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Global Health student receives grant to study tobacco use among South Asians

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Melanie Sabado, a doctoral student at Claremont Graduate University's School of Community and Global Health (SCGH), has received a $15,000 grant to study issues surrounding tobacco-use among young adult South Asians in America.

Melanie Sabado, Claremont Graduate University StudentThe Cornelius Hopper Diversity Award Supplement is funded by the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TDRP).
Even though they represent the third most populous Asian group in the United States, South Asians are a neglected community in regards to tobacco research.

“Cigarette smoking prevalence among US South Asians is nearly double the national rate, yet evidence-based smoking-cessation programs tailored to these cultures and lifestyles are nonexistent,” Sabado said.

This is the first study to conduct a comprehensive investigation of South Asian tobacco use, cues, and quitting behavior that considers social and cultural influences. The aim is to help create an intervention study that can be tailored specifically for South Asians.

Sabado is conducting her research with the support of SCGH Associate Professor Paula Palmer. Sabado's grant is connected to a larger, parent grant received last year by Palmer and Zul Surani, project director of Saath.

Saath is a South Asian community-based organization in Los Angeles that represents peoples from Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The name of the organization comes from a word that means “together, collective action” in many South Asian languages.

Palmer, Sabado, and Saath are using community-based participatory research that will help identify the unique factors that South Asians face in regards to tobacco. The team plans to use focus groups, surveys, and social media to collect data.

“One of Melanie’s unique strengths is an uncanny ability to connect easily with people regardless of their cultural background," Palmer said. "This is a real plus when delving into the reasons why some people maintain healthy behaviors and others don't.

About the School of Community and Global Health

Based at Claremont Graduate University in Southern California, its program offered masters degree in public health and a PhD in prevention science and health promotion. Its leading faculty researches emerging world issues and focus on preventative illnesses and diseases within communities around the world.

About Claremont Graduate University


Founded in 1925, Claremont Graduate University is one of the top graduate schools in the United States. Our nine academic schools conduct leading-edge research and award masters and doctoral degrees in 24 disciplines. Because the world’s problems are not simple nor easily defined, diverse faculty and students research and study across the traditional discipline boundaries to create new and practical solutions for the major problems plaguing our world. A Southern California based graduate school devoted entirely to graduate research and study, CGU boasts a low student-to-faculty ratio.


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