Wells, Gazaway awarded Rita and Alex Hillman Foundation grant

Photo of Wells & Gazaway

By Pareasa Rahimi

University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing Assistant Professors Rachel Wells, PhD, RN, CNL (MSN 2009, PhD 2019), and Shena Gazaway, PhD, RN, have been awarded a $50,000 grant by the Rita and Alex Hillman Foundation. The foundation awards grants to support innovative, early-stage nurse-driven interventions that address the serious illness and end-of-life needs of marginalized populations.

Wells’ and Gazaway’s pilot project, “Project ADAPT HF: Developing Palliative Solutions to Ease Pain in Black Adults with Heart Failure,” works to address pain in under-resourced Black adults with advanced heart failure and pilots non-pharmacological, palliative care pain intervention components to reduce pain disparities.

“We are honored to receive funding from the Rita and Alex Hillman Foundation, especially for a passion project that we’ve been developing in collaboration with a community advisory group,” they said.

Wells and Gazaway emphasized the importance of studying pain disparities and outcomes from a holistic point of view.

“Co-creating non-pharmacologic pain interventions for patients with advanced heart failure, especially for under-resourced groups, such as Southern-dwelling Black adults who are disproportionately impacted by heart failure, is of utmost importance given poor heart failure outcomes in our region,” they said. “Not many interventions exist that specifically address the multiple sources of pain, with even less demonstrating efficacy in older Black adults.”

The ADAPT HF intervention design is a collaborative effort between Wells and Gazaway, community members who have heart failure and the ADAPT HF study team. The intervention is intentionally designed to comprehensively address pain while improving rural access to palliative care and pain coaching. Components of the study target physical, emotional, social and spiritual contributors to pain with the goal of improving self-efficacy and self-management of pain symptoms among participants. As part of the intervention, trained community-based palliative care coaches deliver the main components of the ADAPT HF intervention weekly by telephone with each weekly call lasting approximately 20 minutes.

The findings from the pilot will be used to inform a R01-level proposal to conduct a fully-powered optimization trial, ultimately leading to a highly efficient and scalable optimized pain intervention.

Upcoming Events