PCORI Award: Diabetes Education and Wellness Through Faith-based Organizations (FBOs) in Texas

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) has awarded Texas A&M University with a Tier I award in the amount of $15,000 for a 9-month period. Tier I awards fund the building of the community and capacity necessary to later develop a patient-centered comparative effectiveness research project.  The project is awarded to Mark Lawley of the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department to examine Diabetes Education and Wellness Through Faith-based Organizations (FBOs) in Texas.  Only 17% of proposals submitted were selected for PCORI’s Tier I award.

Diabetes is a chronic disease requiring behavior modification and lifestyle changes to manage the disease. Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the U.S. and costs $245 billion per year.  Texas is the 5th leading state in diabetes prevalence.  It is difficult to effectively control the fast growing trend in diabetes prevalence in Texas since risk factors are very prevalent. For example, about 1 of 3 adults in Texas are obese, and 2 of 3 are either overweight or obese.  Also, more than 50% of adults in Texas are not physically active and about 3 of 4 adults have fewer than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

Fortunately, proper management reduces the risk of disease progression and complications.  Often, disease management is taught through diabetes education and wellness classes.  FBOs describe organizations or programs associated with a religious congregation and account for a variety of religious backgrounds (e.g., Christian, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, etc.).  Some FBOs have successfully partnered with health promotion programs to provide preventative health services to at-risk populations with chronic diseases.  FBOs have regular access to a captive adult audience of patients and volunteers and they typically have strong community credibility. Therefore, FBOs will be of central importance in facilitating diabetes management and improving population health.

There are three main thrusts to be executed for this project: partnership development, communication structure, and leadership structure.  For partnership development, the goal is to build a partnership network of more than 40 researchers, diabetes educators, clinicians, patients, and FBOs who are interested in comparing the awareness, behavior modification, and disease-management success of patient populations who receive diabetes education and wellness from traditional sources vs. FBOs.   For communication, the team will utilize a listserv and is currently in the process of developing a website for the partnership network. Finally, for leadership development, the team will form an internal governance structure to facilitate discussions about using FBOs for diabetes education and wellness.

The partnership team initially consists of three researchers (Mark Lawley, Hye-Chung Kum, Michelle Alvarado) from Texas A&M University (TAMU) and the President (Charles Bell) of the Diabetes Health and Wellness Institute (DHWI) at Juanita J. Craft Recreation Center.  Mark Lawley, Ph.D., P.E., (PI) is the TEES Research and One Health Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering and Biomedical Engineering. Hye-Chung Kum, Ph.D., MSW (Co-PI) is an associate professor of Health Policy and Management at the School of Rural Public Health in the Texas A&M Health Science Center. Michelle Alvarado, PhD, (Project Lead) is a postdoctoral research associate in Industrial and Systems Engineering Department at Texas A&M University.

PCORI’s mission is to help people make informed healthcare decisions, and improve healthcare delivery and its outcomes, by producing and promoting high-integrity, evidence-based information that comes from research guided by patients, caregivers, and the broader healthcare community.  This is the second year PCORI has funded Tier I awards in their “Pipeline to Proposal” process.  The Pipeline to proposal is a 3-tier process aimed to build a national community of patients, stakeholders, and researchers who have the expertise and passion to participate in patient-centered outcomes research that lead to high-quality research proposals. Upon successful completion of PCORI’s Tier I award, projects are eligible to advance to Tier II ($25,000 for 12 months) for further development of the partnerships.  This year, 27 of 30 projects advanced from Tier I to Tier II.  Another competitive process is required to receive a PCORI Tier III ($50,000 for 12 months) award whose purpose is to develop high quality research proposals.

Source: http://www.lchdhealthcare.org/information/diabetes-information/

“The incidence of type II diabetes is increasingly prevalent in the Texas population.  We feel that utilizing FBOs as a means of communicating diabetes education and wellness can be effective in reducing this prevalence.  The PCORI funding will be instrumental in allowing us to develop the partnerships necessary to pursue this research idea.”
Dr. Michelle Alvarado