Protecting The Legacy

Our Projects

Current Research Projects 

Hospital to Community (H2C)

The Hospital to Community (H2C) Project aims to improve coordination between chronically ill Veterans, their home communities, and their VA primary care providers following a hospital discharge.  It will enhance follow-up care after a hospital discharge by linking VA hospital and primary care teams to community organizations guided by Community- based participatory research principals. The project will collaborate with Veterans, community organizations and VA programs to develop a new approach to care for discharged Veterans.  We will then evaluate the effectiveness of this approach among 700 Veterans over a two year period, with half receiving the new approach, while the other half receive usual care.

Mental Well-Being and Sexual Health among African American Women Over 50

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) redefining of sexual health to include mental health and emotional well-being, has evolved our understanding of sexual health. While many older adults report greater sexual health wellbeing than they did when they were younger, sexuality can also become a concern as people age. In addition, there is an increase in the rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among older adults, particularly African American women. For example, African Americans represent over 50% of the population with HIV, despite representing only 14% of the US population. This project will use dialogue sessions with African American women over 50 to determine the emotional, social, and cultural aspects of aging sexuality in African American women so that culturally appropriate interventions can be developed to reduce the rates of sexually transmitted infections in this population.

Autism Intervention Research Network on Behavioral Health (AIR-B)

AIR-B is a network of researchers seeking to advance evidence-based behavioral treatments for children with autism spectrum disorders, particularly those in underserved and minority communities. The network is composed of nine sites across the country: UCLA Center for Autism Research and Treatment (CART), University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), University of Pennsylvania -Center of Mental Health Policy and Services Research (CMHSR), University of California, Davis (UC Davis)- Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorder (MIND Institute), A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, Florida State University, Kennedy Krieger Institute, New York-Presbyterian Center for Autism and the Development Brain (CADB), and the University of Washington (UW). The network is conducting a number of studies to assess the efficacy and sustainability of community-based treatments and is working with members of the community to ensure that these treatments are addressing the challenges that children with autism spectrum disorders face in day-to-day life. In these efforts, we hope to make substantial advancements in the field, to empower educators, professionals, and parents with the tools they need, and most importantly to make a difference in the lives of children with ASD.


This study aims to address the critical need to increase access to care for under-resourced children with ASD and their families. We have conducted several focus groups and interviews with parents of low-income, minority children with ASD across different sites (UCLA, UC Davis, U Penn, and U Rochester) in order to better understand challenges, barriers, and needs in the community. These data will be incorporated into an intervention to help families initiate services, increase engagement and advocate for their child. Using a Community Partnered Participatory Research (CPPR) model, we have built partnerships with service providers and agencies in the community. We have worked together to tailor services that address family needs, such as ASD education, linking families with resources, and cultural adaptations. We expect the Mind the Gap intervention to be a sustainable community-based intervention that increases caregiver engagement and uptake of intervention services for low-resource racial and ethnic minority families. 



Mind the Gap: Increasing Access to Care through Parent Engagement

Building Better Bridges

This study has been designed to identify the barriers to successful transitions between educational systems for children with ASD. Focus groups and interviews have been conducted with parents of children with ASD across different sites (UCLA, UC Davis, U Penn, and U Rochester) as means to identify transition barriers that will inform an intervention to improve transition outcomes for children with ASD and their families.


CPPRN will be a new Patient-Powered Research Network (PPRN) in Los Angeles County and New Orleans focusing on behavioral health services in collaboration with under-resourced communities. This proposed network is driven by equal partnerships between patients, community members, and researchers to develop a behavioral health data infrastructure for conducting research based on the priorities of communities, patients, and caregivers. We use Community-Partnered Participatory Research (CPPR) to engage patients and community stakeholders in co-leading research relevant to communities, while addressing distrust in research. Our research shows that CPPR can lead to improved outcomes such as mental health quality of life, lowered homelessness, and reduced hospitalizations. 


Community Partnered Participatory Research Network Centers of Excellence (CPPRN

The Resiliency Project is a community-patient partnered intervention tailored to meet the mental health needs of LGBTQ persons. We will work with a diverse group of LGBTQ-focused or trusted agencies (clinics, churches, social services and support, advocacy groups, etc.) to engage and address the needs of LGBTQ clients.



Resilience Against Depression Disparities (RADD)

Pathways to Reducing Disparities in Depression Outcomes

Building on Community Partners in Care (CPIC), this study proposes to support partnered analysis working groups to collaborate on publications.  It also will support LA County’s development and implementation of the Health Neighborhood Initiative.



Stroke Prevention/Intervention Research Program (SPIRP)

The Los Angeles Stroke Prevention/ Intervention Research Program in Health Disparities (SPIRP)” is a multi-partnered, highly collaborative research and education center that spans the Los Angeles basin and aims to generate new knowledge about how to end disparities in stroke occurrence.


The partnership between Charles Drew University (CDU) and UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center seeks to “Eliminate Cancer Health Disparities in Minority and Underserved Populations”. This objective will continue to strengthen the CDU cancer research and training infrastructure by enhancing the participation of minority students, fellows, and faculty engaged in Cancer Research, Training, and Cancer Outreach.


CDU-UCLA Cancer Center Partnership to Eliminate Cancer Health Disparities

The major goals of this project are to support: 1) an evaluation of the LA County Health Neighborhood Initiative; 2) innovations in Communication and Information Technology; 3) infrastructure and leadership for community engagement and research development; 4) mental health leadership; 5) collaboration with UC Davis around these issues; and 6) coordination with policy leaders statewide and nationally to communicate Center work and gather input.


California State Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health

Healthy Community Neighborhood Initiative

The HCNI uses Community Partnered Participatory Research (CPPR) to achieve the following three aims: 1) understand clinical and social factors that might be intervened upon to influence health outcomes in this South LA community; 2) examine patterns of chronic condition disease prevalence and the relationship between clinical and social outcomes; and 3) engage community residents, agency representatives, and other stakeholders in collaborative data analysis, interpretation, and dissemination in order to set priorities for future intervention development.


Co-PI with Aziza Lucas-Wright. The aims of this study are to assess the awareness and perceptions toward cancer among people of 18 years of age or older, are male or female, of any race and ethnicity, can speak English, and are willing to complete the survey instrument.  The study involves a one-time paper-based survey that will take approximately 30 minutes to complete. 

Present Your Body – Cancer Awareness Within the Faith Community

Completed Research Projects 

A large community-based participatory research network in perinatal medicine, the CCHN was developed to examine how community-, family-, and individual- level stressors may influence and interact with biological factors to affect maternal and child health. CCHN examined how these factors might result in health disparities in pregnancy outcomes and in infant/early childhood mortality and morbidity. It is anticipated that the discoveries from CCHN research will provide evidence-based methods for interventions to reduce disparities in perinatal health. Five centers were funded by the NICHD in this community-linked research collaboration network for maternal and child health research. The research blended social, behavioral, and biomedical approaches into a coherent community-linked study. 


Community Child Health Network (CCHN)

The NCS was a planned large-scale, long-term study of U.S. children and their parents designed to study environmental influences on child health and development. It was authorized by the Children’s Health Act of 2000.  The NCS Vanguard (Pilot) Study began in 2009, testing methods and procedures planned for use in a larger Main Study. When recruitment ended in July 2013, the Vanguard Study had enrolled approximately 5,000 children in 40 locations across the country. The planned NCS Main Study would have followed 100,000 children from before birth to age 21. However, the NIH Director, Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., decided to close the NCS on December 12, 2014, following the advice of an expert review group. To see this statement please click on this link: https://www.nih.gov/about-nih/who-we-are/nih-director/statements/statement-national-childrens-study. Please refer to the National Children’s Study Archive: Study Description and Guide (PDF - 1.4 MB) for a more detailed summary of the scientific basis and operations of the NCS Vanguard Study.


The National Children’s Study (NCS)

Community Partners in Care (CPIC) was a collaborative research project of community and academic partners working together to learn the best way to reduce the burden that depression places on our communities and other vulnerable populations. We worked in the communities of South Los Angeles (SPA 6) and Hollywood-Metro LA (SPA 4). CPIC was developed out of five years of collaborative work on how to address depression in our communities, on many years of prior research on how to improve depression care in primary care settings, and on extensive efforts to address health disparities through community-partnered initiatives. CPIC asked the question of whether agencies and communities working together through a community engagement process is a better way of improving depression services and client outcomes than agencies working alone. CPIC, along with Witness4Wellness (see below) won the 2014 Association for Clinical and Translational Science (ACTS) Team Science Award.


Community Partners in Care (CPIC)

Witness For Wellness

Witness for Wellness was a large descriptive initiative to engage the South Los Angeles community in addressing depression using Community-Partnered Participatory Research (CPPR).   CPPR uses principles of respect, two‐way knowledge exchange, and community engagement to build trust while involving a multi- disciplinary team (scientists, policy makers, patients, community members) in all stages of research. Rigorous science principles are followed and scientists are viewed as part of the community and expected to use their expertise to help guide the initiative while attending to the knowledge and perspectives of community members to assure cultural relevance, validity, and sustainability. Witness for Wellness had teams addressing stigma, services quality, and support for policy change. Each team developed programs and research to guide their work and inform next steps. The overall approach was documented in two commentaries in JAMA, an article in the American Journal of Public Health, and a manual that was published as a special journal issue of Ethnicity & Disease. Witness4Wellness was the precursor to CPIC.

This pilot project conducted a randomized, single blind trial of a psychosocial intervention called a “Resiliency Class” (RC), to provide depression education and health promotion to individuals with depressive symptoms, by training non-professionals to offer this class to clients receiving services within diverse community settings (e.g. health care clinic, church, community advocacy organization, social services agency).  This class was not designed to be therapy, but rather a class that was informed on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) principles used to address depressive symptoms, on how to improve mood, and to enhance resiliency in the face of stress.


Building Resiliency and Increasing Community Hope (B-RICH)

A Feasibility Pilot Study with Dr. Aurora Jackson (UCLA) Guided by social cognitive theory and a relationship-oriented ecological framework, the proposed study will:  1) recruit 20 to 30 low-income single black mothers with a 3- or 4-year-old (focal) child who are involved with Healthy African American Families (HAFF), a nonprofit, community-serving agency in South Los Angeles; 2) develop a 3-month psychoeducation group intervention with half of the mothers and the nonresident fathers of their focal 3-/4-year-old children to facilitate more emotionally supportive and cognitively stimulating parenting; 3)  examine longitudinally the impact of this intervention on improvement in the children’s cognitive and behavioral development (preschool readiness skills and behavior problems) and the mothers’ scores on instruments measuring depressive symptoms, parent stress, self-efficacy, and parenting practices in the home environment; 4) elicit information from the mothers and nonresident fathers about their feelings about the group intervention at the end of each weekly meeting and their ideas about whether and how it might be improved to better meet their needs and the needs of others like them; 5) finalize a psychoeducation intervention manual for future use.

Co-Parenting Between Single Mothers and Nonresident Fathers In South Los Angeles

This study explored cultural perceptions of parenting and early parenting interventions among participants and non-participants of local parenting programs. Focus groups were conducted in three groups of parents: African Americans, Latinos, and Koreans. Parents from each of the three race categories were divided into at least four focus groups with the following characteristics: 1) Mothers in a parenting program, 2) Mothers not in a parenting program, 3) Fathers in a parenting program, and 4) Fathers not in a parenting program. The data generated from the focus groups was used to design a culturally appropriate perinatal parenting intervention to improve school readiness.

Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Parenting Education as a Prenatal School Readiness Intervention with Dr. Ashaunta Tumblin (Clinical Scholar)

The purpose of this successful project was to explore the practicality of forging partnerships between barbershops and pharmacists to help African American men control their hypertension. 

 Barber-Pharmacist Coordination to Improve Blood Pressure Management in Black Men” with Dr. Ronald Victor (Cedars-Sinai Medical Center)

Healthy Communities Neighborhood Initiative (HCNI)

Formerly the 70-Square Block Project, the Healthy Communities Neighborhood Initiative was the nexus of the Neighborhoods@Work Initiative, a 5-year concerted effort by the Los Angeles Urban League to address issues related to Education, Employment, Health, Housing, and Safety in the 70-block area of Park Mesa Heights.


Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP)

The purpose of the project was to help African Americans smokers with a history of substance abuse to quit smoking cigarettes.  An additional goal was to document the methods, processes, and outcomes of the project, through rigorous science within a community-based participatory research framework. The goal for this project was to learn from members of this community, persons in substance abuse treatment and recovery programs, and from health professionals serving this population, what are considered the critically important barriers to tobacco use cessation, what evidence-based strategies are likely to be effective if adopted, and how intervention can best be tailored, implemented and delivered.

On behalf of the Los Angeles Community Health Improvement Collaborative (CHIC), Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Healthy African American Families, To Help Everyone Clinic, Inc., UCLA, RAND, and the Department of Health Services partnered to develop an intervention research project(s) to improve diabetes related outcomes using community-based participatory research (CBPR) principles and methods.

Diabetes Working Group

The overall goal of the project was to promote men’s involvement in their health as well as social issues in Los Angeles County, particularly in communities of color.  We believe that if men take an active role in their own lives, they can play a major role in promoting maternal and child health.  We believe that strengthening male involvement in communities of color can help address the persisting racial-ethnic disparities. This workgroup had approximately 40 African American and Latino male members, ranging in age from 18 to 65.

The Men’s Group

The RCLA was a community partnered, planning process to develop a plan for a Restoration Center or set of Centers to improve the health, mental health, and wellness of persons of African descent in South Los Angeles and surrounding communities. 

Restoration Center Los Angeles: Steps to Wholeness – Mind, Body, and Spirit (RCLA)

Preterm Planning Project

In the U.S., African American women consistently have twice the risk of having an undesirable pregnancy outcome, such as preterm birth or low birth weight, compared to other American women.  Clinical medical interventions have not reduced these risks. This lack of progress in improving outcomes among African American women leads to the need for new, innovative applied public health prevention and health promotion, particularly at local levels.  Since 1992, Healthy African American Families, in partnership with Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have used an applied prevention framework within a community participatory process to improve understanding of African American women’s health during pregnancy.  As a direct result of this understanding, our goal has then been to develop culturally and community appropriate health promotion and risk reduction activities and products within the participating community. Community participation was central and critical to this process.


This purpose of this project was to educate apartment owners and landlords about environmental factors that could affect tenants’ health.

Breathe Free Lead Program

African American and Latino children are more likely to have asthma related urgent care visits, and higher rates of asthma than children from other ethnic groups (Inkelas et al., 2008; Smith et al. 2005).  To address this issue, HAAF developed the “Breathe Free” Asthma Project in partnership with the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America’s Southern California Chapter, providing in-home services to families of asthmatic children. Services included environmental assessments for allergen triggers, referrals for additional services. Child care center trainings, distribution of allergen-safe materials, medical provider advocacy and follow-up, micro case management, public health awareness by way of media message development, and community-based trainings and education.


Breathe-Free Asthma Program