Family and Community Medicine

The following programs/research are currently under way in the Department of Family and Community in the School of Medicine at Meharry Medical College.

Residency Training in Primary Care
Researcher: Millard D. Collins, M.D.
Funding Source: Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
Project Summary: The program will improve and transform two residency programs --Public Health/General Preventive Medicine (PH/GPM) and Occupational Medicine (OM) at Meharry Medical College. Both programs are Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) -accredited, and the OM program is the only such residency at a Historically Black College or University in the United States. The program has 16 specific objectives, the sum of which will assure that over a five-year period, 26 residents acquire all ACGME required competencies. The goal of improvement will be accomplished, in part, by providing broader opportunities for residents to work in community health centers, community hospitals, and state and local health departments with emphasis on integrating primary care and preventive medicine. The goal of transformation will address the need for preventive medicine physicians to become better advocates for their role as professionals. Prevention Leadership Advocacy Rotations will result in improved understanding of how the totality of medical evidence is currently managed by legislators and public health physicians, how unintended adverse effects of legislative decisions are currently communicated to populations at risk, and what implications this holds for both preventive medicine practice and residents' choices regarding their own career paths. Residents will also attend intensive training in Bioethics at the National Center for Bioethics at Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama.


Pre-doctoral training in Primary Care
Researcher: Millard D. Collins, M.D.
Funding Source: Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
Project Summary: This program will enhance the student training experience in primary care by creating a student health disparity scholar track, adding adolescent medicine curriculum, and introducing evidence based medical education.


Southeast Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Regional Training Center Researcher: Heather O'Hara, M.D.
Funding Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Project Summary: The major goal of this project is to establish and operate a center for the recognition, training and prevention of fetal alcohol syndrome, and research on this subject.


Mammographic breast density in a cohort of medically underserved women.
Researcher: Maureen Sanderson, MPH, RD, PhD
Funding Source: Department of Defense (DOD)
Project Summary: This research project investigates the relationships between hormones, diet, body size, and mammographic breast density among underserved women.


Understanding breast cancer subtypes in black women
Researcher: Maureen Sanderson, M.P.H., R.D., Ph.D.
Funding Source: National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Project Summary: Recent studies, conducted largely among White women, have reported differences in risk by breast cancer subtype associated with hormone-related and other risk factors, such as age at menarche, oral contraceptive use, parity, age at first full-term birth, breastfeeding, age at menopause, hormone replacement therapy use, obesity and physical activity, suggesting that subtypes of breast tumors may have distinct etiologies. Few breast cancer studies have included large numbers of Black women, despite known marked racial differences in cancer incidence by subtype, and most studies did not collect tumor tissue to allow for detailed characterization of tumor subtypes. To address this issue, we propose to collect tumor tissue specimens from 710 Black breast cancer cases, to classify breast tumors by hormone-receptor status, and to examine associations between hormone-related and other risk factors and breast cancer subtypes among Black women. This project will be one of the most comprehensive and well-powered studies to investigate the associations between hormone-related and other risk factors and breast cancer subtypes among Black women.


Nashville Children Eating Well (CHEW) for Health
Researcher: Courtney Kihlberg, M.D.
Funding Source: United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Project Summary: The goal of this program is to generate new knowledge of the behavioral factors that influence childhood obesity and use this information to develop and implement effective family-based, culturally appropriate interventions for preventing overweight and obesity in preschool age children (ages 2-5).


The Tennessee Child Passenger Safety Center at Meharry
Researcher
: Olaniyi Ekundayo, M.D.
Funding Source: Tennessee Department of Transportation Governor's Highway Safety Office and the Tennessee Department of Health
Project Summary: This project started in 2006 as the Middle Tennessee Child Passenger Safety Center - to reduce the impact of automobile crashes on children. In October 2012, the Middle TN Child Passenger Safety Center at Meharry became the Tennessee Child Passenger Safety Center at Meharry. The Center is now responsible for child passenger safety for the entire state of Tennessee. We offer a 4-day nationally approved curriculum for certification as a child passenger safety technician. We provide child safety seats and installation for low-income families through our network of over 125 fitting stations, across the state. In addition, we provide education for families, expectant mothers, and training for technicians wishing to become child passenger safety Instructors. We also have education and recertification classes for technicians wishing to keep their certification current.


Development of an HPV vaccine and cervical cancer screening provider intervention
Researcher: Maureen Sanderson, M.P.H., R.D., Ph.D.
Funding Source: National Cancer Institute
Project Summary: Despite increases in cervical cancer screening in the past few decades, African American and Hispanic women have substantially higher rates of cervical cancer incidence and mortality than White women. We propose to examine the association between receipt of the HPV vaccine in daughters and subsequent HPV prevention practices and cervical cancer screening in mothers and daughters. We hypothesize that women and their daughters may be less likely to use HPV preventive measures and to be screened appropriately for cervical cancer if the daughters are vaccinated against HPV. The specific aims of the proposed community-based participatory research (CBPR) project are: 1) to develop a culturally-tailored provider intervention to increase uptake of the HPV vaccine among African American and Hispanic adolescents aged 9-18 years while encouraging appropriate HPV prevention practices and cervical cancer screening, 2) to deliver a culturally-tailored provider intervention to increase uptake of the HPV vaccine among African American and Hispanic adolescents aged 9-18 years while encouraging appropriate HPV prevention practices and cervical cancer screening, and 3) to evaluate the extent to which a provider intervention that encourages parents to have their daughters vaccinated against HPV results in HPV vaccination of the daughters and impacts subsequent HPV prevention practices and cervical cancer screening of the women and their daughters. This CBPR is a collaboration between Meharry Medical College, Vanderbilt University (VU), three community health centers in Nashville, Memphis and Chattanooga, and a Community Advisory Board (CAB). The academic and community partners will collaboratively develop a provider intervention, which will be delivered to parents/patients at the three community health centers and at Meharry to encourage receipt of the HPV vaccine, and continued HPV prevention practices and cervical cancer screening in African Americans and Hispanics.