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Washington State University Health Sciences Spokane

Grant and Contract Awards

FY2022, 2nd Quarter Summary
(October 1 – December 31, 2021)

Scroll down to read, or use these links to jump directly to a section/principal investigator (PI):

NEW & TRANSFER AWARDS

(New grants, funding transferred from a PI’s previous institution, and NIH competitive renewal funding)

Janessa Graves (PI) – College of Nursing
University of Washington/National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine
“Improving Mental Health Literacy in Rural Northeastern Washington”
This award provides funding for a project aimed at improving mental health literacy, decreasing stigma regarding mental illness, and ultimately improving mental health outcomes among youth in Ferry, Stevens, and Pend Oreille counties in rural Eastern Washington. This will be achieved through increased access to and awareness of National Library of Medicine (NLM) resources on mental illness, such as the NLM “Graphic Medicine and Mental Health” curriculum and creative journaling workshops offered through public libraries.

Kimberly Honn (PI); Hans Van Dongen; Matthew Layton; Courtney Kurinec – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/Sleep and Performance Research Center
Medical Technology Enterprise Consortium
“Sustaining and Enhancing Post Mission Analysis of Side-Scan Sonar Data”
This award funds a sleep deprivation study that will use civilian volunteers to examine the effects of fatigue on performance of a simulated side-scan sonar analysis task, modeling a Navy task to identify potential threats on the seafloor. Funding comes from the Medical Technology Enterprise Consortium (MTEC), an international consortium of members from private industry, academic institutions, government agencies, and other research organizations that seeks to accelerate the development of medical solutions to prevent and treat injuries in military members and veterans. Findings from the study could potentially lead to performance and safety improvements in US Naval Operations, as well as other shiftwork settings.

Stephen James (PI) – College of Nursing/Sleep and Performance Research Center
Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training
“Oregon Depart of Public Safety Standards and Training – Training Dev Assistance”
This award provides funding to continue the evaluation of the revised Basic Law Enforcement Academy for the State of Oregon. James and the Oregon Center for Policing Excellence rewrote the 16-week police academy to comply with Oregon state law (House Bill 3194) that police training be evidence based or research based. The revised academy is based on more than a decade of work by the WSU Sleep and Performance Research Center to quantify police behaviors that build trust and legitimacy with communities.

Philip Lazarus (PI) – College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences
Office of Research, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Program
“Dual use of cannabis and cigarettes: Implications for tobacco harm reduction”
The number of people who smoke cigarettes while also using cannabis products is rising rapidly. The goal of this study is to characterize the effects of cannabis components—THC, cannabidiol, and cannabinol—and their metabolites on nicotine metabolism. Preliminary studies by the investigator suggest that cannabinoids are inhibiting enzymes in the nicotine metabolic pathways, lowering the rate of nicotine metabolism in dual users of tobacco and cannabis. Outcomes from this study will yield new insights that can reduce tobacco-related harm and lower public health burdens related to smoking, which remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States with 480,000 lives lost each year.

Kristina Lindquist (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
The Arnold P Gold Foundation
“Creating and developing a new chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS)”
This grant funds an effort to create a new chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) at the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine. The GHHS is a national honor society that honors senior medical students, residents, role-model physician teachers and others recognized for clinical care, leadership, compassion, and dedication to service. The chapter will be established as a registered student organization out of the college’s main campus in Spokane, with independent activities conducted at the other WSU clinical campuses to fit the needs of those what communities while promoting humanism in medicine.

Georgina Lynch (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
The Arc of Washington Trust Fund
“Visual Teaching Method (VTM) Intervention to Change Attention to Nonverbal Social Cues in Youth with ASD”
This grant funds a project that will use eye-tracking technology to test the effectiveness of an eight-week visual teaching method (VTM) intervention, a visually based social skills intervention for youth with autism spectrum disorder that is focused on changing attention to nonverbal social cues. The study will document differences in eye-tracking data pre- and post-intervention as compared to a control group receiving treatment as usual, which consists of conventional social skills therapy delivered by speech-language pathologists in community-based settings.

Luis Manriquez (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
Association of American Medical Colleges
“COVID-19: Covid Health Equity Partnership”
To help protect the community and address COVID-19 related racial disparities, the College of Medicine will partner with several community organizations to increase COVID-19 vaccine uptake across Spokane County, with a focus on undervaccinated communities such as Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black populations. The rate of COVID-19 infections for Hispanics and non-Hispanic Blacks is much higher than among non-Hispanic Whites, while the completed vaccination rates for these two populations are significantly lower than the statewide completed vaccination rate. This grant will allow for the expansion of efforts to eliminate inequities in COVID-19 cases and mortality by centering vaccine education and access efforts on people of color. The funding will be used to coordinate health sciences faculty and students to assist community health workers in hosting educational sessions, developing outreach materials, and supporting vaccine clinics for disproportionally affected communities. Community partners involved in this project include the Spokane Regional Health District, Latinos en Spokane, Black Lens/Carl Maxey Center, CHAS, and the Health Equity Circle.

Luciana Mascarenhas Fonseca (PI); Naomi Chaytor; Michael Cleveland – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resources
Alzheimer’s Association
“AD biomarkers, vascular risk factors and cognitive variability in aging T1D”
This Alzheimer’s Association Research Fellowship to Promote Diversity grant will support a study of the relationships between intra-individual cognitive variability, Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers in blood plasma, and type 1 diabetes-related vascular risk factors. Initial evidence suggests that adults with type 1 diabetes have elevated risk for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD), but little is known about the contributing factors and underlying neurobiology. Since type 1 diabetes is associated with several risk factors for cognitive decline and ADRD, this is a critical knowledge gap. Data for this project will be collected as part of an ongoing study of middle-aged and older adults with type 1 diabetes, which includes cognition assessment, risk factor analysis, and blood sample collection in a limited number of participants. This funding will increase the number of samples collected and add additional outcome measures.

Kimberly McKeirnan (PI); Megan Willson; Jennifer Robinson; Kathryn MacCamy – College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences
National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS)
“Responding to Patients in Need: Mental Health Training for Pharmacists, Student Pharmacists”
This grant funds a project to train student pharmacists to identify and support individuals who are contemplating suicide or experiencing other mental health challenges. As part of the project, WSU faculty will provide a live eight-hour virtual Mental Health First Aid training course to 175 student pharmacists. The course will teach attendees how to identify and respond to someone experiencing a mental health crisis and offer an immediate referral to local resources. Student pharmacists will also be given an opportunity to reflect on the state of their own mental health through a survey that will be administered before and after the training, and at one- and three-months post-training.

James Mohr (PI); Lucila Loera – WSU Spokane/WSU Division of Student Affairs
U.S. Dept. of Education; Office of Postsecondary Education
“Washington State University Talent Search”
This new grant provides funding for Washington State University to establish a Talent Search Program in Spokane, Washington, that will identify 500 promising students from disadvantaged backgrounds and encourage and help them complete secondary school and enroll in higher education. Focusing on Shadle Park High School, Lewis & Clark High School, Shaw Middle School, and Glover Middle School, the program will connect students with high-quality academic tutoring and advising; motivate them to attend and plan for financing college; and provide enrichment activities, mentoring, and college day activities. Services will ensure that students satisfy secondary education requirements, complete college admission and financial aid applications, and enroll in higher education within the specified timeframe.

Julie Postma (PI)– College of Nursing
Castner Incorporated/National Institutes of Health, National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences
“Environmental Health Research Institute for Nurse and Clinician Scientists”
This five-year grant provides funding for Dr. Julie Postma to serve as faculty for an NIH-funded institute that educates nurse and clinician scientists on foundational concepts in environmental health to prepare them for conducting environmental health-related research. This includes preparing and recording self-paced lectures for the virtual classroom; teaching and presenting at the annual workshop in June; and providing assistance with recruiting workshop participants and event coordination for the 2026 annual workshop, which will be hosted at WSU Spokane.

Ka’imi Sinclair (PI) – College of Nursing
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences/US Department for Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health
“Ājjmuurur Baamḷe Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support (DSMES) program”
This subaward provides funding for WSU to work with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) to implement and evaluate a diabetes self-management education and support program targeted to Marshallese Pacific Islanders living in the US. Marshallese Pacific Islanders have some of the highest rates of type 2 diabetes in the world, with estimates ranging from 20 to 50 percent as compared to 9.4 percent in the overall US population and 4 percent worldwide. A recent needs assessment involving Marshallese participants completed by the researchers shows that fewer than 10 percent reported adhering to diabetes self-management recommendations and more than 54 percent had uncontrolled blood glucose levels. To reduce disparities in type 2 diabetes management in Marshallese communities, researchers at UAMS and WSU culturally adapted the standard Diabetes Self-Management and Support program to be family-centered and culturally appropriate for the Marshallese community. They will implement this 10-week adapted program at sites in Arkansas, Hawaii, and Washington State, with a goal of recruiting at least 300 Marshallese with type 2 diabetes along with one family member for each participant over a three-year period.

Hans Van Dongen (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/Sleep and Performance Research Center
Monash University/Australian Research Council
“Individualized predictions of circadian timing, sleep, and performance”
This subaward provides funding for Dr. Hans Van Dongen to provide guidance and technical expertise to a project that will develop a novel way to predict the circadian timing, sleep, and performance of individual persons.

Jiyue Zhu (PI) – College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences
National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging
“A mouse model with humanized telomere homeostasis”
The goal of this yearlong project—funded by an NIH R56 award that funds high-priority, short-term projects—is to develop a mouse model with human-like telomere maintenance for the study of human aging, cancer, and other age-related diseases. In normal human cells, the length of telomeres—the protective caps at the end of each strand of DNA—gets progressively shorter as cells divide, which serves as an aging clock. Laboratory mice do not share this characteristic. This has created a bottleneck in addressing fundamental questions about human aging and cancer biology through the use of mouse models, which this project seeks to eliminate.

AWARDS FOR ONGOING WORK

(Renewal, continued, and supplemental funding for projects awarded previously)

Solmaz Amiri (PI); Dedra Buchwald; Justin Denney – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/Community Health/College of Arts & Sciences
University of Colorado Denver/National Institutes of Health
“Disparities in Alzheimer’s Mortality among American Indian and Alaska Natives in the United States”
This award renews funding for a study that will explore the relationship between mortality from Alzheimer’s dementia and neighborhood characteristics (such as rurality, socioeconomic deprivation, and segregation); exposure to air pollution; and green space. The researchers will use nationwide mortality data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Vital Statistics System and will compare findings across different ethnic groups to determine whether Alzheimer’s dementia mortality in American Indian and Alaska Natives, African Americans, and Hispanics is related to living in segregated and deprived neighborhoods and increased exposure to air pollutants. This study will provide insight into modifiable risk factors and social determinates of health that can enhance scientists’ understanding of Alzheimer’s dementia mortality.

Dedra Buchwald (PI); Luciana Hebert – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/College of Nursing/Community Health
University of Colorado at Denver/National Institutes of Health
“Native Elder Research Center”
Native elders are at greater risk for numerous acute and chronic illnesses, have less access to needed care, and are slower to seek care, leading to complications. This grant provides renewal funding for WSU’s efforts to collaborate with the University of Colorado at Denver (UCD) to close these gaps and increase the participation of Native people in related research through UCD’s Native Elder Research Center.

Dedra Buchwald (PI); Patrick Johansson; Ka’imi Sinclair; Clemma Muller – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/Community Health
University of Washington/National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging
“The Native Research and Resource Core and the Outreach, Recruitment, and Education Core to the Biological heterogeneity in ADRD”
This award provides continued funds for the WSU Partnerships for Native Health research program to establish a Native Research and Resource Core within the University of Washington’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC). The goal of the new core is to determine if, and under what circumstances, American Indian/Alaska Native tribal nations would be willing to allow data on their citizens to be shared with the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center. The WSU researchers will achieve this through focus groups and key informant interviews with American  Indian and Alaska Native stakeholders, as well as workshops and interviews with key tribal authorities. As part of the new core, they will also design culturally informed health programming, continue to engage tribal clinics in understanding and addressing dementia, and improve individual knowledge of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias at community events.

John Clarke (PI); Bhagwat Prasad – College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences; Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
National Institutes of Health; National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
“Mechanisms of microcystin-induced hepatocellular carcinoma in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis”
This grant builds off of data from a previous NIH-funded project that showed that microcystin-LR—a toxin produced by blue-green algae commonly found in in lakes and other freshwater bodies—can drive the progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) to a more severe form. In this new project, the researcher will try to unravel the underlying mechanisms that change the disease progression in response to microcystin-LR exposure and determine their impact on the development of liver cirrhosis and a form of liver cancer known as hepatocellular carcinoma. Outcomes from this research have the potential to impact millions of people worldwide who are exposed to microcystin-LR through oral consumption and/or recreation.

Kimberly Honn (PI); Hans Van Dongen – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/Sleep and Performance Research Center
FedEx
“Validation of Face-, Eye-, and Activity-Tracking Technologies for Operational Fatigue Detection”
This award provides additional time and funding for an overnight fatigue study in a high-fidelity flight simulator to collect data for the calibration and validation of face- and eye-tracking technology for real-time fatigue detection in operational settings. These funds allow for additional participants to be studied to ensure a robust dataset for calibration of the technology.

Patrik Johansson (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/Community Health
Wabanaki Public Health
“Wabanaki Surveillance Project”
This grant provides renewal funding for WSU to help create a data surveillance system for data related to adult and youth substance use, mental health, and suicide in tribal communities in Maine. The team will work with Wabanaki Public Health data staff to conduct a planning and implementation process for the data surveillance system, check on potential Institutional Review Board requirements, conduct health education workshops for Wabanaki tribal citizens, and help write grants and publish Wabanaki data.

Michael McDonell (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
University of California San Francisco/National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
“Interventions to reduce alcohol use and increase adherence to TB preventive therapy amount HIV/TB co-infected drinkers”
People with HIV worldwide are at a higher risk of being infected with tuberculosis (TB). That risk is three times as high in those with HIV who are heavy drinkers, compared to non-drinkers. Six months of isoniazid preventive therapy (IPT) has been shown to reduce TB and mortality by 30 to 50 percent above the positive impact of antiretroviral therapy (ART). However, there are issues related to liver toxicity and poor adherence to ART and IPT in those who drink. This award funds a continuing study that investigates whether use of economic incentives to reduce alcohol use can decrease toxicity and increase IPT completion. The study will look at 800 individuals in Uganda with HIV and TB infection and heavy alcohol use. The study will compare changes in alcohol use and IPT adherence after six months across four randomized participant groups. Participants in the control group will not receive any incentives. One group will receive economic incentives for decreasing alcohol use only; another will receive economic incentives for IPT adherence only; and a final group will receive economic incentives for both decreasing alcohol use and IPT adherence, independently.

Sterling McPherson (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
US Department of Veterans Affairs; VA Portland Health Care System
“Collaborative pain care for rural Veterans with substance use disorders”
Veterans with alcohol and other drug use disorders experience high rates of chronic pain. Pain treatment for these patients can be complicated by active substance use disorders, and these complications are worse for rural Veterans who lack access to specialty pain care within the Veterans Affairs system and the community. As part of this continuing project, WSU researchers will evaluate the perceived impact of a newly developed pain program delivered exclusively via telehealth for patients engaged in treatment for substance use disorders at two VA sites: the VA Portland Health Care System in Portland, Ore., and the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane, Wash. Led by a nurse care manager, the program includes an initial comprehensive pain assessment and treatment recommendations, up to six additional follow-up appointments, and a weekly pain education class. The nurse care manager will also help connect patients to available pain treatment resources both within VA and the community. This project will yield a pain treatment program and implementation tool kit that can be used to deliver the program to rural veterans receiving VHA care across the U.S.

Lonnie Nelson (PI) – College of Nursing/ Community Health
University of New Mexico/National Institutes of Health
“Rhythm and Timing Exercises for Cerebrovascular Disease in American Indians”
This is supplemental funding for a subaward of a study to determine whether culturally adapted interactive metronome therapy can improve cognitive function among older American Indians with cerebrovascular disease. Interactive metronome is a form of behavioral therapy that attempts to improve cognitive functioning through mass-practice of simple, repetitive millisecond timing motor tasks—such as clapping hands or tapping feet—in time with a set beat. Through visual and auditory feedback, interactive metronome addresses processing speed, attention, and immediate and delayed memory, all of which can be affected by cerebrovascular disease.

Bhagwat Prasad (PI) – College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences
University of Washington/National Institutes of Health, Office of the Director
“Prenatal and Early Childhood Pathways to Health (PATHWAYS)”
Asthma, allergies, and mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, and ADHD are among the most common chronic health problems affecting American children. Evidence has increasingly shown that pregnant women’s exposure to outdoor air pollution, everyday chemicals such as those used in plastics, and stress can affect fetal development and later child health problems. This award continues funding for the PATHWAYS study, which integrates three major cohort studies of pregnant women and their children to learn how pregnancy exposures affect child neurodevelopment and airway health. As part of this project, Dr. Prasad’s laboratory will provide bioanalytical support to the principal investigators at the University of Washington.

Ka’imi Sinclair (PI); Dedra Buchwald; Eric Lofgren; Clemma Muller – College of Nursing/Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/Community Health; Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health
National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities
“COVID-19: Marshallese: Alternate Surveillance for COVID-19 in a Unique Population”
Marshallese Pacific Islanders bear a disproportionate burden of COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, and death, with rates up to 25 times higher than those of other US racial and ethnic groups in the continental United States. Marshallese represent just 1% of the population in Spokane County, Washington, but were nearly 30% of COVID-19 cases between March and May 2020. Social determinants of health have powerful influences on community and individual risks for COVID-19. Culturally, the Marshallese community is extremely tight-knit, self-contained, and highly clustered; they often live in multi-generational households; and they traditionally value close contact and large social events, all of which increase vulnerability to the COVID-19 pandemic. To reduce COVID‑19 disparities in this high‑risk population that has been profoundly underserved by public health policies, WSU researchers will develop and test culturally tailored, participatory approaches to disease surveillance and prevention. The intention is to extend the improved methods that are generated to other high‑risk groups and have these mechanisms at the ready to combat future viral threats.

Mark VanDam (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences
University of Washington/National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication
“Literacy Development in Preschoolers with Hearing Loss”
Only 56 percent of children with hearing loss in elementary school and only 44 percent in high school are reading at grade-level. The literacy gap between children with hearing loss and children with normal hearing can be observed early: preschoolers and kindergarteners with hearing loss score significantly lower on early literacy measures than children with normal hearing. This subaward continues WSU’s role in an NIH-funded study to identify the mechanisms that underlie literacy development in the preschool years for children with hearing loss. Findings from this study will help increase the researchers’ theoretical understanding of the impact of hearing loss on early literacy development and may ultimately lead to new interventions to improve literacy outcomes for children with hearing loss. WSU’s contribution to this University of Washington-led study is to lead data collection at the Hearing Oral Program of Excellence (HOPE School) site based at the WSU Health Sciences Spokane campus. In addition, WSU investigator Mark VanDam will assist with the interpretation and dissemination of the study.

Marian Wilson (PI) – College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati/National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse
“EMPOWER”
These are continued funds for WSU’s participation in the EMPOWER study led by the University of Cincinnati. EMPOWER is a five-year study of 400 non-cancer patients who are being treated with long-term opioid therapy at the University of Cincinnati Health and Duke Health. The study will look at whether the use of an online pain management program, the Goalistics Chronic Pain Management Program, could help these patients reduce the amount of prescription opioids they take. The study will compare opioid use and pain outcomes between program participants and a control group who receive treatment as usual.

Ana Zamora-Kapoor (PI); Dedra Buchwald; Astrid Suchy-Dicey – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/College of Arts & Sciences/Community Health
University of Colorado – Denver/National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities
“Body mass index trajectories and cognitive performance in American Indians: Evidence from the Cerebrovascular Disease and its Consequences in American Indians study”
This subaward continues WSU’s role in a project led by the University of Colorado Denver known as the Cerebrovascular Disease and its Consequences in American Indians (CDCAI) study. The goal of the parent study is to characterize the burden, risk factors, and manifestations of vascular brain injury identified on brain MRI. As part of this project, the WSU team will analyze data from CDCAI participants to determine whether there is a relationship between cognitive outcomes and variability in body mass index over time. They will also look to see if any relationships found differ by sex.