Sharon D. Morrison, MSPH, PhD – CNNC Research Fellow

SharonAssociate Professor, Public Health Education, UNCG 

Sharon D. Morrison is an Associate Professor in the Department of Public Health Education at The University of North Carolina Greensboro (UNCG) whose specialty is transnational and transmigration health issues. Dr. Morrison has been a research fellow with the CNNC since 2001, partnering with local refugee and immigrant serving organizations and groups for service-learning and community-engaged research. Her focus is on how cultural adaptation and integration models influence health and nutrition outcomes among ethnically diverse transnational populations. Particularly, she examines the role of cultural and structural factors in HIV testing in Latino and African immigrants, chronic disease risk and management (diabetes and hypertension) among S.E. Asian refugee households, and strategies for improving health literacy among ESOL learners.  Dr. Morrison earned an MHSE and PhD from the University of Florida, the MSPH from University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and a BS from Barry University.

Current Work

Montagnard Health Disparities Research Network

The Montagnard Health Disparities Research Network (MHDRN) is a community-based research partnership designed to create sustainable solutions to problems faced by the Montagnard community in the Triad region. Members include CNNC Research Fellows, Montagnard community stakeholders and local community supporters. Issues being addressed within this network are household food security and nutrition challenges, diabetes and hypertension, women’s literacy, health care access, community health worker and foreign trained physician needs and outreach efforts within the community, mentorship and training of high school and college age Montagnard youth.

Family relationships, household strategies, and hypertension risk among S.E. Asians in the US South

This study is being conducted in collaboration with CNNC Research Fellows: Dr. Sudha Shreeniwas (HDFS), Dr. Jigna Dharod (NTR), and Mr. Andrew Young MFA (Guilford College) and Dr. H Wier Siu (WLG). It is a community-engaged project with the Montagnard refugee community in the Guilford County Area.  The study is examining how family relationship factors (intergenerational relations, spouse/partner relationships, extended family networks) affect hypertension risk factors (stress, food insecurity, nutrition choices, and primary health care access,) among adults and teens/young adults in the Montagnard community, in the context of immigration and resource constraints.  Community members identified hypertension as a high priority health concern. The study provides baseline data to a) advance research on hypertension risk in diverse populations, and b) promote design and delivery of culturally appropriate interventions to address health needs in this under-served population.

Gaps and Strategies in Montagnard Refugee Community Access to American Health Systems

This project is a collaborative effort with CNNC research Fellows: Dr. Huaibo Xin (SIUE), Dr. Jigna Dharod (NUTR) and Mr. Andrew Young (Guilford College). The case study documents narratives from Vietnam-trained former Montagnard refugee physicians’ about their medical training and practice experiences of in their former homeland, their own journey and adaptation to living in America, perspectives on health beliefs and health practices of the Montangnards and the current roles as community health workers and “allies” for the Montagnard refugee community in NC.  The primary goal is to identify key features that facilitate cross-culturally responsive health care between Montagnard families and existing American health care structures.

Enablers of HIV Testing Decision Making among Hispanic/Latino women in the US South

This project is in collaboration with Dr. Sudha Shreeniwas (HDFS). The aim is to generate an assessment tool comprising factors that enable Hispanic/Latino women to take up HIV testing and counseling.  The tool is intended for HIV outreach workers and health service providers to administer to clients so that they can identify those who are more easily facilitated for HIV testing versus those who may be more challenged in this regard.  This 2-phase project includes 1) qualitative interviewing with Hispanic/Latino women, HIV test providers, and community leaders, to ascertain which factors enabled women to voluntarily access and follow through with HIV testing, and 2) a quantitative survey using items derived from the qualitative phase and field tested with the target population.

Post-resettlement chronic and emergency health care needs of refugees

This project is in partnership with Church World Service, a non-profit agency with a refugee resettlement program. The goal of this project is to identify and characterize the types of emergency and chronic health problems that require management after the initial 6-month resettlement period and determine the extent to which service providers are directing resources toward case management and health education for post-resettlement both preventable and specialty care conditions.

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