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College of Nursing

  • African American family

Family History Inspires NIH Research Grant

Dr. Lori Vick's initial interest in sickle cell health management began as a personal interest and has since developed into a research passion. Vick was recently awarded a NIH grant titled, Hydroxyurea Adherence Project (HAP). The purpose of HAP is to collaborate with persons with sickle cell disease (SCD) to identify strategies to improve adherence to Hydroxyurea (HU).

Why are you interested in sickle cell research?

My initial interest in sickle cell health management is personal, I have family members with the sickle cell disease. As an educator of anatomy and physiology and medical surgical nursing, I came to understand the essential role of red blood cells and the havoc that can be linked with genetic variability. My attendance at the National Institute of Nursing Research - Summer Genetics Institute (NINR-SGI) provided an opportunity to explore SCD from a molecular biology, genetics, and genomics perspective. My experience with the Programs to Increase Diversity Among Individuals Engaged in Health-Related Research (PRIDE) initiated my research focus as adherence to treatment in persons with SCD. Dialogues with patients, hematologists, and mentors in the PRIDE program led to the identification of adherence to treatment as a complex problem in need of investigation.

What is unique about this study?

The HAP is an intervention study using qualitative and quantitative research methods including: motivational interviewing, managed problem solving, and support of healthy habit-forming behaviors in a population with a limited history of studies examining adherence to HU from a behavioral perspective.

What are the project’s desired outcomes?

The HAP is to collaborate with persons with SCD to identify strategies to improve adherence to HU. This medication reduces the frequency of painful crises, blood transfusions, episodes of acute chest syndrome, number of hospitalizations, mortality and improves health outcomes. The specific aims of the project include using motivational interviewing techniques to identify needs, barriers, and facilitators related to HU acceptance and adherence.

Is there anything else about the project that you would like to share?

I am finding out that conducting research involves the support of many collaborators: the persons willing to participate in the study (subjects), the team members from the College of Nursing Research Office, research instrument developers who share their work so you have data collection instruments, and mentors and colleagues who listen and advise. The work is humbling and engenders gratitude.


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