Precision Health pres.
Public Health Outcomes and Effects of the Built Environment: Feb. 2020 Precision Health Seminar
Jennifer D. Roberts, DrPH, MPH
The mission of the Public Health Outcomes and Effects of the Built Environment (PHOEBE) Laboratory is to gain an improved understanding of how our built environments--or rather the man-made places and spaces of our neighborhoods and communities, such as buildings, parks, and transportation systems--can impact the health and well-being of individuals of all ages. This presentation will describe some of the research that has been conducted within the PHOEBE Laboratory, including the BEAP (Built Environment and Active Play), PEAT (Physical Environment and Active Transportation), and PLIGHT (Purple Line Impact on Neighborhood, Health and Transit) Studies. Highlights and findings from the BEAP and PEAT Studies on youth physical activity, sedentary behavior, and active transportation will be discussed. In addition, an introductory overview of the PLIGHT Study, a natural experiment examining the health impacts of the forthcoming Purple Line light rail line in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area, will be presented.
Lunch will be provided for those who register by February 7.
Jennifer D. Roberts is an Assistant Professor of Kinesiology at the University of Maryland School of Public Health. She is also the Director of the Public Health Outcomes and Effects of the Built Environment (PHOEBE) Laboratory. Her research interests focus on the relationship between the built environment and physical activity in addition to its impact on obesity and other public health outcomes. More specifically, much of her research has explored the dynamic relationship between environmental, social and cultural determinants of physical activity and using empirical evidence of this relationship to infer complex health outcome patterns and disparities among adults and children.
PHOEBE Laboratory research, such as the Built Environment and Active Play (BEAP) and Physical Environment and Active Transportation (PEAT) Studies, have incorporated state of the art techniques including spatial analysis and geographic information system modeling in order to objectively capture the role and relationship of physical activity determinants. While relying heavily on mixed methodology, crosscutting health issues, along with exposure (e.g., transit deserts) and outcome (e.g., obesity) disparities, have also been addressed in her physical activity and public health research program. Dr. Roberts currently leads the Purple Line Light Rail Impact on Neighborhood, Health and Transit (PLIGHT) Study, to investigate changes in light rail use, active transportation, overall physical activity, obesity, and obesity-related cardiovascular risks among Prince George’s County, Maryland, adults. The PLIGHT Study will also explore how contextual effects (e.g., built environment; “sense of community”) moderate these health outcome changes with the intended 2022 introduction of this new 16.2-mile light rail line.
Dr. Roberts was awarded a JPB Environmental Health Fellowship by Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. This three-year fellowship will support her forthcoming research, Gauging Effects of Neighborhood Trends and Sickness (GENTS) Study: Examining the Perception of Transit-Induced Gentrification in Prince George’s County. GENTS will examine the risk of transit-induced gentrification and the associated health effects (e.g., anxiety) as related to the aforementioned Purple Line light rail. While the introduction of light rail in communities often encourages physical activity by way of active transportation, gentrification is often an unintended consequence and socioeconomic by-product of transit-oriented development.
Dr. Roberts received her Bachelor of Arts (AB) degree from Brown University. She holds a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from Emory University Rollins School of Public Health and earned her Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree from Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.
The U-M Precision Health Seminar Series invites expert speakers to share meaningful, relevant, and late-breaking research on varied aspects of precision health. The interdisciplinary educational series, which takes place monthly during the academic year, features topics ranging from genetics to big data to health implementation (and much more) and is open to students, faculty, practitioners, staff, trainees, and the general public. Our goal is to increase understanding of precision health data, tools, and applications, to engage the academic community to enhance precision health research, and to support the implementation of precision health to health systems.
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