2021 PREP Awardees:

  • Frank Puga, PhD
    The Mental Health Experiences of Sexual and Gender Minorities Living with Cancer and their Intimate Partners

    A priority focus of palliative and end-of-life (EOL) care in cancer is to improve the well-being and mental health of patients and their families. This is especially true for patient populations with a disproportionate cancer burden, such as sexual and gender minorities (SGMs). Further, SGMs experience increased cancer risk, less effective care, and poor outcomes than heterosexual, cisgendered, and gender binary individuals. Thus, it is imperative to understand better the palliative and EOL care needs of SGM cancer survivors and their intimate partners.

    The aim of this study is to determine relationships between stressors, stress moderators, and daily depression-related symptoms and to determine relationships between depression symptom trajectories, resilience, frailty, and QoL.

    The results of this study will identify modifiable targets to inform interventions that improve resilience and QoL among SGM cancer survivors and their intimate partners. The proposed work will serve as the first step towards a dynamic SGM mental health framework in cancer to improve the quality of palliative and EOL care for this underserved population.

    Thematic area of research: Addressing Culture, Lived Experiences and Racism; Towards Health Equity

  • Michael Barnett, MD
    Culturally Based Values and Preferences for Clinical Care and Communication with Gay and Bisexual Men with Serious Illness and their Partners in the South

    As a group, LGBT older adults are affected disproportionately by poverty and poor health due to a lifetime of stressors and discrimination, particularly for LGBTs persons of color. Lack of trust and legal protections may cause older LGBT adults to be less open about their sexuality, further hampering a focus on their unique health care needs.

    The specific aim of this study is to gain an understanding of the cultural values and preferences for care and communication among African American and White GB men, aged 50 years or older, with a serious illness and/or their partners/caregivers.

    Thematic area of research: Addressing Culture, Lived Experiences and Racism; Towards Health Equity

2020 PREP Awardees:

  • Rhiannon Reed, DrPH
    Assessing Provider, Patient, and Caregiver Preferences for Palliative and End-of-Life Care in Kidney Transplantation

    The purpose of this research is to fill a knowledge gap regarding whether the kidney transplant center is an appropriate space for conversations about palliative care and ACP for patients with advanced kidney disease.

    Thematic area of research: Increasing Access to Palliative and Supportive Care

  • Caitlin Clevenger, PhD
    Culturally Based Values and Preferences for Clinician Care and Communication Transgender and Gender Diverse People with Serious Illness and their Partners

    Using the gender minority stress and resilience theory as a conceptual framework and Community-Based Participatory Research as our approach, we aim to inform the development of a PC Conversation guide for TGD people aged 55+ with serious illness and their partners. We aim to identify 1) the cultural values and preferences for clinician communication and PC care, 2) the minority stress experiences faced in healthcare settings, and 3) racial differences in these values, preferences, and experiences.

    Thematic area of research: Address Palliative Care Cultural Considerations and Disparities

2019 PREP Awardees:

  • Sara Lappan, PhD
    Culturally Based Values and Preferences for Clinician Care and Communication of Lesbian and Bisexual Women with Serious Illness and their Partners

    To understand the values and preferences, goals of medical care, and other preferences including clinician communication, of a sub-culture of lesbian and bisexual women with serious illness and their partners who live in an urban southern city.

    Thematic area of research: Address Palliative Care Cultural Considerations and Disparities

  • Karina Halilova, MD, MPH
    Elucidating strategies to elicit oncologists’ recommendation to promote healthy eating behaviors among cancer survivors

    In this study, we begin to explore how and if oncologists’ recommendation leads to healthy behavior improvement by examining if it affects engagement in a web-based diet program, diet self-efficacy and diet quality. The study design will be guided by formative research findings and Bandura’s Social-Cognitive Theory (SCT) behavior change model that proposes that effective health promotion interventions are based on SCT constructs.

    Thematic area of research: Enhance Communication Skills Among Patients, Caregivers, and Clinicians

  • Rachel Wells, PhD, RN
    ENABLE DOSE (Does One Size Fit Everyone?): Exploring Caregivers’ Experiences in an Early Palliative Care Intervention for Advanced Heart Failure

    The goal of this proposal is to gather qualitative data to identify key dose and content components for a highly innovative optimization trial pilot of the ENABLE CHF-PC intervention.

    Thematic area of research: Increasing Access to Palliative and Supportive Care

  • Emily Johnston, MD, MS
    End‐of‐Life Care for Children with Advanced Heart Disease in Alabama: Patterns and Parent Priorities

    The purpose of this study is to better understand end-of-life (EOL) care for children with AHD by determining disparities in EOL care and if those patterns and disparities reflect bereaved patient priorities.

    Thematic area of research: Improve Caregivers Support & Bereavement Care

  • Gabrielle Rocque, MD
    Evaluation of communication and patient preferences for decision-making in metastatic breast cancer

    The goal of the proposed research is to explore the communication about patient preferences by both patients and their oncologists related to decision-making in metastatic breast cancer, an incurable illness with limited life expectancy.

    Thematic area of research: Enhance Communication Skills Among Patients, Caregivers, and Clinicians

  • Lyle Walton, MD, MHSA
    Telehealth to Support Palliative Care to Improve Value, Outcomes and Transitions in the Skilled Nursing Facility

    The overall goal of this pilot study is to determine the feasibility of administering a tele-based palliative care consult to “short-stay” (<90 days)patients in a SNF; including assessing its acceptability to the SNF facility, clinicians, and patients, and to assess short-term effectiveness of care on patient outcome.

    Thematic area of research: Increasing Access to Palliative and Supportive Care

2018 PREP Awardees:

  • Jennifer Bail, PhD, RN
    Harvest for Hope: Developing a Community Gardening Intervention to Enhance Supportive Care Among Metastatic Cancer Survivors

    Dr. Bail’s project addresses an understudied, and much needed, area of nutrition and cancer research. The goal of this project is to gather data, through interviews, to inform the development of a community gardening intervention adapted for those living with metastatic cancer (i.e., Harvest for Hope).

2016 PREP Awardees:

  • Rita Jablonski-Jaudon, PhD, CRNP, FAAN
    Clinical and Consumer Perspectives Regarding Advance Care Planning (ACP) Best -Practice Conversations at Four Different Stages of Dementia

    Dr. Jablonski-Jaudon's group will undertake a qualitative study to describe the desired content, pacing, and direction of ACP conversations from the perspectives of consumers (persons with potential or actual cognitive impairment and caregivers) and clinicians who treat persons with dementia.
  • Anand Iyer, MD
    ENABLE: COPD-PC - Developing a Palliative Care Intervention for Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Their Caregivers

    Dr. Iyer's team will adapt the evidence-based ENABLE palliative care telephone intervention for patients with COPD and their caregivers.
  • Noha Sharafeldin, MSc PhD
    Intervention Strategies to Improve Cognitive Functioning in Hematologic Cancer Survivors After hematopoietic Cell Transplantation

    Dr. Sharafeldin's group will pilot a cognitive training intervention that will focus on improving neurocognitive functions in 20 HCT survivors (with cognitive impairment) through "brain exercises and games."

2015 PREP Awardees:

  • Stephen J. Carter, PhD, ACSM-CPT
    Simulated-Altitude as an Adjunct to Optimize Aerobic Exercise in Obese Breast Cancer Survivors with Limited Ambulatory Function: Pilot Randomized Trial

    Dr. Carter’s group will be the first to investigate the potential value of walking while simulating higher altitude as an exercise strategy to improve cardiovascular and metabolic health in obese Breast Cancer Survivors with ambulatory limitations.
  • Sylvie Mrug, PhD
    Examining the Role of Spiritual Coping in Health and Well-Being of Patients with Cystic Fibrosis (CF)

    Dr. Mrug’s team recognizes that there is no research examining spiritual coping in adult patients with CF which would inform intervention development. So their project will focus on understanding how spiritual coping relates to well-being, treatment adherence, health, and quality of life in adult patients with CF.
  • Alexander Lo, MD, PhD
    Determining the Association between Unmet Palliative Care Needs and Healthcare Utilization among Older Adults with Heart Failure (HF)

    Dr. Lo’s team will examine to what extent the association between unmet Palliative Care needs among older patients with HF and healthcare utilization are due to socio-demographic factors or system driven issues; and, which of these are improved with an early Palliative Care intervention.

2014 PREP Awardees

  • Anna Arthur, PhD, MPH, RD
    Improving dietary patterns in head and neck cancer survivors to optimize disease outcomes and supportive care: a pilot/feasibility intervention study

    Dr. Arthur’s research will assess the feasibility of a post-treatment dietary intervention for Head and Neck cancer survivors.
  • Marie Bakitas, DNSc, CRNP & Salpy Pamboukian, MD
    Describing and evaluating current practices of specialist and generalist palliative care support for patients with a Mechanical Circulatory Support Device (MCSD)

    Dr. Bakitas and Dr. Pamboukian will undertake the first population-based survey of a North American registry for patients who are receiving durable MCSD therapy to determine current specialist and generalist palliative care practices in order to identify areas for improved palliative care specialist use.
  • J. Nicholas Dionne-Odom, PhD, RN
    Examining Self-Care Practices of Family Caregivers of Persons with Advanced Cancer and their Association with Caregiver Characteristics and their Ability to Perform in the Caregiving Role

    Dr. Dionne-Odom’s research will focus on family caregivers of persons with advanced cancer to identify sociodemographic and health characteristics associated with their self-care practices and to describe the association of family caregivers’ self-care practices with their ability to provide care.
  • Jessica S. Merlin, MD, MBA
    Development of a Behavioral Intervention for Chronic Pain in Individuals with HIV

    Dr. Merlin’s research will use intervention mapping to systematically develop a tailored behavioral intervention for chronic pain in HIV-infected patients.