Amy Hillier

Amy Hillier
University of Pennsylvania | UP · School of Social Policy & Practice

About

91
Publications
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Publications

Publications (91)
Article
Youth participatory action research (YPAR) provides a model for youth leadership in research aimed at tangible improvements to their lives. We employed YPAR with queer and trans young adults in a qualitative study about trans high school youth. In this paper, we highlight the importance of relationships, dialog and reflexivity to ensuring ongoing c...
Article
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has upended every aspect of life in the United States and forced Americans to rethink their daily activities, including how they work, attend school, secure food, obtain health care, and maintain social connections. For vulnerable populations that were already facing significant barriers to health, s...
Article
Objectives Numerous U.S. state legislatures have proposed bills to ban gender-affirming medical interventions for minors. Parents and caregivers play a critical role in advocating for and supporting their transgender and gender-diverse youth (TGDY). We aimed to understand parent and caregiver perspectives about this potential legislation and percei...
Article
Full-text available
Without clear federal mandates protecting the rights of transgender and gender nonconforming people, local governments are drafting their own legislation that either protects or limits these populations’ rights. This leaves street-level bureaucrats situated in between competing auspices, conflicting mandates, and a constrained sense of self-determi...
Article
Research on the experiences of trans youth has generally emphasized their disparate risk for negative educational, housing, and health outcomes. While drawing attention to very real vulnerabilities, these depictions can represent trans youth as one-dimensional passive victims. Some recent research draws on resiliency theory and offers a strengths-b...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose: Parent support is considered crucial for the health of transgender and gender-nonconforming (trans/GNC) children, yet little research has focused on how to support parents and caregivers. This study considered the experience of participation in a support group for parents of transgender children on families. Methods: Online surveys were co...
Article
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participation has been associated with obesity in women. The objective of this pilot study was to describe the caloric intake and dietary quality at the beginning, middle, and end of a SNAP cycle among food insecure, African-American female head-of-households with overweight/obesity (n = 12). The fea...
Article
Objectives: This study explored chronic disease self-management over the monthly benefit cycle among primary food shoppers from households receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Methods: In-depth interviews, participant observation and surveys were conducted with the primary food shoppe...
Article
Objective The present study explored chronic disease management over the monthly benefit cycle among primary food shoppers from households receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in Philadelphia, PA, USA. Design In-depth interviews, participant observation and surveys were conducted with the primary food shopper of SNAP...
Article
Full-text available
Research evaluating the impact of new food stores in “food deserts” have reported limited impact on eating and health outcomes of residents who live nearby. Few studies have reported on shoppers' food store choices and experiences in these new stores. This study focused on residents' experience with a new non-profit food market in Chester, PA and a...
Article
Full-text available
One in seven Americans participates in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), making it the largest federally funded food assistance program. SNAP benefits are distributed once per month and both food spending and calorie consumption tend to decrease as time from benefit distribution increases. The monthly SNAP benefit cycle has seri...
Article
Introduction: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, which are distributed monthly, help low-income families put food on their tables. Both food spending and caloric intake among recipients decrease over the month following benefit receipt. This pattern, termed the "SNAP-cycle," has serious implications for health and food secu...
Chapter
Regardless of whether we live in urban, suburban, or rural areas, we all “read” landscapes for indications of whether we fit in and are welcome. Identities relating to race, ethnicity, class, gender and sexuality all contribute to the lenses through which we interpret these signs. This chapter considers how we make sense of public and private place...
Article
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Public health interventions to increase supermarket access assume that shopping in supermarkets is associated with healthier food purchases compared to other store types. To test this assumption, we compared purchasing patterns by store-type for certain higher-calorie, less healthy foods (HCF) and lower-calorie, healthier foods (LCF) in a sample of...
Article
Food shopping decisions are pathways between food environment, diet and health outcomes, including chronic diseases such as diabetes and obesity. The choices of where to shop and what to buy are interrelated, though a better understanding of this dynamic is needed. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's nationally representative Food Acquisitions and...
Article
Objective: To describe maternal morbidity, birth outcomes, and neighborhood characteristics of urban women from a racially segregated city with the use of a geographic information system. Design: Exploratory neighborhood-level study. Existing birth certificate data were linked and aggregated to neighborhood-level data for spatial analyses. Sett...
Article
Full-text available
Where households across income levels shop for food is of central concern within a growing body of research focused on where people live relative to where they shop, what they purchase and eat, and how those choices influence the risk of obesity and chronic disease. We analyzed data from the National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey (...
Chapter
Cities are by definition complex and dynamic physical and social systems. Professionals charged with planning for and building our constantly-changing cities, including urban planners and designers, depend upon a wide range of maps and spatial technologies to make decisions. Planning is essentially a visual and spatial discipline where ideas, plans...
Article
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We analysed observations from 31 neighbourhood parks, with each park mapped into smaller target areas for study, across five US cities generated using the System for Observing Play and Recreation in the Community (SOPARC). In areas where at least two people were observed, less than one-third (31.6%) were populated with at least one white and one no...
Article
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The effectiveness of initiatives to increase healthy food access may be affected by where people decide to shop. People with poor neighborhood access to large grocery stores develop shopping patterns that require traveling to other areas, and some people who do have neighborhood access also travel elsewhere for food shopping. We sought to gain an u...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose: To determine individual- and park-related characteristics associated with adults visiting their closest neighborhood park and involvement in sports, walking, and sedentary activities. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Neighborhoods surrounding 24 parks in four United States metropolitan areas. Subjects: Adults (N = 3,815) (25%...
Article
While other indicators of social capital have been linked to health, the role of block parties on health in Black neighborhoods and on Black residents is understudied. Block parties exhibit several features of bonding social capital and are present in nearly 90% of Philadelphia's predominantly Black neighborhoods. This analysis investigated: (1) wh...
Article
Previous analyses identified specific geographic areas in Philadelphia (hotspots) associated with negative outcomes along the HIV care continuum. We examined individual and community factors associated with residing in these hotspots. Retrospective cohort of 1404 persons newly diagnosed with HIV in 2008-2009 followed for 24 months after linkage to...
Article
Full-text available
Assessments of access to healthful food frequently use GIS to measure the distance and concentration of food outlets relative to where residents live. These descriptive approaches do not account for food shopping behavior, which may vary based on the attributes of food shoppers and their activity space-places where they live, work, access resources...
Article
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Tobacco advertising is widespread in urban areas with racial/ethnic minority and low-income households that participate in nutrition assistance programs. Tobacco sales and advertising are linked to smoking behavior, which may complicate matters for low-income families struggling with disparate health risks relating to nutrition and chronic disease....
Article
To respond to the high prevalence of obesity and its associated health consequences, recent food research and policy have focused on neighborhood food environments, especially the links between health and retail mix, proximity of food outlets, and types of foods available. In addition, the social environment exerts important influences on food-rela...
Article
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There is limited research documenting the shopping behaviors of urban residents with regard to where they shop for fruits and vegetables. This study sought to: (1) describe characteristics of consumers who shop for produce at supermarkets, alternative fresh food outlets, and farmers' markets; and (2) identify correlates of farmers' market shopping...
Article
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An estimated 17.6 million American households were food insecure in 2012, meaning they were unable to obtain enough food for an active and healthy life. Programs to augment local access to healthy foods are increasingly widespread, with unclear effects on food security. At the same time, the US government has recently enacted major cuts to federal...
Article
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Few studies have assessed how people's perceptions of their neighborhood environment compare with objective measures or how self-reported and objective neighborhood measures relate to consumption of fruits and vegetables. A telephone survey of 4,399 residents of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, provided data on individuals, their households, their neigh...
Article
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Background Previous research has shown differences in adult physical activity (PA) levels by race/ethnicity, sex and age. We aimed to determine whether those differences existed within urban population, in what types of activities they participated, and where they were active. Methods: A sample of 514 urban Philadelphia adult residents was surveyed...
Article
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Primary features of observational public health surveillance instruments are that they are valid, can reliably estimate physical activity behaviors, and are useful across diverse geographic settings and seasons by different users. Previous studies have reported the validity and reliability of Systematic Observation of Play and Recreation in Communi...
Article
Introduction Primary features of observational public health surveillance instruments are that they are valid, can reliably estimate physical activity behaviors, and are useful across diverse geographic settings and seasons by different users. Previous studies have reported the validity and reliability of Systematic Observation of Play and Recreati...
Article
Full-text available
This paper describes the longstanding, naturally emergent model of curbside vending of whole fruit and vegetable produce across several low-income, low-health Philadelphia neighborhoods. We conducted open-ended interviews with managers of 11 curbside produce vendors and compared prices and varieties of fruits and vegetables with the 11 closest conv...
Article
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Food environments may promote or undermine healthy behaviors, but questions remain regarding how individuals interact with their local food environments. This study incorporated an urban food environment audit as well as an examination of residents' food shopping behaviors within that context. In 2010, the research team audited the variety and heal...
Article
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Background: Successful HIV treatment as prevention requires individuals to be tested, aware of their status, linked to and retained in care, and virally suppressed. Spatial analysis may be useful for monitoring HIV care by identifying geographic areas with poor outcomes. Methods: Retrospective cohort of 1704 people newly diagnosed with HIV ident...
Article
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Decisions regarding where patients access HIV care are not well understood. The purpose of this analysis was to examine differences in travel distance to care among persons receiving care in Philadelphia. A multi-stage sampling design was utilized to identify 400 potential participants. 65 % (260/400) agreed to be interviewed. Participants were ask...
Article
Objective: To describe the methodology used to develop a community-campus partnership to recruit and engage control participants in a childhood obesity project targeting Mexican origin communities. Description: Overview of the Community Based Partici-patory Research (CBPR) methodology utilized in NSFS to develop activities for the participants in t...
Article
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Research on the impact of the built environment on obesity and access to healthful foods often fails to incorporate information about how individuals interact with their environment. A sample of 198 low-income WIC recipients from two urban neighborhoods were interviewed about where they do their food shopping and surveys were conducted of food stor...
Article
Purpose: Parks offer a free option for physical activity in many communities. How much time people spend using parks and the contribution that parks makes to their physical activity is not known. This study describes patterns of park use and physical activity among a diverse adult sample. Methods: From five US states, 248 adults enrolled in or n...
Article
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OBJECTIVES: To determine if neighbourhood socio-economic status (SES) is associated with park use and park-based physical activity. STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. METHODS: The use and characteristics of 24 neighbourhood parks in Albuquerque, Chapel Hill/Durham, Columbus and Philadelphia were observed systematically in three seasons (spring, s...
Article
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Increasing research has focused on the built food environment and nutrition-related outcomes, yet what constitutes a food environment and how this environment influences individual behavior still remain unclear. This study assesses whether travel mode and distance to food shopping venues differ among individuals in varying food environments and whe...
Article
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This paper argues that door-to-door surveys are a valuable tool for collecting information about health and the environment in urban areas in a manner consistent with community-based participatory research principles. We describe in detail how a door-to-door survey on food shopping and physical activity was conducted with the primary food shopper i...
Article
To evaluate the impact of the 2009 food package changes for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) on the availability of healthful food. Survey of all food stores in the study area before and after the changes were implemented. Two low-income neighborhoods in Philadelphia, 1 predominantly African-American...
Article
Full-text available
The Systematic Observation of Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC) was designed to estimate the number and characteristics of people using neighborhood parks by assessing them 4 times/day, 7 days/week. We tested whether this schedule was adequate and determined the minimum number of observations necessary to provide a robust estimate of park...
Conference Paper
Introduction: Research to identify and isolate proximate causes of recent increases of obesity largely focus on the correlation between built food environments and obesity rates, yet valid measures of what constitutes a food environment and how this environment influences individual health behavior still remain crude. Methods: To explore this quest...
Chapter
Maps are models that selectively feature abstract spatial patterns or literal geographic features. They can take the form of a simple drawing on a paper napkin or a sophisticated three-dimensional computer animation, but the principle is the same: they use symbols to help people find their way and make sense of the world. They can also be instrumen...
Article
Urban and planning historians frequently focus on inherently spatial topics such as migration, segregation, gentrification, and suburbanization and rely on historical maps as primary sources, but they rarely use geographic information systems (GIS) as a research method for analyzing spatial patterns. This article considers the reasons that GIS is n...
Article
Using GPS devices and digital cameras, we surveyed outdoor advertisements in Austin, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. GIS and hot spot analysis revealed that unhealthy ads were clustered around child-serving institutions in Los Angeles and Philadelphia but not in Austin. Multivariate generalized least square (GLS) regression models showed that percent...
Conference Paper
Background As part of a natural experiment to evaluate the impact of the WIC voucher changes that will go into effect in October 2009, we collected baseline information about the food environment and food purchases of WIC participants in two predominantly low-income areas in North Philadelphia. One of the areas is predominantly African-American;...
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Full-text available
This book is the outgrowth of a working group entitled, "Modeling Urban Environmental Impacts on Health, Development, and Behavior" sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania Institute for Urban Research. The purpose of the working gropu was to engage faculty from across campus and to encourage their collaborative use of GIS technology in the mode...
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Recent research suggests that racial residential segregation may be detrimental to health. This study investigates the influence of neighborhood racial isolation on obesity and considers the role of neighborhood disorder as a mediator in this relationship. For the city of Philadelphia, we find that residence in a neighborhood with high black racial...
Article
Background: The Systematic Observation of Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC) was designed to estimate the number and characteristics of people using neighborhood parks by assessing them 4 times/day, 7 days/week. We tested whether this schedule was adequate and determined the minimum number of observations necessary to provide a robust esti...
Article
Context: Commercial marketing is a critical but understudied element of the sociocultural environment influencing Americans' food and beverage preferences and purchases. This marketing also likely influences the utilization of goods and services related to physical activity and sedentary behavior. A growing literature documents the targeting of ra...
Article
Community information systems (CINS) are emerging as important tools for community, government, and educational organizations. This paper considers the training, evaluation, and outreach efforts relating to the Philadelphia Neighborhood Information System (NIS), a collection of online applications that integrate and distribute housing and demograph...
Article
The issue of access to healthy foods has been central to the work of many community-based organizations around the country. One such organization, The Food Trust, launched an effective advocacy campaign to bring awareness and policy change to the issue. The Food Trust's efforts with its partners resulted in the creation of the Pennsylvania Fresh Fo...
Article
The changing nature of how children engage with their physical environment is one factor in the dramatic increase in childhood overweight. Children today are engaging much less with the world outside their homes in terms of physical activity and much more in terms of eating. Technological innovations in media have contributed to these changes, keep...
Article
Full-text available
This sermon, delivered at First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, might also be called "Why a white girl from New Hampshire is studying The Philadelphia Negro." This essay/sermon connects Du Bois's 1896 survey of Philadelphia to the violence currently plaguing Philadelphia.
Article
Using the Philadelphia Congregations Census, the Neighborhood Change Database, the U.S. Census, and ge- ographic information systems (GIS) software, this study compared characteristics of congregations made up of members who live nearby their congregation's building to those with more members who commute from outside the immediate area or outside t...
Article
Relative to other fields, social work has been slow to adopt geographic information systems (GIS) as a tool for research and practice. This paper argues that GIS can benefit social work by: (1) continuing and strengthening the social survey tradition; (2) providing a framework for understanding human behavior; (3) identifying community needs and as...
Article
This manual is intended for undergraduate and graduate students learning to use ArcView 9 in a classroom setting. It is meant to be a complement, rather than substitute, for ArcView software manuals, ESRI training products, or the ArcView help options. It reflects the order and emphasis of topics that I have found most helpful while teaching introd...
Article
This paper describes and analyzes the successful collaboration between the Philadelphia Affordable Housing Coalition and the Cartographic Modeling Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania. This collaboration resulted in a research study that helped the Coalition secure an additional $10 million for affordable housing in Philadelphia. The perspe...
Article
At the request of the Home Loan Bank Board, the Home Owners' Loan Corporation (HOLC) created color-coded maps for cities across the country between 1935 and 1940 that indicated risk levels for long-term real estate investment. Involvement in this City Survey Program marked a departure from the original mission of HOLC to provide new mortgages on an...
Article
At the request of the Home Loan Bank Board, the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) created color-coded maps for cities across the country between 1935 and 1940 that indicated risk levels for long-term real estate investment. Involvement in this City Survey Program marked a departure from the original mission of HOLC to provide new mortgages on an...
Article
Full-text available
An increasing number of groups are demanding access to information about the physical, economic, and social conditions in their communities. In addition to researchers, community development corporations, neighborhood associations, social service agencies, and municipal agencies all are becoming consumers of quantitative data. More powerful desktop...
Article
This article analyzes the impact of the residential security maps created by the Home Owners’Loan Corporation (HOLC) during the 1930s on residential mortgages in Philadelphia. Researchers have consistently argued that HOLC caused redlining and disinvestment in U.S. cities by sharing its color-coded maps. Geographic information systems and spatial s...
Conference Paper
This article analyzes the impact of the residential security maps created by the Home Owners' Loan Corporation (HOLC) during the 1930s on residential mortgages in Philadelphia. Researchers have consistently argued that HOLC caused redlining and disinvestment in U.S. cities by sharing its color-coded maps. Geographic information systems and spatial...
Article
The lending record of the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) has received little attention compared with HOLC’s residential security maps. Specifically, the extent to which HOLC practiced racial and ethnic discrimination in the process of making and servicing more than a million loans to homeowners during the Depression has not been carefully exa...
Article
Several large US cities, including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia, have developed information systems to distribute property-level housing data to community organizations and municipal agencies. These early warning systems are also intended to predict which properties are at greatest risk of abandonment, but they have rarely used...
Article
Full-text available
Despite widespread belief that redlining contributed to disinvestment in cities, there has been little empirical analysis of historical lending patterns. The lack of appropriate data and clear definitions of redlining has contributed to this void. This article reviews definitions and methods that have emerged from research on lending in recent year...