Current Projects

Current Projects (as PI)

Title: Developing a Community-Informed, Peer-to-Peer Intervention to Improve Health-Related Quality of Life among African American Men Funder: National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities Funding: $810,296 (2021- 2026) Mentors: Dawn Wilson-King, PhD; Derek Griffith, PhD; Nicole Zarrett, PhD

Health promotion efforts among African American men have produced limited results. African American men have lower health-related quality of life (HRQoL; i.e., a comprehensive indicator of health consisting of physical, psychological, and social functioning) than any other ethnic-sex group in the United States. HRQoL is a measure of population health that is associated with mortality and morbidity. HRQoL is exacerbated by stress, depression, low levels of physical activity, and poor diet – contributors to adverse health often experienced by African American men. There is an urgent need to develop a health promotion program to improve HRQoL among these men. The success of such a program hinges on its ability to recruit and retain these men – African American men constitute fewer than 10% of participants enrolled in clinical trials and are underrepresented in health research. A health promotion program that is culturally relevant to the lived experiences of these men and implemented through a peer-to-peer model can improve engagement, minimize attrition, and promote HRQoL. This project seeks to develop a community-informed, peer-to-peer intervention to improve the HRQoL among African American men will be developed. The development of this intervention is informed by the Social Ecological Model of Health, Social Cognitive Theory, Community-Based Participatory Research, and a community advisory board consisting of African American men.

Title: Empowering African American Men to Assist Peers in Improving Health Community Partner: Terri Jowers Funder: Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) South Carolina Clinical & Translational Research Institute Funding: $9,941 (2020-2022)

African American men are disproportionately impacted by adverse health conditions. Many of the adverse health conditions experienced by these men can be averted or mitigated by regular use of preventive health services. Preventive services include regular check- ups, counseling, and screenings. It is well-known that these services reduce long-term health care costs. Despite recent calls by the United States Congress to reduce disparities in preventive health service use, African American men continue to be considered a “hard-to-reach” population. That is because these men experience unique psychological and structural barriers to preventive health service use. Although many of these barriers have been researched, effective strategies to overcome these barriers have not been identified. Thus, there is an urgent need for evidence- and community-informed strategies to promote preventive health service use among African American men. Specifically, strategies that are tailored to address the unique needs and lived experiences of African American males, as identified by these men, are needed. Community Health Workers (CHWs) are potential resources that can improve preventive health service use among African American men. CHWs are frontline public health workers who are trusted members of and/or have a close understanding of the communities they serve. CHWs often have an understanding of the unique multifaceted and interactive personal and environmental factors that determine health (e.g., preventive health service use among African American men). Despite the remarkable potential of these frontline public health workers, no known project has attempted to develop a culturally tailored approach to promote preventive health service use among African American men that can be implemented by CHWs. This project seeks address this gap.