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1.  Methods and protocol of a mixed method quasi-experiment to evaluate the effects of a structural economic and food security intervention on HIV vulnerability in rural Malawi: The SAGE4Health Study 
SpringerPlus  2014;3:296.
Background
Poverty and lack of a predictable, stable source of food are two fundamental determinants of ill health, including HIV/AIDS. Conversely, episodes of poor health and death from HIV can disrupt the ability to maintain economic stability in affected households, especially those that rely on subsistence farming. However, little empirical research has examined if, and how, improvements in people’s economic status and food security translate into changes in HIV vulnerability.
Methods
In this paper, we describe in detail the methods and protocol of an academic-NGO collaboration on a quasi-experimental, longitudinal study of the mechanisms and magnitude of the impact of a multilevel economic and food security program (Support to Able-Bodied Vulnerable Groups to Achieve Food Security; SAFE), as implemented by CARE. Primary outcomes include HIV vulnerability (i.e., HIV risk behaviors, HIV infection), economic status (i.e., income, household assets) and food security (including anthropometric measures). We recruited participants from two types of areas of rural central Malawi: traditional authorities (TA) selected by CARE to receive the SAFE program (intervention group) and TAs receiving other unrelated CARE programming (controls). In the intervention TAs, we recruited 598 program participants (398 women, 200 men) and interviewed them at baseline and 18- and 36-month follow-ups; we interviewed 301 control households. In addition, we conducted random surveys (n = 1002) in the intervention and control areas with a 36-month assessment interval, prior to and after implementation of SAFE. Thus, we are examining intervention outcomes both in direct SAFE program participants and their larger communities. We are using multilevel modeling to examine mediators and moderators of the effects of SAFE on HIV outcomes at the individual and community levels and determine the ways in which changes in HIV outcomes feed back into economic outcomes and food security at later interviews. Finally, we are conducting a qualitative end-of-program evaluation consisting of in-depth interviews with 90 SAFE participants.
Discussion
In addition to examining pathways linking structural factors to HIV vulnerability, this research will yield important information for understanding the impact of a multilevel environmental/structural intervention on HIV, with the potential for other sustainable long-term public health benefits.
doi:10.1186/2193-1801-3-296
PMCID: PMC4082534  PMID: 25019044
Food security; Microfinance; Village savings and loans; HIV; Quasi-experimental design; Malawi
2.  Perceived neighborhood quality, sleep quality, and health status: Evidence from the Survey of the Health of Wisconsin 
Why does living in a disadvantaged neighborhood predict poorer mental and physical health? Recent research focusing on the Southwestern United States suggests that disadvantaged neighborhoods favor poor health, in part, because they undermine sleep quality. Building on previous research, we test whether this process extends to the Midwestern United States. Specifically, we use cross-sectional data from the Survey of the Health of Wisconsin (SHOW), a statewide probability sample of Wisconsin adults, to examine whether associations among perceived neighborhood quality (e.g., perceptions of crime, litter, and pleasantness in the neighborhood) and health status (overall self-rated health and depression) are mediated by overall sleep quality (measured as self-rated sleep quality and physician diagnosis of sleep apnea). We find that perceptions of low neighborhood quality are associated with poorer self-rated sleep quality, poorer self-rated health, and more depressive symptoms. We also observe that poorer self-rated sleep quality is associated with poorer self-rated health and more depressive symptoms. Our mediation analyses indicate that self-rated sleep quality partially mediates the link between perceived neighborhood quality and health status. Specifically, self-rated sleep quality explains approximately 20% of the association between neighborhood quality and self-rated health and nearly 19% of the association between neighborhood quality and depression. Taken together, these results confirm previous research and extend the generalizability of the indirect effect of perceived neighborhood context on health status through sleep quality.
doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.07.021
PMCID: PMC3733364  PMID: 22901794
Sleep; Sleep quality; Neighborhood context; Neighborhood quality; Self-rated health; Depression; Wisconsin; USA
3.  The Survey of the Health of Wisconsin (SHOW), a novel infrastructure for population health research: rationale and methods 
BMC Public Health  2010;10:785.
Background
Evidence-based public health requires the existence of reliable information systems for priority setting and evaluation of interventions. Existing data systems in the United States are either too crude (e.g., vital statistics), rely on administrative data (e.g., Medicare) or, because of their national scope (e.g., NHANES), lack the discriminatory power to assess specific needs and to evaluate community health activities at the state and local level. This manuscript describes the rationale and methods of the Survey of the Health of Wisconsin (SHOW), a novel infrastructure for population health research.
Methods/Design
The program consists of a series of independent annual surveys gathering health-related data on representative samples of state residents and communities. Two-stage cluster sampling is used to select households and recruit approximately 800-1,000 adult participants (21-74 years old) each year. Recruitment and initial interviews are done at the household; additional interviews and physical exams are conducted at permanent or mobile examination centers. Individual survey data include physical, mental, and oral health history, health literacy, demographics, behavioral, lifestyle, occupational, and household characteristics as well as health care access and utilization. The physical exam includes blood pressure, anthropometry, bioimpedance, spirometry, urine collection and blood draws. Serum, plasma, and buffy coats (for DNA extraction) are stored in a biorepository for future studies. Every household is geocoded for linkage with existing contextual data including community level measures of the social and physical environment; local neighborhood characteristics are also recorded using an audit tool. Participants are re-contacted bi-annually by phone for health history updates.
Discussion
SHOW generates data to assess health disparities across state communities as well as trends on prevalence of health outcomes and determinants. SHOW also serves as a platform for ancillary epidemiologic studies and for studies to evaluate the effect of community-specific interventions. It addresses key gaps in our current data resources and increases capacity for etiologic, applied and translational population health research. It is hoped that this program will serve as a model to better support evidence-based public health, facilitate intervention evaluation research, and ultimately help improve health throughout the state and nation.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-785
PMCID: PMC3022857  PMID: 21182792

Results 1-3 (3)