news & events

March 21, 2018

Dr. Obasi examines health disparities and Project TOUCH on Houston Matters


UH Researcher Examines Health Disparities In Houston


Houston Matters learns about a grant to study health disparities and cultural predictors of health behavior in the African-American community.


Dr. Ezemenari Obasi wears many hats at the University of Houston. He’s associate dean of research at the university’s College of Education. He’s also the founder and director of the HEALTH Research Institute, which examines addictions and health disparities in Houston communities.


Dr. Obasi’s most recent research focuses on obesity and Type 2 diabetes in Houston’s Third Ward. The project is funded by a grant, and it provides obesity and diabetes primary prevention services and intervention programs in the Third Ward and, eventually, East End communities. Dr. Obasi says he’s working on building a permanent framework so there’s support in these communities after the funding runs out.


Houston Matters talks with Dr. Obasi about his research, how he wants to help surrounding Houston communities, and how Hurricane Harvey was both disruptive to his research and also provided an opportunity to collect new data on stress.


Click here to find out more

March 05, 2018

Dr. May Appointed By National Science Foundation as Program Director


Elebeoba E. May, associate professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering, received a $215,032 Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) award from the National Science Foundation.


The award supports her year-long appointment at the NSF as a program director of the Systems and Synthetic Biology Cluster within the Molecular and Cellular Biosciences Division.


As a program director, May will make funding recommendations; influence new directions in the fields of science, engineering and education; and support cutting-edge interdisciplinary research.


Read the full article here

March, 2018

HHP Faculty Received William T. Grant Research Award


HHP faculty Dr. Daphne Hernandez and Dr. Daniel O'Connor, along with Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab (Temple University) have been awarded a research award from the William T. Grant Foundation.

Their project titled "Can Food Scholarships Reduce Inequality by Improving College Persistence Among Community College Students?" aims to investigate how food scholarships affect low-income community college students’ grades, persistence, and sense of belonging in college and if they have more benefits for Latino and African American students.


Read the full article here

December 01, 2017

Dr. Reitzel Weighs in on Anti-Smoking ads with Texas Medical Center

New anti-smoking advertisements look like nothing consumers have seen before.

The ads display plain black text on a plain white background. There are no images of any kind. A monotone, seemingly robotic voice reads the text, with no vocal inflection and no music in the background.


Read the full article here

September 29 , 2017

The latest issue of the UH Research & Innovation Magazine focuses on the role urban universities play in promoting public health. Read the feature articles below.

Getting Healthcare in the Community

Don’t Dismiss Smoking as a Minor Health Concern

August 19, 2017


West Texas Centers to End Tobacco use on Properties September 1

The West Texas Centers is partnering with "Taking Texas Tobacco Free" (TTTF), which is funded by the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas. The TTTF project provides training, technical assistance and treatment resources to mental health authorities across the state in their efforts to become tobacco free.

Read the full article

March 28, 2017


UHF Gives $2million Grant toTackle Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes in the Third Ward


The HEALTH Research Institute will get a $2 million grant to help prevent and treat obesity and Type 2 diabetes in the city's Third Ward, a place that can often slip through the health care cracks. The program, scheduled to launch later this spring, is expected to reach 5,000 residents in the next three years, program organizers said. It is being funded by a grant from United Health Foundation, the nonprofit charitable arm of UnitedHealth Group, the insurance giant's parent company.


Watch Dr. Ezemenari Obasi and Dr. Dan O'Connor discuss the UHF grant on Fox26 Houston below.

Read the full announcement in the Houston Chronicle

Read the UH press release

September 27, 2016


The HEALTH Research Institute officially launches

The University of Houston released its official announcement of the HEALTH Research Institute. Co-founded by Dr. Ezemenari Obasi and Dr. Lorraine Reitzel, the interdisciplinary group of scientists behind the HEALTH Research Institute will focus on making improvements within communities that bear a disproportionate burden of disease and who are oftentimes disenfranchised, marginalized or underserved. “The University of Houston is embedded in one of the largest and most diverse metropolitan areas in the nation,” Obasi said. “We are committed to advancing science and practice to improve the health and, ultimately, the lives of those we interact with every day.” 

Read the full article here

December 2, 2015


Dr. Lorraine Reitzel Leads Taking Texas Tobacco Free Initiative

Dr. Lorraine Reitzel highlights the important work of the Taking Texas Tobacco Free program sponsored by the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas in this article from the UH College of Education.

Read the full article here

November 26, 2014


Dr. Lorraine Reitzel's Study Featured in Article on Income and Obesity

UH's The Daily Cougar profile on the link between fast food in low-income areas and obesity references study by Dr. Lorraine Reitzel, co-director of the HEALTH Research Institute.

Read the article here

May 23, 2013


Research by Dr. Lorraine Reitzel featured in Atlanta Black Star

Dr. Reitzel, co-director of the HEALTH REsearch  Institute, is quoted in Atlanta Black Star that focuses on her study published in the American Jouranal of Public Health on the link between fast-food restaurant proximity and higher BMI found in African-American population.

Read the article here

April 5, 2013


Dr. Ezemenari Obasi awarded $2.5 Million to Study Effects of Stress on Substance Abuse

A five-year, $2.5 million grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH) / National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) will support research from the University of Houston College of Education to investigate mechanisms that influence drug-related health disparities in the African-American community. Ezemenari M. Obasi, co-director of the HEALTH Research Institute, will lead research in Harris county and eight surrounding urban and rural counties.  He says the development of drug use and abuse in the African-American community is often informed by research that rarely include African-Americans or their social and cultural experiences. 

Read the full press release

Dr. Reitzel speaks about CPRIT and TTTF at CPRIT Conference

Taking Texas Tobacco Free & CPRIT Conference

UHF grant on Fox26 Houston

Watch Dr. Ezemenari Obasi and Dr. Dan O'Connor discuss the UHF grant on Fox26 Houston

Dr. Ezemenari Obasi published in Frontiers in Psychology

Dr. Ezemenari Obasi published in Frontiers in Psychology

Dr. Lorraine Reitzel published in Addiction

Read the full text, "Is smoking cessation associated with worse comorbid substance use outcomes among homeless adults?" on The Wiley Online Library.