Research

Study investigates the disproportionately high HIV infection rate among young black men who have sex with men

A Johns Hopkins Medicine news release, reports on a study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center suggesting that “family and cultural pressures to conform to prescribed masculine behaviors create social isolation and distress that may drive young gay black men to seek approval and acceptance through perilous sexual behaviors. … This dangerous ‘compensatory’ mechanism, the researchers say, may contribute to the disproportionately high HIV infection rate seen in this population.” Lead author on the research is Errol Fields, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. An article on the findings, titled “Pressure to Conform to Masculine Norms May Fuel HIV Risk Among Gay Black Men,” was published online in the American Journal of Public Health, May 15, 2014.

Meth Use Fuels Higher Rates of Unsafe Sex, HIV Risk in Young Men Who Have Sex With Men

A Johns Hopkins Medicine news release reports on a study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and elsewhere. The researchers found that “methamphetamine use can fuel HIV infection risk among teenage boys and young men who have sex with men (MSM), a group that includes openly gay and bisexual men as well as those who have sex with men but do not identify themselves as gay or bisexual.” An article on the study was published in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine (Aug. 1, 2011); lead author is Jonathan Ellen, a professor of pediatrics and adolescent medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Higher HIV Risk in Black Gay Men Linked to Partner Choice, Risk Perception

A Johns Hopkins Medicine news release reported on a study led by researchers at the Children’s Center that found a reason why “young black men who have sex with men (MSM) are infected with HIV nearly five times more often than MSM from other races, even though they don’t have more unprotected sex . … The study found that young black MSM—a group that includes openly gay and bisexual men, as well as those who have sex with men but do not identify themselves as gay or bisexual—select partners and judge these partners’ HIV status in a specific way. These men show a clear preference for masculine men, while also equating masculinity with lower HIV risk. This dynamic, the researchers say, can help explain why young black MSM contract HIV more often than their counterparts from other races.” Errol Fields was lead author on the research, which he conducted while a student at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The research was presented at the 2011 annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies.

Urban Black Youth Prefer to Communicate With Their Parents by Text Message

Parenting in the Digital Age: Urban Black Youth’s Perceptions About Technology-Based Communication With Parents“, published online December 18, 2015, in the Journal of Family Studies, is based on a study by Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers. Sarah Jensen Racz, a graduate student in the Department of Mental Health, was lead author. The abstract stated that “youth in the focus groups reported that they preferred to use text messaging with their parents, as it afforded them control over the frequency and type of communication. Youth shared concerns about excessive/intrusive parental use of technology and invasions of privacy, suggesting potential barriers to effective technology-based parent-youth communication. The findings from this qualitative study indicate that using text messages with youth and setting guidelines for technology-based communication may enhance parent-youth communication while also respecting youth’s increasing autonomy.”

Connecting Latino Immigrant Men to Services in a New City

Qualitative Assessment of HIV Prevention Challenges and Opportunities Among Latino Immigrant Men in a New Receiving City” was published in the Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health (February 2015). Lead author was Suzanne M. Dolwick Grieb, a research associate in the Department of Pediatrics–General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. The abstract states the four thematic categories that emerged from the study: “information about HIV, HIV fear and stigma, barriers to accessing healthcare, and opportunities for intervention approaches. Information and communication technology provides an opportunity to improve access to HIV testing and prevention services. Individualized interventions, though, must be disseminated in collaboration with community-, structural-, and policy-level interventions that address HIV risk, HIV/AIDS stigma, and healthcare access among Latino immigrants.”

Closing Achievement Gaps Between Groups of Students

A Hub story titled “Talents of Students From Entire Demographic Groups Have Not Been Developed, Research Suggests” describes the work of Jonathan Plucker, the inaugural Julian C. Stanley Professor of Talent Development at Johns Hopkins. He and co-author Scott Peters wrote Excellence Gaps in Education (Harvard Education Press, November 2016) explaining and seeking remedies for the significant achievement gaps that exist among subgroups of students performing at the highest levels of achievement. Plucker, who holds a joint appointment at the university’s Center for Talented Youth and School of Education, warns in the Hub story that “if the nation fails to close these significant gaps among our brightest students, the nation’s workforce and economic development will suffer—and that affects everyone.”

Paying for Transgender Health Care Is Cost-Effective

A Bloomberg School of Public Health study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine (April 2016) suggests that while most U.S. health insurance plans deny benefits to transgender men and women for medical care necessary to transition to the opposite sex, paying for sex reassignment surgery and hormones is actually cost-effective. The article is titled “Societal Implications of Health Insurance Coverage for Medically Necessary Services in the U.S. Transgender Population: A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis.” Lead author is William V. Padula, an assistant professor of health policy and management in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Understanding Stigma and Discrimination as Contributing to Health Disparities for Transgender People

“Managing Uncertainty: A Grounded Theory of Stigma in Transgender Health Care Encounters” was published in Social Science & Medicine in May 2013. Lead author is Tonia Poteat, an assistant professor of epidemiology in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. According to the abstract, the study suggests “that interpersonal stigma also functions to reinforce medical power and authority in the face of provider uncertainty. Within functional theories of stigma, it is important to acknowledge the role of power and to understand how stigmatizing attitudes function to maintain systems of inequality that contribute to health disparities.”

Moral Claims of Gender Equity in Business and Employment

Lindsay Thompson, an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, has published “Gender Equity and Corporate Social Responsibility in a Post-Feminist Era” in Business Ethics: A European Review (January 2008). In addition to the moral claims of gender equity in business and employment, “the paper … examines major corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives—such as Business for Social Responsibility, CSR Europe, the Global Compact and the Caux Roundtable —to identify the role and priority of gender equity within the broader agenda of CSR and compares their agendas with current gender equity initiatives in major corporations to find that corporations place a higher priority on gender equity as part of their business practice.”

Did the ‘Ferguson Effect’ Affect Crime or Policing in Baltimore?

A Hub story titled “Quantifying the ‘Ferguson Effect:’ How Missouri Protests Affected Crime, Policing in Baltimore” reports on a study by sociologist Stephen Morgan, a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor, which looks at the relationship between crime incident and arrest data to determine whether the “Ferguson effect” occurred in Baltimore. He found that “a Ferguson effect likely slowed arrests in Baltimore well before the April 2015 unrest related to the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, but there is little evidence to suggest it had any effect on the city’s crime rate.”

Nursing Researcher Links Oxidative Stress to Racial Discrimination

An article in the Johns Hopkins [*Gazette* (Oct. 17, 2011) reports on a study by Sarah Szanton, an associate professor of nursing in the Department of Community-Public Health, and NIH investigators, published in the International Journal of Behavior Medicine. Using data from the epidemiologic study Healthy Aging in Neighborhoods of Diversity across the Life Span, or HANDLS, conducted by the National Institute on Aging, the researchers “hypothesized that if oxidative stress is causally associated with a psychological stressor such as racial discrimination, then disparities in psychological stress might help explain some of these health disparities. To test their hypothesis, the authors looked, for the first time, at whether there was a link between reports of racial discrimination and red blood cell oxidative stress among 629 participants enrolled in HANDLS. Researchers measured oxidative stress by determining the level of degradation products in red blood cells and assessed racial discrimination by asking participants how much prejudice, or discrimination, they had experienced because of their race.”

Lester Spence Argues That African-Americans Have Bought Into the Wrong Politics

A story about Lester Spence and his newly published book, Knocking the Hustle: Against the Neoliberal Turn in Black Politics (Punctum, December 2015), appeared in Johns Hopkins Magazine (Winter 2015). The magazine story notes that “from the early 1970s to the present, American labor productivity has increased 80 percent while wages have stayed stagnant or declined. That we work more to earn as much as we once did—or even less—is a standard woe of the American economy in 2015.”

Commentary: Blame Biased Policies and Politics, Not Black Culture

In the wake of the unrest in Baltimore following Freddie Gray’s death, The New York Times (May 1, 2015) published an op-ed piece titled “Black Culture Is Not the Problem” by associate professor of political science Nathan Connolly. The Hub reports on the Times commentary and includes this excerpt from the op-ed. “By avoiding the language of individual failings and degenerate culture, political leaders, black and otherwise, can help us all see the daily violence of poverty. More, they can better use the power they have to do something about it. By calling a nationwide “state of emergency” on the problem of residential segregation, by devising a fairer tax structure, by investing in public space, community policing, tenants’ rights and a government jobs program, our leaders can find a way forward.”

Johns Hopkins Sociologists Take In-Depth Look at Disparate Paths of Baltimore Youth

The Hub interviews Stefanie DeLuca, an associate professor of sociology in the Krieger School and a co-author of Coming of Age in the Other America (Russell Sage Foundation, April 2016), who describes how “the core research [for the book] took place on sofas and at kitchen tables in Baltimore homes.” The other co-authors were Johns Hopkins sociologist and Bloomberg Distinguished Professor Kathryn Edin and Associate Professor Susan Clampet-Lundquist, of St. Joseph’s University. The Hub story explains how their book was influenced by the 2015 riots in Baltimore: “Last spring, as the sociologists pulled together more than a decade of research, Baltimore gained national attention with the death of Freddie Gray and the unrest that followed. Though not framed specifically in response to these events, Coming of Age in the Other America addresses the uprising as one piece of an overall narrative of Baltimore that fails to accurately represent the city’s youth.”

Karl Alexander’s Decades-long Study Shows the Long Shadow of a Poor Start

Johns Hopkins Magazine interviews Karl Alexander, a professor of sociology and a co-author of The Long Shadow: Family Background, Disadvantaged Urban Youth, and the Transition to Adulthood (Russell Sage Foundation, 2014). This long-range study, written with Doris Entwisle, a Hopkins sociology professor now deceased, and Linda Olson, an instructor in the School of Education, follows 790 children as they are growing up in a variety of Baltimore neighborhoods. “In their book … [the researchers] combine an explication of 25 years of data with powerful anecdotes—stories of murdered friends and siblings, absent fathers, mothers too addicted to drugs or alcohol to provide basic care, dreams deferred. The researchers show how, at each step on the path to adulthood, neighborhood and family and school conspire to pass down advantage and disadvantage from generation to generation.”

Kathryn Edin Reveals the Lives of People Who Live on $2 a Day

Johns Hopkins Magazine interviews Kathryn Edin, a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor, and Luke Shaefer, an associate professor at University of Michigan School of Public Policy, who started looking at data related to families living in extreme poverty while they were both at Harvard. The magazine reports: “The results were published in $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015). The volume includes enough history of welfare in the United States to explain how the country got to this point, plus some policy suggestions for going forward. But the heart of the book is the narrative material that vividly conveys what it means to find yourself so disconnected from the economic system.”

“Assessing Military Service as a Pathway to Early Socioeconomic Achievement for Disadvantaged Groups”

This study, written by Pamela Bennett and Katrina Bell McDonald, an associate professor of sociology, is a chapter in *Life Course Perspectives on Military Service* (Routledge, 2013). According to the abstract, “the analysis uses data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) to examine whether veteran and disability statuses are jointly associated with household-level poverty and material hardship among older adults. Compared to households that do not include a person with a disability or veteran, disabled non-veteran households are more likely to be in poverty and to experience home hardship, medical hardship, and bill-paying hardship. Disabled veteran households are not significantly different in terms of poverty, but exhibit the highest odds of home hardship, medical hardship, bill-paying hardship, and food insufficiency. The implications for social work practice are discussed.”

Immigrant Incorporation in East Asian Democracies (IIEAD) Project: Focus Group Interviews in South Korea [collection]

The Johns Hopkins University Data Archive (2015) gives a brief overview of this book by Erin Aeran Chung et al.: It “examines how national policies and immigrant advocacy groups shape collective identity formation, solidarity networks, and strategies for political empowerment among immigrants and their descendants in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. This project seeks to fill a critical gap between micro approaches to immigrant political incorporation that focus on individual-level variables and macro approaches that focus on formal citizenship and immigration policies.”

Racial Inequality Remains a ‘Defining Feature of American Life

The Hub summarizes a Foreign Affairs (February 2015) article titled “Racial Inequality After Racism: How Institutions Hold Back African Americans,” written by two professors of political science: Robert Lieberman at Hopkins, who was then also provost of the university, and Fredrick Harris, at Columbia who is also director of that university’s Center on African American Politics and Society. They cite several statistics in support of their argument that racial inequality is a “defining feature of American life”: “African-Americans are nearly three times as likely as non-Hispanic whites to be poor, almost six times as likely to be incarcerated, and only half as likely to graduate from college. The average wealth of white households in the U.S. is 13 times higher than that of black households.”

Teacher Expectations Reflect Racial Biases

The Hub reports on an article titled “Who believes in me? The effect of student–teacher demographic match on teacher expectations,” in the June 2016 issue of Economics of Education Review. Nicholas Papageorge, an assistant professor in the Department of Economics of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and an author of the article, talks to the Hub about the study. The research “suggests that the more modest expectations of some teachers could become self-fulfilling prophecies,” he says. “These low expectations could affect the performance of students, particularly disadvantaged ones who lack access to role models who could counteract a teacher’s low expectations.”

HIV Risk, Health, and Social Characteristics of Sexual Minority Female Injection Drug Users in Baltimore

In a study published in AIDS and Behavior (July 2015), two faculty members in the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Department of Health, Behavior and Society—Danielle German, an assistant professor, and Carl Latkin, a professor—look at female IDUs who are gay/lesbian/bisexual. The abstract describes the findings: “Within a sample of current IDUs in Baltimore, about 17% of female study participants (n = 307) identified as gay/lesbian/bisexual. In controlled models, sexual minorities were three times as likely to report sex exchange behavior and four times as likely to report a recent STI. Injection risk did not differ significantly, but sexual minority women reported higher prevalence of socio-economic instability, negative health indicators, and fewer network financial, material, and health support resources. There is a need to identify and address socio-economic marginalization, social support, and health issues among female IDUs who identify as lesbian or bisexual.”