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Washington State University Health Sciences Spokane

Grant and Contract Awards

FY2024, 3rd Quarter Summary
(January 1 – March 31, 2024)

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


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

Amber Fyfe-Johnson (PI); Gary Ferguson – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/IREACH
Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium/National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
“More Outside Your Door”
This new subaward funds WSU’s contribution to a five-year research project awarded to the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. The goal of the project is to reduce risk factors for childhood obesity, which can lead to diseases such as heart attack, stroke and diabetes later in life. An estimated 68 percent of Alaska Native children ages 3 to 5 are overweight and 43 percent are obese. To decrease the risk of obesity in Alaska Native preschoolers, the researchers have designed More Outside Your Door (MOYD), an intervention that promotes traditional diet and activities at the individual, family, school and community level. In this project, they will tailor the intervention to southwest Alaska communities and test it at 12 Head Start preschool programs in the Yukon-Kuskokwim region in southwestern Alaska. Fyfe-Johnson’s role in the study is to lead the collection, evaluation, and analysis of the preschoolers’ cardiometabolic health outcomes, such as body mass index, blood hemoglobin levels, sleep and physical activity as measured through wrist-worn activity monitors.

Amber Fyfe-Johnson (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/IREACH
National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
“Childhood Obesity: the role of the gut Microbiome, outdoor Time, and Stress (COMETS)”
One-third of US children are overweight or obese. Children who live in low socioeconomic status households experience especially high rates of obesity and show elevated biomarkers for chronic stress, which could be tied to a lack of access to parks and green space in low-income neighborhoods. Outdoor time reduces stress in children and is thought to influence the biological causes of childhood obesity, including imbalances in the gut microbiome, the microorganisms found in the digestive tract. This five-year study will be the first to examine how long-term changes in the gut microbiome relate to outdoor time, stress, and the development of obesity in early childhood. The study will be conducted in 300 children; 150 children enrolled at licensed outdoor preschools, and another 150 children enrolled in traditional indoor preschools. This research may ultimately help prevent and manage childhood obesity and reduce inequities by promoting outdoor time among children in low-income households.

Luciana Hebert (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/IREACH
University of Nebraska Medical Center/National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
“Wellness Advocacy Zones: Opportunities for Kinship Involvement (WAZOKI)”
This subaward funds WSU’s contribution to a two-year project led by the University of Nebraska to improve kinship involvement in pregnancy and childbirth in Indigenous communities. As part of the project, the researchers will work with members of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska to develop a process for engaging the community in the design of a multi-level intervention aimed at increasing kinship involvement in pregnancy. To this end, they will engage community members across multiple sectors to form a coalition of organization and community leaders, researchers, local public health officials, and pregnant individuals and their kin. Working with this coalition, the researchers will conduct a needs assessment focused on kinship, mental health, and maternal health and a plan for a community-based intervention to address kinship and maternal health.

Katherine Hirchak (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/PRISM
American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry/US Department of Health and Human Services Administration, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
“Contingency Management Training for ORN Indigenous Community Partners”
This contract provides funding for the WSU Promoting Research Initiatives in Mental Health and Substance Use (PRISM) Collaborative to conduct a contingency management training initiative in partnership with the Opioid Response Network. Contingency management is a behavioral intervention that uses tangible incentives such as gift cards or small prizes to promote abstinence from addictive substances. The goal of this project is to train physicians and other healthcare professionals in Tribal and urban Indian organizations on the background, proper implementation, regulatory requirements and considerations of contingency management so they can provide evidence-based prevention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery support for opioid and stimulant use disorders. The PRISM Collaborative team will also provide Opioid Response Network trainers with training and support in culturally appropriate contingency management for American Indian and Alaska Native communities.

Patrik Johansson (PI); Dedra Buchwald; Amanda Boyd; Luciana Hebert – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/IREACH
University of Miami/National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging
“Native Alzheimer Disease Resource Center for Minority Aging Research (NAD-RCMAR)”
This subaward represents a competitive renewal of funding for the operation of a Native Alzheimer’s Disease-Related Resource Center in Minority Aging Research based at the University of Miami, in collaboration with Washington State University, Northern Arizona University, University of New Mexico, Wake Forest University, and a network of satellite centers led by Indigenous researchers that covers seven out of ten U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regions plus Hawaii. The center was established with the goal of better understanding and mitigating Alzheimer’s disease-related health disparities in American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. This is done by building infrastructure, bringing together resources, and recruiting and mentoring promising junior- and mid-level scientists from underrepresented minority groups to conduct Alzheimer’s disease research in Native populations.

Patrik Johansson (PI); Jessica Williams-Nguyen – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/IREACH
Wabanaki Public Health/National Institutes of Health, Community Partnerships to Advance Science for Society (ComPASS)
“Improving Health Outcomes Through Systems and Policy Changes in Maine”
This award provides funding for WSU to support the design and implementation of the Wabanaki Community Survey, an initiative that will provide reliable and accurate information regarding food insecurity, sustainability, economic stability, housing and other social determinants of health among four Native American tribes in Maine. Data gathered through this survey will help drive the creation of a traditional, culturally meaningful food system and inform state partners on needed policy changes to improve access to traditional foods. In addition, it will provide information to Wabanaki communities and leaders on housing, economic stability, and needed recovery efforts.

Patrik Johansson (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/IREACH
The Lewin Group/National Institutes of Health
“Technical Assistance and Coordinating Center for ACL’s Family Caregiver Initiative”
Family caregivers play an increasingly important role as the population ages, people live longer, and professional caregivers are in short supply. A greater responsibility for complex care tasks now falls to family members and friends, who often lack the knowledge, confidence and support to perform these caregiving tasks. This project will help support and evaluate the work of the grantees of the Administration for Community Living Administration on Aging Family Caregiver Support Initiative: Advancing Aging Network Capacity to Support Family, Kinship and Tribal Caregivers, which was created to advance the development of state, community and family caregiver support programs. Organizations that receive grant funds under this program will be undertaking a range of technical assistance, training, and capacity-building initiatives to increase awareness of, and outreach to, family caregivers; promote the inclusion and engagement of family caregivers within care teams; develop innovations in family caregiver services and support; strengthen the financial and workplace security of family caregivers; and develop a family caregiver national research and data collection strategy.

Jae Kennedy (PI); Yuan Weili – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, Dept. of Community and Behavioral Health
Special Olympics, Center for Inclusive Health
“WSU Rosemary Collaboratory Consultant Application”
This award represents a consulting contract funded by Special Olympics, an international non-governmental organization that promotes the acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities. People with intellectual and developmental disabilities face significant health disparities due to stigma, exclusion and lack of access to quality healthcare and support services. As part of a new Special Olympics initiative known as Rosemary Collaborative, WSU will work with the Special Olympics of Washington State, the Arc of Washington and other disability advocacy organizations in the state to create a more inclusive health system. The researchers’ work will include an assessment of the needs of the estimated 117,000 Washingtonians with intellectual and developmental disabilities; an evaluation of the responsiveness of the public health system; and an advocacy plan that identifies opportunities to increase access to needed services and for improved inclusion of this population in state policies and programs.

Luis Manriquez (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
Association of American Medical Colleges
“Building Trust and Confidence Through Partnerships Webinar Series”
This award funds WSU’s role as a project partner to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) for “Improving Clinical and Public Health Outcomes through National Partnerships to Prevent and Control Emerging and Re-Emerging Infectious Disease Threats,” an initiative funded by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As part of this project, WSU and the Association of American Medical Colleges will codevelop a national webinar series to amplify important lessons learned from the Building Trust and Confidence Through Partnerships program, a CDC-funded program to promote confidence in COVID-19 vaccines and increase vaccinations around the country. The webinar series will include vital takeaways garnered by WSU and its community partners about community health, health equity, communication strategies, relationship trust-building and engagement, community collaborations, partnerships, and more that can support both near- and long-term responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Andrew Perera (PI) – WSU Spokane Student Affairs
Washington Student Achievement Council
“Contraception Vending Machine Grant Program”
This contract provides funding for WSU Spokane to purchase and install an emergency contraception vending machine on its campus. It is part of a state-funded initiative to provide this service at public higher education institutions throughout Washington state. The new vending machine will provide students with on-campus access to affordable emergency contraceptive products and other products that promote safe sexual practices.

John Roll (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
University of Washington
“Psilocybin assisted Psychotherapy for Co-Occurring Alcohol Use Disorder and PTSD: A Safety and Tolerability Study”
Military veterans and first responders are at increased risk of developing both alcohol use disorder (AUD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), with each condition worsening symptoms of the other. There is growing evidence that psychedelics, when paired with psychotherapy, may be effective at treating AUD and symptoms associated with PTSD, but no studies have examined psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy in the treatment of patients with co-occurring AUD/PTSD. This contract provides funds for the principal investigator to consult on a University of Washington-led clinical study to examine the safety and tolerability of psilocybin paired with psychotherapy to target alcohol use disorder and symptoms of PTSD among military veterans and first responders in Washington State.

Crystal Smith (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, Dept. of Community and Behavioral Health
University of Washington
“Psilocybin assisted Psychotherapy for Co-Occurring Alcohol Use Disorder and PTSD: A Safety and Tolerability Study”
This contract provides funds for the principal investigator to consult on a University of Washington-led clinical study to examine the safety and tolerability of psilocybin paired with psychotherapy to target alcohol use disorder and symptoms of PTSD among military veterans and first responders in Washington State. (See previous listing for full description).

Jessica Ullrich (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/IREACH
University of Alaska – Fairbanks/ National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health
 “Alaska Native Collaborative Hub for Resilience Research (ANCHHRR)”
This award funds research activities that build on the Alaska Native Community Resilience Study (ANCRS), the central research project of the Alaska Native Collaborative Hub for Resilience, one of three American Indian/Alaska Native suicide prevention hubs funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. The researchers will investigate rural Alaska Native youth perspectives of community-level protective factors that may reduce suicide risk among youth in rural Alaska Native communities. They will recruit youth aged 15 to 24 who live in three highly protective rural Alaska Native communities that were included in the ANCRS study and invite them to share their stories on how community-level protective factors support wellbeing. This will yield a series of youth-produced digital stories that will be disseminated to rural Alaska Native community members to help increase community engagement in the ANCRS research findings and reduce suicide risk.

Jessica Ullrich (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/IREACH
Oklahoma State University/US Department of Health and Human Services Administration, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Office of Minority Health
“Center for Indigenous Innovation and Health Excellence (CIIHE)”
This project was awarded as part of the Center for Indigenous Innovation and Health Excellence initiative (CIIHE), which supports efforts to advance sustainable solutions that address Indigenous health disparities and advance health equity in Native populations. The ultimate goal for this project is to help restore Indigenous food systems and traditional food practices to promote healthy eating and reduce diet-related health disparities, which can help prevent and improve chronic diseases such as obesity, hypertension and diabetes. This subaward provides funds for WSU to pilot test an indigenous wellness curriculum that incorporates indigenous food sovereignty in the curriculum’s sessions and cultural activities. Wellness workshops will be held among Nome Eskimo Community members in Nome and Anchorage, Alaska.

Jessica Ullrich (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/IREACH
Alaska Federation of Natives/US Department of Health and Human Services Administration, Administration for Children and Families
“Alaska State-Tribal Partnership to Implement Best Practices in Indian Child Welfare Initiative”
In 2017, a large number of Tribes/Tribal Organizations cosigned the Alaska Tribal Child Welfare Compact, a state Tribal initiative created to transform Alaska’s child welfare system to address and improve deep structural inequities. This subaward provides funding for the WSU investigator to serve as the lead evaluator for the Alaska State-Tribal Partnership to Implement Best Practices in Indian Child Welfare Initiative, which unites the Tribal cosigners and the State of Alaska Office of Children Services as they work together to enhance outcomes and improve service delivery to Alaska Native children and families. She will also assist in the development of a Compact training curriculum to train stakeholders on the existing Compact services to improve performance and outcomes. The long-term goal for the initiative is to develop sustainable State and Tribal systems that embrace and support culturally responsive policies, programs, and practices that best nurture safety, identity, history, culture, and well-being of Alaska Native children, youth, and their families.

Mengqi Zhao (PI) – College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences
WSU Office of Research, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Program (ADARP)
“Inhibition of nicotine metabolism by cannabinoids as a mechanism for developing a smoking cessation agent”
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the USA and worldwide, killing over 8 million people per year globally. Currently available drugs for smoking cessation have either not been shown to be highly effective in most smokers or come with serious side effects, which makes a case for the development of additional, more effective smoking cessation drugs. Previous studies conducted at WSU suggest that use of cannabidiol—a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis—could help curb the urge to smoke by inhibiting nicotine metabolism in the liver. This new study will identify whether drug-drug interactions exist between cannabinoids and nicotine. In addition, the researchers will look at whether genetic variations in a specific gene impact the extent to which cannabinoids inhibit nicotine metabolism in the liver.


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

Celestina Barbosa-Leiker (PI); Brian French – College of Nursing; College of Education
National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging
“Bilingualism as a protective factor of ADRD in American Indian adults: the Strong Heart Study”
American Indian populations are more likely to simultaneously suffer from cerebrovascular disease—such as stroke—and Alzheimer’s disease than non-Hispanic white U.S. populations and may also have a greater burden of cognitive decline and dementia. Bilingualism—which is common in American Indian communities—may reduce cognitive risk, but research on bilingualism in this population has been limited. Bilingualism is a highly individual experience, and the context of use can modify its effects on cognition. Building on the Strong Heart Study—a long-running study of aging in American Indian adults over three geographic regions—this continuing study will be the first to culturally adapt a language use and history instrument to evaluate bilingualism in a large number of American Indians of multiple generations in conjunction with cognitive performance testing. Findings from this project will have potential implications for future prevention and treatment strategies in this understudied population.

Amanda Boyd (PI); Dedra Buchwald; Clemma Muller – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/IREACH
National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging
“Advancing Alzheimer’s Disease Communication and Recruitment Science among American Indians and Alaska Natives”
This awards funds a continuing study aimed at increasing the participation of American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) in research on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD). More than 5.5 million Americans are currently affected by ADRD, a number that is expected to increase to 16 million by 2050 unless preventive interventions and effective treatments are developed. Little is known about the prevalence and risk factors for ADRD in AI/AN populations, who are more likely to develop ADRD than white or Asian Americans. This is in part due to low levels of participation in ADRD research among AI/ANs. Given that the Internet is a primary method for participant recruitment, this continuing study seeks to understand how AI/ANs consume and process online information. Knowledge gained from the study will be used to create and pilot test effective recruitment materials and health messages to help recruit AI/ANs into ADRD research.

Zhaokang Cheng (PI); Boyang Wu – College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences
National Institutes of Health; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
“Cell cycle proteins as key regulators of cardiac chemosensitivity”
Anthracycline-based chemotherapy, an effective treatment for many types of cancer, has long been associated with substantial toxicity to the heart. The anthracycline drug doxorubicin induces DNA damage and subsequent heart cell death, which eventually results in cardiomyopathy and heart failure. Previous research led by the principal investigator of this award has identified cyclin-dependent kinase 2 (CDK2) as a key player in heart toxicity resulting from treatment with anthracycline drugs and suggested that cardiac CDK2 activity determines how sensitive the heart is to chemotherapy. This award provides continued funding for a study to determine the role of two cell cycle proteins known to control CDK2 activity—CDK7 and RBL2—in heart cell death and cardiac chemosensitivity. This research could help lay the foundation for developing new strategies to protect the heart during cancer treatment.

Denise Dillard (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/IREACH
Oregon Health and Sciences University/National Institutes of Health, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
“Diet and the CPT1A arctic variant: Impact on the Health of Alaska Native Children”
This subcontract provides renewal funding for the investigator’s role in a project aimed at better understanding high rates of infectious disease and mortality in Alaska Native infants in Western and Northern Alaska. Led by Oregon Health and Science University, the research team has previously identified the arctic variant, a mutation of the CPT1A gene, as contributing to these health problems. The arctic variant has been shown to be the most common form of the CPT1A gene in the Yup’ik and Inupiaq Alaska Native people of Western and Northern Alaska. This study will determine whether reduced intake of traditional subsistence foods rich in n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may be linked to the detrimental health effects associated with the arctic variant. The researchers will achieve this by studying a cohort of Alaska Native children who will be followed prenatally through the first two years of life. The goal of the study is to identify ways to reduce the negative effects of this genetic mutation on the health of Alaska Native children.

Katherine Hirchak (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
University of New Mexico/National Institutes of Health; National Institute on Drug Abuse
“New Mexico Clinical Trials Node: Clinical research and practice to address substance use in diverse, rural and underserved populations”
This subaward renews funding for the investigator to contribute to research that examines the impact of COVID-19 on substance use and access to medication opioid use disorder treatment among American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) adults and providers serving Native communities.

Liat Kriegel (PI); Michael McDonell – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/PRISM
Volunteers of America Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho/Department of Health and Human Services Administration, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
“Whole-Person Health Home Evaluation”
This grant continues funding for the WSU team to evaluate the Whole-Person Health Home Certified Community Clinic being developed by Volunteers of America Eastern Washington & Northern Idaho, which provides shelter, transitional, and permanent supportive housing and intensive case management to 2,200 youth and adults annually. The clinic will serve teens, youth, adults, and veterans experiencing homelessness in Spokane County. This includes individuals at high-risk of becoming homeless and those who are chronically homeless, populations that have been historically underserved by the traditional model that requires participants to remember appointment details and make childcare and transportation arrangements to be able to attend. Previous office-based mental health care offered to its residents had a no-show rate of more than 50 percent, demonstrating the need for a more innovative treatment model to better engage this population. Based on a pilot project, the new clinic will provide outreach, engagement, harm reduction, and mental health services directly within its residential properties to increase rates of treatment acceptance, engagement with care, and positive outcomes for participants.

Odile Madesclaire (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/Community Health
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 continued 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 half 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 are implementing 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.

Michael McDonell (PI); – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/PRISM
Montana Primary Care Association/Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services
“Montana Primary Care Association – Contingency Management”
The PRISM (Promoting Research Initiatives in Substance Use and Mental Health) Collaborative works in partnership with communities to develop, test, and disseminate community-driven interventions to improve the lives of individuals living with substance use and mental health disorders. This award represents renewal funding for a PRISM project to help the Montana Primary Care Association develop and implement a contingency management model that is adapted to the unique needs of the target populations in Montana. Contingency management is a behavioral treatment that uses small prizes and other tangible incentives to promote abstinence from addictive substances. The WSU team will train treatment providers at each site on the background, proper implementation regulatory requirements, and considerations of contingency management, as well as provide technical support.

Michael McDonell and Marian Wilson; (co-PIs); Sterling McPherson; Crystal Smith; Katherine Hirchak; Naomi Bender – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/College of Nursing/WSU Spokane
Northwest Indian College/National Institutes of Health, Native American Research Centers for Health
“Association between cannabis and pain outcomes in a Tribally operated clinic”

This grant award continues a four-year study of the relationship between cannabis use and pain at a Native health clinic. Previous research suggests that THC in cannabis may have a positive effect on anxiety, depression, and sleep. This raises the possibility that THC not only provides direct pain relief but may also ease symptoms associated with pain, such as poor sleep and mood. The WSU research team will conduct a comprehensive analysis of patient demographics and data on cannabis use, pain, mood, and sleep to determine how cannabis impacts pain intensity and interference in 350 adults seeking pain care at a Native-owned and operated natural healing clinic in Washington State. The grant will also provide opportunities for research training for Native students through Northwest Indian College—a partner on this grant—and WSU’s Native American Health Sciences Program.

Sterling McPherson (PI); – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
Oregon Health and Sciences University/National Institutes of Health, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
“Tele-Collaborative Outreach to Rural Patients with Chronic Pain: The CORPs Trial”
This award provides continuing funds for WSU to assist with the design, execution, and analysis of a clinical trial—led by investigators at the Oregon Health and Sciences University—that will test a telehealth collaborative care intervention for rural patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain. Findings from this project may inform future studies that could be the basis for an intervention to improve clinical and health service outcomes for patients who are experiencing long-term chronic pain.

Becki Meehan (PI); Sarah Washington-Halsted – WSU Spokane Student Affairs
University of Washington
“WSU Health Sciences Spokane – 2023-2024 WA MESA Program”
This contract provides supplemental funding for the Spokane Math Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) program, which serves underrepresented students and their teachers in grades 6 through 12 in three Washington state school districts: Spokane Public Schools and Cheney School District in Spokane County and Inchelium School District in Ferry County. The program builds a pathway to college and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). MESA develops programming and initiatives to improve diversity and retention, with an emphasis on traditionally underrepresented students in STEM fields, including African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Pacific Islanders, and women.

Oladunni Oluwoye (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/PRISM
WA State Health Care Authority/US Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
“First Episode Psychosis Evaluation”
This contract renews funding for activities related to the state of Washington’s New Journeys first episode psychosis program. The program is designed to enhance the recognition of early signs and symptoms of psychosis so that effective treatment can be started promptly. Activities covered by this contract include ongoing data collection from current and past New Journey participants, as well as program development, evaluation, training and reporting. In addition, supplemental funds were awarded for work to implement the New Journeys model in Tribal communities in Washington State and to conduct focus groups with service users and family members or support persons related to measurement-based care, shared decision-making and gaps in support.

Anthippy Petras (PI); Anna Zamora – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/IREACH
University of North Texas/National Institutes of Health, AIM-AHEAD
“Stakeholder Organization funds for Using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to improve health equity in Washington state”
This grant provides funding for the Northwest Health Education and Research Outcomes Network (NW HERON)—a practice-based research and educational network within the WSU Institute for Research and Education to Advance Community Health—to serve as a stakeholder organization for Ana Zamora’s Fall 2023 AIM-AHEAD fellowship. Supported by the National Institutes of Health, AIM-AHEAD—which stands for the Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning Consortium to Advance Health Equity and Researcher Diversity Program—seeks to increase the participation and representation of researchers and communities currently underrepresented in the development of artificial intelligence/machine learning models and to enhance the capabilities of this emerging technology. Zamora is using the knowledge gained in this fellowship to conduct research aimed at improving health equity, including a recent study that used artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify, schedule, and follow up with patients eligible for lung cancer screening, which could help improve cancer survival outcomes among the Pacific Northwest’s rural Hispanic population.

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 award continues funding for a five-year grant for Dr. Julie Postma to serve as faculty in the NIH-funded Environmental Health Research Institute for Nurse and Clinician Scientists. The institute educates nurse and clinician scientists on foundational concepts in environmental health to prepare them for conducting environmental health-related research. The award provides funds for Postma to prepare and record self-paced lectures for the virtual classroom; teach and present at the annual workshop in June; and provide assistance with recruiting workshop participants and event coordination for the 2026 annual workshop, which will be hosted at WSU Spokane.

Victoria Sattler (PI); Kristin Courtney; Kelly Kleiderer – College of Nursing; Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
Washington State Department of Health
“Youth Sexual Health Mentorship in Rural Communities”
This award provides a funding increase for a project to implement a sexual health curriculum for 7th and 8th graders as part of the existing Stevens County mentorship program. The goal of the project is to address recent increases in the rates of sexually transmitted infections, unwanted sexual contact, and dating violence among youth in Washington State. The Stevens County mentorship program was developed in 2019 as a way to bring the idea of health care careers and healthy living to the minds of young people. It is offered in four rural school districts in communities that have teen pregnancy rates higher than the state average and disproportionally higher rates of sexually transmitted infections in minority populations. By implementing this youth sexual health curriculum into the existing mentorship program, youth will learn about their own sexual health and how they can positively impact the health of others within the role of a healthcare professional.

Jessica Ullrich (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/IREACH
Spaulding for Children/US Department of Health; Administration for Children and Families
“Quality Improvement Center on Engaging Youth in Permanency (QIC-EY) Site Consultant for Hawai’i”
This award provides renewal funding for the investigator to serve as a site consultant for the Hawai’i site of the Quality Improvement Center on Engaging Youth in Finding Permanency (QIC-EY). Led by Spaulding for Children in partnership with other agencies, QIC-EY is charged with advancing child welfare programs and practice to ensure that they are engaging and empowering children and youth in foster care throughout the U.S., especially concerning decisions around permanency—a child’s legal relationship with a parenting adult. Ullrich will assist with implementation of the QIC-EY workforce training, coaching model, court training, program model, and capacity building for systems change.

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.