Preventing & Managing Chronic Illness & Other Major Health Threats

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Faculty are known for their strong programs of research on the prevention and management of chronic illness. In 1994, the School established the Center for Research on Chronic Illness to promote and support faculty research on preventing and managing chronic illness. SON research focuses on a range of chronic conditions and includes people at all stages of life. Faculty are developing and testing interventions with infants, school age children, pregnant women, parents of toddlers, parents and their middle school age children, adults, and older adults. Studies address diabetes, cancer, cancer survivorship, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, obesity, depressive symptoms, HIV/AIDS, and urinary incontinence among other conditions. The School has an Institutional National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Nursing Research to support doctoral and post-doctoral fellows in the study of Interventions for Preventing and Managing Chronic Illness.

Currently funded research studies (studies may be listed in more than one focus area):

A Randomized Controlled Trial of SPIRIT: A Representational Intervention to Promote Preparation for End-of-Life Decision Making

Dialysis is central to survival for 450,000 Americans with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Yet patients on dialysis have significant comorbidities and high mortality rates (24% annually). One out of four ESRD patient deaths occurs after a decision to stop dialysis. However, when… Read more »

Adapting Project S.A.F.E.: Reducing STD/HIV Risk in Women Prisoners

Women prisoners, many of whom are poor or of color, have disproportionately high rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Women prisoners are 15 times more likely to be HIV-infected than women in the general population. Prison facilities in the south have among the … Read more »

Breast Cancer in African American Women: DNA Methylation Studies in Basal-like, HER2+, and Luminal A and B Subtypes

Although breast cancer incidence is lower for African American women as compared to Caucasian women, African American suffer higher rates of complications and death from the disease. African American women are far more likely to be diagnosed at an advanced stage, to be premenopa… Read more »

Children and Parents Partnering Together to Manage Their Weight

Young children who are overweight or at risk for overweight are at increased risk for becoming obese as young adults and developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. To date, there have been no interdisciplinary interventions that targeted predominantly ethnic minority… Read more »

Community-based Dementia Care for Older Adults

Anna Beeber’s goals for the training program are: 1) to gain experience in conducting multidisciplinary research, 2) to examine family management of dementia care, and 3) to determine how care practices address specific older adult and caregiver risk factors for nursing home placem… Read more »

Decreasing Health-Related Stigma in Adults with Sickle Cell Disease

This Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23) is designed to prepare Dr. Jenerette for a career as an independent scientist in the area of theory-based self-care management strategies for adults with sickle cell disease (SCD). The National Institute of N… Read more »

End-of-Life Care After Severe Fetal Diagnosis

The diagnosis of severe (lethal or life-limiting) fetal defects confronts pregnant women, their partners and their health care providers with the devastating paradox of the end-of-life at the beginning of life. The increasing routine use of prenatal testing has increased the nu… Read more »

Examination of Management of Ethical Issues in Free-Standing Dialysis Facilities

Dialysis is central to survival for more than 548,000 Americans with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). The ESRD population is ever growing, yet we have no data on how clinicians at dialysis facilities manage ethical challenges, such as balancing the needs of one disruptive patient ag… Read more »

Guiding Mothers to Co-Regulate Oral Feeding with Very Preterm Infants

The goal of the proposed research is to extend an innovative and successful nurse-delivered feeding intervention for very preterm infants (VP) to one delivered by mothers. Up to one-third of VP infants (≤30 weeks gestational age) will develop significant feeding problems during … Read more »

Hypertension in Black Americans: Environment, Behavior, and Biology

Hypertension (HTN) is a major health problem for Black Americans: as a group they have the highest rate of HTN in the world. HTN develops at younger ages, is more severe, and leads to more adverse clinical outcomes and higher death rates for Blacks than for Whites. Chronic psychoso… Read more »

Interactive Cancer Communication Systems (ICCS) Directed Physical Activity Enhancement for Colon Cancer Survivors

There are over one million colon cancer survivors representing 10% of all cancer survivors. There is strong evidence that a sedentary lifestyle contributes not only to the initial diagnosis of colon cancer but an increased risk of mortality after diagnosis. A large portion of co… Read more »

Maternal Feeding Responsiveness and Risk of Obesity from Infancy through Early Childhood

Early childhood obesity is a growing problem in the U.S. Although the development of obesity is a response to a combination of genetic, interpersonal, and environmental factors, fundamentally it reflects an imbalance between energy intake and expenditure. Infants have been found to… Read more »

Mixed-Method Synthesis of Research on Childhood Chronic Conditions and Family

A substantial percentage of children have a chronic physical condition (CPC) such as arthritis or diabetes putting them at increased risk for psychosocial adjustment problems. Although much primary research has targeted families with these children, still unknown are the factors th… Read more »

Representational Intervention to Promote End-of-Life Decision Making Preparation

Annually over 80,000 patients start maintenance dialysis to sustain life, but 40-43% of them will die within a year (USRD, 2010). Clinical practice guidelines recommend careful deliberations and informed decision making in the initiation of dialysis because of limited survival bene… Read more »

The “Wings” Depressive Symptom Intervention for Latina Mothers

LEP Latina mothers of infants and toddlers are confronted with chronic economic hardship and immigration-related stressors. As high as 64% experience clinically significant depressive symptoms, which limit their ability to offer developmental support to their infant or toddler. Inf… Read more »