During the early pre-tenure part of my career, I was broadly interested in issues related to race and ethnicity, immigrant incorporation and social stratification. In this early work, I sought to answer two questions: Do various racial and ethnic groups in Los Angeles differentially access scarce resources like safe neighborhoods and naturalization opportunities? And, does considering the documentation status of Latinos alter the ethnic hierarchy of which groups gain access to some of these resources?
I have now become interested in how expressions of HIV stigma beliefs affect precautionary sexual behaviors and HIV prevalence in sub-Saharan Africa. While this project is now exclusively quantitative in nature, I may at some point incorporate a qualitative component, where I would seek to understand how Southern Africans’ lived meanings of stigma beliefs contribute to their private sexual behaviors. This new project also has implications for the study of race and ethnicity because access to HIV treatment and the prevention of HIV infection are scarce resources that accrue unequally to racial, ethnic, social status groups, and to different places across the African continent. In addition, I consider this project to be interdisciplinary, and will use literature and ideas from social psychology, public health, and sociology in the papers that emerge from this work.
One's scholarly research is often related to one's personal experiences. I'm an immigrant. I was born in Jamaica and grew up in Guyana, South America and in the Commonwealth of Dominica in the West Indies. After coming to this country, my family had to participate in the same "race to the middle class" in which all immigrants participate to one degree or another. As such, issues surrounding immigrant incorporation, social stratification, and health outcomes are deeply personal.