Internal Medicine

The following grants/research projects are currently under way within the Deparment of Internal Medicine in the School of Medicine at Meharry Medial College.

The Meharry Medical College (MMC) and the Vanderbilt-lngram Cancer Center (VICC): partnering for survivorship
Funding Source: National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Project Summary: The Meharry Medical College (MMC) and the Vanderbilt-lngram Cancer Center (VICC) Survival from cancer in adults now exceeds 65 percent, although disparities exist between African Americans and Caucasians for reasons that are only partly understood. With this growing cohort of survivors, little research has been conducted to assess long-term outcomes, especially among cancer survivors and particularly in minority survivor populations where baseline health disparities exists. A partnership between Vanderbilt-lngram Cancer Center and Meharry Medical College is addressing the lack of data.

Meharry Medical College-CHC Community Networks Program Center
Margaret Hargreaves, Ph.D.
Funding Source:National Institutes of Health
Project Summary: The purpose of the Meharry Medical College-Community Health Centers (CHCs) Community Networks Program (CNP) is to reduce cancer health disparities among African Americans by conducting community-based participatory research in select urban and rural communities in Tennessee (Nashville, Chattanooga, Memphis) and Mississippi (Jackson, Canton, Mound, Bayou). Overall program goals are to significantly improve access to and utilization of beneficial cancer interventions in these CHC communities and provide a cadre of well trained researchers who continue to reduce disparities in these communities. An umbrella coalition of organizations and individuals has been formed to make joint plans for community networking activities and to develop an infrastructure that facilitates research participation in the target population. Meharry serves as the Coordinating Center.

Improving diabetes management in African Americans using community health centers
Marquetta L. Faulkner, M.D., M.B.A., F.A.C.P., F.A.S.N.
Funding Source: Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
Project Summary: Diabetes is a serious chronic disease that can lead to early mortality and debilitating complications. These complications can be delayed or prevented by maintaining optimal diabetes control through compliance with established diabetes standards of care. This is particularly important for African Americans who have a disproportionate burden for type 2 diabetes incidence and morbidity. The standards of care for diabetes require that individuals with diabetes engage in regular blood glucose testing, insulin and medication compliance, compliance with recommended annual exams, improved diet, and increased physical activity. The primary goal of this project is to improve optimal diabetes management of low-income African Americans served by Southside/Dodson Avenue Community Health Centers (SS/DA CHCS) of and those in the surrounding community. The majority of the patients served at these health centers are African- American, uninsured, and low-income. SS/DA CHCs and Meharry have enjoyed a long and productive research relationship, including collaborating on projects in cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Screening Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT)
Researcher: Marquetta L. Faulkner, M.D., M.B.A., F.A.C.P., F.A.S.N.
Funding Source: Department of Human Health Services/SAMHSA
Project Summary: The Internal Medicine Primary Care Clinic of Nashville General Hospital at Meharry (PCC) implements the Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment initiative (SBIRT). The focus of SBIRT is to screen individuals visiting the PCC to proactively address risky alcohol and/or drug use in clients before those risky behaviors become a more serious problem. Research has shown that intervening early with individuals at moderate risk is effective in reducing substance use, preventing co-morbid health conditions, and reducing health care costs. In addition, SBIRT provides support for our primary care attending clinics and training for our residents in our Internal Medicine Residency Program.

A questionnaire to assess biospecimen donation among African Americans
Researcher: Kushal Patel, Ph.D.
Funding Source: National Center for Research Resources (NCRR)
Project Summary: Nationwide, the availability of blood and tissue specimens from African Americans is very low, preventing critical research to improve the health of black communities. This project looks to identify attitudes among African Americans that negatively impact donating tissue for research.

Meharry Community Wellness Center
(Ryan White Part C outpatient EIS program)
:Vladimir Berthaud, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.P.
Funding Source: Health Resources and Services Administration
Project Summary: This HIV/AIDS program includes a wide range of early intervention services and focuses on expanding access to and retention into high quality care, reducing health disparities, and improving health outcomes. The target population (African Americans in north Nashville) are characterized by high rates of non-insurance (43%), poverty (87.5%), incarceration (20%), low education (86%), and family breakdown (85%). Among clients seen at MCWC, the primary mode of transmission is heterosexual contact (56%) but MSM category is increasing (23%). The primary goals of this program are 1) to reduce the rate of HIV/AIDS and 2) to improve the health outcomes of low-income and medically underserved African Americans living with HIV/AIDS primarily in North Nashville.