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Cheryl Zlotnick, RN, DrPH has worked as a clinician, administrator, evaluator and researcher. Her interests in creating approachable health and social services began when she worked with the homeless population as the Team Coordinator and Clinical Nurse Specialist for one of the original 18 Health Care for the Homeless Projects (Chicago, IL) in 1984. Since then Dr. Zlotnick and her team’s studies have examined:

  1. characteristics of children and families living in transitional situations such as homelessness that increases risk of illness, and poor health care and social service utilization;
  2. links between children who have lived in homeless situations with their families and the foster care system;
  3. the health and social service needs of children who live in transitional situations, and  the effective services and  service delivery systems that meet these needs.

Current health service and public health studies have dispelled any doubt that income level is the most important predictor of health status in the U.S. today.  Yet, even among impoverished populations, certain subgroups suffer disproportionately.  Racial/ethnic status and transitional living situations, such as homelessness or living in foster care, have additional effects on health status, and demonstrate the continuing health inequities among certain subgroups in the U.S. population.  Our studies focus on transitional families and health status inequities.  We have examined the connections between the transitional living situations of homelessness and foster care in childhood, adolescence and adulthood; and have identified risk factors that increase the likelihood that children and their families will enter the cycle of homelessness.  Other investigations by our team have started exploring the impact of different services and opportunities to intervene which have the potential to improve the child’s health status or family situation.  We also have examined the connections between adulthood morbidity and childhood history of homelessness and foster care.  In addition, we are beginning the work of identifying the evidence-based health care practices that have been effective for children living in transitional families. 

Revised: Thursday, January 26, 2012 9:22 AM


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