Tiffany Grant, PhD, Assistant Director for Research and Informatics at the University of Cincinnati Health Sciences Library, applied and received a GMR award for a community partnership to improve health literacy and address health disparities.
Racial and ethnic minorities, those in rural and/or urban areas, and those living in medically underserved areas are at high risk for health-related disparities. Low-income wages, reduced government services, and low educational attainment are a few reasons why these population groups have significant barriers overcoming food insecurity, obesity, mental health issues, as well as access to health care. Working collaboratively with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC), Interact for Health, and the Children’s Home of Cincinnati, Tiffany, serving as the principal investigator for the award, will engage in Narrowing the Health Gap in Cincinnati.
The team’s research identified hypertension and obesity as the most common health conditions in Cincinnati which often results in heart disease, a leading cause of death in the metropolitan area. Cincinnati also experiences higher rates for diabetes and asthma compared to the rest of Ohio. African American men and women in Cincinnati have lower life expectancy rates compared to their counterparts, and the children in Cincinnati Public Schools are significantly overweight compared to the national average. Studies have shown that childhood obesity increases the risk of adult obesity and can predispose individuals to the development of other chronic illnesses including diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Tiffany’s team will address health literacy in order to improve these diseases.1
Project Description and Outcomes:
Tiffany’s team of health professionals will develop a website specific to the health concerns of residents living in the West End, a neighborhood identified as one of the ten poorest in Cincinnati.2 To reach the largest audience, Tiffany and her colleagues will engage with the West End Community Research Advisory Board (WE C-RAB), a 20-member group ranging in age from 12 to 73 years. The board will provide input on how to make health information easy-to-read and understand as well as access. Based on their conversations, Tiffany’s project team will develop a customized health information kiosk to be located in a strategically determined geographic location in the West End. Under consideration are Saint Vincent DePaul, the Carl H. Lindner YMCA, or the Seven Hill Neighborhood Houses. The health information kiosk will be managed remotely allowing for software updates. Google Analytic reports will assist in evaluating website usage and video views to gain insight into the information seeking behavior of the targeted population. Additionally, a self-monitoring blood pressure unit will be purchased. The machine can count the number of uses but not the number of unique users. Also, as part of engagement, a nutritionist and a culinary instructor will teach several classes to educate West End families about the role of developing better eating habits such as less salt intake, more fruits and vegetables, meal planning, and moderation of fast-foods. The goal is for obesity, diabetes, and hypertension to improve for the West End population as a result of the health literacy project.