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Pipeline to Proposal Development Grants

Below are the recipients of UF Health Pipeline to Proposal Development Grants. See the Pipeline to Proposal Development Grant Program page for information about applying for funding.

Congratulations to all the recipients!

Spring 2014 Grants

Building Capacity and Forging Collaborations in Autism Research for Underserved Families

Autism, now included as part of the broader category of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), has no cure, and its causes remain unclear. Significant ethnic, geographic and socioeconomic disparities exist among families of children with ASD, leading to delays in critical early diagnoses and interventions. Minority families who live in poor, rural areas are significantly more likely to have reduced access to proper care and to use potentially harmful treatments that lack sound empirical evidence. However, little is known about the specific barriers to health care and education these families face, or what resources they need to optimize treatment for their family member with ASD. To identify and reduce such barriers and facilitate proper treatment, this project will acquire vital input from underserved families of individuals with ASD living in rural areas and the community members who provide their care.

“I learned long ago the importance of listening to the stakeholders of our research – the family, those in the community. This award provides a vehicle for more formally addressing their needs and making sure they’re involved at every stage,” said principal investigator Jennifer Elder, Ph.D., R.N., a professor in the UF College of Nursing.

  • Activities: Establish a Community Advisory Board to identify major stakeholders; conduct stakeholder focus groups on potential resources as well as barriers to early intervention and treatments for poor, minority families of individuals with ASD; build on the focus group findings to develop and administer a survey to Florida’s 66 public health departments and other stakeholders; collect, analyze and disseminate survey results.
  • Research Team: Faculty and students from the UF colleges of Education, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health and Health Professions; UF Center for Autism and Related Disabilities; CTSI’s HealthStreet program.
  • Stakeholders: Mothers and fathers of individuals with ASD from rural areas and typically underserved ethnic groups; community-based health care and service providers; early intervention providers; teachers of children with ASD and other educational support staff.

Development of Online COPDFlix Comparative Effectiveness Research Network

This project will create an easy-to-use online community to bring together multiple stakeholder groups to discuss, generate and evaluate comparative effectiveness research questions relevant to patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). A variety of care coordination strategies are used to help patients with COPD, such as pulmonary rehabilitation, patient education, case management and patient-centered medical homes. Research is needed to better understand the comparative effectiveness of such strategies.

“We’re planning to create videos that will be like mini research prospectuses, and then ask the online COPDFlix community to rate and comment on the videos to help determine whether the comparative effectiveness research questions we are proposing are relevant and important to individuals representing multiple stakeholder groups,” said principal investigator Michael Stellefson, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the UF College of Health and Human Performance.

  • Activities: Bring together individuals from multiple stakeholder groups to create and participate in an online COPD comparative effectiveness research network using COPDFlix (copdflix.com), a novel social media resource center developed with funding from a UF CTSI Pilot Project Award.
  • Research Team: Faculty and staff from the UF colleges of Health and Human Performance, Medicine, and Public Health and Health Professions; CTSI’s HealthStreet program; Expert Health Data Systems International, LLC.
  • Stakeholders: Medically underserved patients with COPD; their informal caregivers; pulmonary clinicians and COPD researchers.

Reducing Dentally-Related Emergency Department Visits in Alachua County, Florida

Oral diseases remain among the most prevalent chronic diseases in the United States. Based on analysis of data from Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration, Alachua County residents made 2,373 visits to hospital emergency departments in 2012 for dental problems, despite the fact that emergency departments are neither equipped nor staffed to provide definitive dental care. Those visits generated a total of $3.14 million in charges, or a mean of $1,323 per visit, and the most common primary sources of payment were self-pay (41%) or Medicaid (39%). This project aims to improve our understanding of which patients use the emergency department for dental problems, their attitudes toward dentistry, their oral health literacy, and potential barriers to seeking dental care in more appropriate settings.

“We really have very little information from the patients’ perspective on why they went to a hospital emergency department for a dental problem,” said principal investigator Scott Tomar, D.M.D., DrPH, a professor in the UF College of Dentistry. “Any interventions that seek to divert patients to other providers without understanding why they are using emergency departments may be destined to fail. This project will allow us to partner with patients to develop a strategy that would result in better patient outcomes, less inappropriate use of the emergency department, and a more cost-effective approach for managing the public’s oral health.”

  • Activities: Conduct phone interviews and a focus group with patients who sought care for dental conditions in the UF Health Shands emergency department; organize stakeholder meetings to review the results and develop a research question that affects outcomes of specific interest to patients, which will lay the foundation for an intervention to reduce avoidable use of hospital emergency departments for dental conditions in Alachua County.
  • Research Team: Faculty and students from the UF colleges of Dentistry, Medicine, and Public Health and Health Professions.
  • Stakeholders: Patients who use the emergency department for dental conditions; administrators and emergency department medical providers at UF Health Shands Hospital and North Florida Regional Medical Center; Alachua County Dental Association; Alachua County Health Department; Alachua County Oral Health Coalition; Florida Department of Health; Florida Agency for Health Care Administration.

Multidisciplinary Academic-Community Symposium Series to Build an Obesity Disparities Research Infrastructure and Agenda

Recent health data for Florida show that compared to white Americans, African Americans and Hispanics have higher rates of obesity and sedentary lifestyles. Community engagement and empowerment are recognized worldwide as needed to reduce such health disparities. This project will invite multiple stakeholder groups to participate in a series of symposia in Jacksonville – with each symposium led by a different stakeholder group – to create a research agenda and a multidisciplinary infrastructure for conducting culturally sensitive, patient-centered outcomes research aimed at eliminating obesity disparities among culturally diverse patients.

“This project represents a true partnership between the university’s researchers in Gainesville and Jacksonville. It’s very exciting to see this shared commitment to address health disparities,” said principal investigator Carolyn M. Tucker, Ph.D., a professor in the UF College of Medicine and the UF College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

  • Activities: Organize a series of symposia to hear the voices of patients and other stakeholders regarding the causes of obesity disparities, and health care and policy changes needed to reduce disparities; identify stakeholders who can join an expanded research team that combines and leverages research and clinical expertise in Gainesville and Jacksonville; synthesize the symposia proceedings and publish and advance an obesity disparities research agenda.
  • Research Team: Faculty from the UF colleges of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Medicine, and Public Health and Health Professions.
  • Stakeholders: Chronic care adult patients and older child patients who are obese and receive health care at any of five patient-centered medical home clinics affiliated with UF Health Jacksonville; family members of patients; culturally diverse health care providers and obesity researchers at UF; representatives of community and state stakeholders concerned about obesity disparities.