Cornely Postdoctoral Fellow, 2014 -2016
Dr. Michael Muhammad is the new Paul B. Cornely Postdoctoral Scholar in the Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture, and Health (CRECH). He began this position in September 2014. Dr. Muhammad received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of New Mexico, his M.A. in sociology at Cleveland State University, and his B.S. in Economics while attending Florida A & M University. Dr. Muhammad’s doctoral research was supported through a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Doctoral Fellowship at the Center for Health Policy, University of New Mexico. His dissertation research examined the influence of eugenic ideology in political discourse about family planning policy rearticulated through coded elite discourse. Dr. Muhammad’s primary research interests focus on the complexities of proximate and distal factors that continue to produce health inequality for disadvantaged populations.
Dr. Muhammad is especially committed to the application of community-based approaches in building effective collaborations with local groups to develop sustainable projects that value shared learning and long-term commitments. His other areas of interest are community health, health policy, social determinants of health, culture and behavioral health, structural racism and poverty. Dr. Muhammad continues to collaborate with scholars at the Center for Participatory Research (Dr. Nina Wallerstein, Director), the RWJF Center for Health Policy (Dr. Gabriel Sanchez, Director) and the Institute for the Study of “Race” and Social Justice (Dr. Nancy Lopez, Director) at the University of New Mexico. Dr. Muhammad sees the crucial task for public health researchers and practitioners is to determine how to eliminate the unequal distribution of morbidity and mortality from essential causes which are avoidable and unjust. To increase effectiveness in formulating policies aimed at reducing health inequity, public health professionals must be able and willing to link research, practice and theory to the social forces and institutional processes that maintain and replicate social inequality. In his view, a social justice framework orients public health research and practice to the root causes of health inequity, as interlocking systems of exploitation, oppression, and discrimination reproduced through social processes that maintain structural inequality. Dr. Muhammad plans to use his time as a CRECH postdoctoral fellow to further his research interests on the structural factors (i.e. social determinants) that may impede the translation of clinical research into interventions that satisfy the needs of disadvantaged and marginalized communities.
Dr. Muhammad is presently collaborating with other scholars at the Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture, and Health (CRECH) on a pilot study investigating the role of paternity and early childbearing for adolescent fathers (Dr. Cleopatra H. Caldwell, PI). The pilot study extends CRECH’s extensive health disparities research on mental health, families and adolescent childbearing. In March (2015), he recently submitted a co-authored paper (under review) on the application of community-based participatory research to advance social and racial equity in a study of urban and rural partnerships in Black and Latino communities. Dr. Muhammad has been invited to join ongoing research with the Detroit Community-Academic Urban Research Center (Dr. Barbara Israel, PI).At the present, he is co-investigator on a multidisciplinary research team proposing an innovative study of long-term CBPR partnerships. Dr. Muhammad is also a member of the Program for Research on Black Americans Postdoctoral Workgroup, at the Institute for Social Research. He has four papers in progress reporting research from his dissertation.