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Five Years of Progress and Community Engagement in Research in Flint

Debra Furr-Holden, Ph.D, presents a research overview to the MSU Board of Trustees on October 20, 2020.

Dr. Debra Furr-Holden is the Associate Dean for Public Health Integration, C.S. Mott Endowed Professor of Public Health, and Director of the Division of Public Health at the Michigan State University, Flint campus.

She is also the Director of the Flint Center for Health Equity Solutions, funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

An epidemiologist by training, her community-based, action-oriented research has been well received by community stakeholders and driven multiple policy interventions to address some of the nation’s greatest public health challenges, especially among racial and ethnic minorities and in racially- and economically-segregated communities.

Dr. Furr-Holden attended the Johns Hopkins University Krieger School of Arts and Sciences receiving a BA in Natural Sciences and Public Health, and earned her PhD from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

She is the developer of a novel observational environmental assessment tool, the Neighborhood Inventory for Environmental Typology (NIfETy). The NIfETy is a unique systematic social observation developed to measure features of the built and social environment linked to violence, alcohol, tobacco, and other drug (VAOD) exposure.
In 2005, she received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers for her early career accomplishments in substance abuse research and research using the NIfETy.

Debra joined MSU in 2016 and returned to Flint where she grew up. Along with her research she is active in the community and currently serves on the board of the Ruth Mott Foundation.

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