The Ohio State University
Ph.D. in Public Health and Epidemiology, Ohio State University; dissertation title: Modeling Longitudinal Depression in Cardiac Patients in the Presence of Missing Data (December 2000).
M.A.S., Ohio State University (March 2001).
M.A. in Exercise Physiology, Ohio State University, thesis title: The Effects of Combined Endurance and Strength Training on Maximal Oxygen Consumption and Submaximal Endurance in Women Age 60-75 (September 1994).
B.S. in Physical Education and Nutrition and Dietetics, Kent State University (May 1992).
The objectives of the project were to examine the extent to which local areas in Appalachia are covered by clean indoor air laws and the factors that are associated with adoption of such laws. The Appalachian region in the U.S. is geographically defined and includes 413 counties, many of which are economically distressed. This underserved area has historically suffered the burden of tobacco-associated illnesses and its residents may be particularly resistant to the adoption of clean indoor air laws. First, the project qualitatively examined the characteristics of the communities that have successfully adopted clean indoor air policies. The project then followed-up with qualitative interviews of key local tobacco control leaders in communities that had clean indoor air ordinances and those that did not to examine the forces (e.g., coalitions, other capacity-building efforts or negative forces) that have helped to pass — or block — the laws. The study was unique and much needed because there had not been an examination of clean indoor air ordinances in Appalachia and both quantitative and qualitative methods were used to thoroughly examine the research questions.
My New Connections Experience
I applied for a New Connections award because I saw a clear fit between my research and the work performed by the public health team at RWJF. The flexibility that was allowed in the selection of the proposed project was appealing. I also was attracted to New Connections because its overall objective is to increase the presence of historically underserved individuals in research settings.
New Connections participation has certainly increased my knowledge of tobacco control policies and how they can be used to reduce the prevalence of smoking in populations. I plan to extend my research in this area because I learned, through my project, that there is a lot of work left to do in the Appalachian region.
My primary research interest is tobacco control, and on this topic, I have worked on smoking cessation projects targeting underserved populations. Two of my very early studies were funded by the American Legacy Foundation as collaborative grants with the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center in New York City. One study involved designing and implementing a clinic-based cessation program for Chinese-American adults. I have most recently been working on projects in Ohio Appalachia. I have been a co-investigator and PI on projects that involve delivering smoking cessation programs to adults. One study was a combined cessation-lung cancer screening study, which included 12 weeks of telephone counseling plus pharmacotherapy (varenicline or NRT) and a low-dose spiral computed tomography (CT) scan for lung cancer screening. I am currently the PI on an NCI-funded smoking cessation intervention that targets Medicaid patients in the Ohio Appalachia region. My research has extended into the tobacco control policy arena with the help of the New Connections award. I have examined the extent to which Appalachian communities in the United States have adopted local clean indoor air ordinances. I am currently extending that work to examine enforcement issues related to these ordinances.
- New Connections Status: Mid-Career Consultant
- Award Year: 2008
- RWJF Team/Portfolio: Public Health
- Project Name: Examining the Reach of Clean Indoor Air Policies in Appalachia.