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Fordham University Pathways to Health Study

The Pathways to Health Study was conducted in April 2020 to understand the biosocial, psychological, and social impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on young adults (age 18 – 25; N = 600) from diverse racial/ethnic groups, socioeconomic and employment status and geographic regions of the U.S. The anonymous survey conducted through Qualtrics examined participants’ self-reported sleep patterns, somatic symptoms, feelings of anxiety and depression, substance use, social isolation, racial/ethnic discrimination, Coronavirus stigmatization and Coronavirus racial bias. The study was conducted by Celia B. Fisher ( and Tiffany Yip ( and funded by the Fordham University Center for Ethics Education, Director, Celia B. Fisher.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Racial Bias Scale (CRBS)
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Victimization Distress Scale (CVDS)

Fisher, C. B., Tao, X., & Yip, T. (2020). The Effects of Coronavirus Victimization Distress and Coronavirus Racial Bias on Mental Health Among Black, Indigenous and Latinx Young Adults in the United StatesmedRxiv

Downloadable Presentation(s)
Fisher, C. B., Tao, X., & Yip, T. (2020). Mental Health and Racial Justice in the Time of COVID-19. American Society for Bioethics and Humanities.

Genomics, Big Data and Broad Consent: A New Ethics Frontier for Prevention Science

Prevention scientists embarking on gene-by-intervention (GxI) and other research involving biospecimens are faced with a new frontier of ethical challenges regarding the use of biospecimens with a prolonged life course coupled with increased data sharing with unknown future investigators for possibly radically different purposes. The purpose of this project is to examine the upcoming changes to the federal regulations that guide the ethical research of human subjects and implications for prevention science. A manuscript published in Prevention Science tackled the rationale for changes in the informed consent process and how these changes may shape research practices for current and future prevention scientists.

Developmental Strengths and Vulnerabilities

For almost half of adolescents, progress toward developing a health identity and transitioning to adulthood is complicated by a mental health condition, most dramatically when removed from their community during periods of hospitalization. Differences in well-being in early adulthood may be driven by the frequency to which psychiatric symptoms and inpatient services interfered with daily life during adolescence and the achievement of key developmental tasks.  These tasks include self-determination (developing autonomy, relationships, and a sense of competency), and a personal identity free from negative self-stigma. In 2018, conducted an online survey with 166 adults with a history of adolescent, psychiatric hospitalization to examine the relationships between psychiatric interference in adolescence and developmental tasks with three mental health outcomes in early adulthood, symptom distress, recovery, and quality of life.

Predictors of Sexual Health in Young Lesbian and Bisexual Black Women who have Sex with Men

Currently, there is a lack of research on sexual health predictors in ethnic and sexual minority women. The aim of this research is to increase understanding of the personal, familial, cultural and systemic risk and protective factors associated with sexual and reproductive health in Black sexual minority females. This online, quantitative study surveyed 300 young adult Black lesbian and bisexual women who have sex with men and women living in the US. Results yielded information regarding the intersection of gender and race in understanding disparities in healthcare services for black sexual minority women.

“They are an adult, they know the risks:” Investigators confront the benefits and challenges of online HIV research

Online research has become a critical modality for research aimed at reducing health disparities among hidden populations most at risk for HIV infection. Social media has provided a recruitment vehicle to reach large and diverse samples of participants from these groups. This study drew on the experiences of principal investigators (PIs) to illuminate benefits and challenges of online HIV research.

Ethics in HIV Prevention Research Involving LGBT Youth

The overarching goal of the current NIMHD funded project is to inform evidence-based decision making by investigators and IRBs alike regarding the responsible design and conduct of HIV prevention research involving LGBTY. This will be done using online surveys with focus groups of LGTBYs. We propose to address this knowledge gap with three specific aims: (1) To inform ethically responsible decision making and IRB application of relevant federal regulations to the evaluation of psychological, social and informational risk-benefits of LGBTY involvement in HIV bio-behavioral research. (2) To inform ethically responsible decision making and IRB application of regulations permitting waivers of guardian permission and for LGBTY participation in HIV prevention research. (3): To inform ethically responsible decision making and IRB application of regulations on youth capacity to consent for LGBTY participation in biomedical HIV prevention trials. Using a novel test of consent preparedness, we will generate empirical data on the consent preparedness of LGBT youths’ ages 15 – 17 compared to LGBT youth with adult legal status (18 – 20 years).