Indiana University Richard Fairbanks School of Public Health
Tamara G.J. Leech, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Sociology Department and a researcher in the Institute for Research on Social Issues. She is currently the co-chair of an interdisciplinary study group on trauma and violence in diverse populations and a consultant for the MidNorth Public Safety Committee. She received her doctorate in sociology from the University of Michigan. Her current academic interests focus on adolescent health risk behavior, urban communities and neighborhoods and racial and gender contexts of health.
This project is concerned with the association between residence in public/subsidized housing and adolescent health risk behaviors. In direct response to the interests of the vulnerable populations team, the study focuses on the “exposure effect” of living in public/subsidized housing before and after the large-scale public housing reforms implemented in 1998.
My New Connections Experience
New Connections offered the opportunity to become part of a group of interdisciplinary researchers interested in similar topics from similar perspectives. At my institution, I was isolated in the sense that no one on campus could review my work or serve as a sounding board for research ideas. Furthermore, New Connections offered the prospect to construct a research project based specifically on my own interests and utilize a secondary database to answer my questions. These types of opportunities are rare but valuable for junior researchers.
New Connections was the primary reason that I was able to transition from a teaching institution to a research-oriented institution. Receiving the award established my legitimacy as a researcher among my peers. It also resulted in strong professional networks that have led to collaborations and general support. Both of these indirect results have assisted the progression of my career.
My research focuses on adolescent health risk behavior. I am especially interested in community effects on racial differences in violence, substance use and risky sexual behavior. In general, my work focuses on the gender, neighborhood and other structural contexts in which these behaviors occur.
- New Connections Status: Junior Investigator
- Award Year: 2007
- RWJF Team/Portfolio: Vulnerable Populations
- Project Name: Public Housing and Adolescent Health Risk Behaviors