Research & Service

Ongoing Research Projects

The T2 Fitness Foundation is a 501(c)3 established in 2018 to empower and equip individuals with the skills and strategies they need to lead healthier lifestyles inexpensively. This foundation offers a 12-week comprehensive wellness program geared toward helping African American women in Hampton Roads improve their fitness levels, reduce the impacts of hypertension and diabetes on their health, and establish healthier relationships with food. This program aims to impart behavioral changes to these women’s lives so that they will live healthier lifestyles for years to come.

This collaboration supports student internship placements and provides academic support to students to assess the program’s effectiveness. This year, we placed two undergraduate students in the program for internship opportunities. These students worked with the organization to conduct field-based data gathering. We have trainedthem to code and enter data collected with paper and pencil, run data analyses using SPSS, and write reports using visualization approaches appropriate for specific community partners.
Although this collaboration did not receive funding, the student interns did receive paid internships to work with the T2 Fresh Start Initiative. We are currently working with the program leadership to design a logic model and evaluation plan approved by the ODU IRB. We expect this phase to receive funding during the following grant cycle.

Kin and Kids Consulting’s goal is to expand Kinship Care and Aging Services based on years of community service and social action.

This collaboration studies the effectiveness of the nationwide Circle of Parents program. We are currently in the developmental stage, working with other faculty members from the School of Community and Environmental Health. The next step is to write a grant to provide collaborative support for the initiative.

The Center provides ongoing research support and mentoring to students completing internships at the Center or placed in the local community for practicum and internship opportunities. This support is provided through an MOU for population health with the Chesapeake Health Department that promotes building the capacity of students involved in research projects with community partners in Hampton Roads. Through this collaboration, we develop students’ abilities, mainly in data management and analysis. This year, we hosted 11 students at the Center and placed seven students for practicum opportunities with local organizations in Hampton Roads.

Community Partners: Suffolk Public Schools (SPS), Obici Sentara Healthcare, the Franklin and Suffolk Health Departments, and the American Diabetes Association

This project is ongoing. In 2019, SPS readapted components of their “Wellness Initiatives for a Happy, Healthy, Productive Staff” program based on the health needs of bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and custodians. In 2020, the ODU Center for Global Health (CGH) developed data collection instruments (organizational culture and the reflection questionnaire) and submitted them to the IRB for the implementation stage of the current program. In May 2022, we implemented theYear Two climate survey to gather information regarding the participants’ demographic characteristics, perceptions of the wellness program, physical, emotional, and mental health statuses, sleep patterns, barriers to program participation, and perceptions of the organizational culture of SPS. The Year One survey was implemented last year, and this year, we will have the opportunity to examine trends in many of these variables to assess the wellness program’s effectiveness.

The partnership with the Chesapeake Health Department (CHD) is an ongoing project. This year, the CGH has worked collaboratively with the department to compare general COVID-19 trends in Chesapeake schools and compare cases between private schools, daycares, and public schools. We also planned to examine the impacts of mitigation strategies on COVID-19 cases in different settings. We reviewed and analyzed the secondary data following IRB approval. We worked with our partners to submit an abstract to NACCHO and accepted it for presentation at the national conference in July. This innovative project highlights many implications for practice and recommendations for other school districts aiming to address public health issues.

Additionally, as part of our MOU with the CHD, we provide evaluation support for Healthy Chesapeake (HC), the population health arm of the Chesapeake Health Department. We are currently working with the HC to develop an evaluation plan for the Thrives program to provide practicum opportunities for the ONE Public Health School.

Community Partners: Healthy Chesapeake Inc.

The ODU CGH provides evaluation support for Healthy Chesapeake (HC) program activities. The HC program, created under the Chesapeake Health Department’s leadership and city leaders’ leadership, addresses health issues by focusing on low-Health Opportunity Index (HOI) communities in Chesapeake. This program uses community-driven approaches to implement nutrition education, promote access to healthy food, encourage an active lifestyle, and ameliorate chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure. The projects run by HC emphasize community empowerment. From Fall 2021 to Summer 2022, we submitted a continued progress report and received approval from the ODU IRB. Then, we surveyed the program’s board members to assess their beliefs regarding what HC has accomplished, whether HC is meeting its goals, and potentially missed opportunities.

Additionally, we gathered clinical and behavioral data to assess the effectiveness of the HUB program. Specifically, we determined the extent to which the HUB program has accomplished its set targets per the IRB guidelines. We also developed surveys to assess regional food insecurity levels and community members’ experiences with nutrition classes. Students translated some of these surveys into Spanish to gather data from the Spanish-speaking population. In April 2022, we submitted an abstract to the American Public Health Association (APHA) highlighting the dedication of the HUB program staff as the driving force for accountability and eagerness to approach each appointment with an accomplished milestone.
Due to their integral role with HC in South Norfolk in providing food assistance, we assisted the Buffalow Family and Friends in developing three surveys to assess client satisfaction and elicit suggestions for improvement in program services.

In Fall 2021, we modified the Global Health Heroes program from an in-person to a virtual format to appeal to a worldwide audience. We worked with students to redesign the program’s modules and activities, addressing oral health, pollution, climate change, and cancer. Our goal is to use opportunities such as this to train students in health education program planning and design. Furthermore, we aim to make these resources available for download from the Center’s website. In Spring 2022, we used the training of trainers framework to educate MPH students about concepts they must consider when designing programs to address community and public health challenges. We are currently in the process of submitting a paper describing this project.

During Fall 2021 and Spring 2022, the CGH collaborated with the Public Health Student Association to plan and implement virtual public health talks. We worked with key public health professionals and stakeholders, such as faculty and students, to define public health topics, and assisted in designing advertisement materials. Over the past year, we have discussed topics such as achieving secure food communities, the American Red Cross - Always There in a Time of Need, and social marketing.

Previous Projects

Lead Team: MyNgoc Nguyen (ODU PhD Candidate)
Other participants: Denise Claiborne (ODU PhD Candidate), Dr. Olaniyi Olayinka

This project was the result of collaboration between the Center for Global Health and the local nonprofit organization, Physicians for Peace. A workshop was given to key leaders within the organization in order to assist with updating the strategic plan. We performed a SWOT analysis to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats within the organization and presented on the specific and core competencies necessary for public health as well as health care providers.

A Program Evaluation for the Virginia Beach Department of Public Health and the Virginia Beach Department of Parks and Recreation

ODU's Lead Team: Maureen Boshier
City of Virginia Beach Partners: Dr. Heidi Kulberg, Health Director, and J. Turner, Analyst, Virginia Beach Department of Public Health. B. Lito, CPRP, Recreation Supervisor, City of Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation Out of School Time Program
Other participants: Dr. M. Sheth-Chandra, M. Bartholmae (ODU PhD Candidate). B. Geraghty (EVMS/ODU MPH student)

In 2015, The ODU Center for Global Health prepared the one year report for the Let's Move Project. The Let's Move Virginia Beach (LMVB) healthy eating and physical activity intervention was developed by the Virginia Beach Public Health and Parks and Recreation Departments to combat childhood obesity. To counteract the apparent decline in healthy behaviors in adulthood, children ages 5 to 11 in the after school program were targeted for an intervention. The desired behavior changes for the LMVB intervention included 1) reduced sugared beverage consumption, 2) choosing correct portions and foods from the food groups, and 3) increased physical activity. Each LMVB lesson included a short lecture, a relay race to reinforce the lesson concepts, and physical activity in the form of dancing. Every child received an item to take home (e.g., a water bottle to reinforce drinking water instead of sugared beverages) and a letter for parents with the lesson concepts and recommendations for behavior motivation and change.

A survey to assess knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) of both children and parents was collected on 135 students in the Fall of 2014 and Spring 2015. In Summer of 2015, the Center analyzed the data and evaluated the effectiveness of the program. The changes in KAP for the parents were statistically insignificant, p = .096. When separated by grade, the children in the Kindergarten group showed a statistically insignificant change (p = 0.334). First, second, third, fourth, and fifth grades resulted in a statistically significant improvement of KAP (p

Lead Team: Gail Grisetti
Other participants
: Morgan Tyler (ODU Undergraduate Student)

To assist Abukloi with strengthening their health education systems, the ODU Center for Global Health prepared a health education tool kit for secondary school teachers in South Sudan. It was recommended that the most effective method to implement health education within the Abukloi School would be to integrate a health education course into the required curriculum beginning at the 9th grade level. Depending on the current teaching model used, the health education course was included as a regularly scheduled class or an elective. A new topic was introduced each class with emphasis on topics related to individual health such as hygiene and water sanitation. Men and women were separated for topics related to sexual health, maternal health, and HIV/AIDS education because students felt comfortable asking questions related to these topics away from the opposite sex. Students were taught by their current teachers. A public health professional trained educators and gave them the necessary information to make a lesson plan for the students. Incorporating this course into the curriculum helped students become knowledgeable about health promotion practices.

Lead Team: Jennifer Fish, Manasi Sheth-Chandra,
Other participants:
Keikilani Martin (ODU Undergraduate Student)

The ODU Center for Global Health and ODU's Women's Studies Department performed a series of statistical analyses using Simelela sexual violence data from the Simelela Rape Crisis Centre in Khayelitsha, South Africa. The sexual violence data included number of rape cases, rape threats, and location of rapes. The information was also stratified by age and gender. The statistical analysis revealed that for females, over 90% of the perpetrators were family members. Also the number of rape cases were higher in females and elderly who are under the influence.

Lead Team: Drs. K. Adams-Tufts , J. Blando, R. Poston, Manasi Sheth-Chandra
Other participants
: Keikilani Martin (ODU Undergraduate Student)

The ODU Center for Global Health assisted in the evaluation of the 2015 College of Health Sciences' Interprofessional Education Day. The result of the evaluation showed that most of the respondents mentioned that the best thing about the event was: the keynote speaker presentation, the diversity and experience of the panel of speakers and the group activities. Respondents suggested that the event can be improved if it had a clearer goal, more audience participation, more effective time management and strategies, better organization and interprofessional communication.

Lead Team: Drs. Gail Grisetti, Jonna Bobzien

We have taken the past year of the project to present at professional conferences on the implementation of the Autism Training Program in the DR. Additionally, we have published one journal article on the creation and implementation of the training program which included preliminary results of the research study linked to the training. Currently, we are working on a research manuscript based on the data collected from the training, which demonstrates the effectiveness of the overall program. Finally, we are in the process of obtaining new IRB permission to implement a subsequent training program and corresponding research program.

The Global Health Heroes Program was a collaboration between the ODU Center for Global Health and the Horizon's summer program to educate students on the importance of global health and how it relates to their personal health behaviors.

The Mosquito Control and Surveillance Project was a collaboration between the ODU Center for Global Health, the Norfolk Department of Public Health and the Eastern Virginia Medical School MPH program. The objective was to give undergraduate and graduate students first hand experience in the field of vector control and surveillance. Students performed:

  • Backyard inspections
  • Laboratory work
  • Mosquito identification
  • Source reduction techniques
  • Community Outreach

As part of the National Institute of Drug Abuse Education week, the ODU Center for Global hosted an Educational event to help teens better understand the risks associated with alcohol and drug abuse.