Lehman Health Sciences Professor Marilyn Aguirre-Molina has been awarded the prestigious Hispanic Leadership Award by the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) for her dedication to seeking workable solutions for health equity and economic justice for the urban populations of both New York and the nation. Dr. Aguirre-Molina was presented with the award at NHMA's annual ceremony held, this year, at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square.
"Whatever I've been able to contribute to the cause of health equity in the Latino community, I have done by standing on the shoulders of my predecessors," said Dr. Aguirre-Molina, who also directs the CUNY Institute for Health Equity at Lehman. "Together, my colleagues and I share the same values of economic justice."
The CUNY Institute for Health Equity, which opened its doors at Lehman in 2009, works directly with several community organizations in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Brooklyn. It seeks to build the capacity of non-profit and community-based organizations to address health problems in their communities; provide learning opportunities for students to work toward health equity; and strengthen multidisciplinary cooperation and research on health equity issues both within and beyond CUNY.
Dr. Aguirre-Molina keeps a busy schedule here at Lehman. In October, the Institute, along with the Department of Health Sciences, organized National Food Day on campus with volunteers offering free healthy snacks, nutritional advice and fitness suggestions to students, faculty, and staffers.
Last year, she collaborated with her colleague Dr. Luisa N. Borrell (also of the Health Sciences department) on the book Health Issues in Latino Males: A Social and Structural Approach (Rutgers University Press), which Dr. Aguirre-Molina says is the first text to put the health concerns of Latino men into a broader context.
A graduate of Hunter College, Dr. Aguirre-Molina earned a master's degree from Columbia University and an Ed.D. from Teachers College.
Food Day is a nationwide awareness event that the CUNY Institute for Health Equity participated in. We had 8 tables in front of Shuster Hall, with about 10 different organizations being represented. Hundreds of healthy snacks were given out to students, and our interns collected over 300 responses to their "Student Snack Choices" survey. Click here [PDF]
Researchers at the CUNY Institute for Health Equity at Lehman are partnering with Bronx Health Link on a new study they hope will shed light on a chronic health issue adversely affecting Bronx residents: the high rate of infant mortality. "The Effects of Environmental Stress on Birth Outcomes in the South Bronx" is being headed by Lehman Health Sciences Professors Mary Huynh and Marilyn Aguirre-Molina, who is the principal investigator of the study.
With funding from the Aetna Foundation and the Office of the University Dean for Health Sciences, MPH research scholars and Andrew Maroko, Director of Research Scholars, are conducting a study of the Effects of Environmental Stress on Birth Outcomes in the South Bronx. To date, they have created an audit instrument, designed a sampling scheme, collected the raw data, spatialized the data, and started quantitative analyses. The study is in affiliation with the Institute's community partner, the Bronx Health Link.
The Vending Machine Initiative has taken off! A team of graduate public health interns and nutrition students has been working closely with the Institute staff in conducting a pilot study of vending machine snack choices at Lehman College. The students have researched how other institutions have made healthy foods available in vending machines; determined the number, location, and nutritional content of snacks in the machines; and identified healthy alternatives to current vending machine snacks. Report will be distributed this Fall.
Three interns and the Program Associate at the Institute have completed the Photovoice Project! The Institute provided 19 participants from UPROSE, Youth on the Move, and Nitchen with video cameras to document the environment and conditions that affect the health and well-being of their communities. The project culminated with a big pizza party for all the participants and staff. The resulting video, "Through Our Eyes," will be premiering at film screening events in the fall! DVDs will also be available to purchase in September.
This summer, the Core has been working on a national dissemination strategy of Health Issues of Latino Men – A Guide for Practitioners, by Ernesto Vasquea and Marilyn Aguirre-Molina. This is the accompanying manual to the recently released book, Health Issues of Latino Men–A Social Structural Approach, edited by Marilyn Aguirre-Molina, Luisa Borrell, and William Vega (Rutgers University Press, 2010). The W Kellogg Foundation has funded the dissemination, as well as the convening of a policy forum in Washington DC, to initiate discussion on the needs of Latino men.