My research is focused on understanding how place affects health.
To understand why this is both interesting and important you need to know:
(1) Place affects health. Where individuals live, work, go to school shapes their individual health.
(2) Social determinants of health (e.g. income, employment) affect chronic disease behaviors. These include the ability to exercise, access nutritious food, receive mental health care.
(3) Social determinants of health affect chronic disease outcomes (e.g. cardiovascular disease, cancer, or obesity).
(4) Socially marginalized populations including individuals of low socioeconomic status and racially marginalized communities have the highest risk for many chronic disease behaviors and outcomes. This disproportionate risk is largely due to the contextual health influences of the physical and social environment.
Methodologically, I am currently working to develop a specific epidemiologic framework for utilizing electronic health records, survey, and geographic data with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and spatial methods to reduce health disparities among socially marginalized populations. Merging clinical data with data on social determinants of health in a spatial epidemiology framework effectively allows us to ask and answer questions about how place affects health.
Honors & Awards
New Extramural Health Disparities Research, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. NIH Loan Repayment Program. Award Period: 2 Years. (2020-2022)
Young Investigator Educational Grant, ACTRIMS-ECTRIMS (2020)
Big Data Scientist Training Enhancement (BD-STEP) Program Fellowship, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (2019-2022)
Charles E. Irwin New Investigator Award, Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine (2019)
Administrative Supplement to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (1P50CA189190), National Cancer Institute (2016-2018)
Public Health Alumni Association Scholarship, University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health (2016, 2018)
Tobacco Regulation and Addiction Center Fellowship, American Heart Association (2014-2015)
Best Applied Research Presentation, Delta Omega Research Competition, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (2013)
Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations
Committee Member, National Cancer Institute CSBC/PS-ON/BD-STEP Junior Investigator Meeting (2020 - Present)
Committee Member, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, Society for Epidemiologic Research (2020 - Present)
Doctor of Philosophy, University of California Berkeley (2018)
Master of Health and Science, Johns Hopkins University (2015)
Bachelor of Science, Santa Clara University (2012)
Screen time for children and adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)
The coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to laws and policies including national school closures, lockdown or shelter in place laws, and social distancing recommendations that may translate to higher overall screen time among children and adolescents for the duration of these laws and policies. These policies may need to be periodically re-instated to control future COVID-19 recurrences or other national emergencies. Excessive screen time is associated with cardiovascular disease risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure, and insulin resistance because it increases sedentary time and is associated with snacking.
View details for DOI 10.1002/oby.22917
View details for PubMedID 32463530
Disentangling individual, school, and neighborhood effects on screen time among adolescents and young adults in the United States.
To examine the association between individual, neighborhood, and school-level influences on individual screen time among adolescents and young adults (AYAs) in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health.We classified screen time continuously as self-reported total hours per week of television, videos, and video/computer games at baseline and categorical as extended screen time (≥14 h per week). We fit cross-classified multilevel models (CCMM) and examined the individual-, school- and neighborhood-level demographic and socioeconomic factors associated with screen time. Models were fit using MLwiN with Bayesian estimation procedures.AYAs reported an average of 22.8 (SD = 19.4) and 21.9 (SD = 20.3) hours of screen time, respectively. At the individual level, younger age, male sex, Black/multiracial race, receipt of public assistance, and lower parental education were associated with higher screen time. At the school level, being out of session (i.e., school and national holidays including summer), having a higher proportion of non-White students, and having a lower proportion of parents with a college education were associated with higher individual screen time.We found that individual-level factors most influence youth screen time, with smaller contributions from school factors.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ypmed.2020.106357
View details for PubMedID 33301823
Mental Disorder Prevalence Among Populations Impacted by Coronavirus Pandemics: A Multilevel Meta-Analytic Study of COVID-19, MERS & SARS
View details for DOI 10.1101/2020.12.18.20248499
Association of Alternative Tobacco Product Initiation With Ownership of Tobacco Promotional Materials Among Adolescents and Young Adults.
JAMA network open
2019; 2 (5): e194006
Importance: Use of alternative tobacco products (ATPs) such as electronic cigarettes, chewing tobacco, pipes, cigars, cigarillos, little cigars, and hookah is rapidly increasing. Although marketing restrictions exist for cigarettes, marketing of ATPs is not yet fully regulated, and studies have not assessed the association between ownership of ATP promotional materials and subsequent ATP or cigarette initiation among adolescents and young adults.Objective: To estimate the association between marketing receptivity measured at baseline and ATP and any tobacco initiation 1 year later, including cigarettes, among adolescents and young adults.Design, Setting, and Participants: Longitudinal cohort study of adolescents and young adults aged 13 to 19 years recruited at high schools in California from July 2014 to October 2015, with follow-up 1 year later. Data were analyzed from January to March 2018.Exposures: Ownership of ATP-specific promotional material and ownership of any tobacco promotional materials (eg, samples, coupons, branded caps, t-shirts, or posters) assessed in wave 1.Main Outcomes and Measures: Outcomes were (1) ATP initiation and (2) either ATP or cigarette initiation in wave 2.Results: Of 757 participants (mean [SD] age at wave 1, 16.1 [1.1] years; 481 [63.5%] female; 166 [21.9%] Asian or Pacific Islander, 202 [26.7%] white, and 276 [36.4%] Latino), 129 (17.0%) initiated ATP use and 141 (18.6%) initiated ATP or cigarette use 1 year later. In unadjusted models, wave 2 ATP initiation was found to be significantly associated with wave 1 ownership of ATP promotional materials (odds ratio, 2.23; 95% CI, 1.26-3.97). After adjustment for wave 1 demographic covariates, the association between ownership of ATP promotional material and ATP initiation 1 year later yielded similar results (odds ratio, 2.13; 95% CI, 1.16-3.91). Results of models assessing a combined outcome variable of either ATP or cigarette ever use were not statistically significant.Conclusions and Relevance: Ownership of ATP promotional materials was associated with subsequent initiation of ATPs. The results of this study are consistent with the suggestion that current marketing restrictions for cigarettes, including restrictions of the distribution of samples, coupons, and other promotional material, should extend to ATPs.
View details for DOI 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.4006
View details for PubMedID 31099874
Tobacco Retail Density and Initiation of Alternative Tobacco Product Use Among Teens.
The Journal of adolescent health : official publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine
The rise of noncigarette, alternative tobacco product (ATP) use among adolescents may be due in part to an increase in retail availability of ATPs. We examined whether proximity and density of tobacco retailers near students' homes are associated with a higher likelihood of initiating ATP use over time.Using data from 728 adolescents (aged 13-19 years at baseline) residing in 191 different neighborhoods and attending 10 different California high schools, longitudinal multilevel and cross-classified random effect models evaluated individual-level, neighborhood-level, and school-level risk factors for ATP initiation after 1 year. Covariates were obtained from the American Community Survey and the California Department of Education.The sample was predominantly female (63.5%) and was racially and ethnically diverse. Approximately one third of participants (32.5%) reported ever ATP use at baseline, with 106 (14.5%) initiating ATP use within 1 year. The mean number of tobacco retailers per square mile within a tract was 5.66 (standard deviation = 6.3), and the average distance from each participant's residence to the nearest tobacco retailer was .61 miles (standard deviation = .4). Living in neighborhoods with greater tobacco retailer density at baseline was associated with higher odds of ATP initiation (odds ratio = 1.22, 95% confidence interval = 1.07-2.12), controlling for individual and school factors.Tobacco retailers clustered in students' home neighborhood may be an environmental influence on adolescents' ATP use. Policy efforts to reduce adolescent ATP use should aim to reduce the density of tobacco retailers and limit the proximity of tobacco retailers near adolescents' homes and schools.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2019.09.004
View details for PubMedID 31784411
Protecting Youth From the Risks of Electronic Cigarettes.
The Journal of adolescent health : official publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine
The rapid increase in e-cigarette use among adolescents and young adults has led to drastic changes in patterns of nicotine consumption worldwide. The use of e-cigarettes, many of which contain high levels of nicotine, is especially harmful in this age group and is associated with increased use of cigarettes and other substances among youth. While the risks of short- and long-term e-cigarette use and secondhand aerosol exposure remain only partially understood, e-cigarettes should not be recommended for smoking cessation for youth in any circumstances given the lack of evidence for effectiveness and potential harmful physical and mental health effects. The perceptions of low e-cigarette risk of adolescents and young adults combined with few market regulations and the appeal of youth-friendly flavors, have created ideal conditions for the e-cigarette industry to thrive and place millions of youth at risk of developing an addiction to nicotine. Policies and regulations aiming to prevent youth-directed marketing and sales of e-cigarette and all nicotine delivery products are needed to protect young people. Public health-led education campaigns and educational curricula are also needed to help inform youth and families about the risks of e-cigarette use. While more research is required to determine the best ways to help youth quit e-cigarette use, adolescent health providers can play a key role in screening and counseling youth about e-cigarette use and should be adequately trained and supported to care for youth with e-cigarette addiction.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2019.10.007
View details for PubMedID 31780385
Biomarkers of Secondhand Smoke Exposure in Waterpipe Tobacco Venue Employees in Istanbul, Moscow, and Cairo.
Nicotine & tobacco research : official journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco
2018; 20 (4): 482–91
Most smoke-free legislation to reduce secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure exempts waterpipe (hookah) smoking venues. Few studies have examined SHS exposure in waterpipe venues and their employees.We surveyed 276 employees of 46 waterpipe tobacco venues in Istanbul, Moscow, and Cairo. We interviewed venue managers and employees and collected biological samples from employees to measure exhaled carbon monoxide (CO), hair nicotine, saliva cotinine, urine cotinine, urine 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanol (NNAL), and urine 1-hydroxypyrene glucuronide (1-OHPG). We estimated adjusted geometric mean ratios (GMR) of each SHS biomarker by employee characteristics and indoor air SHS measures.There were 73 nonsmoking employees and 203 current smokers of cigarettes or waterpipe. In nonsmokers, the median (interquartile) range concentrations of SHS biomarkers were 1.1 (0.2, 40.9) µg/g creatinine urine cotinine, 5.5 (2, 15) ng/mL saliva cotinine, 0.95 (0.36, 5.02) ng/mg hair nicotine, 1.48 (0.98, 3.97) pg/mg creatinine urine NNAL, 0.54 (0.25, 0.97) pmol/mg creatinine urine 1-OHPG, and 1.67 (1.33, 2.33) ppm exhaled CO. An 8-hour increase in work hours was associated with higher urine cotinine (GMR: 1.68, 95% CI: 1.20, 2.37) and hair nicotine (GMR: 1.22, 95% CI: 1.05, 1.43). Lighting waterpipes was associated with higher saliva cotinine (GMR: 2.83, 95% CI: 1.05, 7.62).Nonsmoking employees of waterpipe tobacco venues were exposed to high levels of SHS, including measurable levels of carcinogenic biomarkers (tobacco-specific nitrosamines and PAHs).Smoke-free regulation should be extended to waterpipe venues to protect nonsmoking employees and patrons from the adverse health effects of SHS.
View details for DOI 10.1093/ntr/ntx125
View details for PubMedID 28582531
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6350617
Secondhand Tobacco Smoke Exposure Associations With DNA Methylation of the Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Repressor
NICOTINE & TOBACCO RESEARCH
2017; 19 (4): 442–51
Cigarette smoking is inversely associated with DNA methylation of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor repressor (AHRR; cg05575921). However, the association between secondhand tobacco smoke (SHS) exposure and AHRR methylation is unknown.DNA methylation of AHRR cg05575921 in CD14+ monocyte samples, from 495 never-smokers and 411 former smokers (having quit smoking ≥15 years) from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), was cross-sectionally compared with concomitantly ascertained self-reported SHS exposure, urine cotinine concentrations, and estimates of air pollutants at participants' homes. Linear regression was used to test for associations, and covariates included age, sex, race, education, study site, and previous smoking exposure (smoking status, time since quitting, and pack-years).Recent indoor SHS exposure (hours per week) was inversely associated with cg05575921 methylation (β ± SE = -0.009 ± 0.003, p = .007). The inverse effect direction was consistent (but did not reach significance) in the majority of stratified analyses (by smoking status, sex, and race). Categorical analysis revealed high levels of recent SHS exposure (≥10 hours per week) inversely associated with cg05575921 methylation (β ± SE = -0.28 ± 0.09, p = .003), which remained significant (p < .05) in the majority of stratified analyses. cg05575921 methylation did not significantly (p < .05) associate with low to moderate levels of recent SHS exposure (1-9 hours per week), urine cotinine concentrations, years spent living with people smoking, years spent indoors (not at home) with people smoking, or estimated levels of air pollutants.High levels of recent indoor SHS exposure may be inversely associated with DNA methylation of AHRR in human monocytes.DNA methylation is a biochemical alteration that can occur in response to cigarette smoking; however, little is known about the effect of SHS on human DNA methylation. In the present study, we evaluated the association between SHS exposure and DNA methylation in human monocytes, at a site (AHRR cg05575921) known to have methylation inversely associated with current and former cigarette smoking compared to never smoking. Results from this study suggest high levels of recent SHS exposure inversely associate with DNA methylation of AHRR cg05575921 in monocytes from nonsmokers, albeit with weaker effects than active cigarette smoking.
View details for DOI 10.1093/ntr/ntw219
View details for Web of Science ID 000402066600008
View details for PubMedID 27613907
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6075517
The relationship between smoking intensity and subclinical cardiovascular injury: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA)
2017; 258: 119–30
Modern tobacco regulatory science requires an understanding of which biomarkers of cardiovascular injury are most sensitive to cigarette smoking exposure.We studied self-reported current smokers from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Smoking intensity was defined by number of cigarettes/day and urinary cotinine levels. Subclinical cardiovascular injury was assessed using markers of inflammation [high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), interleukin 6 & 2 (IL-2 & IL-6), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α)], thrombosis (fibrinogen, D-dimer, homocysteine), myocardial injury (troponin T; TnT), endothelial damage (albumin: creatinine ratio), and vascular function [aortic & carotid distensibility, flow-mediated dilation (FMD)]. Biomarkers were modeled as absolute and percent change using multivariable-adjusted linear regression models adjusted for cardiovascular risk factors and smoking duration.Among 843 current smokers, mean age was 58 (9) years, 53% were men, 39% were African American, mean number of cigarettes per day was 13 (10), and median smoking duration was 39 (15) years. Cigarette count was significantly associated with higher hsCRP, IL-6 and fibrinogen (β coefficients: 0.013, 0.011, 0.60 respectively), while ln-transformed cotinine was associated with the same biomarkers (β coefficients: 0.12, 0.04, 5.3 respectively) and inversely associated with aortic distensibility (β coefficient: -0.13). There was a limited association between smoking intensity and homocysteine, D-dimer, and albumin:creatinine ratio in partially adjusted models only, while there was no association with IL-2, TNF-α, carotid distensibility, FMD, or TnT in any model. In percent change analyses, relationships were strongest with hsCRP.Smoking intensity was associated with early biomarkers of CVD, particularly, markers of systemic inflammation. Of these, hsCRP may be the most sensitive.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2017.01.021
View details for Web of Science ID 000397406500016
View details for PubMedID 28237909
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5404388
Compliance with smoke-free legislation within public buildings: a cross-sectional study in Turkey
BULLETIN OF THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION
2016; 94 (2): 92–102
To investigate public compliance with legislation to prohibit smoking within public buildings and the extent of tobacco smoking in outdoor areas in Turkey.Using a standardized observation protocol, we determined whether smoking occurred and whether ashtrays, cigarette butts and/or no-smoking signs were present in a random selection of 884 public venues in 12 cities in Turkey. We visited indoor and outdoor locations in bars/nightclubs, cafes, government buildings, hospitals, restaurants, schools, shopping malls, traditional coffee houses and universities. We used logistic regression models to determine the association between the presence of ashtrays or the absence of no-smoking signs and the presence of individuals smoking or cigarette butts.Most venues had no-smoking signs (629/884). We observed at least one person smoking in 145 venues, most frequently observed in bars/nightclubs (63/79), hospital dining areas (18/79), traditional coffee houses (27/120) and government-building dining areas (5/23). For 538 venues, we observed outdoor smoking close to public buildings. The presence of ashtrays was positively associated with indoor smoking and cigarette butts, adjusted odds ratio, aOR: 315.9; 95% confidence interval, CI: 174.9-570.8 and aOR: 165.4; 95% CI: 98.0-279.1, respectively. No-smoking signs were negatively associated with the presence of cigarette butts, aOR: 0.5; 95% CI: 0.3-0.8.Additional efforts are needed to improve the implementation of legislation prohibiting smoking in indoor public areas in Turkey, especially in areas in which we frequently observed people smoking. Possible interventions include removing all ashtrays from public places and increasing the number of no-smoking signs.
View details for DOI 10.2471/BLT.15.158238
View details for Web of Science ID 000372674200006
View details for PubMedID 26908959
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4750436
Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Subclinical Cardiovascular Disease: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis.
Journal of the American Heart Association
2016; 5 (12)
Few studies have evaluated the association between secondhand smoke (SHS) and subclinical cardiovascular disease among ethnically diverse populations. This study assesses the impact of SHS on inflammation and atherosclerosis (carotid intima-media thickness, coronary artery calcification, and peripheral arterial disease).We examined 5032 nonsmoking adults aged 45 to 84 years without prior cardiovascular disease participating in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) from 2000 to 2002. SHS exposure was determined by self-report, and urinary cotinine was measured in a representative subset (n=2893). The multi-adjusted geometric mean ratios (95% CIs) for high-sensitivity C-reactive protein and interleukin-6 comparing 407 participants with SHS ≥12 h/wk versus 3035 unexposed participants were 1.13 (1.02-1.26) and 1.04 (0.98-1.11), respectively. The multi-adjusted geometric mean ratio for carotid intima-media thickness was 1.02 (0.97-1.07). Fibrinogen and coronary artery calcification were not associated with SHS. The prevalence of peripheral arterial disease (ankle-brachial index ≤0.9 or ≥1.4) was associated with detectable urinary cotinine (odds ratio, 2.10; 95% CI, 1.09-4.04) but not with self-reported SHS. Urinary cotinine was not associated with inflammation or carotid intima-media thickness.Despite limited exposure assessment, this study supports the association of SHS exposure with inflammation and peripheral arterial disease.
View details for DOI 10.1161/JAHA.115.002965
View details for PubMedID 27993830
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5210438
Secondhand smoke in waterpipe tobacco venues in Istanbul, Moscow, and Cairo.
2015; 142: 568–74
The prevalence of waterpipe tobacco smoking has risen in recent decades. Controlled studies suggest that waterpipe secondhand smoke (SHS) contains similar or greater quantities of toxicants than cigarette SHS, which causes significant morbidity and mortality. Few studies have examined SHS from waterpipe tobacco in real-world settings. The purpose of this study was to quantify SHS exposure levels and describe the characteristics of waterpipe tobacco venues.In 2012-2014, we conducted cross-sectional surveys of 46 waterpipe tobacco venues (9 in Istanbul, 17 in Moscow, and 20 in Cairo). We administered venue questionnaires, conducted venue observations, and sampled indoor air particulate matter (PM2.5) (N=35), carbon monoxide (CO) (N=23), particle-bound polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (p-PAHs) (N=31), 4-methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK) (N=43), and air nicotine (N=46).Venue characteristics and SHS concentrations were highly variable within and between cities. Overall, we observed a mean (standard deviation (SD)) of 5 (5) waterpipe smokers and 5 (3) cigarette smokers per venue. The overall median (25th percentile, 75th percentile) of venue mean air concentrations was 136 (82, 213) µg/m(3) for PM2.5, 3.9 (1.7, 22) ppm for CO, 68 (33, 121) ng/m(3) for p-PAHs, 1.0 (0.5, 1.9) ng/m(3) for NNK, and 5.3 (0.7, 14) µg/m(3) for nicotine. PM2.5, CO, and p-PAHs concentrations were generally higher in venues with more waterpipe smokers and cigarette smokers, although associations were not statistically significant.High concentrations of SHS constituents known to cause health effects indicate that indoor air quality in waterpipe tobacco venues may adversely affect the health of employees and customers.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.envres.2015.08.012
View details for PubMedID 26298558
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4609287