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Pilot Projects Funded in 2007


Click on the name of the Pilot Project to view the related abstract:

Click here to view the Pilot Projects funded in 2010

Racial Disparities in Substance use and Services

Dr. Ty Borders, Principal Investigator

The overall objective of this study is to examine racial (especially African American vs. white) differences in need for treatment for substance use (both illicit drug and alcohol use) and access to formal substance abuse services. A secondary objective is to describe rural/urban differences in need for treatment services, including whether African American vs. white disparities are exacerbated in rural areas. To address these issues, we plan to conduct in-depth statistical analyses of the 2001-2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC), a nationally representative in-person interview conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). The NESARC, which is publicly available for use by researchers, is a very unique data source as it contains information on both alcohol use and illicit drug use among approximately 40,000 persons. A better understanding of racial and rural/urban differences in access to substance abuse services would enable health policy makers, treatment program managers, and providers to make more informed decisions about the targeting and tailoring of programs aimed at improving entry into the substance abuse treatment system.

For more information contact:
Ty Borders, PhD
UAMS College of Public Health
4301 W. Markham, Slot 820
Little Rock, AR 72205
Email: TFBorders@uams.edu
Telephone: (501) 526-6641

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The WORD (Wholeness, Oneness, Righteousness, Deliverance): Feasibility test of a healthy weight program for rural, Southern churches

Dr. Karen H. Kim Yeary, Principal Investigator

Despite multidisciplinary efforts to control the nation's obesity epidemic, obesity has persisted as one of the U.S.'s top public health problems, particularly among African Americans and rural residents. To combat current disparities in health, innovative approaches to address obesity that are sensitive to the unique issues of rural African Americans are needed. Current approaches have emphasized the importance of culturally appropriate materials and the potential impact of a faith-based intervention in underserved rural communities. The purpose of this pilot is to conduct a feasibility test of a faith-based weight loss intervention culturally adapted for rural African American adults. The materials will incorporate weight loss methods and materials from evidence-based behavioral weight loss interventions and will adapt these materials to integrate deep structure cultural components, and spiritual and faith related themes. The pilot will test a culturally adapted, faith-based behavioral weight loss intervention implemented among African American churches. The pilot will build upon preexisting relationships with the Faith Task Force, which consists of over 30 churches and community organizations in rural, low income Arkansas counties, and with which the Pilot PI has been involved for over 3 years.

For more information contact:
Karen H. Kim Yeary, PhD
UAMS College of Public Health
4301 W. Markham, Slot 820
Little Rock, AR 72205
Email: khk@uams.edu
Telephone: (501) 526-6720

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Practice-based Methods to Improve Quality of Care and Reduce Health Disparities in Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease

Dr. Creshelle R. Nash, Principal Investigator

Approximately 6% of Americans (19 million people) have diabetes, with substantially higher rates among ethnic and racial minority populations. This translates into a significant economic and personal burden. Arkansas ranks in the top 5 states in the country for diagnosed diabetes. Timely access to preventive care and routine disease management services and enhanced adherence to current standards of treatment could prevent many diabetes-related complications. Unfortunately, many people do not receive these services, and there are wide disparities across racial and gender groups. Ethnic and racial minority groups also have substantially higher rates of CVD morbidity and mortality and have significantly lower rates of being offered and receiving appropriate care. Physician practice-based methods to enhance adherence to practice guidelines and improve overall quality of care have been examined in a variety of prevention and treatment arenas, however there is little research in using these methods to reduce health disparities by improving overall quality of care. Therefore, formative research is critical to understand how best to approach practices to engage them in promoting appropriate care for diabetes and CVD among minority patients and how best to facilitate enhanced adherence to established practice guidelines so that health disparities are reduced. The specific aims of the proposed pilot are to conduct qualitative research to explore these important themes at a practice level, to inform the design of an intervention approach tailored to the needs of the practices and to evaluate the feasibility of conducting this intervention in practice-settings on a larger scale.

For more information contact:
Creshelle R. Nash, MD, MPH
UAMS College of Public Health
4301 W. Markham, Slot 820
Little Rock, AR 72205
Email: NashCreshelleR@uams.edu
Telephone: (501) 526-6608

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Understanding the Underutilization of Tobacco Cessation Programs in the Mississippi Delta

Dr. Christine Sheffer, Principal Investigator

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death, contributing greatly to the incidence and progression of coronary heart disease (CHD). Cessation provides immediate and major health benefits, lowering the CHD death risk almost immediately. Lower socio−economic (SES) groups have more difficulty with cessation and suffer disproportionately from CHD and other tobacco−related disease. This disparity is linked with access to evidence−based treatments for tobacco dependence. Several Arkansas counties lie in the heart of the Mississippi delta region, a historically underserved area with some of the highest CHD death rates in the country as well as the lowest rates of participation in the state-sponsored, tobacco dependence treatment programs. New methods for engaging this population are needed; however, there is a lack of understanding as to why there are disparate levels of participation. Community-based participatory research (CBPR) methods will be utilized to build on existing collaborations in the communities; analyze the social, economic, cultural, environmental, and historical context; and conduct guided focus groups. Results from the focus groups will be used to develop a survey instrument that will be administered to selected residents in the larger community. Outcomes cannot be defined prior to completing the formative research, but are likely to include common issues such as trust, awareness, social influences, motivation, self-efficacy, outcome expectancies, and access to services. This formative research is expected to result in suggested methods to significantly increase participation in the tobacco treatment programs in targeted counties. If generalizable, the results of this pilot project will provide important information about engaging marginalized groups in treatment for tobacco dependence. The suggested methods will be tested in subsequent research.

For more information contact:
Christine Sheffer, PhD
UAMS College of Public Health
4301 W. Markham, Slot 820
Little Rock, AR 72205
Email: CESheffer@uams.edu
Telephone: (501) 526-6613 

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Understanding sexual and reproductive health and the impact of migration in an emerging Latino community in Arkansas

Drs. Katharine Stewart & Eduardo Ochoa, co-Principal Investigators

The relationship between migrant status and sexual/reproductive health (SRH) outcomes in the Mexican migrant and immigrant population is poorly understood, yet appears to be quite complex. On one hand, migration appears to have a positive impact on infant health, both for the children of women who migrated to the US and for women who remain in Mexico but whose partners are temporary migrants to the US. However, migrant workers and their spouses or sexual partners who remain in Mexico also appear to be at higher risk for negative outcomes as well, including STD/HIV risk, decreased access to SRH care, decreased access to prenatal and well-baby care, disruption of social support networks and coping structures, and depression/anxiety. The objectives of the proposed project are (1) to identify immigrants' perceptions of the facilitators and barriers of SRH-promoting behaviors, including condom use, STD/HIV testing and screenings for cancers of the reproductive system, use of informal health care systems, prenatal care, and well-baby care, and (2) to describe immigrants' expectations and utilization of informal, public health, and individual health systems in Mexico and Arkansas. We will conduct four focus groups, two groups with men and two groups with women, enrolling a maximum of thirty-two participants, all of whom will be adults aged 18 to 45 years of age who have migrated to Arkansas from Mexico at least three months but no more than three years prior to the date of their enrollment in the study. All participants must have had contact with a health care provider in the past twelve months for sexual or reproductive health care, including testing or treatment for sexually transmitted infections, prenatal or well-baby care, or another sexual or reproductive health concern. Participants will be reimbursed for their time and travel. Confidentiality concerns and the risk of potential discomfort with personal questions will be managed with well-defined and established procedures. Results of the study will be used to identify the principal concerns regarding sexual and reproductive health care among recent immigrants from Mexico, approaches used in this community to reduce sexual and reproductive health-related risks, and perceived barriers to and facilitators of accessing sexual and reproductive health care.

For more information contact:
Katharine E. Stewart, PhD, MPH
UAMS College of Public Health
4301 W. Markham, Slot 820
Little Rock, AR 72205
Email: StewartKatharineE@uams.edu
Telephone: (501) 526-6622

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Engaging at-risk youth in physical activity and health improvement: Feasibility analysis of the iPod Sports Kit and digital feedback

Dr. Alan VanBiervliet, Principal Investigator

Statewide in-school BMI measurements have documented very high rates of overweight children in Arkansas, particularly among children in rural areas and in African-American and Hispanic children. Overweight children are at increased risk of having lipid, cardiac and vascular abnormalities. Research clearly shows that increasing physical activity is one of the cornerstones of pediatric obesity treatment along with dietary and behavioral change. Many programs for decreasing childhood obesity have been implemented in schools and clinics, but few have succeeded in long term weight management. The long term goal of the proposed research is to develop and evaluate a strategy that can engage at risk youth in healthy physical activity that can be maintained throughout their lives. This strategy could be incorporated into a wide range of intervention programs involving physical activity, nutrition, and behavioral change. This pilot study will conduct a systematic feasibility analysis of an iPod Sports Kit physical activity program designed for at risk youth from minority and lower socioeconomic households in rural and urban communities. The project will be accomplished through a partnership with public schools in the Little Rock area. Using community-based participatory methodologies groups of representative youth and professionals will participate in a structured process to identify design guidelines, create prototype graphical user interfaces, design music playlists, create graphical components, design a performance tracking and feedback system, and participate in the evaluation of the system. An iterative user-centered development process following the Usability.gov guidelines will result in design specifications for the complete development of the system in the second phase of the research project. The prototype system will undergo systematic formative analysis and initial testing during this pilot phase.

For more information contact:
Alan VanBiervliet, PhD
UAMS College of Public Health
4301 W. Markham, Slot 820
Little Rock, AR 72205
Telephone: (501) 526-6699
email: vanb@uams.edu

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UAMS Arkansas Center for Health Disparities
4301 W. Markham #Slot 820, Little Rock, AR 72205, 501-526-6707

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