Human Development and Social Justice

HDSJ Lab Logo

The Human Development and Social Justice (HDSJ) Lab is led by Dr. Celia B. Fisher, Marie Ward Doty University Chair in Ethics, Professor in the Fordham University Applied Developmental Psychology program, and Director of both the Center for Ethics Education and the NIDA-funded HIV/Drug Abuse Prevention Research Ethics Training Institute.

In the HDSJ Lab, our research is at the intersection of developmental science and social justice. We apply developmental theory and research methods, as well as contemporary research ethics frameworks, to examine the experiences that promote equity and wellbeing among under-researched populations. Our lab has focused on issues of stigma, identity, health disparities and the role of personal and systemic experiences in daily life. We explore these experiences within underserved adolescent groups: ethnic minorities, LGBT and individuals with a history of mental health and substance-use conditions. We are committed to conducting and promoting research that enhances the responsible conduct of research by looking at issues such as informed consent, motivations and implications of research participation and facilitators and barriers to health care services.

Our current projects focus on vaccine hesitancy among economically and socially marginalized groups, improving harm reduction services for persons with substance use disorders, the impact of social media on racial and ethnic minority adolescents and young adults, and factors promoting healthy sexual development. Students in the HDSJ Lab also have the opportunity to participate in activities and collaborate with early-career scientists through the HIV and Drug Abuse Prevention Research Ethics Training Institute.

Main research interests include:

  • Health disparities among racial/ethnic and sexual/gender minority populations
  • Understanding and preventing HIV and substance use risk
  • Ethics and social justice in research and professional practice
  • Sexual health and wellbeing among adolescents and young adults
  • Developmental trajectories for mental health and recovery
  • Development within the context of social media and other new technologies

 Lab Highlights

    • Scyatta Wallace, PhD, an alum of the Applied Developmental Psychology program, was interviewed for the Women of Color STEM Conference in Detroit, MI. The interview covers Dr. Wallace's research, how she builds a circle of influence and support, and her work as a leadership expert for women in STEM. 
    • Xiangyu Tao, MA, a fifth-year doctoral student in the HDSJ Lab, has been awarded the Journal of Youth and Adolescence’s 2021 Emerging Scholar Best Article Award recipient for her Masters thesis publication “Exposure to Social Media Racial Discrimination and Mental Health among Adolescents of Color.” Read more here.

    • Diana Paradise, FCRH '25, a Fordham junior and research assistant in the HDSJ Lab, has been featured in Fordham News and the Fordham Ram for their research investigating the motivations and consequences of sexting amongst adolescent sexual minority men. Diana's research was part of the FCRH Summer Research Program under the mentorship of Dr. Celia Fisher in the HDSJ Lab. Watch the video below to learn more about Diana's research project.

Recently Published Articles from the Lab

Fisher, C., Bragard, E., Madhavanan, P. (2023).  COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy among Economically Marginalized Hispanic Parents of Children under Five Years in the United States. Vaccines, 11, 599.

Tao, X., Yip, T., &  Fisher, C. B. (2023) Psychological Well-being and Substance Use during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Ethnic/Racial Identity, Discrimination and Vigilance. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, 28, 1-10. 10.1007/s40615-022-01497-y

Tao, X., Yip, T., &  Fisher, C. B. (2022). Employment, Coronavirus victimization distress, and substance use disorders among Black and Non-Hispanic White young adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse. PMID: 35758224 DOI: 10.1080/15332640.2022.2091702

Tao, X., Liu, T., Fisher, C. B., Giorgi, S., & Curtis, B. (2022). COVID-related social determinants of substance use disorder among diverse US racial ethnic groupsSocial Science & Medicine, 115599. 

Fisher, C. B., Bragard, E., Jaber, R., & Gray, A. (2022). COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy among Parents of Children under Five Years in the United StatesVaccines10(8), 1313.

Bragard, E., & Fisher, C. B. (2022). Associations between sexting motivations and consequences among adolescent girlsJournal of Adolescence. 

Fisher, C. B., Gray, A., & Sheck, I. (2022). COVID-19 Pediatric Vaccine Hesitancy among Racially Diverse Parents in the United StatesVaccines, 10(1), 31.

Fisher, C. B., Tao, X., Liu, T., Giorgi, S., & Curtis, B. L. (2021). COVID-Related Victimization, Racial Bias and Employment and Housing Disruption Increase Mental Health Risk Among US Asian, Black and Latinx Adults. Frontiers in public health, 1625. DOI: 10.3389/fpubh.2021.772236 

Layman, D. M., & Fisher, C. B. (2022). Profiles of Psychological Strengths on Symptom Distress, Recovery, and Quality of Life Among Young Adults with a History of Adolescent Psychiatric HospitalizationCommunity mental health journal, 10.1007/s10597-022-00936-8. Advance online publication.

Tao, X., & Fisher, C. B. (2021). Exposure to social media racial discrimination and mental health among adolescents of color. Journal of youth and adolescence, 1-15.  

Gray, A. & Fisher, C. B. (2021). Predictors of contraceptive self-efficacy and condom use among young Black women who have sex with women and menJournal of Bisexuality

Human Development & Social Justice Lab group picture
Human Development & Social Justice Lab group picture