Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2016

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



This dissertation includes four, co-authored essays in which social epidemiological concepts and methods were applied to explore the nexus of race, education, and health in the United States. In the first two essays, colleagues and I employed geospatial mapping and analysis to examine the association between past, racially segregative, housing practices and the geospatial distribution of poor, education, health, and related developmental outcomes across Ferguson, Missouri, and the surrounding St. Louis metropolitan region. We investigated this association during two, respective cross-sections of time. Results revealed the nature and distribution of class and racial disparities across the region. Based on the results, recommendations to improve social, economic, education, and health-related outcomes for all, local citizens were highlighted. The studies in the latter two essays focus on characterizing hookah tobacco use among 18-to-24-year-old, African American college students. Specifically, the relative contribution of individual- and school-level, contextual factors to hookah smoking risk among this population was examined. Findings indicated distinct, individual-level and contextual risk and protective factors for hookah tobacco use among African American college students. Given our findings, recommendations for future research, policy, and college health promotion practice were discussed. Considered together, the studies in this dissertation illuminate how various individual-level and social factors can interact to shape youth education and health outcomes and how these outcomes, in turn, have life-course and intergenerational implications for human development.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

William F. Tate

Committee Members

Renee M. Cunningham-Williams, Garrett A. Duncan, Rowhea Elmesky, Mark C. Hogrebe,


Permanent URL: