Ronica Rooks, PhD, and Elizabeth Steed, PhD, both received prestigious Fulbright awards for the 2019-2020 school year, which will enable them to conduct research and build relationships internationally.
Rooks is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health and Behavioral Sciences and Director of Online Education in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Her research focuses on socio-ecological explanations for racial and ethnic disparities in chronic conditions. She holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Maryland.
Rooks was awarded the position of Fulbright Canada Research Chair in Aging & Society, hosted by McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.
“McMaster University is a center of excellence for research on urban neighborhoods and community health,” said Rooks. “Serving as a Fulbright Research Chair in Hamilton is an opportunity for international collaboration that will advance my research on how social disadvantage and community environments, particularly gentrification, affect chronic conditions and management. It’s an exciting opportunity to understand strategies to facilitate healthy aging within communities.”
Rooks’s research will leverage the Hamilton Neighbourhoods Study, a study examining how residents perceive their neighborhoods changing in order to develop action strategies for building healthier, more connected communities. The study, underway at McMaster since 2013, surveys residents about their neighborhood priorities and concerns, as well as their health over time. Rooks will analyze survey data, conduct focus groups with well-functioning seniors in the community and interview senior service providers.
Steed, an Associate Professor in the School of Education & Human Development, will be traveling to the Republic of Georgia as a Fulbright U.S. Scholar. Working with the Ilia State University Child Development Institute, she will conduct early childhood intervention research, focusing on supporting the inclusion of young children with disabilities in community-based preschool programs in Tbilisi and other regions of Georgia.
She is grateful to the Fulbright Scholar Program for enabling her to conduct research and teach on preschool inclusion in the Republic of Georgia. Steed will have familial support during her appointment: “Being able to take my husband and two kids is a special opportunity for my whole family to experience cross-cultural exchange in a beautiful country, rich in history.”
Fulbright awards were established in 1946 by the late U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright. The Fulbright Program is an international educational exchange program “designed to build lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.”
As they conduct their research, professors Rooks and Steed will exchange important ideas with communities in other countries and work toward finding solutions to issues that affect people globally.