GakumoImproved HIV disease management through health literacy

Assistant Professor C. Ann Gakumo, PhD, RN has recently been named a UAB K-Scholar. This K-award provides salary for protected time devoted to both formal research training and for a mentored hands-on research experience.

The program will provide support to facilitate the development  and participation in the conduct of translational research or research that enhances patient care. The 2-year institutional career development award is funded by the UAB School of Medicine, the Center for Clinical and Translational Science, and an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institutional Award (PCOR K12).  The overall goal of the training is to impart knowledge, experience, and perspective to junior scientists to enhance their movement toward independence as investigators.  

Dr. Gakumo's PCOR K12 project will focus on developing a culturally relevant health literacy intervention to improve treatment adherence in older African Americans with HIV.   Health literacy is poorer among older adults as compared to the general population and regardless of educational background, more than two-thirds of U.S. adults age 60 years  or older have low or marginal literacy skills.  In the literature, it is well documented that  African Americans with HIV are more likely to be nonadherent to their HIV medications than other races/ethnicities, less likely to keep their clinic appointments related to HIV treatment and care, and more likely to die during hospitalization, however little is known about interventions to improve these outcomes by addressing health literacy deficits in this burgeoning clinical population.

The project will begin with Dr. Gakumo recruiting African Americans with HIV ages 45 and over at a local HIV clinic to participate in interviews following their appointments. The participants will be assessed about their lab values and interpretations of their clinicians' consultation. This information will help guide what participants understand and take away from their visits.Participants will also be interviewed about how they would prefer an HIV health literacy intervention to be delivered to them (e.g., web portal, pamphlets, mobile devices, videos, etc.).

Data gathered from the first phase of the project will be used to develop an intervention to address how to improve HIV health literacy in order to promote disease management.

For more information about the project, please contact Dr. Gakumo at

Related publications

Fazeli, P. L., Marceaux, J. C., Vance, D. E., Slater, L., & Long (Gakumo), C. A. (2011). Predictors of cognition in adults with HIV: implications for nursing practice and research. J Neurosci Nurs, 43(1), 36-50.

Vance, D. E., Dodson, J. E., Gakumo, C. A., Morris, D., Kitchens, E., & Schroder, K. E. E. (2012). Successful cognitive aging in HIV:  Potential strategies for treatment and research. Physical and Occupational Therapy in Geriatrics, 30(3), 229-244.

Related presentations

Gakumo, C. A., Vance, D. E., Byrd, E. M., Byrd, J. C., & Estrada, C. A. (2011).  Assessing Health Numeracy within the Context of HIV in a Predominantly African American Sample:  Do Numbers Count?  Poster session presented at the 3rd Health Literacy Annual Research Conference, Chicago, IL.

Gakumo, C. A., & Vance, D. E. (2012). The impact of health literacy, health numeracy, and cognition on HIV outcomes:  The HALO study. Podium session presented at the 25th Annual Association of Nurses in AIDS Care Conference, Tucson, AZ.