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Faculty Awarded Funding for Global Health Work

April 29, 2014

John Bartlett has received a five-year $1.3 million grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services, US Public Health Service, National Institutes of Health and Fogarty International Center to expand collaborative research with the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre to improve care for HIV patients in Tanzania. A new Socio-behavioral Sciences Core focused on HIV/AIDS will involve advanced training of team members in epidemiology and public health, health promotion and behavior, psychology, biomedical engineering and rapid diagnostics and biostatistics.  In subsequent years, team members will begin training in psychiatry, public health aspects of mental illness, nursing, data management and research administration. 

Christopher Conover has received a seven-month $11,000 grant from the Institute for Justice to study the impact of lifting the Certificate of Need (CON) law on health expenditures, hospital profits and uninsured risk. The North Carolina CON law restricts increases in health care costs and limits health services and facilities based on geographic, demographic and economic considerations. The study will incorporate data through 2009 and include an analysis on whether the process appears to be biased against out-of-state applicants.

Sara LeGrand has been awarded a nine-month $12,500 grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to design and test the feasibility of a cell phone application to improve HIV medication adherence among young Black men who have sex with men. The interactive gaming app integrates social networking to encourage this population to take their antiretroviral medications daily. The research team will conduct focus groups to better understand their motivations and behavior, identify the best strategies for addressing the needs they face and then test the app within the target group.  This technology could be adapted for other chronic diseases that require consistent medication adherence.

Sara Benjamin Neelon has received a five-year $231,800 grant from the University of Cambridge to identify policy-based approaches to obesity prevention and consider novel environmental interventions when policy change is not yet possible. This area of research focuses on settings where policy and environmental change can have broad-sweeping effects.

Wendy O’Meara has received a four-year $1.9 million grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services, US Public Health Service, and National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to evaluate a new approach that seeks to improve access to malaria diagnosis for patients who seek malaria treatment. The approach uses an innovative public-private partnership between community health workers and retail medicine shops. The project will be conducted in collaboration with Kenya’s Division of Malaria Control. This work could lead to improved targeting of subsidized antimalarial drugs to patients who need them and reduce overuse and over-treatment.

William Pan has been awarded a five-year $194,000 grant from the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research at Universidad Federal do Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte, Brazil to study land use, climate and infections in the Western Amazon. The project will build deeper collaborations between Latin American and US universities to explore how environmental change, such as changes in climate, land cover and hydrology, may influence infectious and chronic disease burden in the Western Amazon Basin. 

Eve Puffer has received a one-year $11,400 grant from the International Rescue Committee to study intimate partner violence, one of the biggest threats to women’s health and well-being. The goal is to build programs that better address intimate partner violence in humanitarian settings by answering fundamental questions about the issue in humanitarian contexts.

Jen’nan Read was awarded $100,000 in a research grant competition at the Hamad Medical Corporation in Doha, Qatar. Read and her project collaborators will explore the misuse of emergency department services for non-urgent conditions among different subgroups in Qatar, including high-skilled expatriate workers and low-skilled laborers. The study has the capacity to improve emergency department efficiency and quality of patient care by informing policy makers and hospital administrators on appropriate interventions for specific sub-populations. Read is currently on leave serving as the Assistant Executive Director for Health Services Research at the Hamad Medical Corporation.

The team of Sara LeGrand, Kimberly Walker, and Beth Stringfield of the Center for Health Policy and Inequalities Research, has been awarded a two-year $250,000 grant by the National Community Benefit Fund at the East Bay Community Foundation to implement ASK4Care. Action Skills Knowledge 4 Care (ASK4Care) is an NC-based, peer-driven HIV access and retention program that educates patients about HIV, encourages them to seek care, and helps them build skills to more actively engage in their care. The program highlights communication with medical care providers, social support and disclosure, goal-setting and medication adherence. The program targets people who are newly diagnosed, struggling to remain in care, in care but not taking medications, and those who struggle to prioritize their health care.

Kathryn Whetten has been awarded a one-year $42,700 grant from Stellit to support a new research collaboration between the Center for Health Policy and Inequalities Research and Regional Non-governmental organization of social projects Stellit (NGO Stellit) in Russia on the psychosocial well-being of children in institutional care. Researchers will measure the most important aspects of mental health well-being and the risks among youth in orphanages, temporary shelters and prisons or juveniles.  They will collect, share and disseminate information, knowledge and best practices in order to inform policy on youth social support and health programs.

Jim Zhang has received a nine-month $81,000 grant from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey to study the effects of air pollution on the lungs. His laboratory will measure biomarkers of oxidative stress and inflammation and test urine samples from all study subjects for air pollutant exposure.

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Wendy Kenya
O'Meara has received a $1.9 million grant to continue working with community partners on malaria diagnosis and treatment in Kenya.

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