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St. John’s Staten Island Campus Embarks on Public Health Research Project

Monday, May 1, 2017

St. John’s University embraces the Staten Island community as a partner in its Vincentian service, education, and academic research. The University’s Staten Island campus has recently embarked on a five-year, community-based partnership with the Staten Island Performing Provider System (SIPPS) that makes the University a key participant in an ambitious, borough-wide public health research initiative called Healthy Neighborhoods. 

Working alongside SIPPS, Ginny Mantello, M.D., the Staten Island Borough President’s Director of Health and Wellness; the Office of Staten Island Borough President James Oddo; Wagner College; CUNY College of Staten Island; and more than 70 community organizations, nonprofit organizations, and health care institutions as well as the Office of the Staten Island Borough President, St. John’s is committed to building healthier neighborhoods for Staten Islanders. If successful, the New York State Medicaid-funded Healthy Neighborhoods research project will help prevent costly hospital stays by improving people’s living conditions. 

True to its Vincentian mission, St. John’s research focus is the underserved areas of the North Shore, where asthma, obesity, and substance abuse rates are higher than the borough’s average. On February 24, the campus welcomed more than 50 community partners from the North Shore, and those that offer services that extend to this area, to discuss the need for the Healthy Neighborhoods project and the potential impact it will have on health care costs and public health. 

Coordinated on the Staten Island campus by Robert Fanuzzi, Ph.D., Associate Provost and Director of Civic Engagment, Healthy Neighborhoods has brought together four St. John’s faculty members, Marilyn Dono-Koulouris, Ed.D., Irene Dabrowski, Ph.D., Roberta Hayes, Ph.D., and Helene Zinszner, Ph. D. for the first phase of the project: distributing and collecting surveys to schools, colleges, workplaces, churches, and workplaces to determine healthy and unhealthy conditions. Mieka J. Smart, DrPH, Assistant Professor in Pharmacy Administration and Public Health in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, has dedicated  students in the Master of Public Health program to the Staten Island campus for the first time to collect and analyze the data. With the help of intern Ogochukwu L. Okoroji, the first phase of Healthy Neighborhoods will be completed by the end of the spring semester. 

With its Healthy Neighborhoods research initiative, St. John’s University’s Staten Island campus brings an interdisciplinary alliance of faculty members, much-needed academic research, and a targeted focus on public health to an important social justice issue. 

Learn more about St. John’s University Staten Island campus civic engagement projects, including Healthy Neighborhoods and 30000 Degrees: College Readiness for a Stronger Staten Island.