Research Interest Propels Prof. Jennifer Warren’s Recent Trenton Housing Authority Commissioner Appointment

Citing the “methodology and concepts upon which her research is based,” as a key aspect to her appointment to the Trenton Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, Dr. Jennifer Warren is now part of a group that serves as advocates to the housing needs of Trenton’s low-income citizens. Dr. Warren was appointed by City Councilman Zachary Chester, and began serving on the board in September.

Dr. Warren is part of an eight-member board (and the third member with an affiliation to Rutgers) whose mission statement focuses on the “building and maintaining affordable housing” for Trentonians, guaranteeing fair policies, negotiating with various community groups that sometimes are in turmoil, earning public approval, seeking out resources for their constituents, overseeing Trenton’s public housing operations. Herbert T. Brown, THA executive director, says that he is excited to be working with Dr. Warren.

“Dr. Warren has demonstrated, even prior to her appointment, a true interest in assisting the more needy in the Community and many of the residents of the Trenton Housing Authority would be classified in that arena," Brown said. "Her background and past accomplishments will be, in my opinion, a perfect fit for the board, and her outreach to the residents of the THA will be of tremendous value in assisting the THA in serving a most vulnerable population in the city of Trenton."

Dr. Warren’s research has focused on understanding and eliminating health disparities in impoverished communities. Her prevention methods are developed “by explaining how cultural, class-based, community identifications and identity influence health outcomes.”

“The irony of this position, however, is that now I help determine community, health and wellness policies that contributes to how these communities define themselves, the delivery and access to services that enhance their capacities, and evaluate the ethics and fairness of current policies impacting low-income, minority citizens living in the THA communities,” she recently wrote in a report about her appointment.

Communication Department Chair Dr. Laurie K. Lewis describes Dr. Warren’s research efforts as “engaged, commendable and important work.”

“The appointment of Dr. Warren to this board is a sign that the practice world sees the value in the perspective and expertise she brings,” Dr. Lewis said. “I'm very happy to see our faculty moving out into the community here in New Jersey and elsewhere to both test ideas and to engage with practitioners.”

Dr. Warren adds that her appointment will “enhance her research and teaching” efforts and create case study opportunities for her and her students. For example, last semester, students in her health communication course teamed with the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids-Trenton.

The students were charged with developing messages advocating healthy food choice messages to children for local bodegas to utilize. The winning campaign’s messages, selected by The Partnership, will be implemented at participating bodegas, and a paid internship and an employment opportunity will be offered.