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Center for Social Change:
2017 Social Change Grant Recipients & Social Change Fellows

Walden University's Center for Social Change is a connective hub that promotes, facilitates, and supports collaborative alliances, action research, and projects that lead to purposeful action for sustainable positive social change.

Socio-Ecological Factors Impacting Zika Virus Transmission in Lima, Peru

Dr. Aimee Ferraro


Dr. Aimee Ferraro: Walden University College of Health Professions

The purpose of this qualitative study is to better understand the unique socio-ecological factors that influence individual-level Zika virus prevention practices of residents in four shantytown communities in Lima, Peru.

Study participants will leave with increased knowledge of feasible prevention methods they can implement in their homes to reduce the risk of Zika virus transmission. Findings will also be shared with the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization and Peruvian Ministry of Health to inform future Zika virus risk communication efforts and prevention programs targeting shantytown communities in Peru, ultimately helping to reduce the burden of Zika in Latin America.


My project was entitled “The Socio-Ecological Factors Impacting Zika Virus Transmission in Shantytowns of Lima, Peru”. My inspiration for the project came about when the huge Zika outbreak started in Brazil. And I wanted to see if there were risk factors in Lima before the outbreak came towards our city.

And I realized that the different communities around Lima had different ways of building their homes and different ways of storing water. And so, my intention was to go in and do individual home visits to realize the risk factors, if they were different by community or by individual.

The results of my project showed that as I suspected, each community had different risks. For example, one community wasn't covering the lids of their water bins correctly. A different community would have animals outside with their own water bins, and they wouldn't clean them out. A third community would have garbage collecting. And so, my results showed that we need to have specialized and targeted risk communication messages for each community depending on what their problems are.

Being a Walden Social Change Fellow help me contribute to a positive social change because it connected me to a wider community of people who could support my work. It helped me disseminate my findings farther. It helped me have funding so that I could give the participants in my study something back. It helped me to connect with the Walden community for collaboration and further research as I continue projects in the future.   

Aimee Ferraro is an ethnographer, epidemiologist, and core faculty member in Walden University’s School of Health Sciences. She holds a dual B.A. in Biology and Psychology from Johns Hopkins University, an M.P.H. in Epidemiology from George Washington University, and a Ph.D. in Health and Behavioral Sciences from the University of Colorado at Denver. Her interest in infectious and vector-borne diseases began during her tenure as a CDC/CSTE Applied Epidemiology Fellow with the Pennsylvania Department of Health. She is currently conducting research on Zika virus knowledge, attitudes, and practices in Peru, where she has lived since 2008.

Read more about Dr. Ferraro and her work.

Wounded Healers: HIV + Community Health Workers as Agents of Social Change

Dr. Richard Jiminez

Dr. Richard Jiminez, Principle Investigator: Walden College of Health Professions

Ms. Phronie Jackson, Co-Investigator: Walden College of Health Professions

Dr. Faith Foreman, Co-Investigator (Walden College of Health Professions)

The purpose of this study is to examine the experiences of HIV-positive community health workers who serve HIV-positive clients in the Washington, DC, to better understand why HIV-positive health workers choose to work with HIV-positive people; and to explore if the relationship between HIV positive Community Health Care Workers (HIV + CHW)  and their clients is synergistic, in that the work is therapeutic for both worker and client, and that it may help to empower the HIV + CHW as an effective provider of health services and agent of social change.

The potential positive social change impact of this study is that understanding why HIV + CHW choose to work with HIV positive persons and how they provide those services may help to strengthen the HIV/AIDS workforce through the development of effective CHW recruitment, training, and sustainability programs.

We wanted to know more about what the motivations were for HIV-positive community health workers who choose to work with HIV-positive clients.
A very interesting finding of our research was that community health workers think of themselves as community activists. So, it's not just an individual helping HIV-positive clients navigate the system, deal with an HIV diagnosis. But importantly, they consider themselves as agents of social change, actual community activists. They want to change the system. They want to change the community and the community response to HIV.
We also found that the rewards that they received were very personal rewards. They felt that it helped them cope with their own diagnoses, and it also, they felt that they were contributing something positive to the community. We believe that the knowledge that we gained from this study will help promote the development of new programs and more effective training programs for community health workers, and I think that will strengthen the overall workforce in the public health field. 


Dr. Richard Jimenez

Dr. Richard Jimenez is currently a full-time core faculty member in Walden’s College of Health Professions where he teaches graduate students in Public Health, and supervises Ph.D. dissertation and Dr.PH doctoral study research. Dr. Jimenez received his Doctorate in Public Health degree from the University of Texas School of Public Health. Dr. Jimenez has over 28 years’ experience in Public Health practice, teaching and research, including work as a Public Health Advisor at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, GA, and as Senior Research Scientist and Director of Patient Safety Research at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston. His research interests include program evaluation, infectious diseases, health disparities and the public health impact of medical errors and patient safety.

Read More about Dr. Jimenez and his work here.

We'd like to congratulate Walden's Richard Jimenez, Social Change Fellow and Core faculty member, for his 2017-2018 David A. Wilson Award in Teaching and Excellence, as recognized by Walden University, LLC!

Richard's work, "Lived Experiences, Perceptions and Expectations of Asian and Latino/a Online Doctoral Students" is the basis for this award. 


Dr. Phronie Jackson

Dr. Phronie Jackson is currently a part-time adjunct faculty member at the University of the District of Columbia, where she teaches undergraduate students in Public Health and Psychology and serves as the evaluator for the University’s MSI/CBO SAMSHA grant. Dr. Jackson received her Doctorate in Public Health degree from Walden University in November 2016. Dr. Jackson has over 10 years’ experience in Public Health practice including, developing and implementing public health interventions, working as a Community Health Outreach Manager at the largest hospital system in Washington, DC, and as a Program Coordinator for a 5 year national HIV/AIDS Prevention grant foundered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, GA. Her research interests include health equity, program evaluation, health disparities, and the public health impact of gentrification on underserved community populations.


Dr. Faith Foreman

Dr. Faith Foreman has served as a Contributing Faculty Member in the Walden University College of Health Professions for more than 10 years as a doctoral research supervisor and scholar. Faith is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Public Health and Texas Southern University. She also has a license to practice nursing in the State of Texas. Dr. Foreman is a seasoned public health practitioner and academician. An expert in public and community health promotion, evaluation and planning, Faith has lead the design, implementation and evaluation of numerous health interventions at the local, state and federal level. She has managed staff in public and not-for-profit health centers, as well as lead multi-disciplinary teams in conducting large scale community assessments and interventions.

Health System Determinants of Access to Maternal Health Medicines: An Analysis of WHO Low-and-Middle-Income Country Profiles

Chinonso Nnorom

Dr. Chinonso Nnorom: Walden University School of Health Sciences

The purpose of this study is to explore the potential strength of association between health system building blocks and access to three life-saving maternal health medicines in low and middle-income countries.

Findings from this study will highlight the complexities that underlie making essential medicines for maternal health available and accessible in low and middle-income countries. Depending on the analytic results, priorities for policy-making will be offered, and the study could help reduce the number of women dying from pregnancy-related causes.

Dr. Nnorom is a wife, mum, and full time doctoral candidate at the department of public health in Walden University. Dr. Nnorom holds an MPH degree from Nigeria’s prestigious University of Ibadan, and a Ph.D. from Walden University. She has spent the last 10 years working with Ministries of Health, International Agencies, and community organizations to facilitate institutional reforms and strengthen health systems in Africa.  Dr. Nnorom recently served as a Senior researcher and consultant to the United Nations where she engaged successfully with regional, national, and international stakeholders to promote community engagement and design strategic frameworks and policies that helped shape, coordinate and improve effectiveness of HIV/AIDS, Maternal Health (MH) and Reproductive Health(RH) Interventions.

Read more about Dr. Nnorom and her study.