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Collaborative Public Health Research and Practice: A Less Complicated Solution to Mitigating Environmentally Driven Health Disparities ★✚

Friday, Feb 18, 2022 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

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Collaborative Public Health Research and Practice: A Less Complicated Solution to Mitigating Environmentally Driven Health Disparities

Friday, February 18, 2022
3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.


Beverly Xaviera Watkins, PhD

Social epidemiologist and community-engaged research practitioner


Beverly Xaviera Watkins, MA, PhD, is a social epidemiologist and community-engaged research practitioner with a 26-year track record in community-based programs and projects. For over two decades, she has worked to reduce health disparities and level the playing field between the academy and community, both in academia, leading large scale community-engagement efforts at Columbia, Cornell and NYU, and at the grassroots community level, partnering with local direct social service delivery groups and non-profits that work within diverse racial and ethnic health disparity communities (African- Americans, Latinos, and Asian-Americans) throughout New York City: in Brooklyn (Families United for Racial and Economic Equality, FUREE and Public Housing Civic Association, PHC), in the South Bronx (Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice, YMPJ), and the Lower East Side (Good Old Lower East Side, GOLES), and in Chinatown (Chinese Progressive Association, CPA). In Brooklyn, NY. Dr. Watkins employs qualitative and quantitative methods to develop evidence-based approaches and integrate community-engagement into the practice of biomedical and behavioral social science and public health research.

At Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, she conducted research under the Community Cores of both the NIA-funded Columbia University Resource Center for Minority Aging Research (RCMAR) and NIEHS-funded Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health (CCCEH). At Weill Cornell, Medical College (WCMC) she led the Environmental Health Disparities Research Core of the Center for Excellence in Health Disparities Research and Community Engagement, and formed, as Director and Principal Investigator, two community-academic research partnerships: the NIEHS-funded Good Old Lower East Side (GoLES) Environmental Justice Collaborative and Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation-funded GoLES Healthy Aging Program. From 2014-2020, she was on the faculty at New York University in the School of Global Public Health (GPH) and served as Interim Chair of the Department of Environmental Sciences from 2016-2018. She has extensive expertise in community engagement and outreach. At New York University School of Medicine (NYUSOM) she was Co-Director of the NIEHS Environmental Center of Excellence Community Outreach and Engagement Core (CEC) in Environmental Medicine; and Co-Director of the Community Engagement Core of the Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes Program (ECHO) in Pediatric Medicine. She served as Principal Investigator, MPI, of a NIMHD-funded R01 clinical trial to evaluate an OSA intervention for Black Americans; Principal Investigator, PI, of a PCORI Community Engagement Award to develop effective strategies for PCOR researchers to work collaboratively with local community-based organizations; and Principal Investigator of a PCORI grant to build the Academic Community Collaborative to Engage StakeholdersACCESS, online platform.

In 2014 she became a Health and Aging Policy Fellow (Atlantic Philanthropies) assigned to the NIA, and an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow assigned to the US EPA. In January 2016 she became a faculty fellow to the Director of the US EPA’s, National Center for Environmental Assessment, NCEA, working on neighborhood-specific epigenetic analysis. In 2017, she formed a community-academic partnerships with the Ron Finley Project in South Central Los Angeles focused on issues of food injustice.  In 2018, she formed a community-academic partnership with New York City Housing Authority, NYCHA, public housing residents in Red Hook and Gowanus Brooklyn, NY on environmental injustice. She currently serves as the Director of Research for Public Housing Civic Association, a resident-led non-profit, in Brooklyn, and as the community engagement specialist on an R01 examining the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on NYC transit workers of Transit Workers Union, TWU, Local 100.

Nationally recognized for her community engagement expertise in environmental public health research and in socio-economically disadvantaged communities of color, she works with the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences, NIEHS, Borough of Manhattan Community College, BMCC-CUNY, and the Health and Environmental Sciences Institute, HESI on their efforts to increase diversity within the environmental public health landscape.  Dr. Watkins completed her academic training at Columbia University in New York City. After graduating from Columbia College, she went on to earn a master’s degree in Sociomedical Sciences and a doctorate in History from the Graduate School of Arts and Science.

This event is brought to you by the UCI Black Thriving Initiative Cluster Hire in Environmental Health Disparities and the Center for Environmental Health Disparities Research (CEHDR).