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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

UNC Faculty Receives NIH Grant to Address Substance Use in Young Black Men

Dr. Wizdom Powell, assistant professor of health behavior at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, has received a National Institutes of Health grant to study how neighborhoods and daily stress affect substance abuse by Black men.

The five-year award is for $775,602.

Dr. Powell’s research has focused upon a number of Black men’s health issues, particularly in relation to the combined effects of masculinity and racial discrimination upon health.

Black males who are 18 to 29 years of age exhibit a steeper escalation in substance use and experience disproportionately higher rates of correlated poor health outcomes (including HIV-related death and homicide) and lower educational attainment, when compared with White men in the same age group, Dr. Powell noted.

Neighborhoods have been identified as important contexts for investigating substance use during emerging adulthood, yet few studies examine how these contexts shape substance use or misuse in real-time. There is also little data about the intermediary role of daily stress exposure in explaining why some Black males from neighborhoods with high violence, alcohol and drug activity may engage in more problematic use of alcohol, marijuana and other substances.

“While enhancing the current understanding of the effects of neighborhood contexts upon problematic substance use in Black males,” Dr. Powell said, “we hope also to inform the development of real-time interventions that will prevent addiction and relapse, in ways that ultimately will  reduce premature deaths from substance use among Black males.”


Photo: Dr. Wizdom Powell

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