College of Health & Social Sciences

Faculty Lecturer Anderson leads community engagement & youth development in Oakland

January 13, 2022

Academic success. Personal growth. Essential life skills. These are just a few of the areas in which Ishman Anderson, faculty lecturer in Criminal Justice Studies, engages with low-income youth through the My Other Brother organization to help them achieve life success. Whether that means finishing high school, attending university, pursuing a trade degree, or entrepreneurial opportunities, MOB helps youth to pursue their path.

Anderson founded MOB in 2016 while working as an academic counselor at CSU East Bay. It started as a student organization for first-generation African-American male college students; since then, MOB has grown into a full-fledged 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Its community engagement efforts focus on West and East Oakland, specifically with K-12 youth in the Oakland Unified School District. Events within the program include parent/family meetings, college eligibility workshops, campus field trips, life-skills workshops, academic advising, and student-athlete support.

By working directly with youth, with their families, and with their schools, Anderson explains that MOB builds a foundation for academic and life success. This "holistic" approach aims to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline which affects many inner-city, low-income students of color. Replace it with a “school/community to college pipeline” and you have a recipe for life success.

A key characteristic of MOB is that it works with youth from wherever they may be in life, using what Anderson describes as “culturally grounded education and mentorship.” Whether it is a student with a 1.4 GPA, in Juvenile Hall, or with a 4.0 GPA, any student can work with MOB. The only requirements? Show up, stick with MOB program requirements, and do the work. It appears to be effective: MOB scholars have gone on to earn university scholarships; turn around their GPA’s from failing to honor roll-status; attend graduate school, and pursue professional careers.

For more about MOB, please contact Ishman Anderson at

Preemption exemplified: Professor Shea receives USGS grant for community resilience research

February 22, 2021

Jennifer Shea, associate professor in the Master of Public Administration program (School of Public Affairs & Civic Engagement), has been awarded a $48,000 grant from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to support a community-engaged research project on community resilience in Cloverdale, California. Working in collaboration with Cloverdale community leaders, Shea and two MPA student research assistants, Jessica Campos and Tarundeep Singh, will assess the effectiveness of the community’s work to enhance its resilience to disaster events like fires, earthquakes and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The project extends the community-engaged work Shea has been conducting with San Francisco’s Empowered Communities Program for the past 12 years. It has three related goals: (1) to measure the relationship between levels of social cohesion and connections among vulnerable residents, their neighbors and community-based organizations in Cloverdale during the COVID-19 crisis and recent fires; (2) to develop individual and community baseline measures of social cohesion and connectedness to inform future emergency response strategies and community resilience interventions; and (3) to complement and inform work being conducted under the USGS’ HayWired Scenario by using the data to help inform community risk analyses, identify policy implications and alternatives, and suggest guidance for related risk communications.

Update, January 14, 2022

Dr. Shea and her assistants conducted two baseline surveys – one to gauge the social cohesion among individuals in Cloverdale, and another to gauge the social cohesion among local organizations. Results from the individual social cohesion survey were shared with Cloverdale City Council and other community leaders in Fall 2021. Additionally, Campos and Singh presented the survey results in a lightning-round presentation at the USGS HayWired Volume 3 event in October 2021.

In what has been described as a “groundbreaking survey”, social cohesion among Cloverdale residents was measured based on social factors and two crises: the 2019 Kincade fires and the start of covid-19 shelter-in-place orders in March 2020 (Coates, Nov. 15, 2021). Presenting the survey findings to Cloverdale City Council and other community leaders on November 10, 2021, Shea explained that there are very few ties between English-speaking and Spanish-speaking groups in Cloverdale (ibid). What is more, there are few Cloverdale residents with the capabilities to connect those groups through social ties or information flow (ibid).

When it comes to crisis response, those social ties and information flows are of critical importance. Shea explains that citizens who feel their voice matters in the community and are of higher economic status are more likely to volunteer, attend community events, and feel a connection with their local government (ibid). Citizens who do not feel connected to their local government and are of lower economic status, on the other hand, are less likely to do so (ibid). These findings have serious crisis management implications. For instance, crisis managers have identified that initial crisis responses can be helped or hindered by the degree of proactive citizen involvement and information flows (e.g., Boin et al., 2017).

Preliminary recommendations by Shea and her assistants include creating a solid, strategy-backed plan “for what Cloverdale’s network should look like” (Shea, as quoted in Coates, Nov. 15, 2021). It is critical for Cloverdale to conceptualize, then actualize, what improved community connections could look like in their city. Additionally, community organizations partner with schools and the senior center to improve disaster preparedness across generations (ibid). The next steps in Dr. Shea’s research will be to continue analyzing and presenting the research findings to the community over the next two months, then conduct follow-up surveys this year.

Be sure to check back to this page for the most recent updates on Shea’s community resilience research!


Boin, A., Hart, P., Stern, E. & Sundelius, B. (2016). The Politics of Crisis Management: Public Leadership under Pressure, Second Edition. Cambridge University Press: UK.

Coates, K. (Nov. 15, 2021). Survey reveals Cloverdale's splits: Service, community groups often fail to reach poor, Latino residents. The Press Democrat.

VanDamme Nursing

The Mary Ann van Dam School of Nursing in Kenya, Africa, celebrates their first pinning ceremony

On August 3, 2018, the Mary Ann van Dam School of Nursing celebrated its first pinning ceremony in western Kenya near the shores of Lake Victoria. The School of Nursing derives its name from Dr. Mary Ann van Dam, RN, PhD, PNP, former Director of the School of Nursing at San Francisco State University. For the past 10 years, Dr. van Dam has made an immense personal contribution to the welfare and health of the Kenyan people. Since 2011, she has committed to establishing a model training institution that is sensitive to both the healthcare needs of the community and training needs of healthcare professionals. Additionally, her dedication and service, overall, has driven innovation and improvements in healthcare worldwide through the education of compassionate nurses, esteemed educators and researchers, entrepreneurial leaders, and influential policy experts.

The Mary Ann van Dam School of Nursing is an initiative of the Matibabu Foundation in partnership with local and international health stakeholders to promote quality healthcare in Kenya and in the international arena. In 2011, after building a small 8 bed hospital, the co-founder of the hospital, Mr. Dan Ogola of the Matibabu Foundation, suggested to Dr. van Dam that they start a School of Nursing in Kenya as well. Though it was a grand idea, Dr. van Dam questioned the feasibility of opening a School of Nursing in a small, rural, impoverished area of Kenya that lacked basic infrastructure, such as a water system. However, the notion of educating Kenyan nurses was irresistible and they persisted. Dr. van Dam communicated with the Registrar of Nursing of Kenya, assisted with the curriculum after learning Kenyan mandates, worked with the Laerdal company to provide free patient simulators to create a nursing simulation lab, sent more nursing equipment, and provided the books for the library.

By surprise, Mr. Ogola honored Dr. van Dam by naming the school after her when it was opened in 2014. They just celebrated their first graduation and pinning ceremony on August 3, 2018, thus indicating the students’ completion of their professional Diploma in Nursing. This qualifies them to become registered nurses in Kenya. During this ceremony, students were symbolically welcomed into the nursing profession and were asked to recite a pledge based on an oath originally created by Florence Nightingale, a renowned nurse and the founder of the first professional training school of nurses. It was a 6-hour ceremony, in full regalia, in the equatorial heat, but the experience was wonderful and unforgettable. Twenty-six more students will be graduating in December 2018. For more information, visit Matibabu Foundation.


Applied Housing Research Initiative shines new light on emergency housing policy

October 21, 2022

Affordable housing and homelessness are two of the most deeply-rooted challenges faced in California. Add the covid-19 pandemic on top of it, and you have what public administrators call a ‘wicked problem’: multifaceted, with overlapping factors and cross-sector implications. That has not stopped a team of researchers at SF State from investigating it head-on.

Established by PACE in 2017, the Applied Housing Research Initiative (AHRI) is an interdisciplinary endeavor. It brings together SF State researchers and community stakeholders to examine affordable/inclusionary housing initiatives in California. As explained by Ayse Pamuk, professor of Urban Studies & Planning and principal investigator at AHRI, the researchers have broadened the definition of “inclusionary housing” to include three dimensions: economic, racial, and heath equity.

AHRI’s latest research is on emergency housing policy responses to the covid-19 pandemic in California. The results shows how the pandemic brought those three dimensions of equity into heightened focus and urgency. This research, detailed in three working papers, was presented in an online webinar on October 5, 2022. Presenters included (in alphabetical order):

XiaHang Liu, Professor of Geography & Environment

Laura Mamo, Professor of Public Health

Ayse Pamuk, Professor of Urban Studies & Planning and Principal Investigator at AHRI

Jennifer Shea, Professor of Public Administration

Temur Umarov, Graduate Associate at AHRI and MPA candidate

The first presentation was by Liu, who researched whether there is an association between inclusionary housing (IH) programs and covid-19 vulnerability in California’s 482 cities and towns. Cities and towns with IH programs were among the lowest percentage of ‘most vulnerable’ and ‘more vulnerable’. The most vulnerable cities were located in Central Valley, Los Angeles County, and Inland Empire; the least vulnerable were located in San Francisco Bay Area, which Liu notes are “the wealthiest and whitest” cities in California.

Liu’s research also dives into this topic by investigating whether an association exists between IH programs and racial residential segregation in California. Data from 2014 to 2019 suggest that IH programs were most relevant to the levels of Hispanic segregation and interracial interaction, while there was no change with or without IH programs for Black populations. This suggests that Black residential segregation is “more cemented,” says Liu.

The next presentation was by Umarov, who together with Pamuk researched the emergency housing policies (EHP) implemented during the covid-19 pandemic. These included federal, state and local eviction moratoriums; rent assistance; and Project Roomkey and Project Homekey, two programs from the State of California.

Their analysis shows that EHP had benefits and drawbacks. Umarov and Pamuk’s research showed that cases of covid-19 increased after eviction moratoriums and rental assistance concluded, suggesting those policies prevented cases of the virus. Rental assistance programs were also associated with decreased default rates, homeless population, and evictions. There were drawbacks, however. Rental assistance often carried “shadow debt” for residents in the longer-term, and the policies encountered capacity issues and excessive guideline restrictions. Drawbacks from Projects Roomkey and Homekey included capacity issues, myriad funding sources, and discontent from residents already living in the properties converted into housing and shelter-in-place locations for the homeless. Umarov also noted that an issue across EHP, and emergency social services in general, is the challenge of “navigating access” to the programs.

The final presentation by Mamo and Shea detailed their research on EHP through an equity lens. Data suggests that the persons “most vulnerable to covid-19 are also the most socially vulnerable and most affected by structural inequality,” said Shea. Policies have begun to address this issue, though the “intersectionality” of social equity factors means there is no one-and-done solution. Their research states that EHP were mainly targeted towards economic equity goals. Health equity goals were emerging, while racial equity goals were rarely stated.

Mamo and Shea provided two key takeaways from their research. One is that “promising practices” are emerging. For instance, given that they are embedded within local communities, the increased involvement of community partner organizations was a positive turn towards equity-focused EHP. However, the second takeaway is that an intentional equity focus is required fto maximize the imapct of those practices. Mamo said this would involve policies which “operationalize social equity goals” through refined tools for measuring access and equality. Capacity issues were also a challenge across state and local programs; designing programs focused on equity, rather than as a tangential factor, could help to alleviate those issues.

Pamuk closed the seminar by saying, “It is gratifying to bring together” groups and individuals to learn more about the issues in inclusionary housing and how to address them. This correspondent thinks that with the help of AHRI’s interdisciplinary research, we are certainly getting closer to finding solutions.

To learn more about the research by AHRI and read their latest working papers, visit the AHRI website.