Health literacy is a critically important ability that allows people to become active participants in their health care. Yet, one in three Americans have little to no health literacy skills according to the National Center for Educations Statistics.
Further, 24 percent of African Americans (9.5 million), 41 percent of Hispanics (21 million), and 29 percent of people 65 or older (12.5 million) possess below basic levels of health literacy. This suggests these individuals may be unable to use health information for even the most basic tasks such as following directions on how to take a medicine.
A research team led by Raymond L. Ownby, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., professor and chair of NSU-COM’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, recently received a five-year, $2,756,300 R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health to combat this major challenge. The monies will be used to develop a user-friendly computer application (app) to help educate people on a variety of chronic health concerns at a level appropriate for them.
Examples of some health-related topics the app will address include fatigue, pain or physical discomfort, shortness of breath, sleep problems, depression, anger, stress, memory problems, and medication adherence. “With patients having to navigate an increasingly complex health care system, our goal is to provide people the information they need to manage their health in an easily accessible, personalized way they can understand and use,” Dr. Ownby said.
Once developed, the program will be accessible in English and Spanish via an app downloadable from the App Store® or Google Play™ or available through the Internet. Users will provide basic demographic information and answer additional questions to determine their health issues and literacy. From there, users will be able to view relevant educational videos with slides and audio narration. Researchers will test the program at NSU’s Fort Lauderdale/Davie Campus and at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, by measuring how much people learn and how they apply it to their health based on positive results.
In addition to Ownby, the interprofessional research team includes: Amarilis Acevedo, Ph.D., NSU College of Psychology; Ron Chenail, Ph.D., NSU College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Michelle Doldren, Ed.D., M.P.H., CHES, Robin Jacobs, Ph.D., M.S.W., M.S.B.I., and Arif Rana, Ph.D., Ed.S., M.S., NSU College of Osteopathic Medicine; Michael Simonson, Ph.D., NSU Fischler College of Education; Kofi Kondwani, Ph.D., M.S., Morehouse School of Medicine; and Sara Czaja, Ph.D., University of Miami.
(Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01MD010368. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.)
In March, NSU-COM further cemented its reputation as a communications leader when it received two national awards in the 2016 American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) Excellence in Communications (EIC) Awards Program.
The college’s popular publication, COM Outlook, earned third-place honors in the Best Magazine category. In addition, Scott Colton, B.A., APR, who serves as COM/HPD director of medical communications and public relations, received second-place honors in the Best Feature Article category for his piece titled, “Childhood Cancer Survivor Daniel Bral Targets Bright Future.”
AACOM represents the 31 accredited colleges of osteopathic medicine in the United States, which are accredited to deliver instruction at 46 teaching locations in 31 states.
During the NSU Health Professions Division Commencement Ceremony held August 21 in the Don Taft University Center, Elaine M. Wallace, D.O., M.S., M.S., M.S., who serves as dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine, was presented with the Morton Terry Founders’ Award, which honors inspirational leadership in education and health care administration.
“Your commitment to the community—including our university and the many organizations you have served—is a tribute to the high standards that govern your life,” said George L. Hanbury II, Ph.D., NSU president and chief executive officer. “Throughout your career, both personally and professionally, you are looked upon by your colleagues and friends as a person of high integrity who is driven by impeccable principles and ethics.”
The award, which was last presented to a recipient in 2008, has been accorded to four other individuals over the years: Barry Silverman, M.D. (2008), Sylvia Urlich, M.A. (2006), Ray Ferrero, Jr., J.D. (2005), and David Rush (2004).
In July, Carisa Champion-Lippmann, J.D., a fourth-year College of Osteopathic Medicine student, received the loftiest of honors when she was named to the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) Board of Trustees as its sole student representative at the AOA 95th Annual House of Delegates meeting held July 17–19 in Chicago, Illinois.
“Carisa is an ideal representative for her fellow osteopathic medicine students throughout the United States as a member of the AOA Board of Trustees,” said Elaine M. Wallace, D.O., M.S., M.S., M.S., NSU-COM dean. “She has a good understanding of issues facing the field and has achieved so much at such a young age. We can only imagine the possibilities Carisa has in store for her future.”
The AOA Board of Trustees, which is the association’s administrative body, has authority to conduct all business when the House of Delegates is not in session, and when such policies are essential to the management of the AOA. These duties include administration of the association’s finances, appointments to bureaus, councils, and committees, decisions on all questions of ethical/judicial issues, and review and approval of amendments to the constitution, bylaws, and regulations of affiliated organizations.
Champion-Lippmann, a class of 2016 NSU-COM student and master of public health candidate, was the inaugural student in NSU’s pilot parallel D.O./J.D. program and received her Juris Doctor degree from NSU’s Shepard Broad College of Law in May 2015.
Barbara Arcos, D.O., associate professor and chair of the Department of Family Medicine, received a significant honor during the 35th Annual Florida Society of American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (FSACOFP) Convention and Family Medicine Update, held July 29–August 2 in Orlando, when she was named as the recipient of the Educator of the Year Award. Established in 2006, the FSACOFP Educator of the Year Award is selected by the FSACOFP Board of Trustees to honor an individual who has significantly enhanced the academic credibility of osteopathic family medicine in the state of Florida by a sustained, long-term commitment to osteopathic family medicine in academic settings.
The Deepwater Horizon (BP) oil spill, which occurred on April 20, 2010, was the largest disaster of its kind in history as its negative impact on the economy ran in the tens of billions of dollars and caused irreversible damage to the environment.
To help preventable disasters like this from occurring again, the college’s Institute for Disaster and Emergency Preparedness (IDEP) created Project SEAMIST (South East Area Marine Industry Safety Training) in 2010, which was funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) of the National Institutes of Health.
“Project SEAMIST provides training so that vessels and seaports can function safely and efficiently, supporting an important economic component of Florida and the Gulf Coast,” said Stephen Grant, Ph.D., primary investigator of the grant and associate professor of public health.
As a result of its initial successes, the NIEHS has awarded an initial $590,000 to IDEP and recommended a total award of $4,289,274 over a five-year period (2015-20) to continue the program and enhance its offerings.
During the first five years (2010-15) of Project SEAMIST, the program developed a set of safety training curricula specifically targeting the unique hazards of the marine industry and environment. It provided 120 training sessions to nearly 3,000 workers throughout the Gulf Coast states (Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi) and Virginia, including law-enforcement officers, port workers, safety trainers, vessel operators and crew members, cruise-ship employees, and medical personnel.
This new addition to Project SEAMIST is being spearheaded by co-collaborator Kristi Messer, M.S.W., M.P.H., IDEP assistant project manager and assistant professor of public health and disaster and emergency preparedness. Messer developed the complementary Hazardous Material Maritime Industry Response Training Safety Initiative to enable workers in the industry to reduce injuries and death related to all disasters and emergencies involving hazardous materials.
(Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number U45ES019350. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.)
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