Our Applied Research Project

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CHANGE logoCarolina Heart Alliance Networking for Greater Equity (CHANGE)

Our Goals

  • Reduce risk of cardiovascular disease in rural and medically underserved communities
  • Strengthen linkages between public health and clinical practice to enhance community outreach, care coordination, and delivery of a behavior change strategy to reduce cardiovascular disease risk
  • Support adoption of evidence-based approaches in public health and clinical settings

Our Approach

As part of the CHANGE strategy, two community health workers (CHWs) will join the teams at Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center and Hertford County Public Health Authority. The trained CHWs and their colleagues at the community health center and health department will collaborate to:

  • Reach underserved populations by engaging existing social networks
  • Use new technology to deliver an evidence based program, Heart-to-Health, and other resources to clinic patients and community members
  • Link community members to clinic, public health, and community-based services that promote heart health
  • Improve coordination of care across clinical and public health settings
  • Support culturally relevant and heart healthy changes in community environments where people live and work

Our Research Team

Our Principal Investigators are Jennifer Leeman, DrPH and Sam Cykert, MD. They are joined by practice and research experts at:

  • Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center
  • Hertford County Public Health Authority
  • UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, UNC School of Medicine, and UNC School of Nursing
  • North Carolina Area Health Education Center

 Our Research Aims

Aim 1     Refine the CHANGE strategy in Hertford County (2014)

  • Inventory existing clinic and community services to improve heart health and understand barriers to using them
  • Work together in planning how to integrate the CHANGE strategy into current clinical and public health practice
  • Assess the usability of a tablet computer to aid CHWs in community outreach and providing patient support

Aim 2     Assess the CHANGE strategy’s (2014-2017)

  • Best processes for engaging partners and building capacity to plan and implement the CHANGE strategy
  • Effectiveness at increasing the reach
  • Cost, sustainability, acceptability, and feasibility
  • Effectiveness at reducing risk of cardiovascular disease using Heart-to-Health
  • Effects on the proportion of the clinic’s total at-risk population that have cholesterol and blood pressure under control as compared to three matched comparison clinics

 Aim 3     Replicate the CHANGE strategy in another community (2017-2019)

  • Identify its core components
  • Create an implementation toolkit
  • Promote CHANGE to new communities

Contact Information:

  • Email        Change@unc.edu
  • Phone       888-987-8191