Morgan Clennin, PhD, MPH

Scientific Research Associate

Morgan Clennin, PhD, MPH, is a Scientific Research Associate at the Institute for Health Research. Her research interests include examining the influence of social determinants of health and neighborhood environment on development of chronic disease, with a focus on cardiovascular health. Her training and research experiences have included: 1) measurement of built, social, and socioeconomic environment, including neighborhood deprivation; 2) conducting social epidemiology research using population-based data sources and medical record data; 3) employing diverse analytic methods including multilevel, longitudinal, and spatial modeling approaches; and 4) evaluating natural experiments of community-driven policy and environment interventions.

Dr. Clennin serves as principal investigator or co-investigator for several research and evaluation projects, has authored two dozen peer-reviewed publications and delivered over thirty presentations at professional conferences. She also collaborates with the Physical Activity Policy Research and Evaluation Network (PAPREN) and the Colorado Cardiovascular Outcomes Research (C-COR) Consortium.

Dr. Clennin earned her PhD in Exercise Science with an emphasis on social epidemiology and health disparities from the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health. She completed her Master of Public Health from Saint Louis University with an emphasis in Behavior Science and Epidemiology. Currently, Dr. Clennin is applying for a career development award (CDA) that will provide essential training, resources, and protected time to support her transition to an independent investigator. The proposed project will harness novel data sources (the Kaiser Permanente Research Bank (KPRB)) and interdisciplinary methods to examine social and structural determinants of disparities in cardiovascular disease risk. The goal of this research is to identify the unique neighborhood exposures that explain why disparities emerge and how experiences with racial discrimination, structural racism, and neighborhood attributes intersect to influence disparities in cardiovascular disease risk.

Selected Research:

  • Housing Stability In Mobile Home Communities
  • Newly enacted Colorado HB1309, 1196, and 1201 require the Colorado Division of Housing to institute new regulations for manufactured housing parks and grants cities the authority to enact ordinances that support the safe and equitable operation of these communities. This study will evaluate the implementation process and impact of these policies in 3 different Colorado communities. The first aim is to use a case study approach and conduct a policy implementation evaluation of all 3 policies to determine how implementation varied across three diverse Colorado communities. The second aim is to use a cross-sectional pre-post design to assess the impact of all 3 policies on housing security, safety, and affordability in all 3 communities. This study will fill a gap in the literature by assessing how these statewide policies are implemented in three different small to moderate-sized communities and the impact of the policy on the housing security of the residents who live there.

    • Funder: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
    • Study End Date: 12/31/2022

  • Office of Health Equity’s (OHE) Health Disparities Grant Program (HDGP) Evaluation
  • The Office of Health Equity’s (OHE) Health Disparities Grant Program (HDGP) is providing support to agencies across Colorado to address upstream determinants of health (e.g., housing, education) with the goal of improving downstream health outcomes (e.g., access to care, decreased chronic disease rates). Grantees are focusing on changing systems and policies that affect the upstream determinants of health. The goal of the evaluation is to design and implement a utilization-focused evaluation to assess the impact of the initiative on systems and policies, equitable access to resources and health disparities. The main outcomes of the evaluation are documenting shifts in the availability, accessibility, and acceptability of social and economic resources.

    • Funder: Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, Office of Health Equity
    • Award End Date: 12/31/2021

  • The Cancer, Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Disease (CCPD) Grant Evaluation Program
  • The goal of this project is to conduct a comprehensive cross-site evaluation of 25 organizations or sites implementing strategies ranging from healthy eating and active living policies, clinical systems improvement, health behavior improvement programs (e.g., Diabetes Prevention Program). The purpose of the evaluation is to document and assess changes in healthy behaviors (e.g., physical activity, healthy eating, HPV vaccination, self-measured blood pressure) and health outcomes (e.g., diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension) over a three-year period. Additionally, the evaluation includes an in-depth policy impact assessment designed to provide estimates of the impact of policy changes on health behaviors and health outcomes and assess the quality of the policy and the intended and unintended consequences of the change. Results will inform and improve policy development, adoption, implementation, and effectiveness and build the evidence base for policy interventions.

    • Funder: Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment
    • Study End Date: 12/31/2021