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Rutgers College of Nursing faculty member Rachel Jones awarded Rutgers-Newark Provost Award

(NEWARK, N.J., Nov. 26, 2007) Rutgers College of Nursing faculty member Rachel Jones has been selected to be the recipient of the Rutgers-Newark Provosts Award for Community Engagement in Research. This award is for research of broad scholarly significance based in whole or in part on data from Newark or Northern New Jersey.

Steven J. Diner, Rutgers-Newark provost, established the Provosts Awards for Community Engagement to acknowledge the valuable relationships Rutgers-Newark faculty, staff and students created with Newark and Northern New Jersey. The awards are presented to members of the Rutgers-Newark community who have demonstrated leadership in connecting the campus with the community. They awards are: Award for Community Engagement in Teaching and Learning, Award for Community Engagement in Research, Student Community Service Award, Faculty/Staff Community Service Award and Community Partner Award.

Jones, assistant professor at the College of Nursing at Rutgers, The State University, was honored for research into the potential of urban soap opera videos to communicate HIV risk reduction in young adult urban women.

The stories in the soap opera videos were based on stories told by women in focus groups held in Newark and Jersey City. These focus groups yielded insight into both the problems faced by women in acting to protect themselves against HIV/AIDS and the solutions as well. The relationship between individuals and organizations in the community with our team of faculty, students, actors, technology experts and a filmmaker, was essential to achieving this research. It was a labor of love in the fight against AIDS, said Jones, a Boonton Township, N.J. resident.

The acting involved students and graduates of the Rutgers Newark Visual and Performing Arts Department, as well as professional actors. All filming took place in neighborhood settings. The videos were created for viewing on small hand held computers. This approach was tested in a randomized controlled trial that was conducted in public housing developments and the STD clinic in Jersey City, and in downtown Newark. All aspects of the work involved nursing students from the Rutgers-Newark campus as well as young men and women from Newark and Jersey City.

It is an honor to be a recipient of this award. It is our hope that this award promotes the idea of working with the community to reduce HIV risk among young women. Our young students had the opportunity to participate in research and serve the community through practice, said Jones. The important aspect of this work is understanding, interpreting, and communicating womens knowledge about the relationship pressures that can get in the way of reducing HIV risk and through the drama, show the ways women can turn the situation around.

She and her team, composed of Alan Roth, an independent documentary filmmaker, Robert Nahory, a digital application developer at Rutgers-Newark Dana Library, nursing students, performing arts students and graduates from the Rutgers-Newark campus, technology students, and people from the community, created a 43-minute soap opera video and several shorter videos aimed at reducing HIV risk in inner city women. The research was funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research and the National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health.

The heroines in the videos are young adult African-American and Latina women acting with awareness of new choices to promote health. Recently, her team created a web site to promote access to the videos at Interested persons can view the videos and learn more about this research to reduce HIV/AIDS through soap opera dramatization.


Contact: Miguel Tersy
Rutgers University

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