2019 Population Health Improvement Awards focus on senior hunger prevention, lung cancer screenings, and smoking cessation

June 24, 2019

The CTSI Community Engaged Research Initiative (CERI) team is pleased to announce that it is granting Population Health Improvement Awards to three community-academic research partnership teams. These competitive awards promote and foster community-engaged research collaborations with the overall goal of improving local health. Research partnerships will receive up to $25,000 for one-year projects that will begin in September. The project teams will examine:

Assessing and Addressing Gaps in Senior Hunger Prevention

Betsy Crites & Jacquelyn Blackwell, Co-Coordinators, End Hunger Durham

Michelle Lyn, MBA, Assistant Professor in Family Medicine and Community Health

North Carolina’s senior hunger rate ranks second worst in the US at 1 in 5. Food insecurity is associated with worse chronic disease management and quality of life and senior hunger remains high despite resources like pantries and Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) non-perishable food boxes from the Food Bank. Taking a broad stakeholder engagement approach, the research team will examine strategies for improving food security and food-related health, food knowledge, self-sufficiency, and resource awareness. The partnership includes the Duke Division of Community Health Benefits Enrollment Center (BEC), End Hunger Durham, and Root Causes, a Duke Medical School student organization that conducts clinic-based food distribution, nutrition education, and community gardening and will engage with the Forest Hills Heights senior resident-led Community Steering Committee for input and guidance regarding intervention design, implementation, and assessment.

Optimizing the uptake of evidence-based lung cancer screening in rural communities of the Northern Piedmont region of North Carolina

Jenni Danai, Director of Programs, Lung Cancer Initiative

Devon Noonan, PhD, Associate Professor in the School of Nursing

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in North Carolina, and people living in poor, rural counties are at risk for increased vulnerability to poor outcomes. Rural counties just north of Durham, including Granville, Vance and Warren counties, have cancer mortality rates well above state levels and lung cancer is the leading killer. Lung cancer screening offers a way to reduce mortality from cancer and yet it has not been fully adopted in these counties. Dr. Noonan and Ms. Danai from the Lung Cancer Initiative will focus on increasing lung cancer screening in rural communities by exploring contextual factors, facilitators and barriers to screening, and creating solutions that reduce barriers that limit access to lung cancer screening information and services in the region.

Stakeholder-Engaged Implementation of Smoking Cessation Health Services

J. Carolyn Crowder, MSW, Director, Behavioral Health, Lincoln Community Health Center

Sarah Wilson, PhD, Assistant Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

According to the 2017 Durham County Community Health Assessment, tobacco addiction is a significant public health concern that disproportionately affects children, low-income individuals, and those with mental health concerns. Computerized healthcare provider tools can increase delivery of smoking cessation treatment in medical settings however, community health settings face barriers to uptake and sustainment of technological interventions due to the difficulty of technology use and work flow disruption. Ms. Crowder and Dr. Wilson will elicit stakeholder input to design and assess a package of implementation strategies to facilitate uptake and sustainment of a technology-assisted smoking cessation tool at Lincoln Community Health Center with the overall goal of decreasing the disease burden of tobacco use among low-income populations.

CERI would like to thank its nine-member review panel composed of community members as well as NCCU and Duke academic researchers for reading the proposals and providing feedback regarding impact, feasibility, and sustainability.  For more information about the Population Health Improvement award funding mechanism, contact Eve Marion eve.marion@duke.edu