Assistant Professor of Sociology and Africana Stud
The George Washington University
Dr. Antwan Jones, is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and an affiliate faculty member of the Africana Studies program at The George Washington University. Dr. Jones received his B.A. in Sociology and African & African-American Studies from Duke University and my Ph.D. in Sociology from Bowling Green State University. While trained as a social demographer, his research examines various intersections in the areas of race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status and health. As an urban sociologist, he is particularly concerned with how socio-environmental processes affect the health and well-being of children and adults.
In addition to his research, he has held many prominent leadership positions within boards and organizations. He served on Bowling Green State University’s Board of Trustees, the American Sociological Association’s Advisory Board and the Society for the Study of Social Problems Board of Directors. Currently, he is on the Board of Directors of the Capital City Area Health Education Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the health care workforce and increase health care access in medically underserved areas in DC.
While much research has been done on how neighborhood change affects obesity, very few studies have explored how an individual’s residential change relates to obesity. Using an urban sociological perspective, this study relies on panel data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to assess how residential instability affects obesity among adolescents. Using an individual-level, fixed-effects modeling strategy, this research also explores how the built environment of old and new neighborhoods is related to obesity through the access to active lifestyle structures such as recreational centers.
This project’s focus on residential instability has the potential to influence current public policy initiatives centered on improving the built environment through costly means such as building playgrounds and creating safe spaces for exercise in economically divested communities. However, research has recently shown that the children who live close to these amenities share the same risk of being obese as children who live far from them. This research will point to low-cost interventions (e.g., neighborhood orientations for adolescents) that might make these policy initiatives more effective. As a result, state governments can improve the health of adolescents as they transition into adulthood.
My New Connections Experience
I was oriented to New Connections through former RWJF fellows and New Connections grantees. I applied based on their personal testimonies that the program and the foundation provide excellent training and networking opportunities that can help shape my professional career. Also, I was able to see first-hand how New Connections invests in its program’s participants. Before I applied, I attended the New Connections Symposium and participated in numerous webinars on topics critical to junior faculty success. Lastly, because working in academia can lead to being siloed in one’s department and discipline, I applied to New Connections to be exposed to multiple perspectives in an effort to create an interdisciplinary collaborative network for myself.
My participation in the New Connections program has provided me an opportunity to focus on the research that matters to me. By fusing my interests of neighborhood effects and child obesity, this grant allows me to establish a more viable and relevant research agenda. In addition, by securing this grant, I am more confident in applying for extramural funding. The deliverables from this grant will also broaden my research portfolio. Lastly, I hope to gain numerous friendships and collaborators in an effort to extend my professional network.
General research interests include 1) Urban Sociology, 2) Medical Sociology, 3) Spatial Demography and 4) Race/Ethnic/Cultural Studies. Specific research interests include 1) Childhood Obesity, 2) Adult Cardiovascular Illness and 3) Neighborhood Effects on Health
- New Connections Status: Junior Investigator
- Award Year: 2011
- Project Name: Residential Instability and Adolescent Obesity: The Role of the Built Environment