Collaboration & Partnership Opportunities

TRI has assembled a list of researchers who are open to collaboration and partnership opportunities in community and practice research. Listed researchers are open to direct communication or you may contact the program manager to arrange a consultation.

Project NameContactFunding SourceGeographic LocationBrief Description
Rural and Urban African-American Cocaine Users’ Perceptions of Their Need for Drug Abuse Treatment and HIV TestingBorders, Tyrone FNIDALittle Rock, Marianna, AR, Forrest City, ARThe overall objective of this study is to further understand rural vs. urban differences in Black cocaine users’ perceived need for drug abuse & HIV testing.  The study employs a mixed methods design, with 60 qualitative & 400 quantitative interviews conducted among a community- based sample.
Disseminating & evidence-based typology of public healthGreene, Paul G.Hope & Life/Komen Foundation; AR Department of Health.Benton, Sevier, Conway, Jefferson, Howard, Union, Pulaski, Craighead, Sebastian, Yell, Washington, Garland, Saline, Lonoke, Crawford, Johnson.Esperanza y Vida – Disseminating & evidence-based typology of public health.  This is a service project funded through ADH Breast Care Program.  Educational outreach is conducted and women are enrolled in Breast Care if eligible, and assisted in getting services.
Information for Action: School Policies to Prevent Childhood Obesity.Raczynski, James MRobert Wood Johnson FoundationStatewideThe purpose of the project is to evaluate school policies to prevent childhood obesity in Arkansas. Funding extended for nine years overall. This project provides information for legislators, those involved in implementing Act 1220 of 2003 and those in other states who are trying to combat childhood obesity about how the components of the Act have already been collected. The college will use the information to help determine the most effective strategies for reducing childhood obesity.  States receiving technical assistance now include West Virginia, Delaware, Mississippi, New York, and Texas.  In addition, this funding supports the COPH to provide technical assistance to any other states that are pursuing such efforts.
AR Center for Health DispatitiesRaczynski, James MNIH/National Center for Minority Health DisparitiesPulaski, Phillips, Lee, Jefferson The overall theme of the AR Center for Health Disparities (ARCHD) is to develop research to improve access to quality prevention and healthcare programs for racial and ethnic minorities with a goal of eliminating health disparities.  The Center focuses on chronic disease disparities with an initial emphasis on cardiovascular disease (CVD), cancer and their risk factors including obesity, diabetes, tobacco use, physical activity, and sexual risk factors for chronic disease.  Initial research projects include one full and six (6) pilot projects. Also included is an Educational and Training Core which is working with Arkansas HBCUs to identify undergraduate students for an accelerated Baccalaureate/MPH program. Five (5) additional pilot projects were funded competitively in June 2010 and another four are being funded in 2011.  A description of the full research project and currently active pilot projects follows.
Healthy Ways (Full Research Project)Prewitt, Theresa ElaineNIH, AR Center for Health DisparitiesSoutheast Pulaski and Jefferson counties; ultimately will go statewideFull Research Project: The Healthy Ways project translates the highly successful weight-loss, lifestyle intervention used for the Diabetes Prevention Project (DPP) into real-world settings to improve quality care.  Community Health Workers (CHW) lead this intervention.  The efficacy and cost-effectiveness of the CHW in delivering the intervention on weight lose will be examined among overweight residents in rural, low-income AR communities with high proportions of African-Americans.  If proven successful, this project will provide AR public health practitioners with proven, cost-effective methods for reducing obesity among rural Arkansans and reducing the risk for associated diabetes.
Impact of Migration in an Emerging Latino Community in Arkansas (Pilot)Stewart, Katharine E.NIH, AR Center for Health DisparitiesPulaskiThis project seeks to understand the impact of migration in an emerging Latino community in Arkansas on sexual and reproductive health, as they impact STD/HIV and cancer risk.  The project investigators are working to: 1) identify the primary routes of migration from Arkansas from Mexico; 2) identify immigrants’ perceptions of the facilitators and barriers to their engaging in sexual and reproductive health-promoting behaviors; 3) identify the perceptions, among Mexican residents whose spouses or sexual partners are temporary immigrants to the U.S, of facilitators and barriers of engaging in sexual and reproductive health-promoting behavior, and 4) describe immigrants expectations and utilization of informal, public health, and individual health systems in Mexico and Arkansas.  A mixed-methods approach is being used to fulfill the project’s objectives, including surveys and qualitative focus methods.
Implementation of Proactive Guidelines for Diabetes Care and Cardiovascular Disease (Pilot)Nash, Creshelle RNIH, AR Center for Health DisparitiesStatewideThis project is examining factors associated with implementation of proactive guidelines for diabetes care and cardiovascular disease (CVD), risk reduction in rural and urban primary care practices.  Multiple methods are being used to obtain formative data (key informant interviews, focus groups, surveys of practices in targeted regions, etc.)  These data will be used to develop and evaluate for feasibility a practice-based tailored intervention to reduce health disparities by promoting quality care in diabetes and CVD.
School-Based Telemedicine Education for Rural Children with Asthma (Pilot)Perry, Tamara T(Allergy)NIH, AR Center for Health DisparitiesPhillips (Marvell School Distric), Chicot (Lakeside School District)This project will test the effectiveness of a school-based  tele- health intervention on asthma outcomes, as well as child and caregiver quality of life, asthma knowledge, and self-efficacy among a high-risk pediatric population.  National evidence-based asthma guidelines will be used to  provide comprehensive asthma education to children with asthma and their caregivers and provide physician prompts to the primary care provider based on the child’s longitudinal asthma symptoms profile.
Patient/Provider Perspectives on the Health Care Process (Pilot)Stewart, KATE (Mary K.)NIH, AR Center for Health DisparitiesUAMS (Little Rock)This is a formative research project that involves collecting self-reported data from faculty and resident physicians, nurse practitioners and medical students about their attitudes and practices related to empathy and from patients about the empathy of the provider they saw for their last visit. These data are being analyzed to examine racial differences and to inform development of an intervention to facilitate empathy among providers and students to be piloted in a larger study.
The Arkansas Prevention Research Center (ARPRC)Raczynski, James MCenters for Disease Control & PreventionArkansas, Bradley, Lincoln, Drew, Desha, Union, Ashley, Calhoun, Chicot, Dallas, St. Francis, Lee, Cleveland, Monroe, Ouchita, Phillips, Jefferson, Lonoke, Grant counties. The ARPRC’s overall goal is to develop CBPR research and educational programs (for academicians, practitioners, and community partners/members) that reduce risks for chronic diseases among Arkansas’ racial and ethnic minorities with a goal of eliminating chronic disease health disparities.  A series of three core pilot studies are being conducted addressing childhood obesity.
Provider Education Program for Treating Tobacco DependenceSheffer, Christine EPhizerStatewideTrainee’s receive a continuing education (CE) for attendance. The training is designed to increase knowledge acquisition, address barriers to implementation, offer system support, and provide interactive elements to tailor training to the needs of the audience. At least 50 trainings will be provided via outreach education and interactive video network. Asynchonous Webcasts developed from these trainings will also be accessible at anytime through the Rural Hospital Program CE Library and a website until the information is out of date.
Characteristics of Participants in a Six-Session, Evidence-Based Tobacco Dependence Treatment ProgramSheffer, Christine ENIH-Nat'l Cancer InstituteStatewideThe study examines the characteristics of participants in a six-session, evidence-based tobacco dependence treatment program delivered in two different treatment modalities: over the telephone and in person.  The information gained from the analysis of this treatment program will help understand, address, and eventually eliminate disparities in tobacco use and in the outcomes of tobacco dependence treatment.
Reducing Sexual Risk Behaviors Among Rural African-American Cocaine UsersStewart, Katharine E.NIHLee, St. Francis countiesThis intervention 1) utilizes an existing sexual risk reduction program, grounded in Social Cognitive theory and Motivational Theory, with proven efficacy among active urban substance users; and 2) adapts the program to address the needs of rural African-Americans who use cocaine or use cocaine and other stimulants, and 3) test its efficacy using a randomized controlled trial design.  A randomized, controlled trial is examining the efficacy of the intervention.
Expanding Community Linked Infrastructure to Support Disparities ResearchStewart, KATE (Mary K.)NIHJefferson CountyThe overall goal of this project is to develop a community-based infrastructure to support minority participation in research (both as partners and as participants) to reduce racial health disparities. This goal will be accomplished by adapting the Community Connector model to facilitate access to service, program, and research opportunities. The program is being implemented by UAMS researchers, community partners, and practitioners including representatives from the Tri County Rural Health Network, a long term partner of the COPH; 10K Black Men; a local community advisory board; and the Pine Bluff AHEC.
A Community Engaged Study of Social Networks and Long-Term CareStewart, KATE (Mary K.)UAMS TRI, NIHDelta Counties served by Community Connectors (specific counties not selected yet)The purpose of this community-engaged pilot study is to develop instruments, measures and procedures, and to collect and analyze pilot data needed to conduct basic science research on social networks and their role in access to long-term care. The project is being implemented in partnership with Tri County Rural Health Network and their Community Connector Program.
Internet Assisted Obesity TreatmentWest, DeliaNIH-NIDDKDallas, Faulker, Garland, Jefferson, Lonoke, Pulaski, Saline, WhiteThis web-based weight loss project is designed to determine the benefit of a web-based counseling approach to weight loss versus delivery through group, in-person methods.  If web-based approaches are found to be effective for helping people lose weight and maintain losses, then a highly cost-effective approach to weight loss and maintenance will be added to what can be done in AR to counteract the obesity epidemic. IREACH 2-Enhanced by Motivational interviewing.
THRIVE:Evlauation of a Home Visiting Program for Young ParentsMcKelvey, LorraineU.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Office of Population Affairs' Office of Adolescent Pregnancy Programs (OAPP)Pulaski, Polk, Van Buren, Searcy, Chicot, Desha, Ashley, Lincoln, JeffersonThe purpose of the project is to evaluate the effectiveness of a home-based intervention aimed at improving parenting skills, child birth outcomes, and life skills for pregnant and parenting adolescents aged 15 to 18.  The Centers for Youth and Families (the Centers) received an Adolescent Family Life (AFL) Demonstration Project grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Office of Population Affairs’ Office of Adolescent Pregnancy Programs (OAPP) to develop and deliver home based intervention services (program name Thrive) in the state of Arkansas.  Implementation of the Thrive program will be done in 9 counties across the state.  DFPM Community Research will evaluate the effectiveness of their home based intervention services for pregnant and parenting teens.
Project Positive Learning for Arkansas' Youngest (PLAY), a Community Mental Health CenterBurrow, NicolaDCCECEWashington, Lee, Pulaski, Faulker, Miller, Union, CraigheadThis project has evaluated the process and outcome impacts of a demonstration project partnering three Arkansas community mental health centers with early childhood programs serving preschool age children.  Building on this extensive work, the project is growing to provide expanded early childhood mental health consultation in Arkansas.  Early Childhood Mental Health (ECMH) Consultants are mental health professionals with expertise in child development who use their knowledge and skills to build a collaborative relationship with caregivers and child care center directors to increase their capacity to promote healthy social and emotional development in the child care setting.  Services are provided in two broad areas: Programmatic/Teacher Consultation and Child-Specific Consultation
The Family Map: An Integrated Assessment of the Parenting EnviromentWhiteside-Mansell, LeanneU.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of HeadStartArkansas, Conway, Desha, Franklin, Johnson, Lincoln, Logan, Lonoke, Perry, Polk, Pope, Scott, YellThe Family Map is a structured interview used by teachers or other early childcare provider staff to assess the family and home environment of young children during home visits or parent teacher conferences with families. The Family Map is based on a foundation of literature that connects the quality of the family and parenting environment with child outcomes. The Family Map was developed to assess areas for productive intervention and is currently being tested in an array of programs including home based programs. Three forms are available depending on the age of the child. Training is offered.
  *   Family Map of the Parenting Environment in Early Childhood (3 to 5 years)
  *   Family Map of the Parenting Environment of Infants and Toddlers (0 to 3 years)
  *   Family Map of the Prenatal Environment – for pregnant women
Interventions for Obesity Prevention Targeting Young Children in At-Risk Environments: An Integrated ApproachWhiteside-Mansell, LeanneUSDAThe project is a collaboration of researchers at UAMS, ACRI, and UAF.  The goal of the UAMS activities is to develop an educational program targeting Head Start and public teacher in K-1st public school in the classroom and parents in the home to promote and facilitate increased access to, variety of, and consumption of, fresh vegetables and fruits of children.  The aims of the full project are:
  1.  To characterize food environments and determine the role of environmental attributes on weight outcomes of young children.
  2.  To assess social marketing interventions targeted to young children, their parents, and caregivers/teachers that de-market unhealthy, and promote healthy, dietary behaviors.
  3.  To promote and facilitate increased access to, variety of, and consumption of, fresh vegetables and fruits in schools.
  4.  To develop and assess a comprehensive educational program for Head Start, kindergarten and first grade classrooms to promote and facilitate healthy dietary behaviors.
  5.  To increase awareness and understanding of the childhood obesity crisis among undergraduate and graduate students preparing for careers in child care, early elementary education, public policy, and the food industry. (Education)
Chronic Disease Management Infrastructure ProjectAcklin, Jimmy DHRSAStatewideThis is a collaborative 5 year project of the six Arkansas Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Family Medicine Residency Training Programs. The purpose of this grant application will be to establish an infrastructure for improved management of chronic disease patients and train residents on the concepts, principles and practice of management of chronic disease, a growing problem in rural Arkansas where the prevalence of projected to increase by 42% over the next 15 years.   In Arkansas, 60 percent of the population has at least one chronic disease. The AHEC system, with its six Family Medical Centers and family medicine residency programs in all geographic regions of the state, treats almost 200,000 patients each year.  Sixty percent of these patients are geriatric patients, many or most with one or more chronic disease.   
Once an infrastructure design has been established, complete with patient registry for chronic disease and an improved information system for identifying , monitoring and reporting chronic disease management, a new education program will be designed to improve resident practice of chronic disease management that will blend the conceptual framework of evidence based medicine, the standards of the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) criteria from “Meaningful Use” of the electronic medical record (EMR) and the utilization of an EMR-based chronic disease management application, Kryptiq CareManager.  These components will be integrated into a comprehensive care system, with improved resident knowledge of chronic disease management, PCMH and Meaningful Use. Faculty will also be prepared through workshops to utilize these principles in their teaching with residents
This project will create a new infrastructure for chronic disease management and quality improvement, teach residents the evidence based principles, and integrate the infrastructure into daily patient care of faculty and residents.  In addition, the infrastructure creates a fertile environment for continued QI research, responds to the AHEC plan year for PCMH implementation, especially the preparation of residents in the third category of the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) standards, Care Management. 
Understanding the Experience of Depression Among Older African American MenBryant, KeneshiaAHEC and TRINortheast ArkansasThe aim of the study is to describe how predominantly African American churches distinguish effective means to recognize and cope with depressive symptoms among African American males. The goal of the study is to identify the role faith based organizations play in depression among African American males to subsequently develop a faith based intervention for depression. Previous studies have discussed engaging the faith community, but none have explored how health ministries and nurse guilds address depression within their congregations. This study therefore will be used to build a rapport and collaborative relationship within the faith community following the principles of community-based participatory research with the long term goal of intervention development. Three focus groups will be organized, one with ministers and one with health ministry and nurse guild leaders to discuss experiences with depression and interventions used within congregations. And the final focus group will be among Christian African American men with a history of depressive symptoms. These findings will establish the foundation for the development of a faith-based depression intervention.
Cadmium ProjectAclin, Richard RAHECFort SmithVery little information exists in the literature about children’s exposure to toxic heavy metals in Arkansas. Therefore, we propose to conduct the first systematic survey of pediatric blood and urine levels of cadmium. As a contaminant, the effects of exposure to cadmium have been the subject of a number of investigations.  While the toxicity of exposure to high levels of cadmium (Cd) is well known, the health implications of chronic exposure to low doses are largely unknown. High levels will also be reported to the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH). Because the carcinogenic effects of chronic exposure to Cd is largely unknown, the data collected during this study will also be used to inform future work investigating epigenetic effects of exposure to asymptomatic levels of Cd.   Admittedly, the results of this study will only provide information from a few regions of the state, but the resources are not available for a more comprehensive study.  However, the results of this limited assessment will provide critical data to support a more widespread effort.
Arkansas Healthy Body PlanGREERWILLIAMS, NANCY JAHECTexarkanaOur objective is to explore the perceptions of the community health environment in Southwest Arkansas using hermeneutic phenomenology. Specifically, we are interested in understanding the cultural factors of the primary sub-population in Southwest Arkansas and their impact on health behavior. Additional aspects of the goal are to develop a Community Health Worker model that can be adapted for each sub-population and increases participation in health screenings and compliance of health care recommendations for chronic disease management. This pilot study will be conducted as a multi-phase project over 10 months. The first phase will yield qualitative and survey data aimed at understanding community strengths, resources and challenges. The second phase will focus on Community Health Worker (CHW) recruitment, training and assessment and will yield descriptive, quantitative measures. We propose to recruit 60 participants to focus groups presenting to 3 sites and recruit and train 15 participants for the CHW model. The results of this pilot study will provide critical data to support a more widespread effort.
UAMS MammoVan: Digital Mobile Mammography ProgramHenry-Tillman, Ronda SWal-Mart Foundation, Cancer Institute Auxiliary Funds, the National Breast Cancer Foundation, the Breast Caner Relief Foundation of New Orleans, the Arkansas Cancer Coalition, the Susan G. Komen For the Cure Little Rock affiliateStatewide focusing on the 26 counties that do not have FDA-approved mammography facilitiesthe Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation, Runway for a Cause, Big Red Tailgate, Win Rockefeller Jr., Dee Dee Ricks and Joan Bass
The MammoVan, a mobile mammography unit operated by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) offers mammograms for area women. The MammoVan regularly travels to 26 Arkansas counties that lack FDA-approved certified mammography facilities, providing digital screening mammograms and breast care education. The three-room mobile unit is outfitted with the most advanced digital mammography equipment and is staffed by a certified mammography technologist and a technical assistant. The unit is handicapped accessible; with a wheelchair lift entering directly into the mammography suite. The mammography unit also is designed to accommodate women in a standing or seated position. Collaborating partners are the Arkansas Department of Health, Community Health Centers of Arkansas and the UAMS Witness Project.
Colorectal Cancer Screening ProgramHenry-Tillman, Ronda SArkansa Cancer Coalition: Arkansas Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and PreventionStatewide: All five public health regions of the stateThe project offers colorectal cancer screenings for patients in all five regions of the state.  The purpose of the Colorectal Cancer Screening Program is to reduce the physical and economic burden of Colorectal Cancer by increasing awareness of and participation in colorectal cancer screening programs.  The Colorectal Cancer Screening program provides funding for screening to at-risk and underserved populations through referrals from primary care physicians (PCP) and Endoscopists within the target population.  The implementation of the Colorectal Screening Program has increased colorectal cancer screening rates and decreased the number of preventable deaths from colorectal cancer.
Empowering Communities for Life-Colorectal Cancer Education and Screening ProgramHenry-Tillman, Ronda SNational Center on Minority Health and Health DisparitiesSt. Francis and Mississippi CountyA five-year community-based colorectal education and screening research program combining the efforts of the Cancer Institute’s Cancer Control Program with that of local residents in two rural Arkansas counties. This funding allows the Cancer Institute to collaborate with community physicians and health leaders to address the needs identified by members of St. Francis and Mississippi County Cancer Councils. Residents in both counties attend an intervention meeting and receive home test kits, along with reminder cards to administer the test and submit the sample to our participating laboratory. Educational materials are also will be provided. Gastroenterologists and Primary Care Physicians in each county have agreed to partner with us in our efforts.   Colorectal Cancer is largely preventable and screening for colorectal cancer can identify and remove the precursors of cancer before the disease begins thus preventing the emergence of Colorectal Cancer.
Cervical Cancer Education and Prevention Program (CCESP)Andrews-Collins, NancyArkansas Cancer Coalition: Arkansas Department of HealthJefferson CountyCCESP is a program to help provide education regarding the HPV vaccination to girls 11-18 years in Jefferson County. The program recently applied for additional funding to include Chicot and Pulaski County.  To maximize the vaccinated population, this funding will also allow boys in the targeted age group to be vaccinated with the Gardasil (Recombinant, absorbed) vaccine.  Gardasil is a 3-injection series vaccine and the only FDA-approved vaccine that has a 90% efficacy rate against HPV subtypes 6, 11, 16 and 18. These four subtypes are not only responsible for invasive cervical cancer, but also 90% of precancerous cervical lesions, vulvar, vaginal and anal carcinomas.
Prostate Cancer Education and Screening ProgramHenry-Tillman, Ronda SCancer Institue Auxiliary FundsStatewide: All five public health regions of the stateThe purpose of this project is to provide education, informed decision making(inform and support perceived patient satisfaction), and patient navigation for age-appropriate prostate cancer candidates for screening and guidance of patients with abnormal findings to assist them in accessing the cancer care system and overcoming barriers to quality of life and standard care.  The program partners with the UAMS Genitourinary Oncology Clinic and Lab Corporation of America®.
Phillips County Youth Tobacco Prevention InitiativeHenry-Tillman, Ronda SCancer Institute Auxiliary FundsPhillips CountyThe purpose of the project is to reduce the prevalence of tobacco use by Phillips County youth through established and new community partnerships. This collaboration will provide a three-step process of assessing, planning, and implementing appropriate intervention strategies for the youth in Phillips County. The Cancer Control Program will strengthen the community partnerships by assisting with the establishing of a Steering Committee and providing training and strategies to the Steering Committee to assist them in their efforts to reduce tobacco usage among the youth in Phillips County. Steering Committee members will be available to assist with neighborhood mini-grant activities and support the development and implementation of Leadership Councils, Teens against Tobacco Mentorship Program, and social media anti-tobacco advertisement campaign, and a speaker’s bureau.
National Children's StudyHobbs, CharlotteNIHBenton CountyThe National Children’s Study (NCS) will follow a national representative sample of 100,000 children from before birth to age 21 to learn more about the causes and effects of children’s health and many diseases. Both genetics and environment impact children’s health and development; environmental and biological samples will be obtained from each enrolled infant and family. Benton County is the only county in Arkansas included in the NCS sample. Community engagement through multi-media campaigns led by 2 full-time public relations study staff was initiated early in 2011. Four community advisory boards have been established to aid in integration of the study into Benton County. A full-time Master’s trained nurse leads collaboration with health care providers and hospital staff. In the past year Arkansas NCS Center researchers have launched a recruitment sub-study to evaluate a novel method of engaging NCS participants in Benton County through their health care providers’ offices. In the main NCS study, the Benton County research team will enroll approximately 1000 pregnant women and collect interview data, and biological and environmental samples to measure pregnancy exposures. Infants will be enrolled at delivery and followed until 21 years of age. Subsequent NCS phases will follow the 100,000 children nationally to investigate the causes of neonatal and childhood morbidity including prematurity, birth defects, autism, asthma, obesity, injury, and behavior disorders. Longer-term studies of this group will determine whether there are conditions of infancy and early childhood associated with adult onset diseases including cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Delta Garden StudyWeber, Judith LUSDA Agricultural Research ServiceStatewideDr. Weber and her team’s study will show how building new gardens—complete with greenhouses, budding crops, and composting areas—may hold the key to help adolescents log more physical activity, eat healthier, and connect with their schools.
The USDA Agricultural Research Service’s Delta Obesity Prevention Research Unit is funding the $2 million-plus study, which will expand to 10 school gardens by 2014. The Delta Garden Study is the largest and most rigorous school based study of its kind. After completing the pilot phase, the ACRI project will build nine more one-acre gardens on the properties of each of the schools that will participate. The researchers also will create a curriculum drawing on existing state educational frameworks so that students can use the gardens at least twice each week in their regular schoolwork. Mabelvale’s students and teachers will evaluate all of the program components prior to the start of the full-scale study to determine any necessary modifications. The research team expects to track 200 children in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades at each school site, including the 10 controls, for a total of 4,000 children. They will be selected from science, health, and physical education courses. The project’s goal is to attract students who are not involved in other school activities to become involved in their schools and to be more physically active.
Arkansas Children's Nutrition CenterBadger, Thomas MUSDA Agricultural Research ServicePulaski Countyconduct cutting-edge basic, clinical, applied and translational nutrition research in children to improve child development, promote health and prevent diseases later in life. Our diverse outstanding faculty and strong staff are our strengths in following our mission and accomplishing our goals by providing excellence in research standard, integrity and creativity. The mission of the Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center is to conduct research on the dietary needs that will:  optimize the health of children from conception through adolescence; and maximize their health as adults, especially during aging.  In accomplishing this mission, children and their families are studied relative to commonly eaten foods, and animal and cellular models are developed and utilized. Animal studies are conducted to establish new hypotheses, test existing ones and to clarify basic metabolic function of nutrients and dietary factors in common foods.  Controlled human dietary, metabolic and behavioral studies provide data necessary for evidence-based recommendations and for governmental policy decisions that promote healthy and safe human development.
Food Allergy Research ProgramJones, Stacie M (Allergy)NIHPulaski CountyFood allergy research at ACRI encompasses the breadth of food allergy research—from translational research to elucidate the fundamental aspects of the disease to clinical trials to test new treatment strategies. The Food Allergy Research Program at ACRI is part of the National Institutes of Health-funded, five-center, Consortium of Food Allergy Research (CoFAR). The multi -center consortium completed its first five years of funding and was recently awarded ~$30 million for an additional five years of funding. ACRI’s Food Allergy Research Program also conducts clinical trials for the development of novel forms of immunotherapy and treatments for food allergy, such as epicutaneous immunotherapy, sublingual immunotherapy, and Chinese herbal therapy for food allergy. Particular successes have been noted in the development of oral immunotherapy for peanut allergy through collaboration with investigators at other institutions. This work will continue to focus on peanut allergy while expanding to other food allergens in children and adults. Funding for these projects is through the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the National Peanut Board, the Food Allergy Initiative, the Dorothy and Frank Robins Family, and the Alex Orum Peanut Allergy Research Fund.
The Reducing Asthma Disparities in ArkansasPerry, Tamara PNIHRural East Arkansas countiesThe Reducing Asthma Disparities in Arkansas (RADAR) research team will examine 12 school districts in rural east Arkansas counties, placing video-conferencing systems in six so that recruited students with asthma can have regular education appointments with specialists in Little Rock. The remaining schools will act as control sites. Researchers believe that the students who participate in the school-based asthma education and monitoring will gain better control over their disease, with fewer episodes of acute breathing problems. The RADAR study will include three years of school-based intervention, with each site hosting the video-conferencing sessions for a year. Students ages 7 to 14 will learn how to recognize initial symptoms of an asthma attack, why it’s important to take their medications as prescribed and ways to reduce their risk of complications. They’ll sit for the video-conferencing education during non-instruction periods such as study hall or recess. During the sessions, they’ll be able to speak directly with ACRI asthma specialists so they can have questions answered and so the physicians can track their progress. Parents also will be heavily involved in the project, attending courses to learn similar concepts, as well as effective methods for discussing their children’s asthma with doctors. Schools that participate will receive state-of-the-art video-conferencing technology for the year they are involved, and the RADAR team will provide training for the districts’ IT professionals and school nurses, as well. Investigators will work cooperatively with the students’ primary care providers, with ACRI asthma specialists giving them updates on the level of patients’ asthma control and disease management recommendations based on published national asthma guidelines.
Pediatric Community Engagement Services CorePerry, Tamara PACRI Arkansas Biosciences InstitutePulaski CountyApplication (Not funded) to provide infrastructure and equipment to meet the needs of CEnR researchers on ACH campus
Building an Accessible, Integrated, and Family-Centered System of Services for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs in Arkansas Kuo, Dennis ZHRSA/MCHBStatewideThis project creates a system of accessible, family-centered services for all CYSHCN, their families, and providers.  Arkansas is a rural, medically underserved state with a system of care that is largely underdeveloped.  The project builds the infrastructure of the system of care through meeting following objectives: 1) Develop and maintain a statewide consortium for strategic oversight and planning of the system of care for CYSHCN, incorporating leadership by families of CYSHCN; 2) Organize medical and developmental services for easy accessibility by all families, medical professionals, and service providers; 3) Build directed linkages to families of underserved and limited English proficient (LEP) backgrounds; 4) Provide technical assistance and quality improvement for physicians and parent partners to provide Medical Homes for CYSHCN, 5) Develop resources to assist transitions from pediatric to adult health care.  Project activities will be supported through subcontracts with Title V CSHCN, Arkansas Family-2-Family Health Information Center, and the Arkansas chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.  The Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute will coordinate all project activities and compile data for evaluation.  Process measures include the number of providers and families contacted, the number of training sessions held and attended, and the number of materials disseminated.  Outcomes measures include the creation of specific, sustainable services such as the web site of resources; physician practice-specific QI measures of CYSHCN services; and provider, physician, and family use of newly created resources.
Building Tertiary-Primary Co-Management for Children with Medical ComplexityKuo, Dennis ZKL2 Award, UAMS TRIStudy 1- Arkansas, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin, statedwide; Study 2- NationalThe project evaluates the family needs and clinical resource use of children with medical complexity (CMC).  Such children have chronic medical conditions with a high level of severity, leading to significant medical care needs such as multiple subspecialty visits and technology dependence.  The care needs result in high resource utilization, high medical care costs, and family stress.  Care in the community-based, primary care setting is typically limited by a lack of provider expertise and support, while care in the tertiary care setting has the needed expertise but is limited by available providers and, for some, distance.  Two studies in this award provide preliminary data for a pilot tertiary/primary co-management protocol for children with medical complexity.  The first study is a mailed survey to families who attend three clinical services for CMC, at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital Boston, and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.  The study identifies CMC family needs and expectations of care in the primary care setting.  The second study is a secondary analysis of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, and creates a profile of CMC health service use by describing reasons for specific outpatient and inpatient health service encounters.  The data generated from this project will be used to tailor co-management care protocols for CMC in several statewide primary care practices in Arkansas.
Cardiovascular Risk Factors Surveillance Systems in Arkansa YouthRedwine, Karen LTRI Pilot Award (also holds clinically oriented KL2 award)Pulaski CountyHypertension affects 1 in 3 Americans and approximately 3-5% of children and adolescents making it one of the most prevalent chronic diseases in America of any age group.  Uncontrolled hypertension leads to significant premature morbidity and mortality including ischemic heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure and is recognized by the world health organization as the number one attributable cause of death world wide.  While the apparent effects of hypertension may not be seen for decades, evidence clearly shows that hypertensive sequelae are present in children and adolescents sometimes even at diagnosis. Thus, directed efforts must be made to understand and manage the disease process in this young population if we are to prevent subsequent morbid events. This pilot study pilot study measures the prevalence of common cardiovascular disease risk factors among 6th grade students within the Little Rock Public School District and seeks to assess the association between these risk factors and elevated blood pressure (hypertension and pre-hypertension) within this population.  Data generated from this project, while limited in age range, will be some of the most comprehensive of its type gathered since the outbreak of the current obesity epidemic in the United States. The study will provide the foundation and community partnerships necessary to expand this work to other pediatric age groups and will be used to develop community based interventions and health policy aimed at decreasing prevalent cardiovascular risk factors.
Strike Out Child Passenger InjuryAitken, Mary ECenters for Disease ControlArkansas, Indiana, Illinois, AlabamaMotor vehicle injury is the leading cause of injury death for children 4 to 7 years of age. Although booster seat use in this age group substantially reduces the risk of injury, most children are currently restrained by seatbelts designed for adults. Recent studies estimate booster seat use ranges from 10 to 20%. Children in rural environments are particularly at risk for motor vehicle related injury due to a combination of factors, including lower restraint use, increased exposure to motor vehicle travel, road design issues, and increased time to definitive care when injuries occur. Despite this, while there have been numerous studies to increase the use of child seats and booster seats among low-income and minority children, few studies were widely tested in rural communities and none were specifically tailored to engage this population.  Strike Out Child Passenger Injury (Strike Out) uses instructional baseball programs for children ages 4 to 7 years as a setting for education of parents and community leaders regarding the importance of using booster seats until a child is large enough to fit safely in a lap and/or shoulder belt restraint, hereafter referred to as safety belts. Strike Out combines a variety of educational and outreach strategies grounded in principles of Social Marketing and consumer processing theories, including promotion by local champions, community support, and tailored local print media. Siblings of the target children are also assessed for optimal restraint use. The simplicity of the model makes it straightforward and low-cost to replicate within a relatively short time period and within the context of a community-adopted activity that is already associated with safety and health by families.
Improving Executive Functioning in Adolescent SmokersAitken, Mary ETRI Pilot AwardArkansasWe will conduct a pilot study of training designed to improve executive functioning in otherwise healthy adolescent smokers.  The specific aims of the pilot project are:
1) To establish procedures for and assess feasibility of recruitment and retention of a substantial group of adolescent subjects for sustained memory training.
2) To examine the effectiveness of executive functioning/working memory training to improve the discounting behavior of nicotine-dependent adolescents. We hypothesize that adolescent smokers exposed to the WM training will demonstrate lowered discounting rates when compared to a comparable control group.
3) To conduct preliminary investigations of the relationship of socioeconomic and other demographic factors to the effectiveness of working memory training to improve discounting behaviors.
This project and facility will form the basis of a research program to investigate the impact of such training on other adolescent populations with significant adverse health conditions and behaviors, including obesity, other drug addictions, risky sexual behaviors, and injury risks (helmet use, seatbelt use, etc.).
Grandmothers and Infant SafetyAitken, Mary ETRIArkansasSudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed are two of the leading causes of death for Arkansas infants. To mitigate some of these unintentional deaths, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a position statement regarding safe infant sleep, which includes anticipatory advice for caregivers on sleep position and sleep surface. The literature suggests that grandparents and other senior caregivers influence their children’s parenting behaviors. The purpose of this project is to survey grandmothers in order to determine their knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors around infant safety issues. Also of interest is the level of influence of grandmother’s on primary caregivers. Approximately 1000 Arkansas grandmothers between age 30 and 70 who take care of a grandchild less than six (6) months of age at least once each week will be invited to participate in the survey. The short 10 minute survey is designed to assess the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of grandmothers regarding infant safety. Subjects will be recruited from community based venues and through electronic media. Categorical contingency tables and logistic regression will be used to examine any possible association between following appropriate infant sleep behaviors with beliefs/opinions held by the grandmothers, familial demographics and relationships; and to determine independent factors associated with following appropriate infant sleep behaviors.
Partnership for Implementation of Evidence-Based Practices in Rural Primary CareFortney, John CNIMHAll Arkansas Federally Qualified Community Mental Health CentersThis goal of this project is to develop and sustain an Implementation Partnership that will focus on disseminating evidence based practices in rural Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) in Arkansas. We are using Evidence Based Quality Improvement methods to foster a participatory research partnership with FQHC patients and providers devoted to the adaptation, adoption, and evaluation of evidence based practices for mental health and substance abuse disorders.
Clergy Partnership ProgramSullivan, GreerVA Office of Rural HealthPope, Jefferson, and Union Counties in ArkansasPersons in rural areas are more likely to seek help for mental health problems from clergy.  More than 40% of returning veterans will return to rural areas where mental health specialists are scarce. About 1 in 5 of these veterans are expected to have serious mental health problems. This program involves a partnership with clergy in three rural towns in Arkansas (El Dorado, Russellville, Pine Bluff) to raise awareness of mental health needs of returning veterans, identify veterans in need, and link veterans and clergy with appropriate resources.  Using a CBPR approach, the project was initiated in El Dorado in 2009, Russellville in 2010, and Pine Bluff in 2011.   In partnership with local advisory committees, each of the sites is developing programs that are suited to local needs and capacity. 
Teaching Important Parenting Skills: TIPS for Great Kids!Bokony, Patti AArkansas Department of EducationArkansas statewideTIPS is intended to be an alternative to formal parenting classes.   Parenting researchers are partnering with school staff (including head start programs) from all over Arkansas.  The goal of the program is to increase parenting knowledge and skills in ways research has shown to promote child mental and physical health and school readiness. The foundation of TIPS is the parent-practitioner partnership.
Mental Health and Help-Seeking Behavior of Students in Rural Community CollegesHunt, Justin B.NIMH and DODArkansas Rural Community CollegesThese studies are building partnerships with rural Community Colleges in Arkansas to promote help seeking for students and student veterans with mental health and substance abuse disorders.  Through participatory research methods, researchers hope to develop an improved understanding of the mental health needs and help-seeking behaviors of community college students and to develop screening and linkage-to-care interventions that are feasible and acceptable to these populations.
An Ethnographic Study of Post-Deployment Substance Abuse and Treatment SeekingCurran, Geoffrey MVAArkansasThe goal of this project is to better understand the personal, social, and military culture issues associated with the low demand for substance use treatment services among Arkansas National Guard service members who were deployed during OIF/OEF. We are using ethnographic fieldwork techniques and in-depth interviews  to obtain a deeper understanding of  National Guard service members' thoughts, feelings, experiences, and perceptions regarding substance use, substance use treatment, and current and potential substance use treatment services.