Media contact: Hannah Echols
University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing, has received a $150,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health Centers for AIDS Research to support her research on the impact of social determinants of health on cardiovascular health in individuals with HIV.Jenni Wise, assistant professor in the
HIV is predominantly a socioeconomic disease, Wise says, which is why it is important to study social determinants of health alongside HIV and its comorbidities. The study will focus on hypertension, diabetes and dyslipidemia — a high level of lipids that can lead to heart attack, stroke or other heart issues.
“People with HIV are at an increased risk for chronic diseases, especially those associated with aging,” Wise said. “Antiviral drugs now allow individuals with HIV to live long, full lives; but you are seeing an increased risk for certain diseases in this population. For example, individuals living with HIV face about two times the risk for cardiovascular disease of the general population.”
Through the funding, Wise will build on her existing two-year $200,000 K12 grant, the Early Career Development Program. The program studies cardiovascular health as it is related to HIV and focuses on women living with HIV. Conducting both studies enables Wise to extract the sex- and gender-based differences associated with cardiovascular health of individuals living with HIV.
Wise began her research career in cardiovascular health before entering nursing and earned her first degree — a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy — from UAB in 2005. While attaining her first degree in philosophy, Wise developed a passion for social justice, humanitarian efforts, and understanding how societal differences impact health and well-being. These are passions that carry over into her research as a nurse scientist.
“When I began my work as a nurse scientist, I was able to merge my interest in environmental and social equity with my nursing background in cardiovascular health,” Wise said. “I am also interested in the behaviors and cognitive habits we have to counteract environmental stressors. This research provides an opportunity to look at the impact of social inequities in our environment, and how our psychological health and behaviors impact health outcomes.”