SON Faculty Receive NC TraCS Funding

Three SON faculty members have been awarded grants from the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences (NC TraCS) Institute. Associate professor Shawn Kniepp received an NC TraCS Dissemination and Implementation grant. Assistant professor Mark Toles was awarded a position in the NC TraCS KL2 program and assistant professor Ashley Leak Bryant received a K12 Paul Calabresi Career Development Award in Clinical Oncology.


Dr. Shawn Kneipp

Dr. Kneipp will use her grant to investigate whether more interest in adopting a case-management intervention for women in North Carolina’s Work First program could be generated with a graphics-rich visual simulation. The simulation will demonstrate the health and employment improvements Work First and public health nurse managers could expect to see if the intervention were implemented in their counties. Dr. Kneipp and her colleagues plan to compare the graphics-rich simulation to an existing description of the intervention to determine which approach increases managers’ interest in adopting the intervention. The overall goal of the project is to determine if the visual simulation could generate more interest in evidence-based strategies. Dr. Kneipp’s collaborators for this project include Drs. Jennifer Leeman and Todd Schwartz from the SON, Dr. Kristen Hasmiller-Lich from the School of Public Health, and Dr. Georgiy Bobashev from RTI International.

Dr. Mark Toles

Dr. Mark Toles

As a KL2 scholar, Dr. Mark Toles will expand his research focused on care transitions for older adults and their family caregivers. After hospitalization, older adults often receive care in skilled nurse facilities (SNFs), where new strategies are urgently needed to prepare patients and caregivers to coordinate their transitions from SNFs to home. With the KL2 award, Dr. Toles will collaborate with his primary mentor, Laura Hanson, M.D., and test an intervention designed to improve transitional care in nursing homes and prevent avoidable re-hospitalizations of SNF patients. The KL2 will support Dr. Toles’ research for the next three years.




Dr. Ashley Leak Bryant

With her career development award, Dr. Ashley Leak Bryant will study how and which symptoms impact quality of life of people with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) during their initial treatment. Acute leukemia is a disease of older adults, which is treated aggressively with an average hospital stay of 4 weeks. Through this study, Dr. Bryant will determine how symptoms, physical function, and quality of life change over time. Dr. Bryant’s primary mentor is Bryce Reeve, PhD, School of Global Public Health. Her mentoring team includes Ethan Basch, MD, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, Hyman Muss, MD, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, George Knafl, PhD, School of Nursing, and Heidi Klepin, MD, MS, from Wake Forest Baptist Health.


The NC TraCS Institute is one of 62 clinical and translational science awards programs in the United States. NC TraCS supports research projects designed to develop new clinical technologies, resources that accelerate drug development, and test treatment effectiveness. They also provide training and support for the next generation of clinical and transnational researchers. Read more about their awards and programs at