If we are all created equally, then why I am treated differently: Contextualizing social determinants in understanding (and explaining) health outcomes, disparities, and equity among older African Americans
Lecturer: Dr. Tamara Baker, PhD – Professor, Department of Psychiatry at UNC-Chapel Hill
Symptoms associated with many chronic illnesses can impact an individual’s physical and psychological health, social existence, and emotional well-being. However, factors associated with the experience and management of these health outcomes, particularly among older African Americans are poorly understood, as they are more likely to be diagnosed at a younger age, and with more severe and debilitating medical illnesses. This presentation will continue the discussion in how we can and should address the influence social and cultural determinants have in explaining health outcomes across the life course of African Americans, while recognizing the influence each has in research, clinical, and community-based settings. Further discussion will focus on addressing how and why health disparities, inequalities, inequities continue to plague our most vulnerable and marginalized populations. The session will conclude with suggestions for creating a platform that emphasizes institutional and social change, while addressing the needs of older African Americans in the US.
Using the NIA Health Disparities Framework to Optimize Equity in Aging Research
Lecturer: Dr. Patricia Jones, DrPH, MPH, MS – Director, Office of Special Populations (OSP), National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Dr. Tyson Brown, PhD – Director, Center on Health & Society (CHS); Associate Professor in Sociology, Duke University
Dr. Kimberly Johnson, MD – Director, REACH Equity; Professor in Medicine, Duke University
February 2021: Supporting Knee Osteoarthritis Care with Technology – Research from Australia
Lecturer: Dr. Rana Hinman, PhD – Professor, Physiotherapy at the University of Melbourne
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the important role of telehealth and technology to remotely support the delivery of healthcare. This talk will provide an overview of research from the Centre of Health, Exercise & Sports Medicine that has developed and evaluated remote methods of delivering and supporting non-pharmacological management of people with knee osteoarthritis, including telephone and video-conferencing service delivery models, as well as websites, SMS, mobile apps and e-learning methods.
November 2020: Conducting Community-Based Research with NFL Athletes to Examine Disparities in Cognitive Aging and mTBI
Lecturer: Dr. Robert Turner II, PhD
Panelists: Dr. Tolu Oyesanya, PhD and Dr. Lindsey Byom, PhD
Moderator: Dr. Tim Strauman, PhD
Dr. Turner’s lecture will draw upon ongoing health disparities in mTBI, cognitive aging, and dementia research with former NFL and Division-1 collegiate athletes. While athletes are not conventionally characterized as an “at-risk” population, Dr. Turner’s work emphasizes the importance of studying the cumulative effects of sport participation on the overall health and cognitive aging process of those believed to experience many health advantages. His discussion will center on the investigative processes of cognitive aging research, using his NIA supported Brain Health Study and that of the NINDS supported DIAGNOSE CTE Study as models to drive further research questions for similar target populations.
Dr. Turner will also discuss methodological approaches to address challenges inherent to health disparities research, including mixed-/multi-methods approaches and community-based participatory research.
Prepared by Duke Roybal Undergraduate Scholars Ming Shen (Duke Trinity ‘24) and Elissa Gorman (Duke Trinity ‘23):
Dr. Robert W. Turner II, a researcher and Assistant Professor of Clinical Research and Leadership at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Science, will be the featured guest speaker of the Duke Roybal Center’s November lecture: “Conducting Community-Based Research with NFL Athletes to Examine Disparities in Cognitive Aging and mTBI” on November 12 from 3:00-4:30pm EST.
As a former NFL player, Dr. Turner went on to earn his PhD in medical sociology, combining his research training and football experience to examine the challenges athletes face in transitioning from the NFL to life after football. His work led him to author a book, “Not For Long: The Life and Career of the NFL Athlete”, which draws on life course, developmental, and sociological theories to uncover the lesser-known truths of pro athlete health risks.
Since then, Dr. Turner has extended his research to health disparities, gerontology, and neuroscience, and has received a K01 award from the National Institute on Aging to conduct research examining the relationship between sports-related concussions and accelerated cognitive decline from a psychosocial and neurocognitive perspective. He works in conjunction with the NFL Alumni Association, the NIA and the Alzheimer’s Association. Next year, he will host a conference with the Roybal Centers at the 2021 Super Bowl to promote research and recruitment of black men into brain health registries.
“Ultimately, the work that I’m doing is supported by the same entity that supports Roybal, with the same missions and goals in place of improving our understanding of aging and improving the lives of older Americans,” Dr. Turner said.
Dr. Turner’s upcoming lecture will draw upon ongoing health disparities in mild traumatic brain injury, cognitive aging, and dementia research with former NFL and Division-1 collegiate athletes. While athletes are not conventionally characterized as an “at-risk” population, Dr. Turner’s work emphasizes the importance of studying the cumulative effects of sport participation on the overall health and cognitive aging process of those believed to experience many health advantages. His discussion will center on the investigative processes of cognitive aging research, using his NIA-supported Brain Health Study as well as the DIAGNOSE CTE Study as models to drive further research questions for similar target populations.
According to Dr. Turner, many people understand the importance of conducting health disparity research but may be less practiced in navigating the methodological challenges that come with investigating the issues. Part of his talk will focus on mixed-methods and multi-methods approaches, which highlights the value of combining various qualitative and quantitative approaches in doing disparity research.
“We are collecting bio-specimens, we’re doing MRIs, doing focus groups, in-depth interviews, as well as survey research and cognitive assessments…” Dr. Turner said. “[All of the methods] inform one another to really design a research project that can be supported longitudinally.”
He will also discuss his experience with community-based participatory research. His work not only focuses on recruiting members of the athlete community, but also informing participants of the science, how it is beneficial to them and their community, and involving them in the overall design and progression of the research field.
Dr. Timothy Strauman, Duke University Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, looks forward to moderating the event and for attendees to learn about Dr. Turner’s work.
“What I’m especially excited about, and this is from my opportunity to collaborate with Dr. Turner, is that there is an intersectionality between these elite athletes and what their lives have been like, and a lot of these athletes are African-American,” Dr. Strauman said. “So that makes their lives different in some ways than other people’s lives and we know very little about what are those relative influences of those different aspects of people’s lives on what their cognitive health trajectory is going to be.”
June 2020: A Review & Comparison of Frameworks used in Behavioral Intervention Development Research
Because behavioral risk factors are major contributors to chronic diseases, developing effective health-related behavioral interventions is critical for improving preventive and therapeutic efforts. A number of frameworks exist to guide development of behavioral interventions, but relatively little guidance is available comparing key aspects of these models to aid in selecting the best approach for a specific research question. This talk will provide an overview of several of the major frameworks for designing and optimizing behavioral interventions, identify their differences and common features, and discuss how and when frameworks can be combined to enhance their impact. The frameworks to be discussed include the NIH Stage Model; the Science of Behavior Change (SOBC) experimental medicine approach; the Obesity-Related Behavioral Intervention Trials (ORBIT) model; the Medical Research Council (MRC) Framework; and the Behaviour Change Wheel and COM-B Model. The intent is to facilitate an informed choice on the part of investigators interested in designing and optimizing health-related behavioral interventions.