Main Menu

Monthly Archives: July 2016

>>July

July TRIbune Features Clinical Trials Gains

The Translational Research Institute (TRI) is finding innovative ways to accelerate the pace of clinical trials while taking on more studies than ever. This month’s TRIbune highlights the advances of the Project Support Unit, which helps UAMS researchers conduct clinical trials. The newsletter spotlights a Project Support Unit stalwart, Mtonya Hunter-Lewis, in its TRI & Me feature. You will also read about the recent NIH K awards received by two recent TRI KL2 alumni, and the latest TRI-cited publications by your colleagues.

Download Newsletter | Newsletter Archive

TRIbune July 2016

Women’s Heart Health National Town Hall Now Available on Video

A video recording is now online featuring the recent UAMS/TRI-hosted Our Community, Our Health national conversation about women’s heart health.

The video features UAMS College of Nursing researchers who specialize in women’s heart health and a community representative with a life-threatening heart condition. The event was sponsored by the UAMS Translational Research Institute Community Engagement program, the University of Florida and the Arkansas Minority Health Commission.

See a Video Preview.

Watch the Full Video.

UAMS, Arkansas Faith Leaders Gather to Promote Health Equity

CCP crowd640

Nearly 200 people from across Arkansas attended the event.

Nearly 200 Arkansas faith leaders, health ministries, educators, researchers and health care providers recently gathered in Little Rock to make connections and share ideas that will help reduce health disparities in Arkansas.

The second annual Community-Campus Partnership Conference to Address Health Disparities was hosted by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) at the Comfort Inn & Suites Presidential in Little Rock. The theme of this year’s conference was “The Power of the Faith Community to Promote Health Equity.” The day included discussion of existing efforts to address health disparities and ongoing needs.

“Overall we felt it was a huge success,” said Keneshia Bryant-Moore, Ph.D., F.N.P., R.N., who oversaw the event. “We were able to engage a portion of the faith community we had not reached before and provide them with some of the basic knowledge in health disparities, community-campus partnerships, and research.”

UAMS, through the Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health and Translational Research Institute, has a track record of health research partnerships with communities in the Delta, particularly through its African-American churches. Bryant-Moore is also a Translational Research Institute KL2 Scholar alumnus.

Keneshia Bryant-Moore

UAMS’ Keneshia Bryant-Moore, Ph.D., F.N.P., R.N., oversaw the recent Community-Campus Partnership to Address Health Disparities.

“Our goal was to make the initial connection with some and to connect current partners with each other,” said Bryant-Moore, associate professor of health behavior and health education in the College of Public Health. “We plan to follow up with all of the attendees throughout the year leading up to the next conference in April 2017.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services defines health disparities as “…the persistent gaps between health status of minorities and non-minorities in the United States.” The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was cited as an important for helping reduce health disparities in Arkansas. But significant geographic and racial health disparities remain. For example, the mostly white residents of Benton County outlive the mostly black residents of Poinsett County by about eight years, based on 2011 data. Access to health care is an issue; rural Arkansas also has 64.5 primary care physicians per 100,000 people compared to 139 physicians per 100,000 people in urban Arkansas.

Acacia Bamberg Salatti

Acacia Bamberg Sallatti was the event’s keynote speaker.

The event’s keynote speaker was Acacia Bamberg Salatti, acting director of the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Other speakers included Micheal Knox, M.S., M.P.H., director of the Arkansas Minority Health Commission. The afternoon breakout sessions introduced attendees to faith-based community health clinics; strategies for reaching and mobilizing local congregations; understanding the role of faith-based organizations in research; and the role of the faith community in addressing oppression related to sexual orientation, homelessness, incarceration and community re-entry, and violence. The Congregational Health Network was presented in the afternoon by

Rev Johnny Smith

Rev. Johnny Smith of Pine Bluff talked about his partnership with UAMS researchers.

The Congregational Health Network was presented in the afternoon by Armika Berkley, M.P.H., program manager for the Congregational Health Network in partnership with Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare; and Pastor Bobby G. Baker, D.Min., M.Div., director of Faith and Community Partnerships at Methodist Healthcare.The conference was partially funded through a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Award (EAIN 2975). Additional funding was provided by a Health Resources and Services Administration Nursing Workforce Diversity Grant, which funds the Growing Our Own in the Delta (GOOD) program, and the UAMS Translational Research Institute. The conference was a collaboration with the Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care (AFMC), the Arkansas Minority Health Commission (AMHC), and Baptist Health Physician Partners.

The conference was partially funded through a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Award (EAIN 2975). Additional funding was provided by a Health Resources and Services Administration Nursing Workforce Diversity Grant, which funds the Growing Our Own in the Delta (GOOD) program, and the UAMS Translational Research Institute. The conference was a collaboration with the Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care (AFMC), the Arkansas Minority Health Commission (AMHC), and Baptist Health Physician Partners.

TRI Welcomes New Council Members

The new TRI External Advisory Council State and Community Stakeholders are (l-r) Michael Knox, Executive Director, Arkansas Minority Health Commission; Ray Montgomery, President/CEO, White County Hospital; William Tsutsui, President, Hendrix College; Michael Moore, Vice President, Academic Affairs, University of Arkansas System Office; Jerry Adams, President/CEO, Arkansas Research Alliance; Nicole Hart, CEO, ARVets Inc., and State Senator Jonathan Dismang, Dismang Consulting Services.

The new TRI External Advisory Council State and Community Stakeholders are (l-r) Michael Knox, Executive Director, Arkansas Minority Health Commission; Ray Montgomery, President/CEO, White County Hospital; William Tsutsui, President, Hendrix College; Michael Moore, Vice President, Academic Affairs, University of Arkansas System Office; Jerry Adams, President/CEO, Arkansas Research Alliance; Nicole Hart, CEO, ARVets Inc., and State Senator Jonathan Dismang, Dismang Consulting Services.

TRI was excited to welcome its new External Advisory Council – State and Community Stakeholders in June.

The State and Community Stakeholders are an addition to TRI’s External Advisory Council, which has always included NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) leaders from large and small institutions across the United States.

The External Advisory Council helps shape TRI’s course by providing input regarding TRI programs and services and their impact on the state. TRI benefits from the breadth and depth of knowledge represented by leaders from other CTSA sites, local business and higher education leaders, health care providers and advocates, and health care policy organizations.  The council has been directly involved in TRI “moving the needle” on issues of access to research and supporting the next generation of researchers in our state.

New Illustrated Video for ARresearch.org Highlights Importance of Research Participation

volThe Translational Research Institute (TRI), in partnership with UAMS Communications & Marketing, has produced a new illustrated video that explains the importance of public participation in research and the opportunity to join a registry of volunteers at ARresearch.org.

The video is part of TRI’s ongoing initiatives to reach Arkansas’ diverse communities. ARresearch.org is designed to engage visitors with inviting, colorful pages and a message that is clear and compelling. The illustrated video joins three videos on ARresearch.org highlighting the stories of community members who have participated in research at UAMS or have partnered with UAMS to conduct research. 

The idea for the video came from TRI’s participation in the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) Recruitment & Retention Working Group. During its January meeting, Keck Medicine of USC presented an illustrated video that focused on the importance of clinical trial participation.

“We saw the video as a great opportunity for TRI to communicate the serious, complex message of research participation in a fun, engaging way,” said TRI Director Laura James, M.D. 

The video was recently posted to TRI’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

Please like and share!

For those not on Facebook or Twitter, watch it at ARresearch.org (What is ARresearch.org? page).

Or you can watch it here: https://youtu.be/4OO7KYhyZUE.

NIH Awards Early Career Grants to Two UAMS Translational Research Institute–Trained Researchers

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) early career researchers Joshua Kennedy, M.D., and Taren Swindle, Ph.D., are recipients of National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants that will support their work over the next several years.

Kennedy_Joshua MD300In May, Kennedy, whose laboratory is at Arkansas Children’s Research Institute (ACRI) on the Arkansas Children’s Hospital campus, received notice of a five-year $877,000 NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases K08 Award. He is an assistant professor of internal medicine and pediatrics, UAMS College of Medicine Department of Pediatrics, Division of Allergy and Immunology.

Swindle, an assistant professor in the College of Medicine Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, was recently notified she will receive a four-year, $442,583 NIH National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease K01 Award.

Kennedy’s grant provides salary and laboratory support for his investigation into how allergies and rhinovirus infections (common colds) work in tandem to create life-threatening symptoms for people with asthma. He will work with patients who experience critical asthma symptoms as a result of rhinovirus infections and allergies, and he will conduct laboratory experiments on donated lung tissue.

The K08 Award program is an intensive, supervised research career development experience, preparing clinical researchers such as Kennedy for careers that have a significant impact on the health-related research needs of the country.

Swindle_Taren_8-15-14 600Swindle’s research involves the study of a childcare-based nutrition intervention and development of a strategy for implementing the intervention. She will pilot test the implementation strategy and the intervention’s effect on child health outcomes. 

The K01 award is designed to advance Swindle’s expertise and skills in implementation science, child and community nutrition, and community engagement. To help achieve her goals, she will take part in a comprehensive plan of mentored research, didactic education, cross-disciplinary collaborations and structured field studies.

Kennedy and Swindle said their awards were made possible by two years of research support and training they received through the UAMS Translational Research Institute’s KL2 Mentored Research Career Development Scholar Award Program. Kennedy and Swindle were selected for the competitive KL2 program in 2013 and 2014, respectively. 

“The KL2 provided the funds necessary to produce the preliminary data that supported the NIH K08,” Kennedy said. “The grant was reviewed by all of my KL2 award mentors, and the CTSA (NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award) consortium organized a special K club that provided valuable feedback and ultimately helped my application get funded.” 

The KL2 has provided Swindle with training experiences in nutrition, grant writing, and qualitative methods that were critical to her conceptualization of the K01 grant and strengthening her qualifications as a K01 candidate, she said. 

“The protected time for mentored research on the KL2 also allowed me to secure important preliminary data that I was able to use in my K01 application,” she added. “The review committee specifically mentioned my KL2 experience as a strength in my review.” 

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a northwest Arkansas regional campus; a statewide network of regional centers; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute, the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and the Translational Research Institute. It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,021 students, 789 medical residents and two dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including about 1,000 physicians and other professionals who provide care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS regional centers throughout the state. Visit www.uams.edu or www.uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.

Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) is the only pediatric medical center in Arkansas and one of the largest in the United States serving children from birth to age 21. Over the past century, ACH has grown from a small orphanage in Little Rock to a statewide network of care that includes an expansive pediatric teaching hospital and research institute, as well as regional clinics in several counties. ACH also reaches children across the state and nation through a range of telemedicine capabilities that ensures every child has access to the best care available, regardless of location or resources. The hospital’s campus in Little Rock spans 36 city blocks and is licensed for 359 beds. ACH has a staff of 505 physicians, more than 200 residents in pediatrics and pediatric specialties and more than 4,000 employees. A campus under development in northwest Arkansas will bring 233,613 square feet of inpatient beds, clinic rooms and diagnostic services to children in that region of the state. A private nonprofit, ACH boasts an internationally renowned reputation for medical breakthroughs and intensive treatments, unique surgical procedures and forward-thinking research — all dedicated to fulfilling its mission of championing children by making them better today and healthier tomorrow. For more info, visit archildrens.org.

ACRI is a free-standing state-of-the-art pediatric research center which provides a research environment on the ACH campus to foster research and scholarship of faculty members of University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences who are investigating questions relative to development, disease and treatment as it relates to the health of infants, children and adolescents. Physician and biomedical scientist investigators at ACRI and the Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center (ACNC) conduct clinical, basic science, and health services research for the purpose of treating illnesses and preventing disease and thereby, improving the health of the children of Arkansas and beyond.