Current Funded Projects
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Community-Based Participatory Research

Communities Actively Researching Exposure Study

Erin N. Haynes Kim Cecil, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center | R01ES02644601


Communities Actively Researching Exposure Study (CARES) is community-based participatory research (CBPR) with the goal of understanding the effect of manganese exposure on children’s health. Researchers at the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center are leading this research in collaboration with our partners at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Marietta College, and Kent State University at East Liverpool and with the support of the communities in Marietta, Cambridge, and East Liverpool, Ohio.  The study has recently expanded into Southeast Side Chicago with partnership from University of Illinois-Chicago.  These studies are funded by the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).

Community-Based Participatory Research

Community-Engaged Research and Action to Reduce Respiratory Disease in Appalachia

Steve Browning | R01ES024771


Residents of rural Appalachia have the nation's highest rates of respiratory disease (asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, etc.). This project is the first to (1) study the many factors—environmental, social, and behavioral—that may account for this health inequity, and (2) test an innovative approach to improve respiratory health. We draw on our long-standing partnerships with several community groups—a community research organization; a community coalition/advisory board; local media, health, education, faith organizations—to do an epidemiologic assessment, share the results, and then implement and evaluate an environmental public health strategy.


COPD Patient Powered Research Network (PPRN) and Bronchiectasis Research Registry (BRR)

Steve Browning | No ID


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) affects over 12 million individuals in the US, is responsible for 800,000 hospitalizations per year, and recently became the US’s 3rd-leading cause of death. The disparities between clinical practice, treatment options described by efficacy studies, and survival rates make COPD ripe for patient-centered outcomes research. This project provides data analysis support for the COPD Patient Powered Research Network (PPRN). We are developing the data analysis plan for the COPD PPRN, generating reports and data analyses in response to partner requests and/or for use in scientific manuscripts. In addition, this contract supports similar services for analysis of baseline and longitudinal data for the Bronchiectasis Research Registry (BRR). Finally, analysis and data presentation for the Kentucky epidemiology of COPD report card is included in this work.


Creating the Online “Journal of Appalachian Health” with a Focus on the Social and Economic Determinants of Health and Health Equity in Appalachia

Major health disparities in Appalachia arise from inequities in upstream determinants of health, including poverty, education, housing, jobs, and the impact of extractive industries. Disparities remain despite major efforts to improve the health of Appalachian people. Currently, no single published source contains information about current research and other knowledge regarding Appalachian health, and this is a potential contributor to continuing health disparities. We are creating the Journal of Appalachia Health, an open-access, on-line, peer-reviewed journal. Our goal is to provide research findings to those in the region who can use it in their work, including actionable information and knowledge in the various domains of health determinants that underlie disparities in Appalachia. In addition to establishing the journal, our work seeks to insure the financial, economic, and technologic sustainability of the publication for the long term.

Substance (SUD) / Opioid (OUD) Use Disorder

DBH KIPRC Needs Assessment- KORE Grant Assessment

Terry Bunn | PON27291700002889


Kentucky is among the top ten states with the highest opioid-related overdose deaths. The Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center and collaborators are assessing and revising the Commonwealth’s comprehensive Opioid State Strategic Plan (OSSP). To accomplish this, we are utilizing existing needs assessment data for identifying, preventing, and treating opioid use disorder as well as capacity assessment data (including number and location of treatment and recovery support centers). Key elements of OSSP will be the identification of gaps in evidence-based treatment availability and shortfalls of treatment and recovery service capacity. The OSSP will contain performance measures as well as strategies; activities; and short-, intermediate-, and long-term outcome goals.

Substance (SUD) / Opioid (OUD) Use Disorder

Enhanced State Surveillance of Opioid-Involved Morbidity and Mortality

Terry Bunn and Svetla Slavova | NU17CE924880


In 2014 Kentucky had the 4th highest drug overdose mortality rate in the US, with 1,077 drug overdose deaths. Recent legislative initiatives to improve opioid prescribing practices may have led to reductions in drug overdoses involving historically common prescription drugs such as oxycodone, oxymorphone, and hydrocodone. At the same time, however, abuse of other drugs such as heroin and fentanyl is increasing. We are developing strategies and activities that will: (1) Establish enhanced surveillance systems for opioid drug overdose in KY; (2) Engage key stakeholders in development of a dissemination plan to maximize impact of the enhanced surveillance; (3) Contribute to the development of nationwide enhanced surveillance of opioid overdose through collaboration with the CDC and other Enhanced State Surveillance for Opioid-Involved Morbidity and Mortality grantees.

Genetic Studies

Genomic Association Study of Lipid Response to Fenofibrate and Dietary Fat

Donna K. Arnett | R01HL091357


People differ in the ways their bodies process dietary fats and in the ways they respond to drugs meant to lower elevated blood lipids (such as cholesterol and triglycerides, factors that can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease). By studying the building blocks of lipids and the chemicals that lipids are broken down into, this project seeks to determine which genetic factors influence people's blood lipid concentrations after eating a high-fat meal or after taking a lipid- lowering drug. Ultimately, this research may help doctors more accurately assess people's risk of cardiovascular disease and more effectively prescribe drugs to prevent disease.

Genetic Studies

HyperGEN: Genetics of Left Ventricular Hypertrophy

Donna K. Arnett | R01HL055673


Black people tend to have an enlarged left ventricle (the heart chamber that pumps oxygenated blood throughout the body) more commonly than those in other race groups, putting them at greater risk for having potentially fatal cardiovascular diseases. Enlarged left ventricles are caused, at least in part, by a person's genes. This study seeks to discover which genetic factors may cause an enlarged left ventricle; this may ultimately lead to new diagnoses and treatments to help lower cardiovascular disease risk in blacks.

Substance (SUD) / Opioid (OUD) Use Disorder

Kentucky Communities and Researchers Engaging to Halt the Opioid Epidemic - CARE2HOPE

April Young with Hannah Cooper, Emory University | UG3 DA044798


Opioid misuse and related harms (e.g., hepatitis C virus infection, overdose, HIV infection) are spreading from cities to rural areas in the US. These epidemiologic shifts are crises that rural public health systems have yet to meet, and a wide “implementation chasm” exists for drug-related health services in rural areas. Kentucky—a predominately rural state acutely affected by these drug-related epidemics—is starting to close this chasm by mounting an unprecedented expansion of syringe service programs (SSPs). This study is a first step toward establishing the next generation of implementation science to enhance the effectiveness of this new wave of rural SSPs.

Occupational Health

Kentucky Occupational Safety and Health Surveillance Expanded Program

Terry Bunn | U60OH008483


When workers have injury prevention knowledge, injuries will decrease and the economic costs of injuries will decrease because there will be fewer worker compensation claims. This project seeks to advance this goal by 1) identifying industries, occupations, and worker populations at high risk for work injuries and illnesses; 2) identifying risk factors, trends, and emerging issues related to occupational injury and illness; and 3) identifying gaps in and improving occupational injury and illness surveillance systems.

Injury Prevention|Substance (SUD) / Opioid (OUD) Use Disorder

Kentucky Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention Program

Terry Bunn | NU17CE002732


Kentucky had the 2nd highest 2013 drug overdose fatality rate in the US, with 23.7 drug overdose fatalities per 100,000 population, more than quadruple the 2009 rate. In conjunction with the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, we are using three approaches to address this public health emergency: (1) Enhancing and maximizing Kentucky’s prescription drug monitoring program’s (KASPER) use and effectiveness. We will make KASPER easier to use and expand it by adding multi-source drug overdose and nonfatal prescription drug overdose surveillance. (2) Implementing community interventions.  Among other initiatives, we will provide technical assistance to high-burden counties, enhance local health departments’ use of surveillance data, and train law enforcement in the use of naloxone. 3) Conducting policy evaluation. We will perform cost-benefit analysis of regulations that require KASPER and of the law requiring decedent substance testing when no other cause of death has been established.

Injury Prevention

Kentucky Violence and Injury Prevention Program

Ashley Bush | NU17CE924846


In 2014, Kentucky had the 5th highest unintentional injury fatality rate and 12th highest motor vehicle fatality rate in the US. The intentional injury fatality rate was 17% higher and traumatic brain injury (TBI) fatality rate was 23% higher than overall US rates. The Kentucky Violence and Injury Prevention Program’s (KVIPP) goal is to decrease such morbidity and mortality rates through implementation, evaluation, and dissemination of evidence-based intervention programs. The KVIPP aims to: (1) Educate Kentucky Department of Public Health (KDPH) leaders about approaches to injury and violence prevention (IVP); (2) Coordinate communication and collaboration among KDPH and external partners in IVP programs; (3) Enhance the KY injury plan; (4) Implement evidence-based IVP strategies; (5) Develop a reflection and evaluation process; (6) Enhance surveillance to capture IVP data; (7) Disseminate surveillance and evaluation data to stakeholders to inform quality improvements.

Injury Prevention

Kentucky Violent Death Reporting System

Sabrina Brown | NU17CE002601


Tracking and reporting violent deaths falls into the purview of public health professionals. For this project, the Kentucky Department for Public Health, police, coroners, medical examiners, UK Department of Epidemiology, and the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center are collaborating to augment Kentucky’s Violent Death Reporting System (KVDRS). Improvements will expand data collection and allow more advanced data analysis to be performed. In addition to linking intimate partner violence historical data and emergency department data to the KVDRS, we are also streamlining data collection, making the KVDRS more sustainable, improving data quality, and expanding data dissemination.

Substance (SUD) / Opioid (OUD) Use Disorder

Novel Methods for Research on Young Rural Opioid Users at Risk of HIV, HCV & OD

April Young with Hannah Cooper, Emory University | R21 DA042727


Epicenters of non-medical prescription opioid (NMPO) use, heroin use, and related harms (e.g., HIV infection, hepatitis C virus infection, drug overdoses) in the US are shifting from cities to rural areas; rural young adults are bearing the brunt of these epidemiologic transitions. This study lays the foundations for a new generation of high-impact multilevel research on how risk environments influence such things as NMPO and heroin use; the transition from oral to injectable opioids; and HIV, hepatitis C, and overdose risk among young adults in multiple US rural counties. Such research will inform the next generation of rural intervention strategies.

Substance (SUD) / Opioid (OUD) Use Disorder

Peer-Based Retention of People Who Use Drugs in Rural Research - PROUD-R2

April Young with Philip Korthuis, Oregon Health & Science University | U01 TR002631


Optimal strategies for recruiting and retaining people with opioid use disorder for clinical research in rural America remain unknown. The Peer-based Retention Of people who Use Drugs in Rural Research (PROUD-R2) study leverages the national Rural Opioids Initiative infrastructure, which has sites in rural Oregon and Appalachian Kentucky and Ohio, and partnerships with three Clinical and Translational Science Award sites and the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Clinical Trials Network, to test an innovative, peer-based strategy to improve research participation and retention of people who use drugs in rural communities.

Substance (SUD) / Opioid (OUD) Use Disorder

Role of Social Media and Mobile Apps in Sexual and Drug Co-Usage Networks of MSM

April Young | R03DA039740


Optimizing intervention strategies to minimize HIV risk in the era of social networking is a public health priority. This study examines overlaps in the sexual and drug co-usage networks of men who have sex with men (MSM). Using data collected in a mid-sized city in the southern US, we are overlaying information about sexual partnerships that have been facilitated by the use of social networking applications (“apps,” e.g., Grindr, Scruff, etc.) to determine the association between app use and spatial and network-level patterns of HIV risk behavior. This allows us to identify high-risk spatial locations and network structures. This information will be critical to identifying how best to reach MSM using combined geo-targeted, network-driven, and web/app-based approaches for intervention.

Injury Prevention

Traumatic Brian Injury Trust Fund

Shannon Beaven | SC 725 1900000203


Analysis of data on the incidence of traumatic and acquired brain and spinal cord injury is critical to developing and refining prevention treatment services for both children and adults. To this end, the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center is establishing and maintaining a confidential registry of traumatic and acquired brain and spinal cord injuries. Registry entries are generated from data derived from hospitals and emergency departments.