Community-Based Health Equity Research Program

The Community-Based Health Equity Research Program includes a group of behavioral and implementation scientists and staff who focus on the development, implementation, and sustainability of effective obesity- and cancer-related interventions within rural communities.  This program is strategically focused on engaging stakeholders and patients and building research capacity across rural Virginia.  Most research efforts are currently focused in Southwest and Southside Virginia. Current research projects are being conducted in partnership with numerous rural healthcare, education and community-based organizations, such as Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), Virginia Department of Health districts, Parks and Recreation Departments, and rural middle schools and Head Starts.   In affiliation with the UVA Cancer Center Without Walls, this program is housed in a satellite office in Christiansburg, Virginia: ‘UVA Cancer Center Research and Outreach Office’

 

Key team members:

  • Jamie Zoellner, PhD, RD, Professor, Department of Public Health Sciences
  • Kathleen Porter, PhD, RD, Research Assistant Professor, Department of Public Health Sciences
  • Donna Brock, MS, Program Officer, Department of Public Health Sciences
  • Annie Reid, MPH, RD, Research Specialist Intermediate, Department of Public Health Sciences
  • Brittany McCormick, MPH, Research Specialist Intermediate, Department of Public Health Sciences
  • Kayla Mariner, RD, CDE, Research Specialist Intermediate, Department of Public Health Sciences
  • Dylan Allanson, MPH, RD, Research Specialist Intermediate, Department of Public Health Sciences

 

Primary areas of focus:

  • Rural health disparities
  • Obesity, including nutrition and physical activity risk factors
  • Cancer prevention, early detection, and survivorship
  • Community-based participatory research approaches
  • Dissemination and implementation methods aimed at translating evidence-based programs into healthcare and community systems
  • Health literacy

 

Key funded research projects:

  • A novel sugar-sweetened beverage reduction intervention for Native American men (Funding: R01 National Institutes of Health/National Institutes of Nursing Research)
  • iSIPsmarter: An RCT to evaluate the efficacy, reach, and engagement of a technology-based behavioral and health literacy intervention to reduce sugary beverages among rural Appalachian adults (Funding: R01 National Institutes of Health/National Institutes of Minority Health and Health Disparities)
  • Kids SIPsmartER: A multi-level behavioral and health literacy intervention to reduce sugar-sweetened beverages among Appalachian middle-school students (Funding: R01 National Institutes of Health/National Institutes of Minority Health and Health Disparities)
  • Building Capacity to Implement and Evaluate Effectiveness of Interventions to Improve Colorectal Cancer (CRC) Screening in a Community Health Center (Funding: Integrated Translational Health Research Institute of Virginia, iTHRIV)
  • A randomized-controlled trial to compare the reach, effectiveness and maintenance of two family-based childhood obesity treatment programs in a medically underserved region (Funding: Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute Research Contract)
  • Cancer Center without Walls: Advancing Patient-Centered Research for Cancer Control in Rural VA (Funding: Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute Eugene Washington Engagement Contract)
  • Building research capacity to improve colorectal cancer screening in rural Southwest Virginia Clinics (Funding: P30 National Institutes of Health/ National Cancer Institute)
  • Extending Evidenced-Based, Behaviorally Focused Interventions to Promote Cancer Survivorship in Appalachian Virginia (Funding: UVA Cancer Center, Cancer Control and Population Health)