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Current Research Projects

Agency for Healthcare and Research Quality (AHRQ) Heart Healthy Initiative Ohio (HHIO)

Funding Agency: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, (AHRQ)  

Key Personnel: Saundra Regan, PhD; Jackie Knapke, PhD  

This project, funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, (AHRQ) has been tasked to design and test a Heart Healthy Quality Improvement Project (QIP) focused on improving cardiovascular health and reducing disparities in CVD care using a unique co-design approach.

Four primary care practices have designed a Quality Improvement Project (QIP) under the leadership of co-design expert Richard Buchanan, PhD. The co-design period, which began in January 2021, completed the design of the quality improvement project in July, which will now be implemented in a step-fashion during the next phase of the project.

The Heart Healthy Project has now recruited fifty-two Ohio Primary Care Practices, including two UC Health academic practices and three rural ACRMC practices.  These practices will be supported by QI experts as they implement the new QIP, focused on improvements in Hypertension control and Smoking Cessation rates. They will each attend four webinars over 12 months, to facilitate implementation and change will be guided by their clinical data. Practices will have access to the evidence-based resources developed by the Ohio Cardiovascular Health Collaborative and Cardi-OH.

The January 2022 Coronavirus Surge impacted the capacity of many practices to initiate new quality improvement projects. Because of this, the AHRQ HHIO project has rescheduled the Kick-Off for April 27 and the first cohort of the expansion will begin in May 2022.

For further information contact Dr. Saundra Regan, PhD at regansl@ucmail.uc.edu.  

Appalachian Experiential Learning and Simulation Program (APP-ELS Program)

Funding Agency: Health Resources and Services Administration

Key Personnel: Saundra Regan, PhD; Jackie Knapke, PhD

The App-ELS program leverages distance learning technologies and experiential learning, including simulation, to prepare nursing students to lead coordinated care for vulnerable, at-risk, medically underserved populations impacted by opioid use disorder (OUD). The students completed coursework, experiential case simulations, and rural health nursing experiences as part of the program. App-ELS is a two-year grant project funded by HRSA; Drs. Regan and Knapke serve as evaluators. The project started its second year this fall.

For further information, contact Dr. Jackie Knapke at jackie.knapke@uc.edu.

Cardi-OH The Ohio Cardiovascular Diseas Collaborative. A Hypertension & Diabetes Consortium

Funding Agencies: Ohio Department of Medicaid, Government Resource Center

Key Personnel: Saundra Regan, PhD (Principal Investigator); Mary Beth Vonder Meuler, RN (Program Manager); Karen Chinchilla, LSW; Harini Pallerla, MS; Anderson Christopher, MA.

A statewide network of seven academic medical institutions, funded by the Ohio Department of Medicaid, was originally formed in 2017 with the goal of improving Cardiovascular health outcomes and eliminating disparities in Ohio's Medicaid population.

Physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other allied healthcare professionals make up our working groups. Each year, these working groups create and disseminate new evidence-based materials. These free materials are available at a public access website: https://cardi-oh.org

The ECHO model, a unique method of sharing knowledge across disciplines, continues as a key method to expand our reach to Ohio Primary Care providers. The Spring 2023 ECHO Clinic will begin a new 12-week series in January 2023 on Innovations in Diabetes and Cardiovascular Health.

For further information, please visit https://cardi-oh.org or contact Mary Beth Vonder Meulen at marybeth.vondermeulen@uc.edu

Cervical Cancer Screening in LGBTQ+ Individuals: Early Implementation of American Cancer Society Guidelines by Equitas Health

Funding Agency: Cincinnati Center for Clinical and Translational Science and Training

Key Personnel: Shanna Stryker, MD, MPH;

In order to improve cervical cancer screening rates at a local community health center that provides primary care to LGBTQ+ adults, our team has paired with the population health nurse at Equitas Health. The 2020 American Cancer Society Cervical Cancer Screening guidelines recommends doing primary HPV testing rather than a pap smear with cytology and suggests that self-collection of a sample is reasonable in populations who otherwise would not be screened. Our team is using implementation science to guide implementation and evaluation of a quality improvement initiative that will introduce self-swab for HPV as a means of improving cervical cancer screening rates and will do a survey and interviews to assess acceptability of this method to LGBTQ+ individuals. We have developed a video for patient discussions their options and have begun data collection.

For further information, please contact Karen Chinchilla at karen.chinchilla@uc.edu

Community-Based Response to Food Insecurity in Older Adults in Walnut Hills 

Funding Agencies: Walnut Hills Development Foundation, University of Cincinnati Department of Family and Community Medicine 

Key Personnel: Anna Goroncy, MD 

This project explored food insecurity of older adults in the Walnut Hills community (identified as Food Desert since 2017) during the height of the COVID pandemic. In 2020 we surveyed 48 adults, aged 55 or older, who live in Walnut Hills. The information was analyzed, and a healthy food cooking program was planned for Fall 2021 partnering with La Soupe, a program that takes food that would be tossed out and rescues it to prepare into healthy soups and other meals that are given to those who otherwise would go hungry. Unfortunately, the surges in Delta and Omicron Covid Pandemic led to cancellation of the in-person classes.

The project team met on February 24 to discuss the best way to re-engage with residents of the Alexandria, a Walnut Hills unit providing housing for elderly and disabled persons. Present at the meeting, led by UC DFCM faculty Anna Goroncy MD were four Family Medicine Resident Physicians, two UC Medical Students, three Community Organization representatives and the UC Family Medicine Research Director and Research Nurse.

At that meeting, the Food Insecurity Survey was updated, and the team devised a two-step plan to maximize participation in the survey. A free in-person dinner, with food donated by La Soupe, was held at the Alexandria on February 26. Residents were encouraged to complete the survey while enjoying dinner. An additional supply of the surveys, along with pre-paid return envelopes, were left in the Alexandria common areas. At the next meeting our team will be able to judge the success of this survey plan.

The weekly Friday Food + Fun outdoor event continues every Friday with food from La Soupe and the Healthy Harvest Mobile Market. Gary Dangel, from the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation, will also be there to encourage neighborhood participation in the Walnut Hills fruit, vegetable, and flower gardens. More information may be found on the Foundation’s Facebook page at WH Redevelopment Foundation Facebook Page

For further information, please contact Dr. Anna Goroncy at goroncar@ucmail.uc.edu.

Community Building for Health and Mental Wellness: Stress and Stress Management in Latino Cincinnatians (Next Lives Here Urban Health Pathway 

Funding Agency: University of Cincinnati Next Lives Here 

Key Personnel: Shanna Stryker, MD, MPH; Lisa Vaughn, PhD; Karen Chinchilla, LSW

 

This project utilizes a team of co-researchers to design a peer-led group stress management program, given that previous work with LU-SALUD (our partner CBPR group) has identified stress as a health priority for Cincinnati Latinos. Our co-researchers administered 121 surveys that they co-created and are planning a facilitated community conversation to share and get context for the survey results.

We have published a systematic literature review describing psychometric properties of scales measuring stress in US-based Latinx immigrants and are currently writing a systematic literature review describing psychometric properties of scales measuring resilience in Latinx immigrants. We held a community conversation with a Latinx church congregation to review and contextualize the results from our survey and are currently doing qualitative analysis of the transcript from this. Our next steps include implementing a YouTube video in Spanish about how to manage stress in partnership with Dr. Brittany Carter-Tidwell. 

For further information, please contact Karen Chinchilla at karen.chinchilla@uc.edu

Developing Interventions to Increase Awareness and Screening of Latent Tuberculosis Infection in Latinx Communities

Funding Agency: University of Cincinnati Next Lives Here

Key Personnel: Shanna Stryker, MD, MPH; Moises Huaman, MD, Msc; Lisa Vaughn, PhD; Karen Chinchilla, LSW

Public health data shows that Latinos in Cincinnati are disproportionately affected by latent tuberculosis infection. This project is an initiative with faculty from UCCOM Departments of Infectious Diseases and Family and Community Medicine, a social psychologist from CCHMC, community participatory research group Latinos Unidos Por la Salid (LU-Salud), and the Hamilton County Public Health Tuberculosis Control clinic. We have started community-based interviews with Cincinnati Latinos to assess their knowledge and beliefs about latent tuberculosis. We will then form a Community Advisory Board (CAB) with whom we will share the results. The CAB will invite public health, primary care, religious, and social service leaders to join LU-Salud co-researchers in designing an initiative aimed at improving screening rates, and treatment for, latent tuberculosis in Latinos in Cincinnati. We have completed twenty-five community-based interviews. We had three CAB meetings in 2022 and CAB members have already begun to share excellent ideas and strategies for addressing disparities.

For further information, please contact Karen Chinchilla at karen.chinchilla@uc.edu

Early Identification of Future Family Medicine Physicians: Utilization of a Pipeline Tracker

Funding Agency: University of Cincinnati Department of Family Medicine

Key Personnel: Jackie Knapke, PhD; Hillary Mount, MD  

Phase 1: We analyzed qualitative admissions data from two groups of 2010-2019 UC medical school graduates: students who matched to FM and a random comparison sample of non-FM matches. We used natural language modeling to recognize semantic patterns in the data, which guided a more traditional content analysis to generate themes. This work has been presented at multiple conferences, with a final presentation at the October 2021 Family Medicine Educational Consortium (FMEC) annual meeting. The manuscript was accepted by the journal, Family Medicine and will be published later this fall.

Phase 2: Using machine learning, we have developed an algorithm to inform prospective identification of incoming students who are likely to be future FM physicians. Students identified by the algorithm will be entered into a pipeline tracker to facilitate mentoring, peer-support, or additional family medicine experience earlier in their medical school training. The long-term objective of this study is to increase the number of medical students at UC who choose FM as their medical specialty. Using the results of Phase 1, we are evaluating an algorithm that is currently able to predict FM or non-FM residency selection with 80% accuracy.

For further information, contact Dr. Jackie Knapke at jackie.knapke@uc.edu.

Evaluation of Cincinnati Homeless Resource Map App 

Funding Agency: Mark Herschede Fund

Personnel: Saundra Regan, PhD; Harini Pallerla, MS

The Cincy Homeless Resource Map app (available free in the Apple Store & Google Play) The app is intended to connect providers and community members to resources for those experiencing homelessness or at-risk for homelessness. This purpose of this project was to evaluate the Cincy Homeless Resource Map app by end users. We took the app to people experiencing homelessness, community service providers, and primary care providers who care for people who are homeless. We conducted surveys as well as a talk aloud evaluation as the participant used the app. Our next step is to analyze the data and publish the results. 

For further information, please contact Harini Pallerla at harini.pallerla@uc.edu.

 

Immigrant & Refugee Law Center Medicolegal Partnership Initiatives 

Funding Agency: University of Cincinnati Office of Research

Key Personnel: Shanna Stryker, MD, MPH; Karen Chinchilla, LSW

UC DFCM has have received grants from the CCTST and Office of Research to do several projects in partnership with the Immigrant & Refugee Law Center (IRLC). In summer 2021 we worked with an IRLC client to use Group Level Assessment to describe the health needs, priorities, and barriers of local immigrants and refugees being served by IRLC. We had 15 IRLC clients join two virtual sessions, one in English and the other in Spanish. A medical student updated a local resource guide and will assist with Health Navigation to connect IRLC clients without a regular source of care to local health services. Our co-researcher, who is a client at IRLC, designed a phone survey that our research assistant has done with nine clients.

Additionally, we have done medical evaluations of three IRLC clients to assist their lawyers with their cases.

Finally, in a feasibility study we have the following aims 1) the demand for forensic medical evaluations amongst IRLC clients, 2) the demand for participating in a medico-legal partnership serving immigrants/refugees amongst UC medical and law students, and 3) the impact of volunteering with IRLC on the career intentions of involved students.

To address Aim 1, we are auditing IRLC intakes to determine the demand for medical evaluations, and providing valuable information to them on their volume, the demographics of people seeking their services, and the types of relief people are seeking from them. To address Aim 2, we have collected data from UC medical students and residents in pediatrics, family medicine, psychiatry, internal medicine, and emergency medicine on their interest in participating in the partnership and will be doing a quantitative evaluation soon. Lastly, to address Aim 3, we have been interviewing students who previously collaborated with us to deter-mine the impact of their participation on future career plans. We are exploring opportunities to work with ado-lescents looking for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status cases.

For further information, please contact Karen Chinchilla at karen.chinchilla@uc.edu.

Ohio Colleges of Medicine, Regional Quality Improvement Hub (QI Hub)

Funding Agency: Ohio Department of Medicaid

Key Personnel: Saundra Regan, PhD; Christine Burrows, MD; Hilja Ruegg, MD; Mary Beth Vonder Meulen, RN

UC College of Medicine (COM) has been chosen by ODM to serve as a Regional Quality Improvement (QI) Hub. The goal of the QI Hub will be to translate best-evidenced care more reliably into clinical practice, offering structure to collectively support health improvements that can be measured at the level of Ohio’s populations. Single institution efforts focusing on chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes have already been successful in achieving significant improvements in health status as well as closing disparity gaps for the Medicaid population. A “Hub and Spoke” model offers greater scale as well as choice of clinical practice areas ripe for improvement. 
The six Regional QI Hubs will be comprised of an Ohio College of Medicine and select hospital partners to serve as the central ‘hub,’ with other interested practices acting as ‘spokes.’ The Government Resource Center (GRC) will provide project management to the participating Colleges of Medicine. UC’s Dept of Family and Community Medicine is leading this grant in partnership with faculty from the UC Dept of General Internal Medicine (GIM), the UC Dept of GIM and Pediatrics with QI Leadership from UC Health. 

For further information, please contact Mary Beth Vonder Meulen at marybeth.vondermeulen@uc.edu.

Project ECHO for Ongoing Professional Mental Health Education in Rural Guatemala

Funding Agency: University of Cincinnati International

Key Personnel: Charles Schubert, MD; Shanna Stryker, MD, MPH

The  University of Cincinnati Department of Family and Community Medicine (UC DFCM)  has partnered with Wuqu’Kawoq and the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (UVG) to pilot Project ECHO as a format to provide mental health education to Guatemalan primary care physicians   as well as Guatemalan medical students, nursing students, and psychology students who are on their rural health rotations.  Faculty from UC DFCM, UC Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, and UVG provide interdisciplinary expertise and discuss cases submitted by students based on their clinical work.  Our team implemented and evaluated a five-session pilot program in April-May 2021 and shared preliminary results which show trends towards improved attitudes and self-efficacy at a national conference.  We are currently working with our team to draft manuscripts of our results. 

For further information, please contact Karen Chinchilla at karen.chinchilla@uc.edu

Primary Care Training Enhancement: Primary Care Champions 

Funding Agency: Health Resources and Services Administration

Key Personnel: Patrick Cafferty, MPA; Jeffery Schlaudecker, MD; Daniel Hargraves, MSW; Megan Rich, MD 

This 5-year HRSA project trains community providers each year from PBRN sites such as Crossroad Health Center. Each provider completes a fellowship program that includes a community-partnered project at their practice site. They receive training in six content areas including physician wellness, mental health, medication-assisted treatment for opioids, medical education, and social determinants of health and quality improvement in their practices.

The fellowship has graduated 14 participants in the first two years (9 physicians, 5 physician assistants), and 5 participants in year three, in August 2021 (3 physicians and 2 physician assistants). Two physicians and one physician assistant are on track to graduate in 2022, as the fourth year of the fellowship. The faculty team has had accepted four abstracts for presentation based on three completed years of evaluation data from content areas of substance use disorder treatment, instructional design theory, and the needs assessment results that also includes a one-year post-graduation follow-up. Statistical significance has been found in knowledge and comfort across all content areas for all cohorts of fellows.

The team recently began interviewing fellow graduates, guest speakers and faculty regarding perceived changes in value to learning and engagement since transitioning from an in-person fellowship to remote experience.

Also, recruitment has begun for the 5th and final year of the fellowship. As of February 2022, four fellows (2 physicians and 2 physician assistants) have committed to the fellowship’s year 5 beginning September 2022

For further information, please contact Dan Hargraves at daniel.hargraves@uc.edu.

Refugee Health Literacy

Funding Agency: Cincinnati Center for Clinical and Translational Science and Training 

Key Personnel: Shanna Stryker, MD, MPH; Karen Chinchilla, LSW

UC DFCM has partnered with Refuge Collaborative and Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) to evaluate a health literacy curriculum developed by Refuge for refugee adolescents. A two-stage pilot program has been completed. Our undergraduate researchers presented data from the pilot program at the UC Undergraduate Research Symposium at the international North American Refugee Health Care Conference. We have recently received a generous grant from the CCTST to partner with a student who participated in the pilot program to revise our curriculum, expand our reach, and more robustly evaluate our program. We have selected a student who participated in the pilot program to come onto the team as a co-researcher. We are now preparing to start teaching at Withrow High School.

For further information, please contact Karen Chinchilla at karen.chinchilla@uc.edu

Research Innovations using Sensor Technology in Environmental Justice Communities (RISE Communities) R25 Program

Funding Agency: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Key Personnel: Jackie Knapke, PhD; Patrick Ryan, MD; Daniel Hargraves, MSW

Low-cost air sensors offer tremendous opportunities for researchers and community members to better understand air pollution exposures at neighborhood, indoor, and personal levels. Though these devices are often marketed as easy-to-use, users face multiple challenges including maintenance, calibration, data management, and data visualization. These issues often lead residents and researchers to form community-academic partnerships within a community-engaged research (CEnR) framework. However, successful community-academic partnerships require time and training to set expectations, identify team member roles, develop team processes and shared mental models, and design a project that balances the needs of a community with the expectations of academic researchers.

In recognition of both the opportunities and challenges of using low-cost sensors in CEnR, we propose an innovative program to foster successful community-academic partnerships and equip research teams with the technical skills and knowledge to successfully utilize low-cost sensors in environmental justice (EJ) communities. Our program, entitled Research Innovations using Sensor Technology in Environmental Justice Communities (RISE Communities), will accomplish three specific aims using a combination of in-person training, experiential learning, and a social learning community. We will recruit community-academic teams (5 per year) from throughout the US and provide these teams with dedicated time and training to build trust, set expectations, enhance sustainability, and engage in evaluation (Aim 1). In addition, experts in the use of low-cost sensors and their application in EJ communities will provide in-person courses, workshops, and hands-on training on their use.

This training will equip teams with the requisite foundational knowledge in research methods employing low-cost sensors including how to select the appropriate sensor(s) for their research questions, deploy them in their own communities, and translate the data to action (Aim 2). Throughout the program we will cultivate a community of practice to facilitate continued interaction among participants and program faculty and extend the learning beyond the in-person training (Aim 3). Collectively, these aims address the urgent need in environmental health research to foster successful community-academic partnerships to address disparities in air quality experienced by residents of EJ communities. In addition, the RISE Communities program will promote the use of sensor technology in EJ communities to encourage data-driven action to improve public health. This R25 proposal was awarded in September 2022 with Drs. Jackie Knapke and Patrick Ryan as MPIs.

For further information, please contact Dan Hargraves at daniel.hargraves@uc.edu.

Serving At-Risk Youth Fellowship Experience - Specialty Training (SAFE-T) Program

Funding Agency:  Health Resources and Services Administration

Key Personnel: Saundra Regna, PhD; Jackie Knapke, PhD; Harini Pallerla, MS

The purpose of this evaluation is to measure the impact of the training program Serving At-risk youth Fellowship Experience – specialty Training (SAFE-T), that trains social work (SW), mental health counseling (MHC), and psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) students to provide culturally competent opiate use disorders (OUD) and substance use disorder (SUD) prevention, treatment, and recovery services as members of integrated healthcare teams that collaborate with DATA-waived medication assisted treatment (MAT) prescribers. The evaluation will include perspectives from fellows, faculty, and site supervisors from community field placement sites that provide OUD and SUD services. We are in Year 3 of this program.


For further information, please contact Harini Pallerla at harini.pallerla@uc.edu.


Social Determinants of Health Web-Based Simulation Project: Healthcare Experiences of Underserved Patients


Funding Agency: Ohio Department of Medicaid

Key Personnel: Saundra Regan, PhD; Susan Brammer, PhD

The UC CON and the UC COM DFCM received a grant from the Ohio Department of Medicaid to create online patient experiences of underserved patients. The patients will include a chronically homeless patient with severe mental illness, a transgender patient, and a patient with intellectual and developmental disabilities and the patient’s caregiver. These scenarios will be used as educational tools for Medicaid providers in Ohio. 

The research team has completed interviews with patients and their care providers (when appropriate). A Qualitative analysis of the interviews with patients and care providers was used to inform draft scripts. The scripts were edited by physicians who were expert in the clinical areas. The final scripts were approved by the Government Resource Center (GRC) in December 2021.

The UC Center for Simulations and Virtual Environments Research Team have been programming the three scenarios into interactive simulations. The leadership and core development teams review and rebuild the scenes and characters, working towards final simulations. The three web-based simulations have gone through multiple iterations of reviews by Ohio Medicaid and the GRC. In August we conducted an alpha test of the current versions with UC healthcare  personnel.

The UC Sim Team has completed the new builds requested by ODM/GRC. The new sims should be available to view in the next few weeks. We have been informed that our dissemination level remains at Level 1 (internal) at present but will discuss changing or expanding dissemination in January 2023.

 We met to discuss the further changes and those were made and the videos sent back to GRC and ODM to give one last review. We hope to disseminate in January to those outside the University.

For further information, please contact Dr. Soni Regan at saundra.regan@uc.edu.

The Relationship Between Vocal Congruence and Wellness in Gender-Diverse Patients: Gathering Evidence to Increase Access to Medical Care

Funding Agency: University of Cincinnati Next Lives Here

Key Personnel: Shanna Stryker, MD, MPH; Sarah Pickle, MD; Victoria McKenna, PhD, CCC-SLP

The UC Department of Family and Community Medicine faculty members are working with UC Communication Sciences and Disorders faculty Dr. V. McKenna to develop a national survey that will assess the relationship between vocal congruence, wellness, and social determinants of health in gender-diverse individuals. The survey had over two hundred participants. In addition, our colleagues in CSD are longitudinally assessing wellness during gender-affirming vocal therapy and its relationship to measurable vocal changes.

For further information, please contact Karen Chinchilla at karen.chinchilla@uc.edu

Translational Workforce Development of Clinical Research Professionals: Analysis of National Unmeeting Data

Funding Agency: National Center for Advancing Translational Science

Key Personnel: Jackie Knapke, PhD

Qualitative data from a series of workshop breakout sessions and open-text survey questions were analyzed to explore the complex issues at play when developing high-quality recruitment, retention, onboarding, and continuing education opportunities for diverse CRPs at academic health centers.

Results suggest there are several barriers to providing training to the CRP workforce, including: balancing foundational onboarding with role-based training, managing logistical challenges and institutional contexts, the need for champions, assessing competency, and providing high-quality mentorship. Several of these themes are inter-related. One common thread that is present throughout all these themes is the challenge of effective communication.

While certain institutions have set benchmarks for best practices in job titles and descriptions, standardization remains lacking across CTSA hubs. Significant hiring needs have reached exponential proportions across hubs, unable to meet current and projected clinical research goals.

Data confirmed an urgent need for closing gaps in clinical research workforce at AMCs, especially for improving diversity and equity of personnel. Improved salary scales and retention benefits were suggested strategies, as well as outreach to community colleges to raise awareness of the professional pathways for CRPs. Several posters and manuscripts have resulted from this project.

For further information, please contact Dr. Jackie Knapke at jackie.knapke@uc.edu.

UC Bear-CAT (Children, Adolescents, and Transitional-Age Youth) Fellowship Program

Funding Agencies: Health Resources and Services Administration, University of Cincinnati College of Allied Health Sciences

Key Personnel: Saundra Regan, PhD; Jackie Knapke, PhD; Harini Pallerla, MS

The UC Bear-CAT program aims to increase the number of prepared graduate-level behavioral health clinicians entering and continuing practice with at-risk children, adolescents, and transitional-age youth in the Greater Cincinnati region. Program participants receive financial support, behavioral health training specific to the child, adolescent and transitional-age youth population, with additional training focused on team-based care in integrated behavioral health and primary care settings, and tele-behavioral health. Drs. Regan and Knapke, and Harini Pallerla serve as evaluators. The second year of the grant began in Fall 2022.

For more information, please contact Harini Pallerla at harini.pallerla@uc.edu.

Undergraduate Program in Geriatric Research to Accelerate Workforce Diversity and Community Equity Outcomes (UC Upgrade) R25 Program


Funding Agency: National Institute of Aging

Key Personnel: Saundra Regan, PhD; Jackie Knapke, PhD

In early 2022, the DFCM submitted an R25 application to the National Institute of Aging entitled the University of Cincinnati Undergraduate Program in Geriatric Research to Accelerate Workforce Diversity and Community Equity Outcomes (UC UPGRADE). Drs. Irene Hamrick (DFCM Geriatrics) and Hyacinth Hyacinth (Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine) are the MPIs. This program would be the first aging-focused summer undergraduate research fellowship (SURF) program in Cincinnati. We developed an innovative approach to offering mentored research experiences and training to support undergraduates on the path to a graduate degree related to aging research, and we are uniquely poised to implement our plan given the successes of our existing SURF program. This program builds on SURF in critical ways to specifically address the unique needs of a culturally competent research workforce spanning the aging research continuum, particularly into local, urban, and underserved communities at greatest risk of health inequities.

All of these factors make us ideally suited to foster underrepresented minority and disadvantaged or disabled (URM/DA) students towards a successful career in aging research. The overarching objective of this application is to support diverse scholars’ pursuit of research careers in aging by preparing them for application into biomedical graduate and professional programs. The application was reviewed in October 2022 and received an impact score of 31. The final funding decision will be made in January 2023.

For further information, please contact Dr. Jackie Knapke at jackie.knapke@uc.edu.

Virtual Reality Simulation and Social Determinants of Health: A High-Tech Strategy to Improve Health Outcomes

Key Personnel: Sue Brammer, PhD, RN; Saundra Regan, PhD; Chris Collins, BA

Funding Agencies: Ohio Department of Medicaid, Government Resource Center 

The aim of this study is to raise participants’ awareness and knowledge on social determinants of health (SDH) and how it can impede the ability to connect with patients on a holistic level through virtual reality (VR) simulations. SDH controls the success of patient outcomes, yet isn’t incorporated into provider curriculum. VR is an effective, validated way of providing experiential learning for attitude change in regards to SDH. The simulations offer providers a chance to experience the daily challenges of patients beyond the symptoms of their illnesses and to see how those challenges impact health care, such as unstable housing, exposure to crime, and social isolation.

For further information, please contact: Saundra Regan saundra.regan@uc.edu 

Funding Opportunities:

Clinical Translational Science Award (CTSA): Center for Clinical & Translational Science and Training (CCTST) Community Engagement Core

Funding Agency: National Institutes of Health

Personnel: Saundra Regan, PhD; Harini Pallerla, MS; Karen Chinchilla, LSW

The goals of the CTSA Community Engagement Core are to improve relationships between academic researchers and community members; to engage community physicians in research and translation of evidence-based practice; and to train researchers in community-engaged research and educate community members in order to build capacity and an understanding of the benefits and risks of research involvement.  The Community Engagement Core of the CTSA seeks to broaden and strengthen collaborations between the Academic Health Center and the community to produce research initiated with, supported by, carried out through and benefiting the community.

For further information, please contact Karen Chinchilla at karen.chinchilla@uc.edu.

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