Daana Townsend,
project coordinator

UWM/CABHR Community Research Center
1849 N. Martin Luther King Dr., Suite 200
Milwaukee, WI 53212
(414) 265-7796



CRC Entrance



The name “Stories to Tell” was created by women currently participating in this women’s health research study. The symbol represents what being an African-American woman means to them: Backbone, History, Survivor, Unity, Adaptable, Beautiful, & Inner Peace

Stories to Tell

Etiology of Sexual Risk, Substance Abuse, and Trauma: A Bioecological Systems Model



1. To recruit 375 African American women between the ages of 18 and 45 living in urban housing developments;

2. To assess factors pertaining to the levels of Bioecological Systems Theory (BST; Bronfenbrenner, 1995), as they relate to sexual risk, substance use, and trauma/victimization history, at baseline, and again six- and 12-months after baseline; and

3. To examine the relationship of the above variables to occurrence and severity of, as well as resilience to, sexual risk behavior, substance use, and interpersonal violence, using BST as the guiding framework. The findings will provide important information leading to:

  • greater insight into the dynamics and complexity of sexual risk behavior, substance use and trauma history in low income African American women;
  • more effective interventions that concurrently attend to multiple risk issues in low income African American women;
  • more effective strategies to prevent these issues from occurring; and
  • evaluation of the applicability and validity of BST.

Stories to Tell is about African-American women sharing their experiences as they relate to life, health, relationships and many other issues. It is an opportunity to give voice to issues facing African-American women in Milwaukee. 

To be eligible, a person in a selected unit must meet the following requirements:

  • Female
  • African-American
  • Between the ages of 18-45
  • English speaking
  • Able to understand the study questions
  • Able to provide information for 3 locators
  • A resident of randomly selected units in the HACM developments

Participation is voluntary and confidential. Participants will receive gift cards, bus tickets to and from the Community Research Center, and free snacks and beverages at interview appointments.

Funding Agency

National Institutes of Health
National Institute on Drug Abuse
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
National Institute of Mental Health

Time Period

September 15, 2008-June 30, 2013

Scientific Team

P.I.: Laura Otto-Salaj, Ph.D., CABHR Scientist and Associate Professor, HBSSW
Co-P.I.: Susan Rose, Ph.D., CABHR Scientist and Associate Professor, HBSSW
Co-I.: Mike Brondino, Ph.D., CABHR Scientist and Associate Professor, HBSSW
Co-I.: Michael Fendrich, Ph.D., CABHR Scientist and Wisconsin Distinguished Professor, HBSSW
Statistician: Daniel Fuhrmann, Ph.D., Associate Scientist


Stephanie Collins, assessor
Lynn Lewis-Turner, assessor
Daana Townsend, project coordinator
Laura Voith, assessor