Research Update #2 – A Reflection After Studying 4 out of 6 Diseases

Thus far, I have researched asthma, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and obesity among homeless children and youth, adults, elderly, and veterans. There is a significant lack of research pertaining to asthma, diabetes, and obesity among most all subpopulations. The homeless elderly subpopulation has been the cohort with the least amount of published research. Asthma, diabetes, and obesity, compared to the other three diseases of study, are less popular as there are definite stigmas and social movements aimed at lowering the burden of HIV/AIDS, mental health illnesses, and substance abuse among all populations, including the homeless. Therefore, I believe that the lack of research surrounding asthma, diabetes, and obesity for these homeless subpopulations portrays a limitation of public health research and funding methods. In some cases, these diseases are similar in prevalence across homeless and nonhomeless lines. However, my research demonstrates that there are factors and determinants that directly and profoundly impact the homeless subpopulations in ways that vary from the general or low-income populations. In turn, I have learned that clinicians, practitioners, and policymakers need to be more specific in their research and in their population analyses in order to strengthen our understanding of diseases, why people are homeless, why they stay homeless, and how to help them out of homelessness. On a different note, I look forward to studying substance abuse and mental health as I expect there to be more research due to these diseases’ ‘trendy’ nature.