UCSUR names recipients of 22nd annual Steven D. Manners Awards

The University Center for Social and Urban Research has selected three projects from five Pitt faculty members — two from the School of Medicine, two from the School of Social Work and one from the School of Public Health — to receive the Steven D. Manners Research Development Awards.

The awards, which were established in 2001, are for promising research projects in the social, behavioral, and policy sciences. They honor the memory of Steven Manners, a sociologist who began working at the center in 1974 and served as its assistant director from 1989 until his death in September 2000. His research and service to the center and the University community were dedicated to improving social conditions in the urban environment.

The proposed research must align with UCSUR's mission of working collaboratively to conduct interdisciplinary research that improves communities and addresses social, economic, health, and policy issues most relevant to society.

The following individuals received the 2022 Manners Award from UCSUR:

Karen P. Jakubowski, assistant professor of psychiatry, School of Medicine, Investigating Intimate Partner Violence in the Context of Sleep Among Survivors. Historically, intimate partner violence (IPV) measurement has focused on physical, sexual and psychological types of abuse. However, IPV can also involve attempts to control a partner’s decisions and behaviors. Sleep is one behavior that abusive partners may attempt to restrict, interrupt or control, however, there has been limited study into this issue. The contribution of sleep-related IPV to long-term sleep and health outcomes is unclear, which limits the ability to appropriately and effectively intervene on sleep among IPV survivors. The proposed study will: (1) characterize the construct of sleep-related IPV and (2) develop a self-report instrument to measure sleep-related IPV that is valid among diverse women, with the long-term goal  of identifying prevalence, vulnerable subgroups and associations with sleep, mood and health. Findings from this study have the potential to inform and innovate personalized interventions that improve sleep and health among IPV survivors.

Sara Goodkind and Jeffrey Shook, associate professors, School of Social Work, Fielding the “Trust and Disinformation in Allegheny County” Survey. The two plan to field a survey to provide a nuanced, localized understanding of residents’ information sources and usage; perceptions of trust and disinformation in Allegheny County. This survey will help identify points of weakness and resilience that will complement alternative computational approaches to understanding disinformation flows. Further, our work will identify previously hidden opportunities to strengthen ties across communities and improve citizens’ abilities to connect with those outside their immediate information network.

Andrea Rosso, associate professor, Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, and Andrea Weinstein, assistant professor, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine; Neighborhood Environment and Risk of Cognitive Impairment in Older Adults across Southwestern Pennsylvania. Prevalence of cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias is expected to increase as the population ages. Most prevention efforts have focused on individual health and behaviors with little attention on community-level risk factors. There is some evidence that neighborhood factors, including walkability and greenspace, promote brain health. However, current research is limited in its consideration of differences in quality or meaning of these neighborhood factors based on geographic setting (urbanicity, racial composition). The goal of this study is to examine 1) how neighborhood environment (walkability, greenspace) relates to cognitive impairment and 2) whether associations between neighborhood and cognitive impairment differ by geographic setting (urbanicity, racial make-up).