Governors State University
DeLawnia Comer-HaGans earned a PhD in Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Dallas. She is an Assistant Professor at Governors State University in the Department of Health Administration. Her research interests include health disparities and health services research, particularly as it relates to diabetes complications, chronic illness, and mental health. She is also interested in community-based interventions and strategies, and their impact on health outcomes within a community setting and environment. Throughout her research, Dr. Comer-HaGans focuses on health policy and how it might enable more access to care for vulnerable populations.
My project seeks to investigate the health of individuals with disabilities and who also have diabetes; however, these individuals do not have a disability as a result of diabetes. I want to examine the health behavior of this population to determine if they receive preventive health screenings and seek necessary mental health treatment in an attempt to mitigate diabetes complications. Additionally, Healthy People 2020 provides targets/goals related to individuals with disabilities and I would like to see whether this population is on track for meeting these targets/goals.
My New Connections Experience
Like most junior faculty, I face the challenges of time and resources, but I really wanted to conduct research on individuals with disabilities who have diabetes. This research is centered on a vulnerable population that fits quite well within the Culture of Health initiative of the Foundation. When I saw this opportunity, I applied because although resources at the university are scarce, the university is very supportive of faculty pursuing research opportunities.
Being a part of New Connections has been very valuable for my career. Through New Connections I have had the opportunity to partake in statistical training, statistical consulting, publication support, and networking opportunities at the annual symposium. I have worked on manuscripts with individuals that I met at the annual symposium as well. In a nutshell, being a part of New Connections has expanded my reach of health disparities researchers and put me on a career growth trajectory that I was not on before.
I am interested in health disparities related to diabetes, and diabetes complications among individuals (children and adults) with disabilities (general, intellectual, and developmental). I am also interested in mental health disparities within this population.
- New Connections Status: Junior Investigator
- Award Year: 2015
- RWJF Team/Portfolio: Healthy Communities
- Project Name: Healthy People 2020 and Individuals with Disabilities and Diabetes: Are We Measuring Up?