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College of Public Health

Diversity Supplement

From 2011 to 2013, Dr. Katie Baker, now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community & Behavioral Health, along with her faculty mentor Dr. Joel Hillhouse, received a Supplement to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research from the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Baker used this training grant to complete her dissertation research - a pilot study designed to examine the feasibility, fidelity and dosage of a parent-based skin cancer prevention intervention directed at female teenagers and their mothers residing in Northeast Tennessee. For more information about this project, contact Dr. Baker at .


Occupational Health

Since 2008, Dr. Ken Silver, Associate Professor of Environmental Health, has collaborated with Rural Medical Services as well as faculty and students in other health disciplines at ETSU, on occupational health issues affecting migrant tomato workers. Pilot epidemiologic studies have resulted from this work, including investigations of heat stress and ergonomics. A qualitative study is in progress on workers' knowledge and attitudes toward heat stress. Since its inception, this project has been a close collaboration with faculty and students in ETSU's colleges of medicine and nursing. For more information about this body of work, contact Dr. Silver at .


Team-Up for Healthy Living! Peer-Based Prevention of Teen Obesity

Team-up is a health education and research program in which college students are trained as peer facilitators to conduct obesity prevention education programs in rural high schools in southern Appalachia.  The program aims to facilitate academia-community partnerships in health promotion in underserved rural areas and is designed to meet the critical community need for adolescent obesity prevention.  Team-up is led by Dr. Deborah Slawson, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Community and Behavioral Health, and is funded by the NIH (National Institutes of Health) and TBR (Tennessee Board of Regents).  For more information about this project, contact Dr. Slawson at .


Indoor Air Quality in Central Appalachian Homes

Dr. Tricia Metts, Associate Professor of Environmental Health, has recently collaborated with the Appalachia Service Project, a faith-based nonprofit organization that provides emergency home repairs to low-income families in Central Appalachia.  The project involved assessing indoor air quality in their clients' homes that were impacted by major flooding in the Dry Creek community of Washington County, Tennessee.   Additional information about this project is available from Dr. Metts at .


Southern Appalachia Tele-Homecare (SATH) Program

Between 2009 and 2013, Dr. Amal Khoury, Professor and Chair, Department of Health Services Management and Policy, and her colleagues collaborated with Mountain States Health Alliance on the SATH project.  With funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), SATH implemented and evaluated an innovative tele-homecare intervention aimed at improving health outcomes of congestive heart failure patients residing in rural communities of Southern Appalachia, a region that experiences a disproportionate burden of heart disease morbidity and mortality.   Contact Dr. Khoury () for more information about this project.


 Diversity-Promoting Institutions Drug Abuse Research Program (DIDARP)

An inter-professional faculty group at East Tennessee State University was awarded a 5 year, NIDA funded Diversity-promoting Institutions Drug Abuse Research Program (DIDARP) grant in 2013 to increase ETSUs capacity for impactful Prescription Drug Abuse/Misuse (PDAM) research by providing for: 1) nationally competitive inter-professional research activities for faculty and students; 2) research development activities for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students from disadvantaged backgrounds; and 3) mentored training opportunities for graduate and professional students.  The major research projects will lead to a collaborative evidenced-based intervention to target provider and patient PDA/M communicative attitudes, beliefs and behaviors.  Additionally, collaborative relationships with the DEA and regional law enforcement agencies allow us to assess and compare outcomes of DEA drug take-back events and amnesty boxes specific to donations of commonly abused drugs. 

 The team includes Dr. Robert Pack, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, who serves as the Principal Investigator (PI) for the grant and P.I. of Project 2, Dr. Nicholas Hagemeier, Assistant Professor in the Gatton College of Pharmacy, Principal Investigator (PI) for DIDARP Project One, and Dr. Jeffrey Gray, Associate Professor in the Gatton College of Pharmacy, PI Project 3.  Co-Principal Investigators are Dr. Arsham Alamian, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, in the College of Public Health, and Dr. Fred Tudiver, Professor in the College of Family Medicine and Director or AppNet Research Network.  Dr. Pack () will be happy to provide more information about this project.


Tennessee Board of Regents Grant - Hispanic Metabolic Risk

An inter-professional faculty group at East Tennessee State University have received a grant from the Tennessee Board of Regents, to characterize the metabolic profile of an Hispanic at-risk pediatric population in Northeast Tennessee.  The team includes Dr. W. Andrew Clark, who will serve as the Principal Investigator on the grant , from the Department of Allied Health Sciences, Dr. Geri Sokell is in the Department of Physical Therapy (both in the College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences), Dr. Arsham Alamian and Shimin Zheng,  in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology and Dr. Jonathan Peterson and Dr. Effiong Otukonyong in the Department of Health Sciences (all in the College of Public Health). 

This award will allow the research team to identify key and emerging hormones and biomarkers that are hypothesized to be dysregulated in this population at an early age, therefore increasing their risk of developing metabolic syndrome. This research work has never been conducted in Tennessee and will provide important baseline data that can be used for future investigations, said Dr. Alamian who leads a Pediatric Metabolic Syndrome Working Group at Johnson City Community Health Center.

This grant optimizes use of plasma samples and information already planned for collection (from previously awarded grants) from 150 Hispanic children aged 2 to 10 years. The overall aim of this project is to evaluate markers of insulin resistance, appetite deregulation, and chronic inflammation. To do so, the investigators will test differences in the levels of selected key emerging hormones including adiponectin, insulin, and glucagon (glucose homeostasis), ghrelin and leptin (appetite regulation), and Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha, Interleukin-6, and C-reactive Protein (inflammation) in children with and without metabolic syndrome. Statistical tests will be used to identify clinical correlates of metabolic syndrome after controlling for potential covariates.

TBR Diversity Research Grants are designed to support faculty research focused on underrepresented and target sub-populations.   


 Tennessee Board of Regents Grant - Male Risk of Osteoporosis

Faculty at East Tennessee State University have received a grant from the Tennessee Board of Regents to study osteoporosis risk in men.  The team will be led by Dr. Ron Hamdy from the  College of Medicine and will include Dr. Arsham Alamian and Dr. Shimin Zheng  from the College of Public Health and Dr. W. Andrew Clark from the College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences.  Also involved will be Dr. Tommy Piggee and Mr. Christian Magallanes from the medical school.  The research team will evaluate the usefulness of assessing the bone mineral density at various parts of the distal radius (ultra-distal, mid-point, one third and total) compared to the conventional sites to identify male patients aged 50 years or older at risk for osteoporosis. 
 
The present guidelines recommend scanning both the hip(s) and lumbar vertebrae (conventional sites) to make a diagnosis of osteoporosis and use the distal radius (wrist) only when the other sites cannot be scanned (e.g., in patients with limited mobility, deformities, pain or mental impairment). Most studies done on the distal radius however were confined to the distal one-third site and these studies used single X-ray densitometry rather than dual X-ray densitometry (DXA) which tends to be a more accurate approach. Using retrospective data patients aged 50 years or older who have undergone DXA, the investigators will determine whether any parts of the distal radius (ultra-distal, mid-point, one third and total) or a combination of sites is as sensitive/specific as the conventional sites to diagnose and/or identify male patients at risk for osteoporosis.
  
Dr. Hamdy is Professor of Internal Medicine and holder of the Cecile Cox Quillen Chair of Excellence in Geriatric Medicine at the James H. Quillen College of Medicine.  Dr. Alamian is Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Dr. Zheng is Assistant Professor of Biostatistics  both in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology.   Dr. Clark is Professor of Clinical Nutrition and Associate Dean of Research and Clinical Practice in the Department of Allied Health Sciences.   Dr. Piggee is a post-doctoral fellow in Geriatric Medicine, and Mr. Christian Magallanes is a third year medical student at the Quillen College of Medicine. TBR Diversity Research Grants are designed to support faculty research focused on underrepresented and target sub-populations.   

Dr. Randy Wykoff, Dean of the College of Public Health said Dr. Ron Hamdy is an internationally respected expert in geriatric medicine, and I am very pleased that our researchers will have the opportunity to both work with him and to support his work.  This represents an important opportunity to further advance inter-professional research in our region, while addressing an important health question. 

 

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