Those who need help the most are often the least visible: Men and women struggling with the demons of untreated mental illness or addiction. Those first made poor, then homeless, by the loss of a job or a health crisis. Individuals and families newly arrived in a land of safety and promise who are without language skills or the families that had been their social network and safety net. Migrant workers for whom home is the road.
     Illness, injury, or pain bring some of the most vulnerable to Emory's doorstep. Emory's schools of medicine, nursing, and public health go out and find people in need—and teach their students to help them as well.

    The average life expectancy in Atlanta is 78. For the homeless, it is 42. That disparity makes the homeless a natural focus for the nursing school's mission of social responsibility. The school is a partner in Atlanta's new Gateway Center, established by the Regional Commission on Homelessness. Nursing faculty and students provide much-needed health services, including a self-help education program. "The ever-shifting situation of homelessness presented a challenge," says faculty member Monica Donohue. "The students were able to create a street-workable program only after they turned to the clients themselves to see how they could fit hygiene, nutrition, and exercise into their lives on the streets and in shelters."  
  In parts of Oklahoma, mountains of waste from old lead and zinc mines make tempting playgrounds for children. For the past 10 years, public health faculty member Michelle Kegler has worked with nine Indian tribes to evaluate the effects of intervention programs to teach protective behaviors. The analysis of data now under way will help improve and fine-tune future interventions.
     In addition, she and another public health faculty member, Karen Glanz, are conducting another study closer to home in rural Georgia, to see how home, neighborhood, work site, and church affect risky health behaviors such as smoking, unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle, and obesity. These and other projects, done in collaboration with partners at the Southwest Georgia Cancer Coalition, are helping them understand the social and environmental context in rural communities to help people make healthy choices.
    By age 25, one of every two sexually active young people will acquire a sexually transmitted disease. African American teenagers are especially vulnerable, making interventions tailored to culture, gender, and age a priority. Interventions designed by public health faculty Ralph DiClemente and Gina Wingood are powerful tools in reducing risky behaviors. The CDC gave their SiHLE intervention program the highest-ever rating of any HIV prevention intervention for adolescents in this country. SiHLE is a Zulu word meaning beauty and standing for Sistas Informing, Healing, Living, and Empowering. "We can't work fast enough to disseminate SiHLE to groups eager to lower risk in their own communities," says DiClemente.  

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