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PRCHN Connection 
Spring 2020

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year! The beginning of a new year (and decade!) always gives us the opportunity to reflect on the past and look to the future with hope, promise and excitement. This is no different here at the PRCHN. 

After 10 years of serving as the Director of the PRCHN, I will be stepping down on February 1 and we are enthusiastically welcoming Dr. Erika Trapl as the new Director. I am confident Erika will successfully lead the PRCHN  into the next 10 years and beyond. 

It has been an honor and an incredible privilege to have had the opportunity to build something as special as the PRCHN. We had this idea to create a space where researchers and community partners could put their heads together and explore ways to address the overwhelming health disparities that we see so vividly in the neighborhoods around us. Together we have taken on healthy food access, tobacco use, childhood obesity, teen pregnancy and HIV prevention and so much more. We have established an important and well respected youth surveillance system that provides real time data to schools and community organizations that helps them to stay on top of the most pressing issues facing our youth. We have sent hundreds of students out into the neighborhoods to not only collect valuable data on environmental assets, but to help them to better understand the lives of the folks who live, work, learn and pray in our Cleveland neighborhoods -and to  have compassion, understand privilege, and find ways that they can make a difference in the future. 

All of this has meant the world to me and I am extremely grateful to have worked with so many amazing people over these nearly 25 years. I am especially grateful for the community partnerships and real friendships that have emerged from these partnerships. I am ever inspired by the dedication, commitment and passion that our faculty, staff and students bring to our work, which helps me stay optimistic for the future even when we are faced with a political climate that seems to consider compassion for others as a weakness. 

While I am stepping down as Director, I will remain involved with some research activities of the Center and will always be its biggest cheerleader. I now hope to turn my energies to some new opportunities that will add to the collective commitment to community health at CWRU. More news to come on that front. Until then, it gives me great pleasure to hand over this part of the newsletter (and SO much more!) to Erika!

Elaine A. Borawski, Ph.D., FAAHB
Angela Bowen Williamson Professor of Community Nutrition
Departments of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences and Nutrition 
Founding Director, Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods
Lead, Community and Collaboration Component, Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative
Director's Note

Earlier this week, on the way to a Girl Scout meeting for my youngest daughter, I thought back to my first research job. It was 20 years ago, here at CWRU, on a project to deliver a nutrition and physical activity intervention to tween Girl Scouts to prevent osteoporosis.

My supervisor was the now-Dr. Grace Warner. At the time, she was a student in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Grace knew I had a passion for prevention, research and data. "You need to meet my advisor," Grace said. "I think you'd really like her."

At the time, the department and the advisor - a Dr. Elaine Borawski - were both a mystery to me. But I trusted Grace and I emailed Elaine, asking if she'd meet me for coffee. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that this is where we'd be years later.

Since that first coffee date nearly half my lifetime ago, Elaine and I have been through so much together, both personally and professionally: The Triangle Building. Healthy Teens. CCCPTR. Steps to a Healthier Cleveland. AAHB. Weddings. OTREC. Graduations. The YRBS. The first PRC grant. Kids. The BioEnterprise Building. The PRC renewal grant. IMPACT. REACH. Produce prescriptions. Kid weddings. The list goes on and on (with several more acronyms!). And so many wonderful people a part of each of those events.

This work we do - it is about more than just data, outcomes, and policy. It's about our values and our relationships - the connections we build with the neighborhoods we serve and the people we work with, and the values that bring us all together. This has been Elaine's vision from the first day I met her, and it is one I have strived to achieve since then. I'm proud to work alongside all of you and have the honor of taking the helm and leading the Center in the years to come.

Erika S. Trapl, PhD
Associate Professor, Dept. of Population & Quantitative Health Sciences
Director, Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods
Co-Leader, Cancer Prevention, Control & Population Research Program
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center
PRCHN Welcomes New Faculty   
Jin Kim-Mozeleski, PhD Joins PRCHN 
and brings 5-year NIH grant

We are so excited to welcome our new faculty member,Jin Kim-Mozeleski, PhD who started the new year with us! Dr. Kim-Mozeleski joins as Assistant Professor in the Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods and the Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences here at Case.

Jin's primary area of research examines tobacco-related health disparities for low-income populations, for whom the burden of tobacco use and tobacco-related health problems continue to be disproportionately high. For the last 5 years, she has focused her work on understanding the role of food insecurity-or lack of economic access to healthy and preferred food-as a key socioeconomic stressor that impacts tobacco use at the population level, and applying the findings towards informing cessation at the community level. As such, her work spans from nationally representative epidemiological studies to community-based mixed-methods studies. Jin's research is broadly motivated by the understanding that health behaviors are shaped by the interplay of psychological, social, and environmental influences.

Since 2017, Jin has been Principal Investigator of a five-year research and career development grant funded by the National Institutes of Health. This research grant is among the first to specifically focus on the intersection of food insecurity, tobacco use, and tobacco cessation, and the research is undertaken in multiple phases. 

In the first phase of The Food Security, Tobacco Cessation, and Health (FETCH) research study, Dr. Kim-Mozeleski published one of the first longitudinal studies showing that food insecurity is a risk factor for continued smoking and a barrier to stopping smoking in a national sample of smokers (Published in the American Journal of Health Promotion).

In the second phase, she conducted in-depth interviews with current and former smokers with experiences of food insecurity to understand their lived experiences of smoking and quitting. 
In the third phase, which she will undertake in the Greater Cleveland area, she aims to engage with community-based organizations to reach underserved smokers experiencing food insecurity and related stressors, to conduct collaborative research towards reducing the high burden of tobacco use in the Cleveland community. Food insecurity is known to be related to an array of poor health and mental health outcomes. Her work draws attention to the potential for promoting food security as an unconventional, population-level strategy to reduce high tobacco use in low-income populations, and addressing the double burden of poor health due to tobacco use and lack of food access (For more information on this general topic, Jin recently published a review article in the journal Health Promotion Practice).

Jin has an interdisciplinary training and research background. She received her PhD in social psychology from the University of California Davis, and she focused her doctoral work on mental health and health disparities for Asian American populations. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in tobacco control/substance use treatment at the University of California San Francisco. Prior to joining PRCHN, Jin was Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

"Although she's been here at the PRCHN for less than a month, Jin is already establishing partnerships across the city that will yield strong science and significant local impact. I'm thrilled to see what the rest of the year brings," says new Director, Dr. Erika Trapl.

CWRU MPH Program Anniversary
Marking 20 years of educational excellence and service to our community

Join us for this gathering of students, alumni, community leaders, faculty and university leadership celebrating the 20th anniversary symposium of the CWRU Master in Public Health Program. The program includes:
  •  8:30am-5:00pm full-day symposium of alumni speakers  and student posters highlighting the impact our program has had among students, alumni, and our community partners. 
  • 6:00pm ticketed dinner event that will highlight our program's history and celebrate our Founding Director, Scott Frank, MD., MS. The evening will culminate with a distinguished panel presentation on the future of public health in our community. Dinner is open to the public but requires ticket purchased in advance.
The PRCHN is especially proud to be celebrating the MPH Program! Since 2012, we have provided internships, practicum, or capstone experiences to more than 55 MPH students! These students are an integral part of our team - we couldn't accomplish all that we do without their contributions! 
Welcome to the Team!
Say hello to the most recent  addition to the PRCHN 

Madeleine Pletske
Exploring the Mental Health Needs of the Adolescent Latinx Community
PRCHN Monthly Seminar Series 

Feb 12, 2020
Guns, school shooters, and school safety: What do we know, what should we do?  
Daniel J. Flannery PhD, Director, Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education, CWRU

Mar 3, 2020
The FARE Project.
Morgan Taggart, MUPPD, Director Healthy Food Access Initiatives and the PRCHN FARE Team

What Have PRCHN Faculty and Staff Been up To?

No Smoking Hiring Policies. Dr. Erika Trapl and Smoking Cessation Supports for African Americans.  Affiliated Faculty, Dr. Monica Webb Hooper, on The Sound of Ideas Jan. 27, 2020.

Commentary on Current Tobacco-Related Policies: Youth, E-Cigarettes and Flavored Nicotine Products. Dr. Erika Trapl, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. Jan. 23, 2020

Wrapping up another great year of our journey together!

The Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhood's mission is to foster partnerships within Cleveland's urban neighborhoods for developing, testing, and implementing strategies to prevent and reduce the burden of chronic disease.