Several children run together in the park.

Community Health and Research

Discovering and implementing evidence-based community interventions to improve the health and safety of children and their families.

A family poses in front of a vehicle.

Our impact

Investigators with the Community Health and Research division use community-engaged research methods to ensure the health and safety of kids and teens. These efforts inform their development and application of initiatives that aim to promote community health and influence positive change.

Since 2010, our division has helped EVMS win more than $21.6 million in funding from outside sources, with 113 grants and contracts awarded for work in Hampton Roads communities.

From substance abuse to childhood obesity, our faculty are searching for solutions to the broad range of health and safety issues that affect kids today.

Understanding Needs and Developing Effective Strategies

Andrew Plunk, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, studies the real-world impact of policies on the community. He works closely with residents of public housing to understand perceptions of trust and fairness, monitors health risk data in the community, and works to develop strategies to increase effectiveness of policies and public health outreach. In 2020, he and his team were awarded several NIH grants for this work, including a MERIT Award from the National Cancer Institute, totaling $4.3 million. 

Increasing awareness

Kelli England, PhD, Professor of Pediatrics, has designed several large-scale behavior-change programs that have had a national impact, including the “Boost ‘em in the Back Seat” awareness campaign, which encourages the use of booster seats in vehicles.

Dr. England received two Governor's Awards for her work in 2018, and was named a global leader in road safety by the United Nations in 2019. Her video was viewed over 23 million times.