Category Archives: Publications

Overview of research at N.C. A&T published

Cover of the new DORED research brochure, "Research Moving Forward: An Overview of Research at North Carolina A&T State University."The Division of Research and Economic Development (DORED) has published a new brochure,  “Research Moving Forward: An Overview of Research at North Carolina A&T State University.” (PDF)  It provides a high-level view of major research projects, research clusters and centers, commercialization and tech transfer, and undergraduate and graduate research.  Printed copies are available from DORED.

Also now available: the DORED FY 2011 Annual Report and the guide to DORED services.

Mathematics & African American Male Students: Noble explores a research path less taken

“The social realities of African American men are far from ordinary and difficulties are abundant. Consequently, their impediments, failures, adversities, setbacks, frustrations, and inequities are exaggerated when compared to women or men of another race or ethnicity. For a group that arguably faces the greatest challenges in education, research should be conducted, and made readily available, that offers practical and comprehensive solutions to defuse the negative perceptions of, what seems, a majority of this group’s members.”

Dr. Richard Noble of the Department of Mathematics is saying those words and taking his own advice in “Mathematics Self-Efficacy and African American Male Students: An Examination of Two Models of Success,” published in the Journal of African American Males in Education (Summer 2011, Volume 2, Issue 2).

Noble notes that there’s no shortage of documentation of the failures of young African American men, but far less on those who have success in academic settings (although the literature on that point is growing).  His article explores the personal stories of African American men who excelled in mathematics to understand the impact of their self-efficacy beliefs on their motivation and later academic achievement in math at the postsecondary level.

Conclusion: “General analyses of autobiographies and interviews revealed that enactive attainment and vicarious experience were influential sources for these African American men’s self-efficacy beliefs and were supported by family, friends, and peers.”

Going beyond that overall finding, Noble’s work finds vicarious experience appeared to be a stronger force with the men he studied, which supports some previous findings and may differ from others.

Addressing a challenge in biomedical research: Too few African American male participants

African American males continue to have the highest age-adjusted mortality rate of any race-sex group in the United States. But research that could lower that death rate is often of limited reliability because of a shortage of African American men willing to participate in biomedical research studies. Researchers at N.C. A&T, Duke University and the University of Miami look into the reasons why and what can be done in the June issue of the Journal of the National Medical Association.

The higher death rate is attributable both to a variety of diseases, including diabetes, HIV, cancer, and cardiovascular disease, and to social and cultural factors.  “Distrust of the medical community, inadequate education, low socioeconomic status, social deprivation, and underutilized primary health care services all contribute to disproportionate health and health care outcomes among African Americans compared to their Caucasian counterparts,” the researchers report.

They found that African American males of all ages are willing to participate in several types of health-related research studies.  Their level of participation is “significantly influenced” by education level.  And it’s motivated by civic duty, monetary compensation and whether they or a relative has had the disease being studied.

“However, African American males, across all age groups, continue to report a lack of trust as a primary reason for their unwillingness to participate in biomedical research,” the article states.  That distrust is rooted in the men’s awareness of historical cases of research misconduct in which minorities were abused or exposed to racial discrimination or racist provocation. In addition, African American men continue to be less educated and more disenfranchised than white men and women and their African American female counterparts.

The authors’ solution is to look to the basics of relationship-building: communicate better and back your words with action.  “There is an ongoing need to continue to seek advice, improve communication, and design research studies that garner trust and improve participation among African American males as a targeted underrepresented population. Such communication and dialogues should occur at all age levels of research development to assess current attitudes and behaviors of African American males around participation.”

The article was written by Drs. Goldie S. Byrd (lead author), Vinaya A. Kelkar and Ruth G. Phillips of N.C. A&T; Dora Som Pim-Pong, Takiyah D. Starks, and Ashleigh L. Taylor, all of N.C. A&T; graduate student Jennifer R.  Byrd of N.C. A&T; undergraduate student Raechel E. McKinley of N.C. A&T; Dr. Christopher L. Edwards of Duke University; and Dr. Margaret Pericak-Vance and graduate student Yi-Ju Li of the University of Miami.

The research was funded by the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health.  The article is available online at the journal’s website.

Human trafficking victims and their children

Increasing attention is being paid to the issue of human trafficking in the United States and worldwide.  Once the victims are freed, however, their situations don’t necessarily receive as much attention.  This is particularly true of foreign-born survivors who are able to bring their children to the United States.

Dr. Maura Nsonwu, adjunct assistant professor of social work, has teamed with two faculty members from the University of Texas at Austin to study the needs of these women.  They presented their results in an article, “Human Trafficking Victims and Their Children: Assessing Needs, Vulnerabilities, Strengths, and Survivorship,” in the spring issue of the Journal of Applied Research on Children: Informing Policy for Children at Risk. (available online here).

In the study, nine victims of human trafficking were interviewed; seven were awaiting the arrival of their children in the United States or had recently been reunited with them. While the results aren’t generalizable to all trafficking victims and their children, “findings from this study are significant, and break ground with regard to our understanding of the needs of human trafficking victims and their immigrant children.  Therefore, findings may be applicable for practice and policy consideration in the human trafficking field.”

Dr. Nsonwu and her co-authors note that many foreign-born survivors are unable to return to their home countries “because of safety concerns and the wide reach of criminal trafficking networks.” The researchers identified a set of common themes in the women’s views of the emotional, social and bureaucratic challenges of reuniting with their children.  The women’s voices come through clearly in the article.  Their determination, hope and fears underline the message of Dr. Nsonwu and her colleagues that more needs to be known about these survivors and that policies and practices need to be developed that are as strong as the women’s own motivation to establish strong homes and lives for their children.

“When I found out that in this country I had support, actually in this country I felt safer and more supported than I ever did in my own country. That is why I love you all so much. I do not know everyone that helped me, but in my heart I love them all.”