Environmental Injustice & Health Disparities

The overall goal of my research is to use transdisciplinary approaches to better understand and address social and environmental inequality. Transdisciplinary approaches are important to my research because they provide a systematic framework for defining and analyzing multiple dimensions (e.g., social, economic, political, environmental) that influence inequalities across scales. My research rests on four pillars - environmental justice, climate adaptation, feminist research (theories & methods), and health equity. I have two major lines of inquiry: (1) studying environmental inequalities, risks and hazards, and climate change; and (2) investigating health disparities related to intimate partner violence (IPV). Dr. Cannon's research has been awarded the Early Career Award from the International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement (IARSLCE) (2021). Below is a brief overview, see CV (PDF) for full list. 

black and white photo of mountains
Photo credit | Alex McInturff

Environmental Justice, Risk, and Climate Change

Another major goal of my research is to use transdisciplinary approaches with mixed methodologies, including quantitative, spatial, and community based participatory action research (CBPAR) in which community members serve as research collaborators, to study the processes and effects of environmental inequality and health disparities on social inequality (e.g., exposure to toxic metals and volatile organic compounds in the air, elevated rates of asthma). As with my work on IPV, my research is significant because I use transdisciplinary, community-based approaches and feminist methods to measure and address environmental inequalities across the U.S. The impact of this research is to help develop capacity in environmentally disadvantaged communities, particularly in California, and to assist policymakers and regulators on reducing environmental harms. The field of environmental justice continues to grow in its importance due to the myriad and cascading impacts of multiple stressors including climate change, pollution, and widening social inequality and health disparities.

Health Disparities 

Health disparities within sex and gender minority communities is an often-understudied area of research. IPV has been thought of as a problem of patriarchy in which men abuse women for power and control. Yet, my previous research has shown such assumptions limit our ability to understand and study IPV in non-heterosexual communities. Because of this, little is known about the use of IPV by LGBTQ people and how to effectively treat such IPV abuse. IPV is a pernicious social and public health problem globally and research suggests it is equally or more prevalent in LGBTQ relationships. To address this gap in our knowledge, I use critical theories, such as feminist theory and critical race theory, to understand IPV in the LGBTQ community, conduct empirical research into motivations of abuse, assess treatment options for this community, and to provide research-supported recommendations for policy and treatment interventions.