Community Engagement e-Newsletter


April - May  2014

Welcome to the Community Engagement e-Newsletter, a bi-monthly resource provided by the South Carolina Clinical and Translational Research Center for Community Health Partnerships (SCTR/CCHP).  The purpose of this newsletter is to facilitate the exchange and dissemination of health and related research information between academic and community partners.

In this Issue...

News & Announcements

Check out our Community Bulletin for the latest events and announcements at https://sctr.musc.edu/index.php/community!

MUSC Research Shows School Wellness Initiatives Help Students Achieve In 2010, a team of MUSC researchers decided to address the issue of obesity prevention by working in the local school environment. The school-based obesity prevention initiative developed by the MUSC Boeing Center for Children's Wellness created the School Wellness Checklist© Contest (SWC) as a means to incentivize Charleston County schools to form wellness committees and empower personnel to make key wellness changes in the school environment. The SWC is based on national nutrition and physically activity best practice models, yet is innovative in that it also incorporates local context and ongoing participant feedback. Participating schools that accomplish goals receive a Wellness Achievement Award ($1,000) that provides their wellness committees with small budgets to continue making wellness changes.
The SWC has been implemented annually for three school years in the Charleston County School District (CCSD): 2010-2011, 2011-2012 and 2012-2013. Participation has increased over time, from 54 CCSD schools participating in the SWC in year one to 74 CCSD schools in year three, with elementary schools representing the highest participation. As the graph below shows, by the third year, 96% of the 51 eligible elementary schools, 87% of 15 middle schools and 75% of 16 high schools were participating in the SWC:


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Our MUSC Boeing Center for Children's Wellness School Wellness Checklist© is a valuable tool that has incentivized schools to make important wellness changes improving nutrition and exercise. Evaluation of Charleston County schools over the past three years has found numerous sustainable, substantive changes in schools such as school gardens (90%), elimination of sugary beverages (84%) and integration of physical activity in afterschool programs (82%). The Charleston County school district has encouraged schools to partipate. The District understands that students and staff who are healthier report fewer absences and perform better on academic tasks. Our local schools are realizing that components of wellness such as nutrition, physical activity and wellness education lead to better overall school outcomes.

Carolyn_Jenkins_Photo20Dr. Carolyn Jenkins to Present at DREAM The Disparities Research and Methods Seminar Series Wake-up Wednesday will feature Carolyn Jenkins, DrPH, APRN, BC-ADM, FAAN, Professor at the MUSC College of Nursing and Director of the SCTR Community Engagement Core. She will present Community-Engaged Research: Are we There? on April 30, 2014 at 10:00 am at the Hollings Cancer Center, Room 120, located at 86 Jonathan Lucas St. in Charleston.

2014 NIMHD Translational Health Disparities Course The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities will again host a course on the science of health disparities this summer. The course will take place on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD, August 11 - 22, 2014. This two-week intensive course provides specialized instruction on the concepts, principles, methods, and applications of health disparities science, practice, and policy. It will also integrate principles and practice of community engagement. Nationally and internationally recognized experts in health disparities science will lead individual discussions. There is no cost for participation but admission is competitive and daily attendance in mandatory. Participants are responsibile for room, board, and transportation. For more information or to apply, visit http://www.nimhd.nih.gov/courseHD-2013revised02.html

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New Interactive Video Aim to Better Protect Research Subjects and Reduce Research Misconduct in Clinical Research
The Research Clinic, a web-based interactive training video aimed at teaching clinical and social researchers how to better protect research subjects and avoid research misconduct, was recently released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Research Integrity and Office for Human Research Protections. The video lets the viewer assume the role of one of four characters and determine the outcome of the storyline by selecting decision-making choices for each playable character. The viewer is presented with various scenarios. For each scenario, the viewer is asked to choose from among courses of action, each of which leads to a different outcome. The video can be used to teach researchers how to avoid research misconduct and violating regulations enacted to protect human subjects in research studies. To view the video, visit http://ori.hhs.gov/TheResearchClinic

Webinar: Implementing Bioethics Education Across Disciplines The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues offers a series of topic-based educational modules to support bioethics education. Join them on April 24th for a practical demonstration and discussion of how their educational modules can be applied in a variety of educational settings and disciplines. For more information or to register, visit http://www.bioethics.gov/node/3454

Fillingim_portalSCTR Scientific Retreat on Pain Research The spring SCTR Scientific Retreat has been set for Friday, May 23rd from 8:30 am - 4:00 pm in the MUSC bioengineering building auditorium, located at 68 President Street in Charleston. The keynote speaker will be Roger B. Fillingim, PhD, president of the American Pain Society (APS), professor at the University of Florida College of Dentistry, and Director at UF Pain Research and Intervention Center for Excellence. This activity has been approved for AMA PRA category 1 credit™. For more information or to register, please visit https://sctr.musc.edu/index.php/sctr-scientific-retreat-on-pain-research

Lowcountry AHEC Classes The class schedule for April 2014 is available here. For more information, visit the Lowcountry AHEC website at http://www.lcahec.com/ceprogram.html
ISMHHD2014_Banner_FINALCall for Abstracts: 2014 International Symposium on Minority Health and Health Disparities The ISMHHD is soliciting abstracts for oral and poster presentations for the 2014 International Symposium to be held December 1-3, 2014 in National Harbor, Maryland. In keeping with the theme of the symposium Transdiciplinary Collaborations: Evolving Dimensions of US and Global Health Equity , the scientific program will highlight the excellence and innovation in basic, translational, and clinical research from the programs supported by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD). The Symposium has been designed to offer opportunities for sharing research information in areas related to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity, cancer, women's health, mental health, infectious disease, stroke and behavioral and community health with special emphasis on minority health and health disparities. Deadline: June 2, 2014. For more information or to submit an abstract visit http://www.ismhhd.com
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Funding Opportunities

SCOR Request for Pilot Project Proposals In order to catalyze women's health-related research throughout the MUSC campus, the Specialized Center of Research (SCOR) on Sex and Gender Factors Affecting Women's Health is pleased to announce a request for pilot project proposals focused on sex and gender-related issues in neuroscience. The pilot program will provide short-term start-up funds (up to $15,000) to promising postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty (less than 5 years from post-doctoral training/terminal degree) to collect initial data for an R03, R21, or R01 submission. The project must focus on a neuroscience-related topic and explore either sex/gender differences or disorders/treatments as they uniquely relate to women. The project can be either clinical or basic science, but consistent with the NIH Roadmap Initiative and the vision of MUSC's South Carolina Clinical and Translational Research Institute (SCTR). Projects involving multidisciplinary teams and/or translational research efforts are especially encouraged. Applications are due by noon on March 3, 2014. For more information, visit http://academicdepartments.musc.edu/psychiatry/research/cns/scor/home or contact Sarah Gainey at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 843.792.8207.

Clinical Data Warehouse Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR) HSSC and SCTR are pleased to announce a collaborative pilot grant program designed to encourage patient-centered research teams incorporating the use of the HSSC clinical data warehouse. Notice of intent deadline: March 10, 2014; Applications due: April 10, 2014 at 5:00 pm. For more information visit the SCTR website at  https://sctr.musc.edu/index.php/programs/pilot-projects .

Global Health Faculty Pilot Grants The MUSC Center for Global Health seeks to provide pilot funds to stimulate research in low and middle-income countries, with the larger goal of enabling investigators to leverage preliminary findings and data for competitive extramural research grant applications. Proposal deadline: March 13, 2014 at noon. For more information visit the SCTR website at https://sctr.musc.edu/index.php/programs/pilot-projects.

Upcoming Events

Media Exchange Day to Benefit Trident Literacy Association On Saturday, April 26, 2014, 3-5 pm, there will be a media exchange in the Orange Block Coffee House, in the Park Circle are of North Charleston, benefitting Trident Literacy Association. The exchange will highlight all media forms including 8 tracks, cassettes, records, books, newspapers, magazines, and comics, to name a few. If you have any of these oldies but goodies around your house, and would like to donate them, please feel free to bring them by the TLA office at 5416 Rivers Avenue in North Charleston. All are welcome to attend the event and see if there are any "goodies" that might interest you, especially if you are a collector. For more information call 843-902-8022 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

ALZRespite Care Charleston Alzheimer's Speaker Series Join us to explore holistic care approaches and innovative tools you can use to enrich the lives of people living with dementia at home or in a residentiaol community and their partners in care. Learn how to incorporate creative storytelling; music, art, and pet therapy; and other creative programs as part of your comprehensive approach to therapeutic care. Learn to create a positive environment for those with dementia by attempting to walk in their shoes through the Virtual Dementia Tour®, offered by Second Wind Dreams®. Featuring keynote speaker Lia Miller of Creative Aging Network, NC. Click for flyer. For more information call 843.647.7405 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

DAE Foundation Oatmeal Recipe Program How do you like your oatmeal? Do you add peanut butter, bananas or honey? Well, the DAE Foundation is cooking up something a little different. 50 kids will be chosen based on their academic performance to participate in Jermel President's Oatmeal Recipe program. Beginning in January 2015, the program will mentor and train young student athletes throughout their entire elementary, middle and high school careers.
The Ingredients: The first phase, Basketball Basics 101, is taught by college-bound athletes. During this phase, students will learn and execute basketball techniques, develop their skills and participate on recreational teams. The second phase, for ages 13 to 15, focuses on AAU basketball, nutrition, strength and conditioning  and SAT/ACT prep. The third phase, for ages 15 to 17, has the same concepts as the second phase in addition to college visits, clearing house qualification, exposure camps and college workouts.
Ready to Serve: Just like any other non-profit organization, funding is limited to provide these services. The DAE Foundation will host the 2014 Gus Macker of Charleston Basketball Tournament on July 19th & 20th, in efforts to raise funding for the Oatmeal Recipe. No worries, the Macker is a family event for basketball players of all skill levels. In addition to a good game, attendees can expect food and activities from locally owned businesses.
Click here to register your team for The Macker. See you on the court! For more information visit the DAE Foundation at http://daefoundation.org.

Features and Articles

Keeping Blood Pressure Low Halves Risk of Second Stroke Controlling blood pressure after suffering a stroke can reduce the odds of having another stroke by more than half, a new study finds. But fewer than one-third of patients maintain a consistently low blood pressure more than 75 percent of the time, according to the two-year study. "This study showed that consistency of blood pressure control is an important factor influencing risk of another stroke, heart attack, or death from vascular causes," said the study's lead researcher, Dr. Amytis Towfighi. Key lifestyle changes and at-home blood pressure monitoring might help these people avoid another stroke, said Towfighi, and assistant professor of neurology at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine. Blood pressure varies, Towfighi said, and getting a decent blood pressure reading at an occasional checkup might not be enough for your doctor to make effective treatment decisions. "Use of home blood pressure monitors may give those with high blood pressure a better picture of their own consistency of blood pressure control," she said. "They should be encouraged to measure and record their blood pressure and share their blood pressure logs with their doctor," she said. The report was published online March 27 in the journal Stroke. There are many ways to get blood pressure under control, said Dr. Ralph Sacco, chairman of neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. A healthy diet and moderate exercise are essential, he said. "But most stroke patients need to be on the right medication -- and sometimes more than one -- to get blood pressure adequately controlled," Sacco said. The American Heart Association's recommendations for preventing recurrent stroke call for most survivors to be treated with blood pressure medications, he added. "For patients, it is advisable to know your numbers, monitor your blood pressure and work with your health care professional to get on the best medications to get your blood pressure to be lower than 140/90 [millimeters of mercury]," he said. Given the findings of this study, blood pressure should be checked more often than usual after a stroke, said Dr. Tara Narula, associate director of the cardiac care unit at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "High blood pressure is the most important modifiable risk factor [for stroke'," Narula said. "It may not just be the level of blood pressure, but how consistently it is controlled." Perhaps doctors should plan to see these patients more often to make sure their blood pressure readings are consistently in the safe range, she said. Patients need to understand the importance of maintaining a low blood pressure and taking their medications consistently, Narula said. Stroke kills nearly 130,000 Americans each year and causes one of every 19 U.S. deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For the study, Towfighi's team analyzed the results from the Vitamin Intervention for Stroke Prevention trial, which included nearly 3,700 ischemic stroke patients. Ischemic strokes are caused by a blockage in a blood vessel supplying the brain. Participants had their blood pressure taken at the start of the study, a month later and every six months thereafter for two years. Less than 30 percent of patients maintained consistent blood pressure more than 75 percent of the time, the study found. Patients who were able to maintain a consistent low blood pressure more than 75 percent of the time reduced their chance of another stroke by 54 percent, compared with those who achieved this goal less than one-quarter of the time. "People who failed to keep a consistently low blood pressure were also twice as likely to have a heart attack or die of vascular causes," Towfighi said. The study results likely underestimate the lack of blood pressure control among stroke survivors, one expert said. "Less than one-third of patients in the study were able to maintain a consistently low blood pressure, so you can imagine if you go outside the study population it's going to be a lot worse," said Dr. Rohan Arora, an attending neurologist at North Shore-LIJ's Cushing Neuroscience Institute in Manhasset, NY.

Source: Medline Plus, March 27, 2014


General Information


If you have any announcements, awards, presentations, or other information that you would like to see included in the SCTR/CCHP e-Newsletter and posted on the Community Bulletin Board, please email Meredith Kerr at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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Newly Funded Charleston Health Equity and Rural Outreach Innovation Center (HEROIC)

Last month, Charleston was chosen as one of 19 nationally funded VHA Centers of Innovation (COIN). The VHA initiated the COIN program to promote innovative research, facilitate partnerships and collaboration across disciplines, and increase the impact of health services research on the health and health care of Veterans. The initiative focuses on ensuring research has the greatest possible impact on VHA policies, health care practices, and health outcomes for Veterans.

Charleston’s COIN, the Health Equity and Rural Outreach Innovation Center (HEROIC), will be lead by Director Leonard Egede, M.D., M.S. and Associate Director Kenneth Ruggiero, PhD. Core investigators include Ron Acierno, PhD, Neal Axon, MD, Libby Dismuke, PhD, Mulugeta Gebregziabher, PhD, Anouk Grubaugh, PhD, Michael Horner, PhD, Chanita Hughes-Halbert, PhD, Kelly Hunt, PhD, Flo Hutchison MD, Amy Joseph, PhD, Rebecca Knapp, PhD, Cheryl Lynch, MD, Kathy Magruder, PhD, Charlene Pope, PhD, Sandip Prasad, MD, Shakaib Rehman, MD, Liz Santa Ana, PhD, Lisa Sternke, PhD, Nichole Tanner, MD, Peter Tuerk, PhD, and Janet York, PhD.

HEROIC’s mission is to improve access and equity in healthcare for all Veterans by eliminating geographic, racial/ethnic, and gender-based disparities. Health care disparities are well documented across a wide range of clinical areas and service types, with rural, racial/ethnic minority, and female Veterans experiencing poorer health care outcomes. Access to high-quality care is a key barrier, particularly for rural-dwelling Veterans. Addressing these disparities has been a major, ongoing priority in VA and will have tremendous impact because these vulnerable populations represent a high percentage of Veterans.

HEROIC will focus on three areas of research: health equity, access to care, and rural health. Research will cover a wide range of medical and psychiatric outcomes and will target both patient (e.g., self-management) and provider (e.g., patient-provider communication) level interventions. HEROIC seeks to address the geographical, temporal, financial, cultural, and digital dimensions that influence access to care as well as Veterans’ perceptions of care and their perceived need for care. In addition to developing innovative, patient-centered and culturally tailored interventions, HEROIC aims to improve health outcomes among rural Veterans through examining the increasing role of technology on access. By understanding barriers to care and building on an strong history of tele-health work, HEROIC seeks to decrease disparities that may exist among rural and minority Veterans.

An important role of the COIN initiative is to facilitate productive partnerships between researchers and those who implement valid findings. Toward this end, HEROIC has sought out a diverse team of partners to help test and disseminate interventions, improve methodologies for analyzing health equity data, develop an equity report card using VHA administrative data, and refine metrics for measuring access to care. VA partners include the Office of Rural Health, Office of Health Equity, Office of Informatics and Analytics, Center for Minority Veterans, Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, affiliated VAMCs in Augusta, GA, Columbia, SC and Tuscaloosa, AL, VA Pacific Islands Health Care System and the Center for Health Equity and Research Promotion (CHERP) located in Philadelphia and Pittsburg, PA. HEROIC will also benefit from a strong partnership with MUSC through their collaboration with the Center for Health Disparities Research (CHDR), Department of Medicine, Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, College of Nursing, College of Health Professions, and CTSA Program.

HEROIC’s talented and multidisciplinary team of health services researchers are positioned well to advance knowledge and dissemination of interventions that reduce disparities and have tremendous impact on the quality of health care available to Veterans nationwide.