Center for Health Equity


Assistant Professor Awarded NIH K01 Grant

Published: October 5, 2023

Dr. Jemima John
Jemima John, PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor with the Department of Epidemiology at UTHealth Houston School of Public Health, Jemima John, PhD, has been awarded a three-year $388,000 k01 grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. The goal of the grant is to use a systems-level lens to examine the impact of a patient-informed medical-legal partnership intervention on legal needs. The grant focuses on pediatric families enrolled across UT Physicians clinics. The intervention is supported by John's mentor, Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Epidemiology, Shreela Sharma, PhD, as well as collaborators across Houston research institutions.

John states the rationale for the grant as "adverse social determinants of health (SDoH) disproportionately impact low-income and communities of color. Cross-disciplinary innovations can address these adverse SDoH needs by optimizing care coordination. One example of this innovation is medical-legal partnerships (MLPs) wherein healthcare and legal teams partner to address adverse social needs through legal remediation."

In this study, John will apply a systems-level perspective, with support from the Houston Health Equity Collective and the UTHealth Houston MLP network, to address adverse social needs across a low-income, racially-ethnic diverse sample. The study will use key informant interviews to explore themes that influence patients' experiences with screening and resource access, focusing on how patient experiences may affect their willingness to use an MLP program. John and the study team will use the findings to develop and implement a real-world MLP intervention to better understand MLP effectiveness.

John and her research team will also integrate the RE-AIM (reach, effectiveness, approach, implementation, and maintenance) framework to better assess and understand the factors that influence implementation success across UT Physicians multispecialty clinics.

Beyond her MLP research, John plays a key evaluation role in the food security workgroup within the Health Equity Collective, which is presently co-led by Sharma and Senior Project Manager Heidi McPherson, MPH.