Melnyk awarded NIH grant to test a novel intervention for pregnant minority women
Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk, PhD, RN, CPNP/PMHNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, has been awarded a $3.3 million, 4.5-year R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIH/NIMHD) for a study entitled, “Healthy Lifestyle Intervention for High-Risk Minority Pregnant Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Melnyk is vice president for health promotion; university chief wellness officer; dean and professor of the College of Nursing, professor of pediatrics and psychiatry in the College of Medicine and executive director of the Helene Fuld Health Trust National Institute for EBP at The Ohio State University. Co-PI Susan Gennaro, PhD, RN, FAAN, is dean and professor of the William F. Connell School of Nursing at Boston College.
Citing the public health mandate issued by the United States Department of Health and Human Services to decrease disparities in birth outcomes based on race and ethnicity, the study proposes to test a cognitive behavioral skills building (CBSB) prenatal care intervention for pregnant minority women experiencing emotional distress. If successful, it could be widely scaled to improve pregnancy, birth and post-natal outcomes nationally. The randomized, controlled trial (RCT) will test the efficacy of a CBSB health promotion intervention adapted from Melnyk’s other evidence-based CBSB interventions.
Melnyk emphasizes that “while screening for depression in all pregnant women is a recent public health directive, screening alone without scalable, evidence-based interventions to improve mental health will not produce positive outcomes. Given the well-established link between emotional distress, poor health and birth outcomes and the prevalence of emotional distress in minority women, prenatal care interventions designed to improve mental and physical health outcomes for these women are vital.”
The RCT, to be conducted in New York and Ohio, will extend Melnyk’s research on cognitive behavioral interventions to promote healthy lifestyle behaviors, physical health, and psychosocial wellness and Gennaro’s research on the consequences of stress and health behaviors in pregnant minority women. It will be the first clinical trial to test a CBSB health promotion intervention embedded into prenatal care for emotionally distressed minority pregnant women.