Congratulations to Cheryl L. Woods Giscombé, PhD, RN, PMHNP-BC on being awarded nearly $3.1 million in research grant funding from the National Institute on Minority and Health Disparities to improve health outcomes for African American Women at high risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke and diabetes through culturally relevant mindfulness and stress management interventions.

Dr. Giscombé is the Melissa and Harry LeVine Family Associate Professor of Quality of Life, Health Promotion and Wellness at the School of Nursing, and her program of research focuses on understanding and reducing stress-related health disparities among African Americans. This study, titled “The Harmony Study  — A culturally-relevant, randomized-controlled, stress management intervention to reduce cardiometabolic risk in African American women,” is the culmination of research she has been working on for the last 20 years.

African American women have disproportionately high rates of death and disability from chronic cardiometabolic (CM) illnesses compared to other groups of women in the US, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. Her team will work with African American women with elevated risk — those who are overweight or have a family history, for example — and use culturally relevant social support, stress management and mindfulness tools to reduce their risk before they actually develop the disease. Giscombé and her team hope to help the study participants develop healthier eating habits and increase physical activity, leading to weight loss and better health outcomes.

According to Giscombé, this research will address the factors that have been historically understudied for African American women.We need to focus on reducing risk for African American Women. This study is tailored to comprehensively address gender- and race-specific issues that may impact their risk.  Our goal is to help them succeed and sustain their success in lifestyle modifications, weight loss, and cardiometabolic risk reduction.”

The five-year study will run through February 28, 2025, and will include the team members listed below.

Principal Investigators
Cheryl Giscombé – School of Nursing
Susan Gaylord – School of Medicine

Co-Investigators
Keturah Faurot – Department of Epidemiology
Jamie Crandell – School of Nursing
Carmen Samuel Hodge – Department of Nutrition
Giselle Corbie-Smith – School of Medicine
Kelly Evenson – Department of Epidemiology

Consultants:
Tene Lewis — Emory University School of Public Health
Kerri Green-Scott — Pursuit Fitness 365

National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, Award Number 1R01MD015388-01A1, Giscombé (PI) 7/29/20–02/28/2025, Funding: $3,069,652, “THE HARMONY Study – A culturally-relevant, randomized-controlled, stress management intervention to reduce cardiometabolic risk in African American women