Previous Projects

BEATS Project

The Brothers Encouraged to Access Testing Services (BEATS) project was a research study funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The BEATS project focused on HIV testing and HIV prevention among heterosexual Black men aged 18-25 with a history of arrest and/or incarceration. 


This study surveyed 200 men and included 20 in-depth interviews. The goal was to identify gender norms and other cultural factors associated with HIV risk and to identify best practices in promoting HIV testing among this population. 


In addition to research, the project's CAB implemented several community health education events.  This included a final conference in 2013 co-sponsored by St. John's University and BET Rap It Up Campaign.

APA BET Campaign

The APA BET Campaign was a partnership between the American Psychological Association Office on AIDS and BET Networks Rap It Up Campaign (2013-2015).  The purpose of the partnership was to develop materials for a national HIV prevention campaign targeting African American youth and provide HIV prevention expert information/sources to the Rap It Up Campaign.  Y-Heart lab lead the national Youth Advisory Board which assisted the development of the HIV prevention campaign. 

Advantage Academy Evaluation

The St. John’s Advantage Academy program was a partnership between St. John’s University and the New York City Department of Homeless Services (DHS). The Advantage Academy provided qualified individuals, from homeless and formerly homeless households, with the opportunity to obtain an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration from the College of Professional Studies at St. John's University, Queens campus, at no cost. The program ended in 2015.


The purpose of our research was to evaluate the success of the Advantage Academy, which was established in 2009.  Specifically we focused on the evaluation of non-academic, positive outcomes such as confidence, commitment to service, value of diversity, from participation in the Advantage Academy. The evaluation consisted of interviews and surveys with former students.

ECHO Summit

The Empowering Communities through Hip hOp (ECHO) Summit was a one day conference held at St. John’s University in October 2010 for service providers and youth. The conference showcased leaders who have pioneered the use of Hip Hop as a prevention tool in working with youth. 


Over 150 attendees were exposed to strategies to empower the community and collaborate in addressing health and social issues. The event consisted of a panel discussion featuring Rhymefest, DJ Beverly Bond, Ralph McDaniels, Thembisa Mshaka among others.  


The conference also included break-out workshops structured to highlight Hip Hop’s positive influence through interventions for at risk youth and to raise their awareness of relevant health issues. 

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Context of Risk Project

The Context of Risk (COR) study was a pilot survey study that explored how neighborhood context and psychological factors are associated with HIV risk among Black youth (ages 16-21 years) attending a sexual health clinic.  Findings from the study were used to inform The Neighborhood Study (see below).


Neighborhood Study

The Neighborhood Study was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to examine the relationship of neighborhood and psychological factors on HIV risk taking behaviors among Black youth. 


Overall the study found that Black youth who perceive their neighborhood as having high levels of violence and illegal drug activity are more likely to feel hopeless and not in control of their lives which was associated with more drug use and high risk sexual behaviors.

Child Bereavement Project

The Child Bereavement Project was funded by NYLife Foundation in collaboration with Dr. Elissa Brown (Department of Psychology), the Child HELP partnership and Dr. Robin Goodman.The project was designed to describe child experiences with grief and to identify best practices for child bereavement services in New York City.  Y-Heart lab contributed to the project by conducting focus groups of parents/caregivers of children who experienced the death of a parent, service providers/professionals, and teenagers who experienced the death of a parent. 


Results indicated a lack of child bereavement services in New York City, difficulty with locating programs/resources associated with child bereavement, need for more awareness about child bereavement among school personnel, and preferred structures for child bereavement programs. 


The findings will be used to inform future programs developed by Dr. Goodman to assist clinicians and practitioners working with children who are experiencing the death of a parent/loved one.


St. John’s Bread and Life Positive Outcomes Project

The St. John’s Bread and Life Positive Outcomes Project was designed to examine psychological benefits associated with providing and/or receiving services at St. John’s Bread and Life, a community agency which provides food and assistance to the poor. 


Focus groups and surveys were conducted with volunteers, staff and clients to examine aspects of hope, optimism, gratitude, and life satisfaction experienced from participating in St. John’s Bread and Life services and programs.  Co-Principal Investigator- Dr. William Chaplin (Department of Psychology).