Research Initiatives

What are literature reviews?

A literature review is a synthesis of existing research on a particular topic. It provides a way to assess a subject through its major themes, gaps, and frameworks. A literature review can be organized in a variety of ways, such as thematically, chronologically, methodologically, and theoretically.

Literature Review Categories

  1. Cardiovascular Disease and Hypertension Epidemiology: This section will feature an overview of the incidence and prevalence of cardiovascular disease and hypertension. Studies examining the risk factors for developing these conditions, such as smoking, poor diet, and physical inactivity, will be reviewed. In addition, the global patterns of these chronic diseases and health burdens will be evaluated.
  2. Homelessness and COVID-19: The unique challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic on the homeless population will be assessed. With individuals in the homeless population already experiencing marginalization, stigmatization, discrimination, poverty, and physical and mental health struggles, COVID-19 has exacerbated their situation. Interventions and approaches within the homeless services sector will be highlighted.
  3. Socio-behavioral/Mental Health Aspects of Homelessness: Sociobehavioral and mental health factors underlying homelessness will be reviewed. These include quality of life, substance abuse, stress, rates of psychiatric disorders, housing instability, and social support.

Examples of Prominent Journals

Here are different journals in which you may find many different kinds of publications. You may use articles in these journals to write literature reviews!

The Lancet, American Journal of Public Health, Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, Frontiers in Public Health, International Journal of Public Health, National Health Care for the Homeless Council

Homelessness as a Whole

The Basics

  • Homelessness can adopt many forms, such as individuals living on the streets, in shelters or encampments, or in transitional housing. (
  • Housing was declared a fundamental human right by the United Nations in 1991.
  • On a single night in 2019, roughly 568,000 people were experiencing homeless in the United States. (The 2019 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress. (
  • Homelessness in the U.S. is recognized as a public health issue by the American Public Health Association.
  • Numerous structural factors underlie homelessness, including housing instability, poverty, unemployment, and incarceration. When combined with various social and environmental risk factors, the homeless population has disproportionately poor health outcomes. (Elder, J., & King, B. (2019). “Housing and Homelessness as a Public Health Issue.” Medical Care, 57(6), 401–405. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000001115)

The Important of Research and Activism

Initiatives from the local to international levels are critical to achieving health equity. These include advocacy efforts, service delivery and outreach, homelessness prevention programs, interventions to improve employment opportunities and housing stability, and educational initiatives to spread awareness about homelessness and to develop systems to help them.

How H4H Is Helping

  • Hearts for the Homeless is launching a new initiative centered on writing literature reviews on homelessness. One project includes compiling literature into a journal that we hope to publish.
  • We are working on a research project regarding the homeless population and cardiovascular health using the blood pressure readings that we take at our screenings.
  • We would love to have you on our team! Scroll down to get involved.

Homelessness Statistics: Around the World

This number gives the approximate amount of people in the world that are homeless.

The World

Recent On the Ground Research

In 2018, several members of Hearts for the Homeless International, including our President, Andrew Aboujaoude, and National External Affairs Officer, Mary Cobty, were co-authors in a study published in 2020, titled “Risk Factors and Public Assistance Role in Hypertension among Homeless Population: A Cohort Study.” This study highlights the major risk factors of hypertension among the homeless community in the Orlando metropolitan area such as financial assistance, duration of homelessness, etc., in order to provide solutions and to modify associated risk factors. This is because cardiovascular complications are one of the leading causes of death among homeless individuals. The overall prevalence of hypertension among participants was found to be 52% (87 out of 167), which is higher than the national average. Homeless individuals who were homeless for greater than a year were more likely to have hypertension, whereas hypertension was less prevalent in those who were homeless for less than a year. Additionally, those who received financial assistance had a lower rate of hypertension than those who did not.


For more information, the research study may be accessed using the following link:


Reference: Naser E., Aboujaoude A., Lenkiu L., Carvel J., Cobty M., Avais M., Al-Deen Hassouneh S., Qasem A., Naser S. A. (January 21, 2020). Risk Factors and Public Assistance Role in Hypertension among Homeless Population: A Cohort Study. Biomed J Sci & Tech Res, 24(4), 18510-18514. DOI: 10.26717/BJSTR.2020.24.004099

Hearts for the Homeless at Boston University

Meeting every two weeks, the journal club led by the H4H Boston Chapter focuses on reading journal articles as a way to learn more about the population experiencing homelessness from a public health perspective. We aim to foster scientific literacy and communication, and to take the knowledge we gain to improve how we interact with individuals at service events. In addition, we look forward to collaborating with other H4H chapters on writing literature reviews on different topics.

Dates and Times: Tuesday, November 24 from 8-9 PM EST; Tuesday, December 8 from 8-9 PM EST

RSVP on the Calendar:




Help Fund Our Organization!