Health disparities research

Steve Wing, Associate Professor, Epidemiology
Project Title: Local Health Impacts of Land Application of Sewage Sludge

Description of Work: Approximately 16,000 municipal waste water treatment plants in the US produce over seven million tons (dry weight) of residual sludge each year; most is applied to agricultural lands as free fertilizer. This sludge, also known as biosolids, consists of sediments resulting from the treatment of waste water from homes, streets, schools, hospitals, and industries. Many affected communities are in low income, rural areas, making land application of sludge an environmental justice issue. Using CBPR methods developed in prior research on human exposure to hog waste, and building on community and research partnerships solidified at a recent participatory workshop, the current project will conduct an assessment of off-site migration of sludge constituents linked to an epidemiologic study of neighbors of sites permitted for land application of sludges.

Project Dates: September 12, 2007-July 31, 2012

Type of Grant: R01

Laura Linnan, Associate Professor, Department of Health Behavior

Project Title: Interventions to Control Obesity in Colleges

Description of Work: In collaboration with the North Carolina Community College System, NC Blue Cross Blue Shield, and the State Teachers and Employee Medical Plan, the proposed five-year study will test two promising worksite-based weight loss interventions (Web-based Weight Loss Program and Incentive Payments) among 936 overweight/obese employees in 12 community college settings.

Project Dates: September 1, 2006-May 31, 2011

Type of Grant: R01

Jessica Lee, Assistant Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management

Project Title: Examination of Oral Health Literacy in Public Health Practice

Description of Work: The purpose of this project is to examine how a low dental literacy population interprets dental health prevention information, navigates the dental health system and whether participation in a large comprehensive public health program (WIC) can be effective in improving this process for pregnant women and their children and reduce health disparities.

Project Dates: August 1, 2007-July 31, 2012

Type of Grant: R01

Sally Stearns, Associate Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management

Project Title: Acute Coronary Syndrome Outcomes for Medicare Patients
Description of Work:
One of the aims of this project is to determine if age, comorbidity presence, race and/or gender are associated with disparate outcomes within the selected treatment modality in Medicare ACS patients.

Project Dates: September 15, 2007-June 30, 2010

Type of Grant: R01

Vijaya Hogan, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Maternal and Child Health

Project Title: Impact of Social Factors on the Effectiveness of a Preconceptional PTB Program

Description of Work: The project’s immediate objective is to integrate social science and epidemiologic methods to understand effects of social exposures on vulnerable populations. The long-term objective is to reduce national rates of preterm birth and disparities by developing and applying this integrated knowledge to the design, implementation and evaluation of effective multi-level (behavioral, social and clinical) randomized controlled interventions.

Project Dates: August 14, 2007-June 30, 2012

Type of Grant: K01

Jon Hussey, Research Assistant Professor

Project Title: Emerging Disparities in Chronic Disease Risk

Description of Work: This project examines early life influences on racial and ethnic disparities in chronic disease risk from an interdisciplinary perspective. Although chronic diseases exact their greatest toll on adults, their biological and behavioral origins are apparent much earlier in the life course. We will use data from four waves of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) to 1) describe disparities in behavioral and biological indicators of chronic disease risk; 2) investigate the pathways leading to disparities in early adult chronic disease risk; and 3) study how background and intermediate social, demographic, and economic factors, operating at multiple contextual levels and over the life course, influence racial and ethnic disparities in chronic disease risk. A key focus will be on the public policy implications of the findings and, in particular, ways in which racial and ethnic disparities in emerging chronic disease can be reduced or eliminated.

Project Dates: December 1, 2008-October 31, 2013

Type of Grant: R01

Alice Ammerman, Professor, Department of Nutrition


Project Title: Primary Care and Communities Tackling Obesity in Kids

Description of Work: The epidemic of childhood obesity and resulting health and economic consequences are now widely recognized. Low income and minority children are at highest risk and contribute most to the economic burden. This project will determine the proportion of providers who, when linked with local community leaders, state and local public health resources, models for change, and ongoing technical assistance, will report meaningful action steps toward community-based environmental and policy change supporting healthy eating and increased physical activity as measured by the ProgressSChecktracking system.

Project Dates: September 1, 2005-June 30, 2010

Type of Grant: R01

Barry Popkin, Professor, Department of Nutrition

Project Title: Diet, Activity, Obesity & The Built Environment Dynamics

Description of Work: This proposed longitudinal study will link contemporaneous geographic locations of respondents with diet-related (e.g., food shopping and eating options) and activity-related (e.g., recreation, community design) built environment variables to data from an exceptional dataset including quality diet and physical activity data. A central issue is determining modifiable environment factors that may reduce ethnic and socioeconomic differentials in health status.

Project Dates: September 12, 2005-June 30, 2010

Type of Grant: R01

Barry Popkin, Professor, Department of Nutrition

Project Title: Nutrition-Related NCD Prevention Training in China

Description of Work: UNC and its collaborators are global leaders in health care financing in the developing world, and in the nutrition transition and an understanding of dynamic causes of the shift in diet, activity and body composition patterns. With the assistance of the proposed training grant, UNC will be poised to help strengthen the research training related to macro policy research and implementation and related programmatic issues. This proposed training proposal focuses on this training agenda in combination with Beijing University, in particular the new Health Economics Department, and the Chinese Center for Disease Control.

Project Dates: September 28, 2006-April 30, 2011

Type of Grant: D43