Who We Are
Dr. Jill Litt (Principal Investigator)
Dr. Litt is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Health in the Department of Environmental Health in Colorado School of Public Health and the Environmental Studies Program at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Dr. Litt received her PhD in environmental health policy from the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health. She has extensive experience in the area of urban environmental health working over the past decade in the neighborhoods of Baltimore, Philadelphia, Boston and currently Denver on a variety of issues including urban brownfields cleanup and redevelopment, lead poisoning, residential demolition, environmental justice, chemical risk assessment, and most recently, housing and community gardens.
As an interdisciplinary researcher, Dr. Litt utilizes the methods of community-based participatory research, epidemiology, risk assessment, anthropology, and environmental science to study the relationships between residential environments and health. Dr. Litt is the Master’s of Public Health Environmental Health Concentration Director in Environmental Health at the Colorado School of Public Health. From 2005-2007, Dr. Litt served as Chair of the Environment Section of the American Public Health Association. Dr. Litt is a member of Denver Urban Garden’s Board of Directors and serves on many other committees dedicated to community development, urban planning and public health.
James Hale, MS
James Hale has worked in a variety of capacities on GGHC research over the past 3 years including data collection, survey and research design, GIS, drafting reports, and navigating the human subjects committee. Currently, he is using these skills to help develop and evaluate the Connecting Generations program, an intervention that aims to bring young people and older adults together through school gardens. James received an interdisciplinary Masters of Social Science degree from the University of Colorado. His thesis focused upon the role of aesthetics in influencing how different cultures relate to land and food systems. Prior to graduate school, James worked on farms and gardens here in the United States and also in Malawi as a Peace Corps Volunteer. He has been involved in number of other community based research projects in the Denver area. James is also a founding member of Produce Denver.
Dr. Julie Marshall (Co-Investigator)
Dr. Marshall is an associate professor in Preventive Medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. She is a Principal Investigator (PI) and Director of the Rocky Mountain Prevention Research Center, funded by CDC since 1998. She is also PI of a 5 year NIH funded community-based effectiveness trial for the prevention of diabetes and its complications. She is a chronic disease epidemiologist and has conducted population-based studies of obesity and type 2 diabetes over the past 20 years. More recently her work has focused on translating etiologic research findings into disease prevention by developing and testing community-based approaches to improve nutrition and physical activity. She brings to this study experience in study design and implementation, analytic expertise, measurement of physical activity and diet in Hispanic and non-Hispanic white populations and working with community members to develop and test community-based interventions targeting improved nutrition and increased physical activity.
Dr. Fahriye Sancar
Dr. Sancar is trained in the areas of architecture, urban planning, urban studies, and environment and behavior studies. The latter covers scholarly research in environmental perception, preferences and behavior. Dr. Sancar’s research is on developing procedures for community participation and testing them in the field in applied projects.(Sancar, 1993,1990, 1997,1988) She has facilitated strategic planning with national planning organizations, government agencies, private citizen groups, community planners, and industrialists. Her research includes longitudinal and comparative studies of urban form and planning processes as well as experimental studies of how scientific knowledge is integrated into planning and design.(1998b, 1997-98, 1996, 1995) Her most recent research projects are about political and economic processes that shape the public realm in cities and their social, behavioral, and ethical consequences (2001, 1998a). She uses a combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches and multiple methods for data acquisition and analysis. She has conducted controlled experiments, field experiments, and ethnographic studies and has extensive experience with large-scale questionnaire surveys, in depth interviews, structured interactive procedures, and archival research.
Michael Buchenau (Co-Investigator)
Mr. Buchenau is executive director of Denver Urban Gardens. His major area of expertise is landscape architecture and program development and implementation. Critical to his work is engagement of communities into the planning of urban gardens and community parks and building on the strengths of communities to transfer gardens into community ownership.
Dr. Lisa Bardwell (Co-Investigator)
Dr. Bardwell is vice president of the Colorado non-profit organization Front Range Earth Force, which was established in 1997. This organization is committed to youth development and the improvement of quality of life in neighborhoods. FREF is not a service organization that addresses the “needs of youth.” Rather, it challenges youth to shine as leaders and positive change agents. FREF has developed several major youth programs including the Community Action and Problem-Solving (CAPS) program, Global Rivers Environmental Education Network (GREEN), and Green City Project, which unite youth and adults to work together to improve their local environment. FREF provides training and support to the adults (e.g., VISTA and Americorps volunteers), who facilitate these programs with late elementary to high school aged youth in the Denver area. Currently FREF works with over 1500 youth, 45 educators at over 20 sites in the Denver-metro area.
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