As part of Center Director Viswanath’s initiative to promote community well-being and health equity, the Lee Kum Sheung Center for Health and Happiness has begun working with the East Boston Social Centers (EBSCs). The EBSCs were founded more than a hundred years ago to welcome and support immigrant families in East Boston through early education programming and public health and social services. Under the leadership of Executive Director Justin Pasquariello, the EBSCs started a campaign to promote community joy, which in turn sparked a partnership with the Lee Kum Sheung Center. Now, Center Research Assistant and HSPH MPH graduate Elaine Jeon is working with the EBSCs to evaluate joy among East Boston residents.
The HappyB2.0 project is the continuation of the HappyB project in the US context. The project is funded by the National Institutes of Health and directed by the Research Associate Dr. Laura Marciano (Principal Investigator), in collaboration with Center Director Dr. K. “Vish” Viswanath (Co-Investigator) and Dr. Nathaniel Osgood (Co-Investigator). The proposed research will quantify how in-person interactions and social media communication uniquely contribute to the experience of adolescents’ loneliness and mental health (including the experience of happiness and thriving) in the short- and long- term. The research will consider individual and contextual factors and employ a mixed-method design informed by biomarkers. We hope the results will positively impact policymaking and guide the implementation of effective, low-cost interventions and early education programs to improve adolescent well-being and resilience. Data will be collected from approximately 360 teens living in Boston. Data collection will be conducted in collaboration with Boston high schools through the Education Development Center (EDC) and at the Roxbury Tenants of Harvard.
The HappyB Project, which was created by Center Research Fellow Dr. Laura Marciano, investigates how digital media use, particularly smartphone and social media use, is linked, over time, to youth well-being conceptualized in a positive way. This project includes two longitudinal studies which follow approximately 1,600 students from four high schools in the Ticino region of Switzerland. Data is collected through the use of the Ethica app. The project, funded by the Swiss National Research Fund (SNF), started in January 2022 and will run for 24 months. The data collected in Switzerland is then analyzed at the Center for Health and Happiness in Boston.
Center Director Viswanath is collaborating with the Salaam Bombay Foundation (SBF) to conduct a longitudinal study to track students over time, following them through their school years and beyond to determine how exposure to SBF programming and other life events impact their health and well-being. The purpose of the SBF longitudinal study is twofold: 1) to gather valuable data on the health communication behaviors, availability of assets, and resilience of youth to determine how these factors are associated with health and well-being, and 2) to directly chart how SBF programs impact outcomes for students who attended SBF-sponsored schools compared to those who did not.
Case Study: Lee Kum Kee Company
Director Viswanath has begun working on an in-depth case study of the Lee Kum Kee company to determine how the company’s philosophy of “Si Ji Li Ren,” which roughly translates to “consider others’ interests before acting,” is operationalized and followed in practice. The case study will be used to teach students, providing an illustration of how the workplace could be a site for promoting well-being and happiness.