 5 representing community oppression and challenges, 5 representing acts of resistance, and 5 representing hope and resilience. Photographs were analyzed using grounded theory. Examples of categorical themes were: 1) Oppression/Challenges: Colonialism, Cultural Appropriation, Crime and; 2) Resistance: Community Gardens, Cultural Art, and Faith; and 3) Hope/Resilience: Volunteerism, Afterschool Programs, Parks for Children. This study achieves the goal of giving voice to a population that has not been heard in the literature examining gentrification. With community-based participatory research as the framework, this study utilizes their voices and truths to support the development of social justice pedagogy about gentrification and communities of color and community programs that is for and by this population.


Nagugutom sila/They’re hungry: Affirming Filipina/x/o students’ identities with culturally and linguistically responsive pedagogy

Ruby Turalba, Lecturer, Department of Public Health, and Doctoral Student, Graduate College of Education 

Presented at American Educational Research Association, April 9-12, 2021

Hegemonic educational practices have roots in Western imperialism and U.S. colonial rule effectually marginalizing and invisibilizing Filipina/x/o students, and contributing to academic inequities and poor mental health. The purpose of this exploratory qualitative study is to understand the experiences, impacts, and meanings of cultural and linguistically responsive pedagogy that affirms Filipina/x/o history, language, and culture. Research questions to guide this critical ethnography include: What are the experiences of Filipina/x/o K-12 students in culturally and linguistically responsive educational programs (CLRP)? From the perspective of student alumni, families, and teachers, what does CLRP mean for them, their families, and the Filipina/x/o community? What are the impacts on Filipina/x/o students? Qualitative analysis from interviews with a parent, teacher/founder, and student alum; an archived Board of Education meeting; and program documents demonstrate that culturally and linguistically responsive pedagogy fosters positive identity development, confidence, and sense of belonging for Filipina/x/o students. Implications can inform leadership decisions of educational programs and policies that sustain students’ cultural and linguistic wealth in humanizing ways. Finally, multicultural education rooted in an ethnic studies framework challenges majoritarian and assimilationist narratives traditionally taught in schools, and holds the power to build solidarity across BIPOC communities, as well as coalitions and alliances for racial justice.

Ruby Turalba's poster


Black Athlete Activism and the SF State Student Strike of 1968

Maria Veri, Professor, Department of Kinesiology

Presented at North American Society for Sport History (NASSH), 2019

From November 6, 1968 to March 21,1969 the longest campus strike in United States history ground classes to halt at San Francisco State University (then San Francisco State College). The SF State Student Strike was led by the Black Student Union and a coalition of other on-campus organizations in demand of equal access to public higher education for all, better resources for students of color, the hiring of more faculty of color, and a curriculum more inclusive of the history and culture of ethnic minorities.  The strike resulted in significant changes at the University, including the creation a Black Studies Department and in 1969 the establishment of the first ever (and still only) College of Ethnic Studies in the nation.

Concurrent to the escalating campus demonstrations and protests that built up to the strike, the Olympic Project for Human Rights, led by Dr. Harry Edwards at nearby San Jose State University, was gaining momentum. While black athlete activism of the 1960s has been well chronicled in historical analyses of the Civil Rights Movement, especially as we marked the fifty-year anniversary of the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, considerably less is known about the involvement of black student-athletes in the events of 1968-1969 at SF State, or the connection between its Black Student Union and the OPHR.

The purpose of this paper is to chronicle the activism of black student-athletes at SF State in the late 1960s and the connection between campus protest leaders and the national Olympic boycott movement.  My examination relies on oral history interviews, archival materials, and contemporary American newspaper accounts, including those published in university student newspapers and the Black Press.