Our Work

Spirituality, Self-management and Chronic Disease among Ethnic Groups of Robeson County, North Carolina



2016-07-01 10:46:51 - 2017-12-15 10:46:51

Project Objectives

Engagement in self-management skills has been demonstrated to improve health outcomes, yet individual and community-based factors contributing to engagement is less clear. Spirituality, which has been associated with positive effects on mental health including coping, resiliency, and fostering social networks, plays an important role in effective improvement of chronic disease outcomes among minority populations.

Our primary objective is to understand the relationship between spiritual and self-management practices among adults from Robeson County living with chronic diseases. Robeson County is home to a remarkably diverse population including the Lumbee tribe, which is the largest American Indian tribe in North Carolina and the ninth largest in the United States. Mortality rates are twice the state average for diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and the county has one of the highest national rates of end-stage kidney disease.

Our specific aims are: 1) to assess the spiritual and self-management practices of adults living with chronic diseases in Robeson County; and 2) to determine differences in spiritual and religious practices across major ethnic groups living in Robeson County.

Project Opportunities

Students will be directly incorporated into the design, implementation and dissemination of the project. They will interact with community participants and leaders as well as faculty from several disciplines, and will build the skills necessary for clinical, community-based research. Students will be integral members of the research team and will learn skills and gain experience in conducting multidisciplinary clinical research. Activities will include but will not be limited to participant recruitment, enrollment, interviewing, data collection, data management, data analysis and organization of focus group discussions and in-depth interviews. Fieldwork will provide students and trainees with experience in the fieldwork of clinical research.

There are no specific major or degree requirements; however, desired skills include strong interpersonal and communication skills; interest in clinical research and/or career goals oriented toward clinical research or public health; knowledge or willingness to learn the cultural history of the Lumbee Indians as well as common health problems faced by American Indians and ethnic minorities.

Each student will formulate testable hypotheses and develop a research plan that will be used as a thesis project. Training will include small-group and one-on-one development of skills necessary for field data collection. Each trainee will take a lead role in the data analysis with a focus on developing results particularly suitable for thesis completion. Master's students will develop a thesis manuscript suitable for degree requirements and publication in an academic journal.

Ethics and Native America: American Indian Life and Literature, listed in history, literature, ethics at the undergrad level and also in the Divinity School; Instructor, David O'Toole.

Project Application Process

All interested students must complete the Bass Central Application process, located here: https://bassconnections.duke.edu/content/common-application. When you have completed that process, please send an email to Lysa.mackeen@duke.edu with the title of the project and "application completed" in the subject line.

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