July 08, 2020

Kathy Wright saw the ravages of Alzheimer's disease and hypertension when she served as a caregiver for her father, who dealt with those devastating illnesses. In her role as an assistant professor in the College of Nursing, she also knows these health problems hit the African American community particularly hard.

So Wright – who holds a faculty position in Ohio State’s Prevention and Treatment of Chronic Brain Injury Institute – has dedicated her research lab, dubbed the B^HIVE (Brain and Blood Pressure Health in Valuable Elders), to work with at-risk communities on preventative methods to ward off high blood pressure and Alzheimer’s disease. Those interventions often involve healthier eating and mindfulness exercises to decrease stress.

In this Minute Professor video, Wright explains the importance of keeping your blood pressure in check, tips for how to do it, and how Ohio State is designing interventions to help the African American community. 

May 26, 2020

The National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Nursing Research (NIH/NINR) has awarded a four-year, $1.6 million R01 grant to fund the study, “Reducing Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Black Young Adults.” The grant was awarded to Janna Stephens, PhD, RN, (PI) assistant professor at The Ohio State University College of Nursing’s Martha S. Pitzer Center for Women, Children and Youth. Co-investigators from Ohio State include Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, APRN-CNP, EBP-C, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, and Alai Tan, PhD, of the College of Nursing and Carla Miller, PhD, of the College of Public Health. Other co-investigators include Lora Burke, PhD, of Pittsburgh University and Antoinette Perkins of Columbus State Community College.

The study focuses on developing strategies and interventions to assist young African American adults who attend community colleges in creating and sustaining improved health habits in order to reduce the risk of cardiovascular issues later in life.

Stephens and her team will recruit 256 African American community college students who are overweight or obese for the study. This understudied population is at very high risk for cardiovascular disease later in life.

Their goal is to provide these students with a personalized, culturally tailored health coaching program to promote heathy eating and increased exercise habits. During one year, Stephens and her team will track students via a smartphone application, conduct health coaching sessions and provide resources and information to help them eat healthily, increase physical activity and develop other health habits to achieve health, fitness and weight loss goals.

“I really enjoy working with the community college population and making connections with these at-risk students,” said Stephens. “I cannot wait to start working with my team and the students to teach them healthy lifestyle habits to prevent cardiovascular disease later in life!”