HomeOur Focus AreasHard-to-Reach Populations & Homelessness

Hard-to-Reach Populations & Homelessness


We work with a range of communities and populations that, for any number of reasons, remain difficult to study with conventional social science methods.

In some cases, this is because they lack fixed addresses or locations, such as when we work with homeless and unstably housed women or adolescents. In other cases, it is because the population is stigmatized and members remain wary of outsides, such as injecting drug users or underage sex workers. The REACH team has adopted and developed a number of methods to work with these groups, making our team one of the few social science research labs with expertise in this area.

Recent Blog Posts for Injection Risk Networks in Rural Puerto Rico

Ongoing results of studies concerning the United States War on Drugs uncover how policies have raised the incarceration rates of

While injection drug use poses a large risk for the spread of infectious diseases like HIV and HCV, people who

Substance use of all varieties has seen great demographic shifts throughout the United States in the past century. While attention

In Puerto Rico, the urgency of HIV infection is visible in shear numbers: the rate of diagnosis is the fourth

A group from the REACH Lab recently published a research paper in the 36th volume of the Puerto Rico Health Science

The REACH Lab's director of data analysis, Patrick Habecker, and principle investigator, Kirk Dombrowski, worked with other researchers to publish

Funded Projects:

Funded projects focused specifically on hidden and hard to reach populations include “Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in New York City” (Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs NIJ 2009-MC-CX-0001), performed in collaboration with the John Jay Social Networks Research Group and the New York Center for Court innovation. We also worked with John Jay researchers Ric Curtis and Travis Wendel on the “Retail Methamphetamine Markets in New York City” (NIJ 2007-IJ-CX-0110 / NIH R21 DA024357-01).  Other collaborators include Susan Bartles of Harvard University Medical School on the “Investigation on Outcomes of Sexual Violence Related Pregnancies in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo” (Eleanor Miles Shore Foundation and Harvard Humanitarian Initiative). More recently, Dr. Whitbeck was contracted to complete a data collection project on homeless youth across the United States (funded by the Family and Youth Services Bureau). Our currently funded projects in this focus area include “Injection Risk Networks in Rural Puerto Rico (NIH/NIDAR01DA037117).